Reunited and it feels so good!

Ohio was bittersweet.  I loved that I was able to see so many friends and family members, but the reason behind it was so, so sad.  I am so glad to be back home and reunited with so many of my favorite things:

First and foremost, MY HUBBY ❤  I know we have done much longer stretches of time without seeing each other, but I always miss him when we are away from each other, especially when it is highly emotional.  I was beyond excited to jump back into his cute little arms and squeeeeze him.  

Second, my Nyjah girl!  I got to hang out with my first daughter, Roxie while I was in Ohio {and am happy to report she loves her new mommy and daddy and they love her!}, but I missed my sweet girl here too.  

Third, MY CAR!  Woooooohooooooo, my Escape made it over the ocean unharmed and is in great working condition (good thing, since our “new” car isn’t!!).  It is so glorious driving *MY* car, even if it is a little strange to be driving a left side drive car on the left side of the road.  I actually like it, because I can tell where I am on the left and don’t ever go off the road or hit the curbs 🙂  The sides of the road are treacherous in areas–B was just telling me about a guy who swerved to miss hitting an animal and ended up in four feet of water in a ditch on the side of the road!  Anyway, I love, love, love having my car here.

Fourth, and super exciting, OUR HOUSEHOLD GOODS!  Our furniture, clothing, kitchen stuff, everything is finally here!  The movers came Wednesday and unloaded everything.  B and I thought we did a really good job of getting rid of stuff [seriously, TONS of stuff], but we are still going through stuff and trying to eliminate crap…  Oh well.  Our house looks like a tornado ripped through it at the moment, but we are getting there slowly.  I enjoy decorating and organizing, so this is fun for me 🙂  It mostly just drives B crazy.  Also, I am excited to wear something other than the few weeks worth of outfits I came with (as I type this, though, I am wearing only items I had brought with me…whoops, guess I will dive into my other clothes soon!)

Things on the job front are looking good.  Still waiting for “stuff” (typical), but I’m excited for what’s to come…more on that soon!   

I’m feeling a bit more settled with all this going on, but I know that will change in about a month when we head to to states for our big celebration.  I can’t wait to party and “get married” and see everyone, but I am also looking forward to having all of this over with, so I can truly settle in and enjoy this magnificent new life!  I will be posting new pictures of the house, decorated and finished, as soon as I can….

Cheers! 

Another guardian angel

I’ve been sitting here typing and retyping sentences for this post, but none quite seem right.  I suppose I just don’t have the words to describe the emotions that have been running through me for the past week.  

The world lost a wonderful, beautiful, funny, kind, happy, fun-loving woman Friday night.  My grandma, Martha Burns, passed away fairly suddenly last weekend, and it truly rendered most of us speechless.  

I was in bed, snuggling up for the night when I received the news.  In fact, I had just wished my sister a happy early birthday, as it was almost her birthday in England when I was getting ready to fall asleep.  Not long after that, I heard my iPad ding with an iMessage, pretty much the only way to keep in contact with people in the states.  I checked and it was my sister letting me know that g’ma wasn’t doing well and that mom and dad had had the medic take her to the hospital.  I guess she had been having some pain that week, and was super weak that evening.  My dad, being a medic himself, saw that her EKG in the squad didn’t look good, and really started to worry.  They got to the hospital and long story short, her potassium and other levels were out of whack, and she turned for the worse fairly quickly.  Overall, it was a very surprising, very sudden, but very quick ordeal.  We were all pretty stunned, and I was miserable being thousands of miles away.  Thank goodness Brandon was there to comfort me.  I finally fell asleep that night (thank you melatonin), knowing I needed sleep and could figure out what to do the following morning.  

I knew I wanted to be home with my family to grieve and be a part of celebrating her life, but also knew that came with a hefty price tag, travelling from across the pond.  Thankfully, my parents graciously paid for my flight so that I could be “home” in Ohio for the week.  So, as I type I am sitting in my parents’ living room (again, jeez, haven’t I spent enough time here in the last few months!?!).  Saturday was a blur of finding last minute tickets and figuring out the logistics of Brandon getting me to and from London Heathrow.  I suppose the timing was better than it could’ve been, as my paperwork for my job was still being processed and I wasn’t working yet.  This was another reason I was pretty anxious about getting home, as I knew B would be working all week, and I would be home, thinking, wishing, getting angry and upset.  I am beyond thankful that I was able to get back to the states.  

