It has been a while since I updated, internet has been foggy and I have been busy!
Its gotten a lot cooler since August. Some days are still hot and humid but a lot of the mornings now are pretty chilly (not so bad as to make it impossible to go outside in a t-shirt and shorts however).
We’ve had a few storms. Crazy loud thunder and lightning flashes every half a minute or so sometimes lasting for hours. It was great to feel the rain again. I’ve decided that the weather here is different. In the sense that the rain feels and smells different, the wind is still wind but it again feels different. As does the heat and what not. I think its because back home, a strong cold wind generally means it is going to start getting really cold for the next few days. Here it doesn’t mean anything. It could be overcast for a few days but that doesn’t stop it still being reasonably warm.
We’ve been planning like crazy recently to. For those of you who don’t know, I proposed to Maegan and she said yes. The photos from that are in the link to Flickr further down the blog.
We’ve set a date for October and we’ve been busy arranging a location and getting rentals for chairs and archway and whatnot. Been arranging a cake (we’ve decided on 25 white chocolate cupcakes, 25 dark chocolate cupcakes, and a plain cake topper) . The invitations we’ve printed ourselves using an invitation package Maegan bought on clearance. Days of designing and font-choosing, spell-checking, printing, folding, sticking. They should be getting sent out today and they look fantastic.
I sat in on a writing Workshop class recently at UCA. It was a 3 hour evening affair, interesting and amusing. I came to the conclusion by the end of the class however that some people had taken the opportunity to learn to write and to listen to critique, other people had learn’t to believe that they were writers and were just there to help out. Big difference, guess which group seemed to have more hope of doing something with their trade…
I had possibly the worst chinese take-away ever last night. I went for the combination offer. $6.99 for egg rolls, pork fried rice and pork with vegetables. The pork was a strange shape, I couldn’t figure out which part of a pig it had come from. The rice was dry, the vegetables were really just vegetables cooked in oil and mixed with the pork. The egg roll was reasonable. In the end we decided to give up on that and made something else instead. There are plenty of great chinese take-aways here but most don’t open on a Sunday.
I have managed to get a local phone with an international calling package. But it doesn’t let me call to UK mobiles so if I haven’t called you yet that’s why. I can call mobiles from my laptop but I need internet access for that. Here at the apartment I have 1 bar and it disconnects often. Not good enough for a Skype call unfortunately.
The plan for today is to get the invitations finished, send out the ones we need to send by post and hand out the rest in the local area. Perhaps visit Maegan’s Aunty who i met my first night here. That was a month ago now. I’ve been here for a month! Madness!
It hard to pick out highlights so far. I love the drives and the scenery. How far apart things are yet how built up places are. I both love and hate how commercial things are here. Billboards and car dealerships everywhere. It may be greedy and horrid but you get a real sense that this place is alive. People are starting businesses and making money despite the recession. There are entrepreneurs here like you wouldn’t find in Britain. At local branches of drive-through chains, if they receive positive feedback about their sweet tea they start selling it by the gallon. Over in Vilonia someone has converted a metal shipping container into and outdoor, automated Ice-machine/ shop. Banks have drive-throughs, people set up shops on bit of land by the road. There’s a place called the “Bike Warehouse” its a garden shed filled with cheap bicycles with a big hand-painted sign. People down this way like local peaches so stores selling mainly peaches and other local produce appear, I’ve seen houses with signs outside advertising things they’ve grown in the garden.
It’s brilliant, I love this country. There is a lot to hate, a lot to make it stupid. But at the same time as that, most of those things make it utterly brilliant too.
As “rude” as Americans are supposed to be, here you get a hell of a lot more service with a smile. And it has made me wonder, the same kind of friendly service you get in shops here, would get shop keepers verbally and physically assaulted back in the UK.