Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Grey Skies Smilin' at Me

In some ways, my high school education was lacking; particularly in the area of international awareness. So my early academic exposure to English culture wasn't exactly extensive. British literature was limited to Macbeth. I'm pretty sure one of my English teachers thought that we invented the language, and seemed to have her own version of it. And we somehow managed to gloss over centuries of colonial rule under the British Empire (but then again we had "social studies" not history). So until too recently, my knowledge of Great Britain consisted mostly of the stereotypes.

I may have heard a rumor that British food was inedible, heard mention that the weather was pretty dismal, and saw endless cinematic evidence that their oral hygiene was, er...poor. After spending some time there though, I've found the food quite charming, the teeth generally healthy (thanks to a nationalized health care system!), and the weather, well, rather bad. But surely that's a matter of opinion. I mean, 113 days of rain and more than 3,000 hours of overcast every year must be someone's ideal climate. Though English weather certainly did live up to its reputation the first time I landed in London.

During the flight, we had soared along the blue horizon and through the wispy white clouds. I was brimming with excitement as the pilot announced our decent into London. But as we went lower, the clouds grew darker. And we got a drizzly, foggy welcome when we touched down. I knew I really must be in the UK!

I wasn't disappointed on my next trip either. Like some sort of weather-time warp, the sky transitioned from wide-open blue, to mildly oppressive grey. Without fail, each time I fly to England I receive the same dreary greeting. And it always puts a smile on my face. Here's hoping that Wednesday's forecast calls for rain!

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