Day one, breakfast time, would you believe it, I managed to break a tumbler. Doh! I’m reminded of a folk song by Jake Thackeray about “Leopold Allcocks” his disaster prone distant relation. You could probably google that if you want a laugh. I just hope I don’t end up breaking everything in the houses of all my hosts!
The US customs process took a lot longer than I remember it taking before. A lot of queuing, and an attempt at speeding things up with automation that resulted in all of us “visitors” being given a printed out receipt with our details and photo on it crossed out in bold print. Hmmm welcoming! (Not.) I’m not sure whether this was a sign that we’d all been unsuccessful in working out how to use the machines. We all seemed to get through the rest of the checks fine though.
All of this makes me wonder what it means to welcome people. Is a neon sign saying “Welcome to our country” in the distance at the end of an interminable queue where your fingerprints are taken really welcoming? Or is welcome more about the readiness to forgive your guest when she clumsily breaks a glass on day one? And again when she accidentally traps the cat in a room because she didn’t realise about wedging the door open? (Sorry, Didi!)
For myself, I reckon signs saying “Welcome” mean very little. What matters is more the kindness that people treat you with. I’m happy to report that the cat seems to have forgiven me too.