Week 1: Life Across The Pond

It’s hard to believe that we have been in England for one whole week already! It’s been an exciting whirlwind to say the least.

In an effort to keep our loved ones informed about our journey, I am going to wipe the dust off the old blog and try to make regular posts about our British adventure. Fingers crossed I can keep it up.

Week 1 was full of lots of transitions and sleep. Jet lag is real people, very real. Especially when going from Pacific Standard Time to Eastern Standard Time and then to Greenwich Mean Time, all within 72 hours. #Zzz

Where to start… How about the basics to catch some people up:

Why did you move to England? Jared received a great opportunity to transfer to a UK branch of Grant Thornton. We couldn’t pass up such an exciting opportunity to immerse ourselves in the British culture. So we jumped the pond!

Where do you live?  Reading, England, a suburb town 30 miles west of London city center. The town has lots of shopping, coffee shops (2 times the national average) and pubs. It’s a great location to travel all of England via rail and of course the rest of Europe.

Reading, England

How long will we you be in England? Two years, until September 2017.

Back to the fun stuff, how was our first week…

UK washer
I can say after 7 days that we made an excellent decision when we jumped the pond. England is like a home away from home, minus our adorable nieces and nephews, wonderful family and killer friends. The biggest transition has been our living arrangements. We’re currently living in a temporary flat Jared’s company secured for us until we move into a permanent flat. I can honestly say I’m over living out of suitcases, horrible water pressure, 3 forks and a dishwasher we have no clue how to use. We’re a little scared to try the dishwasher after we shrunk a load of laundry in the washer on the first try. Good news is we have secured a flat! The rental market in Reading is cutthroat. It’s basically like buying a house with only 2-3 options available in total. There are realtors, viewing fees, offers and landlords that get to be picky about their tenants. We actually lost the first flat we put an offer in on, but the good news is we liked the second flat we found better and we got it. Move in day is next week, October 15, which also happens to be our four year wedding anniversary & 10 year together anniversary!

The 2015 Rugby World Cup is happening in England right now, which has made for some great pub nights out already. I’m officially a fan, and dare I say it is possibly better than American football. Go ahead and judge me for saying that. Although the rugby sports announcers look like they have been dragged behind a trailer at some point, sporting misshapen heads, swollen ears and crooked noses (literally diagonal). But man is it fun to watch!

There are a lot of things here that remind us of home and also a lot of things that make me go, “oh yah, I’m in Great Britain.” For instance they have Pizza Hut, H&M, McDonald’s, Walmart AKA ASDA here, Subway, KFC, Starbucks, Lush, Domino’s Pizza and many more stateside franchises. One thing that will take some learning is grocery shopping. The types of food, the packaging, their cheddar is not artificially colored and they have SO MUCH CHOCOLATE. No really, the variety of chocolate treats and biscuits is just plain dangerous. If you have a sweet tooth, England would be nirvana or death for you. They have entire aisles dedicated to biscuits; hazelnut biscuits, chocolate chip biscuits, vanilla biscuits, dark chocolate biscuits (my fave). We may walk 30,000 steps in one day here, but the biscuits will negate that real quick. I need a new diet plan ASAP. Jared was most excited about finding american bacon, which they have dubbed, “streaky bacon.” Things we will not be missing are; chocolate biscuits, junk food, gin & tonics, lattes and pints.

The clothing shopping here is top notch. So good, I wish I would have left half of my clothes at home so I could validate to Jared why I need an entire new wardrobe – #AccountantWifeProblems. I’m going to have a hard time staying out of the adorable shops adorned with perfectly oversized sweaters, ankle boots and all things comfy & cute that I love. Say a prayer for me (and Jared).

Traveling in Oxford With all the hustle and bustle of transitioning we were still able to squeeze in a mini trip to Oxford this past weekend. It’s a must see destination in the UK. Not only is it home to the famous Oxford University, donned with buildings you could take pictures of for days, it’s also the stomping grounds of Harry, Ron and Hermione (Harry Potter for all you people who live under a rock). Oxford was hosting several graduation ceremonies so we could not do the full Harry Potter experience. But with it only being a quick 20 minute train ride away, we will be back in Oxford many more times, so this is not the last you will hear about it. We also had our first official fish n’ chips while visiting Oxford. All I have to say is that it was WAY better than I remembered. It’s good to be back!

OxfordFish n' Chips

Jared had his first day in the office this past Monday and I went back to work for Naturepedic, remotely from Reading coffee shops. Jared loves his new office and is looking rather fresh in his fancy suits each day. I am loving my new office view and am very thankful that my wonderful company let me keep my job, which I love. We are truly blessed.

Jared's first daycoffee shop in Reading

Thank you to everyone who has sent wishes, prayers and good tidings. We love you all and will miss you while we’re away.

We’ve started a Flickr account where we will be posting all of our photos so I don’t have to blow up your Facebook feeds too much. But if you know me, you’re not going to be lacking in any Facebook or Instagram posts. The first round has pictures from our day in Oxford. I will try to get some more of our little town, Reading soon. CLICK HERE to see the pictures.

Cheers & remember you’re always welcome at the VanArsdale flat!

The Reveler