1.That tune that’s been in your head all day turns out to the ice-cream seller’s jingle.
2. Even if you’re in New York or London, you check for your headscarf at thedoor before going out.
3. You show ID to anyone in a uniform without being asked.
4. You wait to be searched at the entrance of Tesco.
5. When a helicopter goes overhead in a western city, you automatically wait for the second one to pass before continuing conversation.
6. Doors slamming, loud construction or cars backfiring make you jump a metre in the air.
7. The bank teller thinks you’re shifty because you automatically avert your eyes when talking to a stranger of the opposite sex.
8. You wonder if it’s day or night, because the neighbours have installed a security light five times brighter than the sun.
9. You can’t keep your hands out of your plate at dinner.
10. You pick out clothes in beige, taupe, tawn…basically, anything that goes with dust
11. You start picking your nose in public. Not because you ever did this before but because you’ve so much dirt/dust in there and you’ve just given up on the niceties of not doing it in public.
12. You think all the women back home are really scantily clad even though they’re dressed normally.
13. You have the taxi company on speed dial and don’t even wait for them to say hello before asking, “is the taxi here yet?”
14. You speak in a bizarre mix of English and Dari: “yeah, so if you could go roo-ba-roo, then dost-a-rost on sarek-e-se and my house is dar chab. Seis?”
15. You’re excited by alcohol that hasn’t been transported in a mouthwash container.
16. You use the word “procure” when you could just as easily say “buy” or “get.” A lot.
17. You never answer the door unless somebody calls you first.
18. You open up a minimum of ten tabs in your internet browser in the hope that one of them will load in the time it takes to make a cup of tea.
19. You don’t even look at the menu, you just order bread and a can of pepsi.
Thanks to Heidi Vogt, Amy Woodruff, Ryan Scott, Megan Minnion, Alexandra Taylor and Mark Splinter for their contributions.