When I was sixteen my mother sent me to England for a week to visit my sister who was doing a semester abroad. She was staying with the family of one of our former exchange students, and they were so excited to have me visit they planned a special weekend in the Cotswolds jut for me. The host mother, her sister, their mother, my sister, and I all headed to the English Countryside for a lovely weekend.
The Cotswolds is a beautiful place with lots of quaint shops and churches. We even saw a castle with huge, gorgeous grounds and creepy little gargoyles doing dirty things on the roof (the host mother kept trying to distract me, but I knew what was going on). It really is a great place, but maybe not ideal for a sixteen-year-old who grew up around enough cows that sheep aren’t that interesting. The host mom was so excited, and I really, really did love the castles. But all did not go smoothly.
The inn where we were staying had a very traditional English menu, which meant that I didn’t recognize anything. So, the only thing I would eat was beef stew. Three meals a day beef stew. This was fine for the first three bowls of stew, but then the cook started putting things in it. Like dumplings. Which I agreed to eat. The cook must have taken this as a sign that I was open to experimentation (Giggidy). The next meal my bowl came out with a dead bird sitting in it. A whole miniature dead bird. I think I screamed.
We went to a nice hedge maze, which was awesome. I’m sort of glad this was pre Harry Potter maze. That probably would have made it a lot less cool.
But the worst part was that as the youngest, it was my job to push Granny’s wheelchair down the cobble stone streets. I didn’t mind the exercise. Or even listening to the same three stories on repeat for three days. But I can’t steer. That annoying person who can’t get out of the way in the grocery store because they can’t get the stinking cart to turn is totally me. Our last afternoon in the Cotswolds, I was pushing Granny over a cobblestone bridge (I don’t know who thought covering a bridge with cobblestones was a good idea) and tipped Granny out of the wheel chair. Oops. She was fine. I mean, she did die a few months later, but my mother swears I had nothing to do with it. And Granny, I will always remember the time I almost killed you on a bridge in the English countryside.
Please comment and share with friends! I’ll be back from Europe soon (I’m currently on my way to Rome) and would love lots of messages to read on the flights home!
Another story from that trip to Europe: Two Americans in Paris