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If you’re wondering why things have been quiet lately at Girl on the River, here’s a little clue:

Yep, Girl on the River has been Stateside… and lovin’ it. It was more of an adventure than I expected; our visit to Boston was enlivened by a night in what  TripAdvisor cheerfully described as a “crack motel” (note to self: best to check TripAdvisor before midnight when the kids have already gone to sleep in said crack motel); our camping trip to Cape Ann was thrown awry when thunderstorms and torrential rain had us huddling in the car when the tent flooded; and surfing was definitely made more thrilling by swarms of jellyfish swirling around our feet.

But for all that, I was utterly charmed (and even partially adopted the accent for a while just, y’know, to be polite). I even loved the people enough to forgive the (college-educated) woman who asked me how difficult it was to get from England to Wales and whether I needed to get on a boat or plane to cross the border.

I had expected to return to Wales (by boat or plane, naturally) adorned with many extra layers of lard accummulated during my stay in the notoriously sugar-and-fat-addicted U.S. of A…. but here’s the thing. To my astonishment, I found that it’s easier to eat healthily in the Land of the Free than it is in the Land of my Fathers.

Son on the Run II runnin’ on Dunkin’

Of course, you have to be careful. Our American cousins are pretty free with the sugar shaker; even baked beans are temple-achingly sweet. And then of course there’s the junk food – McDonalds invites you at regular intervals on the freeway to “frydrate” (don’t ask) and, needless to say, America Runs on Dunkin’.

But actually, it’s pretty easy to be vigilant. Even at service stations I could always find a burrito that I could load up with vegetables and beans (and many outlets helpfully supplied calorie counts for every item). And once we’d sorted out the language barrier and I discovered what arugula and cilantro were (rocket and coriander, respectively, in case you’re wondering), I found the salads pretty spectacular, too.

So you’ll be glad to know I didn’t have be rolled home or winched on to the plane. And when I finally venture back on to the river this weekend, it’ll be my rusty technique that I’ll be worrying about, rather than how much water I’ve displaced as I lower myself into the boat again.

Have a nice day!

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