When I was a kid, I had a pair of undies with a Union Jack on the bottom. And that's when the trouble began.
My favorite Beatle was George. I liked Monty Python more than Adam Sandler. My mother had a dog of an English uncle named Terry, and well, to be honest, he seemed like kind of a good time. And from the first moment my brother sat me down and forced me to watch Top Gear, I kind of wanted to makeout with Jeremy Clarkson (I know, what? Gross. I can't help it).
And so, in my dreams, I would move to the UK and marry a dark and handsome man and he would bumble on and on and I would laugh forever. We'd live in a stone cottage with big wet gardens and dogs, I would make roasts and trifles and drink Pimms all the time. I would be the next Nigella Lawson, but with a tinier chest (!!). We would have lots of children with the loveliest names and nicknames, and they would call me mummy.
To my English friends, past, present and future, I am sorry.
But, well, I was biased from the start.
I tried everything to get there. My dad nearly got us transferred there for work. I lived abroad, in a big house, with Englishmen who studied physics and rolled cigarettes and charmed me with their horrible North London Italian accents. I spent weekends in a penthouse over Hyde Park watching the clouds roll by on Sunday mornings after too many drinks. I tormented myself with a trip to the South Coast, and traipsed about Brighton and the beaches with a dear friend and her gracious family. I applied to graduate school, only in the UK, and was an inch away from acceptance, until the universe and admissions at Oxford told me they had other plans.
And about this time last year, I came to terms with the fact that I was going to remain an American for the time being.
Luckily, I had a friend who loved America a lot, in fact, enough to make me realize that it was A-OK to stay. So I moved to New York, I fell back in love with my home state, with New England, and I immersed myself in it all. I got a great job, and it even gave me the option of someday moving to where I always thought I would be.
Well. All of my friends are starting to plan moves to England.
And I am coping with it by baking cupcakes.
Let's just call it proper kitchen therapy, ok?
These Eton Mess cupcakes are made up of the simplest ingredients. Victoria Sponge cakes, topped with a light whipped vanilla buttercream, strawberries and crunched up meringue. No really, God Bless the Queen and you, my English friends, for making this such an easy and simple delight. The recipe was even sent by an old friend in Chichester, and the wrappers from a friend in Brighton. It tastes like summer, even in the heart of winter, which was, to be frank, the last time I had it, and there is no crime at all in something like that.
For now, I am still here. I might even be here forever. I mean, it sure is great in the U,S of A. I have sunshine and close family. I can afford many things. And lucky me, I will have plenty more people to visit in the good old U.K.
But, well, it sure does make me wonder...