Sunday, February 16, 2014

Like Strawberry Wine...

Day 16:  Respond: “It is a bitter-sweet thing, knowing two cultures. Once you leave your birthplace nothing is ever the same.” ― Sarah Turnbull

When I was in college, I used to walk around pretending to have a (very bad, Mary Poppins-esque) British accent.  I think I did it some nights when I worked at Logan's as well, hoping it would get me bigger tips.

People probably just thought I was weird.

I have already touched on viewing your homeland through the lens of an expat's camera on Day Nine, so it's not really necessary to do it again.  But I can easily respond to the quote above- it is unbelievably bitter-sweet.

I have loved something about each of the countries I have lived in- the beautiful beaches of the Dominican Republic, the friendliness of the Arabs in Kuwait and Bahrain, the delicious food and massages in China and the beautiful mountains of Guatemala (and the pan con frijoles... am I right, L?).  But the only other country I've been in that makes me question my need to go home to the US is... drum roll please... merry ol' England.  Yep, you heard me rightI have never lived in England, I've never even been for more than three weeks at a time, but I love it.  I love everything about it.  I love the rolling countryside and the rainy afternoons.  I love pub food and walking into town, just to get out of the house.  God help me, I love British food (though some of it could use just a pinch more salt...).  I love the accents and the row houses and the freezing cold beaches and umbrellas and Tesco and parks and mothers with strollers everywhere you look.

The Rugby Star's parents live about 2 1/2 hours from Heathrow.  I have never read a book on the drive home- I'm too busy looking out the window, taking in the pastures and clouds and windmills (I'm also usually sleeping because we normally have been on a plane for six-to-nine hours prior to climbing into the car).  

I feel just as happy to touch down in London as I do in Atlanta.  I feel just as sad to say goodbye.

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It is easy to picture myself holed up in a room overlooking the sea on a sunny summer day, pounding away at my typewriter (yep, in my picture-perfect vision, I'm working on a typewriter, but truthfully, it would be a lap top), churning out the next Great American Novel.  I would stop for lunch and walk down to the pub, have a pint or a glass of wine with my butter chicken or bacon butty and then head back to work, happy, a little sunkissed and smelling the sea on the afternoon breeze.  *This little fantasy is brought to you by the town of Cornwall on the South Western coast of England.*

The inlaws are wonderful people and they love my kids like only a grandparent can.  They would move the earth for them... and for us.  They already have- more than once.  And there in lies the 'bitter-sweet.'  Family on both sides of the pond.  I want desperately for my children to know their families.  I grew up with all my dad's family in Tulsa- we got to see them once a year.  I love them, I cherish them, but I haven't seen them in so, so long (my fault, completely).  There are connections I'm missing, friendships that aren't being maintained.  Heck, I'm not even sure how many kids one of my cousins has!

One wouldn't think, would one, that English culture is so different from American- we speak the same language, after all (the language THEY invented, the Rugby Star likes to remind me).  But I can assure you- it is night and day.   First off, as a rule, the English are not as enamored with our accents as we are with theirs, so go ahead and accept that.  Second, for the most part, walking is such a part of their every day.  I cannot tell you how many times I've been laughed at for thinking we're getting in the car to go somewhere, whether it's cold, hot, raining or snowing.    And they just go for walks.  In the clothes they're wearing.  No one has to change into work out clothes or put on their trainers.  They're just like, "Hey, let's go for a walk."  And then they do.  English television is wonderfully dramatic and also a little silly.   The country itself is so family friendly.  Now that's not to say that America isn't... it's just a different friendly. It's kid-centered and outside-y and it's just a happy place for me.

Selfishly, I want to be with my family.  Selfishly, I want to be in England.  It's as easy to live in neither country as it is hard to be away from both.  But I honestly cannot see myself NOT living in England at some point...

Oh really, what's a girl to do?  

7 comments:

  1. Sounds beautiful! I just finished the Doc Martin series on Netflix and enjoyed the scenery.

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    1. I love Doc Martin! My favorite British show (besides Sherlock) is Midsomer Murders- even though everyone in the town seems to get murdered, it's so beautiful!!! Haha!

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  2. Thank you, town of Cornwall. That is a beautiful fantasy.
    We're very torn with grandparents in two countries, as well. In reality, we'd never live in Serbia, but it's still hard being the ones who keep the family apart.

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    1. It's so hard, isn't it? I really need someone to invent a teleporter. Sooner rather than later.

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  3. We lived for eighteen months in a thatched-roof cottage in a one pub village not far from Leamington Spa. There were sheep and horses at the bottom of our back garden. In the spring we occasionally would hear lambs bleating in the pasture at night and would have to listen for a while to make sure it wasn't one of our toddlers. I first learned to enjoy food and cooking in the U.K.--which is kind of funny. It was partly inspired by our AGA that was a constant source of warmth in our kitchen.

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    1. That sounds so lovely! I want to live in a cottage like the one from The Holiday with Kate Winslet. Sheep would be a nice touch.

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