Tuesday, February 26, 2008

More of my journey home

So, there I was at Dallas airport.... (let me just go check how I got in the story last time..)
Oh I actually got further than I thought. Well, here are some pictures from the journey home. I didn't take all that many cos I was kinda distracted a lot of the time. Who knows why that might have been.

The view from the chair where I sat, and sat, and sat some more (and rang blest every hour to see if we'd heard anything from Christina)The phone I used to ring blest the first time. I think I used it a couple of times, but after I discovered that the phone was eating the credit on my phone card just becasue it was a pay-phone, I got quarters from the shop along the corridor, and then used a phone nearer the shop to call blest.
A random picture of me. Just because I was bored. Note the red face and eyes. could possibly be to do with all the crying I'd been doing, but who knows!
This is on the Thursday afternoon once I was home. I was so so so so so cold. And I didn't have any luggage yet, so I had to go through the wardrobe and try to find something to wear. Most of the stuff I tried on went straight in the bag to go to the charity shop (could possibly be to do with the fact I'd lost 2 stone in weight while I was away!) But I did find one outfit in the end!

Monday, February 25, 2008


If you've ever wondered what people from around my way can sometimes sound like, try reading this version of my blog. Innit man. Wickid

(Hat-tip to Mrs Wibbz)

Remind me

to never ever ever go to the ER again, unless I know I'm going to be admitted as an inpatient (in which case my insurance would have covered it), or I have some different insurance.
Cos oh boy, was that expensive. Especially just to be told I have a 'non-specific headache'.

It's all paid now, and thank goodness for credit cards and money in savings to pay said credit card bill.

However much people moan about the NHS, I certainly have a lot of respect for the 'free' healthcare I recieve from it!

It's not fair

I don't want to be sat here, in my house, on my own. I want to be somewhere else. I just don't know where that is.

I want to be somewhere that I feel at home. Where I'm with people and feel loved.

I don't want to be here, crying again for either no reason or some stupid reason that makes no sense.

I thought I would have got beyond this by now, but I haven't, I can't.

I just don't know what to do with myself.

Those are the thoughts going through my head this morning.

(I feel like a little kid about to throw myself on the floor and have a big tantrum. heck, maybe I'd feel better if I did!)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Not feeling alive enough to write a proper post

(The whatever it is that's been trying to get me for the last couple of weeks has suceeded and I'm feeling pretty icky today. I've got a sore throat and earache, I'm still all conjested, and my cough seems to be turning into more of an asthma type cough than whatever it was before. But the biggest thing really seems to be that my dizziness has got worse again and I feel almost like I'm on a ship, constantly going up and down on the waves, and if I actually move then, oh my word, talk about headrush!)

Anyway, having said I wouldn't write much, I've proceeded to write loads. Instead I was just gonna show you some pics from our girl's weekend in Albuquerque (and yes, I did have to look that spelling up once again. I don't think I shall ever be able to spell it off the top of my head!)
(Unfortunately I don't have a ton of pics cos my camera battery died on the Saturday morning, but there are some...)

Eating our lunch in the truck on Friday (on the way to Albuquerque)
We were in a place called Truth or Consequences. The toilets we found in the park were, um, interesting. But we survived! More from our weekend away next time..
And a couple of bonus pics. This is to prove how Honey sleeps under Blest's bed - I honestly don't quite know how she squidges her way in there, but she does!

And a final pic of a road sign to Elephant Butte, which is another place we passed by. It made me laugh, so I had to get blest to pull over so I could take a photo :-)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Treadmill is Complete!

You can see it's journey to completion here

Just one more picture

So this is what I look like? Hmmm, interesting.
(and I'm modelling another fabulous blestbeads creation)


Well, I've given up thinking about what ever it is I'm meant to be doing right now, especially after looking at the weather outside, and I'm uploading pics from yesterday and trying to cheer myself up. I'm sure I'm just tired, and very confused by the constant shifting in my plans for the day, and I'm feeling cold as well, which doesn't help.

So instead, here's a few highlights of yesterday.

At the Park (Samuel and Thomas. I didn't manage to capture anyones faces at the park, they were moving too fast!)
Me and Thomas (Is that really me? I don't think I look like that in my head, but that's a whole 'nother post)
Me and Rachel
Ben, and I think that's Samuel in the background

Why so tired?

I am sooo tired. Probably cos I've had a couple of very busy days after several days of doing not much, and now my body is fighting back!

