Thursday, September 30, 2010


Before moving to England, we were informed of the way of life and some stereotypes. Here are some of the things we were told:

English food is not so great
No one goes out to eat like in America
Bad teeth
We won't understand the accents

All four of those are wrong, at least in the city of Leeds. One of the few people we have met outside of Will's co-workers sells braces to Orthodontists. As for the accents, they don't have much of one. The biggest difference is in inflection and pauses. They say the same thing but pause at different time and emphasize different syllables than I would. Leeds is also a college town so we all go out to eat :-). Today I actually made my lunch and Will is making pasta with meat sauce with what I hope is ground beef that I bought.

Things that are true about English/europe

Everyone smokes - it was hard to avoid walking right behind a smoker on my way to and from the store today.
Everyone drinks wine - and there is no good excuse to pass up a drink when offered. I found this out last night when I was invited to a mixer that happened to be a wine tasting.
Long lunches - Will is used to eating at his desk at times, but here everyone takes a leisurely one hour lunch break.
Friendly people - I'm super glad this one is true. Although I have not met many people yet, everyone has been very friendly and happy to have us here. I am especially thankful for the kind ladies at the front desk who help me with the little and big questions, like where is a good place I can walk to for groceries.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pics of the New Place

I must say I am proud of all the things I have accomplished today. I made it to and from the grocery store without getting completely lost and I uploaded photos to the computer which I have not done very often in the past. So here are some pictures from our new place.

the bedroom is complete with curved wall to make passage to the other side possible and a flat screen tv (which Will said we would never have in the bedroom)

The kitchen has a fridge (far left lower cabinet) with a ice box as a freezer and a tiny oven/microwave underneath a decent size four burner cook top. Next to the oven is a half dishwasher and underneath fit all the pots and pans.
The living room is nice and cozy. It must be comfortable enough to sleep on because the person Will is replacing tomorrow slept on it last night and gave us the bedroom. He helped us settle in so much and everyone was sad to see him go.

Our bathroom complete with heated towel rack and large walk-in shower.

More pictures and updates will have to wait for another day...I just realized it's a bit late and we're off to bed.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Living in the UK

We made it to our new home with only one struggle - an ATM machine that was out of money. We thought our card was being declined until we found another machine before getting into a taxi for the trip to the city. Although sleep deprived, it has been a joy seeing the new culture and meeting so many friendly people.

The customs officer was even nice when asking all the questions about "what will you be doing for 5 months?" since I am technically only allowed to visit and not reside in the country. I don't think I was convincing in saying I'm going to travel...for 5 months. I listed places in the UK and Europe and she let us through - no one even felt the need to search our bags even with the 10 or so bottles of vitamins! They just trusted me when I said that's what they are. Will then chatted with the taxi driver to get some insight on our new home which apparently has a great night life - all the college students come and stay.

Another trademark of all of Europe - lots of smoking and drinking. It's just part of what they do and the norm is to have a glass of wine at meals - Will had no problem joining in this afternoon while I was the odd man out and got tap water. We went to a nice Italian place and the food was delicious. And just in case I get homesick, I can walk to a TGIFriday's. I have not spotted a panera yet.... but I am proud to say I already walked back to the apartment by myself without getting lost.

Speaking of the apartment, it is beautiful and small. The bedroom has a curved wall so you can walk around the bed but the curtains are beautiful (finally!) and the headboard is a design statement. It also houses the one and only closet in the apartment. The kitchen lines a wall with a two person table opposite. We have half a fridge and dishwasher! Not much freezer space, so I'll have to get used to cooking and not having the luxury of freezing leftovers. I guess I can make time in between all that traveling I'm doing. The bathroom is nice with a large shower and the living room is tiny but sufficient. Bonus: laundry in unit! Only it is once again European size (meaning half of ours) and is one appliance with two functions - washer and dryer. I'm interested to see how that works out.

For those of you who know me, you will not be surprised that I am almost completely unpacked and already utilized some of the organization items I brought. That will leave me time to upload pictures tomorrow and maybe even write a thinking post this week, though I think most of you would rather see pictures first, especially since I never did post a picture of my new short hairdo.

I guess I will end by saying I feel blessed to be here but I will miss all of you. Do feel free to comment on here or email me. Writing correspondence may be my fill in part time job! So far I'm still winging it on what will be keeping me busy during these months of no house work or paid work.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Leaving on a jet plane

I have a few more hours at home and then I fly to a new home across the ocean. My cold has prevented me from thinking of anything but getting better so I'm not nervous, scared, or excited. I just am - I'm going because that is where my husband is leading our family. I have no idea what I will be doing but I know it will be quite an adventure.

Since we are only going for about 6 months, his company is not paying to ship anything and neither are we. We packed two large suitcases each and a carry on item. This included coats and boots, books and dvds, our computer and of course our camera complete with cords to upload photos to said computer. I was surprised at how easy it was to fit everything and happy to be living a bit more of a simplified life since we did not have room for "clutter" or our amazing book collection :-D

I'm sure my next update will be a bit more exciting - because I'll be in England!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I made it!

