Monday, September 26, 2011

I Want to Live in America

To even things out, here are some thing I from America that are weird. In fairness I found some of these things at Walmart.

Alcoholic drinks for puritans. 

This book is an anthology of essential steampunk "literature."

Crocheting for hipster numskulls.

A cake to celebrate creepy uncles? 

And one for your dog's birthday. 

Ah, America.

Truth, Justice, and the American way

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Anneke in Wonderland

Like Alice, I too am in a strange wonderland peopled with dazzlingly perplexing individuals. I am trying to fit in, but sometimes the mores of England confound me. Getting used to the weird-isms of the UK is an art.

 I am a Picasso.

I lunge blindly across the street because I have no clue who has the right of way. This had led to a few problems. Lettuce has literally held my hand aw we crossed the street to ensure I don't die or cause a major traffic incident. Roundabouts? They make me dizzy. Also, English drivers start to enter the intersection when the yellow light goes on (it goes green, yellow, red, yellow, green).

Another problem I have with this England place is the general size of the portions. As an American I am used to super-sized cups, fries, and cars. I saw a car here that had three wheels. Picture that. And another thing just look at that washing machine! Do you know how many pairs of my dungarees can fit in there? Only two!

You think that's small you should see her vacuum. 

This fridge is the height of the kitchen table. There is no freezer. Lettuce and I have to trek our butts the half mile to the grocery store and haul seven days or less worth of food back. Every week. The trouble isn't over once I get the food in the fridge. 

There are no preservatives, so the minute I open my can of "Mexican" style salsa it starts to go bad (There is absolutely no Mexican food here. They think they have Mexican food, but it's actually tapas. God I would kill for a decent taco.). And they have these bizarre square juice boxes that are impossible to pour without spilling it all over the counter. 

My college dorm fridge was larger. 

Something else that makes me shudder is the polite way English people line up. They quietly "queue" for the bus, then move on in an orderly fashion without any complaining or shoving. It's peculiar. No one complains that the bus is late, and they even acknowledge the bus driver's existence with a "cheers" when exiting. It's freaky. 

I still love it here though.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Is My Dad's Smart Phone Making Him Stupid?

Because the universe seems intent on complicating my life in myriad ways, I've been having numerous problems with my beautiful Blackberry, my credit card, and England's postal service. This means that I have had to request lifelines from my parents, specifically my Dad as he's got such a talent of subtly demeaning the Sprint customer service employees. 

However, sometimes my Dad gets distracted and I have to remind him that I'm 3963 miles from home or (6378 kilometers if you prefer). I sort of need my phone to work, and you know credit cards are fairly useful too. Some of these e-mail exchanges between papa and I get a bit sidetracked. On his part. 

Dad: I Like Beck and Beasties. Do I want to buy the whole album? 

Me: Did you read my last e-mail? I need your verification information for the Sprint account.


Me: Dad I realize you're busy but it's been over three weeks since I first asked. I want to book some youth hostel and train tickets.


Me:  Any update about my phone or package?

 Dad: When u get back. A very Harold & Kumar Christmas starts Nov. 4. 
             Sent from my HTC smartphone on the Now Network from Sprint! 

Smart phone? I think not. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Banbury: City of Dreams

I am currently residing in Banbury, England. When I first got here I was so exhausted I hardly noticed that the cars were driving on the incorrect side of the street. My friends came to pick me up from the bus station. We began the trek to their house but sadly we lost a man on the journey. My faithful pink bag that my father had studiously replaced the wheels on, not two weeks beforehand, bit the dust.

We arrived at my Lettuce and Zeb's charming house. Lettuce wisely told me to stay awake for as long as possible as to avoid further jet lag. Try as I might, after I wolfed down the delicious bacon sandwich, my eyes began to droop. As I recall this happened the last time I visited them when they were living in Scotland.

Alas, jet lag one. Me: zip.

The bed where I fell into a bacon and jet lag coma. 

 The next day, Lettuce and I went to the park next to her subdivision. We went to read our respective books. And by read, I mean I was intently listening to all the English voices, as compelled as an anthropologist. The boys over at the football pitch (American: soccer field) were riding their bikes and slagging each other off (American: teasing each other). A 12ish year old boy rode by with one hand on the handle bars, the other attached to a cell phone. He was loudly yelling that he didn't want the "dirty money" the person on the other end of the phone was offering. This may be ethnocentric but English people have a hard time sounding intimidating. Even more so if they are on a bicycle and have not reached puberty.

