Wednesday, July 28, 2010

So THAT'S Why They Only Sell Them in Half-Pints

August 13, 2009

I got up early to go running today. There is a trail next to Chris’s house that leads to some empty fields. It wasn’t raining this morning, however it had rained overnight so the grass was moist and dewy and the air smelled clean and refreshed. I jogged through the fields, careful of where I was going as I don’t have a strong sense of direction. I thought about how grateful I was to be here and how far away from home it felt. I wondered how things would change over the next few years – if I would ever have this same kind of opportunity. I thought about how things were going with Cory and how I was happy that we weren’t running into any drama. I was excited about what the rest of the trip had to bring. I only stayed out for about 45 minutes and then strolled leisurely back to the house to start on the activities for the day.  

We went to Stonehenge today. I wasn’t really sure to expect – they say that Stonehenge has one of the highest energetic fields of any place on earth. Nick was telling me that every year, during the Summer solstice, they open the whole place up to everyone who wants to go near and touch the rocks. It sounds like a massive spiritual gathering, perhaps not unlike the Burning Man event that takes place out here in the desert. As I mentioned before, details of information don’t seem to stick with me and while I have always wanted to see Stonehenge, its history is so vague and, honestly, unimportant to me. I just want to be in a place where the energy level is high. This is the same reason why I feel compelled to attend church every now and then. I’m not much of a religious person and organized religions make me a little nervous – however, there is something very powerful about being in a space with so many people who are thinking and feeling the same thing. It’s… moving, to say the least.
I can’t really say that is exactly what I experienced at Stonehenge. While we were given an absolutely beautiful day to take in this amazing piece of art and history, I may have been able to enjoy it a little more if there was any way to have the place to myself or to have the opportunity to put my hand on one of the rocks and feel its vibration. Unfortunately, it’s one big tourist attraction now so it is difficult to absorb all of the energy that is being offered. As an onlooker, you must stay a certain distance away from the rocks and people are sort of herded around from one end to the other. The one good thing about the distance people must keep is that I was able to catch some wonderful photos of the rocks that made it appear as if no one was there.
It didn’t help that my company was completely uninterested in anything Stonehenge had to offer. I may have been able to get into a more meditative state if I wasn’t fully aware of the yawning and shifting of feet that Chris, Danni and Cory were doing behind me. It’s okay, though – I can understand how it may not be everyone’s cup of tea (pardon the English pun).

I can say that I did certainly feel something while I was there – even with the thousand people strewn about the grounds, there is a kind of peace and calmness in the area that I found to be soothing and rewarding. I think I would definitely like to travel back sometime and attend the Summer Solstice event where I could really be in a space of spiritual openness and awareness. I will be sure to make a mental note of that for the future.

Afterwards was absolutely wonderful as the four of us found a great little spot in a nearby field to enjoy a picnic that Chris had so graciously and meticulously prepared for us. We sat in a circle, laughed and ate our delicious meal like four friends who had known each other forever. It really brought the early afternoon full circle and diminished whatever feeling I was having that I might leave Stonehenge unfulfilled. The power of human connection is always stronger than I give it credit for.

  We are now heading back to Somerset and Bristol and have stopped off at a little pub called the Red Lion (I realize now that if I ever want to open a pub in England, I just have to spin two wheels – one with a bunch of colors and the other with a bunch of animals and whatever they land on, I can say I have a name for my pub –how about… the Green Panda?) which is basically infested with wasps, much to Danni’s dismay as she has a horrible fear of the buzzing little creatures. Therefore, our stay was short and we were back on the road.
We made a quick pit stop at a local mall where Danni and I ran around H&M picking up a few new pieces of clothing for our upcoming nights out. Danni is so pleasant to be around and I appreciate so much the fact that she is always up for a good time.  

