Josie (my wife) and I are planning a vacation to England, but not to London specifically. Our daughter-in-law, Diann, is in the United States Air Force and stationed at a base somewhere near London. I don’t remember the name of the base.
Josie spent nearly six months there in 2015, doing the nanny thing for our youngest grandson, Michael. He was more than a handful for her.
On our 30th wedding anniversary, in January of 2015, we hosted a family reunion. Josie’s side of the family, of course. I don’t remember the dates, but a couple of months later, Josie left to spend a few months with our older son (Joseph) and his children in England. Diann was on a temporary duty assignment in Qatar. I stayed here in the Philippines, by myself.
It wasn’t a big deal that I stayed here alone. It wasn’t the first time. Josie, however, refuses to leave me alone again. If this vacation happens at all, we’ll both be going. The tickets are expensive – Joseph and Diann will be paying for them. There’s no way I can afford to do so on my pension without saving some small amount every month. A feat, I might add, that I can only carry out when I’m here alone.
The plan is for another family reunion in mid-April and we’re supposed to be leaving the following week. The departure date is flexible – it’s not like we have to be anywhere on any specific date. I don’t know why we’re having another family reunion. Maybe it’s because some of them are too old to wait another year.
The friend I mentioned was probably stationed in London when he was in the Marine Corps. I didn’t ask. He wouldn’t be the first one I’ve known to serve on embassy duty there. I was only stationed overseas once while I was in the military. Okinawa, Japan. Unless, of course, you count Hawaii as overseas. A combat deployment to the Middle East doesn’t count.
If things go as planned, Joseph and Diann will see us in April. We’ll get to stay there for up to six months. Josie is a dual citizen and holds a United States passport as well as a Filipino passport. United States passport holders can stay in England for up to six months without a visa. Those holding Filipino passports only cannot.
I don’t think I’ll have a problem communicating with the locals. English is English, right? Wrong!
I’m lucky to have spent a lot of time around English speakers from England, Australia and New Zealand over the years. I know most of colloquial terms used in various places. Some of my fellow Americans aren’t so lucky.
Filipinos speak English like Americans, mostly, and so do Canadians. It’s the countries where the accents are the thickest where Americans usually have problems. It’s not the language I’ll have a problem with. Figuring out the money will cause me the greatest confusion.
It didn’t take me long after moving to the Philippines to figure out pesos, even though they’re described in Spanish as well as Tagalog. I probably won’t figure out the currency in England until I’m ready to leave the country.
By: RT Cunningham
January 13, 2017
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