Monday, September 11, 2006

Simple Pleasures

Whenever I think about going back to the US, I find myself focusing on the little things in every day life rather than huge themes or expectations. Here are some of the things I am looking forward to upon touchdown on the runway in the United States in two weeks:

Hair: First, I will be able to cut my hair again. Upon observing the masses and their choices of style and dye-job here in the UK, I promised myself never to trust any British barber wielding a pair of silver shears. Now, for all my British friends out there--no worries, your horrific hair creations will indeed hit the US in another two years, however, in the ensuing time, I can confidently step into a shop and say "Long layers and highlights" without coming out with half of my hair blonde and the other half sierra brown, pink streaks in odd places, and a mullet. I can also curl my hair again, which is a waste of time here given the humidity kills it within twenty minutes of my exiting a climate-controlled environment.

Dunkin' Donuts: The only reason this gets its own category is because I had a dream that somehow I was in the US, and my first instinct was to peel through the nearest drive through for an iced coffee.

Hours: In order to eliminate the possibility of jet lag, I keep very odd hours here in the UK. I get up in the late morning/early afternoon and go to bed really late at night. Essentially, if I transfer those hours minus five for the east coast of the US, they become "normal" again. Morning will once again become a tangible reality rather than an "in theory" occurance while I am still sleeping.

A House: To be honest, this would have been more useful to me here than back in the US because of the theory of the "separation of spaces." I have spent my graduate school career in one room with a bathroom, and in this room, I rested, ate, relaxed, and studied. What I realized was that there were too many associations to be had with only one space. And, of course, the predominant ones were: abject fear that I will not finish this dissertation followed by obsessive worry. Doesn't exactly make for a stress-free, TV watching night if I can see "Chapter 3" staring at me from my laptop out of the corner of my eye. It was harder for me coming from a larger, separated environment and going into this than it may have been for others more used to "college accomodation." Yes, when you're old, you do indeed need more room.

I also am not going to complain about moving off of a hallway in the college equivalent of Chinatown with groups of people who may create some amazing Chinese food, but to do so, leave raw chicken on the counter for three days marinading and wash raw meat in the sink next to my clean dishes (which, as you can imagine, quickly changes them back to "unclean" with the added "unsanitary" element to boot).

Work: I go back to work when I return home. I'll be busier, yes, and I'll probably look back on these idyllic days of working at my own pace in my home environment wistfully within a week. However, I'll go to work for eight hours, come home, and then have nothing left to worry about for the day. Your dissertation can always use more work. No matter what you do, in a five-day-a-week job, you don't go past 5pm. That is peace of mind.

The Fall: I missed most of New England's fall last year, and it wasn't until I moved here that I realized just how unique the season is there. I had lived in New England all my life to that point, and naturally, I thought at least some of the foliage change would also be present here, but trees don't lose too many leaves here because it doesn't get as cold as it does at home. I am also finding apples lacking. My ideal day off from my job will be watching my favorite fall movies baking a pie.

Driving: Although good for the health, I must say that I can do without the long, unpredictable wait for the local bus and the long walk around town for errands. The busses exist, which certainly one-ups the US, but they come at odd intervals and you could be sitting at a stop for anywhere between 5 to 25 minutes before one comes by. I am also limited by what I can carry when I do buy things. For larger items or larger quantities, I have to call Tesco to deliver, however, there are certain things that the superstore won't deliver. For example, I have a pile of boxes that have to be sent home to the US. My problem is that without a car, I have to pick one up and carry it to the post office, which is half a mile away, and therefore, I can only send one at a time. How much I will enjoy no longer being limited by my lack of upper body strength.

Law and Order: There is nothing like sitting down after a long day of work with a glass of white wine and a Law and Order marathon on TNT. NOTHING.

Not, of course, to forget, that in coming here, I left some very important and special people behind, and I will be very happy to be able to see them again.

Ok, time for my long walk for my Starbucks coffee. Let's hope the exodus is worth it.


