Archive for the ‘Life Updates’ Category

The new house: out of doors

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

Hello all!  In case you didn’t know… we’ve moved!

We now live in an area of Nottingham called Beeston and we are LOVING it!!!  The fam has been asking for pictures of the inside of our house but it’s not quite ‘photo ready’ with all the clothes strewn about etc.  You’ll have to wait ;)


It is bank holiday weekend and we’re headed to Bexhill (south of London, near Hastings, on the coast!) on Tuesday.  My coworker (she is a star) gave me a few plants, pots, and soil for my birthday, so we decided to do a bunch of yard work and a few chores today to get the house nice for our return late next Sunday.  I must say, we knew our garden was amazing but learned so much more about it today!  I had to get the camera out so you can see it… It is so late in the summer to feel like we can do much but come spring, we want to plant a vegetable garden (plot already there!) and do more up-keep.  It will never look ‘prestine’ though…none of the gardens do here…they’re often a bit overgrown, which I prefer anyway!

I know we’ll spend a lot of time out here.

Most of the pictures are of the back garden but we have the added bonus of a small front garden as well (not as common in England, it seems).  Let me know if you can identify the mystery plants/berries!

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Mum’s holiday

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

So…December was not only a first for mince pies, and putting Christmas pressies under our own tree, it was also a first for DRIVING IN THE UK! …on the left side of the road and sitting on the right side of the car no less. About a week before my mom arrived on 25 December, we learned there was NO public transport running from Manchester to Nottingham on Christmas day! Who knew?? After searching around online for some sort of alternative we decided the best option was to hire a car. It made us a bit nervous but we did just that and at the excellent suggestion of Vicki Moore, we got a GPS to help us get around (we’re in love with that thing!!). Eric made all the arrangements, picked up the car and did an amazing job of driving. In fact, it was so convenient and helpful to have a car, my mom decided to get one for the last 5 days of her visit. We are really glad she did.

In thinking about the last 10 days with mom, I’ve listed the things that stood out to me as some of my favourites.  But first, pictures…


  • My mom and her continual excitement about everything. Even when we simply stayed home for a couple of the days, she was content to chat, work on a puzzle, nap from time to time …a true vacation. For her, this was a chance to have quality time with Eric and I, relax and take a break from her busy job/life back home, see the countryside, drink as much tea as possible, and visit a real thatched-roof English-style house. And that she did – and then some. It was a joy to have her visit and she is greatly missed around here.
  • Sitting down at the table together for our Christmas meal.
  • Warwick Castle. Wow. Pictures will say it all. Hayley was able to join us for this trip as well. Its pretty incredible walking into a medieval structure with so much history that is still intact. They did a really good job of bringing it alive as you walked through…scenes were set up with important figures and descriptions, fabricated smells to give you an idea of what it would have been like to walk through the lower parts of the castle where the hired hands worked …and they even had staff members dressed in full costume who would tell stories or sit and grind up the dried herbs with a mortar and pestle. I must say, it was very interesting and the views from the towers were gorgeous looking out over the green and grey landscape with fog hovering slightly over the land.
  • Afternoon Tea at The Walk.  My friend Hannah has mentioned this particular tea house a few times before and I decided it might just be the perfect place to take my mom on her last day. I made a reservation for 3. We got dressed up and ventured out on the tram. The shop was really cute – kindof modern but had an eclectic feel to it. Our waitress was super friendly and terribly excited to learn that my mom was from the San Francisco Bay Area – her favourite city after her home town, Edinburgh, Scotland. They had a great time chatting it up.
  • Me and my mom’s venture out into Nottingham City Centre to visit the Lace Centre (Notts is famous for their machine made lace), Nottingham Castle and Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem (the oldest Inn in England and built into the caves, which are all over Nottingham) where we met up with Eric for dinner and drinks.
  • My beautiful tea pot, cup, and saucer from Eric, which we’ve continued to make really good use out of since then.  Just what I wanted, and the really nice card he gave me was an added treat.
  • Driving in and around Stratford-upon-AvonShakespeare Country – totally enchanted. We toured Anne Hathaway’s Cottage (Shakespeare’s wife) and passed by Shakespeare’s birthplace in the city centre…there seemed to be a lot of older medieval buildings in this village…like you could spend all day going from one to the next admiring their structure and learn about their history. I’d really like to return with Eric and maybe stay at a little B&B one of these days. Hard to believe its only 1.5 hours from us.

