one week down…

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Welcome to Frances Street–this is our front door entryway.

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Which contains the laundry facilities. Talk about accountability on not letting my laundry pile up…

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Immediately off the entryway, across from the laundry is a small toilet (half-bath). Nice to have one of these for company and small potty-training boys who don’t make it up the stairs as quickly.=)

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The entryway, which obviously needs some organization. I’m learning that the answer to many of my problems in life right now is “ikea.” The house is built into a hill so so it’s two levels but the levels are split to go with the grade. So we have several little tiny flights of stairs.

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Just looking back into the entryway towards the front door. You can see the doorway into our  “lounge” there.

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The “lounge” (living room). As we’re on the top of the hill, we have quite a nice view of the town.

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Walk up the stairs, enter the kitchen and you meet this beauty, my #1 favorite thing about my new house. It has a “fan-assisted gas cooker” (still figuring that one out, but seems to do things a bit faster and hotter), a regular coil-heat oven, a grill (broiler) and EIGHT hobs (burners)!! As pastor Mark said, I have no excuse not to be hospitable! When I got my new food processor a few years ago with the shredding blade, I saw it as a challenge to create as many shredded foods as possible. This is my new one–at some point I will be using all eight hobs at once…

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Turn to the right and you see the dining area and the lovely pre-existing hanging system which was put to immediate use.

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Dining area overlooking the back garden. All the furniture was donated or lent by Newtown members for us to use as we settle in.

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My #2 favorite feature of the house: the back garden. Can’t wait to eat out on the patio in the summer and try not to kill all these plants!

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Exit the kitchen and you are on the stairs again.

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At the top of the stairs is the main bath. Does the job. We’re not so adept yet at using the “half-sail” shower guard/door thingy–water everywhere every time yeesh. Looking for a shower curtain like we’re used to…

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Another new favorite is the towel rack directly above the radiator. Brilliant!

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Also at the top of the stairs, to the right of the bath, is the master bedroom. Can’t believe I’m putting this up in its current state, but there you have it… What else do you expect with no dresser yet…!?

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Go up another tiny flight of stairs and you have this little room which will eventually quit being the “worst clothing organization system ever” and magically transform into a lovely guest room. I’m still waiting on my elf. Or, rather, Ikea.

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The apparent star of this slideshow… And a victim of the aforementioned awful clothing organization system. Went to church in his 2-year-old brother’s shirt without any responsible adult noticing until afterwards. Also to the right of where Clive’s standing is the boys’ room. There was a nap in progress when I took these, so no pictures of it but let’s just say that it’s also an Ikea project waiting to happen. Beds to sleep on at least, but they’re certainly having fun with a week off of cleaning their room…

Here’s some of the main events of the last week:

Wednesday, February 13

We landed at the airport, had no trouble at the immigration services, and managed to navigate five trolleys piled with luggage, two children and a stroller from baggage, through customs to the exit where five friendly faces awaited us. They lugged our things out and drove us to our new home and left us to rest. Job and I, who had not slept much on the plane, napped for a few hours while David and Clive started the unpacking. The church had outfitted the house with beds, linens and furniture on loan as well as a full pantry and fridge. The presence of three different varieties of cheese made me a happy new European! Later in the afternoon Clive the younger got to meet Clive the elder for the first time. That evening we walked to Pastor Mark’s home for dinner where his daughters Hannah and Beth elicited the first smiles of the day from Job with their hamster. We also got to use the telephone there and call our parents. We put the boys down at 10 and we got down soon afterwards and didn’t wake up till noon the next day—that’s 14 hours of sleep!!

Thursday

We woke up late and barely managed a meal and getting dressed before the shops closed around 5. But we made a quick stop in the hardware store for a few items and a few purchases at the toy shop. When we arrived home everyone exited the vehicle to allow David full concentration as he parallel parked our borrowed vehicle. You’re looking over the opposite shoulder, opposite hand on the steering wheel and opposite hand on the gear shift and on a steep hill…. So yeah we stood on the pavement and waited. Then we heard giggling behind us and turned around to see one of the church families who had stopped by with a welcome gift and got some extra entertainment thrown in. They graciously gave us the hyacinth and headed out so David could take the slightly larger parking spot they had used!=) Another highlight of the day was having Clive the Elder show us how to turn the hot water on. Here’s how to cure jetlag: take your first shower of two days in ice cold water on a brisk Chesham February morning. That item quickly moved to the top of the to-do list!

