Topic: This and That
Dear Mark and Heather,
Happy belated birthday! I hope you both had wonderful days!
~Holly and Ryan
In September I hosted my book club's monthly meeting. My selection was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. This was the first - and last! - time I hosted anything at the house. Because of that (and my love of Harry Potter), I wanted it to be special.
It was exactly that.
It was an evening filled with wonderful food and lively conversation. Everyone brought something that added to the party - er, meeting!
At the end of the evening, Diana (one of the ladies in the book club) gave me the best compliment when she said, "You have a warm and welcoming home." That truly meant a lot to me. That's exactly what I want my home to be.
My last day and evening in Harrogate was spent with friends. Ryan and I went to Carissa's for lunch with her and with Sarah (and all our various kinder). Carissa made an impressive spread of Thai food, and pastries. She also gave me the perfect going away gift: a photo of the three of us and our friend Rachel during a night out, a bottle of local cherry wine, and home baked cookies! (We had fun drinking the wine after lunch!)
We had a great time eating and chatting and just hanging out while the kiddos played. Having a nice, relaxed lunch with two of my closest friends was a perfect last afternoon at Menwith Hill.
In the evening, I took my last run with the Harrogate Harriers. It was so hard to leave! I had a great time running with my friends, and didn't want the run to end.
When I got back to the apartment where Larry and Ryan and I were staying, my friend Joan came by to say goodbye.
What has really hit me during this time of transition, is how truly blessed I am to have so many great friends. The love and support that I've gotten from my friends on both sides of the pond has been nothing short of amazing. I am truly grateful for it.
So now we've been in the States for a week. We're almost over our jet lag.
We spent the first couple of days visiting Larry's mom and husband in Indio (near Palm Springs), then spent a couple of days visiting his dad, grandma, and uncle in Las Vegas. We got to my parents' house in Palmdale yesterday. Larry flew to his new duty station at Ft. Meade in Maryland, and arrived there safely today.
I'll be starting a new blog to go with this new chapter in our lives, and will post a link as soon as it's up.
Thank you so much, to everyone for your love, support, friendship, and prayers! It means all the world to me, and makes all the difference.
Hello! Larry and Ryan and I made it safely to California. We got up around 4am UK time, and after 25 hours of traveling, got into Larry's mom's house in Indio, Ca. We went to bed around 9:30pm (CA time), and were up at 3am. Well, Ryan was up at 3am, so we were, too!
It's surreal to be back here. I still kind of can't wrap my brain around it!
I miss my Harrogate/Menwith friends, but am looking forward to seeing family and friends here, too.
Keep in touch, and I will keep you updated on what we're up to, and where we finally settle.
ps - I'll write more in detail about my last day or two in the UK, and our trip a bit later.
I feel like Bilbo Baggins!
It's after 10pm, and we're still finishing up packing, and still need showers! The cab is coming at 5am.
But that's how it always is.
I envy those uber organized folks who can enjoy their last night somewhere in peace.
Today was surreal. I don't have the time to do it justice, but I feel I had a perfect send off.
Seven hours left in Harrogate.
Tuesday we turned in the keys to the house. It was strange, wandering through the empty house. What was even more strange, was later walking around downtown, knowing we wouldn't be heading for that particular "home," ever again.
The house had it's quirks, but overall was good to us.
I did something stupid. I accidentally let the movers pack up my computer bag! (I usually use this for my piece of carry on.) Luckily, my computer should fit in Larry's computer bag.
I want to say for the record that iTunes has displeased me and Larry. There are some things we'd like to buy on iTunes UK, but the only way you can do that is if you have a UK bank account. Grr...
On a completely random note (as if the rest weren't already!), the scent of the liquid dish soap here at the apartment is called, "strawberry flame." Is that not the weirdest name for a dish soap scent you've ever heard?
The last couple of days have gone by in a blink and a blur. This morning, Larry's turning in the rental car.
This is our last day here. It's going to be busy both for me and Larry, but I think that's a good thing. Too much free time to sit and fidget and contemplate things wouldn't be healthy.
I plan on one more entry here tonight before we take our leave of Jolly Ol'.
Thursday night, Ryan told me he wanted a grilled cheese sandwich for dinner. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to make him one before leaving for running (with the Harrogate Harriers). So I asked Larry if he could make it. Larry told me he'd never made a grilled cheese sandwich before. (!) So I gave him some quick instructions, and took off. What made it even more interesting, is at that point, our stuff was all packed up. All we had to cook with was a pot! So that's what Larry used.
When I got back from running (which went really well, incidentally), I asked how the sandwich went. Ryan ate the whole thing!
Speaking of running, last week both my sessions with the Harriers went well.
