Ok, so there are stuff that you have to get used to when you move to a new country, I get it.
And I mean really relevant, important stuff and you just have to adjust to it, cuz you decided to move, so you deal with it, period.
One thing for instance is adapting to the public transport in the US, which is quite different from the public transport in Spain: it’s smaller and people are used to just drive everywhere. So if you ever try and go away from the Boston urban area you can do it, it’s just gonna take like 3 hours, 2 subways and 4 buses to get somewhere it would take 20min by car. It’s just different. But you get used to it.
Another thing: the cost of living. I mean the overall, general and broad meaning of these 3 little words. Life in the US – sorry – life in Boston is waaay more expensive than in Barcelona, I’d say 3 times more expensive. Just like that. And when you’re not earning a salary that’s 3 times higher (well, in my case, ha-ha not earning any salary AT ALL which, I know, makes “the cost of living” expensive pretty much anywhere) that’s something that completely changes your life.
So ok, no worries, I’m no whiner and I knew where I was headed when I left Barcelona. But there are actually some tiny details of life, these little tricky things that you almost don’t realize but they start to take over your life and slowly mess up with your patience. And they are the least expected ones.
I’m sure every country has its own peculiar way to make a foreigner feel constantly mildly irritated. For me, in the US, is how every freakin’ measure system is freakin’ different from the freakin’ rest of the freakin’ world.
Why, oh why, America?!
Ok, so what are we talking about here: Fahrenheit instead of Celsius, feet instead of meters, ounces instead of something I still haven’t realized what it is yet and it’s constantly screwing up my recipes, a completely random measure for shoes AND clothes and, last but not least, a different measure for take away coffee. Yep, by the way, if you’re a foreigner coming to the US, please note that “small coffee” most likely stands for “family size” in your home country.
But I mean, ok, this is fine, really, it’s a way to set yourself apart, inside joke type of thing I guess. But what really gets to me – and genuinely gets me worried about a possible major global proportion misunderstanding – is the date system. The “month/day/year” date system.
What is that about?
Why? Why would you take a convention that’s adopted like, all over and it’s kind of really practical to be that way and you literally invert it for no particular reason? This for me is just good old fiddling while Rome burns!
I mean I can only imagine the absurd amount of honest mistakes that have happened over the decades because of this inverted date thing. Because when you use a formal measure system, you usually know the scale you’re using – like “I’m 6 feet tall”. “Oh ok, I’m not going to thing you’re 6 meters tall, gotcha”.
Annoying. But clear.
But with the date, it’s totally tricky. Like, let’s say you’re going to do business with a Brazilian company (btw, please do, we’re in bit of a desperate need of foreign investments, thanks, appreciate it.) So you’re writing an email and you say that the product x is going to arrive at the port at, say, 08/07/16. So, the Brazilian guy is thinking “cool, eighth of July”. But you’re thinking “cool, August 7th”.
!??!!? See what just happened there?!
And you would think it would be something easy to adapt to, but when you’re just so used to thinking one way and that way actually makes a lot of sense: (day>month>year = from the smallest to the biggest. It’s logic in its fullness!), it requires an unimaginable effort to think month>day>year (so I start with the kind of medium value, come back to the smallest and then back again to the biggest?) Why would you do that? Like brushing your teeth with the left hand, you just don’t.
Anyway, that’s it, I just wanted to get it out there, because I feel constantly guilty about not being able to adapt to this crazy date system, but I realized it’s not really my fault. It’s you know, people, who make up crazy ways to mess up other people’s lives, and foreigners’ businesses and make you go on to your bikini wax appointment 3 months after you’d scheduled it.
Honestly, you shouldn’t go around messing up with peoples’ bikini wax appointments. That’s just wrong.