Back In The Mud
I have returned to the land of my birth. Which is America. I don't really like this place a whole lot. In fact, I downright disliked it when I left for London. But in my case, absence made the heart grow fonder, instead of go yonder, a la King's Quest V. Though it took a while. In fact, it took until the last week, when two events made me realize that maybe America ain't so bad.
The first took place when I was doing sports with the kids from school. They were playing soccer. A couple of American boys asked if they could play as well. Usually this isn't allowed, I think, but in this case, the other person I was there with let them join. One of them, near the goal, was fouled, and I gave his team a penalty kick. One of their players took it and missed, but since another player had interfered, I ordered a retake. There was a bit of an argument over who would take the retake. One of the kids from my school decided that he would, while the American boy tried to say he could do it. The other kid was not to be dissuaded, took the kick, and missed. After that, he turned to the American and apologized.
Normally, in these situations, the kids will yell at each other, say "I'd have scored" or something to that effect. Instead, the American said "It's okay. We'll get the next one." Sportsmanship! Stunning! I hadn't seen anything quite like it all summer, and it came from an American?!? Now, this could have been a very special American. But, over the course of the summer, I decided it would be much more fun to judge countries based on the actions of the handful of kids they sent to the school. (Good countries: Libya, China. Bad countries: Italy. Good or Bad: Saudi Arabia, Russia.)
Later, as I was preparing to move, I packed up some stuff and took it to the post office. I thought the woman at the counter said "Seventeen pounds." In actually, I had confused the "teen" with a "ty". That was painful. Probably about four times more than the US Postal Service would have charged. Good old USPS!