Sunday, 1 May 2011

Parties, Pimms and Princesses: Easter in England

16 weeks is a long time. It’s more than a quarter or a year. 161280 minutes spent in Strasbourg between Christmas and Easter. Don’t get me wrong, they were fantastic, but I was ready go home for Easter. Somehow the novelty of always being foreign was wearing off by the end of term, and every phone call with someone away from Stras reminded me of what I was missing out on. I have had the most wonderful couple of weeks; I feel refreshed, awakened- I feel like I’ve been home.

I arrived to a proper British dinner prepared by my wonderful mother- shepherd’s pie and rhubarb crumble, I slept in my own bed and woke up to the smell of bacon sarnies. Its funny how the little things can make all the difference. My 2 weeks at home were filled with family and friends, they were so fab.
They were also filled with a rather out of the blue decision to learn to drive, so I subsequently took my theory test, a very last minute decision, but I’m pleased to say I passed. I also had my first ever driving lessons! Ok I am about 3 years behind, but you’ve got to start somewhere! My driving instructor took me at 50 mph down an A road in my second ever lesson, I managed to not crash or even stall, so I’m giving myself a pat on the back...

Whilst home I also made the most of the NHS (I’m kidding, I paid £200) by getting my vaccinations for my upcoming travels. This is no one’s favourite thing to do, but as I sat discussing with the doctor where I was going I felt so excited and privileged to be able to go to Latin America, it started to feel so real. I am ready for you, Brazil, Bolivia and Argentina!

But by far the most memorable day of the holidays was the last. The Royal Wedding. Ok, ok, I know, the royal family is not usually my thing. I don’t have any issue with them, but neither am I (usually) particularly interested in them. Nor am I a Torie. Having said that, watching the fairytale wedding of the future King and Queen was magical. What made it even more so was my crazy but inspiring Mother. I have been thinking recently about how your family shapes you, and I am certainly very blessed to have mine. I always come up with plans and I love to organise things, a trait I know I have learnt from my Mum. My parents became one of around 70 groups of people to shut off their road and host a street party. Honestly, I was so much fun! Pride in being British is not something I have ever had, but living abroad definitely helps to create a sense of national identity (although mine seems to be based on short skirts and bad taste in food if you ask the French). Seeing a small road in Nottingham covered in flags, and the 150 or so people who live around there sharing food, music, drawing on the road, playing volleyball, skipping and being neighbours highlighted the importance of a national event. For me, it’s not about the fairytale wedding, and the incredible dress (although I would quite like both!). It’s about community. It’s about making memories. There were so many little kids from the street, who willl all be able to tell their kids about what they did on THAT day, so many strangers who have become neighbours. It was such a fantastic end to the holidays and filled me up with enough Britishness to keep me going until the end of term. It was definitely a memorable day.

So there we are, England is gone again, this time I left filled with national pride, refreshed by the familiarity of home and excited about what is to come. Before we get to that though, there’s just the small question of my 6 exams. Revising is so difficult when all you want to be doing is making the most of your last 4 weeks living abroad, but I guess getting a degree is the point in being here....

Thank you to everyone who made the holidays amazing, and happy revising to all with exams! Much love xx