26 April, 2012

Wales | People Like Us


Croeso i Gymru - Welcome to Wales
I'm in love with Wales. You know you're in love when you can't stop thinking about a place. When it infects your mind, in all your daily routine. When you watch the television and they show an aerial of the city and see the Atlantic Wharf and scream out "Shan that's where  you pee'd!" Okay it doesn't sound to romantic when you put it that way, but you're just going to have believe me here.

So I thought I'd share some of my thoughts and learnings on the whole Wales thing.

Mari Lwyd. Oh wow does this sound cool. Forget Festivus. It's basically Christmas except you wear horse masks with marble eyes and you go door to door insulting people with poetry wrapped in a sheet. We are so adopting this tradition next year.


Welsh Rarebit. Basically the welsh invented cheesy bread. Who knew? Yepper, a nice pint, and some cheese bread what can be better? Take about 4 oz of cheese, 3 tablespoons of milk 2 teaspoons of mustard and mix, toss on a slice of bread, top with sliced tomatoes and bake.

I didn't know Catherine Zeta Jones and Anthony Hopkins are both Welsh.

There is a village called llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, but people just call it Llanfair PG.

The Welsh white cow of Dynevor, is ironically a endangered species that is the "must get" cow for religious sacrifice and use to be used as currency for the Druids.

The story of King Arthur originated from Wales.

The legend of Owen Glendower, the national hero of Wales was captured by the soon to be King of England back around 1400 after he made a "brave heart" attempt at preventing English rule in Wales. The legend goes that he will return to lead Wales to victory.

Apparently the #1 leisure activity in Wales is: .... drum roll please..... pub-crawling, followed by sports, and gardening.... How can you not love a place where alcohol consumption can be listed first under hobbies on your resume?

Oh Welsh cakes. Boy are they good. Picked up a pack while in Cardiff. It's sort of a combination of cookie, biscuit and pancake all in one.

Cadw- to keep, or preserve.
As I mentioned in the "give me a job in Cardiff" thread. We particularly fell in love with Cardiff which was at one time (historically) one of the richest cities in the world. The first million pound deal was struck at the Coal Exchange in Cardiff Bay.

How about this? Christopher Columbus was beaten to America by the Welsh.  Madog ab Owain Gwynedd, a 12th century Welsh prince sailed his boat: Gwennan Gorn to what today is Mobile, Alabama. If that isn't enough to convince you, there's even speculation that America is named after a Welsh man Richard Amerik. Apparently the welsh are also responsible for the modern Olympics, the New York Times, The location of the Holy Grail, the name of the highest mountain, and public enemy number one. Phew!

I'm honestly learning so much that I never knew about my family's culture. Even the language is really cool, like "Wales" in Welsh is Cymru but it's pronounced "kum-ree"... which wouldn't be my first guess.

While we were out there, we popped around a few apartment complexes (not sure if that would be "flat complexes".... wait, that sounds like a medical condition) around the Atlantic wharf and was certain they were out of our price range. They're gorgeous, very upscale and modern. We met a nice couple walking their dog in the area, who were also about our age, and it seemed like a really cool place to live. When we got home we looked it up and found several "furnished" 2 bedroom flats from £600-700. I was shocked. Even in "Main Street America", apartments are $1000-$1200 dollars. Best part it's 10 minutes down to the bay, 20 minutes to Centre City, and no car would be required. I could eat out at Mermaid's Quay with some great food just feet away (here I come Strada). How I would love that!

People Like Us

We thank you for this couple.
For all they mean to us.
For all they mean to each other.
For All they mean to you.
God of Love- hear our prayer.

Oddly some of the flats didn't have balconies, but had places for them... which made me wonder if Cardiff has a BYOB (Bring Your Own Balcony) policy in effect?


It's so funny when I think about where I live her in The States. Here I am, a living metaphor for diversity in a same sex relationship which just also happens to be bi-racial. I grew up North Carolina, my partner: Shannon in California. Now I'm not saying life is perfect, or the grass is (always) greener on the other side, okay yes I am, (let me dream) but when we landed in Cardiff last year, we walked out on the docks and there was this (left). It's a statue called "People Like Us", and as you can see it portrays a mixed race couple... just like us. We thought "Wow, cool!"

See while the American south was running around in white hoods shooting people, over in Cardiff the city became a diverse combination of families comprised of different colors and backgrounds as people rushed to the city during it's coal boom. Butetown, the area around Cardiff Bay (formally named Tiger Bay) became a boom town for diversity. I was lucky enough to watch a documentary a few weeks back whom interviewed a daughter of a bi-racial couple and she said "No one thought anything of it, as my [black] mother and [white] father walked with me down the street."

"Wow" I thought. "People like us."