Archive for the 'us' Category

A month or so in pictures

Check out my Flickr account (to the right) and see what we’ve been up to over the last month. It is crazy – you think you haven’t done anything at all recently, then you look at the photos and say, “oh, yeah….so that’s what we’ve been up to.” So enjoy our potty training, birthday partying, picnicing, golfing, grandparent-visiting, earth-day-tree-planting, gardening, egg hunting, playgrouping, fishing, boating, babysitting photos.

Back home, for now

We’ve been back home for a week, and jet lag is just leaving us behind.  Yet we find ourselves playing catch-up on regular life’s work.

1.  Because he had such loving, tender care from his Gram, Connor has decided that he should always be treated as nicely.  Sorry, Bud.  You’ve got to remember how to put your own coat on and your own shoes on.  Mommy isn’t going to do it for you.  Nice try with the daily all-out-screaming temper tantrums, though.  But I must remind you – have they ever worked before?

2) We have no presents purchased.  We have done no Christmas traditional things we like to do such as the driving around to see the houses festooned with lights, the baking of sugary goodies, or the shopping for people in our community less fortunate than us.  Heck, we don’t even have a tree.

3) Normal life seems to have gone on without us.  We need to grocery shop, clean and organize.  We also need to move Siena into the next size clothes.  I think our miniature girl is ready to move into size 2T! 

4) Since insurance deductables have been met, I’ve had the grand idea that I should get all those little things taken care of by the end of the year.  So before I’ll be singing Auld Lang Sine, I’ll have my skin cleared of pesky abnormalites.  I even get to have an MRI for my hip – not without the added benefits of having a needle injected INTO MY HIP JOINT.

We still don’t have any final word on whether we will be moving to the UK, when that would be, and when we will know.  I’ll update as we find out more.

Tomorrow: A quick night in London

Tomorrow Rich will work just a couple of hours, then we’re off to London.  We’ll be spending the night in a hotel right outside of Heathrow so we can fly out the next morning – but first we’ll have a little fun.  We have tickets to see the show “Wicked” and we’ll have a nice dinner beforehand.  We may also be able to take a stop or two along the way – one to Avebury Stone Circle – similar to Stonehenge but you can actually walk up and touch the stones.

After our flight to America, we’ll be spending the night in Portland with my Dad, then getting up early and driving home where we’ll finally relieve my Mom of kid-related duties and be able to hug our offspring.  We’ve missed them like crazy.  Then that night we have the company Christmas party.  And the next morning we pack up the family and go to Lake Chelan where the corporate strategy meeting will be for a couple of days.

Eventually we’ll make it home and be able to see everyone – until then – cheers!

Day 6

I’ve still been preoccupied with school stuff so I’m going to hand the reigns of the website over to the hubby, Rich.  (Let me just tell you how thankful I am that he has the day off tomorrow and will be around to help make the school decision).  Anyroad, here he is:

Cheerio all from Mr. Mum!

I guess am to write my first ever blog entry today, which as you can guess goes against most of my manly beliefs.  Work goes smashing over here in the U.K.  The wide range of people I work with makes the work day a lot of fun.  The Scottish accent is my personal favorite.  They sound so excited and interested in every topic mentioned. 

Now, as for the English cuisine.  It does leave something to be desired……most meals come with two servings of ‘vegetables,’ but this really means two different forms of potatoes.  And for someone who is trying to eat a low carb diet, this can be very difficult.  And as gross as it sounds, the black pudding (blood sausage) is acutally quite good! 

So for the question that everyone is asking, “Are we going to move to England?”  Good question.  Still don’t have a good answer for you all….. sorry. 

Cheers,

Richard

We made it!

After a grueling day of travel, we’ve arrived in England.  I’m working from my laptop battery as we’re having power cord issues (my plug adaptor has only 2 prongs while my plug has 3) so I’m going to make this as short as possible.  Hopefully we can rectify the situation tomorrow.

Yesterday we got on the plane intending to sleep so we each took a couple of Tylenol PMs and had a couple of glasses of wine.  We found out later that sleeping pills + alcohol is not a pleasant combination (you’ll have to ask Rich for the details on that one).  And because of the side effects, we did not sleep much on the plane ride.

When we landed in London, we got our bags and rental car – a Vauxhall (check out the photos!).  We upgraded to a car with a built-in GPS navigation system, which turned out to be a very good idea as we had enough to think about when driving on the other side of the road and following very different street signs and signals.  If we got turned around, a very nice proper English lady’s voice would tell us, “turn right at the next signal.  Now take the second left on the roundabout please” and all would be right again.  MUCH better than relying on us looking at the map.

