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Holidays Social anxiety

Home From Home – Day 34

For anyone who is still confused, I returned home from my holiday over two months ago. The present tense of this narrative is not supposed to imply that it takes place in the present time.

***

I have met several social anxiety sufferers over the years since discovering the disorder. Some are extremely quiet and reserved. Others are warm and bubbly; you wouldn’t know the problems that hide below the surface. P is somewhere in between. I meet him for the first time in his home town of Southampton and we spend most of the day together. He apologises for himself and for the town (which I’ve never visited before), but really he has nothing to apologise for and I enjoy my day out.

We visit an art gallery, which includes pictures of famous writers, and we walk along the remaining walls of the city. The walls are not quite as impressive as those of Jerusalem, or of Chester which I visited once, but, knowing nothing about the history of Southampton, I’m interested to see a little of it. We even spot the mayor of Southampton, by chance, talking in a shopping centre.

P is the only person I meet on my trip who thinks – or owns up to thinking – that I have a foreign accent. Crikey! I know I’ve been out of the country for a long time, but still….

By Miriam Drori

Author, editor, attempter of this thing called life.

4 replies on “Home From Home – Day 34”

Hmmmmm, I wonder who P could be? A remarkably handsome chap no doubt. 😀

I probably did apologise a little too much. I was still a bit annoyed by my encounter with the racist in Subway minutes before we met at the station and after a couple of hours the SA really started to kick in which was knocking my self esteem a little. As for Southampton itself, as I said during our meeting I’ve had no end of trouble arranging meets there as there really isn’t a great deal to do, unless you love shopping and drinking.

As has always been a problem for me I tend to start off well at meets or social events that don’t involve family but after a while I lose momentum. SA and ADD start to kick in, I get bored easily (not a reflection on you) and my attention span wonders. Plus because I put so much effort into the initial hour or so I wear down very quickly, I was absolutely shattered by the end of the day.

Oh well, another lesson learned I suppose. :/ Perhaps next time (if there is a next time) you could clip me round the ear every few minutes to keep me focused. 😀

Don’t know why there wasn’t an option to “leave comment” on your post – had you closed it to comments? I just wanted to commemnt on the “foreign accent” observation. I lived in Belgium for nearly 10 years before making aliya. As part of my job as an interpreter, I had to travel quite a lot, and not infrequently to have dinner with “delegates” (i.e. non-interpreters….). I remember once a nice British man asking me (in a complimentary fashion) where I had learned my English. Clearly, for a foreigner I spoke pretty well… I think that when in England, those of us who live in Israel not infrequently struggle with such dilemmas as, should I use a word like “shlep” or “hutzpah”, or will that show me up as Jewish, as not quite local and/or British; how on earth does one refer to a “Kupat Holim” in British English, what do the Brits call XXXX these days, is it a biscuit or a cookie or a biccie? Help!!!!! Having to negotiate meaning with one’s American-background fellow Israelis is difficult enough (already or not already?); trying to not sound too alien in a British context in which one used to function once is stressful and challenging…. I am full of admiration that you managed to survive spending so much time on your own in an unfamiliar setting – and survived to tell the tale in relative sanity!

Well, that’s just it. It’s not quite home, but it’s more home than abroad.
And your comment arrived safe and sound, despite your opening sentence.
Isn’t there a difference between having a foreign accent and stumbling over certain words?

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