Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Anglophile

definition: a person who greatly admires or favors England and things English
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This is so me. To a t.
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This post has been brewing in my mind for a couple of years, but I think it was spurred on with the excitement I feel knowing that there are quite a few of you U.K 'ers out there who read my blog every day. I was amazed to see, just recently, that there were 17 page views from you folks in one day! One reader from Scotland has even exchanged a few emails with me. I can't tell you how happy this is makes me!
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For as long as I can remember, I've always had a fascination and interest in English culture.
I think it started with Princess Diana. I remember staying up all night long at my grandmother's house, watching the Royal wedding.
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Around the same time (I must have been about 10 or 12 years old), my sister Natalie, who I would say started all the craze in our family, dragged me with her to a department store that had a hat department. (Yes, those were the days.) I wondered what she was up to, as I knew there was no way she would be buying a hat. We quietly looked around, and then all the sudden she starts talking with an English accent. My mouth dropped. The saleslady perked up and approached, asking if she could be of assistance. Natalie then proceeded to tell her that she was "on holiday here in the states, visiting friends, and what a fine assortment of hats these were, just like the kinds back home in England!" I stood, as you can imagine, stock-still and wide-eyed, taking this all in. She kept up the act flawlessly for what seemed an eternity and I breathed a sigh of relief when we finally walked out of the store.
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In 1984, our family moved to Portugal for three years. My father knew how much it would mean to us all, especially Natalie, to stop for a few days in London before we got to our new home. I'll never forget how fun it was to ride to our hotel in that old- fashioned black taxicab (all 9 of us, plus all the luggage made for more than one taxi), take a tour of the city on that double-decker bus, see the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, and explore, on foot, Hyde Park and the maze of city streets and quaint shops. Of course, Natalie knew exactly where we were at all times, as she had memorized maps of the names of the streets and their relationship with each other. This was an experience that I'll always treasure.
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My love affair continued as I grew up. When I was a senior in high school, I read the classic novel Jane Eyre, then watched the BBC Timothy Dalton production, fell even more in love, and vowed to name my first daughter Jane.
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And I did exactly that.
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That first piece of English literature was only the beginning. Since then, I've devoured everything by the Bronte sisters, as well as anything by Jane Austin. Almost any book, I can't count them all, that is set in England is a sure-fire attraction. The Miss Read series, James Harriot's books, Mrs. Miniver, Thomas Hardy, Dickens (of course), countless children's literature favorites, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society... the list could go on for miles.
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I love the concept of tea-time. The ceremony. To be able to slow down. To gather one's thoughts. To gather with loved ones. To quietly sip something warm; to indulge, sometimes, with a little dainty or "sweet". Sometimes, when we're in the big city, we'll swing by a certain British food import market and sit down for a pastry and cup of peppermint tea.
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Sigh...
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Keith and I dream of touring England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland someday. Especially the countryside and villages. To stay in a few charming bed and breakfast inns. That's huge on our bucket list.
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To see this
or this

I'm not the only Anglophile in the family. I often hear my nineteen year old son Gary, blaring "Rule, Britannia!", playing it over and over, while he's doing the dishes. (You should hear him singing along with gusto, too!) I've found him watching with genuine interest, old YouTube videos of past Parliamentary proceedings with Margaret Thatcher firmly holding her ground against the "Libs". We both laugh and get a big kick out of this.
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British costume/period dramas make me swoon. I like them more than any American film. I'll lose sleep to watch re-runs of Hyacinth Bouquet in BBC television's Keeping Up Appearances. I laugh until I cry.

The kids are excited to watch the Mr. Bean DVD's Sam got for Christmas. Not my "cup of tea", really. I just don't get this humor (humour). The rest of the Christmas videos, Miss Marple, North and South, Silas Marner, and more Cranford (we stayed up late last night, enjoying this one.) will all be treats to look forward to.

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I love you, Britannia, I truly do. My heart moves whenever I hear "God Save the Queen". I love the pride and tradition of your people. I'm an American through and through, and I know that my admiration to your land and culture might be a little romanticized, but still...
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My heart belongs to you. It always will.

5 comments:

  1. And don't forget your beloved, favourite British brother-in-law, David!!

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  2. Interesting to know this facet of you! I share your love for some things British! :) Especially my grandma Daisy Rose Spencer.

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  3. I feel the same for Italy. Visiting there is HIGH on my bucket list.

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  4. I hope you don't think we're all like Hyacinth!

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