Saturday, June 28, 2014

Cross Cultural Training Notes...

So part of our reasoning for coming to England for 3 weeks this summer is to get a bit of understanding of how we will do life here once we move here for good.  We thought this trip would be a great chance to figure out how to get around on our own, get groceries, cook, do laundry, etc. etc.

While we are not going to have to learn a new language, there are quite a few words that are different here and many things culturally that are different.  So far, I feel like I have learned a lot, even in just the few days we have been here so far.  On our last visit a year ago, we were able to have the help of Trace and Ginger to help us with everything, which was great to have then, but we knew at some point we would have to figure it out on our own.  When we moved over, I am assuming Ginger won't go with me to the store every time I have to go or go with me on a train or bus every time we want to go somewhere.

So I figured today, let's make a little list of what our "training" has taught us so far!

*Black out curtains are essential.  Right now, it isn't getting dark outside till around 11:00 p.m. or so. And it gets light out very early as well.

*You can never overpack on layers.  I thought I would be good with just a couple long sleeve things...and poor Evie only has 1 cotton jacket.  I was able to find another little jumper (meaning sweater) in Rowan's closet so Evie has borrowed it for the next couple weeks :)  Thanks Rowan for sharing with Evie!

* Comfortable shoes are essential as well.  You walk a lot...and the same goes for the kiddos.

*We are learning words and phrases that are used here that we are not aware of with every conversation we have it feels like.  For instance, today, I helped serve in the cafe.  As I helped, one of the other ladies I was "shadowing" asked me to get a fork, knife, and a serviette.  Y'all.  I had no idea.  I am sure many of you would know exactly what that meant, but for me in the moment, I was clueless.  I finally figured out that it meant what I would call a napkin, but it took me off guard :)  Another phrase that come to mind that made me have to think hard on:  "hire a car" (meaning rent a car--we are looking into that...).  When I was working at the cafe today, I also got into a conversation on what each meal is called.  Whew, that can be confusing depending on what part of England you are in.  Just a few words that are different (there are plenty more I will just name a few): Dummy, Nappy, Rubish Bin, Tele, Toilets (instead of using what Americans would call a bathroom or restroom), and Buggy or Pram.  And then I won't even get started on the foods that are different and ones that I have no idea what they are by reading them on a menu :)

*I was nervous before coming about figuring out the pound, but I am happy to report I am figuring that out quite well.  I might have to stand and read each coin in order to get the right amount to pay, but I am making progress.

*I was able to get a package of Spaghetti noodles for dinner tonight for 33p (which would be about 56 cents in US dollars).  The pasta seems to be fairly cheap :)  The petrol (gas for the car) on the other hand is 1.30 pounds/liter, which translates into about $10/gal.

*Breakfast foods here are quite different as well.  And beans are served with many meals, which Evie has come to love.   Today, I got chili at the cafe, which was served on a bed of chips (fries) and rice.  It was delicious.

Overall, we are loving our time here and it will be hard to leave in a little over 2 weeks.  I love being able to walk to Sainsbury's at 4 or after and deciding what to cook then walking home to fix it.  I love that if we need something from the store, Michael can run over and be back in a matter of minutes.  I love learning about the culture here and trying new foods.  I love the gardens.  I love how people seem to take their time at meal time or stop in the afternoons for a cup of coffee/tea and don't seem to be in a rush.

Other thoughts about our time so far...

*We haven't seen the sun since Wed., our first day here.

*SK wins the prize for adjusting to the time change and getting over jet lag.  That girl took no time getting used to the time here.

*Chocolate here is amazing.  We are stocked up at the moment on Cadbury chocolates :)  And we even found Cadbury granola bars when we were at Tesco that are so yummy.

*Scarves and coats are needed year round here...there's no "putting them away" till next winter.

Alright, that's my thoughts from today...not sure I will keep this up everyday, but we shall see :)

I didn't take any pics today...though Michael says he wished he would have taken one of me in my "pinney".  I will make you go look that one up if you don't know what it is.

Nighty night y'all!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Hello from England!

It's been a while since I have blogged, I know.  I guess I can blame it on life getting a little crazy.  So what all has happened?  Let's see....

