When my mom told me she had found a contact for me in London, I would have never imagined such a wonderful experience would come from it. My mom’s friend’s friend was raised in Orange county, just miles from where I went to high school. Her, her husband and 4 daughters moved to London and have resided there for 17 years. I reached out with an email asking for some good food options in London. Her response back was an enthusiastic invitation to a Sunday lunch!
Before I could enjoy a nice meal, I had to use public transportation independently. A potential difficulty for most, but an ensured challenge for a SoCal, visually impaired girl such as myself! I took the tube with ease, but found a roadblock when I could not find the bus stop I needed. At first I calmly circled around the tube station. I grew a little anxious especially since every London-er I asked for help from was anything but helpful. After nearly a half hour of searching, I finally found the right stop and nearly jumped for joy!
I arrived to a cute neighborhood and was greeted by her 15 year old daughter. It was explained to me that Brits traditionally have Sunday lunch together with friends and family. This included a roast chicken and roast potatoes. However, she made mashed potatoes to ensure I would like them. 🙂 It felt like thanksgiving dinner!
It was comforting conversing with Brits from America because they understood the culture shock I was experiencing. They told me good “American” food places and gave me their best Mexican food recommendations. I was really interested by their perspective.
After lunch I watched Modern Family with her daughter and her daughter’s friend. The friend giggled at my strong American accent! haha We talked about music and TV. We both liked One Direction even though she said they are fading from the spotlight in England. I was talking with the girls about their school and the school uniforms they have. Her daughter said that during Christmas time they got to wear their “Christmas jumpers.” My mom’s friend’s friend jumped in the conversation and explained to me that a jumper is a jacket in England. She told her daughter what a jumper meant in America… we had a good laugh!
After a nice lunch they took me out to the local pub called the Sun Inn for a half pint out by the pond and dropped me off at the bus stop. It was so refreshing to have had experienced true British hospitality. London isn’t the warmest of cities (in many ways!), but being invited into the family’s home was one of my favorite experiences thus far. Arcadia, my host program here, recommends that we try a homestay with a British family for a weekend. Although I did not want to do that, I now can see the benefits of getting to know a family from London. Even miles away from home I still was able to enjoy a home cooked meal, good company and a warm home.