Tag Archives: Christmas In The UK

A New Year, A New Start (Coming Soon)

Howdy folks,
So we’ve been back from the UK for a week now and I am already counting down the days until summer! I thought the nosebleeds due to the dry air were bad enough (after using my hands to stem the flow while hurrying to the bathroom, I now know what I’d look like if I feasted straight from the flesh of a warm animal corpse. Haunting, I tell you, very haunting…also sort of badass), but then we drove home and were greeted by snow, freezing temperatures and horrible road conditions. Thanks Minnesota for that lovely welcome, we missed you too. Yep, after almost three weeks of a moderate English winter where the worst we experienced was a few blustery days that caused us to entertain the idea of wearing a second layer, we really needed that reality check the first day back in the US. The worst part is that the weather we have now isn’t even that bad. Oh the joys of living in the north.
*sigh*
Anyway, I hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Year! Although the celebratory closing of 2016 was rather uneventful for us (sadly I was too ill and too miserable to go anywhere), we had a wonderful time visiting my homeland.  Seeing family and old friends after over two years was awesome. Although we didn’t explore as much as we perhaps could have, Vanna and I did what we set out to do – visit as many people as possible. And on top of that, we did have a fantastic experience in Edinburgh near the end of our trip too. Saying goodbye again wasn’t much fun, of course, and the flight home was fairly arduous (not to mention the horribly abrupt return to work and responsibilities)…but it was all worth it. I don’t regret a single moment. Except for my decision not to bring more food with us. I do regret buying only the two boxes of wine gums. They did not last long at all.
Other than that, it was a truly great holiday. BUT, as much as I would like to tell you about everything we did, there isn’t actually that much to share other than our aforementioned trip to the Scottish capital, so I’ll spare you the details (what really can I say? We went and saw my family, ate British food, watched British TV and went to a few places that I’ve already blogged about before, such as Seaham and Hardwick Hall. Interesting to us, but to you? Not so much). Regarding Edinburgh, however that story will be uploaded soon; I’m still waiting on the pictures (Vanna went overboard) but I should be posting sometime within the next week. Our day in Edinburgh was the tourist/blog highlight to the trip, so please come back for that.
Beyond that, both Vanna and I are really focused on getting back to normal life. Her studies are going well, my work is fine (actually attended our Christmas party last night) and I’m slowly finding a balance to my waking hours. I mentioned in my last post about my goals for the future, including a minimum monthly post on the blog, and I still intend to achieve that goal. It probably wont result in the blog reaching the dizzying heights it had back when I had the freedom to post almost daily, but I think it will benefit me, and if there is one thing I’m good at, it’s doing things that benefit me.
And on that wonderful note, I’ll end this post. Only a quick announcement I know, but I have three weeks of no Xboxing to catch up with. And there will be pictures and more coming soon, so I reckon I can get away with a 600 word catch up.
All the best guys,
Alex

Just Let Me Blow Away The Cobwebs…

Howdy folks,

Well…it has been a long time since this blog was active, hasn’t it? I don’t even want to check when I last published something. I know it was after I purchased my tickets to the UK, and that was a long time ago now; after all, I’ve been working for what seems like years and my trip was planned shortly after I was employed at the lab. Yeah…it’s been a long time.

Anyway, I apologize for that. Despite the lack of activity on this site, the blog isn’t officially dead. It’s just that between work, sleep and Gears of War 4, I haven’t had the time or energy to do anything else. This past month has been especially exhausting because we’ve been working at least an hour overtime every day. Urgh. Busy doesn’t cover it. I blame the holidays. Thanks, Thanksgiving, for being a turkey paradise. You’re the reason I don’t get home until nine o’clock. Grr.

Oh well. On the plus side, despite my hectic schedule, things are going to change for the blog in the future. Or at least I’m hoping they will. Coming up fast is my aforementioned trip to the UK, which is less than a week away now, and wow, I can’t believe that it’s going to happen, I’m practically on the plane and it still hasn’t sunk in yet.

Ahem. Well, in addition to giving me the glorious opportunity to see my family for the first time in 2 ½ years, it’s also good news for the blog as both Vanna and I intend to take a lot of pictures! Most of our plans are TBD, but there is a trip to Edinburgh which we’re both excited for, so that should result in some fantastic pictures.

That’s only a short-term solution, however. Going forward, I have a goal for 2017 (New Year’s resolutions and all that), to write something for the blog at least once a month. I’m not sure what I’ll write about, but I want it to be something that takes more than a few minutes to write (i.e. not this post), something which will spark my creativity. After all, part of my reasoning for taking a hiatus from the blog was because I wanted to spend my free time working on my book. Well, that isn’t exactly working, so why don’t I change it up? Maybe blogging will become a catalyst to my writing. It can’t hurt, can it? And I miss writing about all of my complaints, like I used to in the old days (you know, pre-marriage, because now everything is perfect).

So yeah. Let’s see how that goes. I’ll uh, speak to you again soon…hopefully from the UK!

Alex

A New Countdown Begins…

After months of waiting and planning, I can finally confirm my biggest news of the year – Vanna and I will be heading back to England this Christmas!

Very, very excited to be sharing this news, as I’m sure you can imagine! This will be the first time I’ve seen my family since I left the UK in July 2014. It’s been a long time, and even though it is only going to be for a few weeks, I can’t wait to visit friends and family, see my favourite sights and eat my favourite foods…it’s going to be awesome.

