I’ve been living in Wales for just over a month now. My life is so different that it feels like it must have been a few years since I was last in the US. This has probably been the most difficult and simultaneously the most joyful month of my entire life.
Here are my favourite British experiences so far:
Visiting A Medieval Village
Last weekend some friends and I visited an old Victorian pier and beach (in the not so pretty but oh so typical Welsh weather). Afterward we stopped by a restored medieval village. That stop was particularly special for me.
For the past three years I’ve been writing a middle grade historical fiction novel about a girl surviving the 1348-1349 outbreak of Bubonic Plague by finding an abandoned castle where she forms a family with a diverse group of strangers each escaping various plague created situations. Walking through that village was like seeing all my research and imagined stories come to life! There was a small church just like the one I described in my story. There were peasant cottages just like the one my main character lives in. There was even a sign post in the middle of the village, just like the one that my novel starts out with!
So I walked around oohing and aaaahing and dancing on the inside cause there is no way I could find anything like that in the US.
(According to a History major friend of mine, there are quite a few parks with restored plague era villages sprinkled across the UK. WHOOOOPPEEEEEE!)
I happened to arrive in Wales at the same time as the World Rugby Cup. Last week I watched a game and learned the rules. Why do people compare it to American football? The balls may look kinda similar, but the game play is completely different. What I like about it is that it moves way faster, so (in my humble opinion) it is a lot more fun to watch.
Over the weekend, I went to the park with the family I live with and they taught me some rugby skills. We spent quite a long time out there practicing punting and throwing etc… I think I could get used to this game. Now I just need to learn cricket and netball…
One of my classmates dared me to try marmite, the infamous British spread. I haven’t gotten my hands on a jar yet, but I did try the Kiwi version Vegemite. Man oh man, it is DELICIOUS. No really… I am not kidding. There is nothing quite as comforting as vegemite on toast after a long day at school.
So basically, I love it here. I love trying all the new foods and sports and other experiences. It is funny to hear people making fun of my American accent and even funnier when they try to mimic it. It is not quite as funny when my professors bash America at every chance, but hey, I’m learning to deal.