Thursday, September 22, 1988

Meeting My New British Family

Our flight landed at Manchester Airport with no problems at about 6:00 a.m., and we slipped through customs with no problems at all. We then proceeded to search for, and eventually find, all of our luggage. (Stroke of Luck #2: Baggage carts help us transport the baggage to our ride.)

We wheeled our luggage out into the lobby, looking for Mrs. Richmond (although we didn’t know what she looked like.) Fortunately, it only took a few minutes before we located her and her daughter Piper (a most fascinating name!) in the terminal. Then, with the help of Piper showing me how to operate these newfangled British phones, I called Dr. Ian Morrison, my "exchange dad," to let him know that I was now in the country.

Being quite early in the day, I wasn’t sure how he’d respond, but he was quite pleasant for someone receiving an early phone call from a strange American. However, he wasn’t going to be able to pick me up in Manchester until later that evening. (Stroke of Luck #3: The Richmond’s Give Me Temporary Shelter). Mrs. Richmond and Piper offered to keep me at their house until I could be picked up that evening.

We left the airport in Piper’s Volkswagen Polo (Polo?), steering wheel firmly placed on the right side of the car, and headed to their hometown of Disley, which is outside of Stockport, a town southeast of Manchester.) Piper then headed to the school where she is a teacher, and Doug, Mrs. Richmond and I stayed at the house, pretty much chatting about things a British person might ask an American houseguest when they had the chance.

We learned that she was a Tory (a conservative), which for me was quite a pleasant revalation, and provided for some interesting conversation. I gave her a Bush/Quayle campaign pin and bumper strip as a show of my appreciation for letting me stay at her home until Dr. Morrison’s arrival.

After a pleasant walk we ate lunch at a restaurant called Little Chef (sort of a Bob’s Big Boy-Denny’s type establishment), then returned for a short nap. After all, not sleeping at all the previous night was starting to catch up to us.

After our nap we watched a bit of the Seoul Olympic Games on the telly (wow, they only have four television channels to choose from. She couldn’t believe that we could choose from almost 50 cable channels in America!)

We then ate dinner, and I must say that all of the horror stories I had heard about English cuisine have been untrue. I’ve actually eaten quite well.

It wasn’t long after dinner that Dr. Morrison arrived at the house and we had some coffee (about my eighth cup today!) He drove me back on the motorway to Neston, a little town on The Wirral, or the little peninsula south of Liverpool. I received a warm reception upon my arrival, and after settling in, I experienced my fourth and greatest Stroke of Luck… Dr. Morrison offered to drive me “coast-to-coast” to Hull. (See, “take it as it comes” sometimes works out well!)

Once I unloaded my gear, we headed out to the Old Quay, a pub/restaurant where Dr. Morrison’s daughter and Glen’s younger sister, Fiona, (Photo: Dr. Morrison & Fiona) works as a waitress. We enjoyed a “pint” together, along with a bit of food (despite having recently eaten dinner), then returned to the Morrison’s very nice home, where Fiona and I sat in their television room and chatted until about 1 a.m.

At 12:30 p.m. (7:30 EST), I called my parents for the first time to let them know that we arrived safely and that everything was alright. Then, finally, I got my first night’s rest in a foreign country.

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