We hit the Black Horse for a couple of pints before heading out on the town. Chris was very anxious to take us to a place called the Coronation Tap (or Cori Tap for short) where they have a particular cider that I think was called Exhibition?? Anyhow, they only serve it a half pint at a time because of the alcohol content but, of course, they’ll serve you as many as you want. Before that, however, Cory was insisting on eating and, almost as a cruel joke (because, as Dan says “eating is cheating”), the boys took him to this awful fast food joint where he ate some of the worst looking fish and chips I’d ever seen and I had a pasty that could easily have been removed from the bottom of someone’s shoe before they put in on my plate.
Finally, with “food” in belly, we headed over to the Cori Tap.
As most of the nights in England, the details get a little hazy after the pints of Exhibition and many other ciders that I can’t recall the names of. I did enjoy the Cori Tap very much – it has a lingering smell of woodchips and urine and, like so many places we visited, the service is pleasantly awful! For those who are unaware, the service staff in England does not receive tips. This is also good to know for those of you who are in the service industry in the states and get upset when those from the UK come to visit and leave you nothing. Sometimes, it’s because your service was terrible but more often than not, it’s simply because it’s not the way things roll over here. Unfortunately, because of this, you don’t get the same kind of effort at good service that you get in a lot of places in the US. It doesn’t matter to me though – as long as I have drink in hand and friends in tow, I’m pretty happy with whatever happens.

After the Cori Tap (and maybe another pub or two? I can’t seem to recall), we ended up at a club in downtown Bristol and this is where the trip really started to get real for me. I was beginning to get really frustrated with Cory’s behavior. It really to me as if he was not only having just a mediocre time, but I felt that he was treating both Chris and Danni with an unreasonable amount of disregard given all they were doing for us while we were there.

I admit, I was also feeling sappy in my state of drunkenness and wondered why I wasn’t good enough for Cory to want to be with me. Certainly, our relationship couldn’t have been too serious in his eyes if he was so willing to let me talk him out of it. There was no fight for me, no consideration for trying something new, no willingness to discuss the issue about children further. He seemed almost… relieved to be out of the relationship and I was NOT taking this well at all.

I had just spent a year of my life trying to get to know Cory. I find him to be rather closed off with his emotions – even more so than the average guy – and I was upset that he wasn’t letting his guard down around our friends, enabling him to have a better time and really get to know these wonderful people on a different level. My experience with Cory so far is that he only lets people get so close and then he crosses his arms. I wanted to slap some vulnerability into him!
All of these emotions came out in a long, drunken weep as Chris and Danni tried to console me in an area of the club. Danni discussed her similar frustrations with me as she felt as if Cory was completely unappreciative of everything Chris had done for them throughout the trip so far. I discovered that the other night, when I thought she was just feeling tired, Danni was actually upset that Cory couldn’t bother to look up or even say thank you when Danni delivered his sandwich that Chris had made for him. In fact, all he could say was “this is way too much” which she found very offensive on behalf of her protective nature towards her boyfriend who was stressing every day to ensure our trip was perfect. 
This just made me feel more awful because of how much this trip meant to me and the level of appreciation I felt towards every little thing that was being done on our behalf. I sloppily tried to apologize for his behavior.

When I went to confront him, however, I found him leaning against a wall by himself and felt my chest drop. I didn’t see an unappreciative and rude man; I simply saw someone who didn’t have the same kind of relationship with the people we were visiting that I did. In that moment, I saw a little boy who was sad because he didn’t know how to act or how to behave. He probably saw this trip as just another overseas excursion while I saw it as a once in a lifetime opportunity to expand my connection with new friends as well as my own inner self. Why was I being so hard on him? I didn’t want him to have a bad vacation – certainly not because of my own weepiness and self-pity.

It is not his fault that we weren’t meant to be a couple. I had compromised what I wanted out of a relationship from the very start with him and it wasn’t fair for me to make him feel bad for not being what I wanted him to be or acting how I thought he should be acting. I knew right then that there wasn’t anything wrong with Cory at all – the only thing that was wrong were my unrealistic expectations. 

I let it go, collected myself and put my emotions in check. We all gathered ourselves together, got in a cab and headed back to the house. A good night’s sleep and a sober conversation in the morning should patch things right up. At least I hope so.

So much for no drama.

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