This past weekend we kicked off the holiday season with fireworks here in Bath, England. For those of you who do not know, November 5th is Bonfire night here in the UK. Since the 5th lands on a Tuesday this year the city had fireworks going on for the weekend. We had the pleasure of watching the show with our theatre community and had an amazing view. It started pouring rain half way through so we caught the last half inside the Drama Hut. It was a great local to see the firework show. We just found out there will be something in our town for tomorrow night and I am hoping it includes a Bonfire complete with Guy Fawkes!
Just to recap the rest of the weekend, we had a lot of rain. However despite the showers we kept ourselves busy. Friday we went into Bradford on Avon for a country walk, I had a committee meeting with the Bath Drama group that night, followed by drinks at the pub. Saturday we watched Arsenal play Liverpool at the pub followed by the Fireworks. Sunday I caught a secret engagement going on on at the Pulteney Bridge on my way to Panto rehearsal. It was really romantic and all the people watching from across the way cheered the happy couple on. It was a great weekend and now that it is over I am looking forward to my trip to London next weekend!
Q: What were the highlights from your weekend?
* Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007 – 2013 All Rights Reserved | www.bonnie-rose.co.uk
It is the day after Halloween which means we can now start getting excited about the upcoming holidays. For us in England that begins with fireworks this month and ends with fireworks in the new year. Before I start making my blog about how much I love this time of the year, let us recap over what it is like to celebrate Halloween as an expat in Bath, England.
For a few months we had been talking about costumes with the idea that our whole family would go as one thing together. In the end it turned out that my husband would not be home in time from work to participate and I did not have much in the way to pull off what I wanted to do either. For our first Halloween here in 2011 my boys had costumes mailed over from the US, last year they celebrated Halloween in the US, and this year it took us all of five minutes per kid to get ready to Trick or Treat. My eldest went as a mummy in a judo uniform and strips of muslin and my youngest as a Frankenstein monster with green face paint and some make up from my kit. It was the quickest we have ever prepared for Halloween. But to to be real it is not really that big of a thing here in England. Only a few shops in town will have a few select halloween items. Most of the kids costumes I have seen in England have always been in the genre of: witch, mummy, werwolf, vampire, etc. The more common themes of Halloween.
We almost did not get to carve pumpkins this year, but managed to find three large ones left the day before while we were in town. On Halloween my boys and I had fun carving our pumpkins. I decided to try an owl and I kinda like the way he turned out this year. You should see the pumpkins we painted and carved
last year while stuck in the US.
I had not bought any candy in town because I saw how expensive a tiny bag with maybe 12 packs in it would be and it did not seem worth it. Especially when I did the comparison of candy buying in the US. So we ended up making cookies on Halloween with homemade sugar icing and handing those out to the kids who knocked on our door.
For trick or treating we knocked on a couple of doors where we lived and then walked the forty five minutes to where one of my boys goes to school and trick or treated on maybe twenty different doors. This was way more active area then where we lived before. I believe in 2012 we only found two doors to knock on and a pub that was giving out candy to the kids. My husband some how found us in the darkness and was able to join in on the Halloween fun.
To be fair Halloween is not one of my favourite holidays. Some how even with that fact mentioned I got a little bit of ‘culture shock mixed in with homesickness’ creep up on me while we were out. It was really strange to me when it happened because I do not really have a home to miss. As an expat it can be very unsettling when this happens and you never know when it can strike. Luckily as soon as my husband met up with us he was able to help me feel much better and it soon but all dissipated. Which I have to say if you ever feel that way while living abroad…let your family love on you. It can make all the difference in the world.
* Photography by Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007 – 2013 All rights reserved | www.bonnie-rose.co.uk
This week my kids have off of school and the city of Bath have Heritage Open Week going on for all the families that live here. One of my favourite things about living in Bath is being able to have my Discovery card, which can get me into many places free or with a nice discount. The Heritage Open Week is tied into the Discovery card and twenty two different locations within Bath. Despite the heavy rainfall on Monday we hopped into a taxi and headed into town to explore.
