Friday, August 19, 2011

Making Inroads

Lots of progress on the social scene this week.  After barbecuing with our (Aussie/Kiwi/Chinese) neighbors on Sunday, Wednesday night marked another huge milestone for us.  We went out to dinner with an actual English person!  Anyone who's moved to England from another country can tell you that the English are notoriously private and somewhat socially awkward, which makes it difficult to make friends.  They are not overtly UN-friendly, but they keep to themselves much more than Americans -- and most other cultures.  As a result, most of the "locals" that we've become friendly with are other expats -- either from the US or other countries.

So how did we manage to swing a social outing with an Englishman?  Well, he's married to one of Josh's colleagues, who happens to be Australian.  She and Josh organized the dinner plans, and we all met up at an Italian restaurant near BAE's central London office (where they were both working that day).  I usually try to avoid traveling during rush hour, but since our reservation was at 6:30, I didn't have much choice.  The Tube ride wasn't bad -- I had a seat until I changed trains 4 stops away -- but it literally took me 10 minutes to get out of the Piccadilly Circus station because it was so crowded.  Not fun.  I don't think I could handle having to do that every day.  It's far worse than the Metro in DC, which has cavernous stations that keep you from feeling claustrophobic.  Getting through many of the London Tube stations, which are about 100 years older than the Metro's, often requires making your way through a maze-like series of narrow tunnels, up and down stairs, and even along platforms for other lines.  I can see why people tend to just walk.

The dinner conversation was better than the dinner -- which wasn't bad, just kind of bland -- and Giles (yes, Giles!) suggested we go out for a drink afterwards. We took that as a good sign that he actually liked us.  Since Josh mentioned that he and Brigid were just recently married, I figured it was OK to ask how they met -- as I was secretly curious how she managed to break through the English wall of privacy.  It turns out they used to work together many years ago.  Makes sense.  They HAVE to talk to you if you work together.  Anyway, they were both very friendly and easy to talk to and we discovered a mutual love of board games, so I have some hope that we will get together with them again.  The only catch is they live clear on the opposite side of London from us -- which is why we met up in central London for dinner.  We are on the same Tube line, but we are at one end and they're at the other, so the door-to-door journey would take about an hour and a half.  We may have to find a good pub halfway in between.

1 comment:

  1. Good job!! I hope this leads to a brand new cluster of English (and expat friends) to add to your already massive brood of California and Washington DC friends!


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