Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Little Bit of English Life

So...Cambridge. I love it here. To be honest, I did not expect to like it this much. I won't say that it feels like home, but it is definitely as lovely as the island I left behind although lovely in a completely different sort of way. No wild mountain ranges, evergreen groves, or raging rivers here. Just quiet pasture land, cultivated parks, and a [mostly] slow moving, rather small, and sleepy looking river winding (very much so winding!) its way through town. It is a cultivated, aged, and graceful beauty...a symmetry of architecture and landscape where it is the newer buildings that stand out.

Everything is so close, in a convenient sort of way. This isn't the first time I've lived in a city and had things close by, but here they are close by and still nice, instead of close by and grungy. Because we need an Ethernet splitter for our internet (hence my being infrequently online) I went to a nearby pub in the afternoon where I could get free wifi access. I sat there drinking English tea (which so far is ten million times tastier than tea in Canada), applying for jobs, surfing the net, and just enjoying the scene. It was my second foray out alone and I'm beginning to feel a little more comfortable (and less like I'm going to get hit by a car or bicycle). Things don't seem very expensive (in English money. If I have one more Canadian argue with me about this I am going to scream. I am not talking about your damn exchange rate! And I don't care what currency you use, £2.26 for a 3lb chicken is damn cheap. I will concur that when I have to use Canadian currency, like my credit card, for anything I die a little inside at the exchange rate).

We bought bicycles and David is going to teach me how to ride so that we can get around town more easily. Things are small but just inconveniently large enough to make it take about 30 minutes to get anywhere by walking. Not bad, but takes a bit out of the day if you have to go to more than one side of town!

Last night I went to my first formal dinner at Clare College. In a word, delightful! Sherry to start, followed by a three course formal meal (complete with servants) and wine, followed by after dinner drinks. We got home at around midnight. The meal was cream of spinach soup to start, followed by herb crusted salmon, new potatoes, and mange touts, and a kiwi cheesecake for dessert. Everyone is incredibly friendly and there is a mix of disciplines and graduate/working people so it was much fun. And at around £2/beer who can complain?

I have had one adventure since coming here. I had to go to Hardwick, a nearby town, for an interview at a job agency. The bus driver told me he didn't know where my stop was, so I ended up getting off at the wrong stop in the wrong small country town...eventually a nice old man pointed me in the right direction, and fortunately at my interview they did not mind that I was almost an hour late (thank goodness for cell phones!). And they even had their dry cleaner give me a ride back to the outskirts of Cambridge in his van! So that was nice...but then I again got lost on the bus (the lack of street signs is sort of annoying) and it took me about 1.5 hours to wander home. David was a little worried when I was gone for six hours. So now I've officially been lost in the English countryside. I'm looking forward to going back on a day when it isn't a thing of horrible stress due to having to be somewhere. Fortunately it was a sunny day.


Off the plane and out for my first dinner in England at The Boaters.


A grim looking David, who is actually happy that I've just arrived!


The Clare College scarf David gave me for my birthday!

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