As the dust settles on my approaching 5th anniversary of living in the UK, and I have to deal with the paperwork of applying for permanent residency, I am faced with the reality of trying to understand how I got here. And I think I might have found an answer, in the form of a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta (no, stay with me, really!)
I was, I confess, an Anglophile child. My favorite children’s books all took place in London. I recall the kids of “Ballet Shoes” having to walk to the V&A as something I understood long before I knew what the V&A actually was. I was obsessed with “The Secret Garden” and I had no idea what moors were.
So clearly I was a strange child, especially in Minnesota.
But I now suspect it all came to a head in the eighties when I was a primary school student at a school in Northern Virginia at which we, for some inexplicable reason, did a performance of the Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera HMS Pinafore as the school play in which I portrayed the character “Josephine”. I was 10.
If you have any reason to doubt this thesis, and I’m sure you do not, I leave you with this:
If that does not instill a sense of English patriotism in you, I don’t know what more to say.