When I saw this sign in my neighborhood I saw it as an analogy for my journey here. I am permitted to walk about in the shoes of a British schoolteacher, an honor bestowed upon me through the cooperation of Rieke Elementary, Waltham on the Wolds C of E Primary, and of course the Fulbright Foundation. Toss in my wonderful wife and two kids, plus some luggage and backpacks, and the journey is able to begin.
Our transatlantic flight was less than eventful since no one was really able to sleep. Annika made the frustrated point that “I don’t know how to sleep on a plane!” I did not argue with her and instead nodded my head. Once in London, going through Heathrow immigration and customs was incredibly easy, and it was nice to see that our visas spiked curiosity in our immigration officer, who wished me the best in the coming school year.
Outside customs we found Richard, our personal driver, who took us on the two hour ride up to Melton. He was an affable chap who told great stories and helped explain to me how the motorway system works. Most of his assistance got lost in translation as I was pretty wide-eyed and dead tired as we sped along the roads North. Personally I am not the biggest fan of mini vans, but ours was a Mercedes and was sleek, clean, and fast. I guess I could live driving one of those. Too bad Richard and the Mercedes van will only be a part of our memories as we did not capture photos of either. For the record, both kids were wiped out and asleep the whole time driving.
Our home in Melton is quaint and comfortable. We view it as our home for the next year, so we are learning to adjust our living to what is capable within the home.
Today, 8 August, 2012, was the first day that we took the Audi out, so if you voted for learning how to drive on the opposite side of the road as our first adventure you were correct! We know where four or more pubs are, but jet lag has kept us closer to home. We have had two guests pop by, Kaye and Helen, who I will be working with at Waltham. Kaye was kind enough to deliver some groceries, whilst Helen brought some homemade flapjack. A kind of oatmeal cookie bar. Additionally, Rob’s parents had stopped by before our arrival and added foods to our pantry. We have been eating in due to all this generosity (and watching plenty of LIVE Olympics).
Back to driving in England: terrifying at first! I will not lie. It added more grey hairs to my already grey beard. The auto is manual transmission, so my left hand was working harder than ever. The neighborhood streets do not have much true parking space, so you just park on the side of the road. Meaning that my practice driving was pretty much down the middle of the road, avoiding oncoming traffic! Eventually we went down to one of the main roads in town to go find the Tesco grocery store. Well, we could not find it so we just kept driving NE towards Waltham on the Wolds to find my new school.
The school is obviously closed, as children return on August 30th. I believe that I will begin my teacher training sometime the week before. Talking about my new school will require its own post, so consider this photo a teaser.
On the way back to Melton we found the Tesco and bought a decent lot of groceries.
Some planned, some impulse purchases. I bought some ground beef. Irish beef was the most expensive, followed by Scottish. British was by far the cheapest. I wonder why? Melton is considered a food capital of Britain, so cheeses were prominent and we have a nice selection of locally made cheeses in our fridge.
We have been out into the town by foot and have visited the Market as well. The market will need its own post sometime in the future. I will add, though, that Rebecca commented while walking around the market that I was the only gent sporting a beard!
Please consider clicking the links at the top of my page to find out more general information about where I am and how I got here.