I made it to Boston, managed to spend the first 24 hours sitting in my hotel room working on the things that needed to be done for the work-thing I’m attending, made it through one of those epic 14 hour days yesterday doing all the work things that required the preparation, and now I’m sitting in my hotel room trying to figure out what to do next. (Blog, obviously!) I have the rest of the week “free” in that my contributions to the conference are done and my time is my own to schedule, instead of it being scheduled for me by circumstances. So I shall be taking advantage of this opportunity to learn some new things and meet with some people and generally try and remember where I was and what I was doing before I got so busy with the prep work for this trip.
Being back in America, it’s becoming increasingly clear how culturally confused I am. I keep forgetting which way the cars should be coming from when I am standing at a crosswalk. I have been getting teased by old friends about my use of words like “Mum” and expressions that to my ear don’t sound particularly strange. People keep joking about whether I’ll acquire an accent. People also seem to have assumed that I’ve settled in for the long haul and have no intentions of moving back. On that one I stay silent, since really I still have no idea what I’ll do in the long term and I’ve placed that entire question into the “too hard basket” in order to focus on other things.
I have not attended this meeting for the last few years, so several people have not recognized me straight away–the thing where my hair has been getting more curly as I’ve gotten older and now is quite long is extremely confusing to people used to my having short and straight hair. I swear this is one of the professional challenges associated with being a girl: the average male does not change as much in appearance from year to year as the average female. Of course, I also worry that the last four and a bit years of expat life have aged me rather dramatically and that no one wants to say this to my face!
Tomorrow one of my very best friends will be flying in from Colorado to join me in Boston… we have justified this little jaunt with some rather flimsy work-related excuses but mostly we are peers who have the same sort of difficult job and we need time to commiserate and strategize. Preferably over wine. Then on the weekend it’s back to England, back to life, back to reality, back to work, and back to what sounds to be a frozen tundra with snow. Should be interesting.