Greetings from… Delaware?

Hi everybody! I’m actually writing this on Monday evening, sitting here in Canterbury still. But by the time you’re reading this, the Closs family will be stateside once again! Yep, we’re livin’ in Delaware now!

Sorry for the late notice. We wanted to surprise family when we show up at the airport. Hopefully we’ve managed to keep the secret!

But wait Jeremy, you may be thinking, what about your PhD? Wellllllll- Without going into a whole lot of detail, essentially, I’m not built to be a researcher. I like academics, I love biblical studies, but when it comes to dedicating all my energies into a single project like a dissertation, the spark just isn’t there for me. So, rather than continuing to burn myself out doing something I had no passion for, I’m calling that avenue quits and looking to put my Master’s to work, getting a job someplace. The job part is still on hold, but for now, we’ll be in Delaware for at least a bit.

We’ve loved our time in Canterbury. We met lots of very cool people, saw tons of beautiful things, and enjoyed a bunch of tasty, tasty food. N says the #1 thing she’ll miss when we move back to the States is bakewell tarts. We’ve consoled her by saying that we’ll try and bake our own once we settle in, so, stay tuned for that.

If you’re one of our stateside friends, let us know if you’ll be in or around Delaware – we’d love to meet up with folks!

More on our adventure as it progresses. Until then, we’ll be sleeping off our jet lag.

Door

No, not Lady door from London Below. The kind you open and shut. There is a lot of variety here. I realized while walking around (we have done a lot of that) that there are not only many different colors of doors, but also many different styles. I know there are different styles in the States. But here, they are different. And they fascinate me. So I decided to go out and take some pictures of Canterbury doors.

I thought this slightly curved window was interesting too.

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Stayed tuned next week for some big news.

Pictures

I promised more pictures of Scotland, so I am going to share a few things, with a lot of pictures. And maybe a video or two.

First up, a video. This is the way M entertained herself on the the first train.

On the second train there was a rescue dog. The dog seemed as excited about the girls as they seemed about her.

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The apartment we were in had window seats in almost every window. The girls were a fan.

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We went for our walk on that path to the left, up to Loch Ness.

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On the path we could see the Abbey.DSC_0203e

While we were on the path, the girls had to step on every big stone.

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The girls had fun at the playground at the Abbey.DSC_0261eDSC_0251eDSC_0255e

On the other side is the lock. We saw a boat coming down the lock.DSC_0249e

We will see what adventures we get up to next week.

Family Times

This week we got to spend time with family, try new restaurants, and see new places. It has been busy, stressful, and fun.

Family got here last Thursday. The first couple days was pretty chill. Jag lag is a beast, y’all. Once Saturday came we started venturing out with ballet and fish n chips.

We tried a couple pubs. The Dolphin – which has THE BEST steak in Canterbury –  and The Foundry. We also tried Byron. They have some yummy milkshakes, American style burgers, and courgette (zucchini) fries.

We went to Dover Castle on Monday. It was much bigger and more together than our Canterbury Castle. There was a lot of space, that the girls were happy to run around in.

 

There was an old church. It was pretty. It was attached to lighthouse, that had been there long before the church was there – almost 2000 years.

The church was full of stained glass windows.

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The castle had many tunnels. They were built as barracks during the time of Napoleon and then more were added a few time for different reasons, especially during WW2. We couldn’t take pictures inside.

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On Tuesday everyone but M and I (we didn’t sleep well because M wasn’t feeling good) went to the white cliffs and to Margate. After the fact, we were glad M didn’t go to the cliffs. It was a long, difficult hike, and the path went pretty close to the edge a few times. On the bright side, at the end of the trail, there was a light house with a really nice tea room attached. N wanted to show everyone Dreamland in Margate. Well, the part we are familiar with-Octopus Garden, the indoor play area we took N to for her birthday last year.

On Wednesday we went to Stonehenge in Amesbury. It was about a 3 hour drive. They have all kinds of things set up near Stonehenge. There is a visitors center, which has a cafe, museum, gift shop, and reproductions of neolithic houses.

On our way home, M got sick again. We were in the sun for a while, so we think that may have been why. We weren’t on a bus this time, but in a car. And thankfully, we were very close to home.

Family went to check out London on Thursday. And Hubby had work. So the girls and I just hung out, not in the sun.

Friday we – FINALLY – went to the Cathedral here in Canterbury. It is beautiful. I thought the stained glass in the church at Dover Castle was pretty. The Cathedral had even more.

