Wednesday, March 5, 2014

What is "normal"?

What is normal when things are changing so quickly you can't keep up? What if normal is changing before you even realize that something had become normal? 

This weekend one of my best friends from Pittsburgh visited me here in London! We spent a little over three days together but somehow it felt like she had been here with me the whole time. When she arrived at my apartment it didn't feel weird at all, it just felt like it made sense and that being in London did, as well. 

Last year, when my friend Holly came to Rome we just kept looking at each other and saying 'we are in Rome...together..what? how did this happen?'. I am not sure why Kelly's visit felt so different from that but both were unique and both were special. 

Anyways...back to the point of this post. 

While Kelly was here, I began to realize how 'normal' some elements of living in London are to me now. Things like riding the tube for 45 minutes almost every morning, going to Camden and Regents Park, shopping at Tesco, ordering a pint with most dinners, and walking in rainy weather (sometimes without an umbrella) without even thinking about it. 

But then there are some things that I don't think I will ever find 'normal'. Paying £10 ($16) for a decent meal, the ease and low price of traveling around England (Megabus and National Express buses), not being yielded to as a pedestrian by cars, and more. Also, I never know what to expect from this city. This can be both good and bad. In the beginning I found myself focusing mostly on the bad whilst now I am trying to focus mostly on the good. 

For example, as Kelly and I were walking down a bustling street in East London, a group of people started to play Brazilian drums and did a whole concert in the middle of the street. It was amazing. People in the buildings on the street were hanging out of their windows to watch, cab drivers were honking their horns, and people were just enjoying this beautiful moment together in the middle of all the hustle and bustle that is London. 

It took me until I walked off the tube for work, leaving Kelly behind that she wasn't going to be waiting for me when I got home. Somehow over three short days, having Kelly here with me in London became 'normal'.  

This is something I always struggle with...for example, my struggle with reverse culture shock this summer after coming home from Rome. I am hoping to minimize the risk of me having that feeling when I return to Pittsburgh in May by preparing myself for it. *fingers crossed* 

p.s. My semester in Rome seems so far away from me right feels strange and horrible and okay all at the same time. 

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