21 Aug

Update from Nottingham

From: http://tiana.tianaanderic.com

We’ve landed!

After 12 hours of flying and 2 hours of train rides, we made it to Nottingham safely! Flights were great – no hassles – slept a good amount. We really had a great first day in the UK. Here is the play-by-play (sorry it took me so long!):

We decided to fly into Manchester since it is much closer but the downside was that we did not get the added benefit of transport provided by the University when one flies into London. Granted, the trains were easy enough to figure out and were at a fair price but OH MY, our luggage proved to be a burden! We had two large suitcases, two medium size, two carry-on roller bags, AND backpacks! Initially, we were stoked because there were carts from station to station. But then there weren’t. And we wanted to say swears but didn’t.

We took a taxi from the train station in Nottingham straight to the letting agency to sign the lease and pick up keys. When we arrived, we decided to leave our stuff in the taxi; a decision I was not so fond of but didn’t have much choice. We sat down and began looking over documents. Oddly (or not?), the letting agents assumed we would sign the lease without even viewing the flat. When I brought this to their attention, they didn’t really blink an eye. I felt annoyed. Here I was in a strange dungeon of an office with my luggage sitting out front with a stranger in a new country and I was being asked to sign a lease for an apartment that I hadn’t even seen??!! We decided to just go for it; sign the 6 month lease and get to our apartment. Thankfully, the taxi driver was kind enough to wait without driving off with our luggage. We were off to 85 Forest Road West!

No sooner than stepping out of the taxi, Anthony (Eric’s friend who attends the University and lives only two doors down with his wife Hayley) was right there asking if we needed help with our luggage! We hauled it up and got the “tour” from one of the letting agents (apparently thanks to me for putting up a fuss). To all of our surprise there was NO furniture to be seen (yes, we were told it was furnished)! Then while giving us directions on how to use the hot water and such, found out the water was not working properly. The agent assured us the plumber was on the way and that the furniture would be delivered shortly. Anthony kindly accompanied us through this whole process and at times even made calls to ensure everything was being addressed as promised (something we need to get used to, apparently).

The apartment is nice – and big! It has lots of big windows letting the sunlight in…the front bay window looks out over a huge tree :) The apartment has vaulted ceilings and in the living room there is ornate molding across the top of the ceiling!! I will admit it smells funny though. Anthony says they all do because of the dampness.

While we waited, Anthony kindly invited us to his place and offered to make lunch. Yummy pasta. It was nice hanging out there for a bit, sitting around on their couches after hauling bags around for two hours. They have a very scary cat though and she gets scarier when you are scared of her. Yikes!

Mike (another of Eric’s friends from the Theology dept at UofN) was at Anthony’s staying with them for a bit since he was boarding a train to Scotland the next morning (today) to begin his new PhD program in Scotland! He was excited to finally meet Eric and had a huge bag of kitchen stuff to get us started! We had a great time chatting with them, waiting around for our beds until I noticed a large truck out the front window! It was our beds and couches!! Mission accomplished. We set off to put them together.

Later in the afternoon Anthony offered to show us the tram route that took us to Asda where we could pick up cleaning supplies and some of the basics (note: Asda is owned by Wal Mart but Anthony assured us they have better practices here?..). The stores are crazy! People just kinda navigate their own way around the store with no semblance of order and it feels really chaotic. There weren’t even that many people in the store! We grabbed what we needed and were outta there :)

We then showered for the first time in a LONG time (yes, the water was now working) and got ready before walking down to a favourite local pub that Mike and Anthony raved about. Jeff (yes, another of Eric’s friends….thank goodness for blog networks, eh?!) and his wife Meghan were meeting us all there for some drinks and dinner. I wasn’t looking forward to it simply because I was so tired – and Eric was too. This would be a good way to keep us awake though, so we can begin to acclamate to the time change. I’m glad we went because it was real fun! The guys were great and funny and I enjoyed meeting Meghan! Her and I got to talk a bit about job hunting (she’s also looking for social work type jobs) and possible hang-out time while our husbands attend the Rome conference for five days the beginning of September. Jeff and Meghan just got married this summer – he just finished his first year of PhD work here at UofN and she moved here to be with him for the remainder (they are both from the states as well). Before we all left, Jeff and Meghan invited us over for dinner at their place this week and Meghan is going to show me to the Ikea and other shopping for STUFF!

All in all, it was a wonderful day! Knowing people here has made a huge difference, I think. It feels so much more manageable to have people point you in the right direction and even accompany you on your first ventures out. Huge thanks to Anthony for that.

Today has been much less exciting (for me anyway). I slept in while Eric got up and walked the 3 miles to campus to meet with a guy about the conference materials that need to be printed (don’t worry, in the future he’ll take the bus but wanted to get a feel for the city a bit on foot).

The rest of my day included welcoming the final delivery of furnishings for our flat (two coffee tables, two night stands, two dressers and two wardrobes — note: we have NO closets. No storage. Time for me to get my creativity on!); cleaning the entire kitchen top to bottom and washing all of the dishes handed down to us; putting the guest room bed together; making a large list of items to buy; walking with Eric down to a Chinese restaurant for dinner (neither of us really had lunch today); going to an international market for some groceries; and finally, making our first pot of loose-leaf tea in our new kettle while eating some chocolate and writing this post.

There you have it.

Eric is going to upload pictures of our apartment. Of course it’s empty save our bedroom where the vacuum bags of clothes have blown up :) You can consider them the “before” pictures.

Alright, its midnight here so we must get to bed! Love to all! Miss you!