Odds and ends, bits and bobs.

This post isn’t going to be anything exciting, but I did want to stick to my goal of writing every day for the month.

I’m actually writing this as I’m laying in bed with a sleeping fiance beside me. He just returned from a long day of working in London, and after our nightly cup of tea, it was definitely time for bed.

It has poured rain all day. I had an appointment in town and I was planning to take the bus, so I layered the clothes and put on my rain coat and got my umbrella ready to venture outside. When I did get on the bus, with a dripping umbrella and a soaked rain coat, I realized that I had sort of ‘arrived’ in England. Last year at this time I was just settling into life here and I would have called a taxi to take me to town in weather like this. Today, I didn’t even consider it. My dilemma today was whether or not to wear my wellies. I did not wear them. I should have. Despite that, I was pleased with myself and how I feel more and more comfortable here each day. One year on and I still know this move was the right decision.

It’s funny to think that even though this place is beginning to feel like home that I still have to think about the application process and the paperwork that will allow me to stay here longer as my student visa expires in a few months. After carefully reading through the visa guidelines for the spouse visa a few weeks back, I had some questions so I rang the UK Border Agency today and got the answers that we needed. We’re both happy to be ticking things off of our list in preparation for our wedding and for the legal tasks related to an international marriage.

Also, related to the wedding, we leave exactly 3 months from today for the Caribbean! It’s getting real now and neither one of us can wait to be married on the beach!




The day all I really wanted was a car.

I’m sure most expats who are accustomed to driving at home, but don’t drive in their host country have days where they want nothing more than a car to get them from place to place and want nothing to do with public transportation. Yesterday was that day for me.

I was meeting the Brit’s mum and dad in a village about a 30-minute car ride from our house. (It is only 10 miles away, but because of the roads and road works it takes a lot longer.) There is no direct bus route there, so it was easiest for me to take the bus from our village into town where I would hop on the train to get to the other village which is 3 stops away.

I arrived at the bus stop just as a bus was pulling up — lucky! Although I’d never taken this specific bus before, it said it was going into town, so I assumed it would go the usual route that is just under a 10-minute ride into town. Ha! I was so wrong. Instead of turning right at the traffic light, we went straight. I had no idea which way we were about to go because that road could take us a number of ways. Imagine my surprise when about 25 minutes later we ended up about 1/4 of a mile from where I got on the bus.

The scenic bus route to the train station meant I missed the train I wanted to catch. I was so frustrated with myself and the whole system and the bus driver who took my £2.70! (Don’t ask why I was annoyed at the bus driver for following his route. It makes no sense.) The next train wasn’t for 20 minutes making me even later.

The whole time all I could think about was how much I missed my car and how much I missed driving.

Finally, the train came. I made it to my destination about 40 minutes later than I should have. The important part is I made it safely and it really wasn’t a big deal that I was late. Sometimes though, stupid little things like the wrong bus or a missed train can just be SO frustrating when you live abroad and you compare life in your new home to life back home.

But, at the end of the day, I realized I could have been just as late in the car for any number of reasons and that I needed to just laugh off my travel mishaps. So really, was it that bad? Definitely not.

It’s easy to get caught up in all that is ‘different’ and ‘wrong’ in a new place, but to make life easier I encourage you to look at the good in the ‘frustrating’ situation. The good for me last night?

1) I got to hang out and have dinner with my future-in-laws, which made for a really nice evening! Thanks, R and P!

2) I found a new 3.5-mile running loop because of the ‘scenic route’ the bus took!

3) I’ll never get on that bus again, which could save me from being late to something very important like a job interview!

I’m sure others out there have had similar annoyances when in a new place…doesn’t even have to be in a foreign country! Anyone want to share?