American-ness

Today a smiley guy in a red jacket with “British Red Cross” on it intercepted me as I was walking into the grocery store. He was obviously about to ask me to sign something or donate, so I tried to skirt around him, but he edged into my path with an enthusiastic “come on then!”  

"What’s your name?" he asked.

 ”You’re from America!” he stated as soon as I responded. “Whereabouts?”  

I told him I was from Florida and was studying here. This evidently got me off the hook for whatever it was he wanted because he let me go with a good natured pat on the back.

 I’m super aware of my American-ness here since I often don’t know what I’m doing and I feel like it is obvious that I am not from here. I blend in as far as looks (granted, in London who doesn’t?), but simply opening my mouth reveals me to be an outsider.  

And sometimes it’s obvious even when I don’t say anything. When I checked out at the grocery store the cashier said “where are you from?” Perhaps he could tell by my ineptitude at bagging groceries. Anyways it ended up that he was from Connecticut, so we had a short conversation about how different things are here.

Also today in between classes I went on a mission to find a music store. I’m already starting to miss my violin, which I had to leave behind in the states, so I was going to either pretend like I wanted to buy one so I could play it, or explain my situation to the store owner. 

I ended up on Denmark street, which seems to be the place to go around here for music stuff. That is, for guitars. Lots of guitars. There were music book shops, a piano shop, and even a saxophone shop, but the majority of the windows were full of guitars. Even the bass cellar, which had I thought sounded promising when I researched online, ended up being bass guitars.

Oh well. I admitted defeat and turned to go home when I spotted them. Two violins in a second floor window. But how to get to them? I rung the buzzer at the downstairs door, but nothing happened. I will have to look it up online and hopefully go back, although it looked kind of fancy so they probably won’t want some random American student playing their violins. Maybe shops in London don’t want anyone playing their violins, who knows? 

I’m not giving up though. I’m not going four months without playing unless I absolutely have to. In the meantime I will fill my violin void by going to some concerts at St. Martin-in-the-Fields.