I’m not sure what that title means. It is inspired by some of the titles I’ve seen for academic publications and conference papers in Biblical Studies and the Humanities. The paradox of technical jargon is that, while it is meant to clarify, it often obscures. So, I’ll be clear: we’ve only been in the UK for 19 days, but August 31st seems like a lifetime ago.
JE and the boys have been great. Our transition has gone incredibly smoothly. Life is good, which provides a partial reason for the lack of blogging. All the same, I’ve been the detail guy for our family and have little time or energy to blog or write (or study, for that matter!). I hope to do better as we establish a regular schedule. In the meantime, I thought I’d walk you, dear reader, through our transition with a few representative images and reflections.
Our trip had a very happy beginning. We arrived at Lambert in plenty of time, got our bags sorted, and made a leisurely stroll onto the airplane. Last summer, when I told Charlie that Jane-Ellis and I were going to England to visit PhD programs, he was disappointed that he wasn’t allowed to go, mostly because he wanted to fly. We took three flights–Saint Louis to Dallas, Dallas to London, and London to Newcastle–and the boys loved it. Aside from being the last five people onto the plane in Dallas, the transatlantic flight being strangely hot, and almost missing our connection to Newcastle, everything went smoothly.
The day after arriving in Durham, we walked to the boys’ school to pick up their uniforms and get a feel for the place. The Northeast of England has had an historic amount of rain over the summer, more than any other time in the last one hundred years, and the boys’ school St Hild’s had major flooding in June. Though they were working down to the last minute to get ready for school starting the next day, the staff graciously showed us around and chatted with us. Peter’s first day was a disaster (I walked the boys home after the first day, and so I got the report from his teacher). He’s made very steady improvement since. I’m proud of how each of the boys has adapted. George would stay all day if they would let him. Charlie’s class has been studying Beowulf, which he has loved. Peter is getting along well in a radically different classroom environment. Here’s a picture of the boys on the first day of school:
We didn’t know what to do about the uniforms. How many shirts? How many pants? Windbreaker? Well, we probably got some things that are unnecessary, but I like the St Hild’s swag, especially the little briefcase.
They really take it slowly with the nursery classes here, so George wasn’t actually allowed to stay at school on the first day. He insisted, however, on wearing his uniform. I got this cute pic of him in the City Centre, where we went to get our banking figured out.
It’s a small world. I went down to London for the British New Testament Society Conference on our first full weekend in England. (JE and the boys did very well without me). On the way back to King’s Cross for the trip home, I met Bob Mark and Terry Fox who were in London on business. Bob and I, along with Bob’s wife Jane-Ellen, led the new members class at Central Presbyterian Church for the last eight years. Terry joined Central just last year.
This is what happens when I give Peter our camera and tell him to go take pictures. This is the posterior of a famous statue in City Centre. For the last week, at random, Peter says something like, “Hey Charlie, remember the butt picture? Wasn’t that great?!”
Though I continually feel like I’ve forgotten something essential, I think we’ve sorted the most essential things for now (including starting to use key words like “sort,” “quite,” and “sensible”). JE didn’t get the job she interviewed for, so she’s regrouping and arranging meetings with recruiters. We’re hopeful but anxious about that. I’m eager to get going on work (had my first meeting with my supervisor on Monday, which went well), but, with all of the things we have to do to get established, I haven’t managed to study/work more than 2 hours every other day or so. That will change soon. In the meantime, I’m enjoying walking the boys to school each morning. I’ve been making breakfast for everyone daily too, including JE’s egg cooked hard. What fun that’s been.
That’s all for now.