Monday, June 04, 2007

American Escapade

I have met so many people over the past month that the conversations are getting muddled in my head - who lived/travelled/worked where, favourite towns/foods/music, studies, stories, siblings...whew!

So anyway, Friday night housemate G and I went to the Embassy party at the Marines House and I had a wonderful time (although she is English she worked there last year). I had not been there since we applied for emigration. Somebody paid our entrance cover, which gets you a Marines stamp on your hand for the bar. I had forgotten how interesting international Americans are. I felt like...I was..."back home" BUT also that I was at all the college parties I had never been to (our university was Catholic and had no Greek system). The only difference here being that everyone was well-behaved and no one was noticeably drunk despite the drinks being free, and it was all over by 1am. No one even paid attention to the "last call"!

The bartenders were Marines and looked like grown up frat boys, but they were considerate in that they did not put too much alcohol into my drinks, they said so :) Hehe, Malibu and coke...which brings me to my next point - the loos, as I had to go quite often :)
You may laugh, but I couldn't help but notice that, after a while the M and F toilets were soon in use by both sexes, but what amazed me was that everyone without fail closed the toilet lid before leaving. I began to wonder if that had become part of basic training or something.

G and her ex-colleague J introduced me to a guy called R, highly attractive in a preppy ex-Army sort of way. (I've never met an American who served in Iraq before.) Also, I did not know I could have anything in common with a boy from Tennessee but I found that I do! Catholic uni education, Italy, art, psychology, intelligent conversation. I have to take notice of someone who compliments me for using the word "dichotomy". It's funny how when you're at a buzzing party, what people say just falls out of your head later on. He hadn't explored "downtown London" yet and mentioned that he wanted to go to the Tate Modern. Said something about the Marine formal ball, and embassy cars being fun! Argh!

All I know is, I wish I had given him my number when I thought of it. I keep learning, when you think of something, never hesitate or you will miss out. (G wouldn't stop asking me if I liked R, and observing how straight down the line he seems. Yes.)

I had also forgotten that well-educated southern boys were brought up to be such gentlemen. I would not know most of this because in Texas I was only ever friends with them. But a day after I told G, "He was like the grown up version of all the boys I knew at university" I slapped myself because I realised that they were all very lovely boys! Some of you may remember how excited I was about the Aussies. Well, now I am all excited about Americans. Ha, as if I didn't spend enough time over there. So to be finally treated like a woman worthy of notice by one....I was absolutely impressed.

After the party, the four of us went back to J's flat - gosh, the embassy puts its people into some lush properties - in our neighbourhood there are lots of Americans because of the American school, so you can imagine how nice it is. This place was impeccably decorated, with original artworks and sculptures. Couldn't see too much as it was dark and I only found the bathroom light switch after I left, hehe! But even in the bathroom there was a ship in a bottle on the window sill. All so picturesque.

We collapsed on the comfy sofas and fell asleep watching Seinfeld on DVD (I hadn't remembered it was SO funny, I thought I was going to turn inside out). R was out like a light as he'd been up since 5am the day before. G and I snuck out at 2am and walked the few minutes back to our house. :))

Next day my mother (yes I tell her all the gossip) in short, said, "Why didn't you do all that when you were at university?!?!?"


lunaliar said...

I agree! Southern boys are the best! (Am biased b/c I married one!)

programmer craig said...

Thanks for deciding to blog about that, I enjoyed reading it!

PS-Yes, the Marine Corps balls really are fun. I've never been to a US Embassy, but I've been to a lot of those :)

Military really knows how to do those formal events.

Olivia said...

Luna - :P
One of my English friends is so addicted to America she is squeezing every ounce out of this escapade and wants to come to Noo Yawk with me soon.
I told her those boys are not gentlemanly enough!


Craig - welcome back, glad you enjoyed the show.

Gosh, you have no idea how much I wanted to be part of it when I lived there. I used to be enamoured of the military weddings with the arch of swords like what they do at West Point. You know, this is the first time I have thought of that in at least 10 years! At one point I wanted to join up...Feels like another life.

The Moody Minstrel said...

Yes, Southerners are known for actually having some real manners.

Ironically, I once saw a Southerner here in Japan get royally chewed out by a (female) New Yorker...because of his manners!

"Stop calling me 'ma'am'!" she railed, "and knock off with all the pleases and sorries and thank yous and whatever, too! It's sexist, and it's offensive!"

"Okay," he replied, shrugging his shoulders with the usual dismissal with which he greets annoying Yankees.

(Afterward I told him he should've said, "Sorry, ma'am," but he didn't think it was such a good idea.)

Ames said...

Hey you talking about me!! I have been looking at flights to Noo Yawk and I think I can get one for under £400..maybe even under £350. Woo! I need to find me a Southern Boy then if you don't want me to marry a Noo Yawker!! ;)

Love you sweetpea!


Olivia said...

Minstrel - hehe! It is quite a code of conduct isn't it?

I am beginning to realise that my time in the US was only as a teenager and university student, and am wishing I could experience the it once again as an adult. Oh my God, does that mean I will be wanting to go back just as my mother is returning to London? What do you think I have been worrying about for the past few days? Eeeh! I hate being a double-expat sometimes. All those Americans unsettled me, and you should know that the thought of going back had already been simmering in my mind for a year or more.


