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!



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

4 thoughts on “

  1. I’m so glad you started blogging about this! I just love hearing about the different words they use – I’m SO hooked on British TV shows like Foyle’s War, Endeavour, Silk, and the others they show on PBS and the British station here (can’t remember what it’s called, offhand). Can’t wait to hear more about British traditions and customs, and life across the pond. I’m living vicariously through you!

  2. Molly this is fascinating to hear about your time in England. I agree with Cindi, I love hearing about the culture and the language. Thanks for sharing. I gotta figure out how to do the Avatar thing with my pic….just switched to Chrome…hopefully I will figure it out!!! Sharon

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