One year ago today, I got off the plane in Phoenix, ready to begin my new life… It seems like a millenium: I was single, the World Trade Center was still standing, and the first American with whom I had significant contact, was a Customs Officer, who grilled me for what seemed like an entire twelve months in itself over the plaster of paris in my luggage, suspecting it was drugs. How things change – nowadays, he’d probably assume it was anthrax.
Yes, I’ve survived an entire year in Arizona, and have reached the end of it without (fingers crossed) acquiring any malignant melanomas. Despite what I said above, the time has actually flown past, and I feel sure I must have hibernated for three or four months at least, entering a state of suspended animation when the air-conditioning broke down, or something like that. Actually, the heat, originally suspected to be a major problem, turned out to be nowhere near as much of a problem. Back in my youth, my mother spent most of the summer trying to persuade me to play outside because it was a “lovely day”. She also tried to make me eat vegetables. Now I’m an adult, I don’t have to do either.
I’m now thoroughly used to all the stuff that seemed so strange to start with: cinemas in which you can’t book actual seats, just a vague promise of admission; free refills on soft drinks in restaurants; commercials on the BBC [or at least, BBC America], interrupting the likes of Fawlty Towers and Red Dwarf to sell you compilation CDs of the best ukelele ballads, volume 3. Coping with this is now all part of regular existence, and demonstrates the remarkable flexibility and resilience of the human spirit. Er, or something like that.
Credit where credit’s due though: that the process of transition has been so painless must largely been due to my fiancee [a word I’m still formally getting used to!] Chris, who has smoothed over all the bumps in my road, and is undoubtedly the #1 thing I’ll be giving thanks for tomorrow – it being my second Thanksgiving in America. “Second”: more proof I’ve been here for a complete cycle of the seasons, and I’ve learned from last year’s mistakes, not the least of which might be that there is such a thing as too much honey-baked ham.
Meanwhile, progress towards getting married is slowly being made, though my Mother appears to be well ahead of any vague plans we have formulated – she has had some 34 years start on us. Part of me doesn’t want to get married any more: but before Chris (sitting next to me), has a fit, I should point out that I do still want to be married – it’s just the actual ‘getting’ part that seems to be as much a chore as a pleasure!
Right, that’s your lot – we’ve closed up shop for four days (we’ve got a lot to be thankful for!), which should give us enough time to plough through the turkey and out the other side. A Happy Anniversary to me, a Happy Thanksgiving to our American readers, and to all our British ones, a Happy…er, two-and-a-bit-weeks-past-Bonfire-Night. 🙂