Our readings this week made me even more excited about our Great Britain advance. I first experienced the England of the imagination through the lens of the literature I was exposed to during my early teenage years. In my mind, everyone still dressed for dinner, often engaging in a game of Whist in the evening. Picnics happened at least once a week, and the most intriguing drama revolved around who was letting the neighboring estate.
My second experience was a tourist England. I let go of my daydreams of a modern-day Georgian England when I visited the country in January of 2013. I loved each day of my visit, even though I don’t believe I have since been quite that cold for that long. We arrived just as a surprise snowfall hit London, and no one mentioned to us that it is necessary to keep a room key in the wall of the hotel room in order to ensure the heat stays on through the night (keep that in mind, everyone). We were visiting on a ministry assignment, so I look forward to experiencing London and Oxford from a new perspective this time around.
The experiences of our trip nurtured our fascination with the history and culture of Great Britain. My husband, Daniel, and I have since developed a tradition of watching an episode of Midsomer Murders or Inspector Lewis every Sunday night to relive our time in Oxford and the English countryside (Who would live in a village with so many murders?). Daniel will be joining me for our advance, so we are already making lists of the things we hope to see this time that we missed on our snowy adventure.
We were pleasantly surprised by how much we felt at home while we were there. Perhaps, as Mario pointed out, it is because Great Britain is similar to our own Culture Map. Perhaps it was because we spent much of our time there in churches and on university campuses…places we already feel most at home. Perhaps it was the warm pubs where we ate our weight in fish and chips or the friendly voices that gave us directions when we were lost in London. Regardless, though we may never know the England that people call home, we are anxious to learn more about it when we are there this Fall.
 Orin Hargraves, London: A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette. (Singapore: Marshall Cavendish International (Asia) Ptd Ltd., 2010), accessed June 13, 2019, http://public.eblib.com/choice/publicfullrecord.aspx?p=480554.
 Erin Meyer, The Culture Map: Decoding How People Think, Lead, and Get Things Done across Cultures (New York: PublicAffairs, 2015).