So we arrived in one piece in the UK the day before yesterday. We left at 9pm Arizona time and arrived at 2:30pm UK time, which was previously 6:30am for us, and still about 3 hours before our usual wake up time. We slept a little to none on the plane and were pretty exhausted when we arrived. Ross’s mom and brother were there to meet us and ecstatic to see Ross who hadn’t been back to visit since 2006.
It was immediately different for me, but nothing too strange happened that could pull me out of my post flight daze. We went to the grocery store soon after dropping off our things and there were tons of new brands and the packaging for brands we do have in the US was often different. Driving on the “wrong side” probably roused me from my stupor more than anything; Veering into what I would expect to be oncoming traffic, hugging curbs on the wrong side of the road and continuously thinking the front passenger was the one driving. The fear of it seemed to wear off pretty quickly but I don’t plan on driving here any time soon. Even Ross having not driven here in a long time doesn’t look forward to it. The cars here are super zippy and mostly small and half the time it looks like everyone’s driving and pulling in and out of parking spot in fast forward – though that may be sleep deprivation talking.
After the grocery store we went for a walk around Maidstone while dinner was cooking. The houses and architecture in the area is great. Lots of old brick houses, an old stone church and graveyard and a cat that looked like an owl who followed us for a block, trying to run in front of us so we would stop and pet him.
It’s our second full day here now and we’re just starting to get into our new schedule. It’s just a few hours from bed time here and only 2pm there, which means we’ll be working to an early end of the day and still be going to bed late here; This might catch up with us in other ways, so far it’s just a little annoying but we’re trying to get it to where we’re waking up at like 10am here and go out and check out the area til 4pm. This morning, we tried that, but weren’t quite ready and couldn’t crawl out of bed til noon. When we did get up and were ready, we went to nearby West Malling to see the little downtown area and have a beer.
We walked past places like “Biffo & Spanky’s” and the “Bush Barber”, names that seem awesomely common place and give you a good laugh even if you only have the energy to walk in a straight line. We stopped at an old low ceiling bar called The 5 Pointed Star and had a pint of warm beer, much to the delight of stereotypers everywhere, but it was a good beer nonetheless and we sat by a tiny old fireplace on a bench seat. The walls were covered in architectural drawings of West Malling, caricatures of English gents and a great painting of a prize winning pig from 1797.
Tomorrow we’ll go to a new place before work, and before most of you wake up. I’ll try to keep up on photos and checking in to places on 4 square when we’re somewhere with access to wifi!