Walking through a fantastical castle garden or having tea near one of the Shakespeare homes, it’s easy to remember that you’re in England. You can’t miss the change, the uniqueness. But some days, it’s the little things that remind me I’m so very far from home. The tiny moments where you realize ‘normal’ is completely new.
The other morning started like any might. In 50 minutes we’re up and ready to leave for school. (I’m a bit proud of myself for my 3-kids-from-bed-to-ready-for-school-in-50-minute routine, so don’t knock me if you do it better. I believe you.) I get in to the car and realize that the battery is dead.
This has happened before. Back home I’d call a neighbor to get the kids a ride to school, and spend an hour charging the car with the battery charger, then proceed with a normal day. No problem.
Here, hmm. No neighbor going to school. No battery charger. So, call a taxi. Already the day takes a turn impossible at home — no local taxi service in exurban Maryland. Ride with the kids in the taxi to school, then walk home. Another if-not-impossibility, then a strong unlikelihood back home. (No sidewalks.) If I did walk home, it would be past beautiful horse pasture, wetlands, wildlife, and at risk of death from speeding cars. Here I stroll down a lovely hill, past pubs and elegant townhomes, in to a pedestrian shopping zone, and take a break at Starbucks. (Starbucks at home? Drive through.) Recovered, stroll past an open air market, and on to my home neighborhood with a stop at the local butcher for a gorgeous pork roast. Arriving home, find the newest veg and fruit box scheme delivery — with fresh eggs — sitting on my doorstep.
A perfectly normal, perfectly boring sequence of events and experiences, but for me a sharp reminder that the smallest shape of our day-to-day mundanities are brand new. And yet: it all works. We’re finding our way.