Monday, December 25, 2006

Hints and tips from foreign friends . . .

Here's a handy holiday hint:

If you are living in another timezone that is completely different from the person you are ringing, and that timezone is fifteen hours ahead, DON'T call them at 10am your time and expect it to be 3pm their time. Take five minutes and do the maths. Get a calculator if you have to. Take an extra five minutes. Phone a friend (in your timezone). Make a wall chart. In colours. With bright and colourful pens. Take another five minutes to check the maths. Just make sure you are getting it right. For the love of god!

My mother's cousin (who lives in the USA) thought she was ringing my parents at 3pm on Christmas day, when instead they were phoning at 3AM Christmas morning. There was a phone in my room. For one moment I thought that work had tracked me down and I was somehow being called in for an emergency. On-call haunts me, even when I'm not on-call.

We had just managed a few hour's sleep, as we were sleeping in the room next to the room occupied by my snoring uncle, who had spent the previous day feasting on chips, steak, chocolate, cake, whisky and is an overweight diabetic. (Yes, that popping noise you heard was my brain exploding.) He got up the next day and swore black and blue that he had hardly had any sleep. The rest of us just looked at each other. Somehow we knew that he had managed more sleep than us.

My parents aren't quite as vindictive as me. I wanted to call back at around 6pm our time to wish them a Merry Christmas right back, but for some reason my parents didn't follow through on my bright way of spreading international Christmas cheer. Perhaps next year.

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