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One move to America, one surprise pregnancy and a lot of fun later.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The last fortnight – 14th to 27th June

Well I hope everyone enjoyed the guided tour of my house that I posted last week. It felt strange at first seeing all our furniture in a different house but is now starting to feel like home. I would love to see how our tenants have laid out the house in Troon.
Well on to what we have been up to.
The fortnight started with a lovely bbq on Sunday with Kim and Andrew. They live in a new development called Kentlands up in Gaithersburg. In fact Jar and I looked at a couple of townhouses in this area when looking for properties. It is a purpose built community with a market square with shops and restaurants and a community outdoor pool. We decided against it as we prefer older properties and these are all new, condominiums or town houses. Also, there were no gardens on the properties to allow Bobby some outside space and the metro or other public transport doesn’t go near there so we decided on where we are.

This weeks dance lesson was the Foxtrot. Which is basically slow, slow, quick. We picked it up quite well but just need to get somewhere and some time to practice it. The following Monday was the Tango. Unfortunately, Jar was working up in Pennsylvania overnight so it was just one to Tango. This worked out quite well as I go to dance with the instructor and one other more experienced guy so learned some more steps than the rest of the class. There is something quite sexy about the feel of the Tango and I had an amazing urge to put a rose stem in my mouth – lol. I will need to teach Jarlath what I learned as we will be covering it again in our final week next week.

On the first Tuesday I had my first US hair appointment for a cut and a colour. The hairdresser was recommended by a work colleague of Vicki ( a girl I had met in the pub). I felt very comfortable from the moment I walked in and the guy (Mike) doing my hair was really nice and seemed to be really clued up on what he was talking about. My colour is now a bit darker auburn than my last colour as I felt it was too light for me and Mike agreed. He also cut some shape into the sides and back to give it some volume. He really made it lovely when he dried out but I can never get it the same when I do it myself.
After my hair appointment I had arranged a meeting with an Accountancy temp recruiter to get some temp work when I wanted it. It will be at a lower level from my experience but I fancied doing it for the social side as well as the money. I have not managed to make many friends yet and if I work in local offices I will get to meet a lot more people socially. Nothing come through yet but I have not been pushing it that much to be honest.
On Wednesday I had my big night out with Vicki. I met her in the pub a while ago and we are both accountants and seem to have a lot in common. I have been emailing her for a couple of months even before I came over and we have been trying to get a night out so decided on Wednesday night. She recommended a Tapas place in Bethesda called Jaleo (pronounce Haleo) as she loves their White Sangria. The weather this week has been awful with lots of rain and thunder storms so it scuppered our plans a little for sitting outside in the sunshine sipping sangria. We ordered four dishes which was plenty and then scoffed a carafe of the white sangria between us – it has Cava, Spanish brandy, mint, strawberries and soda in it – it was absolutely delicious although fairly expensive. After dinner we decided to walk to the local pub where we met and have a couple of beers and see what band was on. The band was a Country and Western band which I love but we ended up sitting outside in their covered patio and met a couple of guys Vicki knew and just chatted. Jar came to pick me up about half ten so it was a rather splendid night for me and hopefully I have made a good friend.

Well next on our itinerary is Karate summer camp over the weekend. It is basically through Jars Karate club, where they go camping for the weekend and arrange lots of training and belt gradings.
It was at the Greenbriar State park which is on the Appalachian trail.

