Hello and Welcome!
We’ll spare you the details of our very very long travel day, but here are the things to note:
- Taxi drivers at Heathrow do not appreciate foreigners with credit cards.
- The customs booth wasn’t open at 8am London time, so we shamelessly smuggled in a salami. Connor “declared” the salami to anyone who cared to listen, but that was the extent of it. (See this video).
- Despite an error in Penny’s paperwork, she arrived safe and sound, and maybe a bit traumatized. Showers of blessings upon the man at the Animal Reception Centre who “honestly couldn’t be bothered to fail the dog.” (Funny how these strict animal import rules don’t really matter when someone doesn’t feel like doing their job…) But I’m not complaining!
We explored the area around our hotel and love Birmingham so far (also known as the Brum, and the people are Brummies). We found the big market in the city centre, the Cathedral, a few parks, and the canal area. The priest at St. Chad’s Cathedral was thrilled to meet a couple Americans, and he turned us over to Jeanne who took us down for some cake. She and her husband are in their late 60s and he attended Yale back in the day. Jeanne gave me her address and phone number, suggested a few places where I could volunteer (all dealing with the Calais refugees), and asked me to tea once I get settled.
Pubs here are so cute! And the bartenders are excited to talk to Americans. Last night I asked a kid who couldn’t have been more than 20 to tell me about a certain beer, and he responded, “Do you know what I mean when I say it’s very hoppy?” Cue excitement followed by bitter disappointment. I don’t think the British have truly met a hop. But that’s ok – the beer wasn’t bad! Local tip: traditional pubs should have flowers out front. The one pictured below was so cute we had to stop in. It didn’t fit more than 2 or 3 tables so we sat outside by the canal.
We submitted an offer for an apartment lease yesterday and hope to hear back tomorrow. We’ll share details when we have them! This one is located in Harborne just off the high street, which is extremely convenient. Everyone cross your fingers!