Archives for category: Day to day

I’ll spare you the photos of empty bread and milk shelves at the grocery store. With wintery precipitation expected in the panicky South, schools were called off, and my Mister and I settled in English-style.

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I must say, my first attempt at a Victoria sponge was a complete flop, though it held the shape of the mould well. Next time I’ll try to be more precise in my conversions.

In the morning, we had a bit of icing sugar covering the frozen land.

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Someone suggested blowing bubbles in the icy air to see if they would freeze. It didn’t work for us (air inside the bubble too warm, perhaps?) In any case, it was more fun than I assume the neighborhood children were having. Optimistically they popped outside pulling sleds. After a few runs of scccriiitccchhh scccrrraaaaatttccchhh over crunchy grass, they gave up. I don’t blame them. As pretty as a dusting of snow can be, it’s more fun to look at than play in. I am thankful, however, to be in the South where we have long hours of bright sunshine even in the cold!

Here’s hoping those I know and love in other parts of the snow-covered country are faring as well or better!

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Life is full of the unexpected, no? For example, having spent a day in bed with a migraine, the last thing I expected was a text message asking if I could keep the pastors’ cats for the weekend. My roommate was against it – but I contrived to keep them in my room and out of her way. For the first few days they were sweet and lovely, but then I think they got bored with the small space and lack of children…

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… And they got bold.

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Their antics kept me up all night. In the morning, I broke down in exhaustion and frustration at myself (for having so little patience at 3 a.m. with gnawing and knocking things over). It was traumatic watching myself react so angrily to my favorite animals. I was thankful to see them go – but mostly because that meant I could sleep!

Sweet kitties, though. Not their fault they were bored – and they certainly helped keep my life interesting!

Although not universal for the nation, here are a few photos of how keeping clean at my flat differs from what I knew at home.

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Clockwise from top left: dishes by hand; washing machine in a kitchen cabinet; bathtub with shower attachment but no curtain or wall socket; over-the-radiator drying racks.

I realized yesterday as I bathed how quickly these things have become part of the normal routine of life! The smallest thought of wonder then trickled into my brain: will I have reverse culture shock when I return to the States (for visa purposes)? Or will I just really, really enjoy a shower and a dishwasher? Hmm…

Art on the walls makes it feel like home.

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Now what’s the trick to making my boiler work?

Yesterday I moved from my first host home to my second. But this second is a familiar sight – my English mum’s home in Newcastle. When we came over for a few weeks this April, a friend and I stayed with her. Archie, the best Westie I’ve ever met, was a cheerful sight, as were the reminders of our initial stay: a celebratory collage of soft boiled eggs, a stack of letters I wrote over the summer, and a delightful English breakfast complete with tea.

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Two other American girls, freshly arrived that morning, were already snoozing when I arrived. It felt like Christmas. Mum and I had a cuppa and a catch up before lunch. It was if the previous week was stretching my legs, and now I’ve found my feet.

I don’t expect we will stay here long as our flat is already overdue to be turned over to us. But I’m happy to stay as long as I can. The commute from Newcastle to the HOP in Sunderland is a bit more laborious, but it’s worth it. “Birds have nests” – and I’m in mine!

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Current playlist – themes of fire and water