Saturday, January 25, 2014

Sweets & Candi in England

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How much does a boy love his grandma? Enough to fake an illness to get out of school so he could spend more time with her. It didn't work, unfortunately.

But there has still been plenty of memory-making going on around here. After all, it's not every day that you get your first international house guest.

Reading Zootles magazine at bedtime

Jack and Jude practically counted down the hours until my mom got here. When Jude first saw her at the airport, he tackled her, and when Jack came home from a friend's house later, he did the same. They eagerly run into her bedroom every morning, clamor for attention and, in general, try to monopolize every moment they can from their Grandma Candi.

Not everyone is so happy with her arrival, however.

Beauty is pain, Avinly. And if you're the grandma, it's also humorous!
Jack and Jude have had the advantage of years and proximity to get to know their relatives. Being the youngest, Avinly hasn't. Hence her wild desperation to never leave my or Nick's side, even for her grandma.

To combat this barnacle-like behavior, Nick and I have decided on the "weaken her resolve at all costs or we'll never get to go on our 10th anniversary vacation" approach.

I'll let you know later if it's working.

The results of the grandma-and-granddaughter hair session turned out quite cute, in my opinion. Perhaps even Avinly was satisfied.
Since Jack is in school all day, lucky Jude gets Grandma Candi all to himself. You don't have to tell him twice to take advantage. There has been a massive amount of football-kicking, wrestling and exercise-ball bouncing at the Kupper Casa this week.

Oh, and don't forget Lipstick Taser fights.  Vicious.

One of the best parts about my mom being here is showing her my everyday life in person instead of over Skype or FaceTime. She's been enjoying our daily routine, our new house and our new friends. She likes it all, actually...except one thing.

The roads. Mostly, the lack of sidewalks. 

Whether driving, biking, walking or running, my mom is not satisfied with the state of British roads. Oh sure, she was fine with it the first time she visited a few decades ago. But now that her daughter and grandbabies are risking their lives on them multiple times a day? No way, Jose. Get God on the line and tell Him what's what!

Or at least beg me to stay inside the house. Right.

You should see when I take the double BOB here!
Thankfully, when you can ignore the threat of death lurking around every hairpin turn, runs here really are quite relaxing.

Running by St. Nicholas' Church
In the UK, it is perfectly all right to mosey through private property as long as you leave it how you found it. As an American firmly steeped in the belief that you stay off private land no matter what, it weirded me out at first. But a few near-misses on my long runs helped me abandon that skittishness.

Mom, however, couldn't ditch the feeling that we were breaking the law. I told her she would get used to it. Besides, it's not like we'll get chased off by an angry farmer with a gun. Here, it would just be an angry farmer. And he would probably disguise the anger as politeness.

Running through a farm field. "My new shoes!" Mom said. My reply: "Did you actually expect to keep anything mud-free here, Mom?"
We've been filling our limited time with cuddles, books, runs/walks and town activities like Messy Church. I haven't had to introduce Mom to anyone; everyone already knows who she is. It's hard to stay anonymous with an American accent and a giant yellow stroller.

"Oh, you must be Crystal's Mum!" they greet her in the schoolyard. How can you tell?

Jude colors at Messy Church in the Parish Hall

Grandma Candi supervises the coloring at Messy Church
No visit to Gayton would be complete without a visit to the The Crown. Partially because it's cool -- it was built in the 16th century! -- but also because it's the only restaurant in town.

When my petite mom can reach the top of the doorway, you KNOW the building must be old!

Once we were seated near "the carvery" (a British meat buffet of sorts), we ordered our drinks. Mom asked for a ginger ale; I, a lemonade.

The volume of Mom's "dry ginger" turned out to be the size of a shot glass, while my lemonade was actually a Sprite with a lemon wedge on top.

So now we know.

Note to self: lemonade in the UK = Sprite in the US!
Of course, Mom and I found plenty to talk about over the meal. Like how Jack played Pharaoh in a class reenactment that morning (he even earned a sticker for delivering the line "All Hebrew baby boys MUST DIE!" with deep conviction) and the funny slogans on British condiments.

Giggling at this phrase never gets old
Once the waitress arrived, Mom frantically whispered behind her menu, "Remind me what chips and crisps are?" The code: fries are chips here, and chips are crisps. Among other things I am still learning.

Like being a daughter only gets better with age.

Like the best memories consist of games of Memory.

Like life is all the sweeter when Candi is in it.