Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Post #419 (in which Lisa has a curious meltdown)

So today started out smoothly, above average, lovely. It was a spectacular morning in the NW and the green trees and blue skies of the greater Seattle area were very pleasant to wake up to. It was a holiday morning and we rolled out of bed closer to 8am, made our tea and resisted the urge to do the work waiting on our computers.

Going to thrift stores (aka charity shops) is one of our favorite pastimes anywhere but especially in this town. We've made some famously great clothing purchases in this place in the last 20 years of visits.

Pulling into the parking lot, we didn't notice any clear indication of which way traffic would flow and we very innocently pulled into a spot. And that's when the yelling began. A driver in another aisle of traffic was apparently intending to take that spot from another direction and she yelled at Byron that it was her spot. And that's when the security guard came over with his very serious "YOU ARE IN TROUBLE" face and waved his big arms and told Byron in the sternest tones, "BACK OUT!"

So we did.

Honestly, we were not trying to snake a spot. We were just unaware of how the system worked.

And that's when I started to cry.

May I preface this by saying I'm very tired and there's quite a lot going on in my heart these days?

Still, it sounds very silly but I just cried and cried. In fact, I needed to stay in the car while Byron and Heather perused the shop so that I could let my tears out and get a grip.

Here's the thing: being yelled at by a perfect stranger triggered all these feelings in me of so often being foreign to a place. It triggered in me the layers and layers of memories (going back to 4 yrs of age) of times that I have been confused in a new country, language, city, school, or social setting. As I've mentioned before, I've lived in 6 different countries and I've moved many times within cultures and communities in those countries.

I guess I was just too tired today to be reminded that I don't even know how to follow the normal traffic clues in a parking lot at a thrift store in Seattle. The funny thing is that I wasn't even driving. But it still smacked me upside the head in the most surprising way.

Later, home at my sister Tanya's house, I told her all about it and cried again. She hugged me and sent me for a nap with her favorite blanket.

I think that was a very nice sisterly thing to do.

12 comments:

Jenelle said...

oh! I wish I could've brought you tea after you had a rest under that blanket.

lisa said...

Thanks, Nelly. xoxo

Alana said...

I'm back in Massachusetts right now and feeling much the same. This place is very familiar (I only left last February), but I have moments of confusion and start longing to have my old "normal" life back.

Hugs!

Heather said...

Great post, Lisa! Funny how living internationally ruins you for all cultures. It's so disturbing when your "native" culture throws you for a loop, but it happens more than we'd like. Praying you survive the rest of the navigation and find yourself happily back in Arusha soon. Hugs,
Heather

lisa said...

Thanks Heather and Alana. I know you're in this funny zone with me and that's comforting :-) xoxo

Darrelle Good said...

You are the cutest. Love from Syria, Jordan and Israel. Homesick for a million places. "no where to rest his head". love love love.

Tehur said...

Do I know the feeling!!!!!Here is a kiss to make you feel better. I think I need to snuggle with my favorite blanket somewhere too before I meltdown...I wish I was better at living in the city...hehehe

soulsong said...

oh, and i hope the windows had some of that soft seattle light for your nap.

sometimes we need strange things to help us cry, i guess. but being yelled at by a stranger is never easy:(
that is just awful.

miss and love you--hope you are enjoying my state and its thrift shops and islands. heart.

lisa said...

Thanks, dear friends xoxo

sue said...

Oh Lisa!! You are so strong, courageous, bold, lovely, wise, funny, beautiful,...

I am glad we know how to let the meltdown pour out of us with tears, but it is so exhausting!!!

Hugs to you dear friend! I'm grateful to know you and all your experiences that make you into the gorgeous creature God wonderfully made!! Hugs, walks, tea & talks to you sweet friend.

May the crazy rule oriented people stay out of your path...

lisa said...

Thanks, Sue! And I'm sure the dear lady just wanted her parking spot and didn't really mean to set this somewhat fragile (at that minute) and fairly confused non-native into meltdown.

Carolyn said...

Dear Lisa, I don't know when you'll see this, but I wanted to thank you for elucidating what it is like to feel like a stranger even in your "own" country; I can't tell you how often I feel like a "stranger in a strange land" living here, and I've been here 16 years already. Calif. still calls to me......

Love you,

Carolyn