Back to the UK

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Patty and I are living and working out of London for October and November.

Highlights so far include:

  • Living in Camden: Halloween is everyday in parts of this London borough.
  • Being consistently identified as a Canadian. I’m flattered. I’m also learning that it’s a better move to say “I’m actually from California” than to use the word “America.” The latter is not exactly popular in the European scene. Reminds me of that irritating ditty my grandparents used to say: “Oh, for the grace to see ourselves as others see us!”
  • Spending evenings in the clubs and pubs of Soho, Camden and Shoreditch, trying to learn and understand what life is like for the multitude of young, urban, cultural creatives who call this home.
  • Seeing more of the institutional church and why it’s struggling to not only to connect with a deeply secularized, post-modern culture but to actually survive.
  • Trying to get used to those baked beans in the English breakfast and the food combinations that are intriguing to Yankee taste buds.
  • Experiencing rugby mania and being grateful I never played such a bone crushing game. Those guys are huge!
  • Flying to South Africa with a 747 full of South African rugby fans after they won the world cup. Interesting.
  • The folks running the coffee shop were French, the lady next to me on the bus was Polish, the guy dishing up our soup at lunch was from Ghana, the doctor was Chinese, the therapist working on my sore knee was Portuguese, our friend and former landlord who came to lunch was a Turkish muslim, the lady taking my money for groceries was from India, the conversation on the tube was in Russian, and the Pizza Express waiter came from Sardinia. Kind of an aberration when one finally hears a “proper” British accent in this town.
  • A blocked up sewer in our building which meant the little patio in our basement flat became a flooded cesspool with all sorts of floating excremental delicacies.
  • Being told by a London cop, when asking for directions, that “You colonials don’t know how to talk.”
  • Discovering that Westminster Abbey has been a place where Christians have gathered to worship every day for the past 1,000 years.
  • Coming close to meeting my maker several times when I looked the wrong way crossing the street.
  • Trying to grasp how such a society combines lots of rules, understatement, a penchant for the “proper,” moral license, stiff upper lips, ethnic tolerance, resistance to change, no guns, clear social stratification, few orthodontists, and marvelous pubs, all into one cultural stew-pot. Fascinating!

4 Responses to “Back to the UK”

  1. Makeesha Fisher Says:

    I can’t wait – I’m literally squirming in my seat reading thing.

  2. Makeesha Fisher Says:

    sorry, that was meant to say reading this – wow, haven’t had my coffee this morning and it shows hehe

  3. Andrew Says:

    Hi Sam, good to see you are back to blogging. I missed it :) Sadly the All Blacks quickly bowed out of the Rugby World Cup. Thankfully at least the South Africans conquered the imperial masters in the final – another one for the colonials! Safe travels to both you and Patty.

  4. steve van diest Says:

    Good to hear of some of your Euro journeys. At times we miss our time in Spain b/c of some of the same observations and experiences. Soak it in.

    Steve-another californian.

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