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Happy Thanksgiving Part 2

Today, my family (on my Mom’s side) will be gathering in my aunt’s basement to celebrate Thanksgiving together as a family. My mom is the youngest of 9, so the numbers can range anywhere from 20 to over 40, depending on who is available. I loved family Thanksgiving. When I was younger, my cousins Jennifer, April, and I used to pretend to be waitresses and brought people their dessert. Once I knew how to write nicely, I was allowed to write out the placecards and put stickers on them. Thanksgiving has always meant a lot to me, and it’s always hard being away from my family on such an important date.

I sent my mom about 100 photos of the past year to share with the family, sent some flowers, picked some blog posts for Mom to print out to share, and wrote this letter.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Dear Family,

I hope you all can forgive me for not being there for Thanksgiving once again and for not being able to visit in 2011 like I had hoped. I would love to say I will be visiting in 2012, but it will all depend on the prices of airline tickets and what available time we have.

I’ve now spent my second year in the UK, and I still love living here. I could do without some of the cold weather, but I’m coping. At least it hasn’t snowed yet.

This year has seen a major change for us. Tim went on an interview for a higher position with his company (Network Rail) in December, and we found out in late January that he was being offered the position. There was a lot of back and forth with the company over Tim’s training, and in fact he did not complete his training until June and July and started his new position in August when we returned from our holiday in Wales. You will laugh when I tell you his job title – Tim is a MOM! It stands for Mobile Operations Manager which means he gets called when there is a problem anywhere in Lincolnshire. He loves it. The position is currently temporary (to make a long story short, the LOM in Newark was suspended, so a Lincoln MOM took over in Newark, leaving the Lincoln MOM job open) but if it opens up for a permanent position, Tim is going to apply for it.

Mom came to visit last December for Christmas, and we had a great time – though we were hindered by the snow and ice! Our trip up to Edinburgh got cancelled due to the snow/ice, but we still had a good time. Hopefully, mom has shown you all some of the photos we took while she was here.

In January, we went down to Brighton to visit Tim’s best mate (best friend) and to attend the Brighton Toy and Model Show, where Nick and his dad were displaying some vintage toys. It was fun to attend the show, and I got to see a little bit of Brighton with Tim’s cousin, Chris, and his partner, Phil. While Tim helped Nick out, Chris and Phil took me all over Brighton and showed me Brighton Pier and the Royal Pavilion. While at the show, we saw a model of the USS Intrepid in Legos. It was amazing. We returned from our trip to discover my arm infections were coming back.

In March I wound up in hospital for three days waiting to have surgery to cut out the infection. It all came to a head on a Sunday night when I reached out for a cup of tea and screamed in pain. Tim phoned up the NHS advice line, and they told him to take me directly to A&E (Accidents an Emergencies/the ER). A&E kept me in until 3AM when they finally sent me home to return on Monday morning to be admitted. Mom should have the blog post I wrote about my experience in hospital. It wasn’t too bad, and of course, it was free. Can’t really find fault with free! Fortunately, Tim was on his scheduled week off from work while I was in hospital. Unfortunately, it was the week we had planned on doing our vegetable plot, so we didn’t have a veggie patch this year.

In April, I attended the Royal Wedding! Well, okay, not really, but I did join the crowds outside Westminster Abbey to catch a glimpse of the royal family. I had a great time and it was nice to see the whole country come together for a celebration like that. Probably a once (or twice, if Prince Harry gets married) in a lifetime chance!

In May I was off to Birmingham to compete with my chorus. Unfortunately, we did not do as well as we had hoped, and we lost several members as a result. We also held a one-day workshop when we got back, and we gained several members. I also have been appointed Lead Section Leader alongside my friend Jan. This means we’re in charge of the ladies in our section and help to make decisions about the chorus. So far, I’m enjoying it.

I also found out in May that my close friend, M, was going to need a hysterectomy at the age of 34. She lives in Florida and does not have heath insurance because her employer did not offer it. I have been doing everything I can from here to help her raise money, including donating a few photos for her to sell on her website. She had her surgery in October, and if you’re interested in reading about her you can check her blog at http://giveneyestosee.com/blog.

