Ohio so far

Three days in and I am loving it.

Goodale Park Columbus Ohio

My phone says all these things have happened. I’ve drank beers and eaten delicious things, saw some bands and gone to two festivals. I’ve seen my mom, dad, stepmom, sister, niece, cousins. I’ve seen my friends. I’ve slept in a seedy hotel and driven on the highway and gone shopping at Target. It’s been three days. Ohio is the best. I love it here.

Visitors from up North

Penny, Dave and Stainless (aka Richard) all made trips from Nottingham and Bristol down to our modest anniversary party last weekend, and we were pleased to have their pretty faces in the vicinity! The five of us have a Korean connection due to our time spent living there-which is where most of us met, excluding the dudes, who have all known each other since university-and it’s nice to able to still see people that can relate to that crazy time half way around the world, eating kimchi and living it up, yet also know what it’s like to have normal lives again. And Penny and Dave are even roommates now in Nottingham, which is fun. While they were here we had a party (obviously), but we also spent the next day feeling hungover and walking around by the seafront, which is still quite a novelty for people from the land-locked cities of Nottingham and Bristol, and then going to a late lunch/dinner. I loved having them around, and I’ll be talking Jon into going up north as soon as possible, even though as a good southern (southeastern?) boy he hates the north and everything in it with a passion. So he says. I think it’s all lies. We’ll see.

It’s nice having someone else around who takes even more pictures than I. Hi Dave!

She’s definitely instagramming that picture.

We even made a stop by the fresh seafood stand, where you can buy local, fresh goodies for cheap in little pots, right on the beach. Penny was feeling brave and purchased a bit made of essentially all tiny octopus. It…did not look appetizing.

The stall and its vendors were covered in leftover rainbow bits and pieces from the previous day’s Pride festivities.

Not appetizing.

After we said goodbye to Richard, Penny and Dave, Jon and I carried on walking down the seafront back to our place. It was chilly and gray and undeniably autumnal, and only a few people were around. The feeling of wind-whipped salty air in your face is a good way to both knock out a hangover and say goodbye to summer. I think I’ll like the fall and winter days of Brighton even more than the summer ones-no tourists or summer students everywhere you turn, no weekend visitors taking up all the space and being loud and drunk on the weekends then going back from whence they came, not cleaning up their trash behind them. Not that I mind most of it, but the idyll of a sleepy off-season city by the sea sounds irresistibly appealing to me these days. We’ll see how naive I’ve been come November-I’ve never been in Brighton, or in England for that matter, at that time of year. Maybe it’s a loud, cold mess, who knows? Still won’t be as cold as the states though. I’ll miss snow this year.

Seafront playgrounds with baby pools, abandoned in the colder climes. Although with temperatures for the weekend cast in the high 70s-maybe 80s (!), it’ll probably fill up again, at least this one last time before the true chill sets in.

Brighton kiddie pool seafront

 

Celebrating

After Jon and I were married in Ohio we kept saying over and over that we were going to have an English wedding, or at least a party or something over here. And it took us a full year of marriage to plan that something. Our friends came, we had Pimm’s and cupcakes and many drinks and a dance off or two, and some people even got us gifts, which was beyond nice. It was a really great little party and I’m so glad we have people who love us on both sides of the Atlantic.

(Photos taken by the belligerent Dave)

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!

Another rainy July weekend

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Another rainy weekend was had by Mister Norris and I (surprise)! However, the sun did come out for a few hours today, which was much appreciated. Of course, the wind was at it again and all, but I’m not going to complain about everything. There was sunshine, and it was nice. Last night we went out for our friend Mikey’s leaving do/party. He’s going off for 6 weeks to the Isle of Wight to learn how to work on a boat, and how cool is that? It was nice seeing such a huge crowd out and about in one place. We started off at the Sidewinder, where some brave/drunk people had been drinking since 4:00, and then made our way back to the boys’ house around 11 when the pub garden closed. It was crazy and such a throwback feeling of being at a rowdy house party! The old folks, aka most couples in attendance and most definitely Jon and I, all left around 12:30 or so and left the real party animals to their business. It was a fun night.

Jon and I slept in late this morning (almost noon, heyoo!) and had a massive clean up of the tiny pig sty that we call home. Jon’s parents came down for a visit in the late afternoon with two adorable dogs in tow, and we braved the winds for a seaside stroll. I ate an ice cream cone and pretended it was really July, despite the fact that I was wearing tights under my dress and a cardigan on top, and that last night I had to wear boots and my leather jacket when we went out. In July. Sigh.