The Appalachian Trail is a continuous marked footpath that goes from Katahdin in Maine to Springer Mountain in Georgia, a distance of about 2160 miles. Many trace the origins of the Trail to a 1921 article by Benton MacKaye entitled An Appalachian Trail: A Project in Regional Planning.
It has lots of campsites in the forest and a manmade lake and beach. It was about an hour and a half North of us so not too bad a drive. We arrived on the Friday and set up camp, then there was a Karate training session at 6.30 for just over an hour. I just hung around and watched and chatted to some of the other partners and parents who weren’t taking part. We then had dinner at the campfire and just chilled around for the rest of the evening. There was a thunder storm overnight with a lot of rain but luckily it went off about 9 in the morning so we could emerge from the tents and get some breakfast. There was then more Karate training from 10 to 12 and again I just hung around and tried to read the Maryland drivers handbook for my drivers test. We then had a break for lunch before the Karate guys went back to train further and complete their gradings. Jar decided not to do his grading as he wasn’t happy that he knew the Kata well enough but he still had to take part in the whole session anyway. I nipped down to the beach for a swim and a bit of a sunbathe. I then went back to the campsite to find all the Karate guys heading to the beach for a swim so I headed back with them and played some ball games in the water.
We then all rushed back to get showered and dressed to head out to Hagerstown for some dinner. There was about 35 of us so the service was really poor but the food and beer was good. We didn’t stay too long as we headed back for a communal campfire and just sat around drinking and telling stories. Those that had passed their grading were presented with their certificates and belts. I got to try the delights of S’mores which are basically 2 Graham crackers, a bit of Hershey chocolate, then you melt your marshmallow over the fire and sandwich them all together – delicious and everyone was very kind showing me how to make my first one.
I went off to bed and left the boys drinking whisky and smoking cigars. I met all the guys that Jar trains with and they were all very friendly to me and made me feel very welcome.
Up for a communal football game on Sunday morning and then headed back down the road. Jar and I decided to stop off at some car dealers on the way home to look for a wee runaround for me. We saw a couple of potentials but nothing definite yet. I did a bit more investigation the following week and went to do a couple of test drives so watch this space to see what we decide on.

On Monday morning poor Jar had his first session of root canal work. He was getting poked and prodded in the mouth for an hour and a half, which wasn’t much fun. It has been sore for him all week making his mood quite subdued and he hasn’t been bothered about going to Karate or training so he must be in pain!
I then went to look at a couple of cars we had seen on the internet and did a couple of test drives. Two definite possibilities which I will take Jar to see later in the week.

On the second Tuesday I went to sit my final drug and alcohol awareness test for my drivers licence. I passed but got one question wrong which I was annoyed about as I knew the correct answer but had just read the question back to front so put True when I knew the answer was False. It is still a pass but I like perfection better! As this was up in Gaithersburg I met up with Kim afterwards for some dinner in Kentlands as Jar was travelling home from Pennsylvania and then was straight out to a dinner with the board before his board meeting on the Wednesday.
Wednesday I started the day being super fit by doing a Yoga class and then a Power Pilates class. Great way to start the day. I then decided to get some sunshine about my weary bones so lay out in the back garden for a couple of hours reading my book – the first casualty by Ben Elton – managed to finish it it was really good.
Then spent the afternoon doing lots of cooking. I had to do a couple of Haggis pies and some spotted dick for a multicultural day at Jars work on the Thursday. While the oven was on I also made a fish pie for our tea that night with a couple of portions to freeze and I then made some Cornish Pasties – not tried them yet but they look quite good.
It was my mums birthday today (Wednesday 24th) but I didn’t have a clue what to buy her as she is a 72 year old woman with Emphysema living in a nursing home. I decided to print out my blog diary for her to read to let her hear everything going on in my life. I hope she enjoyed it as she hasn’t been in touch since she received it!

