Monthly Archives: July 2014

UK: Week Two

Disclaimer- no spell check was done.

We are currently in our quaint little B&B and enjoying a couple hours of rest while Gabs takes a ‘bed-nap’. Her bed-naps are the ones she takes on our slower, relaxing days here- on a real bed and usually lasting two or more hours. Usually she troops through a ‘buggy-nap’ which is in the stroller, about 45 minutes long, and while we are touring around or in a museum.
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The past few weeks have been incredible, full of new experiences, exhausting but exhilarating, and going by SO FAST. We got to London after an 11 hour plane trip (which went very smoothly, barely used any of the million toys I or Grandma brought for the little miss) and promptly Konked out in our hotel after going through customs , finding our luggage, and hauling the luggage ourselves many blocks away to our hotel. And by ‘we’ I mean Grandma (Susan) and Joey lugged it- being that I was then 17 weeks pregnant and having a couple not-so-good symptoms, they were firm about not letting me carry too much.

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After the catnap of about 2 hours (felt like a WINK) we headed out feeling recharged and hungry! We popped into a restaurant nearby and had some absolutely marvelous fish and chips. Pretty much have to start with a British staple like that, right? We sat next to a lovely family at the restaurant who were absolutely taken with Gabby- which led to some fun conversation. Great way to start a 3 week trip!

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The next two days were a blur. We walked around London, seeing everything there was to see, touring anyplace that would let us in- including the House of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, the Eye, St.Paul’s Cathedral, and the Tower Bridge. We were walking from dawn to dusk, and never took a bus or train until late in the evening when Susan and I pretty much forced Joey to have mercy and find the tube station. 🙂

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The next day we made our way to Oxford- an hour train ride turned into a 3 hour one due to Wimbledon traffic/signaling problems- but we finally made it to our home for the next two weeks! Gabs soon got accustomed to the public transportation- and tried to say “HI!” to just about every passenger on every trip. It was definitely a learning experience for me as a mom to keep her well-behaved/occupied in a 2 square foot seat for so many hours the last few days- Can’t say I’m an expert but we made it, with tons of help from Dad and Grandma.

We got to Oxford and I almost heard myself relax. We took a bus through the town and just looking at all the historic churches and colleges, with the cool breeze and promise of two weeks in one place made me almost giddy with excitement. Grandma was so kind and insisted we switch rooms at the adorable B&B we stayed at- with more room for Gabs to run around and a larger bed. Grandmas have hearts of gold, don’t they? She also made sure that there was a mini fridge in the room for us and stocked it with grapes, apples, chocolate, milk and juice for us. No words. Just love, so much love for her.

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Joey pretty much slept, went to class (25 minute walk, which he loved) did homework, and read his textbooks for the two weeks he was in class here. This was no vacation at first for him! Though he loved his class and classmates- he’s excited to get to actually travel and explore with us now. He’s actually out at the Ashmolean Museum as I write this and Gabby naps- that’s the oldest museum in England, and suuuuper interesting. We made Gabs spend 6 HOURS in that awesomeness. Poor girl, but at least she’s a poor, cultured girl.

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You’ll be bummed (possibly) at my lack of great pictures in this post… Which I know is pretty much a crime to not have amazing pictures of such a historic town. I took most of them on my DSLR though and purposefully have neglected my phone this trip. It’s been great.
We are staying in a small town just outside of Oxford- called Headington. Our B&B is my absolute favorite- the managers here are new (Rhoda and Martin) , so we have been here almost as long as they have been here! We’ve gotten to know them really well and will miss them when we leave. They have a special spot and cup for Gabby at breakfast every morning and always know what she’ll have to eat- and every now and then Rhoda and I would spend some time chatting in the backyard while Gabby had some free time to run around. I have a feeling we will stay in touch!
The weather here is glorious- sunny, breezy, and cool. Sometimes rainy which I always welcome. We’ve been on hours of walking tours, church tours, seen old historic colleges, talked to a 91 year old about her experience in the Navy (she debriefed soldiers who returned from Normandy on D-Day) and seen Blenheim Palace, where Winston Churchill was raised. Also, grandma treated us to many things, which included a river cruise on the Thames!

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Like I said, Joey finished his class on Islam and Sh’ria law today- (happy fourth! No one celebrates it here, duh. I kinda forgot.) anyways, and last night I got to tag along to the gala they threw in honor of the students. And gala’s here are most certainly NOT casual- most of the women had ball gowns on! And I enjoyed meeting the people Joey had been taking classes with online and now in Oxford for the past year and a half. It was intimidating to be the only non-student there at first, but they were incredibly kind and talkative people! It was a fabulous date night with great company- and I almost exploded from pride watching Joey be asked to explain the current events on Geert Wilders to the rest of us. It’s not everyday you get to see your husband in a situation like that. (I almost burst, truly.) By the way- they had a course AFTER dessert here. Whaaaat. Thank goodness I’m pregnant and gaining weight anyway.
Well, there’s my ‘hello’ to you all, from the Uk! Tomorrow we head to Amsterdam, which is going to be another amazing week with seeing Joeys host family from college, possibly (hopefully) some other friends, and going to pubs for the World Cup. We were devastated by the USA loss (chuck Norris changed his name to Chuck Howard) but at least we have HOLLAND to fall back on! HUP! Oh, and I need Some poffertjes in my life.

Nutella crepes?
Porridge every morning?
Croissanteries and cappuccinos around every corner?

Okay, I guess. 🎉

Love from Gabs, my dear, sweet AMAZING and sometimes tantrum-in-candy-shop-throwing little traveler.

Love from me, the one with no directional skills (Thankful for my MIL who guides us everywhere and hopefully doesn’t want to kill me by the end of this trip) but super love for foreign people, countries, food and history. And gets tired easily.

Love from ‘Mama Susan’ who has unending patience, generosity, a map for a brain (supposed to be a compliment) , and good sense of humor and fun.

And love from Joey, my really smart and fun husband- who took his family on this crazy adventure with him.

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