Our first stop was the Mayor’s Parlour at the GuildHall in the city of Bath. I have been to the Guildhall Market before (an indoor shopping area) but have never step foot within the building that often will have a blushing bride and groom outside its doors. When we finally found the Maylor’s Parlour we were greeted by two different individuals who gave as a great tour of the room. They were both amazing at giving out information about the Mayor and history of the Mayor’s Parlour to a children’s level. We got to see the book where all the royal families sign when they visit the city, Peppercorns that were once used by the city as payment, and the robes that the Mayor wears. They even had a neat smaller size one that the kids could dress up and wear.
The only thing we did not get to see was Mayor’s chains as he was wearing them that moment for a meeting in the Guildhall. Perhaps we will pop in later this week and see if we can meet the Mayor!
Q: Does the Mayor of your city get to wear historical dress like ours in England?
*photography belongs to Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007 – 2013 All Rights Reserved | http://www.bonnie-rose.co.uk
Something you may or may not know about me is that I am kind of a geek. My one regret from my time in California and the US is that I never had the opportunity to go to ComicCon in San Diego. I did however take the boys to Comic Con in Tucson, AZ in 2010. I worked really hard on sewing myself a She-Ra costume, which is now somewhere lost in one of my in-laws many storage facilities. When we heard about the Comic and Sci-Fi event coming to Bath we were ready to get our cosplay on! Maddox went as Darth Vader, Ronan as Indiana Jones, and I went as Kaylee from Joss Whedon’s Firefly.
The big event we did not want to miss during the weekend’s festivities was the Star Wars panel. My father did not have any sons and I grew up loving to watch Star Wars with him. Plus I have never been to see a panel before so we were all really excited. Included in this line up was Femi Taylor who played Oola, the Twi’lek dancer in Jabba the Hutt’s court, and Rusty Goffe who played various characters in a New Hope, including a Jawa and a gonk droid. Rusty was also in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Willow, and several of the Harry Potter films. He is really charismatic and my boys remarked how he was so funny.
Not a whole lot of questions were asked from the audience so it meant a lot that Ronan spoke up and asked them for their ‘most embarrassing’ memory in their career. I asked them if they had experienced a ‘pinch yourself moment’. Femi answered about getting a call back in 97 to film more scenes to reprise her role in the special edition release of the original film from the 80s. If you remember her costume is basically mostly body paint so it was incredible to see that she still has her dancer body even today. She was friendly and nice and I really liked getting to talk with her afterwards. Rusty talked about being on the set of Harry Potter in the scene where Helena Bonham Carter as Belatrix is pretending to be Hermione. Rusty talked about what an incredible actress Helena is and how everyone on set kept forgetting it was Helena/Belatrix because she just embodied Emma/Hermione so well.
Another panelist who I got to talk to extensively afterwards was John Chapman. John played an X-Wing pilot in the original Star Wars and now has created a really awesome comic book series for children about a character named Jonnie Rocket. I really recommend them if you have children and you find out more about them at http://www.jonnierocket.com/
At the end Ronan participated in the costume contest and he was really proud to get a lot of compliments from the adults on his authentic elements like his hat, jacket, and whip. We met quite a few cosplayers and pretty much the experience exceeded our expectations. I told Ryan before we got there that if one person knew who I was cosplaying as, I would be happy. Sure enough the guy who came cosplaying from my favourite video game, Mass Effect, told me he like my Kaylee costume. Score.
Q: Do you like comics or sci-fi? Ever been to a comic con?
*Photography by Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007 – 2013 All Rights Reserved | www.bonnie-rose.co.uk
prompt is ‘React to this term: Comfort’
. I decided to make this a post in part of My Ex-Pat Life
series. Some of the things we talk about as expats are the harder and not so pretty things people do not think about when glamorizing the expat lifestyle. So we share our homesickness stories, the challenges of fitting into another culture, and moving woes. In the mist of it all we look for comforts to help us through unexpected appearances of culture shock and the ‘rainy days’ of life. For me personally, I have found it very beneficial to find comforts in both my ‘host’ and ‘home’ cultures. There is something to be said about finding balance to gain focus and happiness in your life. To be able to pick yourself up and find the best of both worlds. I love finding comforts to enjoy when I am already in a really great state of mind. They become the cherry on top of my expat life.
