We settled into our new apartment and our new life in America. I allowed Joanna to walk to school on her own (although I watched her from the balcony until she was out of sight). She started to make new friends, I started watching daytime TV, what else could I do? I used the gym a little, walked a little, but also felt a little lonely.
I tried to work, but I couldn’t because I didn’t have a work visa. I couldn’t even do voluntary work because no one would insure me without a work visa. It was February and it was cold, so I couldn’t go to the pool. Daytime TV soon got very ‘old’. Terrible acting, contrived talk shows. I had no friends, Lester was out at work all day and Joanna was at school. I felt pretty useless. I read a lot, but soon I got tired of reading too. I thought ‘not working’ would be fun, and for a while it was, but then it was excruciating.
Joanna made a friend at school, her name was Ashley, and she was a nice, smart kid. I was really glad Joanna was settling in and making friend. Moving had been a risk for all of us, but Joanna was our main concern. School soon broke up for half term or some other holiday. I was very happy when Ashley’s mum, Jocelyn invited Joanna and I to go to Breckenridge for the day. In fact, I was more than happy, I was ecstatic. Joanna had been on a ski day with the school and had taken to it pretty well, so I knew she would do OK. Jocelyn picked Joanna and I up early one morning and we set off for the mountains. I was as excited as a kid. We had been to Winter Park, but that was a flying visit, I was excited about hanging out with a friend (although I hadn’t known Jocelyn that long, she was the closest thing I had to a friend in this country).
It was wonderful being driven up to the mountains. The scenery took my breath away. The moisture in the air caused rainbow colors to form around the clouds. I saw Dylan lake for the first time. I went through the Eisenhower Tunnel for the first time. Everything was new and exciting, very exciting. I almost felt like we arrived in Breckenridge too soon because the journey was so much fun. We rented skis for Joanna (Ashley had her own, what a luxury) and then we left both kids at the ski lift. They were excited. We made a plan to pick them up where we dropped them off, and then we headed into town. Jocelyn parked her Dodge Caravan (a cavernous beast) and we found somewhere to get a coffee and a cinnamon roll (my first cinnamon roll was heavenly). We sat and chatted, Jocelyn had a very high-profile job as a government lobbyist for one of the oil companies, and was smart and funny. I enjoyed her company, and stories of her dating exploits, as she was a single mum who had only just started dating again, and was nervous about it.
When we finished our coffee, we wandered around the shops in Breckenridge, what a charming place it was. It was totally geared up for tourists, but I felt like a tourist. In fact for the first five years I lived in America, I felt like a tourist. I still do today sometimes.
We had a wonderful time, every time I spoke to someone, they commented on my accent. It soon got old and I felt like a broken record telling everyone I came from England. They were just being polite, but it was funny. It was even funnier when they would say to me. “I know someone in London called John Smith, do you know him” Of course I am making up the name John Smith, but you get my drift.
For the first time since we moved to the States I felt normal, and like I belonged. I had a friend. If Jocelyn is out there anywhere reading this. Thank you.