Tag Archives: friends

The first BBQ of the year

I only know a handful of Americans here in the UK, but when I started working at my last job, I found myself working with a guy from New Jersey who had moved here to accompany his partner while she got a PhD from the University of Sussex.  Since I was only working with 8 people we made up a pretty big ratio of Americans in that place! So anyway, these two are super cool people and on Saturday they had us over for a great BBQ. It was so American in nature that I nearly burst into tears when I walked in the door. Red cups, jello shots, chips and dip, DEVILLED FREAKING EGGS, homemade mac and cheese……and to top it all off, it was legitimately hot outside, and after a hazy morning the day turned gorgeous and decided to just stay that way. I could have been anywhere-the perfect summer’s day in the sunshine with drinks and good people. And dogs, don’t forget the dogs.

Sadly, I didn’t take a picture of the spread that we snarfed our way through. I can tell you’re heartbroken, and for that I’m sorry. But after giving the Brits on hand a tutorial on “how to take jello shots” here are pre- and post- photos for evidenciary purposes.

Pre-

 

and post-

And while the dogs in attendance didn’t all love each other, they got along eventually!

Sometimes it’s funny, the things that are actually different in these two countries. You’d think summer barbecues would be something that everyone did the same way, but it’s those little things that get lost in the mix-and having just a few more people around here in my life with that sense of the mundane makes it just a bit sweeter.

Brighton Foodies Festival comes again!

It’s becoming a (very tasty) tradition to head to the Foodies Festival with Colin and Jess every year. And yes, traditions can be called as such after just two years, it’s official. Last year Jess was pregnant, and this year we had a little baby A in attendance! She drooled a bit and seemed to enjoy herself, so I think everyone had a great time overall.

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foodies festival 2014 brighton

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steak baguette foodies festival brighton 2014

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Making Friends, Having a Life

Making friends of my own, outside of Jon and I’s shared circle has been a real turning point for me in this new English life. It took a while, because well…there weren’t many chances for me to meet people. But the last two weekends in a row I went out on Friday with friends while Jon stayed at home, chilling and playing video games. And I missed my dude on a Friday night, but when I was dancing my face off at a club with lady friends (something Jon doesn’t like doing, ever, as he is so completely not into dancing) I couldn’t have been happier. It’s nice to be able to have independent lives again…something we haven’t really been able to partake in nearly as much since I moved here. And it means a lot to me. Not that I don’t miss my friends from home (and Canada, and other parts of the world for that matter, but you know what I mean), but it’s really heartening to have a well-rounded life not dependent on one just one person-even the person you love. Baby steps to a real life!

Over the weekend

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Two solid weekends, rain free. Whaaat? I know. Awesome. High fives England. This weekend we had some solid hang-outs with friends. Drinks and an unexpected jazz band at a local bar on Friday night (that was far too loud and kept conversation to a minimum, unfortunately), a lazy Saturday that involved trekking up to Tesco’s in the sunshine to buy all the cheapest things (sort of like Wal-Mart, I guess) and taking the bus home. Sunday there were some lazy day drinks at the Mesmerist in honor of Kal’s birthday. I sampled a cider called Cheddar Valley which seemed to be named so because it came out bright orange. Tasty though! And now the forecast is for sunshine and 70-ish degree days all week! Am I dreaming? What is this? Where am I?

You were born inside of a raindrop

Last week (the week before?) when I saw Dave up in Nottingham, we talked about how, or if,  I’m liking England and my official status as legally residing citizen here. We talked about how Seattle is similar to English weather and how it doesn’t really rain as much as everyone says it does, but when it does rain everyone can’t stop talking about how “it always rains”. And I am so guilty of this. And Brighton is so beautiful and idyllic in the sun. But in all honesty the sun isn’t out that much. And it isn’t so much the rain that bothers me. It’s the lack of sunshine, the cloudy days, the sea that runs into sky so you can’t see where one stops and the other begins. The gray/grey. The iron skies-they weren’t kidding. The near constant need for a sweater or coat or both. And it gets me down. Jon says that he hates the weather too, that I just talk about it more.  And I guess it could change, I could adapt. I may adapt eventually. But I think it’s more than that.

