Sunday, 22 August 2010

This is grit

How are you getting along in Hong Kong, Grit?

Wait while I apply the lip gloss. Then I can say,

Fine, thanks!

Well of course I'm not about to say I'm having a miserable time. Grits don't do that. Grits don't give in. We keep to the long view. We gritty types get up again when life comes at us waving an assault rifle, a purple ribbon and a banshee howl. We carry on, because we have no other options.

OK, there are options. They involve gashed limbs, pills, and cliffs. But I am mature. I have now worked out that these are less preferable than head down, keep going. Do that, and my gritty body might yet grow an indestructible backbone and a stronger heart, so trials are for the good.

So today I am doing fine. Thank you for asking. We are settling in nicely.

And the swelling is better. It has responded well to two bags of ice. And the mosquito bites are healing. The huge, red lava lumps that scatter my arms and legs. They are not measles, even if they look like it, so everyone calm down. There is no need to panic. Yes, I know the scratching thing in public is not very attractive, so I am trying to stop that too.

I have showered, also. This is good, at least for the time I am in the shower. The humidity in these tropic parts is so great and overwhelming that half the time I am not sure whether I am in the shower fully clothed, or out the shower, naked. Either way the result is the same. Let's just say that in every waking hour without an air-con unit strapped to my head, I am doing a lot of glowing.

Unfortunately, thanks to the heavy amount of glowing, I have had to give up the make up. The Dior rejuvenation face magic was sliding down my face and dripping off my chin. The mascara had a particularly theatrical look. I stopped wearing it after several Chinese ladies met me on the path to the beach and stopped in their tracks. I could be wrong, but from the expression on their faces I had the distinct idea I may be approaching some sort of uncrossable line.

Anyway, regarding the make up, my mother said that putting on a face makes you feel better. She carefully imposed those vibrant red lips on all her sorrows. I think they helped her. Maybe it helps me too. So I haven't given up the lip gloss.

I saw my mother put those red lips on, then go out into the world. Safe under armour, her mouth would never tell the words, when someone in the street stopped her and asked, How are you doing, Dot? And she would say, Me? I'm doing fine.

11 comments:

Mud in the City said...

I feel for you! I may not have transported children across the world, but I have some sense of the dislocation you must be going through. Any time you need an escape route, Singapore is an easy option!

ladybirdcook said...

just keep on letting out the other side of it too. Write it all down somewhere safe. I have a box full of scraps of paper that say things like "I hate it here" on them. It did me good then and it does me good now, when I feel at home here, to see that I got somewhere, that I was doing something, not failing but suceeding - just too slowly to notice at the time.

Rachel M. said...

oh yeah the humidity this time of year is downright brutal. I've learned something after watching you move and a friend move to Singapore - it's magical and interesting to visit Asia for 2-3 weeks but to stay any longer - well it looks like you need true survival skills! I'm pulling for you!

Deb said...

That's right, Grit - Keep Calm and Carry On. I look forward to these missives every day, and I think of Tiger and hope she is adjusting.

Are there any other expat-types there?

sharon said...

Head for the lower half of Western Australia when the humidity is just too, too much to bear. The heat here is very dry (apart from late February/March). Of course at the moment it is bloody cold - but at least that keeps the insect population at bay, so no mozzie bites either!

these boots said...

Thinking of you all, Grit. I lived in SE Asia for 3 years when I was a teen. xx

Grit said...

hi mud! do you accept tigers? she likes singapore. she particularly likes the fruit juices at tekka market. be sure to get the right ones lined up! blood is unpleasant at this time of year.

ladybirdcook, those are wise words. thank you. i have equipped myself with a journal. it is quite a soppy one, with lovehearts. i was going to use the Mr Panda one, but i have posted that to a friend. i thought she would treat it kindly. under my pencil, mr panda would have bullet holes in his head, have his head dismembered and have the words DIE PANDA DIE scrawled over his face in an attempt at therapy. can you imagine the scene that would follow if the children found it?

thank you rachel! they are very different experiences: holiday travelling vs staying put. this is the first time we have lived elsewhere with the children. it is harder than i thought. i assumed (naive) that the children would treat it as a long holiday. but we blew that idea apart on day 2 by dragging them to ikea and forcing them to carry home desks. hmm. come to think of it, that might have been a fundamental error.

hi deb, yes there are. we have met some. since i would quite like friends and allies around me, i will not blast them over the blog. is that good of me? i feel like i want a medal for that sort of self discipline.

no mozzie bites! omg i'm getting on a plane to a mozzie free zone.

hi, these boots! there, i feel better to hear that. because you did it and survived. and you're normal. i shall tell tiger that people did this AND LIVED. xx

Potty Mummy said...

Oh god. Sounds so familiar (although we arrived at our destination in -25 rather than +30) and I swear, I thought that if I had to put on a happy face and give a jolly answer to one more person when what I really wanted to say was 'I'm shit, thanks for asking, my kids are loving it, my husband is loving it and is never bloody home because he's working all the time and me? I just want to go home."

But. It will get better. Blogging helps. As does knowing there's a time limit. And believe it or not, you might find that you start to quite like it after a while... x

liveotherwise said...

I can't imagine trying to live somewhere else with children. Your fine sounds rather like me smiling - this is me smiling, can you see me smiling? It does help. But when the laughter gets hysterical it's time for a break.

MadameSmokinGun said...

More lip gloss.

I'm in awe.

Moving an hour away from our last house was traumatic enough. I cut all ties to stop them feeling they were missing what their 'old' friends were doing. New Friends everybody - New Friends!

More lip gloss definitely.

Grit said...

hi pm! i would like anywhere, i think, because i take myself with me, and at heart i have learned to live with the who i am. now it is always interesting to explore new places, and me & dig have wandered about a bit before kids.

i would feel happier if my tiger cub saw the opportunities. i am spending a lot of time with her, talking and just being with her while she is furious at me. it is emotional labour, but i can't give the job to anyone else.

you are right, jax. having a break is quite hard when she will not leave the house; it sort of confines me in lock down when really i'd like to go off for the day and explore. sitting here writing creates a state where i am physically close to her, yet far enough away so the objects she hurls fall just a little short of my head.

hi mme sg! you cheer me up with your perspective. i should stop trying to create normal for her. i might have a day of 'let's try foreign' and see what happens.