Michael graduated (with Honors!) from Covenant
We packed up our apt.
We sold many of our things including most all of our furniture.
We moved down to AL.
We took a little trip down to FL to see my mom and catch a little sun time.
And now, we are in Culcheth for the next 2.5 weeks.

So instead of trying to go back and tell you about all of the craziness and fun and hard and etc. we have faced in the last month, let's just talk about what we are up to now.  Maybe I will come back to those things later....maybe.

Let's just start with our trip here.  Well, let's back up a little.  Last week (as many of you probably saw on Facebook), I ended up getting food poisoning and was on the couch from Tues. evening till right before leaving.  I slowly got better and well enough to know I could make it on the flight was iffy for a bit whether we were going to be even able to make it here to England on our scheduled date.

Praise the Lord, we made it here and while I am not 100% still, I am doing much better.  In the last day or so, I have been able to eat more than just bland foods, which has been great.

The flight over was fairly uneventful.  We flew from B'ham to ATL, then took an overnight flight to Manchester.  The girls did great.  We were able to put a movie on for the girls and she watched that then ate a little dinner.  After that it was probably about 9 our time and they turned the lights down and Evie went right to sleep in my arms.  SK took a little time going to sleep, but then they both ended up sleeping probably 4 hours almost.  It was lovely.  I did have a bit of a hard time getting comfortable with Evie sprawled out on my lap and not wanted to move too much as to chance waking her.  Overall, it went great though.

We got to England at about 8:30 a.m. (meaning about 2:30 a.m. Central Time Zone).  2 guys from the church came and picked us up and took us straight to Trace and Ginger's house (where we are staying while here).  We dropped off our bags and went straight to the Cafe (just a 5 minute walk is all) for breakfast.  We were starving and it was a lovely breakfast :)  We got to see a few friends from CCC there, which was fun as well.   After eating we walked on back home and got Evie down for a nap.  We all ended up falling asleep then :)  Michael and I woke after just about an hour, though we could have slept more, we knew it wouldn't help with adjusting to the time change.  We woke SK up too after a few more minutes.  We then had to wake Evie up after about a 3 hour nap (which is about her norm at AL).  We decided to walk back down to the village centre and check out the playground then get a few groceries at Sainsbury's.

Yesterday we walked around Culcheth and chilled for the most part.  We ate lunch at the cafe and took SK to see the Primary school.  Nothing big that day though.  We did have Bruce and Bea over after dinner to hang a bit.

Today we ventured out to Leigh, a nearby village.  We rode the bus and walked around Leigh all morning.  Meaning, we got lost a bit and ended up walking what seems like around the entire perimeter of Leigh till we finally found our way back to the bus station.  We went in Tesco to check it out, got a chocolate eclair at Waterfield's, and had a great time there.  We decided as it got closer to lunch to ride the bus on back towards Culcheth, but stopped at a very neat place called Bents (we came to it last year while here as well).  We got lunch there (and it was so delicious!) and looked around at all the cute things and plants and such.  Now we are back and Evie is napping.

I hope to do more blogging about our time here just to have a fun document of our fun time here ;)  SK is loving it so far.  She says she wishes she could live at the cafe.  She loves the cars, esp. the mini coopers :)  She loves being around the people here.  She was sad last night when we put the girls to bed because she wanted to keep hanging out with Bruce and Bea.

More blogging to come soon!  Here is a little sampling of some pics too:

 1 of the beautiful roses blooming in Trace and Ginger's back garden
(The flowers and gardens here are incredible by the so so incredible)

SK the photographer got a pic of us :) 

 Evie playing in the back garden

Hydrangeas fresh from the garden and a yummy cheese board for after dinner hang out with Bruce and Bea.  There is a lovely delicateessen, where we got yummy cheeses and such.  Love that shop and will be there plenty during our time here I am sure :) 

Waiting on the bus this morning...I look not so great, but the girls are cute at least :) 

 Daddy finishing off the Chocolate Eclair this morning....yum.

Waiting on the bus to head to Bent's for lunch.  Evie loved riding the bus and waiting for it too.  She waves at any cars or busses that pass by.  It's so cute :)

Alright, that's all for now.  More to come though :)