No concrete plans beyond the flights have been made yet, but if you shift your attention to the right, you can at least track the countdown to our arrival in the UK. 113 days until the flight, 114 until we land in Newcastle. We’re practically only a few weeks away!

Anyway, once I have more details on what we hope to do, I’ll provide a follow up post with dates etc. Until then, have a great weekend everybody! I’ll be working Saturday through Monday which sucks, but hey, more money in the bank is always a good thing. Need to save up for the trip, after all.

Bye for now,

Alex

 

 

 

10 Days!

Just ten (9 for her!) more days until Vanna is here in the UK! Both of us are very excited about that, as you can imagine. Can’t wait to see her, I really can’t. I’m starting to get things sorted for her arrival (I’ve even cleaned my room! And made space by the window for her suitcase!), but most of it will have to wait until next week. Already we’ve made some plans for the Christmas month, and we’re hoping to do as much as possible given that it’ll be Vanna’s last time in the country for at least a few years (she’s never been to a castle, for example). But even when we’re not exploring new places or experiencing new things, we’ll have fun. The routine stuff, like watching television or playing games, will be that much better when Vanna’s here. So yeah, 10 days!

As for the future, the visa application is coming on nicely. It’s been moved onto the American Embassy in London for the interview stage, and I just filled out a form in case I’m approved (hence why this blog is a little later than usual…if you noticed). The only complication is where and when the interview will be. If it is scheduled in the next three monChths, then the question is whether I can move it to Minnesota or if I can’t. This would be preferable as Vanna could come with me (and it would be more convenient in terms of location) and keep me company. If that can’t be done, then I’ll have to call and arrange a different date (awkward) which means I’ll have to travel down to London for a day on the train. Not ideal. So, I’m going to contact them tomorrow (I tried today and got nowhere…only by messaging their Facebook page did I finally get a possible contact) and explain the situation. Hopefully it’ll work out in my favour (ie, no trip to London).

Another thing to sort out is my laptop. Do I stick with it, or do I go for a new one? I’m still not sure so I’m just going to wait until tomorrow when I call them. I’ll get as much information as I can from them, and then decide which is best. But either way, it won’t be sorted until the weekend…at the earliest. I’ll do my best to blog regularly while I’m waiting, but it isn’t easy. This stupid computer.

*sigh*

Well, I’ll let you know what happens.

10 days!

Is It Christmas Yet?

Wonderful news, everybody! Today I bought Vanna’s plane tickets for her to come see me at Christmas AND, if that wasn’t good enough, I also have my plane tickets to go see her next year! We’re both very, very, very, very, very excited and cannot wait until the 19th December, which is when Vanna’s plan arrives at Newcastle airport and I get to see her beautiful face again! I’ve even set up a new countdown on the blog to commemorate! 51 days to go!

Here are the details of our flights:

Vanna to the UK:

Vanna leaves Minneapolis at 5:15pm on Wednesday 18th December, which gives her plenty of time to get down to the cities. She’ll arrive at Paris (Charles De Gaulle Airport; better her than me) sometime around 8:35am the next day (19th). After an hour and forty minutes (which isn’t bad for a layover) she’ll be on another flight to Newcastle Airport. She should land at 11:05am, and hopefully it won’t take too long for her to get through customs (though I won’t hold my breath).

We’ll then have just shy of four weeks in the UK together until…

Vanna and I head to America:

Yes, we’re getting the same flight which will make things a lot easier. Not only will we have company during the layover and on the plane, it will hopefully quicken my inevitable stop at US Customs, as I’ll be able to point to Vanna and say ‘look she’ll vouch for me!’ Failing that, at least she will know where I am. Instead of waiting somewhere, not knowing whether I’ve landed or not (I could be turned away and she’d only find out when I was at home to message her), she can sit with me while a burly man (or woman) goes through my luggage. Much better.

Anyway, we leave Newcastle on Tuesday 14th January, at a very early time of 5.55am (sorry dad and Sue!). We have a two-hour layover in Amsterdam, from 8:10am to 10:20am, when we will then be heading across the ocean to Minneapolis. We haven’t been able to pick seats together (the site I used for my tickets unfortunately did not offer me that option) but hopefully someone will switch with us. Vanna has an aisle seat which leaves us with a good bargaining position (everybody wants an aisle seat). And even if we don’t get to sit next to each other, we’ll make it work (I watch films for the entire flight…it’s the layovers and general waiting where it’ll be good to have company).

We arrive in Minneapolis at 12:30pm on the same Tuesday, and then I’ll have 90 glorious days (which includes my birthday, her birthday and Valentine’s day) with my lovely fiance before I have to head back home.

My Return Home:

Not really the best part of this adventure, but at least it shouldn’t be too bad a flight. I leave Minneapolis at 7:25pm on Sunday 13th April, and arrive in Amsterdam (I paid £5 more to avoid a layover in France…money well spent I reckon) next morning at 10:40am. I’m there for another hour or so until 12:15pm and my flight back to Newcastle, where I should arrive at 12:35pm. A more convenient time to be picked up, which is something.

 

And that’s that. Nearly everything is sorted. All I need now is my travel insurance and ESTA and I’m ready to go. As for Vanna, she’s just waiting for that flight. A month and a bit to go!

Right, I’m off to celebrate. No alcohol, but there’s some Halloween sweets in the hallway. They’re for the trick or treaters but…I won’t tell if you don’t.

Alex