Four months, as of Sunday the 18th, my family I moved from our comfy little existence to the United Kingdom.  We moved to a city called Croydon, we actually live in SOUTH CROYDON!!!  (Croydon doesn’t have the best rep in London), which is 15 minutes by train to Central London.  A far cry from Farmington, New Mexico where we last lived.  City of 70,000 to a city of 7,000,000!

The last four months have been a bit crazy and at times dangerous.  For one, learning to drive on the other side is just plain sketchy.  It messes with your head.  The traffic lights are different, the laws are different (in North America, you can turn red on a light, here you can’t turn left on a red light, which is the same thing as long as you remember you’re on the other side of the road…catch me?), the speed limits are different, but still in miles not metric….huh?  the cars are smaller, the lanes are narrower and the roads never go straight…so I think i’m going east but whoops, the road is so freaking curvy that now I’m going west and didn’t know.

Walking around town here isn’t any less safe.  Every street I come to, I look the wrong way to check for oncoming traffic.  Get to a cross walk here (the call it Zebra crossing cuz of the stripes painted on the ground), look right for cars….never ever ever see any cars looking right, step off the curb and get honked at or yelled at or mowed down by a car because you have to look left.  It sounds easy enough, but after 37 years in North America, looking right is what I just do…looking left is against my nature.

And  cycling isn’t any easier.  Riding your bike on North American roads is tough enough…huge vehicles who think someone wearing spandex cycling shorts is someone with a bullseye on their back.  In the UK, when you go cycling, it’s also on the left…changes your riding style completely.  I have to learn to corner differently, see the road differently.  Shoulder checking is a freaking nightmare.  Everytime I hear a car coming, i look over my left shoulder (natural in the US) and I see the shoulder, bushes, or the sidewalk…say whoops, look over my right shoulder (unnatural to me) and as I see a car coming up on me I start to veer to my right!  It’s taking tons of practice.  And the roads NEVER DRY here…I’ve almost hit the deck so many times riding…scary.

Just as driving, walking, cycling on the other side of the road is difficult moving here is also requiring us to live on the other side as well.  It’s requiring alot of changes that feel unnatural, that aren’t second nature.  For instance, yesterday, Sunday, I did something my Dutch Christian Reformed parents would have disapproved of.  At 4:10pm I realized we needed milk etc (Who can drink their tea without milk?  How uncivilized) and headed to the grocery store to pick up a few things.  But both major grocery stores in South Croydon closed at 4PM.  I’m standing in the parking lot yelling at myself, ‘You’ve got to be freaking kidding me!’  How does a grocery store close at 4PM on Sunday!!! This is mental!!!  But it’s mental to a North American, but perfectly natural to a Brit…and I hope it becomes natural to me to.

This bit of rambling will be filled with my attempts to learn how to live on the other side of the road in a foreign country for a God I love!!!  Just hope I don’t get smoted by a car trying to do it.

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