It’s 3am UK time. I am wide awake. It seems that my body clock has been spun completely off-center. It’s funny, I always used to sleep fairly well on my return trips to England when living here, but now that I am more of a visitor than a resident, my body can’t seem to adjust, at least not yet anyway.
Today Brooke and I will be heading up to London on the train to see The Phantom of the Opera. There are three things that I wanted to do with Brooke on her first visit to the UK, which I didn’t get a chance to do last time. One was to eat at the Punch Tavern, which we did yesterday. The second was to go to a theatre production in London, which we’re doing today. And thirdly to head to Paris for a day or two, which we’re planning on doing next week before we leave.
Whenever I used to travel to the US; I used to compare prices between products and services in the Canterbury area, and in the Cincinnati area. Now, after having lived in the US for 4 1/2 years I find myself doing the same in reverse. What I remembered is the high cost of housing and petrol/gasoline, but what surprised me was the day to day cost of food, clothes and various home products. I remember thinking how cheap everything was in the US when I used to visit, but lately it seems that everything is so expensive. It is true, many items have gone up in price in the US, inflation it seems, is far higher than you’ll hear about in the media.
I can see now why both the UK and US governments behave the way that they do when it comes toward oil and gasoline/petrol. The UK has made it practice to restrict its citizens usage of the resource since it needs to import more of it. Whereas the US economy is built off cheap oil, and the US government builds its blunderous foreign policy off retaining its dominance on the purchase of cheap oil. Of course, both governments are wrong in their policies, since there are alternative energy resources readily and cheaply available. But it does explain why prices and inflation are higher than ever, and why energy prices are so high.
I was amazed at the cost of a meal at the Punch Tavern; £5.79 for a meal with a pint of beer. That’s amazing! Brooke and I would easily drop $40 – $50 for the same meal each back home, and yet my dad only paid about £22 for himself, my mum, Brooke and I.
On recollection. There really isn’t a ‘better place’ to live in the world, your home is where you make it, and what you enjoy out of it. Sure, there are better places, and I enjoy the 28C/86F warm sunny weather back home in Cincinnati compared to the 9C/50F cloudy drizzly weather in Canterbury right now. But the walk that Brooke and I took yesterday evening along the back woods where I used to jog as a teenager were so quite and so peaceful. The wooded areas were full of bluebells, something that I’ve wanted to show Brooke since I first met her. And the fields were quiet and rolling. There wasn’t a sound in the air, except a few rumbles of cars in the distance and the chirp of birds in the air.
I think life is meant to be lived, and it doesn’t matter where you are, nor too much what you’re doing. But how you’re doing it, what you’re doing it for, and whether you’re enjoying it or not. Life really is too short. I grew up in this country, I’ve lived here 4/5 of my life, and yet I feel more like a stranger now than anything, even though I am used to the customs and find myself easily able to blend in and get around.
I’ve grown up a lot since I left England. America is the land of opportunity, though not all Americans, perhaps even the majority don’t use the opportunity. I think England has as many opportunities as America, but perhaps not in the same context. You can get a good education in England far cheaper than in the states, but to buy a place to live here in Canterbury you’d need to be practically a millionaire, whereas in Cincinnati they’ll pretty much give you any mortgage you want, and you can buy a house for not much more than a car in certain places.
I feel bigger now than when I left England, bigger in mind body and soul. I left the old country with many ideas, expectations and dreams. I have achieved many of them, and am proud of myself for doing them. I owe all my successes in life to my wife and my parents, without their support, I doubt I would have achieved half of them. It makes me very happy to be spending the next week and a half with all of them in the place where I grew up. I shall make the most of this, and enjoy eating my favorite meals and seeing old sights, friends and family.
Now to try and grab a couple extra hours sleep, so that I don’t feel like a zombie while walking around London!