Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Settling In

It is the dawn of Day 5 in Capstick Cottage, and we are still doing lots of hunting and gathering, though not of the deer, berries, and nuts sort.  We are hunting and gathering furniture and household appliances of all sizes. 

We found someone selling an American-style refrigerator and had it delivered to our house last night.  American-style here meant "the biggest fridge/freezer we've ever seen," and there was no way it was fitting through the door into our utility room.  Therefore, a second, more modest American-style fridge/freezer should be on its way and be delivered tonight.  I may also be getting a washing machine, so that is very exciting news, too. 

In other more important news, we've made a good beginning on meeting people in Boroughbridge.  So far my best conversation starters are my accent (I'm obviously not from around here.) and my American-style credit card.  Even when I use my new British debit card I usually have to ask for help about the direction I put it in the machine. 

Those are a few little updates, but the real purpose of this blog post was to write down something James said to me last night at bedtime, leaning in close, "Let me whisper something in your ear." 

"What is it?"

"You're a genius."

I will keep him forever, or at least until he grows up and leaves me.

Friday, November 21, 2014

A New House and Autumn Light

Today is an exciting day for us, as we are (Lord willing) moving into our house.  We have been well taken care of during our 3 weeks of homelessness, but I must say I'll be really thankful to unpack my suitcases completely and never have to see them again for a very long time. 

My American friends, you will probably laugh when you see pictures of our built-in-the-1750s cottage because it is very, very English, which you know I love.  When it came time to secure a house, it just happened to be the only one available that met all of our needs (really great location and room for having people in our house) and willing to take a risk on Americans.  The estate agents working with us have been REALLY wonderful.  We are excited about today; you might say a prayer for my husband who will be spending a lot of time with his screwdriver assembling an IKEA bunk bed for James.

These pictures don't have anything to do with move-in day; they're just from a really lovely Sunday afternoon at the playground week before last.  I'm not really used to living here yet because it pains me to do prosaic things like teach Ella her times table when the sun comes out and hits the trees, and it looks absolutely glorious out there. 

This Sunday was a particularly lovely and fun afternoon for the kids.  I think almost all of the kids in our church showed up eventually.  They got completely muddy and had a glorious time.

And the sun set and hit the trees, and I had a glorious time, too.  Glorious is obviously the word of the day.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

James' Adventures in England

Someone asked me today about James' accent, and while I haven't heard too many changes in it yet, the question reminded me of some of his funny interactions with British culture and changing cultures in general.

A few days after our arrival it became clear that James had been taking note of all of our many conversations about different names for things in America and in England.  Walking by a front yard garden with a big trampoline in it James asked, "Do they call a trampoline a trampoline?"  "I think so, baby."  "No, I think they call it a tramp."

Coming home from church last Wednesday James had a runny nose and asked for a tissue.  I didn't have one, but our English host offered him a handkerchief.  "What's this?" asked James.  "A hanky."  "What's a hanky?"  "It's like a tissue but made out of cloth."

From time to time it's hard for us to understand what someone says because of their accent, but it works both ways, especially in James' case.  A couple of days ago James came in to the room and said, "Mom, I need to tell you something.  Everytime I talk to Sally she says, 'Pu-din.'"  "Pu-din?"  "Yeah, I say something, and she says, 'Pu-din?'"  "Ohhhpardon.  She doesn't understand what you're saying, so she says, 'Pardon.'"  "It sounds like pu-din." 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Children at Fountains Abbey, Musings, + Thanksgiving

I haven't done much up-to-the-minute updating, have I?  We are at the end of our second full week in Boroughbridge, and it has felt a little more settled than the week before.  The kids and I did more schoolwork this week than the previous week, though we're still not up to a full load.  We've acquired a car that I've successfully driven on several occasions (That feels like a big accomplishment.), and we've picked up some odds and ends to have ready for our move-in day, which should be this coming Friday.  We've got a big day out in Leeds planned for tomorrow with the hope of acquiring phones and placing an order at IKEA.

In the way of pictures, I have some from an outing we took on our 4th day in England.

We drove here to Fountains Abbey in the amount of time we could drive across town to Target.  It was a pretty good living history lesson, wouldn't you say?  I think they started building it in 1132.

It was also a good place for the kids to get to know the de la Hoyde children, who they are becoming fast friends with.

The first few days here were actually quite sunny and beautiful.  I love the light here; it's already low in the sky by afternoon, and I think it just looks a little lovelier in the Northern Hemisphere, but maybe I'm biased in general toward the beauty of this place.

With the combination of damp and cold and spending more time outside, my kids' clothes have never been muddier.  I think I've accepted this as a new normal state of things. 

With so much learning and change going on, I'm finding it hard to know where to begin in writing about it.  My heart feels very full.  I am daily thankful for Grace Church Boroughbridge and how they have welcomed us and loved us and encouraged us daily.  They make it easier to feel at home here.  I'm thankful for our church back home, who send us messages of encouragement and let us know they miss us.  Do you know that in 2 weeks here, we've already received mail from Alabama twice?  Through you we feel God's love, and it fills our hearts to the brim during this month of Thanksgiving.

Isn't that Autumn sunshine lovely?  And speaking of Thanksgiving, I've decided to attempt hosting a couple of Thanksgiving dinners the week after we move in.  I've never been in charge of turkey before.  Feel free to send me all your turkey tips.  And I'm definitely thinking these little English children need to make hand turkeys and color pictures of pilgrims and Indians, wouldn't you agree?  

Monday, November 10, 2014

Welcome to Boroughbridge

We are a good full week into our new life in Boroughbridge, and as I awakened early this morning I thought I'd share some picture of our first day, last Sunday.  It somehow seems fitting that our first full day here was the Lord's Day, the first day of a new week and a new life.

It began with a walk to the next village over where Grace Church puts on a Kids' Club one Sunday a month.  We probably walked 100 yards when James said, "Are we gonna need to buy a car?"

Walking may be a novel thing to the kids, but it sure is a beautiful thing being able to walk outside your front door and see...ENGLAND.

I think having a fun time focused on the kids was a good first Sunday for our kids.  When a very old and gray-looking "Joseph" stepped out to tell his story, James asked, "Is that Gandalf?

After a delicious Sunday lunch and paper-doll playing by the girls, we went out for another walk and to play soccer  football at a local park.  It was fun for me watching KJ play, and it was Ella and James' first time to participate in such a thing as well, and of course, they always appreciate a new playground.
The River Ure


Afterwards we were surprised with a very kind, lovely, and fun welcome to Boroughbridge.

They gave us the full English treatment, and it was perfectly delightful.  Just look at that butter, cream, and jam.
There were even lovely gifts:  flat caps for the boys and tea cups for the girls.

It was a good and full first day, and between all the walking and moving across an ocean, the kids slept until 10 a.m. the next morning. 
Starting week 2, how can you pray?
You can pray for us as we continue to set up a life here.  We were able to cross a bank account off our list last week.  This week we're hoping to get phones and perhaps a car.  I'm also trying to locate and plan out what furniture we'll need as we prepare to move into our house.  Overall, you can pray for us and our children as we adjust to a new life and a new routine, which will still be constantly changing until we're able to move in to our new home.  Pray that we'd give each other lots of patience and love when we have our "moments."  And you can pray as we meet new people and slowly build relationships. 
We've felt so welcomed and been shown such kind hospitality, and that has helped us immensely.  Again, we're so grateful for all of you holding the rope for us.  I'm sure we'll have more detailed prayer requests for you in our next newsletter.