Thursday, April 10, 2008

Cultural vertigo, plus All-new featured Scottish word

Fellow blogger Hadashi introduced me to this term, cultural vertigo, of which I am digging on.  This is the feeling of which I blogged about so unsuccessfully in the last few entries.  I like this cos it really did feel like a dizziness.  Hadashi's husband is in the same boat as me, living in a culture outwith his own.  It makes me wonder if this is his choosing -- if he had a chance, would he move back home?
I don't know if I'll really ever have that chance.  Boy has let me know that he hates living in the US.  I wish he wouldn't say that, cos that's my culture he's dissing, but honestly, I do get it.  I think I touched a little bit on the idea of how disgusting I found some aspects of life there.  It's all... bloated.  Big and puffy.  Big and puffy towns, bursting from their seams and eroding whatever else is there previously.  Yeh, people are like that too, but it was the lack of regard for the environment and the land that I found shocking.  Callously mowing down trees and woodland for houses that won't be sold, can't be sold.  The whole-hearted acceptance of the "paved paradise and put up a parking lot"-ness of life there.  That sounds slightly extreme, the use of the word "whole-hearted" for no-one's out there picketing for more subdivisions.  However, though days of adroit Biblical references have long sense past, didn't Jesus say something like there is no lukewarm?  If you're lukewarm, you're just cold, so by that definition, we are all whole-heartedly accepting this.
Ah, if you could just visit my Edinburgh, you'd know why I like it.  It's compact and navigable.  The bus service is comprehensive and walking is a joy.  We have no car but we don't need one.  The architecture is lovely, oozing with character, charm and history.  It can envelope you in warmth like a granny.  But along with it's compactness comes a conservatism.  The people and ideas are reserved and limited, as if because the city can't grow, one's thoughts are unable to.  That is what I miss about the States.  Like its cities, the thoughts, ideas, affection of its people bubbles up and spills over.  So there it is: Edinburgh would be nice, if it weren't for the people.  Hmm... don't think I'm getting to the bottom of this cultural vertigo anytime soon.
I've been asked a few times to bring back the "Featured British word" section I had on the right-side margin.  I had to shut that down cos 1) the tag board I had set up for people to answer in was getting mad spammed by these utter weirdos (said in a right Scottish accent -- it is said absolutely brilliantly, with the r rolled so deliciously) with Greek names; and 2) no-one was answering it anyway!  But I'll do it again since my pregnant sister asked after it a couple of times.  She's pregnant!  My family's decided that's her excuse for all the crap she'll be doing and talking for the next few months -- love you kid! 
So here's your Scottish word: burl.  It is a verb and it is burlie in it's noun form.  If you have a scooby, then answer in the comment section of this blog.  Some of you might have already had the good fortune of hearing use this word and I might have even used it in one of my previous posts (hint, hint).  Good luck.  (PS - please get this one cos my next one is really good!  It's another Scottish, rather than British word -- I think Scottish words are properly good.)


Blogger Zandra Towns said...

Burl: to eat to excess

Thursday, 10 April 2008 at 18:38:00 BST  
Blogger hadashi said...

glad i could somehow verbalise what you're feeling -- seeing that my first years back in America were mostly nauseating from said cultural vertigo, i can say from experience you can't really ever own it. you just hang on and hope you don't puke on anyone you care about.
T.T. at this point would NOT move back to the Vaterland -- he just doesn't fit there. that's the rub: you (and me, to some extent) don't really fit in America with its bloated self-importance; T.T. doesn't fit into his home country as it is not exactly kind to quirky innovators such as himself. he needs the "you go, entrepreneurial boy!" attitude of America to thrive.
we do talk seriously about living in Europe in the near future though -- but not in the Vaterland. we're willing to both be the foreigners together.

Thursday, 10 April 2008 at 19:03:00 BST  
Blogger Autumn said...

Hadashi: cheers for the comments. I don't remember having this sort of feeling after leaving Okinawa. This is probably because I have yet to return there and even if I were to go back, it's been so long since it's been "home" that I would not feel these feelings. No, this is a different situation. As much as I didn't want it to be, NC is my home in the States.

We too have, though unseriously, talked about being foreigners together. However, I've restricted it somewhat by arrogantly saying that I'll only move some place where they speak English on the regular.

Zandra: no. But good try. Think more about what I've been blogging about, the cultural vertigo thing.

Thursday, 10 April 2008 at 19:35:00 BST  

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