Uk travels; Teichroeb Edition

A few weeks after my parents left England, Rods parents showed up! They were there for the last week of school and then we toured through Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland with them for 9 days. It was a lot to see in just over a week and has made me itch to go back ever since!

Heading into Scotland, the landscape is constantly changing, beautiful forested hills, to dry and barren highlands. One thing that stays the same though, is the sheep. They are literally everywhere!

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Loch Ness

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These yellow flowers blanket the hills all over Scotland.

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The submarine that they used to search for Nessie 🙂

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A castle ruins on the side of the road. Someday I want to do a castle tour of the UK; I love exploring these ancient, stone, historical treasures. My imagination goes wild with tales of princesses and knights! IMG_6652

Highland cattle, one of my favorite “moo”ments of the trip 😉 IMG_6660 IMG_6661 IMG_6664

We stopped in this picturesque little town overlooking Loch Ness for lunch. Honestly, I could have stayed in this town for a week! IMG_6669 IMG_6671 IMG_6681

We came across this dam on our way out of Scotland; I never tired of the scenery because there was always something new around every corner. IMG_6690 IMG_6691 IMG_6695 IMG_6741

If I loved the other little town, I adored this one. Tiny, quaint and so much character! The only reason we even ended up here, is because I wanted  needed to check out a little yarn shop that Rods mom found a brochure for at our hotel the previous night. It was worth it. Even the drive to the town. The above picture was taken a few minutes before we reached the town, but that’s pretty much what it looked like for the whole drive on the tiny windy road which was actually taking us right through a sheep pasture!IMG_6742

This was the destination! It made me so happy! It’s an old water mill that now houses the cutest little yarn/wool shop ever! IMG_6746 I realize it looks like I’m talking on a “yarn phone” here! If you’re not a yarn addict you won’t understand, I could have cuddled with every ball of yarn there 🙂 (the reason its better then Michaels is because the vast majority was hand spun and hand dyed!)IMG_6756

Llandudno, Wales was our next stop.
IMG_6795 IMG_6801 Hanging out on the pier…IMG_6830 IMG_6844 IMG_6850 IMG_6856

Heading to Ireland!
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Galway, IrelandIMG_6898 IMG_6900 IMG_6902

Heading to the Cliffs of Moher from Galway  IMG_6918IMG_6935 IMG_6952 IMG_6961 IMG_6976 IMG_6985 IMG_6986 IMG_6997 IMG_7006 Cliffs of Moher
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After the cliffs, we headed back East across Ireland. In a small coastal town we discovered fried doughnuts… I still crave these every time I think about them, which is a lot!
IMG_7090 IMG_7091 IMG_7099 IMG_7106 IMG_7112 We went out for some amazing Pub food the night before heading back to England on the ferry. IMG_7140 Bath, EnglandIMG_7148 IMG_7150 IMG_7152

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Bristol, EnglandIMG_3403 IMG_3407 IMG_3412 IMG_3413 IMG_3430 Blue Lagoon, IcelandIMG_7299 IMG_7304 An Icelandic HORSE, emphasis on the horse part, I made the mistake of calling them Icelandic Ponies and got corrected twice, by the same women, within an hour. I guess being a pony is insulting? IMG_7341 This pic is kind of boring until you know what it is… this is where to tectonic plates meet, the Euroasian and the American plates. Iceland is growing by about an inch per year. The valley is the space being created by the two plates pulling apart. IMG_7363 They’ve built a bridge over the gap so you can walk from America to Europe:) IMG_7364 A geothermal hotspot. Apparently some people use the natural heat to bake bread! They have a special oven that they place over a hotspot and the bread bakes for 24 hours using geothermal heat!IMG_7378 IMG_7399 IMG_7414 IMG_7441

This trip was awesome and made me definitely want to come back to the UK. I feel like I could spend a month exploring each place we only spent a few hours at now.

~Melinda~

 

 

 

 

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#martensuktrip

Finally, a looonnnnngggg overdue post about my parents trip to the UK! I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to put this together, but here it is, a random smattering of pics from #martensuktrip !!

