People often talk about how difficult it is to move into a different culture. I’ve never had that problem, in fact I’ve found the opposite to be true. I pick up accents like other people pick up souvenir teaspoons. Entirely new languages don’t even daunt me too badly. New dress codes, religious beliefs, diets, modes of transport, forms of handwriting…no worries. Been there, done that.
There is one problem though, the ease itself. In moving to the Gold Coast recently, I found myself happily ensconced in a new community. I make new friends relatively easily too. This new community though, is glitzier, more youth oriented and more inclined toward gold sandals, than I have ever been. So it shouldn’t have surprised me that when having coffee with a new friend recently, she said “So I’ve been offered some discount rates on botox. My friend Sharon** and I are going to get it done this afternoon. Wanna come?”
Do you know, I almost said “yes”? In my new world, this is what women do. They get haircuts and they get botox. They exercise where nobody can see them, until they think they look good enough to be seen. So it wouldn’t have been odd for me to say “Sure, just let me grab my kryptonite credit card and I’ll be there in ten.” It was odd for me to say “Nah, I think I’m right for now thanks. You have fun though.” I could tell I’d surprised her by the look on her face.
I’m thinking now, that it’s not the change of culture that is difficult, it’s the maintenance of self as you do so which can be come an issue. Well, maintenance of self and maintenance of facial expression!
**not her real name!