I’m baccckkk! Oh wow it has been a while since my last post hasn’t it! There’s an explanation for that which I will get to in a minute but for now let me just say how much I have missed posting here and sharing my thoughts/recipes/whatever else with all of you.
Now bear with me because this is going to be a pretty long blog post so grab a cuppa and sit down for this one ;) So as you know from my last post the husband and I just moved to the UK… well it’s been just over a week now and yep I still can’t believe we’re actually here! We had a fairly comfortable plane trip over here and were lucky enough to have a pretty empty flight which meant we got to actually sleep… or attempt to sleep since we had a whole row of seats each to sleep on. Although the turbulence wasn’t the best and we had a pretty bumpy ride at some points of the flight.
Before we left Michigan I bought some Melatonin tablets to try out as I had heard they were effective for sleep. I’m not sure if it was because we had a night flight and were just tired anyway or if it was the tablets themselves but I’d say I got about 4 hours sleep out of an 8 hour flight which I guess isn’t too bad!
Anyway so we made it into London around 10am and proceeded to go through customs. Joe got in fine as he holds a European passport and we thought I would get in just fine as well, being that as his wife I have rights in the EU as well. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case…. I was stopped and questioned about why I was coming into the UK and I kindly told the lady that my husband had been offered a permanent position here and that he was here on his EU passport and that as his wife I was also allowed to be here and to work. Unfortunately she was rather nasty and ended up stamping my passport with a 6 month visitor visa! So now I have to apply for a residence card, which means until I get that card I can’t leave the UK otherwise I might not be able to get back in…. so no weekend trips to France just yet! Tell you what, after a long flight getting that news was the last thing I needed and since then I’ve been told that she did the wrong thing by putting that stamp in my passport! I mean yes I do have to apply for a residence card but this 6 month thing just puts added pressure on it!
Anyway after that whole mess, we went off to get our rental car to drive to where we are currently staying which is the reason for my lack of blog posts until now… you see we are currently staying on a farm! Yep that’s right we are currently living in temporary accommodation in a cottage on a farm! And yes it’s nice and peaceful and green and there’s horses and sheep and all that BUT it’s literally in the middle of nowhere AND the internet connection has been so terrible that we’re lucky if we can get the laptop to work for 5 minutes without breaking the connection on us! I’ve been stuck using my phone which is ok for some situations but typing out lengthy blog posts on a touch screen is not my idea of fun! So I’m keeping my fingers (or toes in this case) crossed so that I can finish this post before the internet dies out on me again!
The other thing is that this cottage we’re in is at the end of a looonnnnggggg dirt road, I don’t know exactly how long but it’s long and even then if you crossed this dirt road to get to the main road you would have to walk about 50 minutes just to get to the edge of the main town and since Joe takes the car to work I’m stuck here! I’ve been attempting to entertain myself through reading books, doing stair runs (it’s a little 2 storey cottage) and watching British TV while he’s at work. But I’ll tell you now it is driving me
a bit a lot bonkers being in this situation but there is a light at the end of the tunnel! We have managed to find a great apartment close to the heart of the city centre that we are going to be moving into on the 23rd! As you can imagine I can’t wait…. at least then even without a car I will be able to walk around and get to know the city etc.
So let me tell you a bit about England so far or what I’ve observed of it. First off I was here back in 1996 and apart from certain things I didn’t remember much of it at all but since we’ve been here it’s been interesting to see how VERY different England is to the United States. First off everything is MUCH MUCH smaller, the cars are smaller, the roads are narrower, the houses/apartments are smaller (they even keep their washing machines, which often double up as dryers in their kitchens since there’s really no other room for them unless you’re super rich and can afford a big house!). Pretty much everyone here drives around in small cars AND much to my dismay most of the cars here are manual (or stick for you American readers) and I CANNOT drive manual… I learnt on a manual car when I first started to learn how to drive but that was over 10 years ago and since then I’ve always had automatic cars! Now Joe is adamant that I learn how to drive manual here… so that should be fun :|
Also people here drive super slow compared to when we were in Michigan. I mean it’s not a bad thing but it’s just different, I guess also the fact that police presence is stronger here has a lot to do with it! I think I’ve seen more police here in these 8 days than I saw in 2 years living in Michigan!
