We are now in Hexham, England!
This past weekend we had a very nice time with the Snooks, the couple who we are exchanging homes with. They came to stay with us a couple of days before we left so we could meet each other and get acquainted. The weather in Madison was spectacular so we were even able to grill some brats to welcome them to Wisconsin.
On Monday we left Madison and flew through Detroit to Amsterdam. Feeling groggy, we watched the sunrise in the Amsterdam airport and then flew the final leg to Newcastle, England. Upon landing on Tuesday morning we were met at the airport by friends of the Snooks. They helped us load up the boot (see note below!) of their car with our luggage and took us to Hexham. Note: I am going to try to start including English idioms and spellings in our posts as we incorporate them into our lives here. I expect you can guess what the boot is, I’ll note others that are trickier!
The Snook’s house is lovely (a word that is used here a great deal to describe anything excellent, great, awesome, beautiful, nice, special, comfortable, and generally anything positive). And the welcome couldn’t have been warmer. We walked into the house to find a couple of champagne glasses filled with American flags. The champagne, along with other sundry items was in the fridge. There is plenty of room for us and a lovely view of the hills surrounding the area. The girls have already made good use of the toys the Snooks and their friends kindly left us.
It is always hard to get up when you fly this many miles east, but we were all finally up this morning shortly before lunchtime. We took sandwiches down to the village park just next to the Abbey. The girls played on some kind of crazy spinning, seesaw thing that surely must send kids to the emergency room every other day. They loved it. Then we explored the library, the leisure centre (centre is spelled correctly and leisure is pronounced lejure – it is the local pool, gym, and 10 pin bowling alley), and the bike shop in town. I’ll have to write more about this cool little bike shop later, but I am very excited to have secured a bike for our time here and will be volunteering in the shop a couple of days a week.
It is a little surreal to actually be here after so much planning and thinking about it. Tomorrow we visit the school the girls will go to and Erica is checking out a tae-kwon-do class. We expect it will be another lovely day.