St James Park, London

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Buckingham Palace, changing of the guardIMG_5904

Alnwick Castle (ahh-maaaz-ing!!)IMG_4331

 

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Bamburgh Castle, England (also amazing!)

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St. Mary’s Lighthouse, Whitley Bay

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It was such a cool experience having my parents come visit me in a foreign country! We had a lot of fun and made some great memories.

~Melinda~

Lovely York

Last weekend Rod and I decided to brave the roads, rented a car and drove to York. It was a little nerve-wracking to be a passenger on opposite sides of the car and the road then normal, but it actually worked a lot better then I thought it would! Rod completely held it together and even drove stick left handed! With GPS in hand we managed to navigate through about 100 roundabouts and safely made it to York!

If you ever have a chance, you should definitely go to York. It’s so great. I didn’t take very many photos unfortunately because it was freezing cold and I wasn’t hardcore enough to pull my camera out all the time. Oh well, Hope you enjoy!

The city still has miles of old wall standing, and you can walk along the top of it to get around the city.IMG_5486 (2) IMG_5490 IMG_5493 (2)

York has sooo many daffodils and they were just beginning to bloom while we were there.
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We ate lunch at this restaurant, the inside is impossibly tiny, but so so cute! We decided to eat outside, which ended up being super cold, but they supply blankets to their guests, so that was kind of cool!IMG_5514 (2) IMG_5519 (2) IMG_5533 (2) IMG_5537

This is Cliffords TowerIMG_5539 (2) IMG_5545 (2) IMG_5555 IMG_5559

A pretty sweet building in The Shambles. There is some really awesome old architecture along these streets.
IMG_5560 (2)Of course we had to stop for tea somewhere, so we found an antique store with a tea room upstairs and had a pot of Yorkshire tea with milk and real legit “lumps” of sugar! Yum!
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The York Minster, the largest gothic cathedral in Northern Europe. It is massive!! So pretty too.IMG_5585 (2) IMG_5594 (2) IMG_5595 (2) IMG_5600 IMG_5602

Some whimsy we discovered in a little courtyard after walking through a narrow passageway… why is everything cooler in a different country??IMG_5623 (3) IMG_5625 (2)

Another super cute restaurant, The Perky Peacock.IMG_5642 (2) IMG_5644 IMG_5678 IMG_5679And on our way home we were driving right past The Angel of the North statue, so we pulled in to get a few shots of it. It is huge!IMG_5696 IMG_5701 IMG_5705And that’s it! I really wish I would have taken more photos but it was really really cold!! We’re headed to Edinburgh Scotland next weekend so those pics will be up in a couple weeks!

~Melinda~

Our Neighbourhood

I decided to do a neighbourhood photos post to show you what it looks like where we live. Most of my pictures are of trips we take or cool landmarks etc. Today it’s all about the streets I see on a regular basis starting with a photo of a typical row of homes here in Newcastle. Everywhere you go, you will find townhouses like this. I think they are referred to as “Tyneside Flats”…. ?

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On my walk yesterday, I found this little gem! I wonder if this is where Newcastle “Friends” hangout? 😉  … Heaton Perk…. Central Perk…

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This is a bakery/sandwich shop just down the road from our place, I have yet to go in there, but I definitely want to at some point, and no, I have no idea what Stotties are! Maybe I’ll have one once I go, and then I’ll tell you about it!

It seems to be a huge thing around here to paint your door a bright color, helps break up the monotony of red brick I guess. Don’t get me wrong… I love brick buildings, but at some point you want to see a color other then just red!IMG_5028 (2) IMG_5033 (2)

This is our street, our flat is on the right about halfway down. IMG_5036 (2) IMG_5039 (2) IMG_5041 (2)

Our building!!
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This is the courtyard for our building.
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And this is the front of our apartment complex. IMG_5053 (3)

I can’t believe that our time here in Newcastle is drawing to a close! Only just over a month till my parents are coming to visit, then it’s just going to fly by even faster until we head home at the end of May!

~Melinda~

Rods India Trip

So, apparently I went to India! Now that I’ve been back in the UK for 3 weeks I find it hard to believe that it ever happened. I have 500 photos and some bug bites that still itch from time-to-time, so I guess these are the things that help me to remember.