Apart from everything being smaller, there’s a oldness to England, if you’ve ever been to Europe you’d know what I mean. It just feels like it’s steeped in history and just being in the city or the town as they call it here and walking around looking at the buildings and the many many pubs (so English) you feel like you’re in another world. Oh I should mention the name of the town we’re in which is called Leamington Spa, actually we will be living in between two places, Leamington Spa and Warwick. Coming here I didn’t think it would be so populated (well not on the farm but where we will be living haha) it’s hard to find any parking and there are people all around. They have some great shops around and our real estate agent here introduced me to a very cute little Italian cafe that I’m now obsessed with! Plus I had one of the best cappuccinos I’ve had in a LONG time there :)
I’ve also seen more people walking and riding their bikes here than I did in the entire time we were in America, and I’m definitely wanting to buy a bike as they have some great walking/riding/running tracks. Also the weather has been very typically English and has rained pretty much everyday since we’ve been here. There has been some light snow but nothing like in Michigan.
Food quality also seems to be better here from what I’ve gathered, meat for example is much better quality here and the whole grain-fed vs grass-fed thing isn’t as much of an issue here as it is in America. From what I’ve read and heard the majority of the beef here is grass-fed, although not grass-finished, so basically they will feed the cattle naturally on grass until a month before killing them, and then they will feed them on grains to fatten them up. But you can basically buy grass-fed beef in supermarkets here, unlike when we were living in Michigan and I could only find grass-fed in Whole Foods. Also the pork here is all naturally reared outdoors, again from what I’ve read and spoken to the butchers where I’ve purchased from since being here. Now horse meat is another story altogether ;)
I took this photo at a cafe we went to the other week…
Having said that, there are a lot of things that I haven’t been able to find here yet and that’s things like different flours like coconut/almond, kombucha (which I miss so much) and just bits and pieces like that which I used to be able to get from Whole Foods. I’ve read up on a couple of forums that people here generally buy nut flours etc online, which is probably something I’ll have to do. There is a Whole Foods in or around London I believe so when we make a trip out there (around 1.5 hours by train) I can probably go and buy a few things there. Speaking of London I can’t wait to visit Borough Market... I’ve been wanting to get there for ever!
Ok I’m going to go off on a bit of a tangent now and get kinda deep and emotional here so bear with me and if you need to go take a break now from this bloody long post I’m writing here then I won’t feel offended ;)
Uhhhh ok so I’m not sure if it’s the fact that our accommodation right now isn’t the best, if it’s the fact that we’ve literally just moved to a new country or that it’s already been pretty hard to get certain things done, compared to when we first got to the U.S. but I’ve found myself questioning whether we have made the right choice coming here, a couple of times now. I know that I’m way ahead of myself and I can’t expect to come here and just carry on as if nothing has changed, when it clearly has. I know 8 days is no where near enough time to have settled into any place and I keep having to remind myself that it was the same when we first got to Michigan. It was hard there at the start too and really if I think about it it took pretty much over a year to feel settled into our routine and life there. I guess doing it all over again has just reminded me of how we have to go through that whole process again, after finally being pretty settled over there and then packing up to come here.
I also know it was our choice to move here, and we could have very well stayed put in Michigan, but then I believe in taking hold of opportunities and I feel like if we didn’t take this one, we would have probably regretted it. I know I just have to be patient, which is something I’m not good at and neither is Joe, so that’s something we will have to keep remembering…. to be patient and to give ourselves time to settle and to really get to experience life here. Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited to be in Europe, the opportunity to travel (once I get my residence card) is incredible but yeh I think right now my mind is too focused on the present situation.
Anyway in a week or so once we’re settled into our own place, with our own furniture and own bits and pieces I’m sure I will be feeling much better and hopefully there our internet connection will be working A LOT better than here and I can start blogging again on a frequent basis. And hopefully by then I will have a lot more positive thoughts to share with you :)