Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I've Got Mail!

Travelling is awesome, especially when you live in England and have all of the rest of Europe right at your fingertips. There’s all the different food, scenery, languages, cultures… But one of the very best things about getting away for a few days is all the mail that’s waiting for you when you get home!!! =) Okay, so we just got home from Paris, which was (of course) wonderful, and I’ll write more about that soon. But since we’d been gone for four days, I had three pieces of mail! =) I love mail! =) I even like bank statements and bills, but this time there were two real letters. From people! =) And I must say, there’s really nothing like a nice, hand-written letter from a friend. =) (Or type-written is okay, as long as it comes in the mail)! It’s so nice to sit and read all about what’s happening with far away friends and family- it really makes my day. Maybe this is why I still have a pen pal after more than a decade… We have met in person and talked on the phone or e-mailed a handful of times, but mostly it’s been kept to stamped correspondence, which I think is awesome. =) I know we have e-mail and blogs and everything these days, and I think I have done quite well to become as technologically advanced as I have- I even joined facebook a couple of weeks ago! But nothing can replace a bit of nice stationery or an envelope in the mailbox with stickers on it. =) I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who brightens my days by keeping in touch in every way, but a special shout out to those who do it the old-fashioned way. =) Keepin’ it real- paper and pen style. I like that. =) S.W.A.K. =)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Things I like About the UK, Vol. 1

Crumpets with fake butter and Lyle’s Golden Syrup; Liverpudlian accents; footie on telly all the time; being able to live in the same country as my cute boyfriend; gravy granules; proximity to mainland Europe; trains that go anywhere I want to go and on which I can take my bike; Primark; rolling, green hills dotted with fluffy, white sheep; delicious strawberry monkey licorice from the Aldi; the word “poorly” to mean “sick”, as in “no, Perpetua is not in the office today; she’s off poorly”; refrigerated grocery store vegetable samosas that you can just pop in the oven that are better than restaurant samosas; London; tea that gets so instantly strong that I have to ask for it weak when someone else makes it; Scottish accents; our sweet apartment; an abundance of inexpensive leeks; all things Robin Hood; panel “game shows” where famous people rack up points by saying really funny things in response to the host’s questions, but nobody really cares who wins; “brilliant,” said gazillions of times a day, meaning something similar to “fantastic” or “sweeeet”- sometimes shortened to “brill”; vegan bangers and mash; David Beckham- oh wait- he moved!; nail polish remover pads from Boots; more sheep; QE2...

Monday, September 10, 2007

Sometimes I Work

I am now officially a Working Girl! =) It’s just like the movie only better! Firstly, I don’t have an evil Sigourney Weaver for a boss at some giant, corrupt corporation. Second, and far more importantly, there’s no need for me to wear shoulder pads that make me look like a linebacker in order to be taken seriously. On the flipside, I don’t get to meet Harrison Ford, but that’s okay- after you get to know someone as Han Solo it’s really all downhill, isn’t it? I fear he might be just slightly less impressive without his wookie… Anyhow, I have a job, and so far I love it! I’m working for the government! They made me jump through all kinds of hoops just to get myself into this country and now I’m running it! :o Okay, so I’m not exactly the Queen or anything, but I am working for the Nottingham City Council. I’m doing administrative stuff having to do with education. Though I had to go buy a book of British English grammar (20p at a car boot sale) in order to carry out my duties (I am far from fluent in the language here), I am helping to ensure that the rugrats of the East Midlands get a good primary school education- helping little Nigels and Fionas learn to spell “colour” and “favourite” with all of the necessary vowels, making sure tiny Tarquins and Pippas remember to stick the extra "me" on the end of "programme"… It’s a tough job for a Yank, but I’m always up for a good challenge. The people with whom I work are great so far- extremely friendly and helpful- and one of them volunteers to make tea for the whole office just about every fifteen minutes, so there is never a lack of caffeine. The days are short- I am only meant to work a little over seven hours a day, as I am not to exceed full-time, which is only 37 hours here, apparently. I get to wear cute clothes and do lots of things that require organisation (with an “s”). I get to play with paper and staples and binder clips and Post-its and pens. (I bring my own pens. I love pens. Very specific pens.) I even get to laminate things, which may very well be my favourite part so far. (Besides, of course, all of the writing with pens.) So, not only do I finally have some pounds and pence flowing into my current account (that means “checking account”), but I get to talk to actual people during the day instead of just a stuffed pig. No offence to the pig, but for me it feels like a step up. (And then there are the pens!) Gotta run- have to go pick out a stylish-yet-appropriate ensemble (sans shoulder pads) to wear to the office tomorrow! (p.s. I did not choose to include a picture of pens here, as all of the pictures I could find were of substandard pens. I did, however, include a picture of a guinea pig that I met a few weeks ago, because he is extremely cute.)