Historical Wit said...

F-ing yes! Nothing beats the Law and Order marathons. What really sucks is when you have to get stuff done and then suddenly out of no where there- Law and Order or L&O SVU for 6 hours. So then what happens? Its 10 at night, you didn't do the laundry, you didn't go grocery shopping and the lawn is 12 to 18 inches tall.

All right, good reads now I got to go to Dunkin Donuts, later....

Historical Wit said...

F-ing yes! Nothing beats the Law and Order marathons. What really sucks is when you have to get stuff done and then suddenly out of no where there- Law and Order or L&O SVU for 6 hours. So then what happens? Its 10 at night, you didn't do the laundry, you didn't go grocery shopping and the lawn is 12 to 18 inches tall.

All right, good reads now I got to go to Dunkin Donuts, later....

Matt said...

Yeah, I hear ya about those New England falls. You'll soon be able to relax w/o nightmares about your thesis. I've always been a procrastinator and just lose sleep every time I'm faced w/ a deadline. It's awful.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Law & Order marathons would be great in the UK!

Christina said...

I wonder if you've had any national health service experiences you'll miss.

Onanite said...

The US, with all it's shortcomings is still home. It was interesting to see what you miss most. Of course you have Starbucks there, but not on every corner like here. :)


Truth Hunter said...

Really enjoyed reading about those things in the U.S. you missed.

We lived out of the country a few years and here are more things to miss....

1) The U.S. national anthem at events.

2) Thin-crust cheese/sausage pizza and beer at our local brewery.

3) Medical care we take for granted... choosing your own doctors, latest treatments, etc.

4) Living in Iowa during presidenetial campaign seasons and getting to meet the candidates.

You are so right about New England in the fall... it won't be long now until you can enjoy it once again. Welcome home....

anonymous jones said...

Wow! All that good stuff you will be going home to PLUS the fact that you will be breathing the same air as Paris Hilton, George W Bush, and and and - TOM CRUISE!! Luc-ky ..........!

1000myths said...

"Law & Order with a glass of white wine" seems incongruous but it actually fits.

captain corky said...

It sounds like you have a lot to look forward to when you come home. I grew up in NJ and now live in the South so I can relate to missing the Fall. Also, a large regular coffee from Dunkin Donuts would really hit the spot right about now.

I'm not sure if I would classify Law & Order as a simple pleasure at this point... It's more like a religion for me. Lenny Briscoe and Mike Logan the two finest cops I ever watched on televison.

"Angeldust" said...

Owh, owh, owh… owh - hope you are not in for a rude awakening slskeyon, dearest.
With your brand new degree you will be stepping up into another job category and I guarantee you that with little I learned from you this past year (?) you will be absolutely unhappy in any job that will have so little responsibility for you to leave behind at 5:ooPM.
There are no jobs like that left – even worst if self-employed, those go on for 24/7.
And… what about painting – when do you plan to immerse yourself in it? Hmm?
Here in the wild west (due to affluence, we are told) our little local shuttles runs every half hour and the “bus” out of town every hour.

Don’t set yourself up, the only things that you can count on, and are most likely to give you any pleasure will be loved ones and fall.

Love and joy to you
(check out new post)

booda baby said...

Oh, but i BEG to differ (a phrase that always cracks me up). RED wine and L & O (but that's just because I don't know why they bothered to make white wine. Several years ago, it was a Brit, one of those arbiters of good taste, who replied to a question about wine with, essentially, 'There's wine. And then there's the white stuff.'

I couldn't help but understand.

How do you feel about the promise/possibility/chance that you will not - on entering any random establishment - suffer bone chilling wetness? I kinda liked that one.

Karl said...

I have yet to experience travelling to the real America (Not DisneyWorld), so to hear England from a native American's perspective when they've lived here for a while is quite refreshing.

I didn't know we lived in such a comparatively warm climate!

I hope your return's a good one.


Jaime H. said...

Have a great trip!!!

spiderman said...

You love our country really....