We've settled in. Our apartment is lovely, albeit a little far from Brad's job and my university. It's very comfortable, though, and Brad has taken control of the kitchen, while I spend most of my time sitting in the living room, alternately reading and getting tired of reading. As it gets darker earlier and earlier, I have an easier time concentrating.
Our neighborhood is lovely and quiet and our location in Old Catton means we're a bit closer to that picturesque English countryside that we all know from Jane Austen and Merchant Ivory. There are some cows and horses, some farms, and some parks that will look lovely when (or if) it snows this winter.
There's an eerie sort of low-hanging fog that blows in and out, and that combined with all the pastures and foliage makes for a nice walk. There are a few large grocery stores within a couple miles of us - Tesco's, Somerfield's, and the Walmart-owned Asda - and these lovely surroundings make the walk almost entirely bearable. The grocery stores here are as massive and busy as the supermarkets in the States, and they are chock-full of frozen cornish pasties and chicken tikka masala in cans. The abundance of pre-prepared food in this country helps me to understand why someone like Jamie Oliver feels like this country's relationship with food needs to be reevaluated.
But on to the cheerier stuff. This town is beautiful.
The center of town is all twisty lanes that meet at odd angles and we've finally gotten a handle on how to get around. There are small family-owned shops and gigantic corporate stores side-by-side, though all of them are probably getting slammed by the recession that just hit England like a tidal wave. The pound is weaker than it's been in many years, and if the American economy wasn't also crawling along at rock-bottom, it'd be a great time to come visit. Any takers?
Brad and I live pretty much on the cheap, though. The most that we may spend money on is perhaps a shirt or a pan from the multitude of charity shops in town, through which I paw hoping for some hidden treasure. My access to the amazing library at the University helps with my generally uncontrolled book addiction - not that I would have time to read for pleasure these days, anyway. Aside from the theoretical and academic books, I only read the occasional piece of fiction, or maybe one of the books in the poetry series that my professor edits. For anyone interested, the book titled Camp Notebook by Hungarian poet Miklos Radnoti is wonderful. Distressing, but incredible.
Contrary to how we normally operate, we haven't had any little excursions. Too much school, too much work, not enough motivation. We will, though...and you'll be the first to know about it. In the meantime, autumn is here, and I'm happy enough to watch the leaves change and wander through town when I have the time.
Now I'll get back to watching that wacky UK television and chewing my nails over the upcoming presidential election. Remember - vote early and often! Good luck, everyone.