One thing we didn’t get to do was visit the Cotswold district. We planned to drive to Bourton-on-the-Water (a village built along canals) but it was just too cold and overcast to do so and enjoy it (would have been mostly outdoors)…my mom’s friend who lives in Southern England says it’s a must-see with all of the houses built out of the lighter “honey” coloured Cotswold stone.

One of the great things about the break from work and being with my mom was a renewed sense of excitement about traveling and getting a sense that there’s more out there within… and beyond Nottingham. Sure, we could hop on a commuter flight to Paris (which we MUST do one of these days) but there’s also sooooo much to see here in England.

Eric and I had a wonderful Christmas. Between the thoughtful gifts family sent with mom and skyping with the Lee clan around the table as they finished up their Christmas meal and then head off to the living room to see Phaedra open her presents…I really felt like we were able to enjoy the holiday with family – more than I had anticipated anyway ;)

Happy New Year to all!

Warwick Castle Panorama

Warwick Castle Panorama

Note: Sorry for all the hyperlinks! I wanted to include them in case you were interested in learning more about the various things I mentioned beyond just seeing some photos.

Posted in Life Updates, Photos, Travel | 2 Comments »

where i live…

Friday, November 21st, 2008

…well, from 9am-5pm anyway…

As a super brief update – I’ve been working in the University of Nottingham’s Human Resources Department as a temporary Administrative Assistant.  It’s a full time gig at the satellite campus not far from the Uni and has been a great opportunity to get some UK experience to sortof ‘beef’ up my resume.  I have to admit, it took some getting used to.  For example, every morning they would ask, “would you like a drink?” in their English accent and come back with a tray of piping hot mugs of tea delivered to each person.  I thought it was so funny, ya know?  So, the first day, I walked myself down to the kitchen to get my own coffee and to my surprise, there was none!  Yup, only tea.  Well…and instant coffee but I don’t think I could or would ever want to get used to that!  SO, tea it is.  I enjoy it actually…and they’ve got a big water boiler hanging on the wall with a spicket so it’s “no hassle”.  I later learned from an American friend that its sortof rude to get up and get your own ‘drink’ without offering to get everyone else’s.  That’s all it took – I was learning how to prepare everyones tea to their liking the next day and gladly allowing them to fetch mine.

Oh, the fun subtle differences…even on the computer keyboard.  I could go on and on…

Overall its been a good experience so far and my coworkers don’t look at me like I’m an alien as often (and to be fair, vice-versa) haha.  I’ve enjoyed them and they’ve helped me more than they know.  I will say, I am looking forward to finding a position of my own…one in the Social Service, NGO realm where I can get down to business.  I’ll write another post with my job search update but I wanted to show everyone where I’ve been working!  Who knows…I may get lucky and move on to something else soon!

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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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This is what I do now.

Thursday, July 31st, 2008
Life has been anything but boring these days.

Eric made our awesome wedding website back in ’06 where we intended to make regular updates after the wedding and sadly, I never did.  I think it was psychological thing…… Eric is the “blogger” so apparently the responsibility defaulted to him.  I’ve never really imagined myself to be a blogger — just too much pressure, ya know?  But somehow I see it differently now that I am moving far far away.  I’ll probably begin to see a lot of things differently.

Shalina offered to design me a blog and I love it.  Thank you sister!

I had an incredible vacation last week visiting and saying goodbye to the Lee’s up in Merced, my Reinhardt clan up in the Concord area and our “sweet-summer-shindig” with college friends up in Santa Rosa (a hop, skip and a jump away from the beautiful wine country in Napa Valley).  Oh man, it was so fun.  I didn’t want to pass up this opportunity to have my first blog post be sharing pictures from our trip!

Look ed us

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