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Yes, I’m back in the USA

Leigh in Sainsburys with RibenaI am exhausted.

I am completely, utterly, totally, thoroughly drained and exhausted.

On the plane on the way back last night, I had a ‘finger count’ on my hands to be sure of the exact number of days that I spent back home1 in England. It was 11, plus a day of flying either side.

All I can say is that it honestly felt like it was about double that. I don’t think I’ve ever squeezed so much into my life in such a short space of time before, and we are both totally drained. For the last couple of days, when we saw people, friends would say to us “You look exhausted” – yes! We are!

I had a big list of all the things that I wanted to do whilst back in England, and I’ve just been through it and have only ticked off about half of them. There were places that we were were DEFINITELY going to go to (Greenwich Market, the Yorkshire Grey pub), that we didn’t. There were things that I was DEFINITELY going to buy (a UK layout keyboard) to bring back with me that I didn’t, and there we people that I was DEFINETELY going to catch up with, but didn’t – and I’m already weary about the repercussions of people now emailing me saying“Why couldn’t you be bothered to come and see us?”.

So I’ve learnt that if I take a trip to England again, it’s actually worth planning less and not trying to make a big effort to see everyone because i) You won’t anyway, and ii) You’ll feel like you’ve not spent quality time with people – just rushed round trying to squeeze everything in instead.

And now we’re back in the USA, and it reminds me of when I first got here in May of last year and I felt totally and utterly lost. I feel more at ‘home’ now, but it’s still strange because everything that I knew and loved about England is still there – a comfort, I guess because it means it will always be there. Not that much has changed in eight months, but I guess given more time I will.

[1] I’ve realised that when I’m in in the USA, England I refer to as ‘Back Home’. And versa … as when I was in England I would refer to ‘Going back home’ mean the USA. I’m confused as to where ‘home’ is – help!

43 responses to “Yes, I’m back in the USA”

  1. TowerTina says:

    Glad you ‘home’ OK, keep up with that Ribena in hot water, helps to soothe the throat. ‘Twas good to see you both.

  2. Richard says:

    Have you heard the Chuck Berry song ‘Back in the USA’? It’s one for you to listen to and decide if you agree with him.

    Did I miss the skyscrapers, did I miss the long freeway…

  3. imabug says:

    welcome back! you got back just in time for Sunday’s blogger gathering at Madra Rua. you’d better go to Postscripts and catch up.

  4. Paul Webb says:

    2 questions:

    Did you ride the Tube just for fun?
    What formerly familiar thing really surprised you about your ‘old life’?

  5. Joan says:

    I am convinced you catch bugs on planes. Uggh. Hope you feel better.

  6. You’ve got 11 fingers? Freak! πŸ™‚

  7. jj says:

    welcome home, Geoff.

  8. tami says:

    Glad you all made it home ok across the pond…

  9. Mikey says:

    Dammit Ian, you beat me to the 11 fingers thing.

    Did anyone watch the first episode of that Million pound giveaway on ITV last week? A couple of kids went on, wanting ~£3000 to ride every train in England, and he mentioned he had done the Tube record already.

  10. Tom Cairns says:

    Yep – it’s our good friend Steven Karahan!

    Quite a fare dodger…!!! There is a video if you search “Steven Karahan” in YouTube uploaded by yours truly….

  11. geofftech says:

    We went on the tube, yes … but just to go places! Leigh couldn’t believe how expensive the fares were. I also made her get an Oyster card, and she called me a “Goody two shoes” when i refused a second-hand travel card off of someone. I did the right thing, yes?

    It’s just nice to know that England is still there. Right now, it doesn’t seem so far away. And it’s quite comforting to know that everyone is coming over HERE in 3 months time (for the wedding)

    Tom – nice youtube! I’d been told about it, but hadn’t seen it. SK does indeed fail to mention that he’s in the top 10 hit list of fare dodgers on the national rail network. Maybe they need £4000 to pay for the £300 rover ticket, and £3700 in fares and fines that he’s already dodged. πŸ™‚

  12. leslie says:

    Been there, done that! It never gets any easier, I have to say.

