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So I’m back from Valencia.  The internet in the hotel was beyond awful, and the hotel room looked like a worn-down version of the Hilton that Betty and Don Draper stayed in when they went to Rome in season 2 (that’s 1961, y’all).

That said, the weather was sunny and warm every day and Ian and I had adventures all over the city when I wasn’t busy having adventures with my friend Robert (also a conference partner) or by myself.

Then we came back to England, and as glad as I was to be back, there are certain things that I find difficult.  For starters: WHY IS IT ALWAYS RAINING IN THIS EFFING COUNTRY?????

And let me tell you, it is doing something way more substantial than “misting” at the moment.  If you need a Celsius-Fahrenheit translation: 10 C is about 52 degrees F. It’s mid-June, and I am sick of this shit.  The temperature has barely cracked 70 in 2012.

While I have my frustrations with England, I am surprised by what now seems normal. Ian and I met up for drinks with a new intern at his office yesterday (she’s a friend of a friend) and we talked at her for hours about all the things she’d need to know and all the things that had gone hilariously awry when we moved.  But on several occasions she said “I just love how…” or “I can’t believe how…” and I just kind of blinked at her.  Of course the pubs close early – that’s how pubs work.  Of course there are no gridded streets.  Of course the weather is cold and rainy (I have to say, that last one is the only one that really floored me.  She didn’t bring a coat or waterproof clothing.  The most cursory check of weather.com would have cleared that up for her).

What was even more startling to realise is that I had a similar conversation with English people at a pub recently – they were talking about their wacky experiences in the states (“you can’t buy electric kettles everywhere! they all have clothes dryers! they’re so nice!”) and while I was curious to hear it, I couldn’t come up with rejoinders until later (“you eat mushy peas and use date sauce instead of ketchup, for fuckssake”).  Most of England just seems normal, or normal-ish, to me now, and I have to give it some thought to come up with things that I think (or thought) were strange when I moved here last autumn.

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