Sarah and X are four days into a week long trip up to Banff to visit with our good friends from Sydney – Dani, Gregor and Leland. They relocated back to Canada shortly before we left. It’s Leland’s birthday this weekend and the kids are going to have a pizza party at a bowling alley. X is beside himself. Birthday! Pizza! Bowling! Friends!!!
Friends have been hard to come by since arriving here. At first we thought people were a bit standoffish, but it turned out to be slightly different playground etiquette. The kids here won’t talk to you unless they know your name. That’s easily worked around though: “Hi, will you be my friend” turned into “I’m X, will you be my friend?”
This is one of the few social differences that’s caused issues since arriving in America. The other big one being that people seem to socialize only around events. A dinner party, themed outing, football game, etc. I gather that the idea of just dropping by for a coffee is something that’s not a part of north-western American culture. When I did some research on this it seemed the concept was missing, but so much so that it needed a lot of qualifying when discussing. In terms of dropping by, I mean, having a friend call up and say “Hey, we’ve got some free time this afternoon, why don’t we get together and let the kids play in the backyard. Your place or mine? I’ll bring cookies.”
This sort of thing happened a lot growing up. And it continued while we lived in France and Australia. But, not so much here. We hadn’t realized it until part way through the year, but this small difference left us pretty socially isolated. Anytime we’d call up for folks to come over they had other plans. Plans… weird. Who has plans? I’ve certainly only heard about them in books, but it seems that in these parts planning is really a thing.
Anyhow, between stranger-phobia, the need to actually plan for social time, and new video games, it’s left us a little out of the social loop. Now, that wouldn’t be all bad, I’m introverted and quite enjoy my time alone. However, when two extroverts are left home alone long enough, bad things happen. And there’s no such thing as time alone.
And so, this is how my family ended up in Banff. It’s a great vacation where everyone gets to play in the snow, hang out with friends, and recharge everyone’s battery. I’m unable to make it for work reasons, but I’m not sad. It’s been a glorious four days of an empty house. I’d started off the weekend with glorious plans of being productive, but that hasn’t yet materialized. I think what I really needed was a weekend to recharge the batteries. So, instead, all plans went out the window. My actual weekend looked a lot more like:
Wake up, fry some bacon, have coffee, take a nap. Repeat until Sunday. With small breaks to play video games or binge on the Great British Bakeoff on Netflix.