When I was 10 years old my family went on vacation to London. I say “vacation” because I had never heard of taking a "holiday" before, nor had I heard of smoking a fag (though growing up in California I had probably never seen anyone smoke a cigarette either) and I laughed out loud when my dad told me how the pronounce aluminum. Al-U-min-E-um? Crazy!
When we arrived at Heathrow my mother told us the following joke, which does not translate well in writing so pretend to speak it aloud.
Q: How do you get two whales in a Mini
A: Up the M4!
(Q: How do you get to Wales in a Mini)
No one laughed. “I don’t get it” I said. “well,” said my mom, “Wales is a place near England. And the M4 is the road you take to get there”
I pondered for a moment. “But what’s a mini?” I asked.
In College I considered going on an international exchange. My small school had programs in England and Ireland and the East Coast (not, in fact, international, though in Massachusetts they often drive on the wrong side of the road anyways). “I don’t want to go to England” I told the program facilitator. “Why not?” He asked.
“I don’t like British people” I said, “It’s just that they have accents and I think they think they’re smarter than me because of how they talk” Needless to say, the exchange tutor never did follow up with me about leaving America.
When I started my backpacking trip I planned to go to England for 2 days before going to the better parts of Europe – basically everywhere except France. My aunt asked if I wanted to go to Ireland, I had never considered it. I liked it there. I decided to visit Scotland as well, since I was so close.
Europe was great, but sometimes my Aunt’s flat in London was better, and I ended up spending over a month with her. I was looking at a map one afternoon when I realized I was close to visiting every capitol city in the UK, and every K in the UK. All I needed was to Visit Wales, and Cardiff was only 3 hours away. I booked myself a bus there to check it off my list.
And I had a lot of fun, and there were old castles, and nice people, and green hills, and blue sea, and trees and parks and coastline… and it was cheaper than London, Cheaper than Edinburgh, and cheaper than Dublin. And I was accepted to Graduate study there.
And all rationality aside, it’s where I think I want to be at this moment in time. So I’m boarding a plane, starting a blog, packing my life, and seeing what happens. Welcome to RachelInWales, and I hope I’m Welcome in Wales as well.