This is a very belated post. So sorry...
Its been a great week and weekend, which I promise I will sum up in a post tomorrow. Right now I am excited to share about my adventures in the north!
Last friday I woke up, packed a bag, and jumped on a train up to Manchester to visit my dear friends, the Taylors! Dom, Anna, and their sweet kids Arabella and Ollie are so special to me, and one of the reasons I was so excited to do this program was because I knew that I may be able to pop up and visit them. I got to know Dom first as a student at FOCUS, when he was the area director in Boston. Over the course of a few summers on the vineyard I met, and quickly fell in love with, Anna and Arabella. Then over my year off after St. A's I interned for Dom at FOCUS Boston, which was the best. Needless to say, I was so sad to hear that they were moving back to the UK, (where they originate from), but I knew it was a fantastic opportunity. That was an amazing year both for me and for them, as Ollie came into the world. :-)
So last friday I jumped on the train and headed north. I had to take the train to Bristol (15 min) then transfer onto a bigger train. I got some great reading done on the train (working on Emma), transferred once more, then got on my last train. I was supposed to arrive in Macclesfield around noon but our conducter got wind that some dummies were playing in the tracks...we had to inch our way into the station. Seemed like ages, but I finally made it. Anna and the kiddies were there waiting, with a yummy sandwich to boot! The best. On our way Knutsford (technically a suburb, but really just an adorable English town outside Manchester) Anna pointed out all the sights including Dom's highschool, and some incredible English countryside. We drove to the local park, (another National Trust...can't rave enough about these properties) and played for a while on the swings. I am sure Johnboy will chuckle when he sees this, as Arabella has always been an avid swinger. In the playground sense. Obviously. Anyway, not much has changed!
That night we had a yummy dinner at a local pub. Great time to hang and catch up. The next day we got up and headed into Manchester to do a little city exploring, and execute an important shopping mission for some exciting upcoming weddings. That was a success, and it was really cool to see a bit of the city. I didn't know much about Manchester other than it is home to two of the biggest football teams in the country, and I expected it to be very industrial. I was very pleasantly surprised though! It is a very friendly city, not too huge and easily traversable. There is a great tram system, which the kiddies enjoyed, and over all it has a sort of Boston-ey vibe, versus more fast paced places like London or New York. Definitely worth a visit if you are in the area!
That afternoon we relaxed a bit and then Dom and I headed over to the Heath (Heathe?) w Arabella and Ollie for some frisbee/soccer/tig action. Tig as in Tag, of course. The heath is this gorgeous huge field of lush grass in the middle of town, and also ideally in the Taylor's front yard. After a nice little play we headed back, had some (delicious) dinner, and relaxed while watching The Voice.
The next day we went to Church, which was fantastic. It was so nice to be able to go to church because I havnt been since I have been here, and their church is great. And the sermon was about marriage! Its like they knew I was coming...After church I was seriously spoiled because Dom and Anna cooked up a huge, yummy, english breakfast for us! Mushrooms, tomatoes, beans, and all! It was SO good. We ate and I packed up my stuff and we said our goodbyes. The best part about was that it wasnt sad saying goodbye because I knew that I would see these guys in just a few weeks back in the States!
I had such a lovely weekend with the Taylors. It was amazing to see them and catch up, as they are so special to both John and I. They completely spoiled me with yummy food and good conversation, and I came back to Bath feeling so refreshed.
Things I got addicted to in Knutsford: Jammy dodgers, lemon-lime marmalade, Country Living Magazine. And the incredible truffles that I found two days later which some sneaky, wonderful person had snuck into my bag.
Love you guys :-)