Archive for August, 2008

Katie’s first day of school!

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

Sorry! I have had limited computer access this week due to Eric’s preparations for the Rome conference…he’s finished with the programme, name tags etc and now he is working on the paper he is presenting.

I have just a few pictures, thoughts and updates I want to post but I will wait for Eric’s departure (he will be gone for 5 days!).

In the meantime! Shalina posted about Katie’s first day of school (my neice) on Tuesday!  I guess Katie has been talking about starting Kindergarten for weeks now and has been so excited.  She is getting so big, oh my goodness. I am so proud of her – take a look!

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Photo update

Saturday, August 23rd, 2008

Well, this morning was the first day we haven’t been rustled out of bed at about 8:15am by the Royal Mail postman ringing our flat.  Its been nice receiving our parcels not just because it gets us out of bed at a decent hour but it’s nice seeing our familiar belongings… we happily unload them, putting some things in their place but most of it ends up strewn about on the couches simply because we have very little surfaces to put things on!  We went over to Jeff and Meghan’s house last night (mentioned in my previous post) for dinner and thankfully, they loaned us their tool kit so we can begin hanging some of the pictures we have.  Slowly but surely…

Jeff and Meghan also offered to accompany us on the bus ride to Ikea sometime today.  We really need to go ahead and purchase some of the bigger items – a desk and computer chair, a couple of rugs (we have wood floors), bookshelves, some storage thing-o’s, etc.  Apparently you can pay Ikea a £30 flat fee to have ALL your stuff delivered to your door!  Makes it nice when you don’t have transportation.

Not having a car is an interesting thing.  I don’t mind it as much as I thought I would simply because the tram (I haven’t had the need for the bus yet) has been very simple to figure out.  We really are close to most everything…just hop on the tram, go a couple/few stops in one direction or the other, walk a block or two, and presto – you’re there!  However, its been pretty inconvenient having to make multiple trips to the same store just to get the items you need at home.  Granted, we’re furnishing an entire apartment and that’s no easy task no matter how you look at it.  However, I keep thinking, “man, if I could just drive my car over, load it up with all of our purchases it would be so much more efficient!”  I’m learning they’re not as much in to efficiency here.  I think that’s very much an American concept; something we value much too highly.  I imagine it will definitely be an adjustment, especially once I find employment and begin learning the British system.

Random fact: Yesterday was the first day I had looked in the mirror since……well….the plane, I suppose!  No joke.  We don’t have one in our apt!  I thought I had packed a small cosmetic one…no such luck.  Kinda cool though, I highly recommend it!

Alright, enough of all that.  My main goal before heading out today was to post the galleries of pictures Eric was able to upload! (Oh, he’s been really busy, BTW.  Lots of loose ends to tie up at home while also doing a lot of work for the Rome conference in a week or so).

Enjoy! (And don’t forget, to see more photos click on the links)

Gallery I: T&E’s Going Away Party (lots of great people in this one! Thanks for our party and handmade decorations by Jenny!)

Gallery II: Arriving in Nottingham (These are the “before” pictures of our flat – we’ll be sure to post the “after” pics!  And, Eric’s first trip to the University of Nottingham via tram and bus – beautiful campus)

Gallery III: Nottingham Scenery (Includes photos of our flat (the one on the second floor), the surrounding area and the University — taken by Eric :)

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We’ve landed!

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

After 12 hours of flying and 2 hours of train rides, we made it to Nottingham safely!  Flights were great – no hassles – slept a good amount.  We really had a great first day in the UK.  Here is the play-by-play (sorry it took me so long!):

We decided to fly into Manchester since it is much closer but the downside was that we did not get the added benefit of transport provided by the University when one flies into London.  Granted, the trains were easy enough to figure out and were at a fair price but OH MY, our luggage proved to be a burden!  We had two large suitcases, two medium size, two carry-on roller bags, AND backpacks!  Initially, we were stoked because there were carts from station to station.  But then there weren’t.  And we wanted to say swears but didn’t.