My journey to India was entirely eventful and not in a good way. The first issue was a mechanical fault on the train ride from Newcastle to London. Melinda and I still managed to get ourselves onto another train and arrive in London in time to catch our separate flights, but this was a sign of things to come. My flight that evening ended up being delayed by a full day because the plane didn’t want to “fire-up”, and meanwhile Melinda’s plane nearly crashed while landing in Iceland. I arrived in Delhi, India, a day later than expected, extremely tired, and feeling very alone. It was in this condition that I stumbled into the wrong section of the Delhi airport and ended up being held by the Indian Police for an hour and a half. While this was going on I realized my passport was missing as well. Visions of ending up in a foreign prison started dancing through my head. One of the Policemen helped me retrace my steps and we ended up finding my passport at the currency exchange desk. They eventually decided to let me go, after deciding I wasn’t much of a threat to national security, and I found my travel agent waiting for me. He took me to my hotel, where I spent my first night, on a very dingy bed, fully clothed and curled up in the fetal position wanting to go home.

Now that I’ve laid out some back story, here’s my India experience in picture form!

My first night in Delhi at the Atithi Hotel

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Travelling in the cities is quite the experience! It seems you’re allowed to drive wherever you happen to fit, as is seen by the motorbikes below.
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In the morning one of my fellow classmates, John, showed up at the Hotel. I was extremely relieved to have a familiar english face to talk to! From Delhi we headed out on the 3.5 hour journey to Agra (home of the Taj Mahal) by taxi.

This is a little girl I met at a roadside stop on the way to Agra.
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This was the first of thousands of cows on the road that I would see during my 3 week trip.

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John and I stayed in Agra for the night, and the next morning we went to see the Taj Mahal. This is one of the 3 gates leading into the magnificent grounds.
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This was a slight variation on one of the “96 camera angles” that our tour guide informed us that he would take for us.
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The absolutely stunning building which is built completely out of white marble, and precious stonesIMG_2059 (2) IMG_2064 (2)

The Taj Mahal is adorned with inlaid stones (seen above) such as carnelion, jasper, jade, mother of pearl, amber, and others I can’t remember. It is also covered with these beautiful carvings. IMG_2067 (2) IMG_2011 (2)

An ongoing theme during my stay, was that groups of Indian guys wanted to take pictures with us. Not sure what that was all about. It may have been our whiteness, or the fact that we’re a bit taller than most of themIMG_2083 (2)IMG_2088

Monkeys and camels outside the Taj grounds
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The guys pictured above use hand tools to make items such as the table below. These are the descendants of the workers who did the decorative work on the Taj Mahal.
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This tapestry was made by a different artist than the ones pictured above. It won an international award, and the artist has also made ornate tapestries for people such as Bill Clinton.

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A washroom break on the trip back to Delhi. A perfect time to enjoy some of the rural landscape

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This was back at the airport in Delhi, waiting for our flight to Mumbai. I absolutely love these recliners!

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On December 21st we were supposed to get picked up by a van in Mumbai that would drive our group the 7 hours to Karad, which was the location of the 2 week school selective. John and I stayed in a Hotel for the night, and in the morning found out that the van wasn’t actually arriving until that evening. We therefore decided we would take the opportunity to do something interesting in Mumbai. We decided to go check out the Elephanta caves, which are located an hours boat ride across the harbour. This was the view as we were leaving the harbour, looking back at the “Gateway to India” and the magnificent Taj Mahal Palace Hotel (1200 km’s away from the actual Taj Mahal)
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We arrived on the island where the Elephanta caves are located. I found this cow that was very interested in the corn that I was holding.
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 These are some of the views at the caves, which were carved around 1300 years ago for religious purposes.

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 Can you spot me?

