Thursday, 27 May 2010

10 Years!!!

In January 2000 I was bored with my life and going a little crazy.  Actually a little crazy probably doesn’t even cut it!  I was on a complete self destruct mission.  Working crazy hours in a crap job, living with one of my best friends in a crap house, getting laid a lot and drinking ridiculous amounts, to the point where I now wonder how I ever made it out alive!  All whilst trying to recover from a move back to the UK and a horribly destructive relationship that had finished the year before!

So, erm.......yeah, I was an utter mess. In February 2000 I saw a random advert in the newspaper about working for Camp America who were holding a recruitment fair in Birmingham.  I thought it’d be a laugh to go along and even if nothing came of it I would’ve had a day out.  I wandered around looking at all the stalls most of whom were based on the East Coast but I knew deep down that my heart was already set on the West Coast.  One table of Girl Scouts jumped out at me (not literally) and to cut a long story short I found a camp which looked great and they loved me too!!!!

This week marks the ten year anniversary of me first going to America!!!  Can you believe that it’s been that long???  California was such a turning point for me and for having that chance I will always be truly grateful but what really gave me a chance were the people I met whilst I was there.

The first person I met when I got off the plane was Carol.  She has been one of my best friends for 10 years and although we don’t see each other too often she is totally my big Sister and even paid for my third driving test!!!!!

I know that I’ve told parts of this story before but I’m just gonna go ahead and tell it again!!! The Girl Scouts had told me that I would have a host family for the first few days of being in CA so that I could get oriented and what a family they turned out to be!  Sharon & Red were the first members of the family that I met when they arrived to pick me up.  God knows what I must’ve looked liked as I’d be travelling for hours by that point!!

That first weekend we got to hang out and chat and Bill asked me what I wanted to do so I reeled off a list of stuff and he made sure that we did it all over the Summer!  They are some of the most generous people that I’ve ever come across and what I love the most about them is that they’ve always just accepted for who I am...this generally crazy, larger than life, sometimes drunken English girl!

They’ve let me take over their house to have crazy parties and slumber parties.  They threw me a Barbie vodka party for my 25th birthday, They’ve sent me parcels when I was on crutches up a mountain and every birthday and Christmas for the last 10 years. They accepted me being pregnant with Chick without question. They’ve taken me to some awesome places including Pig Racing at the Fair, San Francisco, Alcatraz, Santa Monica, Disneyland, the Baseball. They let me steal their daughter for 6 months to come live in the UK to help me take care of Chick. They think I’m nuts because I love Birthday Cake ice-cream and WalMart. They drive me down Lombard Street every time we’re in San Fran (What?  It’s mine & Mom’s ‘thing’!!!!!).

When I flew home after that first Summer I’m not lying when I say I cried all the way home!!!  I was devastated to be returning home and so sad to be leaving my American family behind.  However, I kept in touch with them all and found a way to afford to return the second year and went straight home to them.

I hope they know how much they mean to me and how grateful I am that they saved me from myself.  I consider myself fortunate to have them and can’t believe that it’s been ten years since we first feels like a lifetime, in a good way, and they are truly a part of my family.  Unfortunately for them they are now stuck with us!!!!

I love you guys and hope the next ten years are as awesome as the last xxxx


  1. I just love this story.

    The organ grinder. Xxx

  2. Grandma Sharon27 May 2010 at 23:27

    Crying at work is NOT a cool thing Sweetie!! I love you. You say 'God knows what I must have looked like...' But truly God knew what you needed.
    As we were walking out the door to drive to SF to pick up our requested Russian girl, we got a phone call saying your host family had backed out & asking if we could take 2 girls instead of one. They said you were a wonderful person who wouldn't mind sleeping on the floor in the same room as the other girl we were picking up.
    We thought we knew who we wanted, but God knew who we needed! What a blessing you turned out to be. Miss you Baby, Love Mom

  3. I have no doubt that you cried the whole way home. I know I will be doing the same next month when I return from England. I'm already dreading it. Honestly, my golden retriever London (yeah, that's right)is the only reason why I would want to return. I know I will miss her like crazy.

    I think this is a wonderful story and what a great opportunity you were given. Brave girl you, traveling to another country by yourself. I can say I've walked in your shoes. I left for England 22 years ago all on my lonesome and lived there for three years and it was the best thing I've ever done. As you can see the experience has never left me and I'm trying every thing I can to find a way to return on a semi-permanent basis at least. I think it's interesting that you went to American as part of a volunteer program. I am now looking into a volunteer program in the UK that I can take part in for 9 weeks every summer.

    So when did you last visit the U.S.?

  4. @Grandma Sharon....Sorry I made you cry at work! You made me cry too! Miss you xx

    @Smitten by Britain.....What made you move back? We were last in the US in 2007 and will be back next year too!!! Would be awesome if you could make it to the UK every year!!!

  5. Hadn't realized I have known you that long. Wow! Time sure flies. Totally love that you came over - you're a pretty awesome person to have met.

  6. @Rachel....Thanks hun!!!

    @Nicole....I know....makes us sound really old right? You are so sweet xxx

  7. They sound such great friends. It's amazing the impact other people have on our lives and how good they were for you x

  8. @muummmeeeeee....They are awesome, just wish I lived closer to them!!!