Most of what I’ve seen of England so far has been its emerald and serene countryside, and except for the cutest, wooliest sheep I’ve ever seen, the landscape looks oddly familiar. In fact, it reminds me so much of Tennessee, it feels like I’m just down the road from home!
It rains a lot, the place is a gorgeous green, there are rolling hills, and even lots of farm equipment strewn around in yards. I have driven on the left side of the road several times now, and that’s not so bad either. You just have to remember to turn left at the roundabouts. I live on an air force base, so I have to get used to jets traveling overhead on a daily basis, but otherwise it’s pretty quiet.
The first week I was here the American comedian Sinbad paid a visit and cracked everybody up. Apparently he is ex-military. I also went to church on Easter Sunday in a quaint old world church built of grey stone. It was in the middle of a chicken farm. I had a good time and met several nice people anyhow.
As always, I just have to tell you about my rockier moments. I arrived in London Heathrow Airport groggy and disoriented from flying all night with restless sleep. Somehow I was given instructions (incorrectly) to make my way to Terminal 4, though I arrived in Terminal 1. I followed these instructions with four pieces of luggage. I got on a train, and found out immediately that I was headed for downtown London, not Terminal 4. The lady told me just to sit tight for the ride, because it would just head back to the airport after its first stop. I did, and 20 minutes later I was back at the airport. I finally struggled to terminal 4, but my ride was waiting at terminal 1! He actually left, and later came back and found me—5 hours later.
The hotel I stayed in the first night was lovely. Had a beautiful courtyard out back with flowers and a stream. I enjoyed my dinner, especially the tasty root veggies. Next day I couldn’t get on base for a couple hours, but finally that worked out for me. My job assignment seemed wonderful, and everyone appeared very friendly.
Then I had another odd day. I awoke to find my cell phone dead and the charger not working. I had two strange run-ins with people, which seemed fraught with misunderstandings and hurt feelings. I went to the main eatery on base, hoping to eat a hot meal on the cheap, only to find out for some reason it was going to cost over twice as much as I had anticipated. (The conversion of dollars to pounds is shocking and expensive. A casual dinner out can easily cost $25—without a drink.)
Came home to finish laundry, and met a friendly man coming out of the laundry room who informed me he had moved my clothes to the dryer himself. Then I went to the gym to work out only to find out the 5 o’clock class I thought was after work had occurred in the AM and I had therefore missed it. Aaaaagh! I was hungry, anxious, lonely, tired, (HALT-a counseling acronym which lets a person know they are in a very fragile state of mind and should make no sudden moves) which was why I went to the store and bought things that were not on my new healthy “eating plan”. Ohh, but those potato chips and soda tasted sooo good. I needed them. Even though they weren’t root vegetables.