Adventures in Culture and Travel

04 September, 2011

Immigrating to Europe | When The Delusion Spreads.

So I'm delusional. I get that. Completely insane, mental- I'm a self-confessed nutter. Remember Sandra Bullock's character in Demolition Man and her fascination with 80's paraphernalia? I'm the same way but with Europe. I just finished my LED lit Euro shower complete with hand sprayer. My bathroom is painted in the colors of Tuscany, and my Kitchen is Italian yellow with black cupboards. All this is really nothing more than a drug to give me a "fix" to keep my true desires from rising to the surface and making irrational decisions. Forget the roaming Daleks in our house my son owns, John Barroman's framed signature on the wall or the streaming French radios station playing from my purpose built server on the flat screen that multi-tasks to allow us watch British TV. Forget it all. Because it just got worse. I've just pulled others into my delusion. Like Freddy Krueger in a Nightmare on Elm Street I'm screeching my nails across other people's minds and sucking them into my own mad psychosis.

That's right, before it was mostly just me. Something has changed now. I think I sucked my spouse into my life damaging delusion, because all she can talk about now is moving abroad too. She's always been a bit partial to my ideas, but now it's almost like she's weighing those irrational options just as much as me. 

    Option 1: Live out our lives in peaceful bliss satisfying our Euro drug use with British chocolate, Spanish wine, and a occasional baguette here in the States.
      Problem with this is of course the more drugs you take, the higher your tolerances... eventually it will become impossible to self-medicate and it's not likely to be effective, nor financially possible.

    Option 2: Run far, far away and live in a cardboard box somewhere hoping immigration never figures it out.
      As great as this sounds, and they do give all the homeless free puppies in Brussels, it's probably not the best parenting.

    Option 3: Show up somewhere, renounce citizenship, apply for a Schengen visa and never come back to the states.

      Honestly... I'm not past doing this.... We will list this one under our "last resort" list.

    Option 4: Find a legal way to get in to a foreign country.
      There are none. At Least not for retarded farm girls like myself.

    Option 5: Go to school and pray despite not being all that religious.

      Pursuing this... I just don't have a crap load of patience, but I'm working on that.

    Option 6: Get pregnant while abroad.
      Baby tourism... Hmmmm..... I'll think on this one.... it's not a question of if, it's a question of how?

    Option 7: Divorce my spouse and marry someone abroad.
      Don't think we both haven't thought about it..... It's just we don't really like anyone else all that much.

    Option 8: Commit a heinous crime and get incarcerated abroad.
      What does it say that foreign prisons seem more enjoyable than living in America?

    Option 9: Become a missionary.
      The whole "I don't believe in God" thing sort of gets in the way. Though I'm willing to pretend.

Of course we're taking suggestions for the list.

So back to the matter at hand. I've done so well at convincing Shannon of going, I've sucked her in. Her hopes and dreams are now riding on a company transfer. Of course we both know, if we're honest, that's not likely to happen. It's like playing the lotto though... for a moment you get to dream. Sadly I don't know what we're both going to do when the dream isn't realized, and we're still here with nothing but a refrigerator full of imported cheese and wine. I'm worried... it's a virus, the worse disease ever, a mental mind-fuck which totally screws up the individual, and I'm spreading it like a lesbian monkey with a STD. In fact I recommend that readers stop reading what I write immediately in fear of coming down with it yourself. I suppose I've said too much already, and I must now go crawl up in the fetal position in the corner of my Euro shower with it's rotating LED light show, a bottle of Spanish Porto all the while I listen to George Micheal playing out of 88.3 streaming from Brussels. George Micheal?

01 September, 2011

The Holiday's Rosehill Cottage | Shere, Surrey

Rosehill Cottage.
We spent last night re-watching the movie "The Holiday" before it has to go back to the store on Tuesday. Best movie, ever! I may even watch it again today. I Love this movie! It was actually a unexpected surprise since I did want to see it in the movies, but never got around to it. Shannon actually ended up bringing it home a few days ago, and we fell in love with the story.

