Originally uploaded by Sue90ca: Will be commenting soon, promise.
It's funny, you know. When you move to a new country, you wonder what settling in is going to be like. You think about where you'll live, who your friends will be, and what you're likely to do for fun.
These are important things of course, but there are other more routine considerations you need to make that really only present themselves once you finally arrive. Things like going to the doctor, where to buy public transport cards for your daily commute, and finding the best hairdresser to visit.
Trust me when I tell you that these administrative considerations are nothing compared to the utter mindf*@k that is clothes shopping in a new country.
No matter how much sense it makes, there is no such thing as universal sizing, in clothes or in shoes. So if you wear a size 10 in Australia, you're a size 8 in the US, but you're a size 12 in the UK. And something totally different again in continental Europe (38 or something I think).
Shoe shopping is equally problematic. You're a 7 in Australia, and conveniently a 7 in the US (God Bless America!), a 5 in the UK and a 37.5 in Europe. Or is it 38, same as clothes? Ugh I forget. But don't look to the internet for help on this one; there are almost as many "international shoe size charts" as there are shoe shops, often reporting ever-so-slightly different results. It's a minefield, I tell you!
If you've ever had the misfortune of shopping with me, you'll know I tend to get irritated very quickly in stores. This could be for any number of reasons of course, but mostly it's because other customers are in the store with me. High maintenance, I know - but there you have it. Because I know this about myself, I tend to do a lot of my shopping online. I was so desperate for new clothes the other week, and having a hell of a time finding UK stuff that I liked (or that fit), I ended up ordering a couple of things from a US-based retailer that I know well, and I had the goods shipped over to me. No muss, no fuss. I know the items will fit, I trust that they're good quality, and I shopped for them in my pyjamas. Genius really.
When it comes to building a life in a foreign country, finding the doctor you like, or the supermarket you prefer, or even a hairdresser that won't murder your mane is child's play. Finding clothes and shoes that fit you, without losing your mind in the process, can be really hard work.