england · Uncategorized

England 2018: Week 4 Review

Now that we are back home in Ohio it is bittersweet to look back and reflect on our last days in England. Our month abroad was our best trip yet full of so many memories with our girls and family. Here’s a look at our first three weeks:

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Our final week was full of good-byes and the emotions that come with knowing we won’t see loved ones for another year. Back home, a brand new adventure awaited us–our oldest starts kindergarten this week!

Despite the hassle of travel with two little ones and the canceled flights in Chicago on the way home (more on that in a future post!) spending a month in England each year is worth it.

Some Things We Did This Week:

-School supply shopping and a girl’s day in West Quay (Arianna is so excited to have supplies from England!)

-Sent my sister-in-law off on a month’s travel around Europe with a friend

-Participated in Story Time at the Eastleigh Library

-Visited with Sam’s aunt, Julie

-Broke down on the side of the road (punctured tire and overheated engine)

-Took Arianna on a two mile run around Fleming Park

-Visited Longdown Dairy Farm (Aleah was very interested in the ducks and even waved at them)

-Date night at Prezzos and to see Mama Mia 2 in the cinema

-Took another spin class

-Swam and relaxed at Mudeford Beach in the New Forest

-Attended a church service at Thrive

-Picnic at Itchen Valley Country Park

-Shopped for journal supplies at Hobby Craft

-Packed our suitcases 😦

Some Things We Ate This Week:

-kebabs

-Daim cake (my absolute favorite)

-several pub lunches

-Nandos

Milestones:

Arianna completed the Reading Challenge at the Eastleigh Library during our stay. She read six books in order to receive her award. Aleah started to wave in her own little way this week and she did it first while visiting the farm. She loved the ducks, goats, and chickens.

The Ameri Brit Mom

england · Family · Uncategorized

England 2018: Week 1 Review

I cannot believe that we’ve been in the sunny UK for one week now. Packing a year worth of visits into one month really makes time fly. Watching the girls connect with their British family and heritage makes all of the hassle of travel worth it.

This first week was spent adjusting to the time difference and reacquainting our family with those we love in England. While here we stay with my father-in-law in the house where my husband grew up. Along with us for the week my sister-in-law and brother-in-law are also staying in the house. It’s a packed house, but we enjoy the company. We stay in Eastleigh which is a suburb of Southampton along the south coast of England.

A major difference between life in Eastleigh and our home in Ohio is that everything we could possibly need is within walking distance. We travel by foot as often as we can and we log well over 10,000 steps per day throughout our stays. It’s nice to have the option to travel by car, but with a metro center less than a mile from the house we take advantage of the opportunity to move our legs and get outside.

Life moves at a slower pace here. In America, life is packed so full. It’s the American way. But in England, most shops and venues close for the evening around 5pm. This encourages families to spend more time together in the home. We’ve done so much during the days while here, but our evenings are generally spent around the dinner table, playing games, and just hanging out with the people we love.

Some of the things we did during our first week:

-went to a new cinema in Southampton to catch the release of Uncle Drew (a basketball movie which was totally my husband’s choice)

-swam in the Fleming Park paddling pool

-signed Arianna up for her very own Eastleigh Library card

-swam at Romsey Rapids, an indoor water park

-participated in my first ever cycling class is Twyford

-met up with students and teachers from the school where I work. They are currently traveling abroad for a foreign language trip and part of their itinerary brought them to Portsmouth, a fifteen minute drive from Eastleigh. An added bonus, my cousin was on the trip!

-attended the Cheese Festival in Portsmouth and walked along the sea

-worshipped in the town square during the annual Eastleigh Churches Together service

-drove through the lovely New Forest to pick up my brother-in-law. (Side note: In the New Forest horses have free reign of the roads and town. Wild horses are beautiful!)

-shopped in Eastleigh’s Swan Center

-watched on television as England lost in the semi-finals of the World Cup

 

Some foods we’ve eaten:

-Cottage pie

-Fish’n’chips

-Traditional English Breakfast (fried egg, sausage, bacon, beans, chips)

-Paninis

-Lots of Costa coffee

-Traditional Roast Dinner

-Mac’n’Cheese waffle from the Cheese Festival

 

Milestones

My girls also had some big milestones during this first week. Arianna learned to ride a bike without training wheels. She enlisted the help of an elderly neighbor, but within thirty minutes she was off! I cannot believe how quickly she picked it up. Aleah started belly laughing and can now roll from her back to her belly. Aleah also splashed in the water at Romsey Rapids for the very first time.

I am looking forward to all we have planned over the next few weeks. I will share weekly recaps so stay tuned to see what all we get up to while staying with family in England.

The Ameri Brit Mom

england · Faith

Hope Eastleigh

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This past weekend my husband and I had the truly humbling experience of taking part in the Hope Eastleigh event in his hometown. Eastleigh is the town in England where my husband grew up. It is a burrough of Southampton near the south coast. For this event many of the churches within Eastleigh banded together to bring their town various opportunities to encounter the gospel over a two week time period. This event is known as Hope Eastleigh. During this time period several activities are established for various groups of people. Members of the churches get involved by volunteering their time to get out and evangelize to the community.

On Friday they provided a tea tent in the town square for the elderly to get a cup of tea and chat with the volunteers. This provided a means for presenting the gospel to that group of people.

The majority of those who were reached through Hope Eastleigh were met during their Saturday Family Day. In the town square there were dozens of free bouncy castles, children’s games and crafts run by volunteers from the churches. My husband shared his basketball ministry and testimony on stage during this time. The entire day was meant to draw people to conversation so that they might come to know Christ as a result. It was truly inspiring the way that the churches came together in order to see life change in their community.

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Sunday there was one church service held in a tent on the town square. Over ten congregations met together to worship God in an open location. The tent was overflowing with people and some who were in town became curious about the service and wandered in as well.

This next week we will be returning to America and will be unable to take part in the second week of Hope Eastleigh, but it is the follow-up week where Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday there will be evening services housed in different churches. Each service will present a different part of the salvation story with opportunities to meet Christ for the very first time.

What I find most inspiring about the Hope Eastleigh event is that there is no competition between the churches. All work together to see authentic change in Eastleigh. So often when churches resolve to work together their plans are thwarted by their differences. It is truly special the way that these churches focus on their similarities and work toward a common goal. It was so humbling to be in a place where Christianity and faith are in such decline, but to see people living out the gospel the way that God intended: with unity.

1 Peter 3:8: Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.