Monday, October 23, 2006

Back in Blighty

Oh, how depressing.

It was pouring with rain when our plane touched down in Manchester and, seriously, there are nicer places to be than Manchester when it's raining.

It took us seven hours to get home from the airport, including a lovely stretch on Virgin trains. Richard Branson - if you're reading this - please invest in some SEATING on those trains. Pack us in like sardines it you must. Charge us £40* each if you feel you have to. But can we at least get a seat?

But, most depressing of all was the realisation that we were home.

Going back to America was like meeting up with an old girlfriend. Absence doesn't always make the heart grow fonder. Sometimes it just makes the heart harden up and these last few months I've been worried about returning. There's much more anti-American feeling in Europe than I'd realised. Not helped by that burk George and his continued buggering-about. Maybe some of it had rubbed off.

But I was wrong.

T and I dragged ourselves off CO21 at Newark airport and spent precisely five minutes in the Immigration Department (that's a personal best.) Then, we trudged out onto the sidewalk and it hit me. Just like meeting up with an old girlfriend and realising that all those doubts and worries were unfounded. That chemistry and excitement is still there. It hits you like a freight train.

What was it? It's hard to put my finger on the exact reason. A huge part of it, though, has to be the people. American people are just great. I spent a week with a family I'd only met a couple of times before and slipped into place without even noticing. In England, I've sometimes found social interaction a bit difficult. There are awkward silences and inane conversations about the bloody weather. But American people talk. They love to talk.

I just feel more confident and happier around American people, which is weird. It's like their lack of inhibitions and confidence rubs off on me. Also, New Jersey was beautiful.

They make fun of the place all the time because of the huge petrochemical industry that's based there. But once you get out of downtown Jersey City and away from the industrial part, the Garden State really lives up to her name. We arrived at the best time of year, when the 'fall' was coming and the leaves were turning the most beautiful colour.

As Albert Camus once said, Autumn is a second spring, when every leaf becomes a flower.

My week spent in America was fantastic. The only bad part was when I realised it was nearly over and it would be months before I'd be back.

* Obviously that's not the price per person for a ticket from Manchester to Winchester. Ha! I wish. No, sadly that's just the price from Birmingham to Winchester. The entire trip by rail would have cost us approximately £796.56 per person and taken about three and a half weeks with a stop over in Bratislava.

1 comment:

jodi said...

We do love to talk. And I bet we love to talk to you, as you have a lovely accent. We are suckers for a lovely accent, just ask my Scottish friend Louise. I wonder if she would be depressed to find herself less "special" if she moved back home.