Saturday, December 31, 2005
We wish you very Happy Holidays from the UK! We are just writing to tell you how our Christmas was and hopefully hear back from some of you about yours. Also, we are happy to inform you that we have started a blog site! When we last emailed we sent pics and adding those pics took us a long time…especially with about 150 of you to email! So, we started this site in order to post more pics for you to look at without having to email them. Don’t worry, you will still receive pics in our emails from time to time, but if you are really interested in our travel pictures, check us out at http://suelfam.blogspot.com. The messages that will appear on the blog will be the same as our emails, so don’t feel like you have to read it again. Now, on to Christmas…
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to travel home for Christmas. Instead of sulking at our flat for the holiday, we decided to go to Paris! We left early Christmas morning and came home the following Wednesday. So, we had 3 days and 3 nights in the beautiful city of Paris! The weather was really cold, and we walked the entire city several times in the cold, but it was worth it! The city is totally lit up at night, and great. It snowed all day Tuesday, and was beautiful. We ate a French picnic lunch every day from the fresh markets. We went to basically every monument there, with our museum pass. It was great…the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triumph, Moulin Rouge, Notre Dame, Musee d’Orsay, Saint Chappelle, Rodin Museum, you name it! It was a great, albeit strange, Christmas!
Tonight is New Year’s Eve. Jason got off work early, just came home at 4pm. We are going to a party tonight then will hang out with our friends Claire and Jez. Should be fun. We hope you are all doing well, and have a great new year! Thanks for keeping in touch, we always look forward to emails!
Sarah and Jason
Saint Chapelle's beautiful stained glass.
Dinner in our tiny hotel room.
You think about that! Sarah in front of her favorite sculptor (Rodin's) "The Thinker."
Notre Dame welcomes us!
The Pompideau building...this building has all of the plumbing and air vents outside the building instead of inside. A real architectural innovation.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Happy Christmas everyone!
(We don't say "merry" here, it's "happy"!)
We are well and finally settled into our new home in Hereford! The Christmas lights are up in High Town, along with the Carousel that goes round with carols singing for the past month now. It's really lovely
here in the town.
I (Sarah) am really enjoying my work, my clients are so great...elderly and confused with dementia or anxiety or depression. I love seeing them through the week, and working on their problems. I take them to town or go for a walk or clean their wardrobes or freezers...organize them better and get them to figure out their daily lives a little better. I got my first Christmas present today, from my favorite client...pansies for my window box! I told him about it and that I didn't know what to put in my window box at home in the winter, and he bought them for me! Along with a gift card to a bookstore and a nice card for me and Jason.
Jason is still waiting tables at the Left Bank, the posh restaurant here in town. He is doing lots of Christmas parties there and still working late hours. He is quitting after Christmas, though, as he got offered 2 other jobs: one as a Youth Worker, working with troubled teens in Ross (a neighboring town, about 10 miles south) 3 nights a week. They want him to incorporate drama into their evening sessions. And they are paying him loads of money for 3 nights! And during the days, he'll lifeguard at the Leisure Center. He will get to choose his own hours and he'll get paid more than waiting tables. So he's excited to start this new schedule.
We are settled into our new flat now, with everything we need. Our plans for Christmas this year, since we're on our
own and can't come home, is to take our 3 days off and go to Paris! We will leave Christmas morning and be back on Wednesday. We found a good deal for flights and 3 nights in a hotel. We'll be staying right near Montmarte, where the Moulin Rouge is! This way, we can use our Christmas money from our families on a great trip and we won't be so sad about not being in Arkansas!
We'll write more, but we do wish you each the best Christmas! Please keep in touch, and take care!
Sarah and Jason Suel
Monday, November 21, 2005
Friends and Family (all those celebrating Turkey Day), Greetings from England!
Well, we’ve finally made it! After months of anticipation and excitement, we are finally settled here in Hereford, UK. Thank you for all the support, prayers, and thoughts you may have sent our way!
We had to undergo quite a few mishaps before arriving in the UK (and some since we’ve been here), but all is well. Moving is never easy…and certainly not moving continents. Our original departure date was Oct. 7th, but due to some work permit issues, we did not arrive in the UK until Oct. 28th. We took the plane from Chicago to Atlanta to Paris to Birmingham, and the train from Birmingham to Hereford. Then, Sarah’s new employers had reserved rooms for us a local B & B. We thought we would be able to sort a new apartment out quickly…we were mistaken. Most places required their tenants to have lived in the UK from 1 to 3 years before renting to them. We were fortunate enough to find one place that did not. However it’s not like in America, it took over a week of waiting (after viewing the apartment) before they would allow us to occupy. This is where they would normally do background/credit checks…but there wasn’t much to check out on us. Plus, they originally wanted us to pay 6 months rent and a deposit before we could move in. After pleading with them (and a few tears on Sarah’s part), we were able to move in with just 2 months payment plus a down payment…but money is another issue altogether.
