Thursday, May 05, 2011

Same blogger...different country

Today I landed in Manchester, UK, to begin an internship at the University of Sheffield. However, most sadly, I could not find the cord which connected my camera to my computer, and so haven't a way to upload photos currently, except from Tabitha's camera (where those that follow were taken). I'm going to look to buy a cord here if that's possible. Of course, I still haven't exchanged currency, used an ATM, bought a bus pass, or really done any of the navigating in a new country that I need to.

Tabitha and I arrived here after an uneventful flight. It was the part before the flight that was eventful. My parents dropped us at the airport and we said our goodbyes. Inside, we immediately learned that our baggage was overweight. Not such a big problem for me, as I could carry a makeup bag as my second carry-on, and problem solved. But Tabitha had "weightier" issues: 25 pounds to redistribute, and (Murphy's Law) a busted zipper on her brand new carry-on. Finally after proving that no, we are not terrorists, and about an hour, extra baggage, and lots of discarded toiletries, later, we boarded the flight.
The layover in Atlanta was short. I scarfed down an Arby's as Tabitha tried to hunt down a replacement for the totally worthless Samsonite. As time neared for boarding, I began sending texts: "Hi, I'm leaving the food court." "Hi, where are you?" "The gate is all the way at the end of the concourse. Where are you?" "Our zone is finished boarding! Where are you?????" and finally "I'm on the plane and in a panic." But she made it on, having found unfortunately no luggage to replace the broken zippered tote bag. This was this morning's view out the window:

Jet lag has been my constant companion today. Arriving in Manchester, we navigated our way to the train station and found the train for Sheffield. We called Andrew, our University contact, who picked us up an hour later at the Sheffield platform. He drove us by the University, showing us where we'd be working, and then on to the house we are staying in, high up Carsick Hill, west of the city. The home is lovely... a recently renovated older home with a large (by English standards) lot, 3 darling children, 2 Maine Coon cats (Ra and Isis), and a very kind and accommodating couple. Following leek and potato soup, Tabbs and I both took a long nap. Late afternoon, we walked down the hill to the bus stop, and did a bit of shopping (replacing those discarded toiletries). It is election day here in England:

Hopefully by tomorrow we will have our beauty sleep, and be ready to tackle to bus system, touring around downtown, and getting our local bearings.
So far, these are my observations:
1. It's colder here. Colder in the house, colder outside. I hope I brought enough warm non-work clothes.
2. I want a Maine Coon cat.
3. Even the houses where they wouldn't claim to have a gardener, look quaint and brimming with landscaping. Just on our short walk, we saw peonies, lilacs, columbine, tulips, rhododendron, roses, and about two dozen other plants I don't know... all in bloom.
4. I should have amazing calves by the time I've climbed Carsick Hill daily for 6 weeks. This is a sign posted along the not-very-steep section:


Tia said...

Yay!!! I'm so glad you're blogging this! What an exciting adventure to on!

Susan said...

The adventure begins! Glad you made it safely. :-) I'll be checking in regularly to see what you are up to!

LauraLiz said...

It's colder here too! Was in the 30's last night if you can believe it! So glad you made it (I'm having visions of you running full speed in your cowgirl boots as we boarded for the flight from Atlanta to Baton Rouge for the retreat at Becky's!). VERY happy we'll be getting updates.

Nicole Rae Studio said...

So exciting!! I can't wait to hear how it goes!

LunaThePirate said...

I miss Crackers. She was maincoon. Glad you're okay! Miss you though

Julie said...

Wonderful, wonderful!! So great to see photos. Glad you made it!!

And I'm ALWAYS stunned at how cold England and parts north in Europe are. Cuddle a blanket and a hot water bottle while sipping tea (true British tradition!).