Apr 11 2011
After a stint in New York City, I have moved back to Ohio – a part of Ohio that New Yorkers would call rural. Last night I heard muffled bumping and scuffling on the porch. I opened the door to find three raccoons looking up at me over nearly empty bowls of cat food, left out for the strays. Before I stomped my feet and yelled nonsense at them, I paused. They really are beautiful creatures with their full tails, sharp black masks, and delicate paws.
Every Ohioan I meet says, “New York, eh? Must be quite some culture shock for you here,” poking gentle fun at our small town. They are right to an extent. A few weeks ago I was walking down the street in my bright red wool coat. Several women crossed my path and stared. Perhaps it was the herringbone scarf. My hair stylist asked where I was from, because of my accent.
Sometimes I almost enjoy the culture shock, in that I shock people with my short hair and tall boots and maybe even the way I walk. Sometimes I can feel curious eyes on me as I did when I lived in Thailand. Or, maybe, I’m just remarkably self-possessed. But I don’t really want to have changed.
What none of them know – those who only guess at me on the street – is that all I long for is to leave that sidewalk and speed up my gravel driveway to my home in the woods, next to the cornfields. I am now stuck in some sort of cultural purgatory. I cannot escape by changing my clothes. I can not escape by moving back to a big city. It seems no one in New York knows a dandelion from a daffodil.Read more: Culture Shock, New York City, News, Ohio, the Midwest, Travel
Llalan specializes in all things Ohio, but has funny stories from all over the US and Canada, plus a few snort-inducing ones from Thailand. And not only does she read books from around the world, she also samples beers in as many languages as possible. Favorite style: the multi-national American Double IPA.