bright are the stars

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Things I’ve Learned While Living in England August 3, 2009

Filed under: England,Misa,Uncategorized — Misa @ 3:29 pm

I’ve learned:

1. To understand the sport of Cricket. It is a bit confusing at first, but so is (American) football.

2. To enjoy watching darts and bowls.

3. That the light switch for the bathroom is always outside of the bathroom in England.

4. That is is really annoying to have your washing machine/dryer in your kitchen.

5. To cook using metric measurements.

6. To use public transportation – I grew up somewhere that had NO public trasport. We didn’t even have sidewalks to our parents always drove us until we were old enough to drive.

7. That just because the label says it can go in the dryer doesn’t meant it won’t shrink…a lot.

8. I NEED a public library – two years without one has been expensive since we’ve had to buy our books. It’s even expensive when we buy them used!

9. Fishmongers and stand alone butchers are amazing.

10. Treacle, mushy peas, hob nobs, summer pudding and P.G. Tips are amazing!

11. Even graduate school is taught in an entirely different fashion than in the USA.

12. A 70 is considered an awesome grade.

13. They do not use the word awesome.

14. Research on humans or animals is severely limited by buerecratic policies.

15. British comedy.

16. British spelling.

17. To always know the dollar/pound exchange rate and knowing that it is often not in my favour.

18. Having an on/off switch on every electrical outlet is a great idea.

19. The NHS isn’t that bad. Really. I’ve only had to go to them for minor things and have never had a problem. It is a different story if you have something serious wrong with you.

20. I really miss my musical instruments that I had to leave behind.

These are the first things that come to mind when I think back on my time in England.


A Wet Day in London August 2, 2009

Filed under: England,Misa,My Pilot — Misa @ 3:29 pm

We had an excellent time in London yesterday even though it was raining. As I already mentioned we visited Buckingham Palace, had lunch at Yo! Sushi and then saw Les Miserables.

The palace was phenomenal! The only downside was that you are not allowed to take photographs inside the Palace and the entrance is designed in such a way that you cannot take photographs of the outside either. I think it is because they want to make money selling the photo books in the gift shop. Shrug. Anyway, there was a special exhibit on the Queen’s various trips to other parts of the commonwealth. Every outfit she wore was impeccable and appropriate down to including national colours in each garment. It is good to be the queen!

Yo! Sushi was tasty. The service in the particular franchise we were in was a little lack-luster, but it didn’t ruin our lunch. I ate so much sushi and katsu curry. Yum, yum, yum! Yo! Sushi is interesting because it is based on the Japanese kaiten-zushi. The sushi sits in on conveyor belt that goes around the restaurant, when you see something that looks tasty you just take it off the conveyor belt. At the end of your meals the plates are counted in order to determine your bill. It is good fun!

Lastly, Les Miserables was amazing. I spent most of the second act in tears, but then I cried at the end of Monster’s Inc. It was sooo good. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen any show, so this was an extra special treat for me. I’m a bit spoiled in terms of musicals (and other things ^0^) because my college had weekly trips in to NYC to see shows at a substantial discount – $20 for a private bus in to the city, the show, the bus ride back to campus AND they gave us a snack on the bus. My friend Brian and I would go nearly every week on these trips. If anyone ever needs a recommendation for a show, I’m your girl.

I leave on Tuesday to go back to the states for about a month. I know it’s crazy to do this right before our PCS, but it can’t be helped (long, long, long, but-not-very-interesting story). Today and tomorrow I need to organize all my belongings here in case I can’t get back to England before our PCS. That would not be a total disaster because I need to go home before our PCS anyway because I need to drive my car and pet down to Texas. I will miss my husband, but am looking forward to seeing friends and eating at Salad Works!

I hope everyone had a nice weekend!


Really? July 31, 2009

Filed under: England,Irritations — Misa @ 5:52 pm

I do not like it when the BBC uses a Twitter post as a legitimate news source. It just doesn’t seem entirely legitimate and besides I could make up lots of things to post on Twitter that are not true, but sound true.


That was my random thought of the hour provided to you free of charge. 🙂


Les Miserables

Filed under: England,Misa,My Pilot,Travel — Misa @ 3:33 pm

Tomorrow we are off to London to visit Buckingham Palace in the morning and to see Les Miserables in the evening. How exciting! I’ve heard good things about Les Miserables, but am not generally a fan of Andrew Lloyd Weber. I’m sure I’ll enjoy it even if it doesn’t end up as my favourite musical.