Yesterday was definitely a cherry on top moment. I had the pleasure of getting to meet up with Sarah from The Wanderblogger
. At the beginning of the month I was mentioned by Chelsea
when Sarah announced she would be coming to Bath with her husband for a few days. I was so excited for the chance to meet up with a fellow expat. We were going to do more of a tour around Bath, but got caught with rainy weather on Thursday. Luckily it sounds like Sarah and Cory had a very fun filled time in Bath and I look forward to seeing her recap it on her blog. We met up outside Sally Lunn’s for our blate at around lunch time. Sally Lunn (Solange Luyon) was a Huguenot refugee who came to Bath from France in 1680. She started making these buns which are now infamous here in Bath with both the locals and the tourists alike. You can get them in savory and sweet variations. I have seen the line of people outside waiting to get in but this was my first time at Sally Lunn’s. We ordered our buns and cakes and talked up a storm. If it was not for her husband Cory, we may have talked without eating until it was time for me to be home for when my sons get home from school. Unfortunately some how our order got ‘lost’ and Cory had noticed that people who had sat down after us had already eaten and left while we were still drinking our water. We eventually had to order a second time and did get our food in time before needing to leave. The food did come, was really good and hit the spot.
Despite that small hiccup in service at Sally Lunn’s, we had a great time. Sarah is one of those amazing people you would be blessed to get to know. I felt that way when I found out about her blog. I just love finding new expat blogs that bring me back every week as a loyal reader. It was that way when I started reading The Wanderblogger
. When you connect to another blogger online, to me it is like making a friend in real life. I just feel blessed to have gotten to meet Sarah and her husband yesterday. Yes we are all Americans, but talking together to me I felt as comfortable as if we had known each other for years. It was an awesome comfort that as an expat I cherish. I love living in England and getting meet new people here but it is also nice to just be able to connect to someone who is living the similiar expat lifestyle. As a global nomad myself I love trying things for the first time. So in the mist of a new friendship, getting to try the sweet comforts of a local delicacy was perfect for the occasion. It became the nice blend of comfort from ‘home’ and ‘host’ culture in one. I loved getting to meet Sarah in person because she is very sweet, authentic, and has the biggest heart. I just wish we had more time so I could have heard even more about their time in tour in Amsterdam
. It was a lovely blate and it makes me want to nudge Selena
for a group blate in London soon. 😉
*Photography belongs to Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007 – 2013 All Rights Reserved | www.bonnie-rose.co.uk
The day before we left for Wales we had our first meet up with our friends who would be going up with us. Ryan and I had met both Miriam and Grant at University before they even started dating. Miriam had been my RA and we met Grant through the theatre department. I was really excited that they would be able to be here for our vow renewal as Grant had attended our wedding ten years ago and both of them had come to the hospital to visit us when Ronan was born eight years ago. That was the last time we had seen them and now they have three boys and one on the way. Right away sons started playing together and we enjoyed a wonderful bbq in the park here in Bath, England. It was a perfect start to our vacation and what would be our 10th Anniversary Vow Renewal week.
Q: Have you ever gotten together with friends you have not seen in a long time? Best memory?
*Photography belongs to Bonnie Rose of Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007 – 2013 All Rights Reserved | www.bonnie-rose.co.uk
I have to say that a favourite part of living the expat life in England is the many gardens through out the cities. The Brits really know how to make use of small places. It is nice to know that even if the countryside is a bit far out of reach by foot, theres a nearby park just waiting for you to enjoy during your lunch hour. There are several great ones in in Bath and amongst those must see sights is the Royal Crescent. So of course when my mum came to visit we made sure to arrange a photo op in front of it. When ever the day is nice you can find the lawn dotted with locals enjoying their lunch, friends chatting up after work, and tourists posing for their photographs. We chose this as our meeting place before our picnic and had a game of frisbee with the boys. While I brought my heart shaped umbrella just in case, we had a lovely day of sunshine with no rain.
Q: Are there nice parks or gardens where you live?
*Photography belongs to Bonnie Rose of Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007 – 2013 All Rights Reserved | www.bonnie-rose.co.uk