Hello, Goodbye (Back in England)

Yes that was a Beatles reference. Let it be.

My first England-based post in six weeks! It makes sense since this was the first weekend I stayed in England since Stonehenge in mid-Feb (Los Angeles/Mallorca, Sevilla, Madrid, Dublin, Switzerland in the interim).

And I’m about to leave once more! This time, semi-permanently. I don’t intend to return to the UK until I need to pack and come back to the US at the completion of study abroad. In short, this actually is goodbye England.

I don’t really have anything earth shattering or groundbreaking to report. London has not changed much. It’s about ten degrees Fahrenheit warmer but that’s about it.

The Goal

Before I left, I made a promise to myself to go to either a soccer game or leave the country at least once every week. So far and thirteen weeks in, I have gone to eight soccer games and left the country six times over twelve of those thirteen weeks. One week I was sick and had an essay due so I didn’t do anything.

First and Second Trips to Wembley

2015-03-27 19.02.55 It was about time that I made a trip up to Wembley. A family friend, Nick Boddington, and I made it to the European Championship Qualifier game England vs Lithuania. I included the starters below because the dichotomy of the English and Lithuanian names is cool.

  • England starting XI: Hart, Clyne, Cahill, Jones, Baines, Carrick, Henderson, Delph, Sterling, Rooney, Welbeck
  • Lithuania starting XI: Arlauskis, Freidgeimas, Kijanskas, Mikuckis, Zaliukas, Zulpa, Matulevicius, Mikoliunas, Chvedukas, Cernych, Andriuskevicius

Snip20150401_20

There was a father and his seven-ish-year-old daughter sitting behind us. The father said in reference to Wayne Rooney’s pre-Manchester United playing days, “That’s an Everton man.” His daughter replied, “I didn’t know Rooney played for Everton. That makes sense why he is such a degenerate.” Pointed words for a young girl. Obviously, they were not Man U fans.

Wembley made such an impression that I returned the following day for a Saracens vs Harlequins rugby match, where it actually set the Record for Highest Attendance (84,068) for a club rugby match. I have 0.0012% of a World Record!!! At one point during the game, the stadium started playing “Born in the USA” on the sound system and the fans sang along, which was definitely the most surprising/bazaar moment of my entire study abroad trip so far. I left knowing most of the rules, which was more than I could say going in to the game. See, I am learning here.

Snip20150401_21

While I was purchasing my first fish and chips of the year at the concession stands, the worker had obviously never seen someone use an American credit card before. Usually, the only inconvenience of using an American card abroad is that you have to sign for every purchase, while the natives don’t need to. So when he was given the notification to “Verify signature” on the cash register – instead of making me sign like he should have – he confusingly asked to see proof of a signature. I showed him the back of the credit card and proved that I indeed do have a signature and hence it was verified.

Counter

  •  14, 014 – Words written on this blog so far (Children’s chapter books start at about a length of 16k words. I’m almost there, at the length of a published book)
  • 12 – UNESCO World Heritage Sites (Westminster, Tower of London, Kew Gardens, Sintra, Tower of Belem, Stonehenge, Bath, Serra de Tramuntana, Sevilla Cathedral and Alcazar, Toledo, Brú na Bóinne, Swiss Alps Jungfrau)
  • 8 – Personal phone numbers that I’ve used as my primary number on study abroad (+44 7598736659 [UK], +44 7404245455 [UK old], +1 310-809-2668 [USA], a +1 (661) number on Skype, +351 915-406-195 [Portugal], +34 602-695-139 [Spain old], +34 611-291-985 [Spain new], + 41 76-735-8909 [Switzerland])
  • 8 – Football matches (Crystal Palace x2, West Ham, Tottenham, Sporting Lisbon, Arsenal, FC Luzern, England National Team)
  • 6 – Airlines flown (United, British Airways x4, Ryan Air x3, Air New Zealand x2, airberlin, Easy Jet)
  • 4 – Essential items forgotten at least once on trip (Earplugs, Razor, Eye mask, Flip flops, headache pills)
  • 7 – Countries (UK, Portugal, USA [it counts], Spain, Ireland, Switzerland, Liechtenstein)
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