Showing posts from August, 2010

This Feeling

I don’t know this feeling
but like others, it comes and goes.
It fills me with anticipation,
and sadness at the same time.

I don’t know this feeling
but like others, it sneaks up on me.
It causes me to take time out,
not to be alone.

I don’t know this feeling
but like others, it keeps me going.
It reminds me what the reasons were,
and what the future holds.

I don’t know this feeling
but like others, I’m in denial.
I think I know what it is,
but I’ve never been homesick before.

Maybe it's (not) a British Thing Pt. 6

When I think of British stereotypes, I think of boring food, rainy days, and bad teeth. Stereotypes are sometimes (usually) based in fact and as an American, I know that the rest of the world thinks that we have excessively large cars, yards, hamburgers, and pretty much everything else is too big too (which is all true). So, I am not surprised when people make jokes about my SUV, our cowboy hats, crappy beer, and the fact that I have the nerve to complain about gas prices. I openly admit to these less than charming characteristics of Americans, and more openly, make fun of them mercilessly.

But back to making fun of my adopted country. All Britons will admit that the food is boring, but that doesn't mean it's not good. And yeah, it rains a lot here. In fact, it's raining now. But, it makes the grass green. So, take that.

I have recently discovered that most Britons I know don't know that they are mocked in other countries for having bad teeth. I don't know w…


Inexperience worries
that the dough isn't right.
Flour covered hands roll with
makeshift pin and juice glass cutter.

A watchful eye of foreign ovens
ensures nothing is on fire.
Plain icing needs sprinkles,
arranged on each masterpiece.

Scrutinizing the mess,
but pleased with their uniformity.
Tears caught me by surprise,
flown all the way home with one bite.

Maybe it's a British Thing Pt. 5

Tomato-Tomahto. Let's not call the whole thing off. I guess I can't do this series without a word on words. I didn't really want to get into the lexicography of US v. UK terms. Mostly because it quickly gets confusing and some of it I knew before I arrived. Also, I find most of it quite charming. For example, why don't we call it a car boot? And nothing sounds better than “a mini cooper with white bonnet stripes.” But some words are just too fancy. I mean, courgette? Aubergine? Seriously.

Almost every conversation I have with a Brit ends up with talk of our vocab minutiae and the whole thing is just one of life’s mysteries. No one can explain why a sweater is a jumper, a trash can is a bin, or a backpack is a rucksack. Am I going to wear a bathing suit or a...a swimming costume? I can't even say that without giggling. There are a million more, none of which have any explanation; and the American Revolution would be stretching it. Some of it, though, l…

More Tea

The laptop is warm on my knees
I take another break for tea.
The research continues,
words reluctantly multiply.
I'm probably overcomplicating it
and distraction abounds.
I hear something outside, or
the relentless allure of the internet.
When a sudden idea peeks around the corner
and I'm back to the point.
That five minutes of work
certainly deserves a reward.
More tea.

In case you were wondering

Academically, things are going fine. I met with my supervisor last week who is awesomely and annoyingly hands off. I am very glad not to have a supervisor who wants to meet every week and check up on my progress every five minutes. I'm also glad to have one who cares, but is happy to leave me alone. But, I kind of need a little more discipline as I am in actuality, a terrible student who is easily distracted. Hence, I have been more interested in writing blog posts and booking trains than finishing my case studies. He seemed happy with my progress, and was unhurt that I have already conducted a couple of interviews and nearly finished my lit review without him.

So, I am about half finished now and if I actually bother to read stuff and 'critically analyze' it, I can easily be finished before the due date.

As for my wild-ass plan within a wild-ass plan, I have booked my flight home (woot!) Eurostar tickets, a few overnight trains (yeah, it would be faster and cheaper to…

Maybe it's a British Thing Pt. 4

Breakfast can be a great time in the UK. I have raved about the 'full English' before and have now experienced its many variations including but not limited to blood pudding, fried toast, potato scone, mushrooms, roasted tomatoes, baked beans, but always including the staples of fried egg, rasher of bacon, and sausages. How to go wrong? Add a little porridge with sugar and cream: dream breakfast.

On the colder side of breakfast, the UK have extremely boring cereals. Granted, Weetabix, Alpen, and Crunchy Nut, aren't bad, but simply can't compare to Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Corn Pops, and the mother of all breakfast cereals: Lucky Charms. It is an urban myth that Lucky Charms was banned here due to its lack of nutrition and contribution to poor oral health. Though it is true that it can only be found in speciality shops at a ludicrously inflated price.

Speaking of cereal, can anyone justify UHT milk? I swear I'd never seen this 'ultra high temperature' treated m…

Maybe it's a British Thing Pt. 3

If you're in the UK and find yourself wondering; cookies are biscuits, biscuits are scones (kind of), chips are crisps, fries are chips, and crackers are also biscuits (or explosives).

To go along with most of those things, let me emphasize the importance of tea. Sure, we in the US have southern sweet tea that is so sweet you could pour it over pancakes, but it doesn't fulfill the cultural necessities of a good cuppa.
It's not necessarily the taste that keeps people coming back, although it is good. Firstly, it's the process of making it. Sharing with a friend, extending the conversation while waiting for the kettle to boil, and the tea to cool. Not to mention the exciting, jet taking off sound the kettle makes when 220 volts boil the water in seconds. Then there's the methodical nature of the brew: how long the bag stays in, how much milk to add, sugar? no sugar? milk first or last? biscuits? to dip, or not to dip? All of these things define the self-proclaime…

Maybe it's a British Thing Pt. 2

Back when horses were the best form of transport, carrying a sword was not seen as dangerous and eccentric, and most normal people were right handed, people started to chose a side. To drive on.
I can say with no historical fact or reference, and based mostly on the 5th grader who edited wikipedia, that the UK started to drive on the left because they wanted to be friendly and shake right hands, or wanted to be able to draw their swords without any interference when riding past each other. Reasons for driving on the right are even more fraught with inaccuracy and range from Napoleon's left handedness, to reduce fights among marching armies, and just plain to get back at the UK as one last act of defiance. I prefer the Napoleon idea, especially has France later owned a large chunk of the US and Canada, and maybe it just filtered through all of North America. Who knows?! But back to the point. I mean, to the point in the first place.
They drive on the left here, which takes some…