We have now been in England for just over two weeks–time is flying! We are feeling more settled and starting to get to know the area more. Joost started work last week and after many hours of training and learning the endless list of rules for his company is finally starting to do ‘real’ things. He seems to enjoy it, although I think he’d enjoy it more if he was able to see sunlight at some point during the day.
I’ve been continuing to unpack and organize our apartment. Joost’s parents visited this past weekend, bearing gifts of Dutch breakfast cake, a table, a bedside stand, a toaster and some extra clothes. They somehow managed to fit all of that, plus a mattress and then some, into the back of their car! Joost is particularly pleased with the extra mattress. We put it underneath our current one so that Joost’s feet can now dangle off the end of the bed instead of smashing into the footboard throughout the night. I enjoy it because Joost no longer sleeps diagonally, hogging the entire bed! Joost’s mom also bought us a beautiful plant as a housewarming gift.
While Joost’s parents were here, we had some time to do a little sightseeing. We took them around Oxford and ate at Jamie Oliver’s restaurant there. Joost managed to pack in about four meals worth of calories, including two servings of tiramisu, so I know he enjoyed himself. We also spent a day at Blenheim Palace in Woodstock. It was incredible, devastating and infuriating to see such an excessive amount and display of wealth, especially after being in Africa. I can feel myself starting to stand on my soapbox a bit, though, so I’ll step down and post some pictures instead. Don’t get me wrong: it was gorgeous.
Besides organizing the apartment, I’ve been enjoying reading, catching up on Glee, running and cooking. I found a tiny little path along the Thames to run on. It loops through some gorgeous countryside, but because it’s right next to the river, I found myself inhaling gnats at a remarkable rate. I’ve also been busy trying new recipes that are: A. healthy. B. vegetarian (for me), but can have meat added later. C. cheap. D. filling enough for Joost. This week’s kitchen victory came in the form of chickpea & roasted garlic burgers, topped with cukes, spinach, red onion, feta, avocado and homemade sauce (Greek yogurt with roasted garlic, feta and dill). Joost ate three!
AND besides cooking and running, I’ve been offered a sort of job/internship/volunteer gig! Joost has a coworker who started his own non-profit that provides sanitation and clean water to developing countries. They’re in need of someone who can do social media/blogging and someone willing to take on the task of starting a campaign for women for sanitation. It works out perfectly! It will combine my degrees of writing and sociology with an emphasis on public health. It’s also registered in the US, not the UK, so me doing work for them here shouldn’t cause any problems with my visa. It’s unpaid, but at least it will fill my time!
Other than that, we’ve just been… living life. For the first time since New York (end of October), we find ourselves having to do ‘real’ life things: dishes, paying bills, buying groceries, planning meals, etc! While some of it is more fun than others, we are pleased to know that our relationship is just as strong, if not stronger, in ‘real’ life as it is in our ‘constant-state-of-travel’ life. This little town doesn’t quite feel like home yet–I’m not sure if it ever will–but this life of ours is feeling more and more comfortable.