The humidity was indescribable and something I'm definitely not used to. But not to panic as the weather soon changed - but I'll get on to that later. The drive from the Airport to the neighbourhood in which I am staying for 8 weeks was 'ugly' according to Meg, and the highways are beige and dusty, lined by fast food chains (am I allowed to utter, 'typical' under my breath?). We came over a highway bridge on the outskirts and I caught a glimpse of the city skyline half hidden my clouds at the top, and parallels were drawn with London a little.
The area around us soon grew greener as we turned into an incredibly leafy estate, lined with what can only be described a Doll's Houses - the houses here are so huge and unlike anything I've seen before. Luckily for me, the heat didn't stay and it started raining (it never rains in Texas, ever!) full-on British style and I felt very at home. My jaw dropped as I was shown the house, it's a beautiful maze and seems to go on forever. I have yet to find all of the nooks and crannies I think. Dave greeted me and I was greeted by a "SURPRISE!", a super cute handmade sign, and hugs from all the boys as I was shown my room which is absolutely perfect. I was quick to hang up my fairy lights and make myself at home. After an afternoon spent unpacking, talking to Meg and Dave, and missing home a wee bit, we had 'take-out' (Americanism no.1 of many...) from the family's favourite Mexican restaurant - Escalantes. Not having really had Mexican food, it was an experience and a tasty one at that. Plus, the boys' reaction to Escalantes was not too dissimilar to saying, 'walkies!' so a dog, and I couldn't help but smile. As a treat, once the two younger boys had gone to bed, we watched Sherlock and I couldn't have felt more at home, though I'm not sure they appreciated the dry English humour as much as I did...I felt very at home.
|From the boys to me, Texas on a bulletin board...right?|
Meg, Ben and I took a walk around the block to see the area and meet neighbours and I saw the extravagance of this area for the first time. I'm still not used to it, and am feeling nostalgic for British chocolate box houses and my cute, white, three up three down in Essex! After an afternoon spent reading and watching TV, we went out for dinner as a family to the local Country Club which the family are members of and I experienced a Southern Buffet for the first time. Families after families after families with fried chicken and fries until it was coming out of your eyes - definitely not a phenomena I'm used to. I stuck to a salad though, not to worry.
On returning home, the boys insisted on teaching me how to throw an American football which I was appalling at, but I have the next 8 weeks to perfect it! I gave the family my welcome gifts, lots of hand-picked London 2012 and Cambridge University merchandise - thank you Mum, and the boys loved them. Showing them photos of me in London and at the Olympics really made them excited for their own trip which they're undertaking next Summer, and also made me very proud of my city. I'm starting to appreciate how brilliant it really is.
|This makes me room look like a well-kept secret...it is an attic room after all.|
|My new room.|
|Shelves for books, and a Van Gogh poster - perfect!|
|My current blogging haven while the boys are out; spot the Caitlin Moran!|