Adjusting to a new place involves more than just finding a house or making new friends. It means breaking the code.
Here's what I mean. Yesterday, I attended 11 hours of meetings, 4 of which were about health care benefits. While I knew this was very important information, I missed much of it because it was delivered in code. We had a rather self-important representative -- self-important people love to speak in a code only they can decipher -- and her presentation sounded like this to me:
"Your options are to sign up for the PPOL, the PPOH, or the PHMO. The VLETS -- don't worry about what VLETS are -- will tell you that PPOs are better than the PHMOs, but after a quick glance at your W4s and I9s, I can tell you the VLETS don't know what's best for you. I do. I've worked with Barb here for 15 years." Here she stops to pat Barb, whose name is Joan, on the head. "She can vouch for me."
Needless to say, I left that orientation, disoriented. But really that's not the only code I've struggled with since moving here. For example, I've just begun to crack the traffic code. On the road, "big construction switch" means "plan to sit still on this road for 3 hours." At work, the words "highly recommended" mean "mandatory for those who'd like tenure." At home, the term "HOA dues" translates to "fees you pay your neighbors for tattling on you."