Saturday, N wasn’t feeling good. So there was no ballet. But everyone else went to The Foundry for dinner. We had some sibling time later that night too. Hubby’s brothers and I all played a game.

Family had to head home today. The airline has been having some problems, so we were a little worried. But things seem to be going well so far. We were glad we got to share our home with family!

Scotland

As we are getting the girls to bed, I am realizing it is 10pm and it’s just getting dark. It’s weird.

If you aren’t caught up on what has happened so far, see pt. 1  https://closstale.wordpress.com/2017/05/17/where-it-all-went-wrong/
We woke up the next morning, feeling better. We had made it to Fort Augustus, Scotland. The beautiful place we were staying, that I could now take in, was St. Benedict’s Abbey. We had breakfast – some pastries we’d brought with us – and went for a walk. We went to a nearby gift shop, The Millhouse. Then we walked along the water to the Loch. It is a beautiful view.

We decided against the boat tour because we were told it was pretty cold and weren’t sure how much the girls would enjoy an hour-long info tour.

We went to the playground at the Abbey and then went to eat lunch at the Boathouse restaurant. Then we went back to our room. Our room is a two bedroom apartment with 2 bathrooms, a lounge, and a kitchen. I hadn’t expected it to be so big. It is a great place. It’s a self-catering facility, so we had to provide all our own food, and if we had been staying longer, other things like laundry detergent and dish soap, but they had a few free-sample-sized items to use, and since we were only staying two nights, that was perfect.

After we rested a bit, we went to walk around the lock. Which is opposite the loch – it was part of one of the rivers that fed into the loch from the south.

M fell asleep. We went back to the Abbey and N made some friends on the playground.

Then M woke up and we decided to explore the Abbey.

We found the big chess board and the lounge. We hung out in the lounge where we found wifi.

Then we went to eat dinner at the same place we had lunch. Haggis neeps and tatties. Yum. Lamb shish kabobs, which are not on a stick, but oh so yummy. M had cheesy pasta which she was uninterested in. But she liked her baked beans and my tortilla. N had chicken nuggets again. Hubby had salmon. I would definitely suggest the Boathouse for dinner over lunch. They even have Loch Ness beer. After dinner we went back to our room in hopes of an earlier bedtime, to get ready for tomorrow. No dice. The night before, N stayed in her bed. Tonight N was in our bed, pushing me off and putting limbs in my face. But M seemed to sleep well, so that was a good thing. We woke up and took our time getting ready to go.

When we got on the bus to go back, the bus driver asked if M was feeling better. Yup, same bus driver. M was pretty upset on the bus again. She said it was too wobbly. The bus driver had stopped at one point and came back to tell us that it would be better for her if we moved to the middle of the bus (we were at the back as there were no other seats when we got on). M did not throw up this time. The bus driver gave each girl a pound coin for being so good. Then it was time for the three trains.

We ended up having to wait two hours for our first train. After getting on and heading out, they came by to check tickets. Guess what? We were on the wrong train. We were supposed to be on Virgin Rails train and we were on a Scottrail train. Buying tickets online is confusing. Thankfully, the guy checking the tickets said this time we would be OK. Just so we are aware for future. How awesome! Thank you ticket guy. We will definitely double check next time.

We missed the second train, but thankfully we had anytime tickets, so we just had to catch the next one that came in 30 minutes. We got to the third train without incident. We finally got to the Canterbury station after 11pm. We were so happy to be walking home. When we finally stumbled in, we all happily collapsed into bed.

I will try to post more pictures at a later time. I have many.

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Where it All Went Wrong

We headed to Scotland this week. We headed out way too early. But we had a nice walk along the river.

We get on a train in Canterbury. It takes us to London – and King’s Cross Station.

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Then we got on another train to Edinburgh. Four hours later we got on another one to Inverness. That one lasted 3 and a half hours. At Inverness, we got on a bus to take us to the southern end of Loch Ness. That’s where it all went wrong.

