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Monday, November 28, 2011

Cultural illiteracy


It happens almost immediately, what the writer Garrison Keillor called "becoming illiterate in two cultures." The problem is this: you leave one home, in my case America for a new home, in my case Canada and you are immediately illiterate in the later, because its essentially new to you and you become illiterate in the former because you lose touch with the daily events that form the culture.

So I am currently entering a phase when I obviously don't know enough about my new home to "get it" in its entirety and am also less and less aware of what makes my birth country tick. The US is getting ready for its next Presidential election. I know Obama is running. Who else? Well we obviously hear about a number of names in Toronto because of our proximity to New York, but I'm not paying attention. My dad loves politics - I could barely keep up with him when I lived in the US. Now? Impossible. And not being able to share something with your father in his later years that you have always shared is sad to experience.

I try my best to understand what's going on in Toronto in government and culture and my Love thinks I have a pretty good grasp; but I know I have so much to learn and understand. I know it will take time.

I'm home in "the old country" as a friend of mine said the other night; but even three months in to my new life, it feels less and less like my home anymore. I've drifted from these shores physically now - a process I started in my head the day my Love and I decided we would live together in Canada. Even now, when I think of going home, its Toronto, not Seattle. I know there's a period to go through of living in between. I also know there's no telling how long it will last. I know already that its going to be an emotional challenge. I'm just one of those people who feels things like that - notices the arch of life.

I'll be back home in a few days. In Toronto. Building my literacy again.

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