28 February 2013

House Hunters

February 28, 2013 6
For my friends in the US who are curious about our relocation and every step of the process, this is just for you.
We're quickly learned that house hunting in this area is not an easy task.  Rental properties are in high demand.  The pool of desired renters is much higher than the pool of rental properties available.  This means acting fast!!

There are various types of rental property on the market.

a flat (an apartment) 
a detached house (a regular ole house in America) 
a semi-detached (something like a townhouse, but only attached by one side)
a terraced house (town house attached on both sides)

We're not even looking at flats.  We've been there, done that and time to move on.

One of about 5 flats we lived in, in Prague.  Ours was the light yellow building, middle right.

Our flat in Spain.  We were not on the top floor, but one down on the left side of the building.

Plus, there are so many more of the other options available that it's not even been necessary to look closely at flats.  We've mostly seen detached and semi-detached properties at this point.  A few terraced houses have popped up in our search, but the layout or location has not been ideal.

Properties are normally very close together.  Sometimes there is space to walk between buildings and sometimes not. Detached houses in a neighborhood are still going to sit very close together and may not have much of a yard, unless you live in the country.

The term "yard" is actually not used here.  Every advert I've seen refers to it as a garden.  Most gardens are small, maybe the size of a room in a house, although some are quite large.  We've seen all kinds of variations of gardens.  Some are a decent size and some are nothing more than a bricked area.  We're ok with that.  We'd just be happy with some kind of outdoor space.

Our house in Vienna, with a sprawling yard (or rather garden)

Last week we looked at 2 properties.  We were ready to take the second place.  The kitchen and bathrooms were a bit tired (out-dated), giving me some reservations about the place, but I chalked it up to being things I could live with in the long run.  Little did we know it would not be that easy.

The landlord, an elderly couple, wanted to meet us.  No problem there.  We'd met landlords before and had good relationships with them in the past.  However, the meeting was rather strained.  I'll just say this couple was very fussy and I felt like we were having to defend ourselves as good people the entire time we met!!

We left feeling very drained and somewhat defeated.  We decided this was not a good match for us.  I'm afraid I would have been on edge the entire time we lived there, worrying about every little thing!

Even though I felt beat down after that encounter, we were ok with the outcome.  I mentioned before that we were looking to live in Horsham.  At one point we decided to widen our search a bit and that's what took us to look at the "fussy landlord" house, located in the neighboring town of Crawley.

We felt it was the Lord's way of showing us He wanted us in Horsham.  We have some friends in Horsham and there are some ministry opportunities that we are really interested in being a part of.

It gave us a peace that we needed to be patient, knowing that God has just the right place for us in Horsham.  
Some things are progressing and as soon as I am able I will share more.  Hopefully, we'll have a home soon!
Signed, the happy house hunter!

27 February 2013

Where are You?

February 27, 2013 8
Many people have asked where we'll be living in England.  For so long it was easy to say "London" or "south of London."

So, I decided to create this map so you can see where we are spending our time in jolly ole England.
The top point (you may have to click the "-" on the left hand side of the map to pan it out a bit) is the village of Redhill where we are currently staying in a friend/colleague's home and the southern point is the town of Horsham where we are currently looking to live.

Redhill/Horsham in a larger map

Redhill is in the county of Surrey (directly below London County) and the location of Jerry's office. Horsham is in the county of West Sussex.  Both beautiful counties, rich in history.

You may be wondering why we are looking so far away from Jerry's office.  I promise,  I'll get to that.

We've taken a few trips to Horsham to look at properties.  The distance between Redhill and Horsham is about 18-19 miles.  On these small roads, however, it takes longer to go that far than it does in Texas!  It is a 30-45 minute drive.  Jerry won't be driving every day.  Most days he will take a train, which will also be abou 30 minutes.

Even though it's a bit of a drive, it is a beautiful one!!  Take a look at what we saw on our drive today!

This bridge is one lane only.

Luckily, we didn't encounter any large trucks or vans on this narrow lane!

In April of last year we visited some of our friends in the town of Horsham.  We fell in love with this area and almost instantly considered it a possible place to live.

The schooling situation in England is a difficult and complicated system.  As we go through the process of getting the kids in school I will explain more about it.

We've learned that schools in Horsham are over all very good, we can get a bit more space in housing and we have some ministry possibilities with some friends that sounds exciting to us.

We'll keep you posted on all these happenings!

22 February 2013

Driving on the Left

February 22, 2013 9
My biggest fear of moving to England was driving on the wrong left side of the road.  I feared pulling out into the wrong lane of traffic or looking right, first instead of left.

Living here requires us to drive.  So it was time to conquer our fears!!

  We were given a company car, affectionately named "The Blue Box."  Looks a bit like a box, doesn't it?!  Very British!  This will be our home on the road!

 It was just a matter of a lesson to feel comfortable before going it alone.

A local that works for our company is a former police officer.  We set up a time to drive with him to learn the road laws.  He was a great instructor!  By the time I got behind the wheel I was at ease.

We were familiar with driving on small European roads, but signs are a bit different as well as markings on the road.  And the fact that you sit on the right and shift with the left.  Luckily, the pedals are all the same.  Phew!