Tomorrow marks a change in my teaching schedule and I’m not sure if I’m going to like it or not. We’re in the busiest season for students traveling over to Brighton and I’ve been moved to teaching an adult class in the morning rather than my usual class of 9 to 12 year olds. I’m a little sad when I think about it-I love the balance of teaching young people in the morning and adults in the afternoon. It’s intellectually stimulating and keeps me on my toes, plus it takes the frustration levels down a bit when either group is bugging me! I guess we’ll just have to see what happens. It’s been a crazy summer at work though, that’s for sure, and it’s going to craziest before it calms down again in late August.

Finally-we booked our tickets to Ohio tonight! Oh gosh…I can’t wait. I’m beyond excited. September can’t come soon enough-especially with all this rain and cold. I just hope it hasn’t switched to full on autumn weather by the time we get there.

A wedding in Exeter

I wore a fascinator, in the grand tradition of English women at English weddings. Changes are happening. And this is one I can get behind!image

On the long drive down we endured the never-ending rains, and drove by Stonehenge, which never ceases to amaze me. Driving by Stonehenge! What a life!

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I had a handsome date, sporting the same suit he wore to our wedding nearly a year ago.   Dashing, I say. image

There were polka dots and retro shoes.

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And the tiniest chapel in the middle of nowhere in the green hills of the West Country, up the steepest hill (which we all had to traverse by foot, in the rain, in our heels, because the bus couldn’t make it).image

The reception was at the groom’s parents’ sprawling farm, with gorgeous views (and cows!) far as the eye could see. Even the rain couldn’t spoil it. The gorgeous marquee didn’t hurt either, as we were kept well protected from the elements.

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A string quartet greeted the guests from the chapel, accompanied by lots of champagne and hors d’ouevres. Swoon.

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We danced and drank and drank and danced and I’ll say that a 12 hour wedding celebration with a live band, a dj and a pig roast late in the night is a helluva way to have your nuptials! Maybe the greatest way.
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And-a photo booth. I love a good photo booth. But who doesn’t?image

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imageOf course after the rainiest of weeks (record breaking, actually, with flash floods and everything) and a very damp wedding, we all woke up a bit worse for wear on Sunday to absolutely gorgeous blue skies over Exeter. After a hearty breakfast (pancakes for me, full English fried breakfast for Jon, Amy, Kal and Colin), we hit the road for the 5 hour drive back to Brighton. We even made it a few hours back towards the South East before the rain started again!image

A Parisian visit, part 2

On Thursday night Jon and I tagged along once again with Lindsey’s tour group for a boat ride down the Seine. I took a lot of pictures and most of them were terrible, so shame on me. Better to be in the moment anyway, right? The tour guide on the boat peppered the ride with bits of information as we leisurely made our way down and back, in both French and English. She was lovely! It’s pretty great that so much of the best bits of architecture in the city are all concentrated along the river. The same can be said for all the boats, most of which are incredibly ugly, but serve the purpose of lugging people up and down the river-some for fancy private parties, some for a dinner cruise, and some for sightseeing.

After the tour we made our way to Montparnasse, another ugly building (there really aren’t that many, that’s why it stands out so much!) whose sole redeeming quality is that when one goes to the top viewing room one has an amazing view of Paris. And that’s why we went-to watch the sunset at dusk, and watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle away They turn on the sparkle every night at 10 pm for 5 minutes and it’s pretty impressive, not to mention magical.

Sparkle sparkle!

I was kind of dreading leaving Montparnasse because we’d have to bid Lindsey adieu. Her group’s tour guide was such a nice guy, and he offered to let Jon and I ride around on a little night time drive around Paris, dropping us off at a place that would be closer to our hotel before they made their way back to their hotel outside of the city to catch an early flight the next morning. The bus stopped a few times to allow the kids time to take some nighttime photos of things-the Place de la Conchord, the Eiffel Tower, etc.

(This next picture took a million shots to get all three of us in there!)

When the bus pulled up to drop us off, I found myself getting unexpectedly choked up. Lindsey’s kids all chimed in with “awwwwww” while we hugged and said our goodbyes. And then they drove away and Jon and I started walking and I cried, a lot, on the streets of Paris. And it was pathetic.

But at least on the walk home we saw a kimchi truck, and that made me laugh. What’s a kimchi truck, you ask? I assume it has been commissioned on a world tour to sell the wonders of kimchi to the west, but I could be wrong.

Kimchi baguette, anyone? I seriously don’t see the French people in general taking to kimchi, delicious as it may be.

(Next time-Museums of the Louvre, d’Orsay, and Rodin variety, and a lot of food, so come back if you’re into any of that. And no more Eiffel Tower pictures, I promise).