Around the World in 180 Days

A journey across the Atlantic and into matrimony

TXT March 28, 2010

Filed under: daily life — rhet @ 12:13 pm

Brits are text crazy. I noticed this first when I moved here and all of the plans the hubby made with friends were via text. Obviously, Americans text a lot too. For example, one of my friends from high school sent enough messages to win $10,000 from AT&T in a texting contest.

But here, even my dentist sends me reminders about my appointments via text as has the UK Border Agency just now***. The hubby and I signed up for our phone plans via text. A couple of days ago, I bought tickets to see a band via text. Every other commercial (or advert as theyd call it here) on TV is promoting some service you can sign up for with a few quick taps.

The hubby and I were even able to donate to the British charity Sport Relief with a quick text after watching the inspiring story of Eddie Izzard. (He ran 43 some marathons in 51 days from London, up to Glasgow and back! The documentary “Marathon Man” is definitely with watching, check it out here on the BBC iPlayer)

*** My interview with the Border Agency for my next visa (the one that will let me stay for another 2 years) is tomorrow! Wish me luck!


Class Culture March 17, 2010

Filed under: daily life — rhet @ 5:23 am

Years ago, when T tried to explain the class culture of the UK, I stubbornly didn’t believe him. I thought, surely in these modern times, class isn’t that big of a deal and that the UK couldn’t be all that different from the US when it came to class. Well, it turns out I was wrong and the guy who is native to the country actually knew what he was talking about! Go figure.

It dawned on me the other day when I was thinking about how something as simple as a haircut could demonstrate ones class here. With certain styles, sporting X cut means you are of X class. I’m sure there are exceptions to the rule, but generally if you wear a chavy hairsyle, people will assume you are a chav*.  And unless my memories of the homeland are slipping away faster than I thought, I can’t come up with one single haircut that would so clearly define a person in the US.

Now, I’m just using haircuts as an example here, as the same goes for a persons clothes among other things. Obviously in the US (and pretty much anywhere in the world really), you can get a pretty good idea about someone by how they’re dressed and how they present themselves but it’s becoming more and more apparent to me how distinguished and obvious the class structure tends to be here.

T says it’s gotten a lot better over the last 20 years but I still find the whole thing a bit odd and judgemental to my laid back American sensibilities. It’s hard to deny the stereotypes though when you see a group of teens dressed in sweat pants or track suits, loitering on the street accosting passersby with rude comments as the group who have taken over our local Subway have been doing. I can’t help but  avert my eyes and walk by quickly when I see them.

*Chav is a term applied to certain young people in the United Kingdom. The stereotypical “chav” is an aggressive teenager, typically unemployed or of white working class background  who repeatedly engages in anti-social behaviour, such as street drinking, drug abuse and rowdiness, or other forms of juvenile delinquency.


Recipe of the Week March 4, 2010

Filed under: tastebud tinglers — rhet @ 1:41 pm

see the heart shape in the pit of the squash? hehe We were too excited to taste the salad for me to remember to take a picture of it...which seems to happen more often then not, whoops!

I’ve been trying a few new recipes a week and I thought maybe I’d start sharing some of my favorites!  Even thought it’s only Thursday, I already know that this weeks big hit was a Garlic Roasted Butternut Squash Salad.

I looove butternut squash, but what really made this salad delicious was topping the squash with feta cheese and mixing red onion in with the salad for an extra kick. As soon as the hubby and I sat down to dig in, we both looked at eachother wide-eyed like “…wow”.  Its that good! Plus healthy, fairly easy to make and inexpensive!
So here’s what you’ll need (serves 2):

1 large butternut squash

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon parsley, chopped

100g feta cheese

1/2 a large red onion, chopped

1 small tomato, chopped

a couple of handfuls of lettuce, spinach, or rocket (spinach is the best IMHO)
What to do:

1. Preheat oven to 190 C / Gas mark 5. Grease a baking dish big enough to lay out all the squash in a single layer.

2. Peel the squash, slice in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Cut into 1cm (1/2 in) thick slices.

3. Place in baking dish, and toss with olive oil, garlic and parsley. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until tender.

4. Top squash with crumbled feta in last 5-10 minutes of baking. Then place squash on bed of salad with tomato and chopped red onion. Drizzle a little olive oil or balsamic vinegar  on top if you want.

5. Enjoy the deliciousness!