I am enjoying my life with Munkie, thusfar, but there have been some culture shocks for me to some extent. Not shocks per se but more of a raised eyebrow from time to time.
So far the activities that Munkie & I have enjoyed are:
- Traipsing through the New Forest
- A visit to Hurst Castle
- A visit to Furzey Gardens
- Wandering about Winchester
- Seeing a few movies together at the local cinema – Skyfall, Looper & the last Twlight movie
- A visit up to Harrogate, N.Yorkshire – and while there Fountains Abbey, Brimham Rocks
- Visited Ruthie up in Cambridgeshire and took part in the Prickwillow Zombie Walk/Tango
- Just generally hanging out together
Some things which I find odd, and this is from the perspective of someone who was born, raised and lived until a few months ago in one of the most multicultural cities in the world – Hampshire is extremely white. It’s been a bit jarring for me to be able to walk into a grocery store or walk down the street and hear English. In Toronto everywhere I could hear Mandarin, Cantonese, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Polish, Ukrainian, Somali, Bangladeshi, Hindi, Punjabi, Farsi etc. So in a way I miss the multiculturalism of Toronto.
There also seems to be this perception that because I am from Canada that I have lived a rather generic wonderbread American-style existence, with very little culture. Canada has laws that protect and encourage multiculturalism – immigrants are encouraged to maintain their cultural identities, as the Federal Government is focused on Canada being a multicultural mosaic, not a melting pot. To that end I was raised with very strong Eastern European cultural traditions.
I could barely speak English, even though I was born in Canada, when I entered the first grade. And my classmates were the same. So no, Canada is not a vastly old country like the UK with over a millennia of culture and history. But I was raised in an ethic household .. and surprise surprise, Canada does have culture & history – our Aboriginal Peoples.
So I am missing the multiculturalism – and I know, I could go spend time in London if I ache for it.
Another thing I am trying to get used to is the concept of a Sunday Roast. This seems to be a quintessentially English tradition. For me Sunday is the last day to relax before returning to work – it’s suppose to be a lazy day where you do nothing, just relax, maybe watch a movie on the TV or do some grocery shopping. So I’m not sure if it’s because I am Canadian or come from an Eastern European household – but Sunday Roast is just a weird experience for me.
I think what I am missing most is the ability to avoid Christmas. Christmas for my family was always a quiet time, we’d do our traditional Kucios on Christmas Eve and then Christmas Day, those who felt religious, would go to Catholic Mass. The rest of us would partake in what I jokingly call a “Jewish Christmas” – heading to a Chinese restaurant and then a movie. I think I need to get used to the idea that the UK shuts down for Christmas.
Some of the food I’ve tasted has been wonderful – I love pork belly, guinea fowl and that you can buy duck eggs in the local ASDA. Trying to convince people that yogurt is a dairy product, when you say you can’t have dairy, can drive one batty. It’s like the UK is the last holdout in accepting the concept of lactose-intolerance. And I love Squash .. loads better than Crystal Lite (my N.American friends will know what this is).
Now my next adventure is trying to get referred to a surgeon. They’re called Consultants here, and if you’re a surgeon you don’t carry the title “Doctor” even though you have more medical training than a GP, who in most cases have a Bachelor’s Degree in Medicine. It’s been suggested that I just accept whoever I’m referred to. To that I say bollocks! I need a specialist, one who knows what a mitrofanoff stoma is, bladder exstrophy, and what a urosygmoid ostomy is. If one can be found in Hampshire with experience in these areas then great, but I’m not going to accept some Urologist who looks at men’s penises and prostates for a living. I need one who is a specialist in reconstructive surgery – and those types of urologists are rare.