Ah, England. I live here now. I don't think I ever expected to. As a teenager, I always expected to move to the US instead. Funny, that. But living in England hasn't diminished my memory of first visiting, back when it was strange and new. Vix asked me to describe my first impressions. So here they are.
I was exactly fourteen days away from my twelfth birthday when I first arrived in the UK. On holiday, with my parents and my brother. We rented the most gorgeous flat in London for twelve days, went to the theatre, did some sightseeing, took a day trip to Stratford-upon-Avon.
But what did I think of England?
1. The milk was amazing. No, really. Milk in Bangalore did not taste like this. I was in awe.
2. For the life of me, I couldn't figure out what half the words meant. This was England, right? Home to English? So what the hell was a haggis and why didn't I know this word? What, for the love of Heathcliff, was a spotted dick? Let me tell you, my eight-year-old brother and I could not say those words without giggling.
3. Holy hell, it's light at ten o' clock! At night, I mean. It was May. It got light at about five in the morning and got dark after ten at night. I was bewildered. Flabbergasted. In India, whatever the season, it never stays dark later than about seven in the morning and never stays light later than about seven in the evening. With about a two hour window for sun-up and sundown. Light at 10 effing PM was a novelty.
4. Strangers called me 'love'. There you go, love or cheers for the seat, love or got any change for this, love? I thought it was sweet.
5. The weather didn't shock me. And that shocked me. Sure, it was a lot colder than it had been in Bangalore, but it wasn't colder than Bangalore winters. What was all the fuss about this bitter English cold, then? Reminder: it was May. Of course it wasn't that bloody cold. Boy, did I realize how naive I'd been when I turned up for my first year of university seven years later.
I'm sure there are other things that really struck me or stood out for me when I first arrived in England, but I can't think of them now. These are my highlights. And they continue to be highlights. I love being here. I'm always surprised.