    My ex-roommate from Prague just came down to visit his mother for Christmas. I know that everyone was bothering him about getting together, hanging out, etc., but as much as I would have loved to see him every day, I didn’t pressure him. This was his holiday and his time, and I’ve been in his situation before.

    Another friend of mine is married with a baby and living in Belfast. When she comes to visit, it’s an absolute madhouse, especially with the baby. She tries to please everyone–mom, dad, grandmother, friends, and ends up running herself ragged. Every moment of her day is planned, and she doesn’t even remember where she’s sleeping that night most of the time.

    All the places I’ve lived feel like ‘home’ for me in some ways, and in some ways not. The weird thing for me about visiting one of those places, especially where there’s no family to run back and forth to, is how easily you get back into the routine of the place. The last time I was in Prague was only for 3 days, and by the last afternoon I was just sitting at home watching crappy German TV like I always used to. πŸ™‚

  13. Johnny Alpha says:

    >when i refused a second-hand travel card off of someone. I did the right thing, yes?

    No way. I once offered a travelcard to someone who refused it and it just made me feel like some chav lowlife. As if he thought I was about to ask him for some money or something!

    Two things I think should be open ended and always passed on (to nice people) are travelcards and car park tickets. Not transferrable my arse! That’s one minor way at getting back at “the man”, and always makes me feel slightly glowy to either help someone out, or for someone to have helped me out for no gain to themselves.

  14. Mark says:

    I’ve tried to do the catch up with everyone every time we go back to England and just found it was too hard. Also, planning to do something every day just makes you exhausted. Now we try not to plan too much, a few days here and there, and leave the rest up to what we feel like on the day.

    I’ll be back in the UK in February for the 4th or 5th time in 11 years, and I think we’re planning less this time than all the others.

  15. I did the right thing, yes?
    No. Given the prohibitive price rises, it is your moral duty to encourage public transport use by any means necessary.

    in 3 months time (for the wedding)
    I think this deserves more attention from you than a throwaway comment.

  16. Heather says:

    Welcome home Geoff. There’s a meet up Sunday night if you have recovered. (Details are on PostScripts)

  17. jj says:

    i expect to have the car running by the end of the week as well, Geoff.

  18. Paul says:

    Wedding, did he say wedding?! Who wants to come gate crash with me?

  19. Tina says:

    iPhone anybody? Geoff you are usually the first to comment on new technology!

  20. Mikey says:

    iPhone doesn’t affect us British folk for quite some time..

  21. Spare a buck for an iPhone, mister?

    Personally, I still want a Nokia N95.

  22. geofftech says:

    – prices may be high, but if everyone gives away their tickets to other people, then prices will only get higher or stay high. if everyone buys a ticket there will then be money to improve the system, or for their not to be an increase in the future.

    plus, the guy was doing it right in the booking hall of paddington station, so if an LUL member of staff had seen it, they would have come over and taken the ticket back off of us. sorry, but i believe in being honest and paying for rail fairs even though they are high – and even then, the big scandal about current prices don’t apply to Oyster.

    – Ian, it’s no secret i’m getting married in April.

    – gadget wise, the iPhone is a phone with a 8Gb iPod tagged on. I’m waiting for the next iPod proper – 6th gen – which needs to have the same widescreen but with an 80Gb capacity as per the current latest model.

  23. Johnny Alpha says:

    Geoff, you need to use your magical computer skills to create a Geofftech discussion forum! You know it makes sense! πŸ˜‰

  24. Johnny Alpha says:

    Geoff, check out Google for the words:

    rail chief bonus

    One day I might feel guilty giving travelcards away (which isn’t often now I have Oyster), but that day looks a long way off I’m afraid.

    I’ve always loved England, but after coming back from Oz over Christmas I’ve had a growing feeling we have a rich history and fuck all future. There is just *so* much the government needs to sort out here it’s quite incredible.

    … Jeez, where did that rant come from? Travelcards? πŸ˜‰

  25. David - Lightwater says:

    Nookia N95Nokia N95 rocks. I just hope orange releases it.

    They are bastards when it comes to releasing good phones! If not, I might have to consider another network!