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Back in Mumbai we came across this park, which is completely devoted to pick-up games of cricket. This picture only shows one half of the park.
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The next six pictures were taken on Christmas day in Karad. They are views within the mountainous region close to the city, which we toured for a full day.
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This was my Christmas dinner at an “Olive Garden” restaurant in a mountain resort. It wasn’t Indian food, which made me very happy by this point!
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Another typical sight on the streets of India
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This was the guest house where we stayed for the 2 weeks at the hospital, and the photos that follow give a picture of what the medical school campus looks like
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Indian food. Everbody was absolutely loving the food. Meanwhile I was losing weight and dreaming of a big juicy steak with some mashed potatoes.
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 John and I may have gotten locked into our room the one morning…

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Typical student scrubs in the Operating theater at the hospital. My legs are slightly longer than they should be.
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Yeah, that’s a pocket taped onto a pair of OT scrubs.
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Some of the surgical tools in the Orthopedics theater

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Lots and lots of babies!! Whenever we were unsure of what to do, we’d head over to the maternity ward
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We got to sit in at the hospitals annual breast cancer clinic. These are all women that have had, or are currently dealing with breast cancer.
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I had to get a shot of this ambulance. It literally just had a bed in the back, and not a single piece of medical equipment!
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We left the city on one of the days to visit this rural, government run clinic. These rural clinics provide healthcare free of charge.
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This little pond is part of an anti-malaria initiative. There are small fish in the water that eat mosquito larvae. People visiting the clinic can fill a jug with this water and dump it into any standing ponds or puddles close to their homes to decrease the mosquito population
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We headed off campus on a sunday afternoon and found these kids playing “marbles” in a back alley
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My first taste of coconut water. This is my undecided face.
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The next two pictures show the entire group from our selective. This is me with Joseph (middle), and John (left). Both these guys attend the program in Newcastle with me.
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From left to right: Devi, Sushrita, Nicole, Andrea, Sasha, and Tiya.

Sasha is in the Newcastle program, and the rest of the girls attend our main SGU campus in Grenada, West Indies.
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Once the selective ended, I headed off on my own to the hot weather, and beautiful scenery of Goa. This was the Sea Horse Resort where I stayed for four days.
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I spent one of my days in Goa on a full day tour of the area. Part of the tour was on this boat which took us out to see dolphins in the bay
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This is the cathedral where Saint Francis Xavier is buried
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Another Catholic cathedral
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The tour also took us to a few temples
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I ended the day on a party boat and met this couple. He’s a fellow Edmontonian! 
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I got upgraded to business class on the flight from Mumbai to Delhi. Very sweet!

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I followed up my flight on business class with this cozy spot on the hard floor in the Delhi airport for 6 hours

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This was me finally reunited with my sweetheart after 3.5 weeks! We both agreed this would never happen again…..

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~Rod~

Iceland and Christmas in Canada

I know it’s been almost a month since I got home so I should have had these pictures up a long time ago… but it’s been a great month of intense relaxation and getting back into life here! Jetlag didn’t hit me as hard this time around thanks to a little wonder pill called Melatonin. It’s amazing!

Here are some pics of my trip to Canada starting with Rod and I on the train heading to London to catch our flights.

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The next couple of scenery shots were snapped from inside the train while moving, which is why my hand shows up in the reflection and why they’re not really focused very well. But you can still see that even in mid-December fields are nice and green!

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That’s Durham Cathedral off on the horizon, the one pictured in this post.

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In London we had a few hours to kill before we needed to head to the airport, so we went and had lunch at a little Italian restaurant and then had a gingerbread latte at Starbucks. Not sure if the guy at the counter had hearing impairment or just a massive language barrier but he understood that Rod’s name was Grad 🙂 Amazing how often people get that 3 letter name wrong.

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After a long tearful goodbye at Heathrow airport we embarked on our separate journeys. My first stop was Keflavik Iceland! Super cool layover, and I definitely recommend it to anyone.  Blue Lagoon was really awesome, other then the fact that it wasn’t as warm as it should have been due to a pipe bursting the day before I got there just my luck 😛

This is the path that takes you from the parking lot to the spa building. The lava rock is everywhere!

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From what I saw, this is kind of your typical Icelandic house. I’m sure there’s a variety but I saw a lot kind of like this one.

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Then it was off to Canada! I got picked up at the airport by Jeff and Alana which was super cool, they even made me a welcome sign… written in lipstick!

