An American Visitor in Plymouth
My teenage daughter announced recently that an American friend she had met on the internet was coming to England this summer, and could she come and stay with us!
We hummed and hawed a bit thinking, we’ve never met this girl or her family, indeed our daughter has never met this girl or her family if it comes to that! Eventually, in a mad spirit of hospitality, we said she could come and stay for two nights and that we would meet her at Plymouth train station.
We felt a little nervous at entertaining a stranger from overseas, after all you hear about weirdos posing as normal people on the internet, but as it turned out, she was a very pleasant nineteen year old girl from New York State.
Our daughter took her out and showed her all the Plymouth landmarks, and took photos of her posing in front of Smeatons Tower, Drake’s statue, the War Memorial on the Hoe and the Mayflower Steps. Our new American friend seemed particularly interested in the Mayflower Steps as she said her ancestors sailed to America on the Speedwell (the ship after the Mayflower).
She was also pleased that an American Car and Bike Show was taking place on the Hoe as she is a bit of a petrol head. To top it all, while they were on the Hoe, a Royal Navy helipcopter landed on the Promenade to take a diver with the bends to hospital, as Plymouth Airport was shrouded in cloud! She also liked the Sci Fi shops in Frankfort Gate and spent ages in the Pannier Market looking at the pets and other curiosities there.
I feel that Plymouth pulled out all the stops to entertain our American visitor (apart from the weather which started off with a light drizzle followed by grey and overcast, but she didn’t seem to mind!)
The whole visit led me to think about the nature of friendships and how the internet can foster some unsual but pleasant ones. You hear all the horror stories and it’s important to be cautious, but the internet has so many wonderful opportunities to interact with new people from all over the world. I also felt delighted that a new person has been introduced to the ‘wonders’ of Plymouth who may never have come here otherwise!
In that vein, don’t forget to join us on Twitter where we have made an enormous number of new friends.