It’s a bit bewildering to start over again in a new culture–even one similar to our own. There’s just so much to learn. For example, at church on Sunday I learned that children from “creche to registration year” are aged 0-5. And so often we learn through our mistakes. I seem to make them every time I go out. Sometimes it’s a little daunting to think how many I have left to make before I figure it out, if I ever do. Yesterday I asked two teenagers in a deli where the bathroom was, and they giggled and asked if I wanted to take a bath. Toilet or loo, NOT bathroom…how long does it take to reverse the habits of a lifetime, I wonder? Friday I learned that if you stop on the sidewalk next to a bus stop for any purpose, such as to give your child raisins or replace a missing miniature tennis shoe, the buses will pull over for you to get on. Probably seems pretty obvious to most of you, wasn’t to me. (“No, thank you, just walking, thank you, sorry.”) There are minor changes and yes, deprivations (they do not appear to sell maple syrup in this country) to adjust to everywhere. And there are some really lovely things: the glorious, brisk, breezy climate, the delicious breads and pastries, the fact that every time I spend money I feel like I’m losing weight (“Tha’ll be fyve pounds, please.”).
But it’s bewildering. We’ve been having family devotions with Norah in the evenings–aiming to begin in a way suitable for her attention span, which is about two minutes. Alex began teaching her to memorize a very simple little verse. It’s so familiar to me, as it probably is to lots of us, that I almost forget to think about what it means. But it’s holding me together these days. And it picks me up just to hear her say it. Go to YouTube and check it out: Norah’s first verse.