This weekend was a blur. I woke up at 1am Friday night with a sore throat that turned into a weekend of moving while sick - but it was an awesome weekend! So many people came to help out so I could take break, sit down and remember to stay hydrated. Friends stopped by to say goodbye, even some that were coming from an event and going to another one. That meant a lot and it was hard to say goodbye...

It was not hard to say goodbye to the house. The house is nice, but I was never allowed to decorate it - I just laughed when we took down our wall art to reveal all the screws I wasn't allowed to touch. On the other hand, it was hard to say goodbye to the cats. Even though they are quite high maintenance, as far as cats go, they are cuddly and lovable. I cried last night when thinking about Parker and was sad to know I wouldn't be happily greeted this morning. It's a sad parting, but not one that makes me want to go get another pet.

Today, I finally get to relax a little, get over this cold and maybe organize my room. We moved from a 2,000 sq ft house to a bedroom so this will be interesting... and temporary both before and after England. It is so nice to have a short term place to stay so we don't have to rent the first apartment we see when we get back. Lots to be thankful for this week - especially all the help moving. Thanks to everyone that came.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

still moving....

I haven't written much lately because there is simply nothing to write. With the move I have not been super reflective about the life issues I normally found in my writing. I have been much more concerned with how we are going to completely move out of a house in one day and get it inspected and cleaned the next day.

I guess the most I can say is I have learned, through house sitting, that it is important to respect everyone. The owners of the house may not be my best friends, but I need to respect their wishes in handling this move - many details of which seem unnecessary to me. This need to respect is even more clear when I think about and might even dare to complain that they don't respect or trust me. My husband thinks I should write a book about the experiences I've had with housing, but I just don't know how I could do that respectfully. It would be a humor book and so much of humor comes off as put downs - not my style. I definitely have enough information to write the book - a different room mate each semester in college and 2+ years of house-sitting. I have learned a lot and, I think more than the need to write about it, I need to respect all the stories for the lessons I have learned from them.

I have learned a lot from house-sitting but I am so happy to be a week away from finishing this part of my life :-D

Friday, September 10, 2010

Quick Takes (10)


Since I said this blog would help people keep in touch with me, I thought I should get back in the habit.


Ever heard of the phrase "the less you have to do, the less you get done" that's how I feel in the last couple weeks. The house is pretty clean and I'm slowly making progress packing up all our stuff, but I'm just not motivated to do all the things I finally have time for - like catching up on some important reading and reconnecting with friends. Maybe this last week in my house will force more motivation - I move out next Saturday!


Still no visa, but the plan is to fly out Saturday the 25th. I can't believe in two weeks I could be in a different country.


The first weekend of October my husband is flying to Ireland for a conference. Since he will be busy all day while he is there I thought I would get myself acclimated to my new home. Strange that the first weekend abroad will be spent on a different island than my husband. I hope I don't get lost too many times!


I am surprised by the generosity of people when it comes to my moving. My family is helping (not as much of a surprise) and some of my husband's co-workers who I have never met. They volunteered to help pack up our things next weekend. Hopefully that lowers the stress of the move.


I have to say I love fall! Summer was so hot this year that I have found it very exciting to wear jeans this week. I'm going to miss driving through some of the scenic roads in this area as the leaves change colors in October. I wonder what fall looks like in Leeds, England.


Speaking of fall, I thought I would end with a question: What is your favorite part about fall?
My answer: going to the apple orchard to get apples (specifically some honey crisp) and donuts. I wonder if I will get a chance to do that this year. I hope everyone enjoys a lovely fall weekend!

Check out more quick takes at

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Changes and more Changes

Sorry I have been quite silent the last few weeks, a lot has been changing in my life and I couldn't process it all online. Now that I have, here is what I have been up to:

A couple of weeks ago I spilled the beans about going to England before my dear husband got around to telling everyone at work. That would be why the post got deleted before everyone could see. That didn't stop me from preparing for the move. I have packed up boxes and boxes and been reminded of how much stuff I really have. So far it has mostly been books and some kitchen stuff we don't use often. I'm so glad we got my aunt's china and not new since only the serving dishes have been used in 2 years of marriage.

Back to the exciting part of the news though: I'm moving to Leeds, England for 6 months! It was never a dream of mine to live abroad, but my husband has been wanting an opportunity like this for a while and I'm glad to sup
port him. I'm also glad that they speak English even if I do have a bit of trouble understanding them at first. Now we just need to get the visa approved and make sure I have all the documents necessary - whatever they may be.

With the move I will no longer be a house-sitter or a cat "owner." It has been hard thinking about leaving my two room mates behind but glad someone else is coming in to fill my place taking care of them and the house. What a change that will be for them - laid back couple to excited 3 yr old (and mom).

The changes seem to keep coming in my life, and I believe that means this blog is going to change a lot as well. I've promised to keep in touch with my family so I suspect this blog is going to become less about thought-provoking questions and pro-life themes and more about my life in England and all the excitement that will bring. Everyone is welcome to continue reading and I hope I won't completely stay away from the important topics but it may become more me focused and less society focused like my previous post on corporate policy.