The early part of today was unpleasant, I admit. I had a very unpleasant start to the day. But I have to admit that the day ended on a very high note, and my optimism for my life here in Britain has not actually waned.
I had been asked several weeks ago to sit on a panel for a post-US election discussion. I had the opportunity to make a ten minute statement on the election, along with a distinguished international relations expert, plus answering questions from the crowd and it turned out to be great fun. Much to my relief, and somewhat dismay given that this was merely my opinion and not my area of technical expertise, the turnout was good and a lively group of people from all over the world appeared at the event. I had a great time. The forum itself was challenging and a great learning experience for me–I had the opportunity to glean significant new understanding as to the framework used by international policy experts in studying this significant field. And most important to me, given my frustrations earlier in the day, I did not burst into tears or otherwise embarrass myself.
Even better, the event resulted in my having dinner with a truly international couple–she’s from the American midwest (!) and he’s a Brit, and they have lived in both places and thus have a lot of experience with the cultural issues going both ways. I had a fantastic time and stopped to re-evaluate my feelings of “cut-and-run” that plague me whenever I find frustrations here. I hope to hang out with this couple more often–yes it follows my rule of “the most friendly Brits are those that are not truly entrenched here–living in the US and being involved with an American probably do affect perspectives–but it was a very soul-healing experience for me.
Perhaps more importantly, I have a shopping date tomorrow with another friend, a Brit, and my health-club buddy. And I ran into another friend, also a Brit, this evening at the store and made plans to catch up soon. Perhaps it is not as bad as I think in my darkest hours–I have had a reasonably slow start to making friends here, but perhaps at the same time I have really done better than I think in my dark moments. So I head to bed on a reasonably positive note. And for that I am extremely grateful!