Posted by: Sam Olsen | October 12, 2011

Shot a long way from home

Slightly fuzzy heads this morning after an excellent night out with some new friends. Sam and I had agreed to go for some drinks with a lovely South African couple who we’d met at one of the many sports try-outs. The chap works “next door” as we have taken to calling at  – at The World’s Local Bank – and they arrived just the same time as us from Sweden where they had previously been based. They weren’t alone though, as one of their pals had come along; Ruben. He was a friendly guy, quite young, American. Trendy type.  

We knew we were going to like Reuben as soon as he arrived. Sam ordered a round of beers and cider for everyone , but Reuben declined. Instead he ordered his own beer, with a couple of vodka chasers. “Want some shots?” he asked us. “Um, it’s 7.15 on a school night. Maybe a bit later” “OK, but just shout when you want some”. And with that he ordered two more. 

Reuben’s drink prowess was matched only by his geographical ineptness. As we all chatted about South Africa, I noticed he kept looking at his iphone. “So where’s Joburg?”, fair question. But every time another country was mentioned, out came the phone. Turns out this young man had never been out of state before – and that state was Rhode Island, America’s smallest. But he saw the job advert for the HK role, applied and suddenly, here he is! That’s brave. To have never been even to New York and decide you’re moving to the other side of the world to somewhere that is, outside of the few streets of Soho and Central, really quite foreign. 

The weather is changing. This is an excuse for coughing, sneezing, and the threat of illness in general.  I cannot understate how importantly this is taken. Sneeze in a lift? You may as well have let out an enormous fart. Turn up at work with a sniffle and no mask, and you’re viewed as a lepper. That is what the masks are for you see; in the UK, I always presumed that anyone in a surgical mask was either a surgeon, or a bit snooty about our air quality. Now I know the truth, they are just incredibly considerate and will put up with a rather humiliating personal appearance to protect those around them from their germs.  And it’s viewed as completely normal. Which is no bad thing. Combine this with the constant sterilising of lifts, kiddies toys, and everything really, and i do wonder quite how anyone justifies a sick day! 

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