I’ve been to UK before, last summer. That visit was quite short and was very tightly knit around LUGradio Live UK 2009, so I didn’t have that good chance of getting to know what life is like in the UK. I had the opportunity to visit the UK again in January for two weeks. This time I wasn’t there on “business”, so I had a bit more time and chance to observe things.
There’s lots of things that can be explained by the sheer magnitude of the population of UK. The selection in Tesco is mind boggling in comparison to even the biggest, best stores in Finland. The Linux and Open source community seem to get things done in the big scale. Then there’s things that can be explained by the geographic location and language. France and the whole of Europe is just a hop away. English is the Latin of the future era, all nationalities are present in the UK.
I didn’t take any days off from work but telecommuted to Finland – one of the perks of a company where everyone telecommutes is that nobody cares where you’re working from. My decision to do so limited what the two weeks held in them for programming, but I was quite happy as I met new people, saw the genuine English surroundings and visited a few quite nice places.
My first weekend was filled with shopping in Peterborough, the second in Littlehampton and Arundel and the last Saturday in Cambridge. I had my first ever sushi, saw my first ever wild European rabbits (the ones in Finland are either mountain hares or European hares), owls and molehills, saw punts in river Cam, fed mallards at the moat of Arundel Castle, ate my first pork pie, scotch egg, proper fish and chips, had my first KFC and cheesecake in 13 years, saw a bottle of milk by the doorstep and went to a real English pub, with a real fireplace, with real coal burning in it :-D (yes, these are again one of those things that a person can be amazed of and can appreciate!)
I’m traveling to UK again on Monday. I haven’t got anything planned yet like I had last time, when I insisted on a trip to Littlehampton. I *do* plan to nudge a certain Steve McIntyre about some Debian Women t-shirts I would have bought at LUGradio Live last summer, if there had been any. I’ve already done huge amounts of shopping and had them delivered and they’re waiting for me.
If you’ve followed me on identi.ca, Twitter, Facebook, Jaiku, Linkedin, Brightkite, or the PlanetPlanets I’m on, or have just stumbled across my page earlier and started to read my blog, you might have noticed my interest in traveling to UK in January was purely personal – I’ve met someone very special. I’m slowly starting to have some of my dreams back and having courage to dream. Feeling emotionally safe – feeling that you’re not alone. Feeling of being supported and supporting, feeling that I’m being held, having strong arms around, and looking forward together. I’m flying to UK on Monday evening. This time I haven’t bought a ticket back. Yet.