Thursday, 16 October 2014

Our First Week in England - Part 1

Welcome to England!

Three weeks ago, the Engebretsen family moved to England.  Welcome to our blog where, at the request of friends and family and for our own records, we will chronicle our adventures, observations, and just life in general here in the UK.  We’ve only been here for three weeks and already have much to share.  The plan for now is to post every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, except when we are on holiday (vacation).  Some posts (like this one J) will be longer and some just simple short observations, photos, etc.  We truly hope you enjoy visiting England and the other countries we make it to with us on this blog.  Please feel free to comment on the blog or email or Facebook me and let us know if there is something in particular you would like to know about or hear more about.  Now, grab yourself a cup of tea and enjoy! 

Our kitchen in Zionsville the day before we left.
This adventure really began back in August when we finally received word from Rolls-Royce that we could move to Derby, England for 2 years.  At that moment, as they like to say in Indianapolis, let the race begin!  The next month and a half was a crazy, crazy push to get everything ready for us to move.  Eric was on his way to England for work when we found out we could go, so he ended up spending an exhausting 2 weeks here, not only doing the work related things he had originally come here to do, but also scouring Derby and the surrounding towns and villages for our home for the next 2 years.  Meanwhile, I was at home trying to wrap up my job at Cornerstone, pack up the house for the renters who would be living there for the next 2 years, and get the girls back to school in Zionsville, even though they would only be attending Union Elementary for 5 short weeks.  We had financial things to figure out, insurance issues, flights to book, packing for a 2 year move, lots of house stuff to take care of, and for some strange reason, we decided then was a good time to throw in a major landscaping job in front of our house. 

Leah's recycled cat art.  It's amazing what kids will come
up with to do when all of their toys have been packed up.
We later found this lovely cat art stuffed in her suitcase.

Finally, the day came for us to leave Indy with all of our luggage in tow and drive to Wisconsin where we spent a wonderful week with family and friends before heading over to England.  On Sunday, September 21, my sister Sheryl dropped us off at the Minneapolis International Airport and we were on our way. 

Our luggage.

Ready for takeoff to England!
Our flights were pretty uneventful.  The girls really enjoyed their first plane rides and the flight attendant even let them sit in the cockpit after our first flight.  No one got sick – whew (we were a little concerned about the ginger child who is known for her car sickness).  We were exhausted when we landed in the morning here in the UK and then had to stand in a long customs line for a good hour.  When it was our turn, the custom’s official asked the usual questions, scanned all of our fingerprints, and then disappeared in the back room with our passports for several minutes (apparently there is a bit more scrutiny when you are moving to the UK for 2 years).  When he came back, all must have been well because he stamped our passports and we were officially in!

The girls in the airport before taking off on their first airplane ride ever!
In the cockpit after their first flight.  If there had been room,
Eric would have been in there too!
A driver picked us up at the airport.  As we were waiting for him to pay for parking inside the airport, a young woman came up to us and asked if we were from Zionsville.  We looked a little bewildered at her and then realized she saw our address on the luggage tags.  Strangely enough, she turned out to be from Bloomington, Indiana and was moving to the UK as well.  Small world!

The driver dropped us off in front of our hotel right in the heart of Derby, also known as the city center (if you say you are going downtown here, they have no idea what you are talking about).  We checked into the hotel, and as soon as we got into our room, despite Eric’s protest not to go to sleep, we all climbed onto the same bed and woke up a couple hours later like a pile of kittens all snuggled together.

Jet lag
It was when we all got up from our nap to freshen up a bit after our day of traveling that I noticed the first big difference between the UK and the US – there are no outlets in the bathrooms.  Not one single bathroom I have been in since I’ve been here has had an outlet in it.   Apparently, blow drying, curling and straightening your hair does not take place in the bathroom.  That may also explain why not one bathroom I have been in here has had a countertop.  All I have seen are pedestal sinks with no place to sit a blow dryer even if there was an outlet in the bathroom.  I have never fancied myself as the vanity table type, but looks like I have no choice here. 

After freshening up a bit, we were all starving and wanting to stretch our legs, so we went out and walked around Derby’s city center.  A large portion of it is blocked off from vehicles and only open to pedestrians, and it is lined with lots and lots and LOTS of shops.  You can get just about anything you need down there (including Leah’s birthday present from the Disney Store).  Lots of bakeries, cafes, pubs and restaurants too.  We definitely felt like we were in a different country not recognizing any of the store names, and the architecture really makes you feel like you are in Europe.   Ellie kept saying she felt like she was walking down Diagon Alley.  And, we found some great food!  
Our first meal in England.
Beautiful food.  Beautiful company.



  1. This is fabulous Kris! Thanks for taking us along! Jodi