Two Months In

As we approach the end of September, we’re now two months into our little Bristol adventure. This seems a good time to pause and reflect on how things have gone so far…

  • Connie and Heidi have settled in well. They’re enjoying school and they’ve been able to make new friends quickly. They both have good teachers and we’ve been very pleased with the school overall – everyone here says that it’s an excellent school and we were lucky that they had places available.
  • We went to London earlier this month, and I’ve posted lots of pictures in our photo album, if you’re interested.
  • Making new friends is not too hard. Developing those relationships into something of substance and depth is harder and takes longer. Rachel and I have both found that out over the past two months – unlike the girls we don’t have somewhere that we go every day and interact with other people. We’ve also realized this is the first time since starting University in the early 90’s where we’ve moved somewhere that we haven’t known anyone. We miss our friends and we’re looking forward to the time where we can stop answering the same questions with the same answers.
  • Rachel’s brother Paul and his wife Jo gave birth to a baby boy on Tuesday – Charlie Eron William Friend. We’re really pleased for them and we’re hoping to see the little one on Saturday.
  • We really like the fact that we can walk everywhere. All of our regular day-to-day tasks are within walking distance of our house, which means that we only use the car on weekends if at all. We’ve gone on one tank of gas for a whole month! Shopping, doctor, school, dance – all close by. That’s a big plus for city life in the UK compared to Canadian suburbia.
  • English television is substantially better than Canadian/American TV. This has the unfortunate by-product of us watching more TV. I found it interesting that in a survey done here, people’s favourite genre of programming in the UK is the documentary. And it shows – there are excellent and interesting documentaries on TV all the time – it kind of makes you feel that you’re not wasting your time quite as badly when you watch something intelligent on TV.
  • It may cause me not to get out as much and interact with others, but I still do like working from home. There is something so nice about the silence and calm of working on your own. I suspect that eventually I will pine for something different, but for now it’s just right.
  • I’ve been pleased to see the UK has welcomed the pretzel in the intervening years since I was last living here. Back in the 90’s the best you could get was twiglets, which Mr Bean rightly compares to dipping the twig of a tree into marmite. Another happy find was clam chowder – not a common UK soup staple, but available if you look for it.
  • We’ve enjoyed attending Bristol Vineyard church. The trouble is, it takes you a while to get to know people, mainly because you only see folks once a week for two hours (and perhaps occasionally at other times during the week). It kind of makes you wish for church to meet every day… well ok maybe not. We are hoping to get involved in some of the music and sound/PA stuff soon, which I’m looking forward to. I’m also hoping to help out with some of the work they do in the city for the homeless.
  • I love following the football (soccer) on a Saturday afternoon. Since Saturday at 3pm is the traditional time when almost all of the games occur, it has been legislated that none of the games at that time be broadcast on TV (so that fans will actually go to matches instead of staying home and watching Man Utd). So during this time, one of the sports news channels has a program where you watch four guys in the TV studio who themselves are watching a game each, and describing major events that happen. Meanwhile there’s a stock ticker running at the bottom of the screen showing goals as they go in for all the matches in England and Scotland (say, around 50 games in total). At 4:50 it all culminates in the final few moments as all the games draw to a close, and then some very proper person reads out all of the results. I think the closest comparison to all this might be US college football, which for me is the first time I’ve realized the potential appeal of US college football.
  • I want to go play snooker but I have no one to play with yet.
  • Radiators are a much more pleasant way of heating a house than forced air.

Well I think that’s about it for now. I’d like to try and blog about once a week; last week was a write-off as I was quite sick with the flu for a few days. I’m all better now (thanks for asking).

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