Published: June 22nd 2012June 22nd 2012 Hello blog readers! It’s been so long since my last spill on life abroad and I know some of you have been waiting in anticipation for the next chapter, so my apologies for the long delay. Life has been busy, adventurous and exciting the past few months and my blog has never left my ‘to do list’. Although there’s a lot to fill you in on, I will catch up on my Dec/Jan USA blog at a later date. For now read on for my most recent happenings. Welcome to anyone reading for the first time also, great to have you on-board and I hope you enjoy what’s ahead! Surprise from Santa & Life beyond London
Bradford Town Hall
Bradford city centre (near my work)
On Christmas day I heard an unexpected gift was on its way to me thanks to someone opening their mouth too wide. Leah was planning on travelling Europe and the UK which I already knew, but someone else was accompanying her to ‘surprise’ me; my mum! Fast forward 5 months and its best that the secret was unwrapped so I could take time off work and help plan the adventure.
Yes, I eventually had to pop my ‘no
Living by the Canal
Thats the ice-cream / donut boat
work-all play’ bubble and re-enter the real world of work, paying rent and home-cooked meals. The latter I didn’t mind so much. Life in England has been damp but my spirits have been lifted far above the clouds thanks to making new friends, going to a great church, getting a job and finding a nice place to live. The place I call my home away from home is in Saltaire - a Victorian model village founded in 1851 by Sir Titus Salt, a leading industrialist in the woollen industry. It's a UNESCO world heritage site and is 4 hours north of London. My good friend and fellow Aussie Tammy Borg lives close by in Bradford.
I live in a 3 bedroom townhouse with a friendly English school teacher, am a hop, skip and jump away from the train station, park, shops, river and canal. If not for the historical charm, then perhaps it’s the regular markets, heritage events or cats that roam the streets, Saltaire is a magnet for visitors (that once caught me in my PJs looking for the bin and drummed up a conversation) and I am very happy living here. Oh and there’s a boat on
Hitting new heights on monthly hikes in the beautiful countryside
the canal that sells ice-cream and donuts. Any places like this down under?
I have failed in my search to find any money trees whilst travelling so had no choice but to find a job to pay the bills and pave my travel road a bit longer. A working background in hospitality might be a far cry from my new title (or career change); Science Projects Officer at Bradford College. Ok so it sounds a bit fancy and I am certainly no scientific expert, but I can type, talk (and now teach apparently). My role encompasses admin/science teacher support and PA to the Head of Science, and the odd supervision of a class (no teacher qualification required). Although it’s only temporary I am enjoying the new challenge!
So what do I do if I don’t have AFL and cakes to take up my spare time? I plan for the next adventure, hang out with friends, explore near by towns, go to church & volunteer in the retail shop, hit the gym, swim, have dinner parties and go on monthly hikes with a group from church. So life certainly isn’t as dull as the weather, and when
the odd sunny day appears, the Brits love to get out in their gardens. There has been 2 days of snow (thats nothing compared to last winter) and I am one of few that thinks it’s a novelty. Ready for take-off (May 2012)
My Paris bound flight departed Leeds-Bradford airport 3 hours late due to a mechanical problem then a missing passenger (MP). Apparently the MP had her nose too far stuck in her book to notice the plane was finally ready to take off! Once in the air, I got chatting to an English farmer and animal science lecturer from York College. I bet some of you are wondering if I have met anyone ‘special’ and for a moment scenes of the TV show ‘Farmer Wants a Wife’ crashed my mind but were soon washed away from beams of sunlight flooding into the plane as we landed. (Note: within an hour and a half I was in a different country, can’t say that about Aus! This might hint why I am still o/s – there’s so much to see and all so close!).
I farewelled the
Showing off some (white) Leg
Pen-y-ghent hike with church group
farmer (nope didn’t get his number), caught the train to my luxury 2 star residence Hotel Bellevue (now I miss working for a 5 star hotel chain) and in my usual form dumped my bags and hit the pavement. With my trusty map in hand and a few moments to get my bearings back of the city of love, I was off and racing. Racing the daylight hours I thought but to my delight the sun likes to stay up late during the European summer and I certainly had no objections to that as my vitamin D levels were at an all-time low. A friend said she could tell I had been in Britain too long due to the colour of my skin. That was a big enough hint to get a tan! (and not a spray on one that the Brits rely on more than the sun itself).
Now back to the subject of my surprise package (aka travel companions). You have probably heard the old saying “you can choose your friends but not your family” so how would the next 3 weeks shape up? a) Non-stop family fun & laughter, b) Some expected sisterhood-sledging or c) Would
Exploring Hebden Bridge with Tammy
the last year spent apart make it unbearable to be around each other 24/7?
It would have been funny to one and embarrassing to the other to make a sign to welcome the jet-setters (or help them identify me in case they forgot what I looked like) but my lack of sleep got the better of me; on my way to the airport I got off at the wrong train station, walked to the wrong terminal, and instead of waving a welcome sign for them, they were waiting for me! No time for excuses, they had just arrived after 24 hours in transit, we hadn’t seen each other for almost 12 months and had 3 weeks of fun, fantasy and family feud ahead!
Stay tuned for what this adventure entailed..
There are more photos below