I tried to feed Sophie the very-British lunch of beans-on-toast, but, being a California girl, what she ended up eating was fresh fruit and organic yogurt. Nevertheless, we’re both adjusting well. Sophie has quickly learned the joys of British digestive biscuits, although she does call them cookies.
Yesterday, when it started raining hard, Sophie asked to put on her raincoat and play outside, so we did. I love her adventurousness. Even though I couldn’t bring all her toys here, she has discovered that our apartment has floorlength curtains which create a whole lot of play possibilites. There’s also a variety of shapes of sofa-cushions for fort-building. There’s windows looking out on a street that — unlike our quiet house in California — has a stream of people passing close by, often on bicycles. There’s 3 playgrounds that I have found so far within half a block. This is a 3-story apartment-building, so there’s also the walk-up-the-stairs-and-take-the-elevator-down game, which I’m trying to limit to less than 3 times a day. Sophie is even inadvertently adopting Cockney rhyming slang. Instead of “up the stairs,” she says “apples and pears,” or, most often, “apple juice.” That’s not quite the British accent we were hoping for, but I guess it’s a start.
I, too, am settling in. Yesterday I bought swede and porage at the grocery store. That’s actually quite prosaic: something like a carrot, and misspelled porridge oatmeal — but doesn’t it sound exotic? British food is better than I remembered. I guess good-quality produce is what you get when you escape the American agribusiness chemical-dependent craziness.
Other things the British do better than Americans: cheese, urban planning, digestive biscuits, bike lanes, pub atmosphere (though not the ale), and, I suspect, arranging enough social services so that all the parents and grandparents I meet at the playgrounds are more diverse and more consistently cheerful than the stressed-out parents in the states. These British folk have surprised me by their chattiness, too, at pubs and playgrounds and shops.
People keep asking me where my accent is from, as if I have an accent.
Jetlag means that Sophie sleeps in, a novelty for us. We’re about to wake her up this morning (it’s 9:45) so we can take her on the train-ride to London.
Here’s the things I have seen on British bicycles so far: a suitcase, a cat, and a viola. And the baby-strollers feature built-in umbrellas. I realize that all this is less exciting than Ben’s dramatic blog-posts about bicycling in the Alps, but walking up the stairs is what Sophie and I have done so far, and we’re enjoying it.