It is fair to mention that my sinuses were having a difficult time adjusting to the mild climate and encountering Lettuce's two cats. Consequently I was sneezing every 7 seconds, hiding behind my sunglasses and shrinking from the small amount of English sun shining on me. Lettuce looked up from her book and told me I was pathetic.

 England might take some getting used to.

any insult aimed at me rolls off like water off an ungainly, clumsy duck

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Feline Foibles

Meow. Now, I don't want this blog to devolve into a tirade about my best friend's cats, but I have more to add. I'd like to avoid  becoming like one of the many, many, many sites that post the oh-so-cute cat sitting in a basket. On the other hand, I'll most likely end up as some degree of "Cat Lady" as I have no skills, aspirations, or prospects. That and the fact that I enjoy screaming at strangers in the street. And the  small detail that I keep half-eaten bowls of oatmeal in my purse...Look this isn't about me. It's about my loathing of cats.

That blank stare is not an elaborate ruse. She's just dim.

I mean just look at her tiny, irritating face. She always looks flabbergasted. She loves sitting on suitcases. She once scurried up the stairs at the sound of a sneeze. She runs headlong into windows. She's also scratching at my door right now.

She's so dumb! Doesn't she know it can't rain indoors?

Zibah is the least subtle cat in the greater Oxfordshire area. She sits slyly on my lap whenever I have a delectable meal. "What? I've always enjoyed sitting by you and purring. What's that? Oh, I do suppose that's a steak; why I hadn't noticed! My word are you sure you can finish all that?" She knocks forks and notebooks off the counter with impunity then acts like she had nothing to with that suspicious clanging coming form the kitchen. Her favorite place to sit is next to the sink. The sink. 

Are you done with that?  

In summation, next time buy a dog. Because dogs are amazing and they never hiss at you. And they don't poop indoors. 


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cat Fancy

The reader(s) of this blog are fully aware of my aversion to cats. As previously stated, I just don't get cats. What's their deal? 

Anyway, I am currently sharing a house with my two lovely friends and their insane cats. They have two, adolescent, female cats. Having not spent prolonged time around cats before, I've had to adjust to a few things. For instance, these particular cats whine and pine at my door morning, noon, and night because it is the one room in the house they are forbidden from. 

Well, that's breakfast done, when is dinner?!

Zibah, named after a space-skunk from x-men, is the dumb one. She always has a bewildered look on her stupid little face. Her ears move in different directions because she can't determine where sounds are coming from. Also, she does not know how her hind legs work. 

Rogue, the conniving one, squirrels her way into closets, alcoves, purses and boxes. She hisses at people petting her, baits her sister, and generally plans dastardly deeds. 

I've had new and illuminating experiences with hairballs, shedding, and claws. 

Today Rogue, in a fit of fright, sprinted into the living room and bounded onto the couch. With her she brought in a trail of feces. Rogue then proceeded to squat walk around the living room like a dog with an itchy rear end. Apparently, this cat has a habit of literally scaring the !@$* out of herself. She has peed all over herself in fear. 

Once again, I question the upsides of cat ownership. 


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Finally in England!

So, I boarded my flight from Dublin and made a short jet to London Gatwick. Now! To the bus terminal!

I found the bus terminal and and even had enough time to board the early bus. But it took 4 tries to exit the airport correctly and find the right bus. I had to ask approximately 6 people for directions. Finally I got to the right coach. Now, to get my massive bags into to compartments. And I thought putting my carry on in the overhead bin was embarrassing.

While pushing this trolley I failed to notice I was squeezing to brakes. For seven minutes. 

I almost exited the coach at the wrong moment. How was I supposed to know the bus stopped at Heathrow twice? Thankfully the nice bus driver took pity on me and directed me to my destination. While at Heathrow, waiting for my bus to Banbury, I ruminated on another problem: my phone doesn't work.

How could I let my friends know I was in the same country as them, and indeed headed towards their residence? I battled with the pay phone for over 15 minutes (including one whispering phone operator) and finally got though to Lettuce. For 25 seconds. Then the call cut out.

I'm sure this rain will stop soon and the sun will come out and stay out for my whole trip! It can't possibly rain every day! 

When boarding the bus to Banbury the coach driver derisively noted my American accent. He He, I do speak differently from you! What an astounding observation! I'm going to get on the bus now. Finishing off a pack of Starbursts wasn't enough to stave off the fatigue. My head was doing the droop then jerk back repeatedly. What if I missed my stop and ended up in Wales?

Will I ever make it to my friend's house? Spoiler, yes.