Hannah Drake

The Expat Diaries, Vol. 02

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Luke and I play Head's Up in the evening quite frequently. We've discovered there's two levels of fun. Playing the packs for the first time and genuinely trying to figure out the answer and playing the packs and quickly trying to remember the most effective clue given to get the highest score. One night we were playing the famous people pack.

Luke: She's married to Prince Charles
Hannah: Camilla something?
Luke: Oh, um, she's married to the other one. Not Prince Harry.
Hannah: Kate Middleton?
Luke: Yes!

I don't think my generation of Brits go crazy for the Royal Family like Americans do. Earlier this week I watched some documentaries about Princess Diana, so I won't say no one in England cares about the Royal Family, but people my age just can't be bothered. They are quite happy, though, when something big happens in the family and they get a day off work. (Like a wedding or a jubilee.)

Anyway, I used to have a really bad dining out habit. I would eat out for lunch almost every day. Some days I would actually have all three meals out. Gosh, it just infuriates me thinking about how much money I literally ate in the last 10 years. But since I've moved, I've cooked more than I ever did in the first 27 years of my life! And I've really been enjoying it! Luke and I do a good job of splitting who cooks and who cleans throughout the week. Before I moved, I worried that he would be the main cook in the house, but maybe the fear of doing the dishes every single night drove me to try my hand in the kitchen. Lord knows I have the time for it. I've made a few meals here that I always loved at home. It also helps me feel not so far away from my previous life. But some ingredients are hard to come by. Like cornmeal. They have it here as part of the Indian food section, but I need it for cornbread. I wish I hadn't resisted cooking for so long because now I know I was missing out on a simple joy of life out of sheer stubbornness and laziness. What a shame.

Oh, I called the police here for the first time last month. (Don't worry, Mom, everything's okay!) Luke was out at the cinema with our friends, but I decided to stay home since we had already seen Atomic Blonde earlier in the week. I was in the living room, watching Full House and painting the mirror frame when I heard an alarm going off outside. I peeked outside the window upstairs and noticed flashing lights in the windows across the street, so I assumed there was a police car parked on the street. But the alarm didn't stop going off. After about 20 minutes, I called Luke, who said to call the non-emergency number. For some reason I couldn't though, so I called the emergency number. It was interesting. They said, "police, fire, or ambulance?" and then connected me to the police. It's different than in the States where they ask you first where you are and then what the nature of the emergency is and decide who to send from there. Anyway, the police showed up and asked me if I knew if anyone lived there or if our power had temporarily gone out. They said they would check it out. It must have turned out to be nothing, which I figured it would be, but better safe than sorry. By the way, it's been about three weeks and it's still going off!

Truth be told, this month has been tough. Or at least the last week has been. Luke is back at work full-time for the first time since I moved. We were lucky that he was between projects for so long after I moved so he was able to work a lot from home and when he had to go in, it wouldn't be for a full working day. I'm not sure if that's why the last week has been so tough for me. Maybe it's the fact that I still can't work. Maybe it's the fact that I've finished up my projects around the house that kept me busy after we first moved. I don't really know, but today I'm trying to combat it by being more productive. Luke suggested I get out and walk first thing this morning. I did, even though it didn't feel great. Now I feel like I've accomplished something today, which always makes me more likely to accomplish other things. So maybe that'll be the key of snapping out of my funk. Despite all that, I'm heading into my fourth month abroad and this should be a good one.