22 March 2013

England's Schools

We are now moved in to our house and have officially lived there for one week!  This week has flown by!!  The kids started school on Tuesday after we chased down school uniforms!  

The local stores carry the gray pants, black shoes and polo shirts.  The school cardigan, sweatshirt, PE kit (gear) had to be purchased by a certain company, which happens to be run out of a lady's house.  We had a good chat as she had lived in Florida for a short time.
Karis asked if she would need to take her pants off to try on some PE shorts.  If you're not familiar with British English, pants are underwear and the lady was in the midst of assuring Karis she would not need to remove them when she realized Karis was talking about her "trousers" as they call them.  Ha!!  We had a good laugh over that!
To back track a little and tell you of our school process, England has a very different system for school enrollment than we are use to.  In talking to colleagues I was becoming very overwhelmed and anxious about the process.
It's not as simple as find a home, go to the closest school and enroll your child(ren).  What was recommended to us was to research schools, find the one we wanted and then house hunt.  Again, this seemed overwhelming to me!  What if we didn't find a house near the school or there wasn't an opening in that school?  The rental market isn't an easy one!!  
We knew though that overall Horsham had good schools, so we just went with settling there.
I finally decided to just focus on the house hunting and trust the Lord on the school He wanted us in.
And wow, did He provide for us!!  The school is about a mile away, so only a 5 minute drive in the mornings.  
We were pleasantly surprised that all 3 kids got in the same school, Leechpool Primary.  It's common for siblings to have to attend different schools and then transfer over when a spot becomes available.  I tell ya, God is good in providing for us!!
We had a wonderful time on our first tour of the school!  We knew it was a good place!  Then once we got our official acceptance from the county (another process that is unfamiliar to us), we went back to the school to fill out more paperwork and met the headteacher (principal).  We learned that she had bounced around quite a bit as we have and had last lived in Madrid, Spain moving to Horsham to take this very position.  We had a good chat with her and were excited to have that in common with her.  We had even more peace that she would understand our kids and their background.
  Of course, the kids were nervous on their first day!  I knew they were in good hands though and they ended up having a great first day.  People were nice, they made friends, they liked their teachers.  I am so pleased!!
And on Reegan's third day of school she got this note from a new friend.

How sweet is that?!

The schoolwork is a bit tougher than their used to.  I was expecting that as I know they teach at a different pace and their Math is taught differently.  I told them it might take a few weeks or even months to get into the swing of things, but they're happy, so this mama is happy!

And now the house is so quiet!!  So back to unpacking I go!

The internet is terrible on my phone in our new neighborhood, so it might be awhile until I can update again.  I'll be so ready to have wi-fi hooked back up and be more connected!!  I'm having withdrawals!! Ha!  At least it keeps me going on all the unpacking and cleaning I have to do!!

Enjoy the weekend!!  Our goal is to unpack and stay warm!  It's going to be a cold one!

12 March 2013

A Trip To See Seven Sisters

I've been itching to take a road trip and start seeing some of the beautiful sites that England has to offer!  We decide to head to Seven Sisters.
Beautiful white chalky cliffs that run along the English Channel in East Sussex.  About an hour and a half drive from us.
One of the many things we love to see in England, thatched roof cottages!
I hadn't done much research on Seven Sisters.  Just a little googling and found Seven Sisters Country Park.   We paid for 2 hours of parking and were on our way!
When we arrived we didn't realize we had quite a walk ahead of us.  In total (to the beach and back) we walked about 3 miles.  We were bookin' it to get back to the car in 2 hours!
The kids complained a bit, but they did have quite a bit of fun.

He was "king of the world!"

We got to see LOTS of sheep in the neighboring fields.

 This was one of the 2 brown/black sheep we saw in the field.

You can choose to go up to the top of the cliffs or to the beach.  We weren't ready to brave open cliffs (no railings whatsoever) with the kids, plus we wanted to SEE the cliffs, not be on top of them!
We had quite a muddy walk, I haven't bought my wellies (rain boots) yet and wish I'd had some!  Luckily, the kids had proper shoes!
We finally made it to the rocky beach to see this beautiful site!
Somehow we got a self portrait with five people and a cliff!  Ha!

After about 20 minutes we had to make our way back!

I love this photo of the kids on these old barriers!

I learned later that we should have continue past the cliffs to the east side.  The parking is closer and the  view is even better.  Next time!!

11 March 2013

Spring Walk

We took a walk recently on one of the warm days last week.  
Hard to believe that Spring is on it's way with the temperatures the way they were this past Sunday.

One of the many lovely things about England are the walking paths.  If present, they can reduce your walking time quite a bit.  Not to mention that many times it takes you through pretty green areas!

We've seen this kitty a few times on our walks.  My kids want a pet so badly!  They were ready to take her home!!

Looking forward to warmer weather and many more walks!!
Of course, the morning I post this it's SNOWING outside!  Ugh!

09 March 2013

Move In Date

We found a house! 

All has been approved and we have a move in date for this coming Wednesday!

Our things will arrive Thursday!  

Oh, how we are so ready to have our own place with all our own things that we haven't seen in 7 months!  Ahhh, bliss!

We'll need to be very smart in organizing because it's going to be a tight squeeze.  And the garage is, in essence, going to become the catch all room.  The pantry/utility/storage room.

We'll be sure to share more pictures as we get settled!

08 March 2013

Food Waste Recycling

I've always admired Europe's commitment to recycling.

The area of Texas we were just in had no recycling program and it about killed me to throw away plastics and paper!  I tried to keep the paper aside to recycle later, but we could never figure out a place to take our recycling.  We may not have searched very hard......

Prague, Madrid and Vienna have varied in how they recycle, but it has basically been paper, plastic and glass.  It's been easy and accessible to do in each place.  

Recycling has come to a whole new level for me!  
Now, add in food waste recycling!

The green bin (only about a third of the size of the other bins) is the outside bin.  It is collected once a week.

The gray bin is what you collect inside.  I was not aware of the nifty biodegradable bags the first week and was just tossing it in all together, plastic bags were not allowed.  Then a friend put me on the biodegradable bags and clean up was much easier.

Tea bags and coffee grounds are also recyclable.  Just no oils of any kind.

It seemed a bit icky at first and I was sure it would be stinky, but it actually has not been bad at all!

And it is quite an organized system.  The food waste recycle just started in the past few months in this area.  Quite a nifty brochure came out with instructions for what can go in each bin.

The other is the collection calendar, although it was for the end of the year.  I went online in search of a current calendar of when the waste is collected each week (the non-perishable items are collected on an every other week basis) and easily found it on their website.

Horsham doesn't have food waste recycling, so this is short lived, but I've enjoyed feeling as if I am doing my part in food waste recycle!

07 March 2013

Things You Might Not See in America

I thought I was overwhelmed by grocery shopping in America when we returned.  I think I am equally overwhelmed at all the new things and choices available.

The fun part of shopping is the funny names and even sometimes the directions for preparation on some foods.

Roast Ox flavored chips flavoured crisps anyone?

How about some spoilt pig?

In doing some research, I think spoilt (or as we would call it in America "spoiled") pig is the name of this company's bacon.  

I love our many commonalities in the English & American English language.  It's also fun to see the many differences!

I'd love to see what other expats in England have found!!  Anyone?


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