Saturday was one of the most fun days I’ve had in a while, I went up to Norwich for the first time ever, to meet up with another expat blogger. I would describe the entire experience for you, but Rachel has already done such a great job on her blog, so go have a read and enjoy the fab photos and hilarious video at the end. It was an epic day for me, sunshine, wandering around, an American voice, and I learned something important in our geeky “we have so much in common” technical discussion. So that was awesome. This crazy meet up with people you know from blogland thing is fun, especially when you already sort of know something about each other when the day begins. Looking forward to the next time I get to do expat blogger things, probably in May with a foursome meet-up of relatively local bloggers who I now know (!) and only waiting until then since I’m traveling insanely in the meantime. Yes, here we go with the establishment of an expat blogger club in England… join in if you’re around the East of England!
Monday was huge for me, as my passport came back along with my Chinese visitor’s visa. So I’m set to go at the start of next month. And it’s starting to seem real, and I’m starting to get pretty excited. Last year’s big adventure was Australia, this year it’s China. New country to experience, new landscapes to photograph. And I get to do it all while hanging out with my sister in her last few months of living as an expat in China (for now…) so all good. Pictures will appear, watch this space in April.
Monday night I got myself potentially into just a little bit of trouble. Black tie dinner. You know, these things are commonplace on a Monday night, right? (See how long I’ve been living here… I was at work until 5:30 for a 6 pm start with a change of clothes clearly needed…) Mostly enjoyable. Was seated (almost said “was sat” which would mean I had turned a corner into British strange grammar….) next to a Brit who had spent a year in the US recently, and it was fascinating. I maintain completely that the view of Brits here who have lived abroad is totally different from the view of those who have not. And it does not have to be abroad in America. Anywhere seems to work as long as it’s for long enough and people sufficiently get into the overseas culture. But I digress. It was the point in the meal (after it, really) when people stand up and raise a toast to the Queen. And I stand up politely, may or may not pick up my glass, but definitely do not utter the words “To The Queen!” and do not drink. And I catch the eye (accidentally) during this little ritual of a local who I sort of feel does not take too kindly to my status here as an invader. Oops. We’ll see if that comes back to bite me. But seriously, other Americans–we overthrew the monarchy of this particular country in a revolutionary war that defines us, would you toast it at an event out of social pressure? And I live here and love it here but does that have to mean that I also love the monarchy and all it stands for?
Today was a long and busy day, and I’m struck by the fact that I’m less than 100 hours from leaving the country on a speaking tour of the US before China, so I really should be more organized. My busiest work time of the year is January to mid-March, and so I’m taking off right at the point at which a sensible person would be spending about three days sorting out my messy flat and back-logged laundry and another three dealing with the piles of paperwork in my office. But no, I’m off to the US to lecture and visit interesting places that I’ve never been before, like the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. (I lived on the Lower Peninsula of Michigan for five years but it was in the era when I did not just hop in a car or on a plane and venture out for adventures… totally different times.) I’m about to equal my record for as far north in North America as I have ever been, so that should be fun. But the paperwork piles in my office, and laundry piles in my flat, mean that I should not be travelling. I can only hope that after this epic month of US-home for 2 days-China I will be able to recover and reorganize. But, (she says, trying to justify her actions) you have to live life while you have the chance, and surely taking these opportunities is living life to the fullest? (Or the most insane, take your pick.) Regardless, I shall be off soon and reporting from foreign lands and sending back messages except perhaps from China where the “Great Firewall” impedes communications to the point that I may not be able to reach this blog from afar. Interesting times.