I am having a moment of bliss... the bliss of realising that I live in England, the bliss of not feeling like a complete visitor, or perhaps a complete outsider. This is accomplished by successfully completing tasks that you’d take for granted back home, but which take so much longer in a new country because it’s hard to know just where to go.
It’s been a lovely day, and it’s only afternoon now. I went to Mass, alone, because David had rowing practice and is going in the evening. Because Lent term is just about to start I recognised people at church, and wonder of wonders they recognised me! In fact I had more people [my age] to say hi to and be excited to see than I’ve had in the last three years at Canadian churches. It was lovely! And I’ve even had someone offer to come by and help do wedding DIY stuff with me, which is great because I have a lot of organza flowers to make.
After Mass was the real adventure—in a show of good faith towards being healthy and not lapsing into sloth, I signed up for a Chi Kung (tai chi exercises without form) class at a local community-type-college. So I needed to go get some track pants for this, as all I own are one pair of jeans and some work pants (and ten million skirts). In Canada this would’ve been simple—if I were feeling like something new I’d head to Walmart or Zellers, if I were feeling “rich” I’d hit the Bay, and if I were feeling like looking for a deal I’d hit Value Village. But where to go in England?
I’ve shopped in department stores my whole life, but I harbour a grudge against Marks & Spencer in Cambridge (over-priced for the quality) and I harbour a hatred against Asda (low prices but JUNK)...so that led me to John Lewis, which is like the Bay, but I guess the rich Gownies in Cambridge don’t exercise because I couldn’t find what I needed. DAMN! And then I wandered through the mall (yes, they have shopping centres in the UK) and found a sports good store and tried my luck and ran into a 70% off sale. Needless to say I was pleased. And then it was back to John Lewis for a dishrack and bathroom stuff.
There is a certain feeling of satisfaction that comes with spending my own [hard] earned British money in British stores, and knowing that I’m not just buying souvenirs, but also knowing that in a couple of years these items will remain as reminders of our sojourn in Britain (unless David gets work here).
In other news, David went to rowing practice one morning last week and the coxswain let go of the boat & the bank at an inopportune moment and tipped them all into the Cam! (Yes, I do find this HILARIOUS). David doesn’t find this quite as amusing as I do, because it was -2 and there were chunks of ice floating by him in the river. But he is a trooper and went and worked out on the rowing machines for an hour or so in his wet clothes. That’s dedication!