Amesy - where? Where did I talk about you???

Keep your eyes peeled, I am now talking to Denise about October so it all depends on when I can get my cousin to arrange the christening....

Olivia said...

Ames, oh haah! I just spotted my comment about you to Luna :P

jojo said...

call friend, get his number! :p

mrsnesbitt said...

Greetings from North Yorkshire!
Came here via this that and the other! LOL

Olivia said...

Jojo - I did ask G yesterday. She asked J, and J ran into R in the elevator today - so he talked to R, who is thrilled - J sent R's number to G, and G sent it to me.

What a chain of command eh? It is a sort of pro-activeness I have never before attempted.


Mrs Nesbitt - welcome. You have found my blog on quite an unusual note! I hope you come back soon :)

Lotus Reads said...

Olivia, I LOVED reading about your evening, oh, bummer you didn't you exchange numbers with that guy from Tennessee!!! HOnestly, I consider a guy you can converse with a great catch, because, in any relationship, what matters is that you have someone you find it easy to talk to.

I don't know any Southerners, but yes, I am told they are gentlemen. Canadian men are awfully polite too, but I can't say what they're like as dates I've never been out with one.

So glad you had a good time at the party!!!

MattJ said...

Lookit you and your swanky irresistable badself! hehe.

I remember watching Seinfeld years ago on C4, high quality.

They had a really good thing over there called Dexter when I went out, very cool show about a serial killer that kills serial killers lol!

Anyways, back to the improtant stuff. It's good you had such an awesome time, I think that level of formal manners makes many people who aren't used to it uncomfortable these days - which is a crying shame because as you've said before it shows a level of respect that is really very nice. I've been racking my brains and think egalitarian describes it best, it doesn't matter who you are you get the same level of manners. That's not to say that they are definitely egalitarian, simply that these first meetings give you that impression - which is no bad thing!

PS Kudos on the tracking down of the boy!

Olivia said...

Lotus - hehe, well I am glad you enjoyed the read so much.

If you read my comment to Jojo, you will find that I do in fact, now have the number ;)

Yes, conversation was great. I liked that he doesn't drawl like a Texan or yack like a Noo Yawker. Despite having lived in Tx for half my life, I find the accents difficult to tolerate now.

Sorry to say I haven't yet met an interesting Canadian...but that could be because of the town my family live in.
Oh wait, there was the curator at the Dufferin County museum... :P


Matt - :P
At university we used to watch a bit of Seinfeld, as well as Frasier, Ally McBeal, Friends...

One of our friends dressed a bit like Seinfeld with the shirt, jeans and tennis shoes, and we would have a good laugh over that!

Is your paragraph about the manners referring to Moody Minstrel's comment?

Yes - now got number, may text mine and let him call - 'tis the right thing to do.

Dan said...

Olivia, first -- your mum sounds so sweet! Second -- YAY!!! And based on the comment you left on my blog. YAY YAY YAY!!!

I look forward to seeing how this develops! Hugs.

Rebecca said...

He he, but even better if he doesn't pay note to your use of the word dichotomy, because it's run of the mill.
Watching the morning news a few months ago (on the BBC) somebody used the word "emasculated" and the presenter said "oh, that's a big word for the morning". Liv: we are living in a dumb-down world!

Olivia said...

Dan - hehe, YAY. :)
Or should I say woo ha?


Rebecca - oh, you should know the context. I was talking about something, I stopped and thought a second and said, "Hm, I guess you could call that a dichotomy." He agreed and said that was very good. I have not used that word in spoken conversation very much. I think it might be a fashionable word like "paradigm shift" was is the 90s.

If it was BBC Breakfast, it sounds like something Bill Turnbull or Dermot Murnaghan might say in jest.

ML said...

It's good to keep your sights open to varitey :)

Sounds like a pretty great night.

Guyana-Gyal said...

sigh. Good-old fashioned manners. Does it really exist amongst men these days? sigh. What a lovely thought :-) I hope you meet R again, somebody just might know him.

Um Naief said...

OMG Olivia, where in the hell have I been??????

I am more than wildly excited for you.... I'm beside myself! An American... how did I know it!!! I wanted to just say it before but thought it might bring the wrong comments.... but... I'm really excited from all the posts I've read until this one.

I think having a gentleman that appreciates you is exactly WHAT YOU NEED! and a marine!!!

Well.... I'm thrilled and deliriously happy for you.

What a great neighborhood... and I love that you can tell ur mom everything. I do that too and love it!

Olivia said...

Um Naief - :)
You are so excited aren't you? But of course he's american, we met at the embassy :P

He is not a marine - he is ex-army and works for the DAO now. And only 27.
Oh, and he says that his colleague (ex-USAF) had his apartment professionally decorated himself. ;)

Um Naief said...

don't worry about any age difference... that's ok. he sounds smart, interesting, likes art.... and i'm sure he's intelligent.

you know, i'm older than hashim.... by several years and it doesn't cause any problems... ok, well... maybe some times... but nothing that i would contribute to that.

Anonymous said...

So that was your first meeting with R the American boy?

So cute you!