I have become dumber since I moved to London.
I came to this conclusion upon realising via Grindr I didn’t know the difference between your and you’re.
It is not possible that I graduated high school and university without using the word you’re, but it feels like a word I’ve never written before a guy I was chatting to corrected me.
So many times it made me slightly paranoid. This guy’s lasting impact on my life is to make me double check a message for correct use of you’re before sending. Or to follow up with a simple *you’re when I fail.
The feeling of dumbness isn’t just from going my whole life without mastering the word you’re but also just the general feeling of not understanding the cultural history of my new home.
Moving to London was the best decision I have ever made, it gave me a new burst of life, it was exhilarating and terrifying in all of the right ways. But I have struggled with adapting to the British news narrative. It has been a bit like starting to read a novel 70% of the way in and then trying to have a conversation about it with someone who has read the whole thing ten times over.
In New Zealand I had grown up with the story, I knew who the players were, who’s important, who’s insane, and who’s just waiting to make a move and take power. I knew that you should pay attention when ever Winston appeared cause shits gonna get entertaining.
Here I knew no one beyond the big brand name characters, the Camerons, Millibands, Johnsons and Farages of the world. Beyond them it’s a murky mess of not knowing who I’m supposed to dislike and who’s the underdog I’m wanting to go all the way. Whether I’m supposed to be a Guardian or a Daily Mail reader.
Even worse is my understanding of the pop culture characters. I have had conversations with many a local about British bands that made it to New Zealand normally as a result of them collapsing in shock at me not knowing who E17 or Take That beyond Robbie Williams were. Amazing bands like Steps and S Club 7 and 5ive made it my way, but those other two who are massive cultural moments here, not so much. I never know who the people are on Pointless Celebrities.
Having this gap in knowledge is challenging in conversation, you don’t get the jokes or know how your supposed to react. Your quotes of “always blow on the pie” or “it’s on the floor” don’t get the reaction they truly deserve.
I’m working on it though. During the general election last year I had big conversations with dates about how the political system works here. Learning what’s up with the House of Lords and bits and pieces of the history. But the political climate at the moment is my big golden opportunity to jump on in head first. We have a new Prime Minister and a new cabinet on their way so I can attempt to take it all in as the old characters reconfigure to continue the story. Plus, the whole series of events of it all is simply just so dam fascinating and dramatic you can’t help but be drawn in and my policy researching flatmate is keeping me all up to date on the sheer ridiculousness of it all.
But this doesn’t mean I’ll be giving up on my true news passion, New Zealand news stories. I’ll take as many tales of rampaging seals, avocado thefts and dildos to the face as they can provide.