Saturday, November 28, 2009


Hey all,

I hadn't realized that it's been FOREVER since we blogged; sorry for that! It's ironic really as I've been thinking about so many of you recently.  The holidays here in England are a very different experience, particularly at a time when I could really use a little familiarity.  That's right, folks--I'm homesick!!!!  Many of you already know this and have been uber-supportive, which I really appreciate.  I'm also grateful for those of you who have said htat you've been in the same position.  It sucks to feel like a loser with no friends, so it's nice to know others have felt this way too ;)

Anyhoo, I thought I'd dash down a quick note to let you all know wassup.  Work. School. And Christmas Market!
First off, I'm plugging away at work. My GM was gone for the week (of to NYC on holiday), so I was large and in charge at Sweaty Betty.  Nothing terribly exciting happened, which is exactly what I was hoping for.  I had some good bonding times with a couple of the girls at work and was there late to supervise both the free yoga and running clubs.  I also did get to go to dinner at Demuth's Restaurant, a really amazing veggie place in Bath with Tara, a super sweet girl in Chad's department.  Yay for girl times and yummy food!
Chad, as always, is the graduate student every professor dreams of.  He is tirelessly reading, studying, researching, and repeat for papers that aren't even due until mid-January.  There are whole new sides to Chad that I never knew existed (who knew I'd married such a nerd?!), like this unbelievable patience he has, and how well he can adapt to a whole new circumstance.  I think this is going to be a really important year (and hopefully longer!) for him as a scholar and I feel very honored to be a part of it. 
Now to the good stuff: Christmas Market!!!!!  This came at the exact right time as I was starting to get kind of weepy and stupid about missing holidays with family.  On Thanksgiving, obviously, it was business as usual in the UK and I was a bit mournful about stuffing myself silly and turkey hangovers. Claire, one of my co-workers, came to the rescue and suggested we get festive bagels from around the corner.  Turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce on a bagel - that was about as close as I got to "home" that day, but it was enough.  Later on, I swear the entire country of England was in Bath for the ceremonial switching on of the holiday lights and simultaneous kickoff of the Christmas Market.  So here's what happened: they basically shut down all the main roads in the city and all the stores (except ours - yay!) stayed open late for Nicholas Cage (what???) to show up and switch on the lights.  I missed the actual ceremony but could hear it from the shop.  It was just as well.  There were just too many darn people around.  I did get to see the results, which were pretty spectacular. I'll take some photos to post, but it makes me feel better to JUST miss my train every night because then I have and hour to walk around a winter wonderland (sans snow).  The Christmas Market itself is a collection of huts that have sprung up around the Bath Abbey.  It's super quaint and cute and if I hadn't been walking through the area every day for a couple of weeks now, it would seem like they all just sort of sprang up out of the pavement.  They're all decorated with ivy and spray of holly, and lights and whatnot and there are vendors selling mulled wine and caramel nuts and sausages.  The huts themselves are local artisans selling their wares - ornaments, scarves, handmade leather books, jewelery, toys, etc.  There are some really beautiful things and I'm really looking forward to making a night of it with Chad later in the week.
Last night was "Victorian Night" here in Keynsham, and we went out with James and Sophie, our roommates. There were rides set up for the kids and camels (what?), and street food (YAY STREET FOOD!!!!).  We gorged ourselves on very tiny hotdogs and hamburgers in very large buns with brown sauce (don't ask), chips, pancakes (basically a huge crepe) with toffee and nuts, and hot cocoa.  There were carolers and vendors of various sorts and a good time was had by all.
That's it for now kids.  I'm headed over to a friend's house later to whip up a slightly tardy Thanksgiving feast involving roast chicken, Aunt Steph's sweet potato casserole, Uncle Matt's crapple sauce, and Dad's brussels sprouts.  See? It's just like having them here ;)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Quick quick!

Hey all!

