I was thinking recently how it's been awhile since I posted anything about our daily lives here, so I'll catch you up to speed.
Let's start with communications since that's been such a saga while we've been here. Once our phone line was established we got our first phone bill within two weeks. I didn't exactly find that fair since we had waited over 6 weeks for a line, but I don't get to send the bills, just pay them. The company was so efficient in getting us a line finally, that they over compensated and gave us two. After waiting two and a half hours one day to have it corrected and never having the line answered, I hung up in despair. I complained on-line and asked them to fix it. That was a month ago. I never heard anything and don't feel like wasting any more time trying to figure out if we are still being charged for that extra line. In any case, we just didn't pay the "line rental" for the second line.
As for our internet, I had higher hopes for AOL doing better than they have done. When we finally got internet, you might remember it was because a friend lent us their router. I am so glad they did! If they hadn't, we would have just gotten connected last week. Yes, dear friends, our router arrived a good month after it was supposed to. We had been told at least 5 times one was on it's way. Finally, I got a much more competent customer service rep to realize neither order had been sent as we had been reassured all those times it had been. In any case, in a couple days after talking with him we got our very own router!!
I've also spent at least 3 phone calls trying to get our electric bill "sorted" out. If you ever wonder what I do when I'm not at work, you might have an idea now :) Unfortunately, after getting our first electric bill (bills here seem to be billed only every 3 months) we are now "skint." (I taught Mark this word tonight and thought I'd teach you too!) There is no doubt in our mind we are going to find a flat with gas heating!! Can't wait, either :)
Now that we've covered some of the, uh, more interesting parts of life here, we'll move on to the more important things! Mark is pressing forward and studying hard. He went to a class today teaching him how to make the most of using Word for long documents (i.e. dissertations!). Sounds like he wished he would have had the info when he was writing his thesis. I'm very proud of him...I certainly wouldn't have lasted this long studying like he has these past 2-3 months!
I am enjoying my work overall. At first I was on a dreadful project that seemed to never end (in fact, it's waiting for someone else's review and I may end up having to do more on it). Unfortunately, the 4 weeks of nearly constant mouse work has made my tendinitis flare up again (I had it about 4 years ago in both hands). I have had to be careful how much time I spend on the computer, especially at home, and doing other tasks requiring lots of hand movements (i.e. dishes...Mark's been a big help!). The good thing from the project, though, was that I learned my UK geography, especially England. I can now tell you where many of the counties are located and what region they belong to. I wondered why they had the American doing this project, but it has it's perks. When someone mentions cities on the radio or general conversation I often feel like I have a slight understanding of where they are talking about! Very handy :) I'm also learning there are many differences in our education systems. Here "university" and "college" are completely different and not interchangeable! I'm slowly getting to know people at work, too, which is always nice.
We continue to also get to know people at church. We have enjoyed attending Wednesday evening Bible Study that is usually a study of a chapter of Scripture (been in Ephesians) and then small group discussion. One of the things we miss most here is our small group from our old church. The church here doesn't really do small groups except in this form on Weds. We are learning to enjoy what we have and make the most of it! We also like to go some on Sunday evenings as there is tea and coffee and "sweets" served after the service. This is an informal time for getting to know new people in the church and is always an encouragement to us.
Today was the first hard frost I've noticed. Might surprise you, but I've concluded (in my vast meteorological experience) that it's probably because there is often a wind to keep it away! We also noticed that with this frost came a hazard to our well-being! Many of the sidewalks and blacktopped roads were very slick, which wasn't helping me walk as fast as I needed to make up for being late for work :( I am not sure if they were slick because they were wet (as they often are) and then froze, or if it is because they are different materials than in the States or what, but they were slippery for sure!
That's all for now...my hands need a break! Miss you all...