Our very good friends, Doug and Susan Nellis (sorry Susan), flew over from Seattle for a long weekend visit. They stayed a few days in London, took the train to Melton, then flew to Ireland for the rest of their holiday. It really meant a lot to us to have such close friends come and see how we are getting on. Doug made it clear that he understood more what we are experiencing by seeing it first hand himself, and realized what an undertaking our year abroad really is.
They arrived the weekend of my school’s Maypole event, and were good sports to attend it with me. We also took them out to Sir Isaac Newton’s boyhood home, and to a couple of our favourite pubs in town. Somehow we all squeezed into my exchange partner’s car without too many problems, though driving to Grantham was as far as I wanted to drive. Being away from our good friends who understand us has been a year-long challenge, but we have prevailed. Thankfully good people like the Nellis’s (sorry Susan) were able to take time out of their lives to visit.
Alison Donnelly is the musical coordinator for our Summer Performance. She also gives piano lessons to many of the Waltham students. She and I have been working alongside each other all year, and we finally coordinated an evening over at her and her partner, Lorraine’s, home in Skillington.
The two of them, along with their son Patrick, were incredible hosts. We had a great meal of grilled vegetables and meats (right at the table), along with a tasty helping of sides and drinks. Skillington is a small village about 20 minutes away. Their home is only about 10 years old or so, but is built to look like it is 200 years old! Across the gravel path from their home were the farmer’s pastures with horses, geese, sheep and hogs roaming about. We were quite envious of their beautiful surroundings.
Also during our holiday break we went out to a pub in Syston, called the Gate Hangs Well (the well is a reference to one that holds water). Three families gathered for this meal out. This night was nice because for the most part Rebecca and I got to ask our friends about what they do in England, rather than just us talking about our adventures of living here. Also, even though Kaye and I work together, we tried very hard not to talk about school.
As we hit the “two months left” mark we are starting to realise that we not only will be returning to old friends, but leaving new ones behind. It is not easy nor inexpensive to travel 5,000 miles away, even though we have left an open invitation to all our new friends to come and visit us. Maybe they will, maybe not. We will do our best to remain friends with these people since they have taken the time to become ours.