Thursday, April 23, 2009

Our Son Named Alex

Last week we went to Preston Park, which is a nice park right across the street from Ryan's new office. The grounds are lovely with well-cultivated gardens with flowers and shrubbery. There is also a big playground with slides, swings, and sand. Lincoln loves the park, and particularly loves sand, so he was in heaven!

There were a couple older boys playing in a little wooden playhouse in the sand who were about 7 and 4. Link came over and wanted to play and they said (in British accents, of course) "What's your name?" [We have been working with Lincoln on answering this question, but without too much success. He can answer "How old are you?" but not what his name is. oh well] so we don't know if he said something or just made a noise, but the older boy said "We can't understand you" (We can't understand much of what people here say either!!) They were still trying to shoo him away, but apparently changed their minds and called "Little one! Come back!" and let him join in their fun. Then one boy said "We don't know his name, so let's call him Alex." Ryan and I were sitting on a bench very close so we could see and hear everything, but we didn't make it apparent that we were Lincoln's parents so we could observe this funny exchange. It was really hard not to laugh out loud!

Soon they were laughing, playing, and ruffling his hair - all the while trying to get his attention by calling him "Alex" which obviously wasn't working very well since he doesn't know to respond to "Alex". Finally the older boy must have caught on that we were showing a little too much attention to them and asked "Is he your kid?" and we said yes, and he asked "What's his name?" and we told him, and he said "Oh, I like to call him Alex."

A while later the boy told me "I wish Lincoln was my little brother" which I thought was so sweet. That's probably the best compliment a little boy can get! So Link is already charming the kids of England!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

'ello! from Jolly Ol' England!

YES - we made it!!

We have a new method for beating jet lag - travel with a toddler. Over the course of the 7.5 hour plane ride across the Atlantic (9pm EST to 9am UK time, with the time difference) Lincoln decided to sleep a whopping 1 HOUR! I guess having a personal TV with "Bolt" showing nonstop and playing bowling on the iPod was too much fun to sleep through.

When we got to Heathrow airport a cute old English guy met us to drive us to Brighton. He entertained us the whole 2 hour ride with stories about all the Americans he has met. It was SO hard to stay awake after the sleepless night and listening to his lulling British accent, but we managed to make it to our temporary flat (apartment). It looks just like you would picture a little English home and it's right across the street from a beautiful gothic church.

By this time we were too excited to sleep, so we ventured out into the town. The streets are lined with tiny shops and tiny cars and people bustling about at all times of the day...well, except for in the evenings apparently. We were in a grocery store and asked the checker where we could find a hardware/electronics store to buy an outlet adapter (we bought some in the US but stupid me had them shipped with our other things that will arrive next week) and she looked shocked and said "What?! At this hour??" It was 630pm!! We soon realized that apart from a few convenience store places, most shops close down by 5 or 6pm - even restaurants and ice cream places! That's a big change coming from "The city that never sleeps".

There are a lot of things that are really different here and make us laugh. I am going to wait to write about some of them when I have my camera cord and can provide pictures to go along with the descriptions. Something that we find really amusing is the television here. We had been warned beforehand that British tv is awful, so our expectations were low. We were surprised to find quite a lot of American shows on the cable we have here - but the selection is really odd: CSI, Scrubs, Jerry Springer, Dog the Bounty Hunter, Grey's Anatomy, and Friends all seem to be on CONSTANTLY! There are also a bunch of knock-off game shows like "Are You Smarter than a 10 Year Old?" or "Britian's Got More Talent" that are the same as their US counterparts but set in the UK.

I think many people (us included) assume that many things are similar in England because it's an English speaking country, but we've found that it's just as foreign as any other country. There are a lot of things to grow accustomed to - from grocery shopping, money and exchange rates, driving, to how they do laundry- and we do have brief flashes of longing for our comfortable American life, but every day is an adventure here and we love it. Lincoln especially has done really well with the transition and I am so thankful for that. I will be sure to post some pictures and funny words/phrases of England ASAP!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Still Here

Some have wondered if we have finally "crossed the pond" over to the UK - and the answer is no - we are still here in NJ.

Apparently the expatriate process is quite a lengthy and frustrating one, and we seem to have met opposition at about every step. Today's heartbreak was that Ryan and Lincoln's visas went through but mine was held up. (Discrimination against Canadians, perhaps??) Oh, and did I mention that we are supposed to leave TOMORROW?! Of course, it's a holiday for the UK so the consulate is closed - thus holding my passport ransom for the weekend. I seriously weighed the possibility of breaking in Chuck or 24 style, and had a mental image of my pregnant body dressed in all black and a bullet-proof vest swinging in through some window or climbing up an elevator shaft. Ha!

Instead, I coped by sobbing down the streets of Manhattan until Ryan held me and consoled me. The cheesecake at Juniors may have helped a little, too.

Everything will work out eventually. We have new plane reservations and I have a better attitude about the whole situation. Two days is not going to make a difference in the long-run. We're all together, healthy, and the cable hasn't been canceled yet - so life is good!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Once Friend, Now Foe

When I was pregnant with Lincoln I had a few strange food cravings. I was always thirsty and liked drinks that I would never choose when I wasn't pregnant - grape juice, Sprite, and chocolate milk were among my favorites. I also LOVED pineapple! Since I was pregnant during the winter and living in Utah, I had to settle for canned pineapple. Every night I would eat my pineapple chunks/slices before bed and be in heaven. Ryan thought I was a weirdo.

(I also couldn't stand pizza my whole pregnancy! Ryan was so relieved when I would eat it again.)

We bought a delicious pineapple the other day, cut it up, and consumed a large portion of it - perfect! That night I had the most HORRIBLE heartburn ever! I thought I had food poisoning my stomach/chest was hurting so badly, and it kept me up for a good portion of the night. That night I didn't identify the culprit, but last night I had just a COUPLE pieces of pineapple before bed and once again the heartburn hit! Now what can I have for my tasty treat?? Any suggestions on heartburn remedies??

I was so proud of myself for craving fruit instead of cookies or ice cream (not that I don't want those too!!), but it looks like I might have to steer clear of the acidic-type fruits for now.