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Dodging Limes

We’ve been here over 18 months and despite all the big changes, the house, the weather, the job (or not!), the school, it’s the little nuances of living in another English speaking country that still irk. On good days we can chuckle and celebrate la difference, on bad days…. I just try to dodge the limes.

I was accosted in the supermarket last week. I had stepped over the mark
and my behaviour obviously invited a public rebuke. What heinous crime had I committed?

Apparently, I had pre-emptively started unloading my shopping trolley onto the counter. I know! Imagine it. I used to be such a nice upstanding citizen. I did use the divider. I did leave space between the divider and the old hag woman’s groceries. But she was not amused. Like the Queen when Buckingham Palace has run out of sherry, no doubt. She started ramming my bread and she scowled and tut-tutted.

I looked up out of my stupor as I registered (slowly) that all was not well on the grocery Marginot line.

It had been a crap morning. Lots of angry words between the Englishman and I. About money. I know everyone fights about money, but it really has been the biggest adjustment of all, in this second marriage. You see in that time when I escaped the horrible marriage, I enjoyed rediscovering myself, and I spent money on myself. I made the decisions about what we would spend and I miss those days accutely. After spending £15k on ‘immigrant tax’ just for the right to remain here with my Englishman, and then being restricted from earning for the past year, my savings haven’t simply dried up, they’ve fossilised.

Since gaining my residency permit (Hurrah!) I’ve been trying to earn our keep with this writing gig and the ROI has been slow in coming. I miss being able to keep myself in perfume (Versace Crystal Noir, darling if you’re reading!) and earrings and clothes – all the essentials that make us feel human. I miss having my leg waxed and the occasional facial.

I’d stormed out of the house without asking how much he’d put into the account for the grocery shop and when I enquired of the ATM it (typical!) didn’t display a correct amount. So I’d gone into the war zone unprepared. Of course I picked up the trolley with the dodgy wheels that seemed hell-bent on driving itself into other people’s chins. Then, I’d realised I couldn’t buy any decent meat without taking out a second mortgage on the house. After an hour of indecisive wandering interspersed with ‘stuff it I’ll get this’ grabbing, I’d arrived at the counter.

The finish line. I’d carefully picked the shortest line with only one woman ahead of me. She was old, but still standing upright so I was hopeful for a quick exit. But then, came the territorial argument about counter space.
She rammed my bread again, so rolling my eyes, I started to put all my groceries back into my trolley. ‘I should think so’ she muttered and humphed and clicked her tongue.

Wearily, I turned to flee but before I did I leant in to her and said;

‘I would have thought a woman of your age, might have learnt some manners during her lifetime’.

She turned puce. Her eyes widened. She called me ‘a bitch’ and then started pelting me with limes.

But I’m not! Truly I’m not!

I’m the nice woman who gives everyone right of way on the road. I’m the one who helps old women with their groceries, and lost children to find their mummies. I’m a nice person, friends lean on me, my children ask my advice, my husband values my opinion. Everyone knows that. 
 
Except, they don’t here. They used to in Auckland, where I’d lived for so many years, where they knew me. But not here. Now I’m just another pissed-off middle aged woman in the supermarket, who doesn’t understand the complicated territorial cultural mores of placing your shopping on the counter.

I may speak English, and look English, my accent is soft, and I know all the words of ‘God Save the Queen’, but I’m the foreigner, who still, from time to time, gets it wrong and gets pelted with limes.

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  • Mud in the City

    Hope you kept some of the limes to add to a well deserved G&T

  • Mud in the City

    Hope you kept some of the limes to add to a well deserved G&T

  • bekimarie

    I honestly don't know weather to laugh or cry for you, the rudeness of some people never ceases to amaze me. I was however thinking on the same lines as Mud in the City ;)You're not alone by missing your independence, I wouldn't change my life but I do miss having my own money and making my own decisions.Beki x

  • bekimarie

    I honestly don't know weather to laugh or cry for you, the rudeness of some people never ceases to amaze me. I was however thinking on the same lines as Mud in the City ;)
    You're not alone by missing your independence, I wouldn't change my life but I do miss having my own money and making my own decisions.

    Beki x

  • Heather

    I too miss having my own money and ability to spend it on what ever the hell I like without having to justify it! the woman with the limes should be taken out and shot. sometimes i really hate people.

  • Heather

    I too miss having my own money and ability to spend it on what ever the hell I like without having to justify it! the woman with the limes should be taken out and shot. sometimes i really hate people.

  • vegemitevix

    Mud: I did save some of the limes. Not quite warm enough here for G&Ts yet. Soon, I hope.Beki: I can laugh now. I mean how ridiculous. I've never been attacked with limes before. Who knew the supermarket could be so dangerous.Heather: It's not as if he's a scrooge, it's just the inability to buy whatever frivolous thingy I want. Starting again, at 39 with three kids in tow is really tricky.

  • vegemitevix

    Mud: I did save some of the limes. Not quite warm enough here for G&Ts yet. Soon, I hope.
    Beki: I can laugh now. I mean how ridiculous. I've never been attacked with limes before. Who knew the supermarket could be so dangerous.
    Heather: It's not as if he's a scrooge, it's just the inability to buy whatever frivolous thingy I want. Starting again, at 39 with three kids in tow is really tricky.

  • auntiegwen

    Poor you, it's horrible not having your own money. Incidentally I always start to load my shopping on (using the wee dividery thing) didn't know you weren't meant to and I've lived in England for 10 years !

