2 nov. 2007

Flashback II - England 2003-04

As I said in the previous post, there isn't a lot of stuff going on in life these days, so I decided to write a little bit about my previous adventures. A few years ago I went to England and lived there for almost a year. Back then, life was simpler and funnier, also scarier, with so much to figure out but at the same time with so much to look forward to. It all began the first of October 2003; I was 20 year old, full of energy and hopes, ready to my first adventure abroad, all by myself for the very first time. Even though I had not idea what it would be like, I was so exited and thrilled that I had no room for any kind of fear. All I knew was that it would be new and it would be different, and that was good enough for me. I remember after I took off in Gatwick my first task was to buy a ticket from that airport to Harpenden. I didn’t speak the language very well, so I was a little bit nervous in the queue, choosing carefully in my head the words that I would say. The first thing I realized in that moment was that England would not be cheap. It struck me that a single train ticket costed me 27 pounds. Later on, I would learn that everything in England was set in a way in which tourists pay more than locals. A few hours later I was in Harpenden and it was the beginning of one of the most important years of my life.
England; the land of tea and biscuits; serious people, cloudy weather and no parties after twelve; yes, stereotypes were right. Apart of the superficial aspects I had not much to tell about the British and the English people at that time. Shamefully, I didn’t spend that much time with them, mainly because I hanged out a lot with Brazilians, Koreans and Venezuelans from my language school. Afterwards, when I went to France, Switzerland and Germany, I got to know a lot of sons of the Great Britain, and now I got a better idea how great and wonderful they actually are - not to mention all the great British writers and philosophers that I have had the chance to study these days. But at that time, British seemed to me cold and serious, not very friendly with the alien, just as they have always been portrayed.

I attended a language school and that kept me busy for the most part, although I still got the chance to do a lot of cool things during my time off. I travelled across Britain, I got to know London, Oxford, Cambridge, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow and some other cities that I forgot how to spell them. I also went to Stonehenge; it was really cold that I was able to get a good picture of myself smiling. I also stayed a week in a Christian event working as a staff in the south east. It was pretty fun, there were a huge water park with pools, slides, a spa, a Jacuzzi and lots of games. I also stayed with a eldery couple in the south west for a week. It was really fun and I learnt that some seniors still think that the European Union is another trick of the Nazis for conquering the world.
One of my best friends from England at that time was Tim. He was a Latin American aficionado - he loved the culture and language and he ended up marrying a Brazilian girl. I remember that we had a lot in common; same age, freaks with computers, and a love for learning new languages. We got along pretty well and we had a great time. Sadly, fate separated us and now we live in different continents.He is a great guy I feel so sorry I couldn’t make it to his wedding. As many Englishmen he wanted me to love the British and hate the Americans. 

My other best friend there was my Brazilian roommate Michael. I remember we got along from the first day.  Now he is married with an English women and I think he’s very happy. Another friend I should mention is Elier, from Venezuela, a great guy, smart and charming - always ready to smile and make a good joke, and always passionate about life, mission and dancing. 

I should also mention some other people who might be mad if I don't; Lidia, an Argentinian girl always ready to serve; she used to move her hands when she was trying to explain something; Silvia, The Goodmother as we called her, Ana, la peruana, Karina and the funny and odd Korean chicks.

So many memories... I must say that it was a time that I learnt a lot about life. I learnt how to survive by myself  and I grew up very fast. I miss England, its Indian people, Chinatown, Saint Pancras, Leiscester Square, Picadilly Circus, Wesminster.

I forgot to mention that I ran into the Harry Potter movie premiere, I’m not really a big fun, but it always cool to stuble upon some celebrities. You can see the picture I took there.

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© Pablo Camus
Maira Gall