I was mentioning in my last post how long Luca and Jad have been friends. Here is a picture showing how long the Sheas and Wilsons have been friends…Ros and Lucy and their family spent 1976-1977 living next door to us on Lincoln Street. We were so sad when they moved back home to Abingdon, but we have kept in touch over the past FORTY years. Katlyn and I visited in 1982…
Katlyn’s comment upon seeing these photos: “Thank GOD the 80’s are behind us!”
We have had a few short visits in Berkeley and Boston since, but we think the last time we saw each other was in 1998. As good friends do, we picked up right where we left off this past weekend when Téa and I took the train from Lyon to London.
Before we continued on another train to Oxford, Téa and I rode the London Eye for a view of the city, stopped by Buckingham Palace and then enjoyed high tea (i.e. the most expensive cucumber sandwiches ever) at the Ritz.
Ros picked us up at the station and we spent the rest of the weekend catching up and visiting a few tourist destinations that the Wilsons haven’t been to in years (Out-of-town friends have a way of reconnecting you with your own back yard!).
Here we are on a tour of the Oxford Colleges…
And at Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Winston Churchill…
One fun activity of the weekend was keeping a running list of translations between English English and American English. I think I learned more new words this weekend than I did in my first two French classes. Here is a sampling of my favourites 😉
twee – sweet, charming
totty – hot, though not in a way you can ever work to be hot (for example, Kim Kardashian can never be totty, and George Clooney’s wife Amal Alamuddin is just naturally totty)
posh – fancy
trainers – sneakers
football boots – cleats
boot – car trunk
dressing gown – bathrobe
rubbers – erasers (Twelve-year-old Katie was very excited to share her “huge collection of colorful rubbers” and I will admit I was relieved when she dumped out a shoe-box full of animal-shaped erasers!)
tea – dinner
aubergine- eggplant (Bonus points! These last two count towards learning new French vocabulary, too!)
garden – yard
jumper – sweater
pants – underwear (We laughed a lot about this one back in “primary school,” i.e. are you going to wear pants to school or a skirt?)
We enjoyed some delicious meals during our stay – Fish and Chips in Oxford after our tour of the colleges…
Curry Take-Away (which translates into Indian Take-Out) at the Bygraves…
Chicken Pie (Chicken Pot Pie) at the Hammonds…
And the morning before we left a special English breakfast called a “Fry Up” which Katie helped prepare…
I enjoyed hearing about the work of my British hosts – they are entrepreneurs who sound more like they are working in Silicon Valley than in Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds. Lucy works for a company with an app that makes cool graphs and spreadsheets, Tim is working on an interesting venture in the U.S. real estate market and Richard has an app called Recipe Keeper which I highly recommend you download now. Free for your first twenty recipes, $5 to add all of your recipes. One great feature is you can quickly add the ingredients you need for all of your meals for the week to a shopping list. Ray and I are already signed up and I can promise prompt, direct assistance from the founder if you need it.
A wonderful part of the visit was connecting the next generation and committing to not letting another 17 years go by until our next visit. With the pound this strong they have no excuse not to visit us! I forgot to add Happy 90th Birthday to the queen. She is celebrating her official birthday -not to be confused with her real birthday in June, or is it vice versa? – so that was the big news, that plus whether or not England should stay in the EU. Pros and cons to both and even our hosts haven’t decided how they will vote yet. That said, even English kids know more about American politics than most Americans, but that probably comes as no surprise. Ros and Lucy both jumped a year ahead and still found fourth and fifth grade easy forty years ago.
Good luck to Izzy, Ros and Richard’s daughter, who is studying for “A” levels which sound like SAT’s ACT’s and final exams wrapped into one. How she does on these tests in June will ultimately determine where she goes to college in the fall. I’m wondering if this puts more or less pressure on British kids in the upper 6th form (senior year of high school) than the completely crazed American college-application process. I told Ros and Richard not to feel too badly about paying 9,000 pounds a year for university (college) tuition, which lasts only three not four years, by the way. Even though university was free in England 25 years ago, 9,00o pounds (about $13k) sounds incredibly cheap to any American parent facing college tuition bills – unless Bernie wins and it’s free for all of us (Anyone buying THAT?!? Not in New York, clearly)…
Thank you Wilsons, Bygraves and Hammonds for a wonderful visit!