As an ice storm reaches my home state in the US, I realize that I don’t miss driving. here, I walk everywhere, or take the intercity bus or train. It definitely makes things slower and more complicated. But while I could rent a car for weekend excursions, I don’t think my driving skills are up to the task. And why not take the bus or train? Not only do many people here travel this way, but it is an insight into the culture.

The bus means consulting the schedule at the station but double checking with the office. You can’t trust the internet schedules. The bus is usually crowded but at least, no one smokes. Except the bus driver. There was the bus driver who made three unexplained stops to find the perfect bag of oranges. There was the police officer sitting in the jump seat at the front of the bus who, at each stop, asked someone for another seat. And so on.

The train is a more intimate travel experience with six people in a compartment. And with the door open, wafts of smoke are also one’s travel companions. The train sometimes over sells, and people stand in the corridor for miles. Kilometers. People also lean out the open windows, despite the warning not to do so. The only problem with the train is the very limited schedule, and no signs on the train platforms. One boards the right train with a great deal of luck.

The other thing that has slowed me down is lack of office. At home, I am spoiled with my own office, printer, and reliable fast internet connection. Here, the office is shared by everyone and no work can really be done there. I bring my own laptop, and books, and dvds, and connector. I empathize with the adjuncts at home who have no office. Right now, with my classes so late in the day, I sit at home and type on my coffee table, using my iffy internet. I miss the inspiration that I draw from being able to visit the library for new books,and classic books. I miss being able to photocopy quizzes myself for class, and not planning ahead. ( How odd. How i used to complain about having to do all the copying, collating and so on.) I feel I have lost some of my momentum and drive in having to deal with the complexities of life here.

In some ways, I have adjusted to the pace of life, and at other times, I itch to get back to the hurly burly frantic workaholic USA.


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