I had a fantastic time with Rachel yesterday, more on that and photos to follow (but today is gonna be another busy one, so probably not until tomorrow). I love making friends on the interblog (new word, as coined by Rachel's husband!)

In about 10 minutes I need to out of the house (and before that I need to finsih getting dressed!) to meet Jenny for breakfast. I was meant to be at a prayer meeting now, but I just couldn't wake up enough to get out of bed. From breakfast I will head to Cambridge and hopefully meet up with a couple of friends who are there for the day to get their MAs. And then I'll hopefully get back in time to go to a quiz night tonight with my Mum.

Right, better get on with it then!

Change of Plan: Was apparently meant to be meeting Jenny now, or 5 minutes ago (I'd got the time wrong!), so it looks like we're not going out for breakfast after all. I'll go and see what I can find here.

Friday, February 22, 2008

I'm going to meet Rachel

Yay! Another chance to meet a blogger in person for the first time.
I'll be gone most of the day, so you can head over to visit Rachel and meet her online while I'm meeting her in real life.
And I'll be back with stories and pictures later on...

(and I suppose later on I might even get around to changing the name of her blog in my blogroll, since she changed it a good while back!)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Today's the day that Debbie goes to see Sarah

I'm going to visit my friend Sarah who lives in south London. But we're unlikely to be having a picnic.
At the moment I'm tossing up whether to wear something that's a bit more exciting, or something that's a bit more warm. I think, having looked out at the weather, warm might win. Definitely layers, at any rate!

Saturday, February 16, 2008


I have a treadmill. At least, I have pieces of a treadmill, and a lovely Mummy and Daddy who are helping me put it together (read 'putting it together for me while I wander around vaguely, making suggestions that turn out to be wrong')

Pictures to follow (once I've figured out the whole camera\lead\computer situation)

Friday, February 15, 2008

Small things

After spending much of the day crying, by the time the evening came along I was ready for some light entertainment. This gave me a few giggles, so I felt obliged to share it with you all too:
how to put on a duvet

Thanks for all your kind thoughts and encouragement. I'll keep you posted on how I'm doing.

Coping with Culture shock

Well, the truth is, I don't feel like I'm coping very well with it at all.

Back in October of last year I wrote a Works For Me Wednesday post one week when it was a 'backwards' week - instead of telling people something that works for you, you got to ask a question, and hopefully other people were able to help you with answers. I asked for advice about going to be an au pair in Texas (which was the stage the plans were at at that time). One of the commenters mentioned being aware of Culture Shock, and different stages of adjustment that you go through when you do something like this.

I didn't really think about it much while I was away, and indeed I think on the whole I found it quite easy to get adjusted to being in Texas. Having come back though, I'm finding it a lot more difficult to readujst, and am still having my moments when I want to burst into tears about it all. Anyway, I rememdered what the girl said, and have just been reading up a bit online about culture shock and how to cope with it.

Here's some info I found from the BBC

Reverse Culture Shock Stage
Finally, in the vast majority of cases the immigrant will return to their own country. Once there the fourth, and most unexpected, stage occurs and this is referred to as the reverse culture shock stage. Upon arriving back, the returning resident will be eager to share their experiences of another culture that have made them a different person. However, they have returned to a group of people, and indeed a country, that has changed in the interim. These changes can be subtle or far-reaching, but they will affect the way that the returnee is accepted by, or accepts, their own host country and its residents. Often the change required will be too great. The returnee will in many cases deal with this by returning to the host culture or exploring another culture and language.

The reverse culture shock can be dealt with in part by studying the home culture as assiduously the host culture. In the period between departure and return a number of things may have changed, especially if a number of years have elapsed. The would-be returnee should find out what these changes are. On a more personal note the returnee should get back in touch with old friends and organise to meet them upon their return. Be prepared to find that they have changed markedly, or indeed that they have not changed at all. Some of them may want to hear all about the experiences you had, whilst others will take a polite interest then show irritation as you continue to talk about 'When I was in... ' If the returnee finds out that the former home culture seems more foreign than the one left behind then it may be that another trip abroad is required!

Personally, I like the idea of another trip abroad, but I'm not sure that would necessarily be the right thing for me to do.

