Friday, 15 May 2015

Fish out of water

We are swimming. Swimming hard upstream against the current that is the last three badly behaved weeks of school when colleagues lose their kindly edges and students think about college and summers and change and fray their rational edges, and the temperature in this country sky rockets to places that leave us all with heat rashes around our literal edges. It is a Desitin applying, staring-into-space-after-work, repetitive-activity-so-time-passes, not-wanting-to-do-much kind of time.

And I can't have wine.

Someday, I will write a coffee table book that no one will buy about medical experiences in foreign countries. It will include the Czech doctor that ate his ham sandwich lunch in front of me while I sat naked from the waist down on an office chair. It will also include my April visit to the neurologist for some memory issues where he couldn't remember how to administer the memory test, and so I read both the test and the answers out loud for us (at his request), thus nullifying my results and confirming my waste of money. Later he hooked me up to a machine that checks for carpel tunnel, ("but my wrists don't hurt. That's not why I'm here!") cranked it up as high as it would go, and then realized it wasn't on. When he flipped the switch, I received an electric shock that is worth pantomiming at summer BBQs.

Right now, I'm on medications for really boring low-immune-system-needs-a-break kind of things, and they mean I can't have wine. They also mean strange doctor visits where awkward things happen. It is one of the ways we are expat fish out of water sometimes, people with norms we don't even know (like paper gowns for the pantless) are our normal and not everyone else's.

Wineless and weary, I doodle. I stare. I re-read Oscar the same books, and we wait for these three weeks to go away so we can fly across the pond to home waters. Of course, there we will mess up and use the word "lift" for elevator and wrinkle our noses at what passes for rice, and turn all shades of pink when Oscar reveals his otherness at a picnic and marvels at mysterious foods like caramel corn and tater tots. I guess we are fish out of water just about everywhere these days, but there is something about that feeling of not quite fitting in that is becoming the very norm we need to thrive.

Swim on!

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