So I flew home Sunday…4:30am wake-up, two hours to London Heathrow, 7 hour flight, an hour or so in Newark including customs and such, {UMM HAVE I MENTIONED THAT THE NEWARK NJ AIRPORT IS HORRIFIC AND I VOW TO NEVER FLY THROUGH THERE AGAIN UNLESS I ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO????? OK. GOOD. I MENTIONED IT AGAIN. If you love yourself and your sanity, don’t fly through Newark.} then an hour and a half flight to Ohio.  I arrived in the afternoon, but felt like it was bedtime.  My sister was already there, having travelled from Tennessee the day before.  We had quite a bit of preparation to do before the visiting hours and service, so that at least kept us busy and our minds occupied.  The next two days were a blur of visitation hours, seeing a million people and answering a million questions, lots of flowers and kind words, and of course, the service and burial.  We laughed a lot and cried a lot, hugged a lot and held each other a lot.  

For those of you that don’t know, the Potter side of my family (my grandmother’s maiden name is Potter, and there are a LOT of us!) is pretty phenomenal, as was my grandma.  There is so much I want to say and feel like I should say, but I know it would overwhelm most people.  First, I just want to say that my family is strong.  We have seen so many ups and downs and continually are there for each other, never giving up hope and always loving.  I can’t even explain the kind of bond that we all have, because it’s beyond words.  I am just thankful every day that I have them and I know that I can count on any of them, at any time.  I want to say thank you and I love you to all my cousins/aunts/uncles/however-you-are-related-to-me relatives, especially those who held us together this past week.

As for Grandma, she was a trip.  As I said before, she was the kindest, most fun-loving person ever.  Sometimes she drove us absolutely crazy, but she was amazing.  I can remember as a child sleeping over at her house all the time.  The cousins would all sleep in the living room, on a sheet laid out on the floor.  I can still remember the smell of those sheets.  They smelled glorious.  We would always ask for a “bread, butter & sugar” for snack, or eat fresh cucumbers or peppers from the garden.  I can remember tons of Christmases at her house, with that horrible silver tinsel that got stuck to everything!  Opening our stockings was the BEST part of Christmas there, and all the way through adulthood, she would still fill stockings for the grandkids and their spouses.  There are too many memories with her and my papaw to even try to relay them all.  And I heard even more this week, most of which were heart-warming and hilarious.  I was incredibly lucky to have spent so much time with her this summer, since I was “home” in Ohio for 7 weeks.  We did lunches, dinners, time at the lake.  As crazy as the last few months of my life have been, I am so grateful that I did end up in Ohio for so long, and got to spend so much time with her.  I will be a bit heart-broken at my wedding, as all she did was talk about watching B and I get married.  She was SO excited to see B in November.  My only solace in that is that she technically did see me as a married woman, and I’m sure she will be watching over us in November.

I am thankful also that she slipped away from us quickly, without suffering, and after living a full, fabulous life.  We have seen suffering, heartache, lives taken too young in this family.  While I would’ve loved for her to be around much longer, I am so glad that she lived a happy, relatively healthy life up until those last moments.  I also feel relief in knowing that the love of her life who left us 15 years ago was there at the gates welcoming her with open arms.  We joked around that he was getting tired of being up there without her, especially putting up with everyone else who had gone before her.  We know she is up there having a big old celebration with papaw, Glenn, Nick, Shirley, Bill, and everyone else who has passed.  I am amazed by how much she had been through, how she had lost almost everyone that was close to her, and how she still managed to be such a positive, cheerful, giving, happy woman.  I don’t even really know where I am going with this post, but I do know that I wanted to get something out  “on paper.”  Grandma will certainly be missed by many, as was made obvious over the last few days.  Sorry if this was a jumbled mess, but hopefully it will mean something to someone, and be something to look back on in hard times to come.  If you want a good laugh, please check out my new Facebook album, “Throwback Thursday”…going through pictures for the visitation hours certainly conjured up a lot of good memories, along with great hair, outfits, and awkward stages of growing up.  