It’s beautiful out the window.  Green. Mountains. Cliffs. Interesting houses. M is not liking her seatbelt that the busses have. But we think it’s important. We give her a phone with games. She is still upset. We give her juice. She is all better. But not for long. She is just so very upset. So I pick her up. She is very sweaty and she is just crying and crying. We give her Mimi, her bedtime cat. She is calm for a bit. Then she statrs to cry again. She throws up. I wasn’t completely surprised, but still covered in puke. Hubby comes to help by taking M. We are still on the bus. He calms her, she crys, he calms her, she crys. She throws up again. This time it was more than last time. We are worried. Oh! Our stop. We rush off, puke on everything. Trying to carry it and M and get N. And get the stroller from the undercarriage. Then we rush off to find the place we are staying. Thankfully, it’s not too far. The guy who let us in is explaining everything to two puke covered people. M is asleep. Charlie, the guy, explains that there is a washing machine in our room. Hallelujah! We wake M because we thought she pooped, but she hadn’t. Oops. We give her a bath and get her cozy on the couch with sissy. Hubby goes to find food and more wipes.

Holy cow, this place is amazing, but how do you pay attention to that when your kid puked. And it’s on everything you currently have.

Part two coming soon. It gets better.

Outing

We had to make a trip to campus for school business and to get M updated on her shots. M did pretty well with her shot. She kind of had a delayed reaction and cried for a couple minutes and then walked out waving bye bye.

N was very happy to see (and name) many bunnies around campus. She was also happy to do a lot of running all around.

After we wrapped up our stuff on campus, we headed back to City Centre for dinner. We decided to eat at a place we’d been wanting to try for awhile. It is called Gourmet Burger Kitchen. It definitely has more American-style burgers. They have many different special burgers with names like Kiwiburger, The Don, and Bruce Leek. They also have a few even more special burgers like the Psychobilly. We just decided to try the classic cheese burger. We were going to try their onion rings, but they didn’t have any. M had a cheese burger as well, but didn’t like it. She did like N’s corn on the cob, the bread, and the skinny fries. N had a chicken sandwich, took off the bread and loved it. She also loved her Oreo milkshake. Milkshakes here are hard to come by. At least good American style milkshakes. GBK has them. They have really good lemonade too. Sorry, I forgot about pictures of the food – we ate it too quickly. But I got some of the girls coloring.

Bye Bye Tooth

N has had a loose tooth for a few weeks. The left of the top middle pair. A few days ago she actually asked if we could pull it out. We told her that wasn’t a good idea and we should just let it come out on it’s own. On Monday, she was sitting on our bed watching a show. She got excited and did kinda a squat jump. She ended up popping her mouth with her knee. It really hurt. She was pretty upset. Her tooth did not come out. But the right of the top middle came loose. It is really loose.

Later that day, after dinner, we were in the living room and the girls were playing and running around. All the sudden N says, “It came out!” The left one, that is. She was very excited.

N lost her two bottom middle teeth before we moved. When she lost them everyone asked her if she got a visit from the tooth fairy. She just looked at them. The tooth fairy wasn’t something we had really talked about. When people started asking her, we explained it to her. She didn’t seem to care either way.

This time was different.

She kept talking about the tooth fairy and how she would put her tooth under her pillow when it came out. One day we were talking about how the tooth fairy isn’t real. She said she still wanted us to pretend. Monday night we put a one pound coin under her pillow (surprisingly without waking her up). She was pretty excited.

I will be surprised if she doesn’t loose the other tooth by next week.

Visiting With Family

Hubby’s Aunt and Uncle came to visit this past week. We were glad to show them around a bit. Unfortunately, it really was only a bit – they were only in Canterbury for the afternoon. But we were glad for the time we had to see them.

We met them at their hotel. Well, really I met them across the street from their hotel as I was trying to see if I could get service on my phone to check their bus route. I was having no luck. But then I saw them. Yay!

They got settled into their hotel. The girls were both very excited to see them and to run around their hotel room. Then we walked to our house. We walked along the river, showing them a few things we liked about Canterbury.

We got to our house and N excitedly gave them a tour. The girls had fun playing with cards.

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Then we decided to go get some dinner. We went to a pub on Wincheap that we hadn’t been to yet. We found a perfect table, sat down and ordered drinks. We got N a water, which she was very unhappy about. But it turned out to be a sparkling water, which brought her happiness. We asked for a menu and found out that something was broken, so they couldn’t prepare most of their food. However, if we could wait they could make stone oven pizza. We decided to go for it. N loved it. I’m pretty sure this is now her favorite place to eat. They had no problem making her a sauceless pizza. More happiness.

After we ate, we walked the rest of Wincheap and headed back toward the hotel. Unfortunately, that was the end of their visit. I hope they had as much fun as we did. If you ever find yourself passing through Canterbury, let us know – we’ll show you around too!