Thursday I started the day with a yoga class run by Linda. It is more spiritual than the other yoga class I go to. Afterwards they meet outside on the balcony at the gym and chat about their yoga practices and centering. I went along and we sat chatting about lifestyles and general chat for about 40 minutes. One lady, Joelle, ended up chatting to me afterwards for a while and I found out she is an avid reader as well and in fact runs a bookgroup. She says she will invite me along to her next bookgroup meeting if I want to join and they could do with some new opinions and ideas. This is great if I can join an already established group rather than having to start my own from scratch. She says they have been going for about 15 years already. Can’t wait for this as it will be a chance to meet a lot more people. Joelle also lives just along the road from me so hopefully we can become friends as well.
In the afternoon I looked up the local library and drove down to scout it out. Joined up which was really easy with proof of address and picture id. They give you a normal credit card library card but also a little card for your keyring that you just scan in when you go, it is really handy. Everyone was really helpful and they had a good mix of books, audio cds and they even had a few of their new concept of audio MP3 players where you book out an MP3 player with an audio book on it. All you need is your own headphones and you are good to go. You get everything out for 3 weeks (except dvds and new releases which are for 7 days) and can return items to any library in the state not just the one you booked it out from. They also have an online request system to reserve books which also lets you search other libraries in the state and when you reserve it they will post it to your local library within a few days for you to pick up. Seemed like a nice relaxed place. I got out an audio CD of The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. I have read it before but wanted to re-read before the film comes out later this year, so thought this would be a good way of doing it as I have a 7 hour drive to Rochester, NY next week so it will help me pass the drive – as long as Jar lets me listen to it on our drive, but he liked the book as well so is up for trying an audio book with me.
In the evening I picked Jar up from work and took him to look at one of the cars I had already test driven. We took it out for another drive and looked it over and then he bought it for me. He is great at negotiating a deal (well that is his job) and we got what was a good deal in our eyes.

Friday and I did my Barre class in the morning and really pushed myself and boy do my legs ache now! I also had my MBTs on to walk to the class and I could hardly walk in them afterwards – more like a baby giraffe trying to walk!! I must have looked strange lurching back home on legs that could barely hold me up. All in good fun though.
My new car got delivered today. It is 5 years old but in really good condition and the mileage is reasonable as well. It is an Mazda MX5 Miata Speed and is a stick shift with 6 gears. Strange even after a month of driving an automatic to be driving a manual. I have always wanted a convertible sporty car and my darling husband made another dream come true. Feel a bit of a poser in it as it has a souped up engine and is a very bright red with a bit of a boy racer interior and Bose sound system. Now I just need to look out my music with the high bass content to blast out as I drive along – lol! I will still use public transport and bikes to travel as much as possible but this gives me the option without having to work out with military precision with Jar. It will be better for him as he can work whatever hours he wants without having to consider me as much.
Does it suit me:

On Friday evening we decided to take it for a spin and drove it along the canal road towards Great Falls and then back to Glen Echo where we stopped at the Irish Inn for a drink in the sunshine. We left the roof down and were suddenly hit by a thunder storm but luckily we could feel it coming in the air and I ran out to the car and got the roof up just as the first drops of torrential rain came down. That would not have been funny otherwise. Then home for some home-made Fajitas and watched the movie Sophies choice – as recommended on RISI after watching The Reader. It wasn’t the story I was expecting and a bit dated but I can see why Meryl Streep won her Oscar for her performance in it.

Saturday and had a lazy start then drove up to Bethesda for Jar to go to the Dojo and me to pick up my cross stitch that was getting framed. I then wandered around for a bit and got a cup of tea and sat out in the town square reading my book before going back to Dojo to pick up Jar. Got talking to the Sensai, Ivan, whom I had met at camp last week. He is really interesting and full of stories. I also found out that he used to live in Argentina and knew how to tango so we ended up doing Tango round the Dojo. It was quite funny. Then off for a quick game of tennis. It was really hot and my legs are so stiff from the Barre class that I was worse than usual but it was still fun and some exercise. Lazy afternoon around the house and we decided to lie out in the back garden for an hour or so just chatting away, although I got munched on by some bugs and have quite a lot of bites. We then got dolled up and went up to Bethesda for dinner at a Lebanese restaurant and then some drinks at the tiki bar ending the night at our local Irish pub where we met up with some friends – Billy, Beth, Martin, Vicky etc for some drinks. Ended up staying until midnight which was much later than we planned but we were just having so much fun sitting outside chatting to everyone that the time just flew by.

Yet another fantastic week over. Hope you are all well. Xx

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