❤ ❤          

Having a jolly good time :)

Lucky for you all, I’m not working yet….which means I have plenty of time to post again 🙂  

B and I had a wonderful weekend together!  B took the day off Friday, and we were planning on exploring either Thetford or Norwich.  Our “new” car had other plans 😦  We took our “new” car into get worked on on base early Friday morning, hoping it would be a quick fix.  Almost 7 hours later, they got the part in and “fixed” it [I say “fixed” because we are still having some problems with it, but whatevs, it works for the time being.]  Luckily we brought our computer and iPad, and there is a nice little center on base with Starbucks, wifi, and comfy couches.  So we spent his day off playing on the internet and watching the rain fall, haha.  Oh well.  Friday night we met up with a guy B works with and his friends at a restaurant in Bury…deelllissssshhh!  We made it a fairly early night with some wine and beer at home.  

Saturday we headed to a festival nearby called “The Big Onion” {the estate putting on the festival grows….drumroll…..onions!}.  We went with a guy B skateboards with and his wife and baby {who is freaking adorable BTW}.  There were tons of little booths selling and giving samples of local food and drinks [ummmm let me tell ya ’bout this local vodka. amazeee].  B and I were feeling adventurous and tried lots of crazy items (chicken liver pate anyone?) and got some yumalicious stuff!  I took lots of pics, of course, and was fortunate enough to have a gorgeous little model, miss Sophia (daughter of our friends).  There were kids games and activities, as well as a donkey ride [no, I didn’t ride an ass].  We headed to Bury after that so they boys could go to the skateshop….oh yea, so my husband is 28 and skateboards, have I mentioned that?  It’s cute, he’s like an 8 year old stuck in a 28 year old body hehe.  Anyway, we had dinner in Bury as well, then us wives decided we would let them go to the skatepark (we’re so kind, eh?).  B and I ended our night at a pub near our house– we met some fabulous British friends, and ohmygaaahhh they were so. darn. funny.  Like so funny my abs were in pain from laughing so much.  ‘Twas a fabulous night, and B and I were super pumped about making British friends!  

Sunday was our first truly lazy Sunday we’ve had together in awhile- they are our favourite!  We literally didn’t get out of our pyjamas (sooo British!) until about 5pm, when we decided we wanted to get some food and watch some *AMERICAN* football on base.  I hate being 5 hours ahead of Eastern time, solely for the fact that we can only watch a limited amount of American sporting events without pulling an all nighter {and anyone that knows me knows I just don’t do all nighters, I need my beauty sleep!}  

Anyway, it was an absolutely perfect weekend, and I am SO thankful that B didn’t get called into work!  He is on call for every weekend in September, which makes planning anything pretty much impossible.  We are hoping to celebrate his birthday (which is Sept 19, but will be celebrating in Oct more than likely) somewhere fun, like a weekend trip to London, so I can’t wait for that!  Before too long we will be planning our trip back to the states for the wedding!  So many things to look forward to, and this is just the beginning!  Here are some pics of our exciting weekend, hope you enjoy!  

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So, picking up where I left off last post….

Brandon and I are living in Brandon, Suffolk [easy to remember, right?], just north of his base RAF Mildenhall, and the base where I will likely be subbing, RAF Lakenheath.  We are about 85 miles northeast of London, which is incredibly exciting, as the closest “big” cities from Clovis were Lubbock and Amarillo, Texas.

Brandon did an AMAZING job of picking out a house.  We had looked pretty extensively while we were still in the states, so that helped narrow down our options as far as price and location.  I was initially dead set on living in a bigger town like Bury St. Edmunds or Newmarket, but I am really glad we ended up in a smaller area.  We are closer to base and have a lot more space than we would’ve in either of those towns.  That being said, “a lot more space” is pretty relative in England.  EVERYTHING is smaller here…the houses, cars, streets, furniture, etc.  Our house is a four bedroom, two and half bath, with a kitchen, dining room, and living room, all squeezed into 1200 square feet.  It honestly feels pretty spacious though.  I love everything about it–it has wood floors, lots of character, a fairly large kitchen, and a backyard for Nyjah.  In Clovis, we had a pretty tiny two bedroom house, so we are definitely enjoying the extra rooms and having a dining room and counter space.

