Wednesday, April 29, 2009

In recent years I thought it would be fun to be a columnist, and perhaps not a very hard job. However, I have since learned that it’s a lot harder than I thought. Even though I have no editor to report to or deadline to keep, I still find it difficult to come up with a meaningful topic every week. I believe in “quality” rather than “quantity,” which is why there may be lapses between my blog entries.

Since I haven’t come up with any good ideas of my own to write about, I’ll use one of the writing prompts from a new book I recently acquired called "Old Friend from Far Away (The Practice of Writing Memoir)" by Natalie Goldberg.

“Tell Me About the Best Moment You’ve Experienced”

I know most people would say either their wedding day or the day they had their first child, but for me, it was the day my parents came to visit me in England.

I had lived there nearly two years (since getting married to a Brit) and would soon be moving to another city. For my parents, it was their first time “across the pond.” My sister, who had been to England about ten years previously, was tagging along.

My husband and I booked a room at our favorite hotel near the airport (The Travel Inn) and stayed there the night before since we’d have an early morning picking them up from Gatwick. Although it would have been funny to hold a sign, we didn’t think of it in time, so instead just looked for three bleary-eyed Americans and spotted them in no time at all. Hugs all around before heading to Baggage Retrieval to collect their luggage.

After rounding up their suitcases, it soon became obvious that it was going to take some clever maneuvering to fit them all in our tiny little Nissan, as well as making room for 5 adults. My husband, who has always been good with spatial relations, managed to squeeze us all in, though there was a suitcase wedged between my mom, sister, and I in the back seat. It was far from comfortable for the approximately three hour journey back home, but we all managed.

First thing we did after arriving at our semi-detached home in Gloucester, was go out to lunch. I can’t remember if we walked or drove, but we went to a neighborhood pub so my parents could try some real British food. I think my dad might have had curry, and my sister a jacket (baked) potato with beans. I’m not sure what my mom had. I also remember stopping at the small grocer’s next door to pick up some sweet cherries to snack on later.

Since everyone’s appetites were satiated, there was only one other thing to do, have a kip (nap) for the rest of the afternoon. My husband and I stayed up since we weren’t suffering from the jet lag that the others were.

We stayed in for dinner and I made pasta bake and a salad, proving that I had learned a few useful skills since getting married.

After dinner my sister gave me a belated birthday present she had made for me. It was a little scrapbook featuring the family dog, Comet. It was so sentimental that I just cried – because I missed him so much, and because I was so happy to have my family see me in my new life in this wonderful country.

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