It’s been several months now since I’ve worked in Vancouver while living in California and having a place in both locations. I am getting used to the disorientation and have a few observations.
The money always seems native. I have a hard time telling which coins and bills are foreign. When I first moved to the US, it was easy: the foreign-looking money was native and vice-versa. As I spent more time there, the feeling gradually switched. During the switch, it was a little confusing as my brain swapped out “native” versus “foreign”, but that happened long ago.
Now when I go back and forth, I swap out the contents of my wallet and change pockets. It seems pretty arbitrary to me, especially now that the US and Canadian dollar are pretty much interchangeable on financial markets (on any given day it’s anyone’s guess which one is worth one or two percent more than the other). I’m a little irritated, really, and am very tempted to try to pass the other country’s money. Of course, that would work fine in Canada and horribly in the US. (This is a nice allegorical of the relationship between the two countries.)
Oddly, the switch between miles, kilometers, Celsius, Fahrenheit… none of that causes any problem. I am fully bi-unitarian.
Another thing that’s odd is that I’m always going home. I’m at home, I get a ride to the airport, fly away, get my ride from the airport to… home.
I pack a small carry on bag. No clothes. No toothbrush. No pills. No deodorant. If the plane ever has to make an unscheduled overnight stop in some other city, I could be in for a bit of a pickle (and this almost happened once when Vancouver was fogged over).
This also means if a fellow traveller asks me “Going home?” I just smile and say “Yes.”