Ben & I had a fabulous Christmas this year. It was somewhat strange for us to not see either of our families, and we missed our time with them tremendously, but we had a great time with the two of us. Christmas Eve we went to a service at the cathedral. It was called the “Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols”. We arrived 15 minutes early, yet still there was only standing room. It is a common English Christmas service, which is interactive with the congregation. The children’s/adult choir was absolutely fabulous, and we enjoyed joining in singing common & uncommon (for us) Christmas carols. That evening we enjoyed our Christmas Eve traditions of reading the Christmas story from Luke, having yummy crackers & cheese & other appetizers, opening stockings, and watching a great Christmas movie. This year it was “White Christmas”; which was fitting as we did have a white Christmas this year. Christmas morning was simple & lovely with just the two of us, and that afternoon we joined other American’s for a gathering. It was wonderful. Today, we did more relaxing-sleeping in & reading all morning, and ventured out to see the new “Sherlock Holmes” movie. We loved it. Overall, it’s been great! Plus, we did get to see each of our families on skype. Although it isn’t the same, it sure makes the 4, 575 miles seem a lot less significant!
Christmas Eve service at the cathedral
Yummy food & "White Christmas"
A snowy walk into Durham. This is my favorite part.
A more enchanted view of the castle & cathedral
I love this place
Ben and I got engaged! I can hardly believe it was that long ago. Even crazier-I’ve had a crush on him for 10 years (well, now it’s a bit more than a crush), we’ve been together for 7 years, and married for 4 1/2 years! Time sure flies when you get to spend it with your favorite person.
Anyone recognize this as the spot where Harry releases Hedwig to fly above the castle?
The cloisters in Durham Cathedral
A close up
Hedwig flying over Durham cathedral
And there you go!
Click here for further pictures of Harry Potter filmed at Durham Cathedral.
I thought we lived in Durham, England, but maybe we live in Bedrock…
It’s truly does feel like Christmas break. Ben’s done with classes (although never really done with what he does), I got a job, and it snowed! Perfect. Thursday it started snowing, and never melted. We woke up yesterday to a nice blanket of snow on the ground. We decided to go out and have a little fun. We walked to Durham & attempted to go to the top of the cathedral tower as we have yet to do that, but unfortunately it was closed as they were having a school concert that afternoon. Instead we had lunch at the cathedral cafe, walked around town, and enjoyed the best cup of coffee we’ve had yet (here in England). Great day. Enjoy some of the photos.
Snow from our back patio
Walk up to the castle & cathedral. It's steeper than it looks. Really.
Part of the castle. Doesn't look like much next to the cathedral.
Durham Cathedral, the cloisters
You know you're not in Kansas anymore when...
Out to coffee with my man
Sunrise this morning
"The people we love are never truly far away"
For more brilliant insights into the life of a PhD student, see PhD comics.
This morning I made a trek through the blistering cold and snow to a job interview in Darlington. Darlington is only a 15 minute train ride, but with the travel by bus or walking to & from the train station, I had to leave about an hour and a half before my interview. With the wind & snow, I really did miss my car this morning. Oh the luxuries….
But, it was all very worth it as I got the job! I’ve been praying something would be lined up before Christmas. It is through the County Durham & Darlington NHS Foundation Trust . I have been hired to a “nurse bank” position, which is somewhat similar to a float or resource pool nurse in the states, but a bit different. It is not a permanent position, and I’m not required to work certain hours or shifts. Basically they tell me when & where they need nurses (there are many hospitals in the Trust), and I let them know when I want to work. Often, nurses leave the nurse bank as they find a ward that’s a good fit and stay as a permanent staff member if there’s a need. So, it’s a good way to figure out where you want to be. Ideally, that would happen & I’d find a permanent position at the hospital a mile and half down the road from where we live. This is good for now though as it will open more doors, and there’ll be lots to learn on the many different wards I’ll work on.
I feel so relieved! Thank you Lord!! Now, to just relax & enjoy Christmas without the stress of job hunting all the time. Merry Christmas!!
Below is the view of the castle & cathedral from the train station. It’s really pretty at sunrise. Unfortunately the sun hadn’t risen yet this morning when I was at the station. This picture, however, is from later this morning on my way home.
View of Durham from the train station
That’s a nice and pretty way of explaining away the most depressingly short day of the year. Thank goodness it happens around Christmas. Usually the winter solstice happens around the 21st or 22nd of December. I’ve been feeling these short days, and knew they were definitely shorter than what we were used to in Portland, OR. We finally looked it up, and sure enough, they are short. Today the sun rose at 8:22 AM, and will be setting at 3:41 PM. It’s weird having my day be only with little over 7 hours of sunlight. I suppose the worst is almost over. Hooray for that!! Less than a week more of this, and it only gets better from here on out. Summer solstice, June 21st, is the longest day of the year. Here in Durham, on June 21st, the sun is predicted to rise at 4:25 AM and set at 9:50 PM. With twilight ending around quarter to eleven, I was told it gets a bit weird having so many hours of daylight. But, I love my sun time, so bring it on!!
is that I can go a 2-5 minutes in either direction from our place & find myself in open fields. I love it! Just find yourself a “Public Footpath” sign if you don’t know where to go, and you’ll find some trail to follow. I much prefer this to walking along the roads. Yesterday I enjoyed a nice afternoon walk. If you do decide to off road it, make sure to wear some good boots! It gets muddy.
These signs are all over
This trail is clear enough. Though often we'll see a "public footpath" sign, but no path. You feel kind of bad making your own trail alongside someone's field. I have yet to see a "no trespassing" sign.
These boots have come in very handy here
I liked the green looking tree off to the right
I LOVE that Christmas is here! I know it’s cliche, but it’s my favorite. Ben & I had fun decorating our tree last weekend. We did miss our usual Christmas decorations, but we made do with some new stuff. The saddest thing though, is that our tree is fake! I’m almost embarrassed to say it, but yes, it’s not real. I mostly miss the smell. But, I suppose this is better for the environment anyways, and much cheaper really. It’s still beautiful, and we love it. Last night we sat down to “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and had some egg nog. I had a feeling we were in trouble when I had to ask a store employee where to find it and they directed me to the alcohol section. We decided we had to give it a chance. And, it’s terrible!! It’s called “Advocaat”, is 14% alcohol, and is bright yellow. I really gave it a shot (no pun intended), but it tastes like rubbing alcohol with a faint egg nog taste in the background. Nasty stuff. Advocaat anyone?
Advocaat, aka Egg Nog