Monday, March 24, 2008

The End of an Era

Alas, my tenure in the U.K. has come to its inevitable end. I’m once again crossing the Atlantic tomorrow morning and saying my final goodbyes to this peculiar country and its people. There are aspects about England that I’m going to miss and then there are those characteristics that I’m pleased to obtain a long-awaited break from. I won’t miss the food, in the least. Nor will I miss the weather, but that’s to be expected of anyone who has spent a good amount of time over here. Even the English despise the English weather. To be honest, there is little I will miss about England itself- it’s the people who have made my many experiences here remarkable.

I know that when I get home, I’ll be eating well, driving automatics on the correct (in my opinion) side of the road, and not having to double the cost of everything I spend money on. Of course, the economy is in shambles but I can’t say that I’m unhappy about filling my wallet once again with a bunch of dirty green notes- as worthless as they may be to the rest of the world.

My day to day vocabulary has been influenced by this country. I already know that I’ll be the object of ridicule when I say “ta” and “cheers” instead of thank you or when I call my friends my ”mates.” Beer will never be just “beer” again, it is either lager or bitter or cider. Fruit juice is now “squash” (don’t ask…) and everything is “brilliant”- good or bad. “To be fair” comes before any statement and I’ll be saying “crack on” when someone asks to use my bathroom or have a bite of my food. Luckily though, unlike Madonna, I’ve maintained my American accent through it all and I don’t plan on pronouncing my r’s anytime soon.

It took a while for me to cultivate friendships beyond the few people who were immediately connected to me through circumstances. But I ultimately did meet some of the most incredible individuals. “My girls” are irreplaceable. They made me laugh more than I have ever laughed. They taught me about this country and its quirks by allowing me inside- with them as my guides. I’ve never consumed more rose wine in my life or even contemplated mixing red bull with fine champagne, but then again- I opened myself to these new practices and enjoyed them, amongst many other things. Beyond the frigid afternoons sitting next to each other bundled up at football matches or our many wild nights, I’ll always be grateful for the support they offered me without a second thought. They were always on my side. I’ll always be on their sides- even if I’m on the other side of the world. Ralph Waldo Emerson summed it up best when he said, “The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, not the kindly smile, not the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when he discovers that someone believes in him and is willing to trust him with his friendship." …and I will be forever grateful that these beautiful women let me into their worlds.

And then, naturally, there are the boys. I now know more about British football (soccer) than any girl should know. My exterior has toughened up a bit and I can take a good “bollocking” with the best of them. I’m also proud to say that I am a fierce opponent when it comes to pizza buffet stuff-your-face-a-thons.

As for Michael’s family- there are no words. I may miss his family as much as I miss him. I’m now leaving England with not only remarkable memories, but with the knowledge that I will always have a home here- equipped with the kindest and most loving people I have ever met. Which brings me to Michael himself. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time, hard drive space, or emotional stability at the moment to even begin to list what I will miss about him. Instead, I’m going to begin packing in hopes of distracting myself from “the goodbye.”

As always, the best of experiences are measured by the people we share them with and not the places we occupy. My time in England has been one of the greatest in my life and I know, regardless of where I wind up in the future, I’ll forever look back at my period here with fondness.

So…my next post will be stateside- and after an abundance of tears are shed, I’ll arrive on American soil with a renewed willingness to make the most of whatever is thrown my way (boasting an expanded vocabulary as well!)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are going to be badly missed around here my darling, can't wait to be with you again in miami in may. Love you the world, Broughie xxx