Welcome back! So now I’ll provide you with a little more information about my neighbourhood. One of my flatmates described it perfectly as, “a mini Woodstock.” We are enclosed by a blue gate. At this point I’m not sure if the gate keeps the crazy in or the normal out, but Seething Wells seems to be the place to be. Students are always outside on “the yard” playing games, chatting about whatever, doing school work, and soooooo much more. Every morning pieces of the previous night still linger all over the yard, and after an unusually warm weekend the yard was trashed.

Chillin on the yard continues to birth surprises. I met three awesome girls that answered all my immediate random questions about life in the United Kingdom. It cracks me up to be referred to as, “The American Girl.” Its crazy how I continue to feel more American in other countries than I do at home. I can truthfully say I don’t miss home yet, but I do miss the food. An In-N-Out Burger or a Cookout tray would be amazing at this point.

From meeting and talking candidly with my European schoolmates it seems like America is the big brother that moved away from home, wears all the cool clothes, knows all the hot new songs ect.. It cracks me up because America essentially came from here in the UK, yet we are where its at! I took a moment to think like a colonist coming from England in the late 1600’s. Colonization went a little something like this…

Settler John: Hey guys this place is getting old lets go search for a new life and new ways to get money. Rumor has it we can find gold, fur, tobacco, and more in the Americas! Its going to be a long trip though and there are not guarantees of prosperity or survival.

Settler James: Oh let’s do it!

Settler John: It’s not going to be easy, and if you don’t work you don’t eat. It’s a whole new world.

Settler James: Well we need to find some people to do the work. I don’t want to work too hard but we need labor, I’m all about the Benjamin’s babe! (I know Ben Franklin wasn’t born yet but bare with me as I paint a picture for you).

Settler Jan: I’m down. I just want to practice my religion without having people all up in my business about it.

Settler John: Ok …I feel you both. James maybe we can bring some indentured servants with us, if that doesn’t work we can just cop some slaves. Jan it’s your world home girl you can practice whatever religion you want to in the new world!

So this is how America became the place to be, a few people setup shop ‘new world.’ Loads of students were NBA and NFL paraphernalia here! I’ve seen so many Yankee fitted hats that sometimes I forget I’m in London…. until I go to the market (nobody says grocery store). I came across a couple in the market we were both looking to buy some eggs. Of course her man reaches for the cheaper crate and she says, “No! Get the free range eggs.” I had to ask what the difference was. She showed me, “These are free range eggs, they are about 80 pence more than the caged eggs.” Just the thought of eating eggs that came from such a hostile environment forced me to choose the more expensive free range eggs. I’ll invest in the happiness of my food any day.

Things were progressing wonderfully. But every bubble gets burst. This week I had to deal with the one aspect of life that I dread regardless of where I am located in the world …wildlife. It began on Saturday night I was strait chillin, enjoying the evening festivities with a few new friends. I spotted something lingering in the distance but I thought it was just me. My mental plan was to wait until somebody else noticed it I didn’t want to seem paranoid. That didn’t last long because I immediately identified the creature. I have never seen a fox before in my life, but when I saw it I knew EXACTLY what it was. So as I began to gather my belongings and break for the room my schoolmates began to giggle commenting, “Its just a fox, he is more scared of you than you should be of it.” I felt like this statement was some bull because the creature kept coming closer. I was not about to be a victim. This is where the story ends I went directly back to my flat.

The next interaction was with a spider. He was no Daddy Long Leg, his body was about two inches in diameter. He was larger than the Wolf spider that I discovered in Wilton, California this summer. I found him on the kitchen floor after one of my flatmates left the window open. I immediately sought out help. The alpha dog in our flat (the only male) of course was nowhere to be found. He is currently working hard to earn back his role as pack leader but honestly it doesn’t look good. Whenever we need him he is gone. Fortunately my flatmate Ashley was there to save the day. I am not sure if she set him free or killed him (I think my preference is clear) but he was gone and I was able to enter the kitchen.

My relief was extremely short lived because the following evening terror overtook our flat in the form of maggots! That’s right you read correctly MAGGOTS! I hate even typing the word but the story must be told. Since we arrived in the residence halls this random brown plastic box has sat under our trash can. Honestly I had no idea what it was but it wasn’t bothering me so I never inquired about it or used it. Apparently the other American students were in a similar blissful ignorance so they didn’t employ or question the box either. Well Sunday afternoon while enjoying the action on the yard the box came to life.

I was watching young Englishmen play hacky sac when my phone started to ring. It was my flatmate and she sound extremely worried and kept talking about worms. She was asking when I was coming back but at that point I didn’t know if I would ever return. I knew immediately NOTHING I could do would help so I sought out additional help. The security center in the front of our residence hall is 24-hours. At the desk I found Toby, he was a nice young lad and after I explained the phone call he replied, “Oh yes mate! Your flatmates were just here. I gave them some spray you should be alright.” This response was not adequate, because the phone call I received was quite frantic. I asked him would he come with me and he reluctantly agreed.

So to make a long dramatic/traumatic story short, we learned the brown box is for food scraps. It was supposed to be taken out with the trash. Since the American who was responsible for trash that week didn’t know what the box was for maggots grew on the inside. When one of my European flatmates went to open the box maggots erupted and so did this nasty odor. Since the alpha dog was of course nowhere to be found, Toby cleaned up the mess (with his bare hands). After we explained that in America we don’t use scrap boxes he kept saying, “You poor young ladies” with a slight smirk. It was clear that he found the situation slightly comical but I didn’t care as long as he cleaned it up! So now we are back in the kitchen free of the wild life.

The biscuit versus cookie debate has resurfaced. My concept of a biscuit is foreign here. Every time someone offers me one I get excited on the inside. The thought of bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiched between to fluffy pieces of bread will always be my biscuit. Not a freakin cookie.

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