Celebrating the 4th of July in the UK

I logged into my WordPress account and saw that I had started this blog post right after the 4th. I had completely forgotten about it, but I still wanted to share it, even if it is a bit late.

The week of the 4th of July brought absolutely beautiful weather to us in England. It was glorious! The sun lover in me was in heaven. I actually felt like we were on holiday sitting out in our garden, enjoying juicy watermelon, and taking in the view. It was absolutely wonderful and my mood got a much needed boost from the sun.Abersoch1

With the weather as good as it was, we expected it would carry on through the weekend, so we made plans to go to Abersoch for some family time and to have our own little 4th of July celebration. The weather unfortunately cooled off, which for me was disappointing, but I am sure for the rest of the UK was a dream come true.

However, we still managed to enjoy our weekend by the sea, even if the weather wasn’t as great as we were hoping it would be. We filled our weekend by walking to the village and to the beach, watching our girl explore the beach and collect every seashell she could, and eating delicious burgers and sausages hot off the grill. If we couldn’t be in the U.S., then this was the next best thing, and it was honestly a perfect way to spend the 4th of July. As I told Richard, “It just doesn’t feel like the 4th without a barbecue by the beach or a pool.”

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Oddly, the 4th of July is one of the U.S. holidays I miss the most. I’m not sure if it is because it was always about spending time with friends and family or that it was the one day a year when everyone would come together to celebrate our country no matter their political affiliation. For me, it is a day about being proud of where you come from and celebrating that with those you love the most. Although we didn’t have any U.S. flags waving here in the UK, I definitely felt a sense of pride for my home country. I was glad I shared a relaxing 4th of July weekend with my little family, and I hope that in the not-so-distant future I can show both Richard and our girl what it’s like to celebrate the 4th in the U.S.

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Blue Skies, Sun, and…Snow

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This morning, I woke to a sun-filled bedroom and thought, “Could spring finally be here?”

That wishful thinking was quickly squashed when I got out of bed to have goosebumps immediately form all over my body. Because underneath our down comforter, I was protected from the chill of the outside that had seeped into the house. I wish I could pretend that I didn’t crawl back into that warmth for another 20 minutes, but we all know that I did.

The sun has been shining off and on throughout the day taunting me as I wish for warmer days. But, as I sit next to our toasty fireplace bundled up in layers and look out the window, I’m reminded that we are still in the midst of some sort of winter. One minute, it is bright blue skies and sun. While the next, I’m provided a show of blowing snow that is either glistening from the sun or made to look dark and ominous against a grey sky that leaves no trace of the bluebird day present just a moment ago.

I’m sure you can tell I’m now looking forward to warmer days, but I’ll take blue skies, even is they are laced with snow, until the spring weather comes out to play.

 

{Road Trip} A Random Day in Edinburgh

Two Friday afternoons ago, a text came through from the Brit asking if I fancied a drive to Scotland on that Sunday. I’m always grateful for any time we can spend together, so of course I was up for it. He had to make the trip to Edinburgh for a project that was set for completion in a few days and I was happy for a change of scenery.

When we arrived in Edinburgh, he went off to the job site and sort of pointed me in the direction of the city centre. I’ve been to Edinburgh before, but did not recognize this area at all nor could I catch a glimpse of any of the landmarks I’m used to seeing tower over the city, such as the castle. So, I wandered aimlessly as I was in no rush to get anywhere.

One thing I try to do in a new city, especially when I’m on my own, is to attempt to appear like I know exactly what I am doing and where I am going, even if I have no idea. It’s easy really. You just keep your head up and shoulders back, you hope it’s sunny because your sunglasses can hide the fact that your eyes are darting around to find a familiar landmark or a street sign to clue you in to where you might actually be, and you walk with every ounce of self-assurance that you have. I practiced this on Sunday, and thankfully, it was sunny so the sunglasses could be put to good use. It was a beautiful day and very clear, which was a welcome break from the wintry mix we’ve been experiencing. (Yes, I love the snow, but I also love the sun.)

I finally stumbled upon Rose Street and followed that the entire way up until I realized I was near the Princes Street Gardens and the National Galleries of Scotland. Once there, I continued my wanderings until settling onto a park bench in the gardens to soak up the sun and enjoy the tranquility of the day.

Although we weren’t there very long, it was a nice afternoon out of the house and a fun reminder of how amazing it is that a random day in Scotland is never that far away.

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I’d love if you followed me on Instagram at yankinyorkshire.

Winter wonderland!

Growing up in western Pennsylvania, I’m used to snowy winters, so I was very excited when news hit last week about the possibility of a real snowstorm sweeping the UK. I think, in a way, that I felt the snow would make me feel closer to home, so I was eagerly anticipating a few inches coating the ground. To me, winter isn’t winter unless there is snow.

I’m certain my sentiments were a rarity amongst those in the UK because snow does mess with the infrastructure of this island, plus I (obviously) don’t have any children who were being kept home from school because of it. So, snow doesn’t affect me the same way it does most others, and I couldn’t wait to see fluffy white flakes floating to the ground. I was not disappointed with the blanket that settled, and it makes me smile because it doesn’t seem to be melting anytime soon.

I thought I would share some of the photos I took of the snow as my wedding posts are taking a bit longer to write than I had planned, so hopefully you will accept these as my wintry peace offering!

The first two were taken on my phone and posted to Instagram (follow me at yankinyorkshire) when we took a walk around our neighborhood on Monday, and the third is of our back garden.

 

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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!

 

 

 

British summer?

I realize that I vanished and not that I have zillions of readers wondering where I have been, but the sun has been out the past two days so I am also pulling myself out of this weather-inflicted moodiness I have sunk into. I wish I could say I was lying when I admit that I have cried at least twice because of the weather this past week. (Yes, I realize how lame this sounds, but this weather is rough for a girl who is used to hot summers.) I wish I also could say I was lying when prior to yesterday I cannot remember the last day we had that didn’t involve some sort of rain.

I had been doing a fairly good job of staying positive and had (with the help of the Brit) pretty much convinced myself summer was going to arrive tomorrow, but the tomorrows kept coming and never brought summer. And then, the English started to admit they are fed up with the rain and that means something.

On Thursday, I was talking to the Brit’s mum nearly in tears about how the weather really had me down. Later in the day, she said to the Brit’s dad, “This weather really has Becky depressed.” I’m certain she expected him to offer some encouraging words, but instead he replied, “It has me depressed, too.” All she and I could do was laugh because it is true that we are all sick of this weather.

And then on Saturday, as we were painting our living room, it was raining non-stop, but shifting from drizzle to complete downpour. About every twenty minutes, my almost always optimistic fiancé would use some iteration of the following, “Guess what?! It’s raining again. Bet you didn’t expect that.” And again, all you could do was laugh because it really has been that awful.

So, the sun is shining and I have the wash hanging outside on the line and there is a smile on my face! Even if it starts to rain again tomorrow, I think these two days of sun will help me stay positive for another few weeks. I hope that is the case, at least!