It's the time of year here where it's dark by 5pm. On the bright side, the lights in the Stray are on now. Each tree has a different colored string of lights in it. It's very pretty, and adds a fair amount of cheer.
We've had some issues with water at our self-catering apartment. We hadn't even unloaded the car when a leak sprang out of the kitchen ceiling. The leak stopped, so we went out for dinner and to grab more stuff from the house. When we returned, the entire kitchen floor was soaked! We had to ban Ryan from the kitchen, and wear shoes every time we went in. Fortunately, it was dry by the next day, and we haven't had any more problems with that leak (knock on wood).
We discovered there's a leak in the bathroom, too. After we shower, there's a nice little puddle on the floor. It's not bad enough to worry about, but I do think it's weird that we've had two different water issues here.
Friday night I went to the club on the base with Carissa. That was fun. I'd never gone there before for drinks.
Saturday night, I met up with some of my Harrier friends at a place called The Slug & Lettuce. (If I may quote Carissa, she said, "Who the hell names these pubs? The SLUG and LETTUCE? Gross." LOL!) I've noticed that a lot of places around here are nice cafes during the day, and turn into pubs at night. The Slug is one of these.
Once everyone was there, I was presented with a gift that brought tears to my eyes: a Harrogate Harrier jersey everyone had signed! That is getting framed and will have a special spot on my wall! My friends told me they were trying to get rid of me Thursday so they could all sign it, but I just kept jabbering!
I had a really great night!
Ryan's been doing really well in our temporary place. We've put him to bed, and he's stayed in it, and gone right to sleep. He's slept through the night, too!
Ryan has a new obsession. We kept out some videos we thought he'd want to watch. We introduced him to, "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown." Now all he wants to watch is, "Baby Brown Pumpkin," as he calls it!
Lately we've had some really great weather. It's been sunny yet cool, but not cold. This morning it's back to our normal schedule - gray and misty and cold. That's ok. Last night, Larry was saying this is the time of year to leave. That's so true. Late autumn and winter are usually not fun times here, weather-wise. Even so, I'm still going to miss it, and I'm still sad to be leaving. However, having most of my stuff packed up, and living in a temporary place (with a rental car) is helping me to look forward to going!
Moving is a huge pain in the rear. Larry's done the lion's share of cleaning the house, but we're still left with all these odds and ends I'm not sure what to do with. We've wound up leaving a lot of 220 volt things behind that we just didn't have time to sell (because we needed most of them until right before we left!). We're also having to throw out a lot of food. It's all still good, but most of the people we know are leaving, and who wants stuff like a half empty box of rice?
Yesterday afternoon I got to have lunch at The Nelson Inn. That was nice. One of the ladies there had her 5 year old son there, and he and Ryan played really well together. I was so pleased, because Ryan behaved excellently! I think having another boy to play with (plus a couple very cool toys) was a huge part of that.
It's funny we were at the Nelson, because last year JoAnna and I went there, and wound up walking out! At the time, I didn't know that you order at the bar. We sat there for ages, and no one came over to our table to take our order, so we left! Live and learn. The Nelson has since been refurbished, and I now know how things work! At lunch yesterday, the food was good, and the company even better.
Today our car will be shipped. Tomorrow we hand over the keys to the house. Larry's busy with all sorts of out-processing stuff. We've got a ton of stuff to box up and mail. I'm hoping to have lunch with two or three more of my friends before we go. Busy!
The place we're staying has internet! Yay!
This morning when the internet at our house was turned off, I felt like I'd been cut off from the world! All better now.
Actually, our new temporary digs are quite nice. We're staying in a "self-catering apartment" called Ashness. (Once we were checked in, I discovered they had a website. If I had actually visited it, I would have realized a long time ago they had internet, and I wouldn't have had to worry!) We've got a kitchen, living room, one bedroom, one bathroom, and a tiny dinning area. The apartment is fully stocked with flatware, plates, pots, pans, etc. It's right down town, so it's close to everything.
Last night Ryan slept the whole night through (for the first time since the movers came). Yay! And now we're moving out. *sigh* He's generally a good little guy, and adjusts fairly well to things.
We're waiting for the media people to come and get our box (it isn't really cable anymore, is it?). Today and tomorrow will be major cleaning fests.
For a long time now, I've been trying to figure out just how I am going to say goodbye here. I have such mixed feelings about leaving. There are definitely things about living overseas that I won't miss, but those seem so minor compared to the things I will. I'm not sure how to sum up two years in just a few sentences, and really get the experience across. Right now, what I can say, is that I've been incredibly blessed to have gotten to live here. I've gotten to do and see some really great things. Above all though, I've met some wonderful people. They will be what I miss most.