I think what blows my mind is that I always considered the UK my home, I was a 'London' girl, and thought I alwats would be. Although I've lived in other places in England, I was always glad to be back in London. But now, I feel like I've left half of me behind in Texas, and no-where feels properly like home anymore. I feel like I've changed, but I've come back to the same old place I left (no offense intended to my friends and family here). And I don't feel like I quite fit in here anymore. I'm sure that in time I can work at it and try to fit in here again, but I don't know if I want to do that.

I'm scared, becauseI have no idea what I want to do next with my life. Right now I'd love to still be in El Paso, with blest and her boys, thinking about things like who's going to go to piano lessons and who's staying at home, or whether the van will be fixed so that everyone will get to go to church this week, but I'm not there. I'm here, in London, and I have to face up to the fact that I have absolutely no idea what to do next. And I'm terrified about it. Living in the 'real world' again, rather than being on an extended holiday or 'time-out' is frightening, and when you twin that with the reverse culture shock, can you blame me for just wanting to get back into bed, pull up the duvet and sit and cry?!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Pumpkin muffins

The muffins turned out well, and the fresh pumpkin I cooked and pureed made enough for another 4 batches after this one.
You can find the recipe here if you are so inclined.
(A warning to non-south beachers - they may not taste as sweet as more conventional muffins)

Edited to add: Christina asked me what the difference woul be between pumpkin pie filling and pureed pumpkin. So far as I know you want the stuff that is just pumpkin - no added ingredients. I think that the pie filling may contain added sugar or sweetners.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Pumpkin Tales

I am looking for canned pupmkin. I am not entirely convinced you can buy it in England! In the meantime I am experiementing with making my own pureed pumpkin from fresh pumpkin. I have a feeling it may be messy. But if it means I can make blest's fabulour pumpkin muffins then I will be a happy girl.

I'll finish my journey home story soon, I promise. Plus, more photos from my last couple of weeks in Texas....

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Time Zones

I've just re-set my blog to GMT London time. So if you're reading anything dated between 15th November 2007 and 6th February 2008 you need to subtract 7 hours from the time the post says to find out when I really wrote it. Hope that makes sense, if not don't worry, it's probably not important!

Dallas Airport: Part Three

So, I was sat in Dallas airport for about 6 hours!

Blest had reminded me that Christina (one of the OWOA ladies) lives in Dallas and we were hoping we might be able to get in touch with her in order for her to pop by and see me. Unfortunately we didn't have a telephone number for her, so it had to be done at blest's end by email (and I was checking in with blest every hour or so by phone to see if there was any news) and Christina wasn't able to get to check her emails until the evening, by which point it was too late. I know now for future reference that I should get the telephone numbers of people I know (or at least know online) if I'm going to even be passing through their city, on the off chance that something like this might happen again!

I sat in the checking-in area for a long time, reading a magazine I'd found and taking regular trips to the bathroom, newsstand (to get bottles of water and more quarters for the phone) and the payphones. I'd figured that would be the best place to wait if Christina were to be coming, as I'd be near the door, and also it was less noisy that inside the terminal, so I might have a hope of hearing if I was being paged on the tannoy.

At around 2.45pm I was getting hungry and the security line seemed to be getting kinda long, so I decided it was time to go in to the terminal proper and find somewhere to get myself a meal. I got through security ok, although almost lost my shoe in the process - it came out of the tray all my stuff was in, and tried to get stuck in the x-ray machine. Luckily it did come out again, and I was able to find it and put it back on! (I was glad I had decided to wear my clogs to travel in, as it's so much easier to slip then off and on in a hurry than having to fiddle with the laces on my boots)

I wandered around the terminal for a while, looking at all the food places and trying to work out what I wanted to eat. I finally found a Mexian place tucked away up some stairs and they had fajitas on thier menu so I was happy. It was nice to be out of the hustle and bustle of everything going on downstairs, and to find something that I could eat and be happy with!

I was seated next to another solo diner, who happened to be wearing the same coloured top as I was (in fact she also had turquise earrings and glasses frames!). We got chatting, starting with our excellent choice in colour, and moving on to talking about blogging and all sorts of things. That was the first time I've ever eaten in a restuarant by myself, so it was nice to have someone to talk to. I was telling her about how blest and I met online, and it turned out that her job is actually to do with promoting software for colleges\universities to use blogging as a teaching tool - in particular for those subjects which are wordier, like English or History, as a way to refine the editing process and allow for peer assesment, cutting down on the sheer amount of student-written text that lecturers have to wade through.

