I first went to America when I was seven. Modern media may have eroded the adult American Dream, but for a seven-year-old it is alive and well - Disney World, impossibly large milkshakes, bright colours and loud noises.
The attraction this time round is pretty much the same, to be honest, though I've replaced Disney World with SoHo, New York's artistic quarter. I will be working for a year at the Schatz-Ornstein Studio, owned by Howard Schatz, one of America's most eminent fine art photographers. I will be drinking impossibly large milkshakes. And I will be living in the Ganas Community on Staten Island, in an attempt to experience a qualitatively different way of life. Well, honestly, it's more because the rents are lower than Fergie's Apple Bottoms, but hopefully it will broaden my narrow Cantabrigian horizons a little, too.
Because I like sharing these things, and have taken a shine to journalism recently, I will be documenting my experiences here as 'Lettuce From America', a none-too-subtle homage to that great transatlantic correspondent, Alastair Cooke. Lettuce From America will include all manner of inane prattle and media content, like all the best blogs.
I shan't lie, I'm scared. First there was the revelation that Americans don't drink tea; then the bombshell that they don't own electric kettles. If that weren't enough, I've just been told their light switches are the other way up. Clearly these are a people I will have to be very cautious of.
In spite of my reservations, I will be leaving in a week.
P.S. For those of you who don't know me, I'm a 21-year-old would-be photographer from Manchester, England. Other interests include psychology (my degree subject), politics (I post on The Guardian's 'Comment is Free' site as samuelpalin, if you're ever over that way), and many other far less cerebral things.
Images are © Howard Schatz