Saturday, September 23, 2017

UK Journal: Part 1

When I was 17 years old, my parents sent me over to the UK as a program called "Educational Foundation" (EF). I remember seeing ads for it late at night when I was watching The Young Ones on MTV and having a free packet of information sent about it. I don't know what possessed them -- I don't recall presenting a very good case -- but they ponied up the money and put me on a plane in the summer of 1989. It wasn't so much an "exchange program" as this wasn't done during a school year and there was no back and forth. It was just a bunch of American kids going to England for six weeks(?) with the opportunity to do two side trips.

While I was on my way, I started doing a little journaling. I want to transcribe those journals here as a counterpoint to my "Shanghai Diary" and as way to preserve these journals as they're little memo pads and likely to get lost.

With no further ado:

July 12 (1989)

In St. Louis, Missouri... about 2 1/2 hours until I go to New York and, so far... I met two fellow EF students such as myself; Stacy and Natasha. Both seem very nice. Natasha is the, must I say "typical?" dark poet. you know the type, "all around is darkness" kind of stuff. Stacie, on the other hand, sees cheerful and happy. They are staying together at the same house when we get to Surriton [sic. Most likely I meant Surbuton]. According to Stacey, we're all going to be in the same general area. Good. They seem pretty cool.

I'm a stranger in a strange land.

St. Louis?
The Arch.
Sears Tower.

It's strange. So far I've seen a Steve Convery, Mr. Menard, and now John Litman. Does everyone look the same in each city or am I just making people look familiar?

I wish I could look around St. Louis but by the time I fond the exit to this airport it'd be boarding time.

Well, time goes on, and on, and on, and on, but we don't. St. Louis is civilized to a point. They have iced tea but it's $1.27 a glass [I didn't understand the concept of "airport pricing"].

Here we are. St. Louis. The plane was late and so are we. We aren't even sitting on it yet. Sitting here listening to people, or to my headphones.

Oh Boy! Excitement! It's about an hour after we should have left and here we sit.

A funny thing happened to me on the way to New York. I certainly hope to make my flight to England in time. It's 6:07 and we've been in the air for about an hour. We had our snack time and the condiment of choice was "Grey Poupon" known the world over for its fine flavor. Made with the finest white wine.

By the way, did I say that Peter Lorre was a flight attendant?

We're supposed to land in 25 minutes.

Okay, I can handle this. After a run to the New York terminal and 4 1/2 hours in the air it's now 6:00 in England but I'm still here in mid air.

Natasha and I talked for a few hours. She seems quite nice. Not the brooding, tempestuous poet that she first seemed to be. Right now, she's asleep while Stacey is writing as well. Stacy managed to sleep a lot during the flight and Natasha finally managed but I, alas, could not. It is a pity that Natasha isn't a closer friend or I could use her shoulder as a pillow for I am sure I could have fallen asleep then.

Our dinner was late and not tasty. We had chicken with an awful batter.

I certainly hope to be seated with these two on y return journey. I believe I'd thoroughly enjoy their company on the 5 1/2 hour layover back to Detroit.

DUDE! I am still airborne [sic]. I am still tired. I am still amazed that the sun's up. Will the English girls have hairy armpits? How shall I phrase the question? "'Scuse me, darlin' but..."

Wakey wakey Mr. Parrot, this is your 6 o'clock alarm call!!!

I still haven't met the other EF students as they are all spread out over the plane.

DUDE! I'M HERE! I'm in England! After about a 3 hour wait at Heathrow, we're finally all on a bus headed to our host family. I met a pretty cool girl, Michelle, from West Virginia.

[Random notes]

4 Gypsy Lane
Ring wood

Waterloo Station.
Meet for fun orientation at Raynes Park Station at 10:00
Where is rail station?

7:30 at RP Methodist Chuck. A party. Invite host family.

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