It is the mix of familiarity and alien strangeness that Europeans have so often found confusing, and occasionally horrifying, but the flaws lay as much in their expectations as in the reality they encountered.Philip Jenkins, A History of the United States
Wednesday, 4 August 2010
And the church is real old...
Hello! As you may have noticed from Facebook I have safely arrived in Kansas City, having rediscovered my dislike of flying (though I did get to see Frost/Nixon on the first flight, which was nice). I was picked up at the airport by the happy couple Dave and Sarah, who have given me an American flag, a lovely hat with Captain America on it, and a poster covered with fake Americans like Igor Stravinsky and Barack Obama.
I'm staying with a guy called Tom, who is incredibly friendly, very helpful, and completely forgetful. Casey, a friend of Sarah's who is also staying there, had all of her stuff moved out onto the landing yesterday because he kind of forgot that she was staying there, and on a less serious note he keeps telling us all the same stuff. This does mean that we're learning things about Kansas City very thoroughly, such as that the church where the wedding is happening is from the 1890s, and that the art gallery is real famous and Tom has a membership card, and that if we need any towels there are some somewhere but I can't remember where I put them....
Playing spot the difference has been fun. A huge amount is familiar, and the common language makes everything written easy, but at the same time I struggled to make myself understood when ordering water yesterday! The main difference is how hot it is here - yesterday was the hottest day of the Summer so far (around 40 degrees centigrade), so it's impossible to stay outside for too long. Of course everything's bigger, but it's also so much more spread out. In this heat you couldn't actually walk between some buildings which are technically neighbours, because there are massive green spaces between them even just outside the centre of town. And of course everyone has huge gardens and enormous houses, and Tom has a creek out the back which we went and had a look at.
The rest of Dave's family arrived yesterday, along with our school friend Martin Noutch, so we're spending today being chilled out to give them a chance to get over the jetlag. We're hoping to go swimming this afternoon, but given it's an outdoor pool I'm not sure there's actually going to be any water left in it by now.