It sure is nice to feel welcome. Everyone likes to feel welcome, right? It is a great feeling to walk into someplace and see a familiar face or even just a smiling one sometimes. I can't think of anybody who would LIKE to be shunned and excluded. Hmmm...
I got asked many things about being here while I was back visiting over the holidays, but one question that was most asked was, "are the people nice?" My standard response was, "well, sure, but its a different kind of nice." And then I would go into how, where and how I was raised, if someone new moved into the neighborhood, you went and knocked on the door, offered your name and a handshake--at the VERY least--and likely a cassserole or cookies. People are more reserved here, they are friendly, polite, but mostly quiet and keeping to themselves. I appreciate that, and it might be different if we lived closer to the city. While it is strange, I am adapting.
I am adapting, mainly, because of the wonderful people at our family oriented village pub. Not only have the owners, landlords, and staff welcomed me and the family, the regulars have as well. We are to the point where we now get invited for things. One guy has invited me to learn squash, one to take me to a WWII museum, and the golf society opened up to me right away.
Most of all though, the landlord, Mitch and his partner, Sarah have made me feel most at home. I, the new, American guy, have been invited to Mitch's 30th birthday on Saturday! I think that is pretty great. One of those, once in a lifetime shindigs, and they invited me. I am very excited to go and very humbled they invited me. Not that I should have expected it, but Mitch lets me know if they have something new, or something going on--like a random wine tasting to help pick new wines for the pub; they got us a card at Christmas, and even one at Thanksgiving, trying to show their hospitality. Really sweet.
They are wonderful ambassadors for the community as well, volunteering, raising money for causes, handling village functions, and being a information point for all things in the region. They are well liked, well respected, and on top of it all they run a first rate pub. Top quality food, Ales, and conversation.
They are really a credit to England, this region, and our generation. Thank you Mitch and Sarah for your friendship this first stretch of our stay here. I, for one, would have been lost without you guys!