Our neighbourhood is also perfect.  The houses are close to each other and everything is a little tight (remember, everything in England is small!), but we are so deep in the neighborhood that we have practically no traffic other than little British kids running around or on their scooters {or, as we saw today, on their ROLLER SKATES, hehe}  I’ve met our immediate neighbours: a British couple, an American teaching on one of the bases, and another American in the military.   Just across from our house and driveway is a super cute little park and playground area, then behind that is a path that takes you into the Thetford forest, which is a huge park/forest area.  There are horses directly across the path, but if you follow the path, you end up in a serene tunnel of trees that meanders here and there.  I haven’t explored tooooo far, but Nyjah and I were doing a bit of walking when we first got here and B had the car during the day!  The town of Brandon is very quaint and “English-y”–it has a cute little square where B and I eat Italian at least once every two weeks (and by once every two weeks I probably mean more like once a week…we love MONDRAGONE’S!  The waitresses already know us there, and the tiramisu is amazzzzeeeee).  There is a market there every Thursday and Saturday and of course, a few pubs.  We are about a mile from the square, so we definitely can take a stroll there, in fact, we did tonight for dinner, as our hob [c’mon people, I’m trying to sound British] is broken.  We can’t wait to do some more close exploring into the forest and around Brandon and Thetford 🙂

I’ve been here for just over two weeks and feel like we’ve done quite a bit of exploring already.  We have been to Bury St. Edmunds a few times, London for a day trip, Cambridge for an interview, and into Mildenhall and Lakenheath.  I am absolutely enthralled by the sheer amount of history and architecture that surrounds me on a daily basis here.  As my interviewer in Cambridge joked, they have buildings and monuments older than my country 😛  And it’s true!  We’ve seen ruins, cathedrals, monuments, arches, beautiful gardens and more.  I can’t even describe how gigantic London is!  It literally rained the entire day we were there, but I felt that was appropriate 🙂  We went to the {free} National Gallery and saw paintings by Van Gogh, Monet, Manet, and Renior….you know my inner art teacher was cheering and doing cartwheels!!  I know I am kind of rushing through our explorations, but I feel like A. we have SO much more to do and see in each of these cities and B. I have pictures that, well, speak a thousand words!  Our initial trips to all of the big places were also kind of to gauge how easy it is to travel/park/walk/etc in these areas.  For London, we drove to Epping and took the tube into downtown London…SO.EASY.  And relatively inexpensive.  I definitely would not want to drive into London unless I had to.  The public transportation is wonderful though, and easy to navigate for the most part.  We did a park and ride into Cambridge also, which was again, super cheap and easy.  Another place I would rather not drive and park, though, so the bus worked out well.  We are definitely planning longer trips to both London and Cambridge, so much to see!

Overall I feel like there is definitely a different culture here, but nothing that is drastic or overwhelming.  Driving on the opposite side of the road was an adjustment, but much easier than I thought it would be….just retraining my brain and watching what everyone else is doing mostly.  The roundabouts are the only kind of tricky parts, but the Brits really do have stuff figured out, because there is rarely a time I am stopped at a stop sign or stoplight!  There are words and phrases that I am getting used to and/or trying to incorporate into my vocabulary: cheers, lorry, bonnet, boot, windscreen, crisps & chips, etc.  Then there are things I am going to have to remember so I don’t embarrass myself, like “pants” here mean underwear, not jeans or khakis, and that a fanny is most definitely not your behind (I will let you look that one up on your own).  There are also some things I still giggle at (internally of course), like the use of an F instead of TH in things like “free-firty” instead of “three-thirty”, or how things that end with an “a” are pronounced with an “er” sound.  I love learning about the people and culture here, and am glad we chose to live off-base and in the midst of everything!

I am currently waiting for my paperwork to be processed for both on-base and off-base subbing positions.  The British schools pay better and seem to have a great system worked out, so I am hoping to do most of my work off-base.  Right now, I am technically only being hired to sub at the high school on base, which is not exactly what I was hoping for.  I am definitely keeping my options open though, and I will work when given the opportunity!  I can’t wait to get back into at least a semi-routine!

I am quite sure that I have bored you enough for the time being, so I’m off.  We finally have internet [as of, like, an hour ago], so I will try to keep y’all caught up better and start using my email and facetime/skype more frequently!

xx

 

PS….sending love and prayers to some special people who need them tonight, you know who you are! ❤ ❤