Sometimes I’ll do strange things or say strange things or try to drive on the left side of the road. When these things happen, my only response is to say, “Sorry, I lived in Europe.”
My friends, and specifically Jessica, have taken to automatically adding the hashtag part to the beginning of my inevitable apology. Because of that, I’m starting this little hashtag on my blog. I would like to make it its own category and tag so that people who come to my blog can see the different things that happen when one moves home after having lived in Europe.
One of the most recent events went like this.
I was driving to meet a group of friends for dinner at the new Italian place in town. It was dark out with the roads only lit by muted yellow street lights and blinding headlights from other cars. It was no wonder that I missed the right turn into the parking lot. I turned the car around in the next parking lot and prepared myself to make a now left turn into the lot of the Italian place.
When I went to make the turn, I automatically drove to the left side of the road.
The LEFT. I LIVE IN AMERICA. WE DRIVE ON THE RIGHT!
Right in front of my car was the mother of all trucks. It had what seemed to be a three foot lift, monster truck tires, headlights on the top of the car, and roared in my direction.
In what can only be described as the most awkward zig-zag patterned driving, I jerked the car to the right and then to the left and back to the right again. The poor guy driving the truck wailed on his horn to let me know just how bad a driver I had been in that moment.
If only he could hear me in my car. I kept saying over and over, “I’m so so sorry! I lived in Ireland! They drive on the left there! I’m so sorry! I swear I’m not a bad driver! It only happens when I turn! I lived in Europe! I’m so so sorry! I’m sorry! I lived in Ireland! Please don’t hate me! I’m sorry!”
After what seemed like a small eternity, the mother of all trucks and I passed each other. I parked my car, breathed, and put the event behind me. It was just another moment of an American moving home from Europe.
Europe changes us. They do things differently there, and without us even really noticing it, we pick up on some of their habits.