After I'd eaten I went to find my gate with plenty of time to spare (which is good, because it had changed in the time between being checked on to my flight and now) and of course went to the bathroom a couple more times! There didn't seem to be many people at the gate, so I wondered if my flight would not be as full as the one I'd had from Heathrow to Chicago on the way over. I knew I had an asile seat as the woman at the check-in desk had sorted that out for me. When we finally boarded I discovered that I was actually sitting at the end of a row of five seats, and the only other seat that was occupied was the one at the other end of the row. In fact, the plane was probably half-empty, or certainly not much fuller than that.

Part Two: Dallas Airport

So, I step off the plane, go up through the tunnel and out into the airport. I head to the right as that's the way most people seem to be going, and come to the departure boards. I finally find my flight (everything's in perfect alphabetical order until you come to London Heathrow, which was just stuck in there randomly) and it says my flight is cancelled.

There's a lump in my throat, and everything seems swimmy for a second. I look again, convinced I've got it wrong, but it still says cancelled. The tears are building in my eyes now and I look around blindly for someone to help me. I spot an information desk and head over, but realise it's manned by a volunteer, who seems to know as much as I do. We walk back over the the screens, and he agrees with me that yes, it would appear your flight is cancelled. He suggests I go and find some American Airlines people, and then turns to help someone else.

I walk over to a desk nearby, and two women try to tell me that they are flight-attendants and can't help me, but then they see my face and ask me what's wrong. I hand over my boarding pass to them and try to explain while also trying to stop the tears from flowing. One of them helpfully says 'I didn't know we flew to Heathrow from here, I know we go to Gatwick', although frightening, her words are also comforting. I think, maybe they can send me there instead, I know that's London, so there must be a way for me to get home. Perhaps I'm not stranded in a foreign city after all.

The flight-attendants look on their computer and see that my flight was meant to be going to Chicago, and then on to Heathrow, but that due to bad weather in Chicago, nothing is going that way. They tell me that there is a flight leaving at 5pm (it's now around 11am), but that I will need to go to speak to a ticketing person. They suggest I head to terminal D which is where most international flights leave from, so I go up the stairs and head from the tramway.

I'm still trying to to cry, but I'm sure that by now my face is blotchy and my eyes bright red. I stand in a corner and try to hide. When we arrive at terminal D I get off and head down the stairs. As I walk in to the terminal I spot a man and woman standing at a desk idly chatting and go to speak to them. I blurt out my story, and it is only once I'm finished that I realise it's not an American Airlines desk. Luckily they were friendly when they told me they couldn't help, but it still made me start to cry again. I spotted the toilets and went in there to calm myself down andto splash my face with water. I thought for a moment that it had helped, but then when I put my glasses on I realised I still looked a state!

I asked a security man how to get to the AA ticket desks and he directed me out of the secure area to the check-in desks. I finally found the AA desks and got in the queue. I chatted to the couple behind me a little, and they were very supportive and understanding, and helped to make me smile a little. As I stood in line I was saying to myself 'please can I get the lady, and not the grumpy looking man!' I got to the front of the queue, and somehow the person the man was helping was more complicated that expected and I got to talk to the woman.

I told her about my plane being cancelled, and that I would be willing to go to Gatwick instead of Heathrow if they could get me on a flight there instead. She was wonderfully friendly, and although I did cry a bit more, she was able to make me laugh and smile too, and most importantly book me on to the 5 pm flight. She also took note of my baggage and was meant to be getting it put on my flight too. Finally, she let me ring home to tell them I would be arriving at Gatwick at 7.55am rather than Heathrow at 6.50am! (And it was early enough that my Mum was still at home and hadn't left to go to church small group).

With my new boarding pass in hand I headed for the phone to tell blest about my change in plans.

The Journey Home: Part One

Well, it seems like I need to tell you about my journey home in all its crazy detail before I forget all the important details...

I set my alarm for 5.15am, but actually woke up around 4.30 and then dozed for the next half hour before getting up at 5am. I wanted time to have a shower and put the last few things in my case before we left, and we were aiming to leave around 6.30\6.45 to allow time for traffic hold-ups etc. I think I managed to find most of my stuff (and blest is going to kindly post me the couple of things that got forgotten!) and just before we left I went and woke up the boys to say goodbye to them. I'm not sure they quite took it all in, but we didn't have time to wake for them to properly wake up as we had to get on the road.

