My avatar across the web: a photo of my feet in grey-white socks and brown sandals.

Ben Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

Living in Bury St Edmunds: Arrival

Hello from England!

My flight to Gatwick was uneventful—I kind of knew what to expect this time. Several teachers I had met from my iday experience were on an Air Transat flight the same night, but I flew Sunwing. I met up with another Canadian teacher, Josie, teaching at the same school as me. Unfortunately, this flight was not any better than the last when it came to getting sleep. I’m not supremely tired (it’s 10:20 pm local time as I write this), but I know I will sleep well.

Jodie (not to be confused with Josie), the teacher who put me in touch with my new roommate, is staying here for a few weeks while looking for a new place for her and her husband Ian. Ian is arriving on Tuesday with their dog. I don’t mind having extra people in the house, especially because I’ve already met them, and I think it will make it easier for me to get settled in here. Jodie, having lived for several months already, is certainly a valuable resource. She showed me the way to a nearby superstore (called Asda) so I could stock up on groceries and other items. I spent quite a bit of money, but it was all worth it. There’s also a convenience store located literally at the end of the street.

We left Asda laden with four very heavy, very full bags of my purchases. During the walk there it had been a fine sunny day. As we were leaving, it was raining—not hard, but certainly in the fine English tradition everyone knows and loves. Rather than calling a cab, we opted to walk back anyway. Fortunately, the rain continued to become lighter as we went along. My first British rain shower!

After stowing my various purchases, we walked down towards the town centre of Bury St Edmunds, this time with an aim to acquiring dinner. There were restaurants there, but were in the mood for something more along the lines of fast food. There is KFC in Bury—blech—and also a Subway, where I got a rather tasty steak and cheese melt. I found an episode of Stargate SG-1, albeit not a very good one, and watched that while eating. Then I spent an hour or so online, catching up on my various feeds, before retiring to my room to compose a letter home as well as this blog post.

I miss home. I really do—not in the homesick, “I want to come home right now” kind of way, but the “wow, you never realize just how accustomed you are to a place until you leave!” It’s the little things that matter, from the kettle to the order of the cold and hot taps on the sink! I’m sure I’ll have a great time here, but it will take a while to get settled into my new English home. Fortunately, everyone so far has been welcoming, nice, and helpful.

Tomorrow, Jodie and I are taking the train to Cambridge. She’s viewing several potential places for her and Ian and invited me to come along. I’m looking forward to getting comfortable with the train system, and of course to seeing Cambridge and playing some of the tourist. I hope to update my photostream with a bunch of new photos by the weekend at the latest, thereby giving those of you back home a nice glimpse at where I’m living (as well as other places in England I’m visiting).