Doesn’t Get More UK-ish Than This, Volume I

We have loads of beautiful pics from the areas we’ve been galavanting about over the past week. Here are a few of our favorites that scream “oy” that’s about as English as it gets.

Indy's UK double, Ollie!


What A Difference A Week Made

It’s been one official week since we have been in the United Kingdom. We have certainly settled into things around town, and Andrew is back in the swing of things with work.

The weather has been a total treat. Not a drop of rain to report. Sunny and mid 70s. Well, today is a bit dreary but first time all week.

Waiting for my crumpet.

Week in rewind:
– Bank account, check! Talk about opening an account on the honor system.
– Mobile phone is a work in progress. Had to get the bank account first and then we can say, “Bonjour iPhone and face time!”
– Found a new morning show on BBC Radio that is quite enjoyable and hysterical. Down with the chocolates trumpets, my new jam for y’all.
– Track suits and trainers do exist. Touch of redneck everywhere.
– Walked around town a bajillion times. Andrew says I’m in great shape … should be since I walk at least 5 miles a day.
– Figured out the pounds currency, thus figuring out things are not as cheap as they look. Blast!
– Attempted driving … left-side + stick shift. Yes, kids it’s true. I drove around town (4 whole big girl blocks) after practicing in a parking lot. It’s SO hilly here but I’m determined to get it figured out. Otherwise, Jess I’ll need you to send me an automatic Power Wheel.
– MADE FRIENDS! Met some great folks our age and enjoyed an evening in a beer garden. We went out for a night and it was a riot. Our pals were nice enough to tell me that my British accent is total crap and that laundry is suppose to take 2 hours. The pub we were at had a jukebox, so I was forced to treat the locals to a hit by The Eagles. Andrew would have slapped me if I selected Alan Jackson, mwahaha.
– Everyone still sounds like they are from “Harry Potter.”
– Started house hunting. Very promising.

Although I am adjusting here, it has been fairly easy to keep in touch with everyone back home. I am managing to stay connected with my lovely friends and family courtesy of Skype and Gchat. The parents turn on the speakers and we are able to dial-in nanny. I have to yell at the computer, but the chat is free! It seems we talk more now that I’m abroad than we did when I was back in the states.
Mikey likey;)

I’ll share more about the delicious and fresh food (promise!).

For now, I think one of the hardest things about being away – besides missing humans – is missing our baby. Dr Indiana Jones, every time I look out of the window and see/hear the sheep I am reminded of you, my little monster. Here’s by best attempt to capture the cute baaing on film. This weekend we have big hiking plans so I will attempt to get closer to the livestock. (you might need to crank the speakers)

PS – Inspiration for the title.

Putting It Out There

Not proud to admit this but I have started to use a British accent when passing people on the roads. It helps me avoid prolonged looks. My accent is crappy at best.

Let’s talk about household chores like laundry. OOOH lawndry! (Now I know why some housewives start drinking in the afternoon.) The washing machine fits about one bra and pair of shorts. When in cycle the machine makes a humming noise and it sounds like it will literally combust. Whizzzzzzzzzz. I rescued the laundry after an hour of spinning. Turns out the wash had an hour to go. That is ridiculous for something the size of a hamster wheel.

The sinks are fancy with hot AND cold knobs. Unfortunately it’s tricky trying to navigate between scolding hot water and cool water when washing your face.

Our maid asked today where we got the police hat from. It was here when we arrived and I thought it was fake. Oh but now, this is a keeper.

I realize that if anyone from the UK stumbles across this post they are probably laughing hysterically. This is all brand new to me, sorry but I like to share how I get my kicks.

I can’t seem to find my toothbrush, so I’ll pick one up when I go out today. Other than that, I’m in good shape.

You know that scene in “Home Alone” when Kevin runs to the store and on the way home his little plastic bag breaks in the middle of the sidewalk; I am starting to feel like Kevin. I have this yellow Patagonia backpack that goes everywhere with me into town. If the locals don’t see me coming in my bright blue Nikes the backpack is a sure-fire way to get noticed.

Town is a 15 minute walk from the house and I go a few times a day to pick up fresh things for dinner. Helps occupy my time, haha.

Andrew’s first few days of work seem to be going well, very thankful for that. I do have to share his first day of work photo. I took a pic of him when he started his MBA program, thus the tradition continues.

One of these things is not like the other. *please note, he had just said that I should “use my head” when going into town to open a bank account.

Ah, yes, that’s better. (He’s going to kill me for sharing. Had to, love.)

And in other news, my favorite local questions:
– Are you on holiday?
– Georgia? Haven’t the foggiest where that is. (To which I reply, “Above Florida,” and everyone nods in replay with an ah-ha!)
– Have you been to Vegas? (dear Las Vegas UK promotional team, well job!)