We took a taxi from the train station in Nottingham straight to the letting agency to sign the lease and pick up keys.   When we arrived, we decided to leave our stuff in the taxi; a decision I was not so fond of but didn’t have much choice.  We sat down and began looking over documents.  Oddly (or not?), the letting agents assumed we would sign the lease without even viewing the flat.  When I brought this to their attention, they didn’t really blink an eye.  I felt annoyed.  Here I was in a strange dungeon of an office with my luggage sitting out front with a stranger in a new country and I was being asked to sign a lease for an apartment that I hadn’t even seen??!!  We decided to just go for it; sign the 6 month lease and get to our apartment.  Thankfully, the taxi driver was kind enough to wait without driving off with our luggage.   We were off to 85 Forest Road West!

No sooner than stepping out of the taxi, Anthony (Eric’s friend who attends the University and lives only two doors down with his wife Hayley) was right there asking if we needed help with our luggage!  We hauled it up and got the “tour” from one of the letting agents (apparently thanks to me for putting up a fuss).  To all of our surprise there was NO furniture to be seen (yes, we were told it was furnished)!  Then while giving us directions on how to use the hot water and such, found out the water was not working properly.  The agent assured us the plumber was on the way and that the furniture would be delivered shortly.  Anthony kindly accompanied us through this whole process and at times even made calls to ensure everything was being addressed as promised (something we need to get used to, apparently).

The apartment is nice – and big!  It has lots of big windows letting the sunlight in…the front bay window looks out over a huge tree :)  The apartment has vaulted ceilings and in the living room there is ornate molding across the top of the ceiling!!  I will admit it smells funny though.  Anthony says they all do because of the dampness.

While we waited, Anthony kindly invited us to his place and offered to make lunch.  Yummy pasta.  It was nice hanging out there for a bit, sitting around on their couches after hauling bags around for two hours.  They have a very scary cat though and she gets scarier when you are scared of her.  Yikes!

Mike (another of Eric’s friends from the Theology dept at UofN) was at Anthony’s staying with them for a bit since he was boarding a train to Scotland the next morning (today) to begin his new PhD program in Scotland!  He was excited to finally meet Eric and had a huge bag of kitchen stuff to get us started!  We had a great time chatting with them, waiting around for our beds until I noticed a large truck out the front window!  It was our beds and couches!!  Mission accomplished.  We set off to put them together.

Later in the afternoon Anthony offered to show us the tram route that took us to Asda where we could pick up cleaning supplies and some of the basics (note: Asda is owned by Wal Mart but Anthony assured us they have better practices here?..).  The stores are crazy!  People just kinda navigate their own way around the store with no semblance of order and it feels really chaotic.  There weren’t even that many people in the store!  We grabbed what we needed and were outta there :)

We then showered for the first time in a LONG time (yes, the water was now working) and got ready before walking down to a favourite local pub that Mike and Anthony raved about.  Jeff (yes, another of Eric’s friends….thank goodness for blog networks, eh?!) and his wife Meghan were meeting us all there for some drinks and dinner.  I wasn’t looking forward to it simply because I was so tired – and Eric was too.  This would be a good way to keep us awake though, so we can begin to acclimate to the time change.  I’m glad we went because it was real fun!  The guys were great and funny and I enjoyed meeting Meghan!  Her and I got to talk a bit about job hunting (she’s also looking for social work type jobs) and possible hang-out time while our husbands attend the Rome conference for five days the beginning of September.  Jeff and Meghan just got married this summer – he just finished his first year of PhD work here at UofN and she moved here to be with him for the remainder (they are both from the states as well).  Before we all left, Jeff and Meghan invited us over for dinner at their place this week and Meghan is going to show me to the Ikea and other shopping for STUFF!

