Mismatched Mess

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Easter Weekend in Canterbury

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Taylor and I have been enamored with Canterbury Cathedral this weekend. We should have visited sooner, but we let it fall to the wayside.
Thursday we went to The Liturgy of Maundy Thursday service, which was such an experience. The Archbishop of Canterbury spoke, and washed the feet of twelve of the church members, which was quite emotional. Then, as the choir sang, one by one all of the lights were turned off in the entire cathedral as the sanctuary was stripped of everything.

Friday we decided to go to an evening Requiem by Maurice Duruflé sung by the Cathedral Choir.

Sunday evening we went, yet again, to an evening sermon and compline. We had a chance to take a few photos of the outer cathedral. I captured the Easter garden, with the tomb and stone rolled away, some lovely blue sky cathedral photos, and some shadowed photos of the new Queen of England and Duke of Edinburgh statues that the Queen and Duke themselves unveiled two weeks ago to mark her diamond jubilee. It has been tradition for royalty to have their statues added to the cathedral for many years.

We plan on taking in many more services and will definitely visit more often to see all there is to see of this magnificent place.

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And though our Easter may not have included hunting Easter eggs and eating chocolate (although I’ve been craving hard-boiled eggs all day, so that may be remedied), we DID decide to dress in pale green and blue, because pastel = Easter (right?), we get to see baby ducks everyday as we walk home, and we saw a duck waddling along on the sidewalk this evening. That pretty much covers our bases. 😉

Happy Easter!

 

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Our Life in Canterbury | The First Four Days

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We finally made it! It feels like we’ve been waiting forever to begin this part of our life.
Over a year ago I wrote this post regarding the realization of the possibility of moving far away for Taylor’s PHD.
Little did I know then that we would end up in the UK!

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Day 1 | Tuesday
Our trip to Canterbury, Kent, England was actually really easy and pleasant. We spent the day at the airport with my mom, sister and father in law.
We had lunch at the Hyatt dining room then said our final goodbyes.

Once we got on the plane our last meal in America was flying over one of the great lakes nearest Canada. We then watched a movie, slept and tried to make the most of our 9 hour trip.

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Day 2 | Wednesday
Arriving in London Heathrow airport was a smooth process. Thankfully we found a cart to carry our 150ish pounds of luggage. Taylor bought a simple cell phone to contact our landlady, withdrew a little more money from an ATM, then we headed out to grab a taxi.
The trip in the taxi was really nice. We didn’t get to go through London, because the traffic was too bad, so we took the road around it. It took about an hour and half to travel to Canterbury in which time we enjoyed joking with the taxi driver about American and British stereotypes and learned a lot about England history. The driver was so nice and interesting. He actually lived in Kent as well (our address is Canterbury, Kent, UK) and talked about his children. His son has his own business putting together massive (15-20,000 people) techno dance events and his daughter was a model who was actually in Toni and Guy’s London Fashion Week’s runway show that same day.

So, this is where the first day in England loses its…charm. The taxi driver brings us to the flat we put a deposit on online. After waiting 30 minutes the landlady pulls up and was in complete shock there were two of us. We walk up to the place and it’s not what we were told at all! We knew it was going to be small, but it was way smaller than we thought it was. But it wasn’t just our error–the online realtor told us this place was for two people when it clearly is not, not to mention the fact the landlady didn’t even read the agreement and Taylor’s numerous emails stating there were two people.
I won’t go into the details, but we haven’t signed the lease yet and we are looking at other flats in the area already. Hopefully we will be out of here soon.

Because of the shock of the flat, jet lag and the time difference, we just collapsed on the bed and slept for several hours. Once we woke up we walked downtown and found a Pizza Hut that offered Wifi and contacted our family.
We then went to a nearby store owned by Wal-Mart for some basic necessities.

Look how exhausted we were!

Look how exhausted we were!

Day 3 | Thursday
The third day brought a couple more issues, but we felt a little better. We found a coffee shop for the wifi–it’s very nerve-wracking being totally reliant on Wifi to contact people! We then decided to take out more money from an ATM and…it stole our card! Fear ensued when we realized there were issues with our cards and only had a little cash with us. We bought some very cheap items to make sandwiches and splurged on a portable Wifi card so that we could sort out all these issues in the apartment instead of at a restaurant.

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Day 4 | Friday
Friday Taylor and his dad worked on sorting out our bank issues in America. It took most of the day, but it was finally fixed, though we still don’t feel 100% comfortable using the debit card we still have. As that was happening we walked up to the University of Kent where Taylor will be attending. The walk was not what we expected as the traffic was horribly busy and the trip was uphill. Once we got to the school we walked around for about an hour, but couldn’t accomplish anything until the following day. We didn’t want to walk back so we decided to try out a doubledecker bus for the first time. It was so simple and took us to the city centre right near our flat.

Day 5 | Saturday
Taylor walked back to the school and registered Saturday morning. We then spent the rest of the day finally fully relaxing and enjoying the fact that we were in England! We ate tacos and window shopped all around the city centre.

We’ve had so many issues, but now that we are more comfortable it’s really exciting being here! We will be tourists in our own city for a long time. The city centre is so busy with so much history. Once we get UK cell phones (smart phones) we will be much more connected. Our wifi is very limited and we’re trying to save our money until we get a UK bank and hopefully a new flat! Then we’ll be able to do much more exploring! We still can’t believe this is our life now and are so blessed to be here. The issues we are facing are annoying and stressful, but we know it will be settled soon!

We’ve had fun comparing the shops and TV stations. Everything is similar just with different names:

Stores:
ASDA – owned by Wal-Mart and looks like Wal-Mart
Big Box – Big Lots
TK Maxx – TJ Maxx

TV Shows:
Funniest Ever – You’ve Been Framed! – America’s Funniest Home Videos

Food:
Walkers Crisps – Lays Chips

Slang:
Tea (or tea time) – Lunch time
Quid – Cash
One off – One-time (example: one-time fee)