Ah... my ritual Sunday lunch/blog break. I have over 2 hours of the flat to myself for uninterrupted blogging.
Anyway, I figured since I'm living in a very different country, maybe I should start mentioning some of these differences. Not like I've been here for ages or anything, but long enough so that I've grown accustomed to many things that probably merit a word or two. Even crossing the road is an extremely different experience to what we're used to. Nowadays I don't think twice about wandering across a busy road, one lane at a time, as cars swoosh by on either side of me. I mean, we cut it really close. What most people would think is certain death, I would see as enough of a window to cross. Of course if I tried to do this at home, I'd probably cause an accident because the drivers would think I was insane. There's be swerving and honking and cursing. Here, no one bats an eye. In fact, just the other day, as I was standing in the middle of a 2-way street, a car came so close, that my backpack actually moved! I don't know if I was nicked by the side mirror or what, but the point is, it didn't really bother me. I was a bit annoyed maybe, but not nervous or scared.
But what actually inspired this blog is a much bigger cultural difference. From what I've seen, people here are much more focused on marriage and raising a family than they are at home. It just seems like a given that one day they will do this. At home there are so many people that have no desire to get married or have children. My students are always asking when my boyfriend and I will get married, even the adults seem to think this is inevitable.
The family thing also seems like a much bigger deal. Not that having a child back home isn't significant, it's huge, but here they only get one shot at it. Having a baby before you're ready is just not an option for most. There are huge ads in the paper - some taking up 1/3 of the page - advertising abortions. At home this is such a controversial topic, you would never see that happen. On the other hand, something that does seem to remain unspoken, is the pill. I see lots of condoms at the shop, but none of the girls are on the pill. I don't even know how much they know about it. One friend hinted that maybe the pill was used by girls with a less savoury reputation. It's strange, what things are considered taboo and what aren't.
There are so many things that are unlike home, I'll try to be more aware of these differences, so many of which I've grown used to now!