Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What it's like in Durham, England

Wow! We made it!

Our travel day went better than we anticipated. The 9 hour flight was long, but tvs in front of each seat kept the boys entertained for a long time. There were some kids movies available and we knew to bring kiddie headphones for viewing fun. The funniest thing that happened on the plane was when the kids were telling knock knock jokes. Graham's favorite knock, knock joke goes like this:

Graham: knock, knock
Ewan: who's there?
Graham: chicken!
Ewan: chicken who?
Graham: (the answer varies but usually we can't understand what he's saying)
Graham: hahaha! (total fake laugh)

It is very cute but this time when Graham was answering Ewan's "chicken who?" he said something that sounded like "chicken chit". Ewan yelled out very loud, "Grahammy said CHICKEN CHIT!" Of course Ewan had NO idea what it REALLY sounded like Graham was saying--he was just celebrating Graham's joke. Ewan is very good about celebrating Graham and this time he did it rather joyfully. No intentional harm on his part, but somewhat embarrassing to us since it sounded like maybe Ewan DID know what it sounded like Graham was saying. Or worse, that Graham was actually saying that word! What do you do in those situations but laugh? And share the story with your friends.

We almost missed our flight from London to NewCastle because once we got into the London area we had to circle the city for 20 minutes. We were at the back of the plane and because we were flying a giant 777 it took a while to actually get off the plane. After getting off the plane we had to go through customs, fill out several pieces of paperwork, answer some questions, go back through security and make it to our plane on time. Going through security was more difficult the second time around because the kids were very tired and we had to pull out Jon's laptop, my desktop, the Wii, all of our liquids (of which we only had some OTC fever reducer). We noticed the time and that it was very close to the time our plane was supposed to leave. We then had to repack all the things we had to pull out and run to the gate where our plane was leaving. As we were running through the airport we heard over the intercom "Last call for Parker, Last call for Parker". Aye! Pick up the speed we did and we made it to the gate just in time. We were seated in the VERY last row which meant that everyone on the plane was watching 5 tired and very frazzled people get on board. Ewan had a difficult time (aka melt-down) when he couldn't sit in the middle seat. He really wanted to be by the window but it wasn't possible with Graham's carseat. Thankfully it was a short flight and everyone was happy that we were almost done with all the plane flying.

After landing in NewCastle, we collected our bags and then realized that our 2 red crates and Ewan and Isaac's carseats were not coming. The baggage customer service told us that our crates would be on the next flight in and we would get them by the end of the day. She gave us two booster seats for free so the boys could ride safely to our new home.

Our friend Jono, and his friend Peter, came in 2 cars to pick us up and take us back to our new house. Jono and his wife Megan also went to Trinity and live in the same building. Having them help us has been HUGE!!! Jon and I were laughing that they were our official bridgers at Trinity and here they became our unoffical bridgers.

We got to the flat (apartment) and unloaded our bags. I can't remember exactly what we did right after that--I think we unpacked some of the basics and put sheets on the bed. We went down into the city to see the Cathedral and get a feel for what Durham looks like. I didn't bring my camera--I was kicking myself for that. I need to bring it EVERYWHERE with me right now because I am seeing so many new things with fresh eyes. I keep seeing so many different photo opportunities for amazing pictures and I want to take advantage. For dinner, we went to the Linebaugh's flat for dinner and met some other people in the building. After we ate and mingled for a while we came back upstairs and crashed. We all slept for at least 14 hours the first night we were here. Sleep never felt so good.

The past few days have been going grocery shopping, Ikea, unpacking, signing up for our NHS cards, rearranging furniture, exploring our new city-- you know settling in.

view from the living room of our flat

another view from the living room of our flat

Exploring a park by Durham City Council. The pond had some ducks and other aquatic birds.

Jon posing in Wharton Park. Durham is across the river in the background.

Walking up a very steep hill to get to the park.

Gate entrance to the park.

Graham telling me to STOP pushing him on the swing. He wanted daddy to do it.

Funky exposure of the Castle.

Closer look of the Castle.

Ewan learned how to slide down a pole and I caught it on camera!

So did Isaac!

Church cemetary.

An old church. (I can't remember the name of it right now).

I have some pictures of our flat but I'm holding off posting pictures until I get it a little more put together. I have to put some bookcases together and do a little rearranging before I take the "after" pictures.

Coming soon:
A post on transportation
A post on some of the differences here


Monica said...

You're there. It's real! There are pictures! I am praying for you guys and cheering for the 14 hours of sleep. It is so beautiful. And the boys saw castles...real castles. My kids would flip. ! Can't wait to see pics of your new place. Have fun nesting!! Miss and love you tons.

Anonymous said...

loved the pic,s--more please, gramma

mamabrown said...

Hi Sweetie,

Yippie! I can see you in your new environment... great pictures - everyone looks great and warm in their long sleeves. Do you find it hard that you are wearing long sleeves in September...after being in Texas heat all summer? I bet it feels great. Still cool here - in the mid-80s but still cooler than normal for this time of year. Can't wait to hear your voice and hope you get the technical details worked out soon. Love you bunches.

Mimi said...

Great pictures! Thanks for sharing. And thanks for the update on the trip. I'm so glad all went reasonably smoothly, except for the lack of sleep. God is good -- I can't even imagine the rush through Heathrow. But at least now you are HOME. We miss you all a lot and hope we can get the technical issues resolved soon. Love to all.

The Herd said...

How familiar reading this post was...felt your pain, understood it, and am so glad to have you on this side of the pond, even though you are still far from us. Call us anytime if you need some empathy!!!