And then there was silence. I know, I know, I have been a major slacker lately. I can admit that, in fact I have consistently admitted that to everyone who asked me where that update was hiding. To which, I must say, it isn’t hiding. Instead it’s looming and growing. Then I realized that at some point the whole thing would tip and I would be trapped under a months worth of information with no food or water for days on end. Not a pretty sight! So here we are, at the end of January perhaps tracking all the way back to the end of November or the beginning of December. It’s been so long I don’t know! How sad is that?
Well, on the bright side I haven’t been ignoring my entertainment duties for no good reason. First we were out of town, details of which will follow and then the new term started. The new term was definitely the deal breaker here. I have ten papers to hopefully complete by mid March. What’s this got to do with your regular entertainment, you ask. Well, you see, with so much to do the computer and I have acquired one of those user-computer relationships, where I cuss at it loudly and it crashes. In fact some days I just glare at it from across the room, thinking evil things like “Macintoshes aren’t so bad,” or “all of your ones were mistakes, you’re just a big old zero!” So, only the geeks will get that last one. Oh, and by the way…I am not a geek! I’m just well rounded.
How do I recount the details of the last couple of months, when I can’t remember what I had for dinner? Luckily, (sneaky me) I write little notes in my book as they happen; now the only thing standing between you and a relatively accurate recount of the recent and not so recent past is translation issues. I’ll do my best, and whatever I can’t figure out, I’ll make up, give it to the Americans they believe anything! (Just kidding, I’m in a mood so if I’m more obnoxious than usual then “you’re welcome,” or “I’m sorry,” as the case may be. Anyhow, onto more tangible things like life, love, and the pursuit of driving on the wrong side of the road and meeting celebrities!
Yes, you read that right; we have officially rubbed elbows with the rich and famous. I never saw that coming either. Anyhow, we went to a reading of J.K Rowling, for anyone who is confused she is the author of the internationally loved Harry Potter books. She is indeed quite famous and extremely rich at this point. In a reluctant announcement for one of the magazines around here she admitted that her salary consisted of 56,000 pounds a day! The exchange rate is about 1.5 if you want the dollars on that, its scary. Anyway back to the reading, which consisted of about 3000 children and the necessary parental supervision and about six twenty somethings without rug rats. Regardless of being grossly outnumbered we enjoyed ourselves and managed to get her signature on a book. We had a
good time, although 3000 small children was not our idea of a good way to wake up.
From that reading we made our way to the car rental place. Let me tell you something…I have never been so terrified in my life! Not when my older brother was learning to drive and my mother’s knuckles were white and clinging to the dashboard while she stomped on her personal brake (which didn’t exist) and screamed. Not when my teenage friends decided to see how fast their cars could go. And not even when you realize that you are doing 70 and traffic is fully stopped up ahead (love those shoulders). Mind you, we haven’t been driving any car on any side of any street for four months. Now the driver is on the wrong side of the car (the right side), traffic direction is opposite, and the road signs around here don’t make an ounce of sense. It didn’t matter how fast we were going, it
was too fast! I was the one using my personal brake, the whole time! I learned not to scream quickly, because it really seemed to upset Shawn. So, I took to whining quietly like a caged animal facing impending death while in traffic, and out and out praying at roundabouts. Oddly enough, we lived. One very strange thing about driving here, aside from the confusing signs, and the roundabouts, they have a yellow light both before a green and a red. I see trouble here, but it seems to work.
As if we hadn’t had enough excitement for the time we headed to London the following week. First I’ll describe London, which is quite separate from the visit. Yes, I know that doesn’t follow, but be patient and I will show you what I mean. London is an old city that tries to maintain the nostalgia of its history, while advancing with the latest fads. Do you see the problem here? Yes, we saw Big Ben, the Thames, Saint Paul’s, and Westminster Abbey, however, interspersed with the history, was, well, sadly…neon. Red, blue, and pink neon, advertisements, and posters, all of which made these historical sites look like a fabricated tourist attraction. Quite aptly, Shawn stated, “London is kind of like Disneyland, just not as happy.” Let me tell you, the Brits are not friendly people, at least not in London. They are gruff, rude, and just not pleasant. Thus, our “London” experience was a disappointment Now, to un confuse you, the visit was exceptionally enjoyable because we went to visit Stacey and Christophe, who are friends of ours from California. We got an American fix! (Applause!!) I can’t even begin to describe how much we missed home mentality. We have not been around people that we have a history with, understand, don’t have to translate the language, and enjoy so thoroughly in several months. The strange thing is we didn’t realize how much we missed home until we could almost taste it. Thus we spent a wonderful week in London, give or take London.
We had a beautiful Christmas dinner that consisted of utensils andtableware that I didn’t have a chance of identifying. Yet, I knew all of the food! At least this year it wasn’t how to get two inches of water off the basement floor. It happened, long story, don’t ask.Unfortunately, the week did eventually end and while we missed the Scottish hospitality we didn’t want to leave our friends. While in London the weather took a strange turn and snowed about a quarter of an inch that melted quickly. However, on our train ride home we noticed that the snow didn’t melt and was in fact growing deeper as we travelled. Once we finally reached Glasgow what we saw was something privy to a winter wonderland except the happy ice-skating thing and the snowman making. Rather the population as a whole seemed to be baffled by the whole thing. None of the buses had chains, which they needed, nor did cars. Turns out the *country* doesn’t carry chains. What a foreign concept, for a foreign land, I guess it works. Glasgow had received over a foot of snow and was extremely panicked. Their idea of fighting traffic conditions was salt. Uh-huh. We later found out that they haven’t seen snow like this in 20 years, guess I brought the weather with me.
On the bright side, once safely away from the havoc of Scotland and snow, we had a small Christmas celebration waiting for us. Shawn and I had full stockings and packages from my mom to open, which made for a happy return. A really exciting discovery over here was the fact that Costco lives here too. Yes, it is sad when this sort of thing excites you, but live on UK’s version of food for a while and see how much you miss Oreos! We had our happy Costco card; we grabbed our huge hiking backpacks and made our
way to American’s salvation land. Or at least that’s what we thought, until we went in to discover that Costco was a wholesaler of everything over here from electronics to washing machines to beds to office organizers,and way, way in the back was food. They did give out free samples;however, in true UK form it was alcohol. The food was kind of a split between American and UK, but we did manage to find *real* peanut butter, Oreos, and zip lock bags. Really strange what you miss, huh? All right, I’ve managed to dig myself up to New Years Eve and this is getting long. I think to get myself out of this hole I’m going to go with instalments. Hopefully this will tide you over until the next time the computer and I are on speaking terms. However, this would not be complete without a vernacular lesson, bullocks is baloney…politely put. Also, one can be knackered, particularly after writing something this long. Lastly, gonnae, which we are not quite sure what it means, it’s generally used in a highly articulate sentences like “You gonnae no do that.” (And they claim to be speaking English over here.) My guess would be gonna, but it must mean more because it always followed by “no.” It’s a mystery.