On Nov. 2nd, we transferred money from our US bank account to our new UK bank. As of today, it still has not arrived. We have been told by both banks that this is not “normal.” However, it does not help that our money is somewhere between Bowling Green, Ohio and Hereford, UK. Praise God that our debit/credit cards still work. But, they will only work so long because the account that they are tied to is the same account from which we withdrew the money that is now “on it’s way.” I won’t lie to you, it has been a headache. But, Sarah’s work was kind enough to give her a pay advance and we were able to take care of the rent money. So we’ve moved in!
(email addendum: between typing this email and sending it, our money has arrived! I repeat our ship has come it!)
But enough about the mishaps…let me tell you about all of the wonderful differences between the US and the UK. Aside from the fact that things move at a much slower rate than they do in the States (e.g. moving into an apartment), the cities are laid out much differently. Each city we’ve visited has what’s called a high town or city centre area. The difference lies in the fact that everyone gets out and walks around high town…no cars allowed. It is very quaint. Old and young are perusing the shops. Very busy all the time. And there’s no Supercenter WalMart where people we get all our things at one place. Here, you go the butcher for meat, the bakery for bread, and the vegetable stand outside for “veg”. Lots of stops for one “tea” (dinner). And since our fridge is the size of a dorm fridge, (as is everyone’s), we shop more regularly. Not much freezing here, since the freezer can barely manage ice trays.
Our little flat is great, it is very small, which is fine since we don’t have much. Sarah’s co-workers have since donated: table and chairs, 2 dressers, 3 night stands, 1 enormous wardrobe with mirror, 2 shelves, pots and pans, dishtowels and rags, bath towels, microwave, toaster, silverware, cooking utensils, bedspread, pillows, drinking glasses, Tupperware bowls, pot holders, and we have a couch, TV, VCR, and iron coming!! I mean, her work couldn’t be better, honestly! Everyone is so nice and generous, and she loves the actual work as well.
Sarah also received her car this past week! It is currently only hers for work, so this past weekend we couldn’t drive it and we can’t drive it in the evenings. It is only for work. But this week, we are changing it over for our private use. We will then pay 35 pounds a month (about $60) and it will be ours. The taxes, insurance, maintenance, and a gas allowance (not all, but part) is all paid for by her work. Pretty sweet. And it’s a nice car, a 2002 Corsa. It’s tiny, like all cars here. Sarah is pretty freaked out by driving, but she’s doing well. It’s very different, obviously, and the entire road system and driving experience is different here. Very narrow, winding roads, fast drivers, totally different signage. We’ll get the hang of it eventually.
Enough practical talk…let me tell you one interesting Hereford story and then we’ll be off. A few blocks from our flat, there is a very distinct smell. Since we moved here, I have sworn that the whole town smells like blueberry muffins. Sarah says it smells more like PB & J and toast. Everytime we would go outside, there it was, this smell. Well, I just learned what it is. As it turns out Hereford is the foremost producer of Apple Cider in the UK. So, the bakery smell is the yeast (fermentation) and then there’s the obvious fruit smell. So, wherever we go there it is…the sweet smell of cider.
I wish we could tell you about every adventure we’ve already had: reading Celsius instead of Fahrenheit, getting lost and finding our way again, running red lights because we don’t know how to drive in this country, taking 3 hrs. to bake a potato because we don’t know how to use these “cookers,” turning all our clothes grey in the wash because we didn’t realize it was a brand new washing machine, learning to cook and eat vegetables we’ve never heard of, learning every possible way to stay warm because our flat (apartment) doesn’t have central heating (right now we are warming ourselves by what we call the “candle fire”, also we call our apartment “condensation city” and every morning we wake up with water dripping in some window or crack…condensation is a headache, learning to pull a chord to turn on the shower, the fun of learning to drive on roundabouts, and learning a whole new language…honestly, we are two countries separated by a common language.
Well, I guess it’s time to end this THE LONGEST EMAIL IN THE WORLD and bid you adieu.
