Wednesday, 11 January 2012 14:54

Culture shock can happen even for the hometown girl

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By Jessi Gowan
For the last few years, I got really used to living in a town where no one know who I was.

Trips to the grocery store, attending my step-son’s Christmas concerts and basketball games, and even going to family functions were so much less stressful, because there was never the potential of running into someone I didn’t want to see. It was definitely a strange thing to get accustomed.
Having grown up in a community where I was an active member of the cultural scene, I was very familiar with people knowing me everywhere I went. I volunteered regularly for a number of community events and organizations, and as a member of the media, I had contacts in a variety of different industries all over town. I rarely went anywhere in Swift Current without seeing people that I knew.
It was different, living in Kansas, but I did enjoy the freedom of being completely unknown and in relative obscurity.
Over the holidays, with so many people in town visiting family, I found I missed the anonymity of living in another country. Each time
I left my apartment, whether it was to shop for gifts for my family or just put gas in my car, I would run into someone I know and be forced to make small talk, which I generally fail at pretty miserably.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy socializing. I like to go out with friends and spend time with my family just like anyone else. I’ve just always preferred doing it on my own terms, when I want to visit, and not when I’m just trying to get my shopping done. My routine is important to me. I don’t like it when I can’t stick to my usual schedule.
It was fun though, I admit, to see some of the faces I had all but forgotten about during the years I spent living away. I went for dinners with friends from high school, visited family whom I hadn’t seen in about five years, and even got to hear an old friend play at a bar.
Now all of those people have returned to their lives away from here, I’m realizing it was actually sort of nice, running into them at the grocery store when I just needed to pick up some milk.
Jessi Gowan is a reporter with Prairie Post. Contact her with your comments about this opinion piece at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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