I wanted to start this blog to write about my experiences in England, yet I’ve managed to write three posts just about getting to England. Who knew it would be so difficult?! Why didn’t they warn me about this?! (This is a total joke, they warned me every chance they got.)
After my 13 hours of sleep (YAAASS), Sue took me on a little tour of the village Sunday morning and pointed out places I should go to if I had the chance and where my necessities will be (school, Tesco, fish and chips, etc.). I had been warned ahead of time that England has many more local places than chain restaurants or shops, which is one big difference from America. The only recognizable things I saw were Burger King, Pizza Hut, and a Shell gas station. I can’t say I’m missing any of those things terribly much, so I figure I’ll stick to the new places! Flepham is a lovely seaside village with lots of history, roundabouts, and walkers. The driving stressed me out from the shotgun seat, so I’ll join the walkers during my time here. I have also managed to hit my head on the door opening 3/4 times that I have gotten into a car, so I’m not sure if the cars are that much smaller or if my legs really stretched out after those flights.
We returned back from our tour and got ready to head over for my first English Sunday lunch. And let me tell you, it did not disappoint! We walked to their friend Jackie’s house, and from the moment I walked in, I was accepted with kisses on each cheek and all sorts of love. There were 10 of us in all, and yet I was immediately included in conversation. We had absolutely incredible food, starting with carrot, orange, and ginger soup and bread (I promise it tastes way better than it sounds), followed by the main course of pork or chicken, leaks (I had never had them, but they’re actually amazing. A little bit like onions.), apricot stuffing, potatoes, carrots, another weird veggie I never had before (it was also yummy), beans (another kind that, yes, you guessed it, I have never had before), and peas. And all of it smothered in gravy. The next course was dessert, which include a chocolate orange bombe (ugh so amazing) and an apple berry crumble (like a pie but instead of crust, it’s crumbled…something). After dessert (YES THERE’S MORE!), they always have bread and crackers with different sorts of cheeses. They were in shock and potentially disgusted learning that we treat cheese and crackers as more of an appetizer or snack item rather than eating it at the end of a meal. Because of this, they made sure I tried every type of cheese and every type of bread, and I surprisingly enjoyed all of them. Sunday lunch started at 12.30. We left at 6.15. It was a lot of food.
Since we stayed for so long, and this was such a lively group of people, I obviously have lots of fun or interesting bits of information and conversation to share.
- “You wouldn’t know because you’re from the colonies.” And then later, “I don’t know, ask the colonist what she thinks.” It was genuinely hilarious, and out of all the nicknames, this was not one I expected to hear.
- “You are responsible for the Boston Tea Party.”
- “It always surprises me watching Americans use silverware. They never use them properly. They cut up all their food like a child and then just shovel. I would lose half my plate if I did that.”
- “Bobby is a professional drummer. He played for Barbra Streisand. He won’t tell us everyone else he’s played for, he’s very mysterious.” Bobby is a legit jazz music legend. He wouldn’t budge on telling me more secrets!
- “How Britain sees it, America is the least safe country in the world.” This one was very much a shock for me to hear, considering I have never felt unsafe in my home country. I know this is one person’s opinion and not all of Britain, but I am curious as to how a place that I feel safe and secure in got this reputation.
- “…You don’t put brown sugar in your coffee? What do you mean?!” Apparently that’s a thing?
As you can see, I had a very entertaining English afternoon. Something I loved about this dinner was that Jackie made a seating chart around the table, and no one was next to their spouse. It was wonderful, as the only one under 65 and single at the table, to not worry about all the couples at the table being all exclusive and, well, couple-y. They were adamant about educating me on bits of England’s history and wanted to know about American sports, politics, and popular topics. Jackie even lent me a historical fiction book based in Felpham to read while I am here! It was a wonderful first full day in my temporary home and set the tone that I wanted for this adventure. Connections, education, and memories. I am here to meet people, learn more, and make memories to last a lifetime. I’ve already been invited back for a Sunday lunch in May and November (not sure I’ll be able to make the latter)! I couldn’t have asked for much better!
Phrases They Don’t Know: Feed me to the wolves.
Phrases I Don’t Know: HAHAHAHA THAT LIST IS TOO LONG WE’D BE HERE ALL DAY!
Things I’ve Noticed:
- They’re really into natural lighting here. If the sun’s up, your curtains are open. If the sun is down, your curtains are drawn. I am learning to follow their lead.
- All the lines on their road are white, even if traffic is coming from both directions. It’s horrifying when you don’t know that and see a car coming down the lane and assume it’s going the wrong way.
- Their cashiers at Sainsbury (supermarket) have chairs to sit in while they check out peoples’ groceries and I think that is of valid interest for the USA to invest in.
- You have to pay for your shopping bags. And not the cute kind with fun designs that you can reuse, just the normal, old plastic bags.
- Most of the vegetables we had at Sunday lunch were from Jackie’s own garden. Sue has made us green beans from her garden as well, so I can tell fresh food and gardening are very important here. I admire it.
- They use the term gorgeous to describe how food tastes as well as how someone looks and I want to start doing it myself.
“A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything.”
*I am sorry that there are no photos really in this post. I love taking photos and sharing them, but I wasn’t sure how appropriate it would be to take pictures every course or selfies with the gorgeous desserts, so I kept the phone down out of respect! Plus, you don’t make memories through a camera. You make them through conversation. But since I didn’t want it completely bare, I just took a photo of me writing this post in my cute little bed with my IU blanket and tomorrow’s teaching clothes in the background!*