Thursday, December 08, 2011

why i love my second home

So it's almost the end of another year; I've been living in Britain for 18 months.

When does one cross the line and become more British than South African? It'll take years to chip down my Africanness (in all manners speaking - though to be fair I haven't had a tan in 18 months).

Anyway, this tumultuous love affair I have with my new country certainly has its ups and downs, but generally, I'm able to safely call the old place home now.

It's fair to say I have grown rather fond of England.

And as ludicrous as this may sound to someone from a sunny, exotic country - it's not difficult. England is a homely place.

I've had a few troughs of course where I've thought, Jesus fuck. Why am I here again? Usually, this happens when I'm pushed into a train with another 20 people all at once, and people are prodding and poking but really weirdly still not making eye contact or speaking.

Rail rage has become a real affliction for me.

But I do love this funny little island.
And here are just a few reasons why:

Going 'abroad' means going to Europe
Dude. When you go to Spain, that's going 'abroad.' Going to Tunisia, means I'm going to 'die.'
It's the Brits that have put the fear of God into me about Arab extremism. And somehow still manage to make it funny.

My daily tea consumption is at an all time high
There's the obligatory slide into fanatical and extreme tea drinking, even if you used to drink a lot of tea before living here.
I'm on about 12 cups a day on average. (Herbal mostly.) There is such a large variety and choice of teas here, it would be impossible to taste them all in a lifetime.

There's organic, white tea, dark tea, infused tea, tea that comes in little satin pouches, 'red bush', tea that has lavender and aromatherapy oils in it. If you can put it in a bag, you can drink it.

The tea culture here is more insane than I even imagined.

Brits are always cheery
Shit might come raining down from the sky, but they never fail to make light of any situation.

It usually comes in the form a of a cheery, "Yes, my leg got cut off yesterday, but on the plus side we still won the war back in 1945."

"Unemployment is at an all time high in the UK, so it's a jolly good thing Tesco is selling teabags at half price."

"Fuck, my thighs are the size of The Shard building. Oh well. Better have another glass of chianti."

"It's dreadful about how the world has been taken over by aliens who are shooting balls of AIDS out of their machine guns, aimed at humans with ginger hair....better get me haired dyed then, ey?"

Dim sum
Those little Asian fusion dumplings things that make me dry hum my plate like a tween after a plate of Viagra tartare.

My favourite foods: pie, salmon and dim sum. All widely and readily available in the city of London. If you want cheap and cheerful, it's there. If you want expensive and posh, it's there. Any type of cosmopolitan food - any street, any corner.

Cool stuff

Harvey Nichols, Harrods, Zara, Ted Baker, John Lewis, House of Fraser. And that's just clothing. Decor, clothing, shoes, bath products - it's a capitalists wet dream here.

I knew I'd found home when I found whole shops dedicated solely to luxury bath products.

Just need a few pound to unleash the fury.

English country pubs and tea rooms
Original places with a sticky bar counter, tudor walls, pictures that hang crooked that serve a great pint champagne and/or a great cup of tea. What's not to love?

South west London

If it isn't in South West London, it doesn't exist. Yeah, it's there, but who cares? My village is SW.
London is made up of thousands of little villages. Each village has a high street. One village can be one road away from another village. You stick to your village. London is so vast, sometimes it's just easier to stay where you are.

To be fair
I say that now. Because every other person around me says it. I've osmosed it.
Everything can be justified or asserted with one sentence.
"To be fair, the Germans do make a great sausage."

It's part of that cheery thing.

Christmas here is wonderful. People of any age send out Christmas cards. (What?)
So this year I thought I'd get with the fucking programme and did the same. On asking my Saffa mates for their postal addresses I got back from one: "You don't expect me to send one back do you?"

The lights are out, the shops are buzzing, mulled wine is being drunk, people wear hats (I love a good hat), and Christmas trees are being bought, captured, uploaded to social networks, and compared.


I was sucked into a Christmas tree compare-off. Dude.

Mine was the midget tree that I bought in a mulled wine stupor, from a stationery shop.
The balls I hung on it are too big.

I lost and it was embarrassing.

Christmas jumpers! Everyone has one - it looks like a sort of Nordic blanket, sure, but everyone has a Christmas jumper. They're all the rage, especially this year. Snowflakes, reindeer, even ones that have knitted Christmas puds on them.

So. This is home. I'm almost quite comfortable with it now.

PS: And all this, just before we die in Tunisia tomorrow evening. Eek! Bye.


Flarkit said...

Way to make us jelly, gal. Could do with a taste of a culture where people are able to get past all the social/economic/political crap and just honestly and totally immerse themselves in a bona fide happy festive season.

Thanks for inspiring me to spread some real Christmas cheer this year, bah-humbug!

A Daft Scots Lass said...

Right now go and visit Scotland for some REALLY cheerful people.

Deborah+Schepers said...

Really enjoyed this post - brilliantly written! It sounds like a magical season over there. Enjoy:-)