Growing up in your average American suburb, minutes away from a big city is literally and figuratively miles away from the life I am living today. Although I have made this move more than willingly I have come across a new set of challenges I never imagined myself dealing with. I will post how I deal with these challenges.
Friday, 5 August 2011
A day in the City
Lovely summer display in front of L'Occitane
Yesterday, my husband had the day off. We got out and about and got some errands completed in the process. First stop was the Doctors Surgery (doctors office for my American friends). Now that I have a residency visa, I am establishing myself with a doctor within the NHS. This, so far, has been the easiest part of my immigration! I have spoke enough about my visa trials and tribulations and will later post about driving issues, but registering with a GP, piece of cake!
We then drove into the city where I did some shopping for both of our mother's birthdays while my husband had a meeting for about an hour. I also did a little searching for myself, but came up empty handed in that department... My Mom's birthday is on the 8th and his Mum's birthday is on the 10th so we have lots to do and very little time to get it all done.
I leisurely strolled up and down the little streets of York amused by the sights and sounds of summer. It was a 'tropical' 81 degrees F yesterday as we drove into the city. The Yorkshire men and women as well as holiday makers clearly did not expect the heat as they are not very good at dressing for warm weather (something I take for granted after living in FL for nearly 15 years).
There were many a men in shorts and socks, some with black dress shoes, others with sandals. A number of men just did not wear a shirt at all in their effort to beat the heat. It was not at all appealing to see. A few gentlemen were dressed appropriately, younger men in longer cargo or board shorts and t shirts or short sleeve button down shirts, while older men wore light colored trousers and a pale colored, short sleeve, button down shirt, and occasionally a stylish hat.
The women were also in various states of undress. Lots of very pale legs, arms and stomachs sticking out of tiny articles of clothing. One trend I do not understand at all is the wearing of sheer stalkings and letting the reinforced portion show below shorts or skirts. I know the Duchess is wearing nude stalkings with her formal wear, but it is not necessary to replicate that under a pair of jean shorts, especially when they are so short I can see all the parts of the stockings that are meant to be hidden under a pretty frock.
A number of women were dressed classically and stylishly with just the right number of trends to not look to out dated. A good quality sundress goes a long way when it is only worn once or twice a year. I saw several on women of all ages with hot pink as a prominent color and they looked lovely on all. I also saw some very cute very mini dresses on some young girls and even a few jumpsuits that looked OK on the girls that were wearing them (and yet others did not pull of the trend quite as well). While there were no shortage of maxi-dresses, I am sticking to my guns in saying this is not a trend that can be worn by all... Trust me! I have tried them on time and again, and can not bring myself to by one.
I can say that I am thankful for having so much sun while State side. It makes wearing a pair of shorts easier. My outfit yesterday included a simple white tunic shirt, grey plaid shorts, and some orange accessories for a pop of color. My favorite accessory of the day, a fresh squeezed lemonade. The cart only comes out a few times a year here, and while the lines for ice cream were a mile long, the lemonade line was fairly short and it was a great way to quench my thirst on the hot afternoon.
After shopping and strolling the city for nearly an hour, I heard a familiar sound that I do not equate with England, but rather FL especially around 3pm, THUNDER! Muffled and in the distance at first, but then more defined and closer. I worked my way towards the shops near the Minster as it is only a short walk to the car park from there (I had nearly forgotten I had the keys to the car!). The charity shops are quite good for picture frames and the likes. I was very glad to have stopped in one that had umbrellas because the sky was about to open!
clouds moving in on our blue skies
I confidently walked out of the charity shop with my new purchase and opened it to find a very tiny umbrella, but it was enough to keep my head and shoulders mostly dry. The wind was blowing so my arms and legs got a bit wet, but it was warm enough that I didn't mind so much. Had I been wearing a hat and something other than a white blouse, I may have forgone the umbrella, but thought it a good buy at the time. Most of the holiday makers in the city were huddling in shops or under the smallest of shelters. The crew working on the scaffolding of the Minster were coming down quickly as they did not really expect to see lightening in the North of England! There were only a few of us continuing about our business of the day. One couple was apparently enjoying their walk in the rain as they were sans umbrella, absolutely drenched, holding hands and smiling as they walked down the path around the Minster.
By the time I had made it to the car, the rain had nearly stopped, 20 minutes of hard rain, then sunshine, just like the afternoon thunderstorms at home! I checked my phone when I arrived at the car and I had missed a call from my husband. I had my mobile phone in my pocket expecting my husband to call as his meeting was to be over at 3 pm, but the rain and thunder were so loud, I did not here it ring! After several attempts to call him back with no success (straight to voicemail) I texted him to find out he had stayed dry and warm at the meeting office.
I had convinced him the rain was stopping and he started to walk towards the car. We had a few more scattered storms that afternoon, but cleared mostly for sunset. We decided to go to the 'Designer Center' since it is indoors and we could look at a few different shops to finish our birthday shopping! Success, Mum's birthday present found. Mom's birthday card and little bits sent (more to come from Paris!) The UK drivers code bought for me as well as a practice cd-rom...Study Study Study!
side note: My white Birkenstocks are definitely in need of new cork and soles and did not want to stay on my feet in the afternoon thunderstorm that soaked the city... nor did they have very good traction on the wet Yorkshire stone walkways.