It is actually Sunday afternoon and I was actually going to write about piglets, England and its incompetence in dealing with poor weather, and my ongoing battle with my sad little excuse for a fridge, but those can now wait. Tuesday Morning is actually one of my favourite songs by the Pogues, and one that makes me think of home a lot.
When meeting new people in the UK, it has never failed that the question “What are you doing here?” arises. For some, that question may mean Bristol and others just England in general. Why did I pick up and move part way across the world. Times like when the letting agency told me I had to pay 6 months rent upfront, I get no calls for teaching work/I get a class of horrendously rude British children, a bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide is no where to be found at the Chemist, or when spending a holiday alone form that very same question in my mind: What am I doing here?
Ever since going to Japan, I have had a travel itch. I think the decision to actually move somewhere came in University. I went into University not really knowing what I should do, but wanting to get in, out, and go explore. In retrospect, I probably should have explored, figured it out, and maybe gone elsewhere for University but at least I have a mildly useful Bachelors degree. While choosing a place to go, I figured I might as well use that Bachelors and do some teaching. Which pointed me to Australia, an Asian country, or England. England won based on its proximity to the rest of Europe, English (or some form of) is spoken, the opportunities for a Newly Qualified Teacher were greater than in Australia, and I have a soft spot for certain aspects of the culture.
There are times when I know what I am doing here: plane ticket to the Netherlands costing $70CDN, yorkshire puddings widely available, cider festivals where a pint of something delicious costs less than a bottle of Strongbow (I’ve had cider that tastes like apple pie, sorry Strongbow, you lose), or the multitude of concerts available. Last night, I had one of these moments. We had gone out for James’ birthday with some Australian and Canadian people we met. Sitting in the bar listening to some DJ (whose last job was probably working at the Scuz) playing everything from McFly to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You”. Thoughts of “What am I doing here?” were definitely brewing, but it was a birthday celebration and time to act rather ridiculous. In this moment, things switched.
One of the things I most enjoy about traveling is the freedom of not really knowing anyone. It is lonely at times but there are no pre-conceived notions, situation or experience based opinions – you are free to start from scratch and try to make friends with someone else who is probably lonely. (*This doesn’t always work and the poor guy at the hostel desk has to try to figure out how to switch you rooms because the weirdo in the top bunk has the illusion he is alone in the room…) Something I set out to do when deciding to move part way across the world was to meet lots of new people – celebrating with 7 people I didn’t know, was a step that way.
And how should the bar finish the evening? The bar playing ‘Getting Jiggy With It’? Well with The Pogues ‘Fairytale of New York’!! I previously mentioned I have a soft spot for some parts of UK culture – Celtic music is a MAJOR soft spot and the Pogues are well, marvelous. I love that while through the evening the bar with typical dance music ended with something so cultural. In Canada, you don’t really get that. So there we go, jumping in a circle, singing Fairytale of New York in a pub in downtown Bristol is a reason I am here!
I would also like to mention I am going to see the Pogues in Birmingham on December 18th. They were one of those bands I had accepted I would never see live (mostly because I am surpised that Shane McGowan is still alive..) but now I get to see them for the farewell Christmas Tour and I’m so excited! As this is one of my favourite Christmas songs, I was going to leave it until the revealing of my Christmas tree to you all, but I leave you with a video of Fairytale of New York with the late Kristy McColl. Cheers!