How do you react when you finally realize that something you been quite indignant over is actually "the way something works". In other words, it's a confirmed process, it's A-OK, all's well. Thankfully, we choose to laugh most of the time.
Although living abroad usually provides one of those experiences annually, I did not realize this year's example would become apparent quite so early. As an example, for you early TRAVELSOFATEXASGAL blogreaders, you will recall my rantings I shared while living in Germany. Upon making my first trip to the grocery store in Dusseldorf, to my dismay I found I had to "rent" a shopping cart. Well, uh, no, not really "rent" as it turns out; rather, "make a deposit" of 1 euro (what was my beef anyway at that price?) to unlock the shopping cart from its stall and then promptly return the cart to said stall, thus redeeming my 1 euro. Yes, please...have a giggle. I am sure no one else has ever had an experience like that ...say, when you were travelling abroad.
Anyway, I now have the 2010 tale. December 2008 was actually the first Christmas we lived in London. Shortly after New Year's last year, when everyone was taking down their Christmas trees, we noticed that those families with "real" trees were leaving their trees in random places in our local park. 5-10 trees deposited here, 10-15 trees stacked there, and the sites of tree deposits went on and on. It was random though. Not in one centralized place, or next to a sign "officially" indicating this was a tree drop-off. In fact, no such signage ever appeared.
Our reaction to this: "How awful that residents do not take their trees to a recycling center, the the local tip (city dump as we know it in Texas) does not have a recycling program, that people are too lazy to dispose properly of their trees", etc. Where were people's manners and concern for their neighborhood? (At this point, I should have realized that this many people cannot be wrong - sadly, I did not).
Flash forward to Christmas 2009. Budman and I embrace the real Christmas tree concept this year for the first time in over 15 years, mainly because our artifical Christmas tree purchased in Taipei did not fit in our living room in our London house. Now comes the time to remove the tree "post holiday" season. Where do we take the tree for recycling? Good question, so we checked our local council's website for guidance.
To quote that fable Christmas poem, "...and what to our wondering eyes did appear..." but the simple instructions..."drop it anywhere in your local park for pickup by the council in January.
Yep...felt a bit reprimanded. Sorry neighbors for last year's chastisement.