Adam Jarret

Independent Cultural Immersion Project

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Chuck's Visit

Encounters

My first visitor to the UK was my good friend Chuck Liddell. Chuck only stayed for a short while, but during his visit we had plenty of time to reminisce. Chuck and I have known each other since high school and talking to him brought back a lot of memories. I was surprised to realize that these were not the type of memories of past events that one usually associates with old friends' discussion. Rather, these memories were of things I used to talk about and want. These were problems that had troubled me in the past; those concerns that every young person struggles with during adolescence which I had worked through and begun to forget about. I found our conversation to be strange at first because while I consider him a good friend and a good person, we do not get very many opportunities to see each other and catch up. As a result of this, the topics he would bring up when fishing for conversation were amusing to me, because I could remember talking about such things years ago when we spoke more frequently, but were presently far from the forefront of my mind.

Such topics included the frequency of my drinking. I am a firm believer in enjoying my college years, and when thrust into the non-stop drinking culture that is Great Britain, it can be hard not to get carried away. I found myself to be drinking quite frequently during the initial weeks I spent abroad. The reason this became a topic of conversation during Chuck's visit was because Chuck doesn't drink. This seemingly innocuous distinction cast the day-to-day British routine I had adopted over the past few months in a very jarring light. The first week of term in the UK is known as "fresher's week" which is very similar to the American Greek-life concept of "rush week." The first week was a blur of clubs and drink specials at every stop along organized bar-crawls. Chuck arrived just on the heals of "fresher's week" and as a result, caught me at a time when it would not be unusual for me to go out with my friends 3-4 times a week. I did drag him into one pub (he got a Coke), but I could tell that spending a few days "down the pub" was not his cup of tea. I tried to get creative and find something fun that we could do sober. I saw a flyer for this Russian circus taking place in Victoria Park, located just behind Leicester Uni Campus, and we decided to go. It wound up being a really great show and a really great night, and was certainly not something my British friends would have accompanied me to.

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