Lynne Engleman (United Kingdom)

Lynne Engleman (United Kingdom Association of Gypsy Women - UKAGW): Lynne is from Cleveland, and with a long stop in Chicago. Lynne’s interest in international issues came from studying in London, England and Heidelberg, Germany and travelling to southern India. She also interned with the Canadian Red Cross (International Humanitarian Law division) and worked as a research assistant at the Faculty of Social Work. At the time of her fellowship, she was pursuing a master’s degree in International Social Work at the University of Calgary in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.



JOLLY OLDE ENGLAND

05 Jun

Due to technical difficulties (yes, they even have them in developed countries) these blogs are about 4 – 5 days behind real time.

Greetings everyone (yes, you can all let go that collective breath you’ve been holding over my safe arrival in the UK). I arrived to a sunny, steamy England yesterday (so happy I threw that extra wool sweater in my bag). My host from UKAGW was waiting for me at the airport—equally sunny in her crisp yellow blouse and sparkling sunglasses. Off we zoomed down the motorway during which I spent a good deal of time clutching the car door because although my brain understood this was England and they drive on the other side of the road, my body did not.

To take my body off my mind, I tried the proverbial small talk and asked my host where she was from. To which she slowly (and patiently) replied, “well, I suppose we’re from Lancashire… But of course we didn’t stay there, you know? We traveled.” (Ah yes Lynne, thus the term “Travellers.”) Needless to say, I am now safely ensconced in the English countryside, not too far from the village of Frodsham (and yes, it’s as quaint as it sounds). My host’s home sits on a small lake with England’s oldest forest, Delamere, ringing the other side—all quite tranquil. Her son and his family live just down the road and already the grandchildren have been over to say hello. They are lovely kids: interesting, polite, and full of questions—the first of which found me explaining that no, it was not common practice for Americans to book their pets into five-star hotels (hm, I think I have Paris Hilton to thank for that misconception).

And who or what do I have to thank for my own misconceptions about what I would encounter here? Certainly I had them or else I wouldn’t be surprised by anything and already I am: by the warmth and kindness of my host; by her welcoming family and the genuine affection they seem to have for each other; by placing their trust in a stranger when clearly their history of discrimination suggests they have not had the same trust placed in them. I am sure the list will grow in the coming months. Until then, it’s tea time.

Posted By Lynne Engleman (United Kingdom)

Posted Jun 5th, 2014

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