Just wanted to drop a quick line and say, "Yay!" - first day of work, check!
London was completely overwhelming, and even though I was about a five minute walk from the London Bridge, I still didn't get to see it because I was so straight out the whole time I was there.  It was a great learning experience, though, and now I've got the tube down...ish.  Plus, I'm now mobile-less because I left my charger in London.  They are supposed to post it back to me, but I give that a 50/50 chance as the woman I spoke to was foreign and overworked and there is currently a postal strike on.
Work today was also overwhelming, but I got a super cute new uniform outfit that I can't wait to wear (seriously, these clothes are amazing), and I even got out for a quick run between finishing up at work and meeting my train.  I had one of those perfect travel moments where I strolled into the train station, darted up the stairs, and there was my train, waiting for me.  I LOVE not waiting around for things.
OK, that was a whole lot of not much, but I'm happy and excited and wanted to share.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


There was a while when I didn't know whether I'd be able to work in the UK.  I came up with a few schemes that involved me moving elsewhere or doing other things while Chad pursued his MSc, but mainly what I did was make lists.  Because that's what I do. So I had a list of things that I thought might keep me busy in the UK.  Unbeknownst to me, I have actually already started pursuing many of the things on my list.  Perhaps it was my subconscious propelling me toward these activities, needing to put imaginary check marks next to the items on the imaginary list. 
*Start training for a race: Check!  In some manifestations of the list, this was a marathon, but really.  Come on now.  A half marathon is long enough.  My last training day was on Sunday, and I had one of those perfect running days where I could have gone on forever - I ran 5.5 miles and stopped because I got bored.  I'm petrified to go out again because I'm pretty sure it's going to be a big ol' mess and I won't be able to get around the loop even once.  I'm also feeling pretty chuffed (ooh, fun new British word!) about having gone that far.  Yay!
*Start knitting again: Check! I've been an avid knitter in my time, but have sort of fallen out of the habit while living on the island these past three years.  I bought some beautiful Vinalhaven wool before I left and was gifted with a super beautiful mitt pattern by Angie, our local knitting store owner, and have begun my mitts.  I'm also looking into finding a knitting group that will suit my schedule as I've run into a bit of a snag with the pattern.
*Get involved with the community: Check! After joining the gym, I applied to volunteer at a variety of places, and have heard back from three of them thus far.  I've noticed that people are much more lax about communicating around here, often taking FOREVER to reply to e-mails, but I'm looking forward to getting involved!
*Learn Italian: Not-so-check.  This is one of the goals on the list that I haven't quite checked off yet.  I've always loved languages, having been a French major for about five minutes in college.  Italian has always held a special draw for me.  Up till now, I haven't exactly had an opportunity to look into learning a new language, but now I have an excuse - we're going to ROME!  Chad and I randomly started talking the other night about taking off for a while before his new semester begins on 9th February.  However, I discovered that I can't take any of my holiday time until my probationary period at work is up on 5th Feb.  So we decided to throw caution to the wind and schedule our trip for 20-24 of February.  We found a super cheap flight, a super cheap B&B that was having a stay-4-nights-for-the-price-of-3 sale (our room ended up being cheaper than all the hostels I looked at!), and booked!  Chad will be back in classes by then, but he's promised to do his readings before we leave so we can enjoy ourselves.  I've been enjoying looking up fun places to see, and, of course, things to eat, and have even found Chad some catacombs and a cemetery to check out (am I a good wife or what?).  Yay for Rome!

Speaking of yay, I also found out that on Thursday, I'll be spending the night in London for my training at Sweaty Betty.  As I've mentioned before, the 5th of November is Bonfire Night, and there are 25 different fireworks displays going on in the city that night!  I'm beyond excited and can't wait to check out the city and join in the festivities!  Chad's programme has a field trip to London scheduled for a Saturday in either January or February as well, so he'll get to check it out separately.

I've got my new business cards and am picking up my Thai massage mat on Thursday in London, so hopefully I'll be able to start my home visit Thai massage business pretty soon!  That's the next thing I'd like to check off my list :)