Yesterday was the long-awaited picnic. The weather was not forthcoming (see: snow), though thankfully N and her husband A have a spacious home which they recently remodeled, which they certainly needed it as the place had several people there. Without a doubt, the top three questions that were asked to me were: “Where are you from?” “How long have you been here?” The third is actually a tie between “I don’t recognize your accent…” and “You’ve been here for only a month and a half?!” Conversations were many, I spoke to several of the neighbors – parents and teens alike – many of which I find I like; Mr. J was interesting in that he stuck to his guns on encouraging me to make an effort not to lose my Minnesotan accent. Two of his three girls were there; G,and A were awesome – G’s going to be joining the military and is also an up-and-coming photographer while A is turning out to be something of a little Diva, though she hides it well – I couldn’t help but tease her whenever I could. E’s mother P, I didn’t get the chance to speak to much; it seems like we didn’t really click at all, this I mostly chalk up to their personalities more than my own – E has her sense of humor, sure, but she is quiet by nature. It is funny, but the best way that people seem to associate by house numbers; most opening questions were along the lines of: “I live at house __; how long have you been in the lane?” Props to P, who lives on a different street, who replied, “About two hours ago,” when J used that exact line on her. All of the kids were respectable and well-behaved, more so than I even could have given them credit; a far cry even from what would be a passing score in the states. The time passed too quickly, but it wasn’t the end by any means; N and A invited my Fiancé along with the rest of their guests back for over for their New Years celebration– don’t give me that look, it isn’t so well known, but remarkably there are several religions out there that mark the start of a new year at the Equinox (Link to Wiki, because it knows all, supposedly: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Year). The kids performed and lead secular readings and music for the opening of the party, which was nice. Following the dedication we were able to partake in N and J.C. (another guest)’s homemade curries. I’ve already told N that I am jacking her recipe; she’s promised to have me come over and help the next time she makes it so that I can see the master at work. While eating, my Fiancé and I struck up many conversations throughout the night; Mrs. E (not to be confused with P’s E – word, this is going to be a mess I can see it now) had a lot to share and relate since she grew up literally around the world, ultimately spending many years in South America and Canada before coming back to the UK. M – one of the teens and N’s daughter Y’s friend – stopped and chatted as well, at which point we had a laugh because, when I came to the picnic earlier she was in the role of hostess and, since I hadn’t met N face-to-face yet, I assumed she was her. Oops. All the credit goes to M’s assertive and mature behavior, I assure you. We also shared long stories with N and A throughout the evening. N told us about how, through the song-and-dance of their own wedding, it suddenly struck her – even though she had been living several years in the UK prior to this – that she was leaving her mother behind. When this happened, she told us, she was an absolute wreck, laughing and crying at the same time because (frankly, she said, she looked and felt ridiculous) the van was packed to the gills, they were married and everything was fine as it could be. To quote her: “If you can manage to make it through all of that and come out at least as well as I did, you’ll be alright.” She did observe, and she relayed this to both of us, that like her and her husband, our outward appearances are only just the first layer to our personalities. On the outside, I’m effervescent excitable – for example – however, I’m largely unflappable in a crisis, I’m not someone who loses focus easily. She told us that, for when it came to her and her spouse, she was a lot like me, and A is a lot like my Fiancé (calm and cool on the outside, inwardly panicking when something goes wrong). The evening was good, though I must admit I did have a small faux pas – when discussing Shakespeare, specifically Merry Wives of Windsor, I pointed out that in it was one of the oldest references to someone threatening to “lob off” someone’s “stones” that I had seen. It was funny, so of course it had stuck in my head which is why I mentioned it. But I’m a dork, and don’t think how this could possibly be… uh… well, W-I-E-R-D until well after the words had left my gob and I successfully murdered the conversation. Oh well, they’ll get used to me being quirky eventually. Baby-steps, after all, baby-steps. But the evening did go swimmingly, definitely more highs than lows, and I have already told A and N that, regardless of whatever it is they or Youth Group wants to achieve, they have my unequivocal support. Really, I’m unabashedly inserting myself as a new busy-body on the Lane. Go me?