Here’s some shots of Christmas with my nieces and nephews…

This little guys “camera face”! If he notices you taking a picture of him, he comes running and sticks his nose as close to the camera as he can with this adorable smile firmly in place!

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The reactions to my crocheted gifts were priceless! Cramping fingers and hands were definitely worth it after seeing them fall in love with the stuffies I made for them!

(They’re all a bit blurry, there was to much movement and stuff going on to get a good shot with my oldy iphone)

Two weeks of intense concentration and dedication allowed for these guys/girls to be “born”! They were so much fun to make, I usually do flat work, like blankets but I’ve discovered this is way more fun!

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She wasn’t quite as into it, hah! But I know deep down she loves it 😉

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Teichroeb christmas started with waffles!! YUM!

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I’m pretty sure if someone buys me a  lego set next Christmas, I’ll be happy as a clam!

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Ok, so if you’ve never had homemade corn tortillas, let me tell you, you are missing out on something amazing! I was so glad that my mom and I decided to make these while I was home. …. I should probably put the recipe up one of these days…

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And… I got to go visit this big guy! I’ve missed Charlie, but seeing his gigantuous size made me happy all over again that we found such an amazing home for him. He is obviously loved. But seriously… he is masssssivee!! Pictures don’t do him justice.

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It was so great to be able to come home and see everyone! I didn’t see nearly enough of everybody but that’s probably how things are going to be for the next half a decade at least 😦 It makes me sad when I think of everything we’re missing back home, but I am ever thankful for the amazing opportunity Rod and I have to see some of the world and experience other cultures firsthand. I always remind myself that you have to give some good things up in order to have other good things.

~Melinda~

Coming Home!!!!!

I am sooo excited to be coming home for Christmas!!! It feels like forever since we sold everything we owned, packed up what little personal belonging we had left, and moved halfway around the world! The culture shock was pretty intense which took me by surprise, I guess I thought since we were moving to an English speaking country that things would generally be the same… but they definitely are not!!
First of all, it might be called English everywhere, but when you run into a native Newcastlean, also known as “Geordie”, you question whether you know English at all! I have honestly heard people talk in supposed English and literally not understood a single word they’ve said. I’ve decided I speak “Canadian” not “English”!
Yesterday on the train, we were chatting away with our friends, and then noticed a couple with two young children quite absorbed in our conversation. The kids were giggling away and I think they were a little confused as to how we sounded soo different and yet they could understand what we were saying! It’s a little unnerving to “stand out” everywhere you go:)
It’s been a really good 4 months though. I have had A LOT of me time, which is both good and bad, made new friends, definitely good, did some travelling and learned the value of a Canadian dollar like never before! It sucks when your bank account is literally cut in half because of a currency exchange:/ but I’ve been forced to budget which is something I’ve never been able to stick to for an extended period of time before and I like it!
Here’s a little update on Rod’s side of the story….
He will unfortunately not be coming home for Christmas:(:( But!! He has the amazing privilege to go to India on a 2 week medical selective! We head to London together and then we’re literally flying in opposite directions! He’ll spend a few days touring with a friend from school and then head off to do his two weeks in a rural hospital and after that…. he’s spending three nights at a  resort hotel on the beach!! Soo jealous! But he deserves it! He rocked his finals this week, and the two weeks in hospital rotation will definitely be rough. 
From the sounds of it, he’ll be jumping in with both feet during the selective. Pretty much if he’s willing and wants to he can assist with anything from labor and delivery to surgery’s to whatever! Not my cup of tea, but he’s really excited!
I, on the other hand, am super pumped to be coming home!!! Pretty nervous to travel alone for the first time, but it’ll be fine:) I’m coming for three weeks which I’m sure is going to go by sooo fast, but I’m hoping to see as many people as possible! 
Well that’s the update! See some or most of you next week!!!
Oh, and here’s a look at a normal, regular no excitement kinda day at our place:) It’s not fun trips and cool scenery all the time! And yes, I am sticking out my tongue, I was concentrating!

Merry Christmas!!
~Melinda~