All in all, it was a wonderful day!  Knowing people here has made a huge difference, I think.  It feels so much more manageable to have people point you in the right direction and even accompany you on your first ventures out. Huge thanks to Anthony for that.

Today has been much less exciting (for me anyway).  I slept in while Eric got up and walked the 3 miles to campus to meet with a guy about the conference materials that need to be printed (don’t worry, in the future he’ll take the bus but wanted to get a feel for the city a bit on foot).

The rest of my day included welcoming the final delivery of furnishings for our flat (two coffee tables, two night stands, two dressers and two wardrobes — note: we have NO closets. No storage. Time for me to get my creativity on!); cleaning the entire kitchen top to bottom and washing all of the dishes handed down to us; putting the guest room bed together; making a large list of items to buy; walking with Eric down to a Chinese restaurant for dinner (neither of us really had lunch today); going to an international market for some groceries; and finally, making our first pot of loose-leaf tea in our new kettle while eating some chocolate and writing this post.

There you have it.

Eric is going to upload pictures of our apartment.  Of course it’s empty save our bedroom where the vacuum bags of clothes have blown up :)  You can consider them the “before” pictures.

Alright, its midnight here so we must get to bed!  Love to all!  Miss you!

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A week from today.

Monday, August 11th, 2008

Alright folks, this is where the real packing begins! 

Since we moved out of our apartment of two years on July 3rd and back into the Basileia house, spending time with family and friends before leaving has surely been high on our priority list (right there next to our VISA applications, which I am happy to say came through in days with no hassles!).  Time is against us now and we have no choice but to once again work on some serious practicalities. 

The challenge is to go through the little we have here with us – for what seems like the hundredth time – and safely pack it all up for either air mailing or taking on the plane with us in suitcases.  I’m really bad at estimates so its hard to guess what it will cost us.  We shall see!

There is a lot that has to come together now in the next few days!  Of course Eric woke up sick today with flu symptoms… poor guy.  He went in to work but then had to cut out early to come home and suffer through chills.  Thankfully, my last day of work is tomorrow so that’ll help give us more time. 


I will soon post pictures of our last and final WONDERFUL going away party on Saturday!  Oh, it was so great… :)  Everybody is so amazing and we’re really going to miss you all!

Off to pack —

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this one will be with me for a while…

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

Some time ago my friends and I discovered that I love when people love each other.  They would often tease me about it and its true though!  My most favorite moments are when I find people taking good care of each other…when my friends give Eric big hugs…and the ultimate is when someone expresses love toward another person and they don’t even realize they’re doing it.

That love for people loving each other plays out in many ways in my life and I’ve realized its manifestation in my job too…connecting employers with people who are in desperate need of a job to sustain their families and often simply connecting people in need with those who can provide a resource.  I love it.

Friday night was a love fest.  A couple of the girls at work (Michele and Sulekha) were sneaky and helped plan a 30th birthday/bon voyage party at my boss Ester’s house on Friday evening.  Eric and I arrived around 7pm and it was nothing but good food and laughter the rest of the night.  For me, I couldn’t have asked for a better going away party…  Of course, not everyone was able to attend BUT to see so many of them come out on a Friday evening – outside of work – was awesome!  And yes, they came out in honour of yours truly. 

I’m not really one to appreciate a lot of attention.  In fact, I was reminiscing recently with my childhood friend Jamie Williams about a birthday dinner my family had at a local restaurant when I was in about 5th grade.  I remember when they began to sing “happy birthday”, I was absoloutely mortified by the attention and hid behind my dad’s chair.  I’ve grown up some since then, I suppose (ha!), and Friday night, somehow I ate up all the attention!  I think it made it easier because to my thorough enjoyment…they loved each others’ company and celebrated so well together.  Eric even came in at one point and said “I’m having so much fun!  Your friends are making me laugh like crazy!” 

Man, to see that makes me feel better about leaving.  Thanks everyone for coming!!!!

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