Saturdays

•May 7, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I’m living my own yuppietwentysomething college student dreamscape this morning, without actually planning it that way (which I suppose is the anti-yuppie experience).

It’s Saturday. I got up at 7 this morning to put the finishing touches on my Marvell essay due today (yes, I have tutorials on Saturday this term, a little painful). It’s a true English morning – solid dark grey cloud cover that would be sinister at home, but here is just the flamboyant sky’s attempt at severity. There is a constant patter of rain, though I have noticed the rain is heavier in the Springtime compared to the Fall/Winter ‘spit’.

The water doesn’t get the finches down, though. They’re chirping away for better or worse. I’m in the dining room sipping my fancy sounding Lavazza coffee. I finished my essay, now I’m listening to some anonymous classical music on BBC Radio 3. My musical analysis: distinctly Saturday morning tooting horns. A Panera soundtrack, if you will.

I could certainly be faulted on the fact that my favorite travel/living abroad moments are the ones in which I’m doing nothing. But it’s that way everywhere I go. But, it’s kind of like passion versus love; the passion of foreign attractions and sights is great for a while, but it can’t really be sustained. The true measure of a foreign locale is how good the doing nothing is.

This is pretty good. Yep. I could do nothing in England.

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So THIS is England in Springtime

•April 30, 2011 • Leave a Comment

The weather in England does not disappoint the American stereotype of day after dreary day of soft gray cloud-cover, interspersed with what I call ‘spitting rain’, so misty that it often times is more like fog that has lost its battle with gravity. Other times it’s as if the air were so saturated that it periodically sweats out moisture throughout the day. I’ve spent the last six months living the English life. It’s no wonder these people are obsessed with the weather; you find yourself looking at endless gray in the hope of divining the probability of their turning against you whilst you’re out and about. Does that roiling bit look like rain? Better bring an umbrella just in case. I see something that may be construed as blue – maybe sunglasses are in order! (this normally proves to be misplaced optimism).

Yes, the umbrella, the rain coat, the hat. These are the ubiquitous holdings of every English denizen. Often deemed bits of foppery by Americans, little badges of honour denoting absolute Englishness like an American flag lapel pin, I now know that living here really does require these things, and you become quite attached to them. Emily and I have amassed a small umbrella collection in our time here. Cheap minis bought on the street in Canterbury (mine stays permanently housed in the right pocket of my coat, along with my gloves), slightly larger collapsible versions peppered throughout our bags and reusables, and our beloved full-size that we bought second-hand at the Gloucester Green market for £3.

But, on our return from Budapest, we must have made a wrong turn somewhere. Maybe over Brussels the pilot nodded off, nudged the controls leftward, and now we are somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic. Whatever the circumstances, we seem to have stumbled upon some sort of edenic paradise where green foliage greet you like sunbursts, trees and shrubs are encrusted with delicate flowers, and the air is charged with such vibrancy that it has nearly erased any memory of that dark, dingy winter. The once-glorious Georgian Spring now pales in comparison.

The indoors are no longer our refuge. Our first week back has been a string of long days basking in the back yard. I feel transported to Summer vacation, when every day feels like a holiday. Even the royal wedding, an event I care no more about than reruns of Friends, seemed like the perfect excuse for a garden party. Of course, in English fashion, it did manage to rain. But even that was different. Sitting at a coffee shop in Summertown with some friends, I was shocked to see the first real rainstorm since leaving America. The rain drops actually pelted, rather than spit.

For the past six months I’ve wondered how they do it – how they can survive winter after winter, gray after gray, and still be cheerful. But now I see, it is Spring’s fault.

DOUBLE BAG IT

•April 22, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Cool Tumblr: http://doublebagit.tumblr.com/

NYT ‘Sunday Routine’

•March 13, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I’m enthralled by the New York Times’ ‘Sunday Routine’ series. It fulfills my intense voyeuristic fetish. I love seeing inside someone’s life and home (I know this sounds very sketchy… I promise I don’t lurk around in bushes, looking into bathroom windows). It’s the same motivation that drove me to play The Sims for hours on end as a kid, and would still be so if I had the same amount of leisure time. It’s like seeing the inner workings of a watch, but with the added human element.

This week’s installment: Sunday Routine

On Turning Twenty-four

•March 12, 2011 • 1 Comment

*Disclaimer – I realize that everyone over the age of 30 who reads this will be laughing riotously at me*

 

I’m officially in my mid-twenties. I’m a twenty-something.

Yes, I’m already thinking about adulthood (true adulthood, not young adulthood). As my disclaimer suggests, I am perfectly aware that this is irrational and stereotypical way of thinking about middle age. But I want to record how I feel at this point, so I can laugh/cringe at myself a few years from now.

I don’t plan on being a pathetic middle-aged man, but who Does? It just happens. You start buying clothes in various shades of taupe, start finding yourself much more sympathetic to ‘easy listening’ than earlier in your life, and all of a sudden find Two and Half Men remarkably knee-slapping.

It’s not that I’m radical or anything now. I have no delusions of prolonged piss and vinegar in my veins for the rest of my life, or fighting the status quo two which I most eagerly wish to be part of. I’d like to think I’m well enough beyond teenage externalisation of angst. I smolder on the inside, like a good grown-up.

It’s the loss of interest that terrifies me. Too many people seem to check any joie de vivre at some point, choosing to sit on their couch watching CSI and Survivor instead of anything remotely constructive, (or even not destructive). Fatigue and boredom are the enemies of passion.

I have things to do. I must have things to do. I want a rusty VW Squareback with a ragtop sunroof that Em and I take on weekend roadtrips to the beach in. I want to learn how to sail, maybe buy a dingy boat. I want to read The Republic, Montaigne’s essays, Infinite Jest, Remembrance of Things Past. I want to see Mont St. Michel, host memerable dinner parties, raise beautiful and intelligent and creative kids, collect rare… somethings. And keep them in polished walnut cabinets.

I want to be an adult, before I’m too much of an adult to care. At this point in my life, I feel a bit like I’m standing on a very small rock in the middle of a river just before a very large waterfall. The only way to go is downstream. But will I be alive after the fall?

S.P.Q.R.

•February 8, 2011 • Leave a Comment



S.P.Q.R.

Originally uploaded by miyagisan

The Road from Rome

•January 4, 2011 • Leave a Comment

December 21, 5:30pm

We have been through Hell, with a long middle flight.

Continue reading ‘The Road from Rome’