Sometimes I feel like I've woken up in an alternate reality. That is the closest thing to what I think living in another country feels like. The grocery store closes at 9pm every night, so all food items must be bought before then. Any other kind of store closes at 5pm, except Kmart. So if you go into the mall at 8:30pm to wander over to a Kmart, there is this creepy feeling of a zombie apocalypse. Everything is empty, and there is no one there. It feels like the world is dead. I mean, it's weird enough that people actually shop at Kmart. The only things that exist that remind you of the country you've left are the golden arches, and the Hungry Jack's logo which resembles the 90s Burger King logo. Ketchup doesn't come with fries. Everywhere you go to eat sells schnitzels, but no one serves a steak with steak sauce. Everything has a different name too. The trunk is the boot. The hood is the bonnet. The mall is the shops. Position is posi. The weather is completely different. There are still the same months, and the same dates pass, but they feel completely different. Summer is starting as Christmas comes. There's no snow. The 4th of July was one of the coldest days of the year. Chinese means a nice dinner out with banquets and lots of courses, not quick take-out and cheap delivery. There is no Mexican anywhere. Everything that resembles Mexican has an off taste. The best tasting Mexican I've had here had chicken that tasted distinctly Indian. Amazon doesn't work. I've ordered from Amazon tons of times, always gotten my item within the time, usually for free shipping. I bought something off Amazon, and it was supposed to arrive by today, and they have to ship a new one out. The rental market is ridiculous. You have to supply things that would be required for a police clearance to prove that you should be accepted for a 6 month rental property. Money isn't good enough. Offered to pay however much up front, and people didn't seem to care about that. It is impossible to get a job, for me. I could go back to America, which is nearing a 10% unemployment rate, and be sure that I could find a job, that if I just looked hard enough or lowered my standards that I could find some sort of employment. (This is in large part to do with my visa, which that situation will hopefully change when I get a permanent visa). Everyone works on Thanksgiving. We got one trick-or-treater for Halloween, and people apparently have a backlash against Halloween here because they don't want to be too American, all the while happily chomping down their big macs and whoppers. Swearing is meaningless here. So is making fun of someone. No one takes it seriously, so it is done all the time, about everything. Adult and family culture is dominated by drinking. It's not just a 20s phase that passes for most people.
(I kind of got interrupted while writing this, and never really finished it, and am a bit out of that mode right now but figure I'll post it anyway.)