We listened to Michael Buble in the van, as that CD would probably have to be our theme Cd for the time I was in El Paso - apart from possibly Rockapella, I'm sure good old Michael was our most listened-to artist! We arrived at the airport and parked and heaved my two suitcases out of the trunk (Danny had taken then downstairs and put them in the van for us, so I'm not sure I'd realised just how heavy they were! But, he's a marine, so I'm sure he was fine!) and headed in to the airport. While standing in line we attached extra luggage labels to both suitcases (a fact I was thankful about later) and then finally got to the front of the queue. One of my bags was actually 8lb over the limit, and although the guy offered me the chance to remove some stuff and put in my hand luggage instead, I decided it would just be easier to pay the money and not have the hassle later (I blame the extra weight on blest and Danny's extended families who were so kind in their giving of gifts to me for Christmas, but which unfortunately meant I ended up with a lot of books and journals to take home!)

We didn't have time to stop for a starbucks, but I did take a picture of blest in front of the starbucks sign (it just seemed appropriate!), and my last view of blest was as she headed into starbucks to buy a coffee, and I headed up the escalator and into the line to get through security. The line was pretty long, but kept moving, so I got through and found my gate. The flight I was getting was full, and since they hadn't given me a seat number when I was checked in I had to wait for them to call my name once they'd assigned me one. I ended up sitting inbeteen two middle-aged Mexican men.

Finally everyone was boarded and we headed away from the gate. The pilot was doing all his brake checks and everything, and it sounded kind of odd, so I, for one, wasn't surprised when her announced that we had a mechanical failure and had to go back to the gate to get it checked out. They got that sorted fairly quickly, and then had to refuel because all the taxi-ing we'd done had used too much, and otherwise we wouldn't make it to Dallas. We finally took off around three quarters of an hour later than we were scheduled to.

Before we touched down in Dallas the air-stewars were announcing terminals and gate for connecting flights, and I was pretty sure I hadn't heard anything about Heathrow. So when he walked past me I stopped him to check if I'd just not heard him say it, and he re-checked the list and agreed that he had no information about Heathrow. He told me I ought to be able to look on the departure screens and locate the information easily. By the time we landed, taxied to the gate and were finally able to de-board the plane (it was a full flight, and I was over the wing, so had to wait a long time for people to get out the way in front of me) I only had about an hour before my next flight was due to take off, and I was slightly concerned as I had no idea which termianl I needed to be in, let alone which gate....

Friday, February 08, 2008

Jet-Lag and Tears

One of my suitcases was returned to me last night, and the other has arrived in London and is due to be delivered some time today.

Today I'm feeling tired and emotional. Apparently it's 1pm according to the clock on the computer, but my body doesn't have a clue! I finally got to bed around 10pm last night, I'd been ready to go sooner, but then we started unpaking my first suitcase and it seemed sensible to get it all out and as much put away as I could. I woke up at about 2.30 feeling really thirsty so I got myself a glass of water and then went back to bedand fell asleep really quickly.

The phone rang at 10.30 this morning, which I was aware of, but there was no way I could get up to answer it in time, and after all what are answer phones there for if not to take a message for you? Around 11am I did manage to get out of bed and came to turn on the computer (priorities, people!). I need to do something more productive soon I guess, but I've been checking my email, etsy forums and facebook, and crying!

I didn't realise how hard it was going to be to come back home. I love my family and can't wait to see my friends back here, but it just feels so quiet and empty here. My Mum and Dad are at work, so it's just me here, and it's just so quiet. I'd gotten used to having a constant stream of noise from having four boys about the house, not to mention people drumming on the table or wall, and the piano, and music playing, and even the sound blest's laptop makes when an email arrives! I miss blest and the boys soooo much, I've having to restrain myself from looking at flights to go back over there right away!

I think Andrew put it well when we were sitting in the van on my last evening there (we were about to go out for dinner) "Ms Debs is going back to England? But I thought that she was part of the family now"

Thursday, February 07, 2008


I'm home, have no luggage and a journey story that needs to be blogged once I can write coherent sentences again.
Right now I'm freezing. Think it must be to do with being so tired, cos no one else thinks it's cold.

Friday, February 01, 2008


Tomorrow blest and I are heading off to Albuquerque for a couple of days. It's gonna be so cool. Photos to follow later (although maybe not until I get home)!