When we got hungry for lunch, we happened upon an English motorist’s haven purely accidentally.  Instead of our American rest stops which basically consist of a toilet (with or without running water) and a picnic table, there are things called “Moto” which have not only toilets but fast food, a mini grocery store, a convenience store, petrol, and a sandwich stop with a sitting area much like a food court in a mall.  What a great idea.

While driving, we went through Bristol (a thoroughly modern town with all the amenities and if it were closer to Rich’s work it would be an easy pick for a place to live) and Bridgwater (a quaint place but perhaps a little too quaint for our tastes).  What a pretty area – it is green, green, green with rolling hills, period stone architecture and the occasional castle.  Amazing.

After basically making an ass of ourselves on the UK roads, we managed to make it to our inn – the Combe House in Holford outside of Bridgewater.  It is a lovely place and we appreciated our shower and very nice dinner this evening.  And on that note, it is time to get some real sleep for the first time in two days.

Tomorrow we plan on checking out the local towns (driving and walking) and perhaps doing a couple of touristy things.  We’ll update when we have the power cord issue handled.

Countdown: 5 days to go

We’re leaving in five days to see Somerset, England for the first time and I absolutely cannot wait for our adventure to begin.

Rich will be in essence in the middle of a two-week interview situation, so I don’t plan on seeing much of him during the trip.  That means, it is up to me to make the most of my two weeks, practically and extracurricular-ly.

As we speak, I have another window of the browser open to make a car reservation – which I’ll be driving.  On the other side of the road.  With different road signs and signals.  I’m a flighty person anyway, which sometimes admittadly translates into my driving habits.  It would not surprise me if I spend most of the two weeks driving around lost in the English countryside.

Those who know me well know that I am a list-maker to the point of compulsion.  Sometimes I even make charts.  With three dimensions.  (Really.)  This trip is no exception.  Since my main goal will be to check out towns, neighborhoods and schools, I’ve created maps of each of the villages that we are considering making our residence, and located each of the schools I’m interested in on each map.  I also have cross-referenced these school locations with the school’s Ofsted report rating (how cool is it that in Britain, the government inspects, rates and writes a hefty public report on each school?) and the general personality of each of the areas.

My perfect find for a hometown would be an area of town where amenities like good restaurants and grocery stores are close, the school is excellent, and the feel of the neighborhood is hip and young.  I’d love if there were lots of young families with preschool age children.  Maybe that would give us a jumpstart on making some new friends.  Friend-making has always come more easily to Rich, but I’m going to have to bite the bullet and do some socializing on my own, I’m sure.

I’ve also got a list of minor chores I’d like to do while I’m there.  These are silly things but could be important to determine what our way of life will be like (personally and financially) after the move.  I plan on checking out a grocery store or two to not only price out a few things but determine availability of foods.  I will probably sit down with a paper (or maybe a real estate letting agent) and start checking out places to live, if only to get an idea of prices.  I hear opening a bank account in the UK is no easy thing for a foreigner, so I need to look into the logistics of that.

If I run out of things to do, I can always go sightseeing or shopping.  I’m not a natural-born shopper, but I need to check out the shopping centres of the area, and possibly make a trip up to Bristol.  There are lots of sights about an hour away for my travel-curious brain – Stonehenge, Glastonbury, and Bath are my top picks.

I’ll try to update the website from the road as we can – until then, have a happy turkey day everyone!

Introduction

“You want a pint and a pie?” Rich called to say as I was driving to go pick up Connor from preschool. Silence on my end of the line as I’m trying to interpret his intentions behind those words. Is there an English pub in town I don’t know about?

Rich started giggling. “How would you like to go to England?”

“For how long?” I say, as the possibilities that had been announced a few months back loomed before me.

“For a couple of weeks.” Pregnant pause. “For the purpose of deciding if we want to move there for two or three years.” After utilizing my birth breathing and taking three wrong turns I finally made my way to Connor’s school several minutes late.

—–

The day after Thanksgiving, we’ll be handing over the kids to the grandparents and putting ourselves inside a metal cylinder 37,000 feet above the air for a half a day to journey to our probable new home. After two weeks, we’ll have made our decision.

Honestly I can’t think of any reason we would say no – as my dear friend said, “Who lays on their deathbed and says, ‘I’m so glad I didn’t relocate do England for a couple of years when I had that chance?'” I’ll be spending my time deciding what town in Somerset, England we will live in (Rich’s office is in Bridgwater) and what school Connor will attend (he’ll be publicly funded at age four!).

This blog is designed as a venue for family, friends and whoever else wants to join us while we make our journey across the pond.  Also once we’ve relocated we’d like this to be one way that we can keep up with loved ones without breaking the bank with our phone bill.

Wishful thinking, that one.


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