Here’s an entertaining excerpt from the letter I just received from my best girl, Austen. She’s living in Lancaster, England now:
“…It has been a typical first month in a foreign country- lonely really. I charge my phone about 1x/week. The battery never dies because no one ever calls me. I have been avoiding interactions at the bank, the T-Mobile store, and the bus station, because I am tired of feeling like I have 2 heads. Sometimes I know the person helping me in a restaurant/store/bar is being rube but I feel obligated to continue being polite so as not to further tarnish the reputation of all Americans.
The past few days I have buried myself in trip planning. It’s been a wonderful distraction. The conversation with Google Search goes something like this:
Me: Where should we go in Tuscany?
Google: “Tuscany Tourism”
Me: (click and stare for 2 to 42 min at crappy Italian Tuscany websites)
Google: “Tuscany towns to visit: Florence, Lucca, Pisa, Sienna, Cinque Terre”
Me: (clicking on images) Oh look at this. This is so cool. Oh wow, such cool buildings. Oh it looks a little cloudy in this picture. I can’t tell if it seems nice or dingy. This site said it was nice. But that was from 2008. That’s only three years ago. I wonder if there are good restaurants here.
Google: “Lucca restaurants”
AND what do you know? All of a sudden its 4pm, getting dark, I haven’t been outside all day, I feel like a blob, and worse, I am wasting my time in England on the Internet.
On the flip side, my “activities” are working out well. I have Spanish class on Monday nights. It’s funny to listen to British people speak Spanish with a British accent. My teacher is from Peru. She is absolutely lovely and disorganized. We receive numerous unrelated handouts each class that seem to serve little purpose.
On Wednesdays I have a ceramics class. I am working on making a friendly monster sculpture– was tired of throwing ugly mugs on the wheel. So switched to something where being ugly is a bonus.
On Wednesday evenings, I go to Scottish dance with the 70+ crowd. There are people there well into their 80s dancing. Its like square dancing, but to Scottish music and everything is in a pattern. I’m constantly “reeling” the wrong way or giving my hand to the wrong “corner partner”. They tell me I’m doing well, but I think they just like having a young person there. It’s fun to do something completely new and I enjoy living in a British sitcom for a few hours a week. Oh and we stop halfway through class for tea and biscuits…naturally.
I’m playing on the Lancaster City soccer team. Practice is Thursdays, and games on Sundays. I’m the second oldest…most of the girls are 19-21 (insert smiley face). Fun to be part of a team- I think I’ll really enjoy it. Great exercise, love sports of course. The girls can be a bit caddy and standoff-ish, but they’re 19 and warm up a bit more each time.
One last thing, maybe you know this, British fashion is appalling. Who am I to talk really? But I have seen more Laura Ashley floral prints here than I have in my lifetime. Not to mention that usually the floral print is barely covering a mildly overweight ass. And then, 6-inch heels, and a polka dot hand bag. HELP ME. I’m truly afraid to get my hair cut here…”