Saturday, February 28, 2009

Hastings and High School

Apparently England is the place for me to find people that I haven't seen since high school. Last term I saw Peggy. This term I went to visit Ian, a friend of mine from GCS Drama Club, who is teaching in Hastings which is a little more than an hour away from Uni. Sussex. Although we couldn't decide on the exact amount of time that had passed, we were in agreement that it had been over 5 years since we last saw each other. Neither one of us knew that the other was coming to England until Facebook randomly revealed it one day. It took us about 5 months to actually set up a day to meet but I'm really glad that we did finally get around to it.

I took the train out to Hastings which was kind of a pain because they were doing engineering work and I had to get a rail replacement bus for about half the trip. Ian met me at the train station in Hastings. He looks almost exactly the same as he did in high school. Although I'm sure I don't look very different from the way I did in high school spare the length of my hair. When I passed through the barrier Ian informed me that the rowdy group of 13 year old skateboarders who had just passed me were a group of his students that had been quite keen on waiting for me to arrive. Ah the joys of teaching middle schoolers.

We got lunch in the Old Town (the older section of town) and a pub called the Hastings Arms. The pub had a really nice nautical atmosphere and the food was pretty good. Hastings is still a big fishing town so the nautical theme definitely fit. Old Town, in general, reminded me a lot of the Lanes in Brighton. It was full of narrow streets with tons of shops and pubs. The Hastings seafront is far more picturesque than what I've seen of Brighton's seafront though. We wandered out of Old Town to the seafront, passed a row of fish 'n' chips stands and blackened, weather-beaten boathouse, and turned onto a tiny alley of a walkway. The alley wound through layers of buildings before leading to the East Hill. Hastings sits in a dip between two hills, sptly named East Hill and West Hill. East Hill has a park at the top and West Hill has Hastings Castle which was built by William the Conquerer. Both hills are very steep and made me feel very out of shape even though I've been going to the gym regularly. The view at the tops was great though. It was probably the nicest day of the year so far, complete with sunlight, blue skies, and about 55 degrees. Hastings Castle is very much in ruins. Ian was telling me that storms have changed the coastline so much that a lot of the castle has fallen into the Channel.

Ian showed me the flat that he was in the middle of moving to. It's right on the seafront. He's living with three other Americans that he met through teaching. I thought they were all pretty cool and they invited me to come back anytime. The flat that they're living in looks right out onto the water and the Hastings Pier (not as impressive as the Brighton Pier). I was extremely jealous of the view they will be enjoying. I helped Ian move a few things from his old flat to the new one and then we all went out to dinner before I had to catch the train back to Uni. Sussex. We went to a pub called Yates. It was a peculiar place in that we actually had a waiter come to our table to take out orders. Usually you have a table number and just go up to the bar if you want to order something. I got the BBQ chicken melt which was a chicken breast marinated in BBQ sauce with a slice of bacon and cheese melted over it. I thought it was pretty good but the Jaimie and Alyssa told me that they usually got more BBQ sauce and the chicken wasn't as dry. I was just happy to not have to cook for once.

I got the train back to school without any problems. Ian and I are planning on meeting up again during my summer term. He wants to come out to Brighton and I'd like to go back to Hastings and hang out by the sea aka the Channel a little more.

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