Oh, it’s sunny.

While we’ve acclimated to many things around town such as the driving, the gorgeous weather, grocery shopping, commercial free BBC and local pubs, there are things that are going to take more time.

I cannot for the life of me find macaroni and cheese. We are itching to get our iPhones, which would help for location and finding shops around town…face time, email, etc. A total creature comfort I miss. I didn’t stall during my first parking lot attempt at driving and we are getting a Sat Map (GPS) unit with lane assist, hallelujah. We miss our stuff daily and cannot wait to unwrap our home here soon.

The Welsh language is everywhere. Most signs feature both Welsh and English. And unlike Spanish, you cannot make out some Welsh words by looking at the them. Language looks to be similar to the Lord of the Rings’ Elvish.

Here's your sign.

Most notably different, the sun. It appears to always shine. [Insert, “Doesn’t it always rain?” comment here.] The sun rises officially around 5:30 AM, but that bugger starts to pop up at 4:30. Sunset is at 10:12 leaving dusk until close to 11 PM. That royally messes with your body clock.

No major complaints as we spent our first weekend walking and running all over town. The weather was spectacular. Sunny and low 70s.

Skipping stones.

Slowly settling back to normalcy.

So, back to Angus and those sheep.

Andrew, has decided he’s now and active participant in these posts — enjoy his banter kiddies. He’ll be back to work Monday, no worries.

llyuhh – that’s probably Welsh for something.

Things are a bit different here for sure. It’s taken Nic 9 hours to shop because she’s trying to understand all the new candy and cookie/biscuit aisles. Asking for ironing starch led her to the “baking” aisle. There are new things in the supermarket.

But seriously, there is a definite calmness around us now after the move. Even with the end of my vacation looming I still have no worry against what is to come. I now am surrounded by this natural beauty and a group of people around me that love the area also. Only 48 hours into Newtown, literally a new town for us, I know that this small town has everything we need. I am impressed to the fullest. I only need my bikes.

Things that stick out in my mind so far:
– The amazing weather. Think fall tailgate on North Campus.
– Beautiful river that winds around the town.
– Clean smell and fresh air.
– Besides the Tesco everything in town is a small shop where people take interest and care about what they do. Especially the produce and farmer’s markets.
– Walking to everything.

We will post more pics this week. If anyone is in the area we have some space. For now, here are some great pics around town – enjoy.

Croeso to Wales

I think that’s how they say, “Welcome to Wales.” We were exhausted upon arriving but thankful for easy travels — even with 9 bags.

We are living in temporary housing until our items are done floating to us across the Atlantic. Newtown is absolutely beautiful. For those from the UK the town is small and country, but for us it’s perfect to walk to everything and the views are breathtaking. You hear the occasional sheep “baaing” softly in the distance. Makes me laugh almost all the time.

Andrew, wasting no time, hopped right into our partywagon (Ford Fiesta) and attempted driving. He did exceptionally well, considering I couldn’t even get in the car on the correct side. It’s a manual so don’t expect any driving updates from me in the near future.

The evening was topped off by enjoying a pint at a local pub. For the record the food was delish. Fresh and tasty.

Day 2. After sleeping off the jet lag we walked into town and were blown away by the views and variety of walking trails. Hello running paths! Andrew is itching for his mountain bike to arrive as the towns are littered with biking trails as well. The local markets have a delicious variety of fruits and veggies to choose from. Yep, we stick out like sore thumbs.

Market Fresh.

We are going to continue to explore and take it one day at a time.

Visa Education 101

I’m a born planner with a touch of a control problem. (If you know me, insert surprise face here.) The UK visa process has taught me in truth that patience is a virtue.

Given our circumstance the visa process did not allow us to simply go online at the and check the status of documents. Trust me, I had big plans to really show the government how to streamline the process- bah. We were thrown in visa purgatory for weeks.

My daily conversations with friends and family have gone like this:
What’s new? Any update? Departure date? You’re still here?

Groundhogs day.

Per the website: We strongly advise applicants not to confirm their travel arrangements to come to the UK until they have received their visa.

It’s been frustrating simply due to the fact that the approval process was out of our control and we could not book travel until our passports and visa were in hand. Oh, the agony. My attempts to squeeze an answer out of anyone only resulted in a vague timeline of more “maybe” dates.

In short, the tiny window for approval comes once a month and from there papers are rushed through the British Consulate and other important offices. We knew things were going well — and that was about all we knew.

Today, we finally received word that our visas would be in our grubby little hands tomorrow! Nothing like a booking a last, last minute flight.

This is the deep breath before the plunge. Although we’ve been ready for weeks, it’s sinking in that this is about to get real. My last minute oh-crap-things-i-forgot list is a good one but it’s time to wrap it up.

Cheers for now!