 If you haven't seen the movie, which due to its cross cultural play on the fantasies of us women on both sides of the Atlantic, became hugely popular; the plot is basically about two women (Iris played by Kate Winslett and Amanda played by Cameron Diaz) and their love stories as well as the people they love. The plot revolves around how their fates intertwine when the two of them swap houses as part of a holiday home exchange program. Oddly such a concept does exist, and it seems quite interesting till you realize, somebody will be rummaging through pictures of you in your closet. (I've been told to get a closet with a locking key!)  So last night while the DVD was playing, I had a thought. A question actually; does this house, the Rosehill Cottage that Amanda rents, does it really exist?

Meant to be an idyllic Christmas cottage.
 It took me a while, but eventually I discovered the answer: unfortunately no. The whole idea of a romantic, quaint little Christmas cottage in the middle of a field is nothing but Hollywood fantasy. Apparently the whole house is a fiberglass set built in a field in Shere (or Sheire or Shire), a village on the river Tillngbourn in Surrey, England. Worse yet, for our little fantasies, the interior of the house was actually constructed on a sound stage in Los Angeles.
"They wanted a cottage and they couldn't find one so they built one in a field outside Shere," he said. "Shere feels like this little isolated village and we found this lovely spot on the hill over-looking the village where we built this cottage. That was perfect." -Surrey Online
A rather unique view inside Iris's living room.
The ironic thing about the whole movie is in the final climatic scene where Amanda (Diaz) is running back into the Rosehill cottage in a feverish panic, she's doing the running in Shere, England. Then as soon as she walks through the door, she's suddenly in Los Angeles, I'm even fathoming a guess that the scene was shot back to back with other interior shots, meaning everything, all that this requiem-of-a-chick flick is, is nothing but some faux fantasy created by the writer, Nancy Meyers. This is unfortunate for the congregation of romance fiction fans, both in the UK, and the US, who for some reason or another was hoping this was actually a partially factual realization, or at the very least held some element of reality. Apparently, hoards of women (and men) who don't know this, call the town's phone number and asking about the Holiday house.
Shere feels like this little isolated village and we found this lovely spot on the hill over-looking the village where we built this cottage. That was perfect." He said they are also filming in Godalming and that scenes from the two villages will be sewn together in the film to make it look like one place.
Iris's House in the Holday.
 Apparently the film has caused such a response, that this tiny little village was forced to post tourist information on their website for individuals wishing to visit the area and walk in Iris's and Amanda's footsteps. But it appears all is not lost for us die hard romantics. Even though Nancy did create a Holiday universe in which Cary Grant was born in Surrey, (In reality he was born in Bristol.) indicating a fictional world for this film, several aspects of the film do exist in this little village of Shere.

Love does not go on Holiday.
The field, the cemetery, Saint James Church, even the White Horse Pub (bar) that Graham (Jude Law) makes his way back from drunk and on to the steps of the Rosehill Holiday house, all exist in real life. Even the cottage in the movie appears to be patterned after many cottages in the area, although not isolated in some snowy idyllic location. (Which is the reason they constructed one there.) Many of these cottages can be let for about a thousand-dollars (U.S) a week for your own personal "holiday." Surrey, oddly enough, was the also the film site of some scenes from Harry Potter, The church in the Omen, and the opening scene from the movie Gladiator; not to mention the Diary of Bridgette Jones, and the now defunct television series Will & Grace.

As appealing as this little village seems on DVD, I can't wait for my opportunity to find my own false romantic notion when I get to visit the set of the Holiday in Shere Surrey.

This was one of my personal photos on my visit to Shere
So a couple updates to this post, as in 2008, I visited the site of the Holiday in Shere, (a highlight of my life) and loved it. The town is very small, and the hill sans the house is there, as is the White Horse Pub. Loved the place to death, and was sad when I had to leave. Would go back in an instant if they'd ever find a place for an American such as myself there. I've also received tons of fan mail for the movie here, with corrections and other facts I wanted to post:

Mill House:
From Katie:
Mill House does exist in Wonersh, Surrey. It is a Grade II listed building from the 15th century.
The Shop "K, Lawson Bakers":
There is some conflicting information on "the shoppe" from the Holiday. It does exist, though not in Surrey, we are sure of that. It's on Church Street in Godalming, (a town about twenty minutes from Shere) which was renamed "High Street", and one of the shops in the filming was Cafe La Creme, though we've had various reports saying the actual Christmas themed store in The Holiday, was a tile shop.