Saturday, September 04, 2004

Getting Sorted

Hi All,
This is just a quick post to let you know that we've arrived, are enjoying our new surroundings very much and are now connected to the WWW.

Our trip was a little delayed due to a mechanical problem (one of the engines wouldn't start!) on our plane from Dallas to Chicago. A long story short...we ended up flying out the next day (Friday) and arriving in Durham Saturday afternoon. Our gracious landlords, the McManners, met us at the airport (even though we arrived ~1 late, they were still there!) with 2 cars for all of our luggage, only to have our 2 big bags lost at air (fortunately, they arrived the next day). The McManners then delivered us to our new home that they had prepared for our arrival by stocking the fridge and cabinets with food and placing a fresh bouquet of flowers on the table. They're amazing!

During our first night/morning here a little jet lag provided the opportunity for a traditional English breakfast (English bacon, eggs, toast, sautéed mushrooms, roasted tomatoes and, of course, a pot of tea) at 3 a.m. and a couple of phone calls to family back home. We've mostly acheived a normal schedule now.

I won't bore you with every detail just now, but our days have mostly been filled with things like registering with NHS (National Healthcare System), opening a bank account (well, attempting to anyway) and shopping. This can all be a bit of a challenge because things aren't always done "like they are back home" and because of this "common language" we share with the natives. ;-) For example, when shopping where do you find eggs and milk? In the refrigerator section, you say? Oh no - just sitting out on the shelf, of course. Eventually, you give up and decide to ask where something is located which comes with a new set of problems...who knew clothespins were pegs, dishwashing soap is washing up liquid, a trashcan is a dustbin (or a wheelie bin if it has wheels), or that hamburger buns are baps. Oh yes, one of our favorites so far is that deposit slips are called "putting in forms;" which I guess makes sense since you are putting money in to your account. I'll sheepishly admit that I thought the bank clerk was saying "pen 'n forms," instead of "putting in forms," all day and I figured you had to use some special pen to fill out the deposit forms or something. I was so confused, but then that's my general state these days. As you can tell, we're mostly having fun (only occasionally feeling frustrated) and enjoying our new adventure. We're also missing all of you, but phone calls and email make it seem like you're not too far. :-)


Blogger Kevin James Bywater said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:44 AM  
Blogger Kevin James Bywater said...

Rob, your experiences approximate our own. Just wait until the TV Gestapo threaten you with 1000 pound fines for not purchasing your television license, though they've warned you numerous times (or so they seem to think)! We were irritated, furious, and then burst into laughter and their vacuous threats...especially given that we simply did not have a tele in the place! You've just got to laugh out loud from time to time. (And it is here that I think postmodernists might have it right regarding language games, social conventions and the creation of social realities. Sorry for the academic mumbo jumbo.)

But even in the midst of all the nonsense, the McManners are a gift from God. We simply had to share them with you! Without them, life in the UK would be greatly lessened. John and Gina are committed to the faith...and to those who share their faith in the Lord Jesus. As landlords they are second to none. Their vision for ministry even extends to us unpolished American Evangelicals seeking our education in the UK. What greater grace could there be? They'd lay down their lives for us. May we be willing to do the same for them.

Oh, yes, the language barrier often is greater than anticipated. Not only do Brits tend to clip their words (just about the only efficiency we've noticed), we share a common vocabulary and a different dictionary. 'Two nations divided by one language', as one friend put it. Even so, we've grown to love our British brethren. May God grant us grace not only to pursue our educations but to minister to our siblings in Christ in the UK.

(I'm writing this at 1:36am MST, Sunday, September 5th. We'll arrive in Durham on the evening of the 10th. We cannot say how excited we are to meet you and Crystal in person.)


8:47 AM  
Blogger Robert H. said...

Congratulations! Looking forward to hearing more as time goes on. Enjoy a good cuppa for us.

6:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I still can't believe he carried my daughter off half-way around the world--and I let him get by with it.

(teasing grin here)

Crystal's Dad--and Rob's, too

12:33 AM  

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