Some random observations from being home for the first time in 18 months:
- London is very, very grey and very, very sombre and the streets seem ridiculously narrow. And empty. As much as China might be reeling from the recession, in London it is startlingly apparent that everyone is very grimly hanging on;
- I have missed the casual way Brits slip in terms of endearment when talking to strangers – love, dear, sweetheart, darling – a verbal welcome home;
- God the British accent is strong! Such strange sounds after Mandarin. I didn’t realise just how “internationalised” my accent has become until Mr B laughed at me for slipping back to my roots;
- Globalisation is alive and well when I hear Mandarin being spoken all around the UK, even down where my parents live, a place not exactly known for its multiculturalism;
- Why are the British obsessed with insurance? Why are there so many bad insurance ads on TV? Was it always like this? Why is the country obsessed with meerkats? Simples;
- You can tell you’ve been living in India when loud complaints from passengers to bus drivers make Mr B and I laugh – if a Mumbai bus driver had missed a stop, passengers would be handing out slaps instead of sarcastic comments;
- Compared to Mandarin, trying to get myself understood in French is a doddle;
- Really? Everyone is actually going to vote in a Tory govt? Scary times ahead whoever wins, I guess, given the level of public debt;
- I love the English countryside, despite Mr B’s disparaging comments that the UK landscape is tame – it is so green;
- Being able to drink water straight from the tap without thinking about it is now a novelty. As is being understood every time I open my mouth and knowing, without thinking, how things work in day to day life;
- I miss quorn and Linda McCartney pies;
- Of course, the only people actually spending money at Prada and Harrods at Heathrow were Chinese;
- We have fabulous friends.
Interestingly, unlike after our August visit to Mr B’s home, I’m not culture shocked. In fact I’m glad to be back. Could this be because we’ve passed the 6 month marker?