Sunday, January 15, 2006

My good day, plus do I miss the States?

It was beautiful in Edinburgh yesterday. Thick, grey clouds plagued the city all day Friday, threatening to rain. It musta done over night, cos when I went out to get the paper Saturday morning, it was evident it had rained, but the sky was clearing. As the day progressed, the clouds continued to push away, the temperature became milder and it eventually became bright and sunny. These rare days make me love being here. The weather in Scotland is like psychology experiment into the effects of variable interval rewards. Most days range from not bad to shite. Then they throw a day in like Saturday and you forget all about the other "just OK" days.

It was my team's first game back since the Xmas break. We managed to win 3 sets to 2 after going down 2 sets to nil. I was pretty angry after the first set, especially as we were 22-18 up and lost 25-22. I got some flak from my coach, as I am the captain, and I should have repositioned the players. Trust me when I say to you that I have zero influence on this team. They do as they like and they have a very hard time adjusting to adversity. I was glad, in a way, to lose the first set. I thought it might set light to them (because we were playing an inferior team), but we just lost the second set. Matth came to see me, only his second game viewing. He says we've improved, which is true, and so has my setting. Yay! As a perfectionist, that's all I want to hear. Everything is coming together, but not in time. We're playing the best team in the league on the 28th, who just happen to be my volleyball club's first women's team. We are likely to get spanked. Check out the match report on the team website (listed to the right) to see how your Autumn did.

The Boy also noticed that while I was the only black person playing between, I was just as pale as everyone else. I am becoming British! Argh! I do miss being brown, but there is no way to do it unless I go to the ubiquitous and myriad tanning salons in the city. I'll go, but I'll be wearing a SPF 45+. George Hamilton’s sadly orange countenance is very popular over here, but I promise you that I will not succumb to that. Although, our friend Jose (the Boy and mine's Honduran friend who considers himself black) tutted about how pale I was when we were with him in June.

We saw the film Jarhead. I liked it so much, but the Boy was less impressed. He reckoned it wasn't anything special, as men in any close, intimate situations (fraternity, sports team, etc) behave in that same manner. I was coming from it in a different way. It reminded me a lot of the military culture in which I lived and grew up. Obviously I didn't really see the all the vile things military men did, I saw and heard enough. Plus, I loved the soundtrack. The movie was set during Desert Shield/Storm, so overheard was Naughty by Nature's "O.P.P" and Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry, Be Happy."

When I do see films (last one: Just Like Heaven) I do appreciate them a lot more since being here. The infusion of American culture reinvigorates me for going back into Scotland-land. You can tell when Americans are in the audience at a cinema here: the laugh louder than necessary. Just a natural American quirk (and shows how reserved the Brits are). Do you know that when I meet Americans here, 95% usually can't tell that I too am from the States? But the British people know. When a British person asks me, "Where are you from?” it usually means, "Which state do you come from?" (British people are like Black Americans who meet me: they just instantly know I'm not exactly like one of them. Black people always ask me, "What you mixed with? I know you Black, but...” Here: "You're American, or Canadian?") So when I see an American film, it reminds me that no matter how many British words I accept into my vocabulary, or no matter how much my inflection changes, I have to hold on to a little something of my terrible, arrogant, great culture that is of the US. Cos that's who I be, no matter how hard I hide it.

I'm even getting over my stomach bug and I ate a proper meal at a Japanese place after the film (well, half of it). Of course I wanted tonkatsu my favourite of all eats. They only had "Cutlet Pork Steak Rice" on the menu, which I assumed was said tonkatsu, but I decided not to assume, so I asked. Twice. The woman had no idea was I was talking about. Then I looked carefully at her and listened to her speak. She was Chinese! Clever. There are way too many Chinese restaurants in Edinburgh and very few Japanese. And the Chinese restaurants are crap. Really bad. I've had way too many overcooked, burnt meals to name, filled with MSG. (No dim sum!) Be thankful for your ethnic food, Americans. I so miss proper Chinese and Mexican food. The British are well known for the lack of good food. Somehow the ethnic population in Britain are becoming regarded for the same thing.


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