Posted by: Shanna Germain | 09/12/2009

Pg. 160: Vertigo


Somehow, it seems incredibly appropriate to return from Scotland and have my first live music be performed by a group called Laura and the Baad Lambs. Laura has the most fantastic croon…


Culture shock is putting it very, very mildly. Actually, the first few days back home were fine and just now is when it’s starting to really sink in. I can drive a car. I can have anything I want within a twenty-second drive. I can buy coffee in coffee shops. I can go to book stores and sex-toy stores and clothing stores. I can buy cute underwear again. I can get lost in the obscurity of the crowds, or in the interior of the rental car. I can turn a corner and see a whole world of metal and steel and concrete waiting for me. I can sweat my ass off because there is a lot of concrete and not enough trees. I can stay with great friends who reintroduce me to culture with music and art and joy. I can go to see live music events and buy my favorite brand of toothpaste and have bubble tea and talk for hours on the phone for free and use unlimited internet and be on the same (or similar) time zone as many of my friends and growl about the wasteful nature of consumeristic people and freak out at how many radio stations are either gospel or country and marvel at television programs and watch Obama’s health care speech and work out a gym…

What I cannot do:

  • walk for sixteen miles in the woods and the mud and the muck and the cow pastures without money or phone or any sort of cultural objects at all, while not seeing another living soul, car or man-made creation.
  • hear the ocean. walk on the ocean. touch the ocean.
  • buy fish and chips from the guy downstairs who always wanted to talk about what the States were like
  • be known by first name at the local library
  • cook off-the-boat salmon
  • be woken by the sound of bagpipes on the dock
  • take the ferry across the ocean
  • think
  • write

For 159 days, I blogged every day. Some were thoughtful, some were funny, some were poetic, some were just plain stupid (they know which ones they are; don’t worry). But since returning to the States, I realize how fast the lifestyle is. Even if I’m not moving at that speed, I feel it around me and it makes it difficult to think. To be thoughtful. To move and do with deliberation. The words are stuck somewhere, buried beneath the onslaught of motion and emotion. So, I’ve broken my 160-day tradition of daily entries. For the moment, that feels right. I’ll still be blogging here — I have a lot to say about Portland, and I’m sure I’ll have a lot to say about wherever I’m going next, but it may not be daily.

Still, as always, I hope you’ll come along for the ride. But buckle up, please. I’m driving a really fast, automatic rental car on a four-lane highway and I’m overtaking just about anything that’s in my way… ’cause who knows? I may want to get off at the very next exit. You can never tell until you see the signs.

Far and fast, s.




  1. […] Culture Shock. I haz it. […]

  2. Welcome home


  3. I’ll be here!

  4. Welcome back

    I am sorry to see the list of what you can’t do. Especially the last two 😦

    Don’t drive so fast that you miss those exit signs sweetheart.


  5. i like when you drive fast…its sad that there are so many things you cant do now…cant wait for you to return…:-)

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