Thursday, 9 December 2010


We celebrated Thanksgiving this year with our church group.  Praise God, by some miracle we all fit into our small lounge and even had room to play Turkey charades.  
(After we moved the tables out and rearranged a bit.) 
We have been so thankful for our group and the friendships we've made.  They are our family away from home! 
(From Left to Right: Geoff, Josie, Sheila, Tony, Derek, Kirsten, Jerr, Isaac, Jess, Jane, Joel, and Hanne)

I was so proud of the turkey. Nice little 17lb bird that I brined and roasted. When you spend 30 hours getting it ready, I guess it's natural to become attached.  Jerr said we should have turkey more.  I don't think he knows how long it takes. Last year my one regret was that I didn't make my own gravy.  I used store bought and it was disappointing. So, this year I enlisted the help of Sheila and Josie and we whipped up a fantastic gravy from the drippings. Sheila even came prepared with her own apron and oven mitts.  

The table decorations courtesy of Poundland (aka the Dollar Store).  
And some leaves that had fallen on the ground. 

Saturday, 13 November 2010

bonfire night.

Bonfire Night.                                                              
 On November 5th the English celebrate Bonfire Night, or Guy Fawkes day. According to, Guy Fawkes was England's greatest traitor and is famous for trying to blow up parliament. Bonfire night is celebrated by burning an effigy of Guy Fawkes on a bonfire and lighting off fireworks. 
This year we went with a group of friends to the racecourse in Worcester to watch the blaze and fireworks.
Sadly, we missed the lighting of the bonfire and burning of Guy Fawkes.  
But that's because we stopped at the chippy first. 

It was our first proper chippy since moving to the UK.  I will tell you why it has taken 18 months to enjoy this national delicacy. When we arrived in the UK, the very day, we went to a pub and ordered fish and chips. Classic rookie mistake, we have since learned.  The only way to eat fish and chips is from the local chippy.  And the only way to tell how good a Fish and Chips takeout is: the quality of the chips.  I'll be honest, these were a bit soggy.  I'm told the good ones are crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.


When Mom and Dad came out in September we took a weekend trip to Norway to see Mom's cousins. It was one of the best trips we have taken.  Our relatives took us around Bergen and showed us 'Norway'.  We took trains through the countryside, buses along the steepest, curviest road in Norway, and a ferry through the fjords.  Spectacular is the only way to describe the country. 

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Ma and Pa's Big UK trip

In September my parents came for a much anticipated visit.  We went to Norway (a separate blog) for the first weekend and then spent the rest of the time around England and Wales.  It was such a special trip and we had the best time showing the our city and English life. We took them to a proper castle and we rode on a boat on the River Thames. We went to the Maritime museum in Greenwich. (As in Greenwich Mean Time- the starting time zone.) We stayed in a hotel overlooking Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, and the London Eye. We rode the Tube.  We drank pints in pubs.  

Mom and Dad sitting in the rare English sun outside a pub in Worcester. 

In front of the Worcester Cathedral. We went on a tour of the inside. Our tour guide Rosemary was delighted to have a record number our tour-ee's: four.  She said we made her day.  It was Jerr and I's first time in the cathedral.  

Buckingham Palace in the background. They were filming 'Johnny English 2' and so the street was closed. 

Brighton waterfront. We took them there on their first day to walk off the 10 hour flight and help fight the jet lag. Nothing like the sea air. 

Mom and I had proper cream teas while Dad enjoyed a local brew.  Thanks Ginger Pig cafe!

Hiking for a brief time in the Malvern Hills before it tipped down. 

The lovebirds in London.  Oh stop it! 

Mom in the smelly phone booth. She wouldn't go into another one. 

Tour guide Dan explaining changing of the guards. I'm not sure that's what we saw, but we stood around for a long time.  Some guards passed on horses and about 1/2 hour later a band marched by and about 1/2 hour later some more guards and about 1/2 hour later we talked to other American tourists (identified by their white sneakers) who also didn't know what was happening.  We finally gave up.  
Thanks for visiting Mom and Dad! 

Thursday, 19 August 2010


How else do you celebrate turning 31 than with a BBQ, a cheesecake, and a lasagna that takes four days to eat?!

Sadly, I had to work on Jerr's birthday so he had to put his own dinner in the oven. 

Kirsten made a delicious Red Velvet cake for the BBQ. 


... Jerr's ready to take up his golf game. 

Thank you to everyone who had a part in the birthday celebrations! 

Thursday, 29 July 2010

F & G

France and Germany. July 2010. With James and Elnaz. 
Loading up the Golf Plus. 

Navigating our route. 
Stuttgart to Strasbourg. Strasboug to Heidelberg. Heidelberg to Karlsruhe. Karlsruhe into and around the Schwarzwald and back to Stuttgart. 

Stop 1. Strasbourg. 