Friday

My first run in Chesham. To come to Chesham is to immediately enroll in a new fitness program: “calves of steel.” No matter which direction you head you eventually will hit a steep hill since the town is in a valley. We’re at the top of a hill and between walking to church, school and high street I’m beginning to see how the hobbits can take in second breakfast, elevenses and tea. Although to be fair being chased by Gollum through mountain passes probably burns a few more calories… We made it to Clive’s new school that morning to buy his uniform pieces and also got a lot of cleaning done, more sorting of the stuff, and found out our credit card had been put on hold for security reasons which put put a jam on getting a few things done (grr…. Should have thought to tell them ahead of time we’d be using it internationally…).

Saturday

David’s first run–his knees ages in ten years in that half hour I think. Allan, one of the deacons, came over and apprised us of the internet/phone/cable/banking situations. Afterwards, my very brave husband drove me to a somewhat nearby town to view a couch I had seen on ebay. Unfortunately, it smelled like cigarette smoke, so no go… That evening we had our first fish and chips from the local chip shop. Have to say it was excellent, even for myself who doesn’t normally go for fish.

Sunday

First day at our new church.  I’m quickly learning to have Clive use the toilet before we leave the house as a matter of course… running back up that hill at top speed is no fun. We also had a small chat with our new neighbors and are very excited to find out that they have two boys, one just younger than Clive and one just older than Job. So not only are they sympathetic to the bits of noise they’ll hear from our shared wall, but we have potential playmates!

To be honest, there have been some rough moments this past week: impatience with tired, whiney children, feeling overwhelmed by a to-do list that stretches for months and made more overwhelming by the different ways of getting those things done, and just plain irritability among us all in the midst of our suddenly more chaotic existence. But there have been some bits of order and beauty as well like realizing the care of Christ’s boy for us on both sides of the ocean. In many ways, this time of transition reminds me of the time following the birth of my first child: it’s entirely overwhelming and you feel so disoriented but in that time you find that God provides people who simply carry you along supporting and caring for you till you can find your feet again. And we’ve enjoyed seeing again the people who’ve been in our prayers for the past months, the blessing of new friends and discovering that no matter how crazy life gets I can still share a laugh with my husband about it. Sometimes, due to exhaustion, more laughter than would seem appropriate to anyone else. And that after a pretty icky week, going to church is refreshing and fortifying as it should be. Above all, that Christ is the same yesterday, today, forever and anywhere.

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6 Comments

Filed under Family

6 responses to “one week down…

  1. Jeff and Rachel Lee

    Sounds like a great (and pretty normal) first week! I’m so glad you’re here and getting settled. Great to see pictures of your house, it looks like it will be quite acceptable – and WOW on the stove!!
    We’re praying for you all. If there is ANYTHING you need, please don’t hesitate to let us know.

  2. Annalisa,
    Hey, I just found your blog on your FB page. I didn’t know that you guys had set sail for the UK finally. So excited to see you finally arrive–this has been years in coming, right?!
    I had the privilege of visiting some good friends in Brighton last December and fell in love with the city of London!! Envious that you get to enjoy all the sights, sounds, people, accents, CHEESES!! et al…:)
    Do you have any connexion with the Jarretts who use to attend our church North Hills in Greenville? I remember your visiting our church in 2008?? for that purpose, I think.
    Please pardon my not staying in touch, but are you guys with a missions organization or are you there with Dave’s job at HSBC? What ministries are you going to be involved in while there? What city do you like in?
    I’ll be traveling to Germany and Paris in March and April. Originally I had planned another visit to England, but the flights from Germany to England weren’t to my liken, so my sister and I opted for a trip to Paris while on holiday at my parents in Nuremberg Germany.
    If I make it back to England, however, I will make sure to check you guys out!! It is really fun knowing people all over the world.
    And it’s even more special to know that you are there ON MISSION!
    I will be praying for you all as you adjust to all the newness of every day English life!
    Hugs!!
    Janet

  3. I’m just overwhelmed with happiness for you guys. And, an IKEA close by? Excellent : ) We have been quite spoiled with an IKEA 20 minutes away. Looking forward to keeping up with you all!

  4. thrifteenfashions

    “fan-assisted gas cooker”=convection oven?

    So you will be “hob-knobbing it” after all?

    Your place is sooo cute! We miss you already.

  5. shyla

    So glad you all have made it and are settling in. Can’t wait to hear more of your stories from overseas. Our family will be praying for yours!

  6. Loved reading this post! Your new home looks great. I think your top two favorites are my top two favorites, too. I need me one of those hobbed-up ovens … and the garden?!!!?! Amazing. Can I come over now? 🙂

    I’m sure the first week has been really tough. Life’s like that when you’re adjusting to a new country (especially with kids, which I can’t imagine). We’re praying for you! With Jesus and IKEA you will get through this!

    Love,
    Bethany

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