I’m having a hard time being so alone. Making friends is no easy thing, even when you’re loud and friendly and not particularly afraid to talk to new people. And it’s not like when you’re little-there are no play dates or school sports to join, no way to immediately find people who have the same interests and similar personalities, are at the same phase of life as you and are open to new friendships, and joining new groups runs that awkward thing where people in the groups already have other mini-groups of friends. Teaching is weird, in that everyone is different ages and runs out the door the second they can (….just like the kids).  For me, there is no meeting Lindsey for drinks at Surly Girl off the cuff on a Thursday because we feel like it, no football games with Kellie, no trying out a new restaurant with Rachel, no going over to Joe’s on a Saturday night with a few bottles of wine to bullshit for hours with him and Mike. No driving up to Morrow County on a random weekend to visit my parents then escape back to the city after I’ve filled myself with dumplings and the latest familial gossip and all the country road driving I can stand, fields of corn dotted with barns and houses. No watching my niece play with her millions of toys and grow into her pigtails. There is no meeting anyone new who doesn’t know me more than the American who moved here to live with her husband. It’s all so superficial and I feel so transparent that it hurts. I am invisible. I am lonesome. And I just want to put Jon in a suitcase and run back to the sunshine and the four solid seasons, even the coldest snowy ones, and the hipsters and the familiarity of Ohio. Is that too much?

Jon came home from work while I was writing this and when he hugged me I couldn’t help but cry a little. And we talked about all of this, and how I can’t seem to get a leg up around here, and how the realities of both being unable to find steady, reliable paid work, combined with the lackluster weather, plus the distance between me and everyone I care about (that I’m not married to), is a hard row to hoe. We live here not necessarily because that was our choice but because our choice wasn’t much of one at all. If being together and being in one of our home countries was the ideal, and one of those countries made it easy for us and the other put up every possible obstacle, well, that wasn’t much of a choice. Because we want to be together, somewhere, anywhere. And so I’m here. And believe me, none of this would be happening if I didn’t love Jon so goddamn much-England is beautiful and has many wonderful things happening-but I spent so much time in my early twenties traveling and figuring out where I wanted to be, only to fall in love with someone from across the ocean just when I figured out how much I love my home state. And that’s okay. Life happens, things change. And here we are, trying to make the best of this situation that no matter what, pits one of us thousands of miles away from all that is familiar. But sometimes it’s so hard. And if just one of these things would change-weather (yeah….it’s been this way for centuries, nothing’s going to change), a good and/or satisfying permanent job, or making some actual friends-things would improve so much, so fast. I know it. After all, it’d be nice to know that I have a choice between hanging out by myself or with my husband-it’s weird when those are your only two options. Also-probably not that healthiest of relationships.

So nothing has changed much yet, five months in, and I’m patiently waiting because there isn’t any other option. Working as much as they’ll have me at my teaching job through September. Writing on the side and trying to find more. Skyping with family on the weekend and keeping up with everyone else, however vaguely, via Facebook and twitter and this little space on the internet. Hoping the people I love don’t forget me. Hoping there is a chance for us to reconcile the situation we have found ourselves in, someday. But right now-I just want some sunshine. And not just a few hours in an evening after a long cold day of rain. An actual warm sunny day. C’mon England. Help me out. I’m trying really hard. And there is so much more hope in the air when the sun makes an appearance.

Getting reacquainted

Guys! Hey! What’s up? You good out there? Cool. Great. Wonderful.

 

So this week has been big. Lots of changes around here. Starting the new job-I only taught in the afternoon all week and starting tomorrow I teach in the morning as well, which will carry through next week. Unfortunately, I’ve also already been asked to work next Monday, which is a bank holiday for everyone else. Boooo! So this is maybe the first time ever that Jon will get to sleep in on a weekday while I bustle off to work like a grown up. Take that Jon! Anyway, after that things are touch and go, work-wise, for a few weeks. As an international school, it all depends on students coming over from other countries. If they have visa issues or any other extenuating circumstances, that affects whether or not they get here, and therefore whether or not I have anyone to teach. However, from June through the rest of summer, things should be pretty steady with plenty of kids coming over and signing up for classes. So hurrah for paychecks!

I’ve noticed that I have been posting tons and tons of instagram and camera phone pictures lately. This is mostly due to the fact that my camera is giant and my phone is just so stealth (and it rains often, which makes me scared for my camera), but I miss taking pictures with my lovely DSLR and am going to make more of an effort to do so. And on that note, I thought I’d share some of the “real” pictures I took in Nottingham last week. I took the most of Newstead Abbey, but the rest were here and there in the city.

I love the shilling of Robin Hood and Maid Marian stuff. Adorable.

An important/famous tree in Sherwood Forest, according to Penny. We did not go to Sherwood forest because of the craptastic weather, so she thought I should take a picture of this postcard of said important tree.

This transition is strange, I won’t lie. It’s been so long since I’ve gotten up every day to go to work. Graduate school was different, and before that I was in Korea. It’s really been nearly two years of being out of the habit. Picking out an outfit, looking presentable, packing a lunch, trying to go to bed at a reasonable hour so I can wake up at an equally reasonable hour, planning curriculum/courses, counting down the hours till I’m out of work (ha! Is there anyone who doesn’t do that?)….these are all things I haven’t had to worry about for quite a while. It feels good to be a part of the human (rat) race again.