Sean: Couchsurfer who hosted me. Does British Sign Language fluently and works at the
Matt: Friend of Sean’s. Has a degree in Geography, but manages the kitchens in a hip pub/restaurant in
Darren: Friend of Sean’s. Deaf, works at the school. Reads lips and can moderately communicate with non-signing people. Also very nice.
Aidan: Friend of Sean’s. Deaf, works at the school. Can’t read lips.
Harry: Friend of Sean’s. Works as an aircraft maintenance engineer for Flybe airlines. Loves to get into
Chaz: Sean’s roommate. Doesn’t really like people staying over at their place. Engaged, and his fiancée basically lives there.
Rachel: Friend of Darren’s and Sean’s and works at the school with them.
Cat: Girl that Darren was briefly interested in. Friends with Rachel.
Sam: Friend of Cat’s.
Lucy: Friend of Cat’s.
Tucker: Friend of Sam’s.
Cullen: Adorable flaming homosexual from
Friday, mid-way through my
Thankfully he doesn’t have any kind of Napoleon complex. He’s actually very charming. It was easy to start talking to him. He asked me if he could invite his friend Matt along because he had just gotten off work. Of course I said yes and we chatted about our travels while we waited for Matt to arrive. Sean has traveled extensively through South America, SE Asia, and
I’ve learned that there are generally crazy stories when
When Matt arrived we chatted for a bit and then started off toward Sean’s place to drop off my bags. It was dark by this time, but
Matt and Sean took me by the Exeter Cathedral. It’s a beautiful piece of architecture. They let me stop and take a few pictures. Toby showed it to me earlier that day, but at night it had a different presence entirely.
Right after this is when my camera died. I was in a rush to leave
We arrived at Sean’s to drop my stuff off and have a few drinks. They asked me about
The other pub is called Firehouse, and we spent most of the night there. Apparently Sean knows EVERYONE in
We took our drinks upstairs and found a table. A lot of bars in
Darren and Aiden joined us. Sean made the introductions. I have to say it was really cool. Darren can lip read. He had meningitis when he was five and lost most of his hearing. He can still hear a very little bit with the use of hearing aids, but the cool thing is that he can speak mostly accurately too. His consonants are a little soft, but you can generally get the idea of what he’s saying. Aidan is completely deaf and has been since birth. Sean had to translate for us but Aidan didn’t seem to mind. Being able to converse with them was fantastic. It makes me really want to learn sign language. They taught me the sign for my name. Lack of hearing certainly didn’t seem to slow them down at all. Sometimes Sean would lapse into only sign language, but thankfully Matt was just as lost as me at those points, so we bonded in our mutual awkwardness.
So. Sean played interpreter, and we played drinking games.
Why did no one warn me about sambuca?
Aidan put a shot of sambuca
We jubilantly exited when the bar closed. I remember Matt being distinctly wobbly. I got lots of hugs from Darren and Aidan, who were also quite wobbly. Sean had to hail a cab, take me back to his place, make me drink tons of water, and then deal with me alternating between calling him an asshole and throwing up some more, and then put me to bed. I don't know why the guy didn't kick me out the next morning. I don’t know how I didn’t die that night. God. He thought it was the funniest thing ever.
Then the next morning he made breakfast for me! Best host ever? I think so. Thankfully I was the first person he ever hosted so he was as ignorant of the process as I was. Also, thankfully, I wasn't hungover. Amazing, I know. That was probably the worst bout of wasted-ness I've had since I was an ignorant, un-boozed freshman in college. Sean told me he’s never going to buy that much alcohol for a couchsurfer again. Ever. He also told me I was lucky that I was a short, slightly helpless-looking woman, because other wise he would have left me outside on the grass until the morning.
I love being a little blond girl.
After breakfast Sean took me around
The Exeter Cathedral the night before. The architecture is intricate and beautiful. Sean told me that all the statues are clothed except for one guy near the top of the Cathedral. Medieval jokes, har har.
A few shops in Exeter. Neat, right?
At one point we went to meet Darren and Aidan. They laughed at me, but gave me some big hugs and told me I was welcome to drink with them any time. Acceptance into that group is a trial by fire.
Sean invited me to stay another night, so I thanked him by making burritos for dinner. Harry came over and I facilitated their new addiction to guacamole. Honestly, I just need to sign up as a cultural ambassador for
This time I only had one drink and decided to stop early. That one drink gave me a flashback to Friday and I nearly started getting sick again. Ugh. I don't think I'll be drinking for a long time. Also, there were no deaf guys spitting fire this time. It was a much quieter night.
