Thursday, October 25, 2007

Cottage Tour

Per Samuel's request, I am finally going to give a pictorial tour of our apartment. You enter our apartment on the second floor, and then go up another flight of stairs. At the top, past a baby gate (Lydia doesn't try to go down the stairs, but I was worried about her accidentally falling down them, because they're very steep, and there's a sharp wall at the end) and below a skylight you're on our front landing. To the right is our...bathroom! (Very exciting).
Not really much to say about it. Yep, it's a bathroom. The part of most note is the bathtub; notice that it has no shower. Avram, who has had a hard time adjusting to not living in America, and who misses America a lot (the physical land, by the way, especially the wide open places out West. This works out well for me, because I want him to apply to BYU to teach after his doctorate, and although Provo isn't exactly a wide open space on its own, it is close to them), says there are really only three things he doesn't like about England. It's worth noting, and he does, that none of them are actually problems with England, just with our specific experience of living abroad.

First, he doesn't like that we have absolutely no money. In America we were college students, and joked about being 'starving college students,' but really for the most part we were able to get along, between his half scholarship, Pell grants (I love Pell grants), and him working about 16 hours a week. Here, he has a half scholarship too (which is very generous; Oxford doesn't give out much money at all), but we have to also get lots of student loans, a personal loan from his Grandpa, etc, etc. Pell grants are only for undergraduate, so that's out. Why do we need so much more money? Everything is twice as much in England, and currently the American dollar is, as Avram puts it, tanking right now. In theory, we both agree with this, that the dollar should represent the money America actually has. In reality it's depressing to be abroad while this is happening. We have enough to get by, and everything, and we have plenty of food, but we just feel poor in a way we never did in America, and we don't like it. Hopefully we'll get a nice financial package for his doctorate, with a full scholarship and stipend, so that we can feel rich again in America.

Secondly he doesn't like grocery shopping, because the food's different, and Thirdly, he doesn't like taking baths here, because we have no shower. My problem with only baths, is I get in, and then never want to get out; less effective for being productive. Avram's problem is that they're a drag, ie, we have to fill them first, and he can never seem to get the right mixture of hot and cold water, and it makes his hair yucky, because the soap never comes out (this is all straight from his mouth). I tell him how the hot water in Egypt didn't go up the shower pipes, so you had to take a bath, but also the hot water heater was so small that in order to not have a mildly lukewarm to cold bath I instead just put warm water in a bucket and sponge bathed inside the bathtub, but for some reason this didn't help (one upping people, even if it's true, never does help).

If you go straight ahead on the landing there's the Kitchen:
Lydia just eats at the table with us, and sits on a little phone book. It works pretty well.
Then, to the left on the landing is hallway, and on one side of the hallway is our bedroom:
Notice the artistic rustic beams, and authentic sloped ceiling. Lydia sleeps on the floor, next to our bed. Sounds sad, huh? Here's the other part of the room. Small, but functional.
And finally, our living room, at the other side of the hallway.
It's the largest room in our apartment, although I do dearly miss having a couch. Lydia doesn't seem to mind not getting her own comfy chair (there are two of them).

And finally, one last picture:
Lydia saluting off and thanking you for your time touring, while getting comfy with her younger sibling's afghan, who is due around May 8 or 9th (which would make her Mama 12 weeks along, for the mathematically disinclined).


  1. Wow lydia is cute.

    So I was thinking wouldn't it be better if there was a way that the bath heated the water instead of a water heater. I mean sure there is some danger of the bath burning you but if you insulated it right and had the water go through the bath heating you would never have to worry about running out of hot water when you run the laundry or something.

    Anyway thanks for the well wishes. It is hard being poor. Right now me and Heather are in the poor professional stage. Luckily though we haven't had to buy a single diaper so many people just gave them to us.

    If you desperatly need anything from this side of the pond just ask and we'll try and send it. We may be poor but we are still your friends

  2. Thanks so much for the pictures! At least you have a separate bedroom and living room! It is hard being poor. Right now we're being poor missionaries, which isn't nearly as poor as being poor students. In our case, we have some money, we just don't dare touch it, as it has to last out the mission! And here in the Dominican Republic, they LIKE American dollars!

    Off-the-wall question: How's the toilet paper there? The stuff in Germany was more like sandpaper when I was there.

  3. Thora!!!!
    are you really??
    I am so happy for you
    I love you and I hope that you are able to find a nice docter over there
    I am glad that you are doing well and that your house looks nice
    I am sure that the nice pritty outside makes up for the tub and other things
    I love and I wish that I could talk to you
    Love Mary

  4. okay whats with the first posts that didnt get it???
    YAY on the pregnancy!! so happy for you guys! interested to hear what its like to go through a pregnancy in england... when is your first appointment? I am so happy for you all!! i was thinking of you on your would have been due date last week. i love you!!!

  5. Well duh? That's what I get for skimming the Article. Hooray for another Shannon.
    Are we going for a little
    Alexander Richard this time?

  6. Arthur. He's Arthur. I do think it is a boy in spite of Avram's desire to have another daughter because of the circumcism (sp?) in England problem. Even though I knew about the pregancy, it took me a second to realize why you took the picture with Lydia and the baby's afghan. Okay, so I'm slow. I loved the tour. The kitchen looks more modern than I had visualized and the windows are small. I know how much Thora loves natural light. It's still better than a basement.

  7. All RIGHT! on the 12 weeks! Rock on! Congratulations, you guys!

    I shall put my mind to getting a care package out to you guys. I ran into some donut sticks at the store the other day and thought of y'all. I don't think I can send you a shower, but I'll see what I can rustle up in terms of random americana. I'll start collecting.

  8. Congrats! I vote for Alistair (I know it will be vetoed, but I still like the name).

    Are an American family called Purcell in your ward? They're sometime relatives of mine. They're doing a year at Oxford too and she just had a funny post about grocery shopping that you can probably relate to called "The food." at

  9. We've been talking about names, and the current A names are Arthur, Aloysius (pronounced a-loo-ISH-us) and the name Lewis comes from it, Alistair (I think that this will probably be vetoed as well, but I can dream), and then in the far behind, but still trucking along is Azariah. To be honest, Aloysius is pretty far in the back too. So's Alistair (not on account of me).
    Girl names; Eleanore, Eleanora, Gwyneth (not very high up), and other flowery old fashioned English style names that I can't currently think of right now.
    I want to do British names, to celebrate the country of birth of our child. Anyway, I'll get off before this becomes a whole post.

  10. Oh, I also meant to say first, thanks Camilla for remembering me on that day; I too remembered it. Funny how some things are still hard, even after we've worked through them emotionally and logically.
    Also, I've been reading the Purcell's blog, which is funny, because they are also in our ward; Lydia and Jonathon are in Nursery together. Actually, we've found the refried beans (they're in the foreign foods isle, not the beans isle), and to date have bought five cans, although they're expensive here. It's worth it, though. I didn't know how attached I was to fake Mexican food.
    Don, the toilet paper is thin, but then again, our cleaning ladies provide it, so it's institutional stuff. I don't know what it would be like if I bought it myself in the store.

  11. Congratulations! That is really cool. I am so happy for you guys. I am sure that Lydia is going to be a perfectly bratty older sister. Life is always better with siblings.

    I am voting for Arthur if it is a boy. Azariah is pretty cool too though. I sadly do not think that Aleatha will go for Mishael as a name though, so I am not too committed to voting for Azariah.

    I think I would have to go with Eleanor if it is a girl, but I would probably always end up singing a Beatles song about her whenever I spoke of her. Until she appropriated the name for herself of course.