As our summer trip to the UK approaches I am remembering what it was like to be pregnant or have a small baby. It’s not an obvious connection – and it started with a new-mum friend from home posting on FB about how annoyed she gets with people’s attitudes to the whole sleep thing, and it reminded me of all the questions I hated, and the bump thing as well: I was ‘huge’ to one person and ‘tiny’ to another, and really, who cared but me?

‘Is she sleeping through the night yet?’ they ask my friend, pointing at her four-month-old daughter. ‘Well,’ replies my friend, ‘I’m not sleeping through the night yet, and I’m 32’.

It’s the same with the How Long Have You Been Here question. ‘Almost two years,’ I am now telling people and always, ALWAYS I get a raised eyebrow and ‘Oh, is that all?’ in response. What? Is what all? What? I have no idea how long I am supposed to have been here before I elicit a different response, and when I do get a different one, what will it be? And again, who really cares?

This goes on ad nauseum, I’m guessing. I might do a deal – when my friend’s baby sleeps through the night I’ll start telling people how long I’ve been here.

5 thoughts on “Relativity

  1. Love! As an immigrant I found ‘five’ was the magic number. Somehow, five suggests a comfortable number. Not too recent, not too long. I’ve been saying five years for nine years now.

    • Five is my favourite number, funnily enough, but I’m not sure about your theory. We were at our Tufnell Park flat for five years and when we moved out the neighbour, sweetly crestfallen, said: ‘but you’ve ONLY JUST moved in!’
      [Neha, do let me know when she, you know…]

  2. Delurking!
    The bit on your post about being here 2 years got me smiling. I recently told someone who had been in Singapore for 3 months that I have been here for over 18 months. “That long!” was her response.
    And I think I disappointed her entirely by having no useful insider tips to share.

    • It really is all relative, isn’t it? Since posting this I have tried out the timescale on a few more people and got simple ‘hmmms’ – a much more satisfying response 🙂

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