Sender: HM2(SW) Jeffry Priela
Posted On: 09/03/2009
Year: 1998-2000

An Englishman in Santa Barbara

As far as I can remember the very idea of an Englishman going to an American school was absurd. It was seen by the greater majority of my adopted family saw it as an easy opportunity to create an upstart within the American public school system. My linguistic skills and mannerism, which were cultivate in England, surpassed the expectations of most Southern Californians. Thus it was also decided overwhemingly that my accent alone would be able to pick up these easy American girls.

This was not the case.

Sufficed to say, setting foot on SBHS was a massive culture shock. The idea of "casual dress" was alien to one that has been innundated by uniforms and strict regimentation in scholastic pursuits. The english had their way of educating the masses through Victorian methods. One was even threatened on being caned by my classmates when I was in primary school by our headmaster.

So seeing the Americans in their natural habitat made me wary and somewhat suspicious.

In the course of a year, those myths of English supremacy in the field of education was shattered irrevocably. In my junior year, the curse my inability to understand arithmatic, never mind algebra and chemistry, crippled my ego as it were. But, if there's one thing that the British are able to do that the Germans cannot, its working well under pressure and improvising. This I did, and despite my repetition in the game of figuring out what the result is of multiplying two letters(?) to receive a numerical result, I pushed on with my artistic merits and pursuits of literature, fine arts, music and history.

In this arena, I reigned supreme.

Indeed, now as I serve in the United States Navy, (another culture shock in fact an electrocution) y experiences in First Contact with the quaint American society has prepared me well to deal with certain situations that a premedicated englishman would have bowled over rather than stand his ground. I continue to apply my attitudes gained and cultivated whilst in SBHS to the greater world and spoke very highly of the school to my peers.

Even now as I prepare to go on my second deployment to the great Catbox, aka The Middle East, memories of the sublime experiences garnered in Santa Barbara gives this humbled englishman something worth fighting for. Santa Barbara is my home and no matter where I go, whether it is sailing on the high seas or groundpounding in the desert, Santa Barbara High School and its memories will always remain a cherished part of one's own existence.

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