Posted by: jackterrett | April 2, 2010

Week Four: Family Reunion

Now four weeks into the job, everything has become very normal and time seems to be flying by.  It’s shocking to think that it’s been over five weeks since I was back at Middlebury, bumming around, eating free food, and generally mooching of the college and my friends.  Fortunately, my Mum visited this week to prevent me from slipping into boredom and loneliness following the fun of Donny’s visit.  She stayed with her parents and came over to visit Welwyn Garden City a couple of times to investigate what I’ve been up to.  I even got treated to two meals out at local pubs – called the Crooked Chimney and the Plume of Feathers – for very traditional English meals and drink (none of that 21 year-old nonsense over here, not that it matters anymore!).  This saved me from a couple more feeble attempts at cooking my own food, which I can tell you I’ve kept unadventurous and simple!

My Mum and I went to Cambridge on Saturday – the first time we’d been there in a couple of years.  Being an alum of the University, my Mum was able to get us in free to most of the Colleges’ grounds (shocking that you have to pay in the first place!) so we wandered through some of the most touristy ones (notably King’s College Chapel).  We also spent time walking alongside the river watching the punters go by and then explored the city itself (passed by some pretty bad street performers, trying to break-dance – it was hard not to watch them as they were so bad, so perhaps that was their idea?).  We got lunch in a café where we had the good fortune of sitting next to four middle-aged men who were furiously doing crosswords (my guess is that they’re four professors who get together every Saturday lunchtime to solve crosswords) – a little ominous foreshadowing for Nat, Tyler, and me as that basically sums up much of our J-term…  After leaving Cambridge, we spent a short amount of time at Madingley Hall (where my Mum used to work right after graduation) and then walked around the nearby American Cemetery – apparently the only WWII American cemetery in the UK.  We headed home to Mill Hill, London, where my Grandparents live, and after a meal out at a restaurant called the Fishery with all four of us, I stayed the night there.

On Sunday, my Mum, Grandparents, and I headed off to Beckenham, South London, for lunch with my Uncle (Mum’s brother), Aunt, and two cousins.  On route, we passed by the 2012 Olympic Park, all in various stages of construction – we could see clearly the main stadium and the Velodrome, which is expected to be the first completed venue.  It was an interesting family reunion as some of us hadn’t seen each other in many years, so it was fun catching up (even though we’re not likely to see each other again for several years).  The following day, my Mum was kind enough to take me grocery shopping after work to save me carrying numerous heavy bags through the streets (such is the dilemma of having no car!).  She then flew home to the US the following day (it was great to see you Mum!) and I’ll see her next when I return home in May!  I’m now almost halfway through my foray outside the US – really hard to believe it’s going so quickly!

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