We also have plans to visit Harrod’s and to go to one of our favourite and easy sushi places Yo! Sushi. A busy, but fun day.

Right now I need to do more home inventory stuff. I leave the country on Tuesday for about a month and a half and don’t want to have to do an entire home inventory upon my return as we will be busy with other stuff. Have a good Saturday everyone!


Rain, Rain, Rain July 30, 2009

Filed under: Books,England — Misa @ 2:09 am

It seems like it has been raining non-stop for the past week. Fortunately, I really enjoy the rain especially if it is an absolute downpour. I might feel differently if I had to go out in the rain to go to work, especially since I don’t have a car here.

For now, it’s nice to just sit on the sofa with a blanket and some really bad television or a really good book. In an effort to become more attuned to British culture and history I’ve taken to reading local history books and fiction by British authors. Books that take place in England even if they are not written by British authors are also good. Some of my favourite authors have been Terry Prachett and Douglas Adams who both write light science fiction, Bill Bryson who writes observational and historical comedy books and Ken Follett who wrote World Without End and The Pillars or Earth respectively. Of course I have also re-read all of the Paddington Bear series just because I think he is super cute! Obviously, Harry Potter is another English author and setting. The only book I have on my list for Texas is Texas, by James A. Michner. Does anyone know of any other Texas books?

The rain is also helping my terrace herb garden so I have loads of tasty fresh herbs. Few things are as easy to make as homemade pesto and it is delicious! As an added bonus you can also freeze your homemade pesto and it still tastes just as good as when it’s perfectly fresh. Mmmm, mmmmm, mmmmmm!!!


Thank Goodness for Small Miracles July 24, 2009

Filed under: England,Misa — Misa @ 4:50 pm

The computer gods must be smiling on me because Dell has unexpectedly decided to let me renew my warranty, thus allowing me to get my computer fixed.

The on good thing that came out of my computer hiatus was that I was sufficiently motivated to experiment with some more traditional artistic mediums. I usually spend most of time creating with my computer and pen tablet, but this past week I’ve enjoyed using pen and ink and even some charcoal. This creative spurt has also gotten me out of an artistic rut! Hurray!!

I went in to town this afternoont to have lunch with my pilot and had an interesting experience on the bus. The bus driver nearly came to blows with a driver in another bus because the other bus was blocking traffic AND was in the wrong lane. I have never heard such colorful swearing! It was pretty creative swearing too. I won’t repeat any of it here, but it was certainly amusing.

On Monday, the pilot and I will be at the Smooth Move seminar on base so that we can be prepared for our upcoming PCS this October. I’m pretty sure I know the general gist of what will be said, but we really need to ask some questions at the end of the seminar since we are in a kind of special/unique (read: the air force doesn’t really know what to do with us) situation. A big part of my computer getting fixed is that I will not have to redo our entire home inventory. I went a little over the top and itemized everything down to individual CDs, DVDs and video games. It also comes with attached photographs of said items. This was a BIG project and it’s one I’m glad to not have to do again in the near future. I used a home inventory template that you can download for free from the Microsoft website. If you have never used their free templates you should check them out – they have serious things like budget worksheets and inventories (for home and small business) and more fun things like calendars and reward certificates. Overall, a very cool service. I don’t know why more people don’t use it.

I’ve challenged my pilot to a game of Go and he is demanding that we play. Does anyone else out there play Go? If not, what are your favourite board games?


Little Bo Peep July 16, 2009

Filed under: England,Misa,My Pilot,Travel — Misa @ 2:13 pm

Every since we started dating my pilot and I have always made the decision to get or do one really nice thing when we travel somewhere. For example, when we were in Istanbul we purchased one genuine, handmade, Turkish carpet rather then lots of little trinkets. I’m not trying to brag it’s just a preference of ours. Besides I don’t really like to dust so having a ton of small trinkets around would be a disaster for my housekeeping.

Since we have been living in England we’ve had the opportunity to do lots of nice things, but we had yet to purchase something as a remembrance of our time in England. There is a myriad of union jack prints and mind-the-gap paraphernalia, but in the spirit of the British we have opted for something local and handmade. As an added bonus I think this particular item is super cute! We are getting a wooden sheep complete with real sheep’s wool. It sounds silly when I write it down, but I’ll post pictures as soon as I can. It is certainly a unique creation and the woman who makes them is a regular at our local market.

Do you have any unique treasure from your travels?