Mom rang us up one night in May to tell me that my cat, Will, had passed away while at the vet. I was very upset and Prudence (Tim’s cat) must have known because ever since then she has been stuck to me like glue. She sits on my lap while we’re watching TV and curls up next to me in bed. I think she knew I needed a cat in my life.

June and July were quiet. Tim got sent on his course, which was a residential course down near London, so he was gone Monday to Friday. It was interesting spending time alone in the house! I decided to go down for one week and stay with Tim since the hotel was free and spent a week sightseeing in London and visiting some friends who live in London.

In July, a friend from high school came to visit for a few days while she was travelling in the UK and it was nice to see someone from “back home”. I also still visit with my friend Jessy, who I went to high school and Penn State with, whenever we have time to get together.

In August, we went on a two-week camping trip to Wales. We would have loved to have gone back to Austria, but we were trying to save a little money by staying in the UK. We had a great time. Our campsite was gorgeous (see photos if I remember to send them to Mom in time). We spent our time with some of our friends who also happened to be in Wales the same week as us, and we took Tim’s brother, Ben, and his girlfriend, Marie, with us for a few days. We spent most of our time riding railways because it was what I wanted to do when Tim asked me to pick things to do. It rains a lot in Wales, so I wasn’t in the mood for looking at castles in the rain. Better to look at the scenery out the window of a train!

When we returned from our holiday, Tim started his new position, and he’s barely been at home since. There is a lot of overtime on offer with this job in the fall, so Tim has been taking it when it’s been offered.

In September, the winds came. It blew down half of our lilac tree and also started blowing all the apples off our tree, before I was ready for them. I spent several weeks canning apple butter and apple sauce, and I think I now have enough to last a year!

Tim had a week booked off in November, and we went up to Edinburgh for a few days so I could finally see it. This was our third attempt at going, and third time is obviously the charm!

The day we got back I had to sit my Life in the UK test. It’s one of the requirements for my permanent residency and eventual citizenship. The test wasn’t hard, but I worked myself up over it.

We also went down to visit Nick again, and on the way home, our car broke down. We had to wait 5 hours for the RAC (like the AAA) to tow us back home, and I’ve been battling a cold ever since. I don’t have much of a voice to speak with, so I don’t think I’ll be calling today.

In December, we will be applying for my ILR (permanent residency). This will cost £1400 (nearly $2k), but it means I will be able to live in the UK permanently. In 2013 I will be eligible for citizenship, too, at which point I will then hold dual citizenship with the US.

After we get my ILR, I plan on applying for my provisional license. Since they need me to send my passport, I have been unwilling to send it until I had my residency. I don’t really need to drive, but it sure would be nice. Especially now that Tim is driving a work vehicle and the car is here all day. I’d be able to get to places not serviced by the bus!

I hope everyone is doing well!

I sent Mom some photos to share, and she has printed out a few of my blog entries for anyone who wants to read them. If you have internet access, you can read my blog at http://blog.beccajanestclair.com. I try to update it as much as possible. I’m also on facebook – http://ww.facebook.com/beccajanestclair for those of you who don’t have me added. You also can email me – rebeccajlockley@googlemail.com. You can IM, video call, or call me on Skype. My account there can be found under annaonthemoon. For those of you who don’t have internet access, our address is:

[removed for blog post. If you need my address, ask!]

I still have my US-based phone number, too. If you want to call me, you can call [removed]. The number is based in Michigan, so all you pay is long distance to Michigan, instead of the UK. Alternately, you can call my google voice number to leave me a message at [removed]. This is a Lancaster number, but it only goes to a voicemail account and I would have to call you back (which I can do for free). My UK number is [removed]. You would drop off the initial 0 when dialling from the US.

I look forward to hearing from you! Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!!

If any of you ever decide to visit the UK, please let me know, I’d love to see you!

With Love,

Rebecca & Tim

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The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, or the RSS feed(s), please notify me.

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  1. Miss M November 27th, 2011 18:00

    Busy year!! 😉

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