A Lovely Little Weekend

I realized yesterday that I don’t often do posts in which I talk about the daily happenings of our life. And, I think I’d like to change that. Instead of always writing about big things, I’d like to share more about life here for us in West Yorkshire. Sometimes, it is hectic and busy, and we have our weekends booked solid. Other times, we don’t want to get up off the couch because there is a Big Bang Theory/How I Met Your Mother marathon (me) or one of the Back to the Future movies (the Brit) on, so we order Thai food and veg out to our heart’s content. It’s a funny little life, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

fireplaceI mean, who would really want to leave the comfort of their living room with this keeping them warm in the cold and damp English winters?!

Friday kicked off our weekend with the Brit out with some of his guy friends for a head wetting. This is a tradition here in which the men go out to celebrate the birth of a baby, so this particular head wetting was in honor of one of the Brit’s oldest friends and his fiancée who just had a sweet little boy. I’ve expressed my confusion related to this tradition multiple times and I’ve yet to receive a solid answer on why it happens, so I Googled it to see what the internet had to say. Most of the results that popped up were from various pregnancy and motherhood forums that involved rants from the women about the men not deserving these nights out as they haven’t done the hard work associated with the pregnancy and delivery. Fine, but that still doesn’t answer my question. From what I can gather, the term ‘head wetting’ stems from the idea of baptism and wetting the head of the baby, but in this tradition it  basically means to drink a lot of booze without making it sound like it’s a night full of pints.

I’m completely fine with the idea of the guys going out to celebrate as long as they aren’t claiming full responsibility for the work that is involved in the pregnancy and birth, and from what I can tell, that isn’t what is happening. What I’m not okay with is that the women don’t have a similar tradition and I feel I am completely justified in this. (Although all the men I’ve mentioned it to have had a good laugh about my suggestion!) So, if we are lucky enough to have children in the future, I’m definitely asking some of my lovely female friends if we can arrange a night out as well. I’ll be sure to blog about that when it happens…one day!

Saturday for us included a very quick trip to the mad house that is IKEA. We ran so quickly through there that we barely had time to grab what we actually went to buy. We both wondered if most of the people there were actually planning to make a purchase or if they just went for a day out with the family. The jury is still out.

We then popped into Next Home where we fawned over some of the beautiful furniture before we jetted to the cinemas to see I Give It a Year. I am unsure if this movie will be released in the States because it is very much a British movie complete with British humor. I think I have quite a sarcastic sense of humor and usually do ‘get’ British humor, but some of this was plain awkward and parts of the film just dragged on for what seemed like hours. I will rank it as a decent movie (the Brit says it is ‘good’) with some hilarious parts mixed amongst some awkward parts. Those awkward parts made me nervous laugh because I didn’t know what else to do. (Please tell me I’m not the only one to nervous laugh!) If someone else has seen it, get in touch because I’m curious if you felt the same way I did throughout most of the movie and I don’t want to give anything away in case someone is planning to see it.

Saturday night, my handsome sous chef and I made these delicious shrimp lasagna rolls and brussel sprouts in balsamic vinegar. (These are so good and so simple and I plan to share the recipe soon.) We actually sat at the dinner table for the first time in months. (We’ve gotten into the habit of eating at the coffee table whilst watching tv.) I set the table with a water glass and a wine glass for both of us, and we used our new dishes and cutlery. Seriously big deal in our house!

dishesNew dishes and a newly-organized cupboard.

Sunday was fairly low-key with a Skype session with my family (and a guest appearance by my aunt who recounted a hilarious tale of visiting her daughter/my cousin in Guam), a trip to the grocery store, and an unexpected but welcome family dinner at the new-ish pub in the village about 2 miles from us.

It was a really lovely weekend that went by far too quickly!

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A week on: Reflections on Valentine’s Day

Still beautiful a week later.

It’s Tuesday the 21st and the roses the Brit surprised me with are still in beautiful bloom and filling our downstairs with their sweet scent. This year, although we didn’t go wild on gifts and a fancy meal out, it was the perfect Valentine’s Day in my eyes. In fact, it was fairly similar to other weeknights when we just don’t feel like cooking in — sushi out (using my student discount at YO! Sushi) and two delicious cupcakes shared as we lounged on the couch in front of the telly.

What made this year’s celebration so special to me was that we were together…on a Tuesday night. Something that was not even an option last year at this time. I won’t lie that on the 14th I felt a tinge of jealousy toward the people getting off the elevator at Harvey Nichols Fourth Floor (the same floor where YO! Sushi is in Leeds) as they were greeted with a glass of champagne. However, as I look back on it this morning, I wouldn’t trade our date in for the world.

Sometimes, I feel there is an assumption that when you move abroad your life will immediately be more glamorous and full of adventure. I admit that is an easy trap to fall into; wishing that every day I had some incredibly amazing story to tell. And yes, sometimes my life here is more glamorous than my life in the US (and I love those times too!), but it’s the every day that has become so meaningful to me. The mundane to me is the perfect.

Perhaps, being in a long-distance relationship has that effect on people. A trip to the grocery store is not something to complain about. Instead, it’s something I enjoy because we never had the luxury of the every day until about 6 months ago. As I’m writing this now, I realize we always go to Tesco together and we have our own little routine when it comes to our shopping trips. I love that. I hope that feeling that the ordinary should be cherished doesn’t go away for us.

It’s funny for me to admit that even walking down the sidewalk in Leeds can be an adventure, but not necessarily one that people want to hear or read about. I’m only now figuring out that when you are walking towards someone and you are both about to collide that you should step to the left instead of the right, as I’m accustomed to in the US. I joke that the sidewalks (or footpaths as they say here) are like an obstacle course for me full of moments of what appear to be an awkward set of dance steps as we try to avoid one another.

When a classmate at uni asks me how my weekend was, I’m not ashamed to say, “Not too exciting, rather dull actually.” But, by saying ‘rather dull’, it’s more to save them from having to hear the normal every day things that we did that the Brit and I enjoyed together — like a drive to the mall just to pick up something my mom requested, hanging out around the kitchen table at the Brit’s parents’ house, or making enchiladas together for the first time.

Although it has taken me a week to fully realize it, this Valentine’s Day taught me that the simple can sometimes be the best part of our lives and that it’s okay to admit that the most adventurous part of our day is sometimes just walking down the sidewalk.