Tuesday, June 21, 2011

First Impressions...First Weekend!

Our first weekend in Oxford was eye opening! It's amazing to be so far away, to feel that everything is so totally different, but at the same time feel right at home. All it takes is a a few comforts of home and the most important thing: the smiling faces of the people you love!

After we arrived on Saturday, we immediately wanted to shower and sleep...but we had no towels or sheets! I didn't sleep on the plane and was exhausted, but I know my body well enough by now, and if I had napped during the day I would have been up all night. Best to live the day as intended and sleep at night!

First we headed out to town to get something to eat for lunch and pick up some food at the market for dinner. Our first Oxford pub experience was The King's Arms, where David had a classic roast dinner and I had a salad with butternut squash and goat cheese. YUM! The kids weren't interested in pub food, but Dave and I certainly enjoyed it!

We walked around town and just took in the sights. It is so beautiful here, and the shops are so fun to cruise around; I feel like I notice a new shop every day. We stopped at the market for necessities: bread, milk, eggs. Here is where stuff started to seem weird. We don't know any of the brands, and there is no familiar packaging, so when looking for something a little more adventurous that those items, we were lost! We settled for a frozen pizza and called it a day! (I also got a really cheap washcloth, hand towel and bath towel to get us through to Monday when our shipment arrived. With no linens at all in the house and our ignorance as how to get the broiler going for the water heater and radiators, we were actually very lucky that we had that extra five days in Illinois!!!!)

Back at home, while Dave and the kids got some much needed z's...
...I unpacked our suitcases and tried to look around and figure out how to arrange the house to best fit our needs. The homeowners left behind a lot of personal items: books, photo albums, artwork...and it was hard for me to imagine US here. The furniture and artwork are not really our style, but we are only in this house for six months, and we really lucked out with the location, price and amenities, so I am not complaining!

Our neighbors came over to introduce themselves and invited us to stop by so that they kids could play and we could get to know each other. They seemed really nice, and really genuine!

And all it took to feel like home was to see the smiling faces of our babies, happy to be wherever Mommy and Daddy were (finally!) both together with them.
(Maxwell exploring the garden room doors and garden after napping on Saturday)

(Both kiddies exploring the garden on Sunday afternoon)

We all slept in until almost 11am on Sunday, which was a much needed treat. We had a lot more exploring to do, so after breakfast we headed to town and walked around some more. Right down the street we saw this place, and got excited that we might get to have some "Mexican" food over here after all!
Hmmmm. Nope. Normal English pub fare, which I am sure we will try out sometime, but no burritos for David!

We walked around for a while and really just looked at stuff. I have never lived in a city like this before, where you can walk downtown and get all your errands done in one place, within walking distance to your house. It's REALLY cool! One of my biggest pet peeves about running errands back in Burbank was that with both kids, it was so annoying to have to get them in and out of their carseats ten times to get all my errands done. We wanted to get our bearings and figure out where things were: the bank, post office, Starbucks. :o) On the way back home, we came down a different street and found this Latin Restaurant, where we shared some yummy tacos! We may just survive here after all!
(This is the corner at the back exit of the shopping center we went to. I really like the look of this street corner, although it is a bit misleading because just a block away there are tons of people milling about; here in the back and it quaint and quiet.)

Sunday, our first day waking up in the new house, was Mother's Day and my 33rd birthday. After almost two months without David, being together with our babies without any distractions was the best gift I could have asked for! But a piece of cake would have been nice...

After naptime on Sunday we decided that we should go to the store to get some more food. But apparently this country doesn't quite operate on the 24hrs a day, 7days a week type of schedule that we've grown accustomed to in California! The store we had been to on Saturday closed at 4, as did the other shops we found online. We ended up finding a M & S that was open until 5, so we were able to get enough food to last us a couple more days, and we also grabbed the first cake I saw!

We were able to Skype with Mom, Shelly, Jill and the babies since they were all together in Irvine. All in all, it was a pretty amazing first weekend in our new home, however exhausting. The only thing that sucked was that the weekend was coming to a close, and the next day it was back to reality: David at work and the kids and I at home, fending for ourselves

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