I love the first day of September. It feels like a brand new start to a new year. I am sure it is the American school calendar that has conditioned me think so. The supermarkets and drugstores are filled with school supplies and lunchboxes. In the words of Tom Hanks in You’ve Got Mail. “It just makes me want to send you a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils if I knew your address.” There is a growing crispness in the air and I feel as if I have been given a fresh notebook for the year. “This next year will be better.” I told myself every year as I flipped through my new school diary and imagine how those blank pages will be filled.
In the States, kids would be getting on bright yellow school buses in brand new clothes whereas in the UK it’s the same old uniform on public transport or lingering outside a Starbucks at 3:15. Apple cider festivals will start up soon and memories of visiting Missouri Town and reading Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie books on the school bus come to mind.
I will be starting a class soon. I am not sure what I will be studying exactly but I have decided it is the easiest way for me to make friends in a new city. I am not great at making friends in a bar or at a party. I am much better at meeting people while doing something challenging. I met one of my best friends at a one-off French crepe cooking class I took when I was a little obsessed with all things French about 10 years ago.
Cat, who now works in Bahrain, thought I was a professional chef of some kind because I could crack open eggs with one hand. It wasn’t until the teacher told me I needed both hands to execute one point in the process was it revealed that I had cerebral palsy. Cat and I both laughed a lot at her assumption. (She did not know I once baked cookies with so much butter that when I took them to work to share, they were pronounced “not cookies” because “cookies don’t move”) It is just easier to make friends in a workshop environment with other adults in major cities that are also, more often than not, part nomad. I also find it is the fastest way to make people who might be intimidated by unexpected differences more comfortable with my mild physical disability.
I hope you all have a wonderful September and a wonderful “new year”. Apple cider for everyone!