  26. geofftech says:

    a discussion forum as well as a comments section? good lord…

    i think it’s easy to knock england and have a pop at it, but from my own direct and very recent experience there are are lot of good things about it too. would you like a list?

    arguably, as i see right now (in my biased point of view), there are pros are cons about the UK and the USA, and the perfect world (for me) would be to merge the two together taking just the good bits!

  27. Johnny Alpha says:

    A discussion forum would be good, as once a daily blog has been superceded, those comments are pretty much consigned to history even if there’s the nucleus of a good discussion getting going. Just my $0.02 really, it’s not really down to you to have to meet all my discussion forum needs!

    Yeah, go on, do a list of good things about blighty … I could use some help at the moment πŸ™‚

  28. We’d always like a list!

    I’ve not seen any noticeable reduction in tube fares despite the network wide introduction of ticket barriers and penalty fine people? Thus, I assume that there never will be. Public transport should be a service, not a business, and the only way to make it effective is to make it so damn good and cheap and efficient that only an absolute necessity would lead people to drive. That kind of money isn’t going to come from tickets.

    David. Just buy the phone unlocked and switch your sim card. It always works out cheaper in the long run.

  29. jj says:


    “…the perfect world (for me) would be to merge the two together taking just the good bits!”

    and you’d still complain about the weather, wouldn’t you?

  30. Convict says:

    #26 – “…the perfect world (for me) would be to merge the two together taking just the good bits!”

    That place already exists… It’s called Australia! An english colony that has slowly become americanised. We have the good bits from each. Plus we have perfect weather so you couldn’t complain.

    I tell you…GREATEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD (and there are statistics to support that too!).

  31. Mark says:

    Yep, come to Australia, the only problem is visiting the UK is a lot harder.

  32. geofftech says:

    32… because of what? Visa issues? or just the the distance and the price of a ticket being greater?

  33. Julia says:

    No it’s probably more due to the fact that if you move to Australia you’d eventually throw out all your jumpers and rain coats and therefore a trip back to the UK would neccessitate the purchase of a whole new wardrobe.

  34. If you can bear a keyboard with a PS2 connector, there’s a spare one kicking round at my parents, and I’ll ship it over in return for Peeps….

  35. Richard says:

    #30 – Strange how people from the most insular countries are always convinced they live in the greatest place in the world…

  36. geofftech says:

    #36 Agreed! They have sunshine. But they also have shite beer πŸ˜€

    And England rules when it comes to our TV and radio, humour, history and culture. And yes I know I’m biased.

  37. Mark says:

    Just the distacne, 24hrs to get there.

  38. Tina says:

    Re: iPhone etc. So those of us that cart around phone, camera, digital radio, iPod etc. on our person, could just have one zappy gadget that does everything. Is this a good idea? Discuss; and what do we do with all the ‘old’ gadgets, put them in a drawer or give them away? What a disposable society we have become when these must have gadgets are sudden;y deemed to be not required. You remember the ‘butter mountain’a few years ago, well there’s gonna be a ‘gadget mountain’ in a few years time, unless we can make them biodegradable.

  39. Julia says:


    We already have a gadget mountain, it’s called our apare bedroom!

  40. Scott says:

    Most modern phones K800i for example already do all of that and more, the iphone will still do well though as lets be honest it looks cool… πŸ™‚ The ipod was no better than any other top of the range MP3 players when it came out but it looked neat, therefore became the market leader.

  41. geofftech says:

    the iPod had iTunes to match it though. as my Johnny Alpha might have to confes here, even here Mr. Anti-Apple has now switched to using iTunes with his new shuffle, ’cause it rocks (when you use it properly). people that don’t see the benefit of the coolness of iTunes don’t deserve to be using it!

  42. Lisa says:

    #32…Who rules? Well you can’t say England has Beckham now…can you! :O

  43. Johnny Alpha says:

    Oh yes, the combination of iTunes and the Shuffle is the canine’s testicles. A smart playlist with the rules “Top 950Mb played, my rating is greater than ** “, then autofill that onto the Shuffle and I’m guaranteed to have a ton of music that I like.

    I’m beginning to be a bit of an Apple convert now, especially when they start doing movies and TV shows to download from the UK store to go with the excellent looking iTV.

    However I still won’t quite masterbate furiously every time Steve Jobs opens his mouth as some seem to do!

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