I have fallen in love over and over again with so many places here….the old churches that date from 1,300 years ago, the little local bakery housed in a 16th century building, the way the air feels on a crisp morning. I have learned to appreciate the sun and good weather because it doesn’t happen often enough here and when it does, you feel grateful. I have come to love the warmth of a radiator and how it dries my clothes. I have rediscovered countless times my passion for so many things here—writing, life, nature, and food. I have come to love the English countryside and all of the nature that surrounds me.
This morning on my walk to the village, I heard what sounded like a beautiful symphony of birds flying from tree to tree. I felt the sun on my face as it glittered through the trees. I heard the church bell toll as I sat outside and watched the village go by, many of which were dogs today for some reason–beagles, cocker spaniels, and greyhounds. In these places I have also discovered more about myself–how contradictory I can be or how I can constantly overcome things and then become shy again. I find myself comparing things here with how things are in America, which I guess is only natural when you try to assimilate yourself into another culture—its differences and similarities strike you more vividly than it would for a visitor.
One thing I am beginning to wonder about in this journey I’m making called life is this–do we ever get to live up to our ideals? I mean, does it ever materialize? Or are our ideals just something that is meant to keep us dreaming? Do I want my whole kitchen kitted out in Williams-Sonoma products? Yes. Do I want my house to look like something out of an IKEA and Pottery Barn catalogue? Yes. Do I want to wear clothes from Banana Republic at work and Anthropologie at home? Yes. Do I want to do all of my grocery shopping in the UK at either John Lewis or Waitrose and in the US, Whole Foods? Yes. Does any of this actually exist in my life right now? NO.
Yes I want to have perfect fashion sense rather than pay attention to how I’m looking these days when I walk out the door–are you really wearing a t-shirt that looks about ten years old with those brown shoes? Yes I am. I like everyone else wishes they could achieve perfection in life. But you know what? I’m discovering that that is just not happening so I’d better get used to it. In the mean time, I’m trying to appreciate all those things around me that I should be thankful for and love which most of the time cost nearly next to nothing.
So in light of things I love, let me share with you a few. They just happen to fall into the food category since I was in the kitchen at the time:
This cereal is something I rather enjoy. It has an apricot filling in the middle and a plain shredded wheat covering. I think I’ll have to try their other flavors too.
These are South African rusks and I LOVE them. Think buttermilk version of plain biscotti and you have these. I just got a new box of them yesterday and I’ve been trying really hard not to eat the whole box in one day. They are just delicious and make me want a cup of tea.
Mmm…Twinings Earl Grey….and now Lady Grey. I tried it last night for the first time, Lady Grey that is, and it was unlike any tea I’ve ever had before! It tasted almost like a more citrusy version of Earl Grey and it was almost reminiscent of a Fruit Loop…I’ll have to have another cup of tea with my rusks to see if I like it or not….
This is Kopparberg Pear Cider and boy is it good! It’s Swedish cider. I bought it from IKEA of all places because I thought that £1.05 was extremely reasonable. Cider here differs from that in the US in that it is an alcoholic beverage. Since I hardly ever drink, I like having one of these now and again, particularly on a nice spring afternoon.