We really enjoyed Strasbourg. Some of the highlights: 
- Strolling around Petit France.
-The Cathedral. (I thought it was better than Notre Dame in Paris.) 
-Happy hour Scrabble match at a cafe. We watched the commuters bike and walk through the rain. 
- The bad weather gave us the excuse to stop for French treats, pastries, glace, cafe au lait.... 
- Charming photo ops. 

Stop 2. Heidelberg. 

We walked along high street stopping at the old city bakery for an authentic apfel strudel. A little sugar boost before the climb to the castle. 

 Schloss Heidelberg. 

It didn't look impressive from below, but after hiking up to the castle the inside was huge. 

Stop 3. Karlsruhe. 
Our friends, James & Elnaz, had a wedding in Bruchsal so we stayed a night in Karlsruhe. 
While they were at the hochzeit, we had dinner in town. 

Stop 3. der Schwarzwald. 

It was hard to capture the Black Forest, but it was beautiful. There are lakes, ski hills, and sweet little alpine villages in between the valleys. 
Such a great trip! Thanks James and Elnaz for a fun long weekend. We'll travel anytime with you guys! 

Friday, 9 July 2010

to be fair...

...if Paris was one of my favorites, going to Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt was Jerremy's. It was a great trip in May and I realize that I didn't include it in the blog, probably because I started work as a nurse (finally), Jerr was busy with his work and time flew by. How is it already July? I don't know. But here is Sharm in all it's sunny splendor. 
Arrive. Thaw out after cold British winter. Head to beach.
Jess plan: lay in sun for maximum amount of time.
Jerr spots kite-boarders. Jerr makes his plan. 
Plan: kite-board every morning and snorkel in the afternoon.

Daily routine:
-Get up at 6:45am
-Eat breakfast at 7am when cafe opens, talk about wind conditions
-Head to beach and stake out lounge chairs 7:20am
-Apply sunscreen and start sweating 7:30 am
-Start getting kite/lines ready- Jerr. Read a couple chapters in so-so book- Jess.
- Jerr wades out into water by 8am waves to photographer Jess. 
-Kite-boarding to heart's content Jerr, lounging in sun and enjoying hot weather Jess.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Ou e la Rue Saint Jacques?

Two years ago, for my birthday, Jerr gave me Pimsleur French lessons that I could put on my Ipod. I listened on a regular basis as I commuted to work for several months. I remember having to 'Listen and Repeat': "Ou e la Rue Saint Jacques?" All the while I thought, 'How can this be even remotely helpful?' Well... just in case I needed to find Saint Jacques street in Paris. And here it is. We stumbled upon it while out for a walk. I now realize I lost the opportunity to ask for Saint Jacques street. That's okay because if I did I would have been praying they would answer simply, "E la ba" or 'Cet ici" ('over there' or 'here'). I don't know 'left' or 'right' in French. I did use a small bit of my French, but Jerr did most of the communicating.

I could order my breakfast and coffee. Jerr did take the mick out of my pronunciation of 'a little milk'.  He thought it sounded more like I was asking for a chicken in my coffee (un peu lait' vs 'un poulet').  The barista, however, did understand and topped up my americano with milk. I've been a little disappointed with just toast or cereal after French pastries in the morning.

Realizing I am in the right place at the right time.

Our last meal at Baci in the Marais neighborhood. We met up with Jerr's family, Steve and Dede in Paris for six days. It was great to see them and catch up on news from home. We had a great time taking in the sights of Paris together.

One highlight of our trip: a picnic next to the Eiffel Tower.  Earlier in the morning we went to a farmer's market and bought fruit, olives, and almonds. To complete the meal we had a fresh baguette, le fromage, and white wine.

On our visit to the Louvre Museum we managed to make it through most of the Egyptian/Ancients section and the main corridor of Italian Renaissance (including the infamous Mona Lisa painting).  It would take days to see the whole building and do it justice. I  was a little surprised to find a Starbucks inside the Louvre.  (Could you build one in Worcester?!) So that helped refresh us after a long day of looking.  In the olden days it used to be the king's palace until Louis the 14th. He built....

... the palace at Versailles. One of the most spectacular buildings to see in real life. We talked about it afterwards sitting in a cafe having refreshments. King Louis had to have the vision to create something so large. Of course, if you give yourself the name 'Sun King' you might have a larger-than-life view of things.  Again, we only made it through a portion of the palace and had to rent bikes to explore the grounds and other 'lesser' palaces. The bike ride through the gardens at Versailles was a another trip highlight.  (Behind us and the giant man-made lake is the palace.)

Notre Dame Cathedral. (No hunchbacks sighted.)
But the walk was really pretty and the gardens behind the cathedral were lovely.

One of my favorite trips we've taken so far. The weather was beautiful, the company delightful, and the sights were once-in-a-lifetime (although I asked if it could be once-a-year and Jerr said 'no', but at least we stopped for one last pastry before our early morning flight.)