1. My time in America for Christmas
2. My UK road trip with family
3. Reading and Listening and Viewing
1. I came home for two weeks and, as you could imagine for someone coming back to the states after four months in europe, it was a strange switch back to familiarity. I saw everything with different eyes – when I drove past a Hummer dealership I thought “what would a European think about this?” When I took a second glance at the absurd amount of variety at an Arby’s Buffet Bar, I though “What would a European think about this?” When I went hunting with Jimmie and Alan and dressed in camo and orange hats, I thought “There is no where else in the world where you will see this.” It really is mind blowing to consider how different our two countries have become in only two hundred forty years. No where else in the world do you see “suburbs” or “neighborhoods” the way we have them. Interstate interchanges. Mega-malls. Candles in widnows. Southern accents. These are truly American and belong to no one else but us. The future of the English language is one thing to consider, although with the internet and digital age of instant communication it’s likely to become even more worldwide and homogenuous. Many of these details are obvious, but you won’t care that they are yours until you leave what’s yours and make your reality someone else’s.
Highlights of being home include: catching up with 100 people, capital ale house, dollar bills, christmas cookies, gap, driving, playing cornhole, dr. mario, my tendency to use british inflections when I don’t mean to, church, Christmas in Dixie with four wheelers and bon fires and Joey and the bloodhound howling at the moon, the very first Christmas Ale Exchange, the Catholic midnight service downtown, monopoly, and the roof of the Omni.
But after you spend so much time doing “reality shifts,” your reality gets larger and it doesn’t seem weird anymore. It seemed weird to my friend Antonella when Jimmie and I showed up at her Adriatic Sea coastal town and were walking around on the beach. It would seem weird if my Newcastle friend Nathan came to Richmond and hung out with us at a bar. It seemed weird to Jimmie when he ran into the Joneses eating bratwurst in a German restraunt in Hyde Park. But that’s only because our realities are limited and need to expand. And this is why I love being abroad.
2. I’ll save my opinions of the trip for another time. Here’s what we did:
DAy One: Flew from Dulles to Heathrow overnight and stayed up all day in London with caffeine, going to museums, riding the London Eye, having tea and biscuits in a hotel, riding the double deckers, and desperately trying to stay awake. Funny times when my family tried to communicate with me after I had taken a one hour nap starting at 7 pm.
Day two: Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Sq., very first pub lunch for the Joneses, the National Gallery of paintings, Wagamamas, The Lion King the musical in the West End, and burger king milkshakes?
Day three: Westminster cathedral, street performers in Covent Gardens, all of the Egyptian artifacts in the British Museum, ice skating in Hyde Park, German bratwurst, Jimmie meeting us for the ferris wheel, Alyssa and Bridget, new year’s eve next to big ben.
Day Four: renting a car and driving to Bath, where frost covered everything, toured the Roman Baths, blew two tires on the A36 carriageway, police escorts and tow trucks, (the two really nice people who were probably Christians who stopped and gave us directions and waited until the police showed up – makes you want to repeat this kind of kindness for others), being towed into Plummer Manor in Sturminster Newton, a really fancy dinner with very posh British owners. I had duck.
Day Five: Tires (tyres) fixed in the am, Bryanston, Corfe Castle ruins, having tea and scones, buying gingerbread men, visiting the sea, playground, workout time with sisters, dinner at White Horse Inn, Dorset Apple cake!, and watched Atonement in the hotel room.
Day Six: Salisbury Cathedral, meat and vegetable pasties, Stonehenge where my audio guide died five minutes into it, amazing sunset on the way home that made Mom take a wrong turn and get lost.
3. Since I do have a good deal of free time over here, here is what my brain has been swimming in during the past four months:
– Confessions of Saint Augustine
– The Great Gastby ( FS Fitzgerald)
– When I Don’t Desire God (John Piper) (five stars)
– Under Milk Wood (Dylan Thomas)
– The Abolition of Man (CS Lewis)
– Mystics and Zen Masters (Thomas Merton)
– History of Western Philosophy (Russel)
– Why We’re Not Emergent (Deyoung and Kluck)
(didn’t finish them all, and this is outside of class reading for teaching)
– Friendly Fires: Self Titled
– Fleet Foxes: Self Titled
– Best of Russian, German, French, English, American, Mediterranean Romance Classics
– Copeland: You Are My Sunshine
– Ryan Adams: Cardinology (five stars)
– Dizzee Rascal: Dance Wiv Me (single)
– MGMT: Oracular Spectacular
– The Stills: Being Here (single)
– Sigur Ros: Med sud i eyrum vid spilum endalaust
– Conor Oberst: Self Titled
– Jon Foreman: Spring and Summer
– New Found Glory: From the screen to your stereo 2 (five stars)!
– John Legend: Green Light (single)
– Shakespeare in Love
– Hard Day’s Night
– Finding Forrester
– Rocky I
– Son of Rambow