The Stranger, Part II

I feel the need to quickly explain myself from that last post. Here's the deal--it's different here than in California. Duh, right? But the differences are subtler than I anticipated, and more difficult for me to navigate. I had an assumption (bred, I think, in the unique California culture that I probably need to go immerse myself in Joan Didion to define) that I would easily navigate the social waters of my new home. And, to some extent, I have. I am making great, wonderful friends (many, many of whom, it bears mentioning, are not from around here.) And the prevailing culture is different--not worse, not better, just different--from what I had in L.A. And being away from L.A. lets me see nuances there that I was missing, or blind to, before.

I am, I fear, neither fish nor fowl, a bit of an outsider, which is, truthfully, how I've felt everywhere, my whole life. Maybe we all feel that way.


Mieke said...

Talk more about that please - what nuances were you missing? Develop that. I am so curious. What do you miss (friends aside)? What have you discovered in your new home that you love and didn't have here? etc.

Yes, I think that everyone feel like an outsider sometimes.

rebecca said...

And oh there is no outsider like the New England outsider. In Cali, in OHIO, for f*ck's sake, you'd get a warm smile and a handshake and a few questions about your background and your people. Here? Good luck w/that.

Care to donate a dollar to the Jimmy Fund?

goodfellow said...

Oh I so understand.

I too grew up east (born in Europe), moved west, moved back east, and now we are in Switzerland.

Good luck finding a local to befriend.

But then, in Geneva, there are lots of friendless foreigners, just lookin' for a bud'. American expats and Canadians tend to hang, as well as the odd Aussie and Kiwi (my Montessori mommies, bookclub ladies...).

I am beginning to think that I *wouldn't* want to befriend a local, at least, based on the recent (shockingly racist) election campaign. This one even got coverage in North America.


With a mileu such as this, I cannot but help see things back home in a different light. It was that way when we moved back east too -- the west (where we came from, anyway) had a greater appetite to try the new and as yet unproven, a greater sense of positive possibilities (odd, given how conservative it is politically). Back east, things move more slowly, more temperately. And most of our friends were from elsewhere too. funny, that.

Alto2 said...

When I moved from South Beach to Central PA in the early 90s, I was the fishiest fish out of water. I hated PA for the first 6 months, then I settled into some sort of complacency. Once I made some friends there, learned to cook and appreciate the local farm-to-table everything, and found a routine, life improved. I still miss the earthiness of the people there.

You'll get used to it. You're just in the "honeymoon is over" phase of life right now.