  • auntiegwen

    Poor you, it's horrible not having your own money. Incidentally I always start to load my shopping on (using the wee dividery thing) didn't know you weren't meant to and I've lived in England for 10 years !

  • vegemitevix

    Gwen: I solved the problem by ordering it online and getting it delivered! Bliss! Now if only I could get back to the days of the cleaner, and haircuts etc. It's my own fault about the money. I need to be making a living from this writing/blogging/marketing consultancy gig but it's taking ages to get established. I was self-employed for 17 or so years in NZ and Australia, and didn't need to advertise or look for work, it came to me by referral. I miss those days. I love Mark dearly, but I really miss my old life sometimes.

  • vegemitevix

    Gwen: I solved the problem by ordering it online and getting it delivered! Bliss! Now if only I could get back to the days of the cleaner, and haircuts etc. It's my own fault about the money. I need to be making a living from this writing/blogging/marketing consultancy gig but it's taking ages to get established. I was self-employed for 17 or so years in NZ and Australia, and didn't need to advertise or look for work, it came to me by referral. I miss those days. I love Mark dearly, but I really miss my old life sometimes.

  • slummysinglemummy

    This is shocking! Poor you! She is clearly the bitch. I have never encountered this kind of conveyor belt rage before.One of the things I do like about being single is that I can choose whatever I want to waste my money on. I may not have much of it at the moment, but if I want to spend it all on bracelets and wine I can, without having to feel guilty. (Other than when it means the kids go without school shoes, when I do feel a teensy bit bad).x

  • slummysinglemummy

    This is shocking! Poor you! She is clearly the bitch. I have never encountered this kind of conveyor belt rage before.

    One of the things I do like about being single is that I can choose whatever I want to waste my money on. I may not have much of it at the moment, but if I want to spend it all on bracelets and wine I can, without having to feel guilty. (Other than when it means the kids go without school shoes, when I do feel a teensy bit bad).

    x

  • Cate

    What. A. Cow. But at least you were able to walk away and think to yourself "just wait till I tell the blog world about you. old girl! Mwahaha"Hey, having homeschooled for 6 years now, I don't know what it is to have money to spend on myself, and suffer from occasional (read – regular) guilt that hubby is carrying all four of us….think you could find me a gig down here in NZ????

  • Cate

    What. A. Cow.

    But at least you were able to walk away and think to yourself "just wait till I tell the blog world about you. old girl! Mwahaha"

    Hey, having homeschooled for 6 years now, I don't know what it is to have money to spend on myself, and suffer from occasional (read – regular) guilt that hubby is carrying all four of us….think you could find me a gig down here in NZ????

  • Muddling Along Mummy

    I can't believe she actually threw limes at you – how RUDE

  • Muddling Along Mummy

    I can't believe she actually threw limes at you – how RUDE

  • vegemitevix

    Anon: It's chilly up north beyond the Watford Gap.Cate: I still have a few contacts. What kind of gig are you looking for?A&U: Well I think it's funny now, but I admit I did cry on the way home. Ever the good girl after saying what I did to her I kept looking over my shoulder for the 'authorities' to come and tell me off. Muddling: If only I could juggle. Now that would have been impressive!

  • vegemitevix

    Anon: It's chilly up north beyond the Watford Gap.
    Cate: I still have a few contacts. What kind of gig are you looking for?
    A&U: Well I think it's funny now, but I admit I did cry on the way home. Ever the good girl after saying what I did to her I kept looking over my shoulder for the 'authorities' to come and tell me off.
    Muddling: If only I could juggle. Now that would have been impressive!

  • katefromODYTM

    Limes? SERIOUSLY??! I think I would fall down from shock if someone started throwing things at me in the supermarket! And I had NO idea about the not loading thing – another dumb aussie in London?! Explains a lot of looks I get now….

  • katefromODYTM

    Limes? SERIOUSLY??! I think I would fall down from shock if someone started throwing things at me in the supermarket! And I had NO idea about the not loading thing – another dumb aussie in London?! Explains a lot of looks I get now….

  • vegemitevix

    Kate: Thanks for commenting, nice to see you here. I was telling a local about it yesterday and she seemed to be of the 'don't touch the counter until the previous person has left the country and sent you a postcard' opinion. What's the divider thingy for then? Confused in Blighty.

  • vegemitevix

    Kate: Thanks for commenting, nice to see you here. I was telling a local about it yesterday and she seemed to be of the 'don't touch the counter until the previous person has left the country and sent you a postcard' opinion. What's the divider thingy for then? Confused in Blighty.

  • The Moiderer

    honestly? never come across that one before. That's a nutter in my Welsh-therefore-sort-of-Britsh opinion. Unnaceptable behaviour from the old hag

  • Katetakes5

    Really enjoyed this post – hope things have improved for you since then. Maybe she’s dead by now? (joking, joking, well kinda…)

    • Anonymous

      Thanks Kate, yes things have improved dramatically! I’ve started working and with that change I’ve started to feel a little more at home here. Even better than that I’ve made some friends – crazy mad slightly sarcastic friends (just as I like them) through this blogging gig. What a blast! I enjoyed your post and will add a linky in to it from this one of mine. Thanks for your comment. Would love you to come back and enjoy some more of Vegemitevix. Have a look at the Girl Guide in Paris post to get the back story about how we ended up here! x

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