I came back to the farm on Sunday and picked up the usual routine on Monday. I spent a couple of days working and doing my thing, but Sean and Harry contacted me and invited me to go surfing with them on Wednesday. I jumped at the chance. I’ve never been surfing before, and both Sean and Harry are really fun to hang out with.
Wednesday rolled around and Ann let me work a half day.
Anyway, Sean and Harry picked me up on Wednesday afternoon. I had borrowed a wetsuit from Declan so we immediately hit the beach. It was awesome! The water wasn’t too cold and Sean and Harry taught me how to properly body board. Sadly the waves weren’t large enough to properly go surfing, but we had a great time anyway. After a few hours of hanging out we washed off, went into town, and ate “fish and chips”.
I’m going to take this opportunity to make a side note and add a little colloquialism lesson here:
Fish & Chips = fish and French fries. They are large French fries. The British refuse this, but it’s true.
Crisps = what we would call chips. There have been multiple arguments over this matter with the
Biscuits = cookies. They also call them cookies. Why, I have no idea. They have no explanation, other than “it’s British and British English is superior so there.”
Knackered = tired.
Mental = crazy. Not that that was difficult to figure out, but it’s weird when Brits say “that’s mental!” all the time.
Chav = what we would call some ghetto kid that wears his pants below his butt and blings himself out. I like this one.
Bloke = dude
There are a few other words, but I can’t remember them right now. They’re slowly integrating into my vocabulary. I used the word “knackered” the other day and Sean said I almost sounded British, but that my “blatantly offensive” American accent ruined it. I get this kind of treatment all the time.
After fish and chips we went back to Sean’s and played some drinking games with cards involved. I made sure to not drink too much this time. Good thing, because it was my turn to play babysitter, apparently.
Harry being a foolish drunk Brit
Because men can't get inebriated without challenging each other at SOMETHING.
We went out, met up with Matt, and hit the pubs again. A lot of ridiculousness happened. Suffice to say the boys were wasted. Harry left about twenty minutes before us to catch a cab back to Sean’s. I herded Sean back a little while later. Matt was relatively okay. Harry let us in
Yeah.. I didn’t make it back to the farm the next morning. I called at 7:30am to tell Ann that nobody was awake. Then I promptly passed out again and missed the next couple of phone calls. I woke up around noon to the sound of moaning and groaning.
Sean decided to make a full English breakfast for the three of us. It was delicious. For your information, a full English breakfast consists of fatty bacon, poached or fried eggs, fried or grilled tomatoes, fried mushrooms, fried bread
Irealized that Matt had run home with Declan’s wetsuit, so I tried to get a hold of him. He was at work though, so I had to wait around for a few hours before I could return to the farm. I felt absurdly guilty. I hadn’t worked that day when I said I would.
Matt joined us and we sorted all the possessions. The guys were talking about going out that night to meet friends and invited me along. I had planned to stay at the farm that night and leave for the airport early Friday morning from
Harry took me back to the farm house and I collected my things. I said a quick goodbye to the family and Harry dropped me off at the Tiverton bus station on his way home. He lives just outside Tiverton, so it wasn’t inconvenient for him. I took the bus back to
Imade it back to
I only had to wait for half an hour. Matt was working at the Imperial that night
That night was absolutely hilarious. I met Matt and gave him my bags. He’s such a sweetheart for taking care of me like that. I then joined Darren and his friends Cat and Rachel. Sam and Tucker joined us shortly afterward, and we all sat around talking until around ten when Matt got off work and Sean arrived. Harry decided to actually sleep that night.
They were all absurdly interested in hearing stories about
Texans don’t turn down bets like that.
I won another Heineken.
I’m pretty sure Sean thinks I’m drunk about 50% of the time, and hungover for another 25%. I don’t think I’ve ever drunk that much in a week before. I know I’m starting to sound like a lush. I’m really not like this. It’s just that when meeting English and Irish people for the first time, there’s generally copious amounts of free-flowing booze involved.
Anyway, when Sean and Matt joined us we decided to move to another bar. Same kind of story there, except a few random people joined us. Tucker
We had a grand time until the wee hours of the morning. Matt had left half way through because he had to rise early for work the next morning. Sean deposited me safely at Matt’s flat and made me promise to come back to
I woke the next morning to an empty flat, a big mysterious bruise on my forearm, and with no idea where I was in