Tuesday, September 17, 2002

J'ai Retourne

That's right, except for that one brief lapse, I abstained from blogging for two weeks. What happened during that time? A lot.

After reading Paul Wright's post in the Comments section in the previous post, it occurred to me that he's right. Australia has always been there for us, just like Britain. I apologize for the oversight.

I finally broke down and got a cell phone. It's a Kyocera "Party Animal," and it uses a pay-as-you-go scheme from Virgin Mobile USA. I'm afraid a cell-phone mentality has already set in, with my being disappointed with not getting messages and calls, despite the fact that only my parents know my number thus far.

I've formally decided that I will return to London this coming summer. The entire trip, from mid-May to early August, ought to cost $4500 (about $2000 of which needs to be had before I leave), including airfare, tube pass, rent, food, laundry, and whatever other costs may pop up. In the post below I said that I'd be willing to wash dishes to earn the money to be able to go back, and that's more-or-less what I've done. I'm now working at the Dietrick dining hall ten hours per week, doing whatever they tell me to. Today was my first day, and I had the Sisyphean task of keeping the stocks of burgers and fries filled. The work wasn't hard, though there was a lot of it. If I ever get discouraged, I need only to think of how much I want to go back and how every burger I wrap gets me that much closer.

It's odd, but nearly every waking moment I've had has been spent thinking about how much I want to go back to England, and London in particular. It's not that I prefer it to America, but that there's simply so much there to experience that the few weeks I spent over there merely whet my appetite. America is and has been the apprentice, son, and younger brother to Britain, and it's actually a bit of a stretch to call us separate peoples. The more I learn about them, the more I find that I learn about myself. Going as a worker instead of a tourist will give me a completely different view, and seeing England from the inside and America from the outside is an opportunity that no one should turn down if ever given the chance.

It's occurred to me that I'm at a time in my life when I need to begin assuming a leadership role. I've been given so many advantages in life that others lack that it's incumbent on me try and give back what I can. What I've found is that the best way to lead is by example. As a Rank Captain in the Marching Virginians, people look to me to see how they should behave. I'm the only non-Freshman in my section who doesn't drink, and I've noticed that several of them seem unsure of what to do. My hope is that by demonstrating that there are people who don't drink, they'll feel comfortable in refusing if that's their choice. Likewise, I wear a cross around my neck. I've had several people, especially in Britain, ask me about my faith and where to find local churches. People have been genuinely interested, and I get the impression that they'd never really thought about it before. In London, for example, the only people I saw who you could identify as Christians were some Koreans and sub-Saharan Africans. Now, I'm thrilled that these people are Christians. However, they're not English. If you're curious about something, it helps to know that people who look and act like you (yes, I'm American, but I speak English as my first language and, except for my good teeth, look like them) have already tried it. Other people seem to recognize some aspect of leadership in me, since right after people ask my major and I tell them that it's Political Science I joke that I'd rather starve than go into politics, I'm often told that they hope I do consider it as a field. Interesting.

As for HokiePundit, I've decided that while I have some mild expertise in a few areas, that's not the main reason people visit this site. Of course, my occasional theological forays seem to be popular, but I'm a little rusty right now, and so I'm having to work myself back into them. What appears to be the main draw is reading my gut reaction to issues. If you want brilliant analysis, you can go to Ben Domenech, Mark Byron, or USS Clueless (not to slight those who I didn't mention). If you want prose, go to Mark Butterworth, Louder Fenn, or James Lileks. You're not going to get the news you'd get from Samizdata, InstaPundit, VodkaPundit, or Sgt. Stryker. What you get is an insight into how a conservative twenty-year-old evangelical Christian Political Science major at Virginia Tech thinks. I'm not going to start loading the site up with my thoughts on every tiny aspect of life, but you'll probably see more gut reaction posts to things that impact me.

Oh, and if you'd like to see some of my photos from this summer, go here.

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