Friday, September 07, 2007

Our First Week

We've been in Chapeltown one week already...can you believe it? I am currently sitting in the public library, which we've just signed up for, using their ancient computers and, consequently, their very slow Internet connection. I thought I would use this post to start where I left off and catch you all up to speed.

As I mentioned in my last blog, when we arrived in our new home we were amazed at how much time, energy and money on us. The house was furnished (with the expection of the study), there was food in the kitchen as well as plates, bowls, cups, cutlery, etc..., a welcome box of maps, specialty foods, and notes from the youth and welcome cards from various members of the church, a vase of flowers, a pot of flowers on the porch, new sheets and down comforter - I really could go on and on. After they dropped us off, we took a nap and showered. Nancy came back by to walk us to her house for tea (which can either mean just tea or what we call dinner). She offered her phone to us to call our families and let them know we arrived safe and sound. We also had our first experience with a "jacket potato" which is a baked potato to us.

Saturday we spent getting settled a little bit and found the closest pub. Our house is in a nice little neighborhood right in town, so everything is very close. The pub is called The Prince of Whales and has a tap room and a lounge. I guess the tap room is when you just want to drink your beer and not talk to anyone? Maybe you're in a rush? This pub didn't serve any food, but they did have hard cider on tap! I was so very excited when I saw this. The Prince of Whales was more like what I think of a pub than this other place we looked into, The Wagon, which looked just like an ordinary bar. While at the pub, we met some of the locals. One guy was trying to place our accent and thought we were Canadian! Eh? I don't think he had met many Americans before. Anyway, while we were there we met a couple of Germans who were in Chapeltown on a nine week internship. We invited them to join us and had a good time chatting with them. We met up with them again at the Prince of Whales on Monday and have plans to go into the city center with them sometime soon.

Sunday was probably the most interesting day so far. The church service didn't start until 10:45 am and is very close to our house. As some of you may have heard, South Yorkshire experienced some major flooding this summer. The building the church normally occupies was flooded and is still being repaired, so they are sharing space with a local Pentecostal group. Anyway, everyone knew we were going to be there and were so excited to meet us. I imagine this is only a little taste of what it is like to be famous! Rick, the Vicar, and his family had us over for a "proper Sunday roast" after church and then he gave us both a walking tour and a driving tour of the area.

Monday was probably the most frustrating day so far. Nancy took us to the city center in Sheffield where we stopped by the rental agency to finish signing our papers, and tried to open our bank account, which we weren't able to do because I wasn't registered with the University yet. Then we went to Meadow Hall, which is their giant mall, and looked at the different phone options and did a little shopping. There way too many phone options and we were beginning to feel overwhelmed. Once home, I called the school (Rick is letting us use his cell until we get ours figured out) and they said they can't give me the form I need for the bank until I register during registration week and I can't register early. We spent that evening with our new German friends at the Prince of Whales and then went to this popular fish and chips place next door. It was a good ending to a frustrating day.

Tuesday we went to a local branch in Chapeltown of same bank we tried yesterday and told the banker our situation. He took the time to tell us that we did have other options. So we opened a basic account in Rob's name and will add me after I register. We can then change account types after we've been in the country six months. We felt much better having an account and were very grateful that this banker was able to help us out. Tuesday night we had "tea" and the Forbes' house. The Forbes are the family who Rob stayed with while here for his interview. He had nothing but wonderful things to say about them and, after meeting them, completely understood why he felt that way. When I first met them at church, we were sitting with them afterwards having tea and they told us that they wanted us to know that they wanted to be part of our support network here and that all we had to do was ask. For dinner, Helen truly went out of her way and may a real English feast: lamb, potatoes, veggies, Yorkshire pudding (which isn't pudding at all), a sweet bread and ice cream for desert, wine, followed by tea in the sitting room after a tour of the house. They live in a very old estate house which was added onto before they bought the house. They also have two friendly cats, which fulfilled some of my kitty-time I've been missing.

Wednesday we went to grocery store and later to Ikea with Rick and priced a desk, shelves, and chair. We had lunch in their cafeteria afterwards and Rob made use of the salad bar. I was going to have some of his salad with my soup, but am now glad I did not. After we got home, we were both feeling a little car sick (since they drive crazy out here). I felt better after a while, but Rob did not. In fact, he was up most of the night and spent yesterday in bed. He said he felt sick immediately after he ate the salad.

Today, he is feeling better, but still not so good. So, while he was in bed, I tried to find a place with Internet and came across the library I am now in. Our shipping was supposed to arrive on Thursday, and when it didn't I called the company and they said, no, the ship arrives tonight and our things won't be delivered until the end of next week. So, we are feeling a bit bored at the moment, because there is not much else to unpack or take care of. Someone gave us a TV, so we went ahead and paid the TV basic license, which gives you 5 channels! That's what we are used to, but we never had to pay for it before. Oh, well. Tonight, Friday, we are going back to Ikea with Paul, the gentleman who picked us up from the airport, to pick up our things. This morning we called to set up our broadband and were told they would call back to make an appointment, so this will take longer than I thought! We learned that this phone option will also include wireless Internet and will be the cheapest way to make international calls. We will get a pay as you go cell phone, too. But will make all our international calls from home, since it will be only 2 -3 cents a min.

Wow! I can't believe I got that all down. I am sure there is more to tell. We sure do miss you!

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