Saturday, July 01, 2006

Emerging from the jungle

I had a look through my wardrobe today and noticed that there is virtually nothing in there that can be worn in the UK. See, when you live in Belize you become less fussy. You wear clothes with small stains, rips or discolorations, without even noticing it. And you also don't notice these imperfections on other people.

But the weirdest thing happens as soon as you step off the plane (be it in the States, Canada, Europe...anywhere): you suddenly notice how shabby you look and how shabby your friend/partner/children look. You suddenly notice each other's bad hairdos, the tiniest of imperfection on your clothes, how there's a bit of mold on the baby's stroller, etc.

I'm sure that Karen and both my sisters Miriam and Iris will giggle when they read this post, 'cause they've all been there. Miriam apparently was in shock when she first arrived in Miami after having lived in Belize for 2 years. She suddenly noticed that her trousers were too short for her legs, that both she and her husband had crappy haircuts and that they basically (in her own words) 'looked like tramps'.

Mind you, people on Miami's South Beach look freakily perfect anyway (with a little 'pull and tuck' and a hefty prize tag of course), so next to them most of us feel like tramps. But Miriam had actually not seen herself in a full-length mirror for months and when she finally did in her Miami hotel room she was not too happy. "Why didn't you tell me how crap I looked?" She asked me afterwards. But of course I hadn't noticed, as we all looked as bad as each other.

Mind you, these days we look a tat more professional. We live more comfortably than we did those first few years in Belize, we don't have to cross the river by boat or hand-cranked ferry anymore, we no longer keep our own horses or chickens, we don't have to do our own gardening or fence building anymore, etc.

So, all in all, we look better and more 'organized' than we did before, but according to the standards of Western society, we still are a bunch jungle bunnies.

For instance, last time when I saw my friend Tania at her hen night, she dressed me up in her clothes, stuck some make-up on me and said "See? You still scrub up nice". Now how's that for a 'compliment'?

Oh well, it gives me an excuse to shop, so I don't mind too much.

But I'll have to try and get Lucas to wear shoes whilst we're in England. That's probably going to be our biggest challenge.....

Yep, you can take the boy out of the jungle, but you can't take the jungle out of the boy.