I am pleasantly surprised with how easy it is to drive on the left!  It doesn't mean we're pros.  We still have lots to learn, but we have been cleared to drive.  We even took quite a drive the day of our lesson ON OUR OWN to eat dinner at some friend's house.  I was so proud of Jerry for driving the whole way!

And we've learned that keeping yourself from going too far left and hitting a curb or smashing a side mirror of another car is actually the biggest obstacle for most.  We both saw how easy it is to do that.  By today, I didn't see Jerry going too far left.  It was just a matter of making visual markers on the car to help with that.

We've begun the search for a place to live.  Hopefully, we'll be updating you all on that very soon!!

20 February 2013

We've Arrived!

February 20, 2013 8
We've landed in England!  And so thankful we had a good flight!
We had FIFTEEN bags!  And every single one of them arrived.  We were so thankful.  The biggest hurdle was getting them from baggage claim out to our colleagues who were waiting for us.  We could hire a guy and his cart to help us or each of us push a cart.  The kids are now big enough to mostly push a cart themselves, so we opted for that.  And we made it!  A few difficult turns, but we made it.
 We were in a jet lag stuppor that first day.  Since we arrived so early we decided to take a nap.  It was hard for us to all wake up, but we were a bit more coherent after that.  We kept it easy that first day just picking up a few things at the store and eating an early dinner.  We had a couple difficult nights of waking up around midnight or 1 and having a hard time going back to sleep.  So far, 2 nights in a row we have slept fine!

We're staying in a colleague's home while we look for a place.  It's in walking distance to our office and the high street.  It's nice since we aren't cleared to drive yet.  Hopefully we'll be driving soon.  I'll definitely have to post about that!

Costa Coffee is an English coffee house.  We had them in Prague and enjoyed going because of their babycino, frothy milk for the kiddos complete with a marshmallow and pretty design on top!  They are free if you purchase a regular size coffee!

 This pretty Church of England is on the way to the high street.  So beautiful!

It's going to take some time before we are really settled with a place, bank accounts, driving, schooling, etc.  Just trying to be patient in the wait!  We'll get there, slowly but surely!

Six Months Quickly Gone

February 20, 2013 3
It's hard to believe this was 6 months ago!

So many places visited and people seen!

Fun, American activities we enjoyed!

Family seen and so enjoyed!

Church activities participated in.

Days spent with friends at the park.

Adjusting to small town life!

Enjoying the Texas view!

We always have to adjust anywhere we move, but it was a good 6 months in the USA.
The kids making Valentines.

We were excited to find these notebooks for teacher's gifts.  How appropriate!!

Saying goodbye at their last Upward practice and a prayer to send Reegan on her way.  How sweet!

Valentine's Day was the kid's last day of school.  Such a nice way to end their American school year, complete with a party!

We had some good teachers that we will miss greatly!

And other school staff as well!! 

We had such a good school experience!!  See the t-shirts the kids are wearing? The secretary gave them the shirts and had their classmates sign them.  How sweet is that?!

Saying goodbye to friends was a difficult one, but with promises of lots of Skype dates!! 

And I got to know Nony from A Slob Comes Clean
Our last week was an emotional one of saying goodbyes to family, church friends and school friends.  But we are so thankful for the time spent!!
We'll miss you, Texas!!

14 February 2013

Time With Family

February 14, 2013 2

It's been fun to be part of birthday parties, Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations, as well as the little things like simply meeting up for dinner.
Some of these photos are months old, but I wanted to get it documented on the ole blog.
Sweet photo with her cousin, Eric.  

Lovin' the girl time with their older cousins, Bethany & Corrie.

I love all those beautiful faces!!

Lovin' on cousin, Michelle.

Withe Uncle Kerry 

Karis showing off her strength!  Ha!

We did a late Christmas with Jerry's family.  A fun gift from Nana, a straw in the shape of eyeglasses.  They crack me up!! 


We've spent a couple of weekends now at Ben & Jamie's (Jerry's sister), lovely home in Jacksonville.  The kids have loved playing with their sweet dogs, Gaby and Sophie.

Gaby is a bit of a blur there.  Ha!  And Sophie, on the left, never......and I mean NEVER tires of playing fetch.  It is the funniest thing!

The kids, Reegan especially, had a blast being around their dogs!!
Some nice aunt and uncle time!

They have a nice pond on their property.  The kids did quite a bit of fishing with dad and papa!!

Even caught a little something on our last visit!

Another weekend we drove down to Waco to meet up with Jerry's brother and his wife, Kenneth & De.

De and I each made scarves for the other for Christmas!  

Some great aunt and uncle time!

Brothers!  And Reegan photo bombing in the background!  Ha!

Sweet photo!

Some laughs with aunt Janet.

Love this! 

Love this one too!

We missed Michelle though.  I took this picture, coffee and kids in place to let her know we missed her.  You know that Carnival Triumph ship that's been stuck off the Yucatan peninsula?  Yeah, she's been stuck on it!  We're praying she gets home safely soon!  We missed saying goodbye to her!

It's been a wonderful six months of spending time with family.  We've said all our goodbyes to aunts, uncles and cousins and we will miss them greatly.

We still have both grandparents to go at the airport and that's going to be a difficult time.  It always is, but we know the plans the Lord has for us and He will see all of us through!


  Deeper - adj. 1. extending or situated relatively far down from a surface: a deep pool. It's been a long time since I've ...