Happy Thanksgiving and eat some stuffing for us,
Jason and Sarah
4 Newbury Court
Bobblestock, Hereford, England
Home: 01432 264 774 (as of Nov. 30th)
Mobile: 07929 556 171
(US must dial 011 + 44 first, then you might need to drop the zeroes from the prefix of our phone numbers…but we’re not sure ‘cause we’ve never done it)
PS: In case you’re curious, yes we did get to see Harry Potter 4 on opening weekend with a theatre full of little English kids…it was “brilliant!”
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Well, after almost 4 weeks in Chicago with John and Heidi (saints that they are!!), and 3 work permits later, we are finally on our way tomorrow morning! We've had basically the worst time of getting our Visas EVER, with lots of emotional ups and downs (mostly downs), if we're being honest here). But God has sustained us and taught us patience during this time. So that is good.
We are flying out tomorrow morning, very early. We will eventually arrive at the train station in Hereford (our new home) to be picked up by Sue and her husband. Sue is one of my to-be coworkers. They will take us to a B&B where we will stay for a few days or so until we find an apartment. Then they will take us to lunch and show us the town. The B&B will be located very near my work so I can walk to work until we find an apartment and get a car.
So we are very excited and getting a little jittery, mostly about the airports and actually getting there, opposed to living there. We still feel very comfortable about this move, and feel that God has led us there. We will contact you once we get there with
our new address and phone numbers.
Thanks for all the prayers and support! We love you!
Sarah and Jason Suel
PS: we now have an AOL instant messaging account...our screen name is jsueli...put us in your address book if you have one or send us your AOL IM screen name if you want us to correspond with you. But don't forget that we are 6 hours of a time difference (we're ahead).
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Hello friends and family!
Well, things are not going quite as expected for us! We were actually supposed to be in England by now, but apparently God had other plans...
We moved out the Dally household (with tears!) 2 weekends ago, on the 1st of October. We came to Chicago, where our friends John and Heidi live now. We were to recieve my work permit from England (that was approved the Friday before we left the Dally's) early in the week. All my new work in England had to do was send it to me. So we made an appointment at the British Consulate for Thursday at 10:15am to get our Visas and bought plane tickets for Friday night.
However...FedEx lost my work permit, and we were freaked! We ended up emailing back and forth with England at 4am Thursday morning in order to get FedEx to get us the work permit in time for our appointment at the Consulate at 10:15. They couldn't do it, so Jason drove to pick it up from FedEx instead. Since they didn't open until 9am, and it was 20 minutes away from me (I was still at John and Heidi's, printing out the application form, which I couldn't do until Jason picked up the work permit with my work permit number on it! That number had to be typed in on the form.), it was a tight squeeze for time! So Heidi drove me to meet him, we got in the car and drove to downtown Chicago in rush hour traffic to get to the Consulate on time! And let me tell you, WE MADE IT! Exactly at 10:15, it was a miracle!
However, the work permit we worked SO hard to pick up on time was INCORRECT. The lady I am working with, Sheila, had mis-typed my birth date in her computer. Therefore, when I got my work permit, it said I was born November 24 instead of July 27. We were at the Consulate all of 2 minutes before they denied me.
So there we were, me crying outside of the Consulate on Michigan avenue and Jason discussing things with Sheila. We had to re-issue another work permit from England, cancel our flight (pay a BIG sum of money to cancel that, too, but Sheila paid us back in full already-praise the Lord).
So now, we are just hanging out at John and Heidi's in Chicago, waiting for my new work permit to come. It has been issued, and we are hoping to hear that it's completed and CORRECT tomorrow. Then they will send it to me, we will make another appointment at the Consulate, and AFTER the actual Visa is in my hand, I'll book another flight. So hopefully, by this time next week, we'll actually be in Hereford.
Some good news in all this waiting, is that Sheila did fully reimburse us the money for the cancelled flight. She felt terrible. Also, the lady in charge of my Unit from my new job has graciously asked Jason and I to stay with she and her husband until we can find an apartment of our own. Everyone in Hereford is awaiting me anxiously, which makes me feel good. They are excited for me to join the team.
So, Jason and I are enjoying Chicago right now, we have visited the Aquarium, Millineum Park, Aunt Connie (Heather and Shannon's aunt), and just the general downtown area, which is fun. We are trying to see "Wicked", because we can possibly get cheap tickets through a lottery right before the show. We are basically relaxing and enjoying John and Heidi.
So, that's where we are now. Your prayers are still appreciated so that we can get there soon! We will let you know the details when we know them!
We love you,
Sarah and Jason