I hit a small cultural divide yesterday; I think I handled it well enough. I’ve been working closely with one other person, who’s been moved into the office I share with my boss. (The department is very short on space just now.) It finally occurred to me that the reason I was feeling so oppressed by crowding was merely a matter of personal space, and that it was not real crowding but a matter of culture. The other person would move in close to look over a document with me – no closer than an American would do, but then afterward he would stay in place and keep working instead of movng away again. I think – I hope – I managed to frame as my own problem and a cultural rather than personal thing, and he’s been conscious of it since and doesn’t seem to be offended. So I guess it worked.

out shipped stuff will finally arrive on Friday morning. I’ve been surprised not to miss all of it more than I do; in fact, there are only a few things I miss at all. The clothing has really not been a problem, probably because of course I took my favorite most wearable clothes with me or shipped them by air. I’d like a bit more variety than 2 large suitcases’s worth permit, but that’s just me being a clotheswhore. I already seem to have as many different outfits as my European coworkers, or nearly (clothes are more expensive here; the prices have the same numbers, but euros are currently about 1.3 dollars). I could use more socks and tights, and since I find twinsets very useful for an office that varies in temperature, it annoys me that I managed to leave behind the shell part of not one but two sets.

I will enjoy sleeping on my own big fluffy pillow. I’m still knitting the same old sock, so running out of yarn hasn’t been an issue. I wouldn’t have had time to bead either, though I confess I will like having my yarn and beads nearby, just to gloat over dragon-style. (Also, I feel a little guilty over combining my mom’s birthday and Chanukah gifts, and she just referred to me as her “favorite jeweler”, so maybe if I have a little time… (I hope she’s not reading this. MOM GO READ AVONTUUR INSTEAD. IN FACT, GO SUBSCRIBE.) Similarly with books and gloating; I’ve bought them just fast enough that I’ve never run out, but I’ll feel better when I have a bookcase’s worth or so here (plus the bookcase), and when I want to look something up in a book I can just go do it. It will be much easier to choose and find a pair of earrings from my real jewelry box rather than the assorted travel cases and bead containers it’s in now. And we’ve certainly missed being able to print out things at home, given the number of documents we’ve had to sign to sell our house.

I sent the remaining popcorn from the 50 lb bag we bought a year and a half ago; I miss real popcorn. I sent some unopened spices and canned goods as well, and they will all be welcome if Customs hasn’t confiscated them. It will also be nice to have our good grater and our peeler and our nice wine-opener and the few pieces of the good china and crystal we sent. (good but also replaceable or we wouldn’t have sent them.) The crockpot will be handy, since this is perfect soup-and-stew weather.

I think, though, that the things we’ve missed most are the rowing machines, especially now we’re into the Holiday Challenge. We have access to good ones at the rowing club, ten minutes’ bike ride away, but we’re spoiled. After ten hours or so at work the time to detour there or ride there, to pack our clothes and change into them is not gladly given, and the boathouse is chilly and has no TV. We’ve been using our iPods to erg to, but mine is bulky enough to be a little awkward to shove down my shorts and I’ve nowhere else to put it. Plus if they’re right at home, we can easily erg before work or at odd times, and we aren’t tied to each other’s schedule as much. We haven’t had any access to weights, either, so while I haven’t really missed those, it will be useful to have the weight set we got to bring with us as well. As soon as the Holiday Challenge is done it’s time to move into the strength training phase of the year, and it surely will be nice to do it at home. (The movers are going to hate us.)

Grump. Clearly Rudder has rubbed off on me, and not in the good way. How sad is it when the erg is the thing I miss most?