Well, I have officially been in Leeds for a little over 32 hours, and I LOVE it.
Everything on our flights and in Amsterdam went fine, other than the fact it was nearly impossible to sleep. We arrived safe and sound to Leeds yesterday around 2pm, England time, 8am Alabama time. My amazing Rotary counselor, Melvyn, kindly picked us and helped us load our 7 suitcases and 2 bookbags in his car and off we went. First stop: to pick up a hair dryer from Melvyn’s wife Pamela. Then, Melvyn gave us a quick tour (from the car) of the student area close to my house. Hopefully I’ll get to wander around there soon. After the quick tour, Melvyn dropped us off at my house, where he had left a very nice welcome basket with lots of books/tour guides of Leeds, a wonderful English begonia, and some various foods to tide us over 🙂 We unpacked for a few hours, refreshed, and then went out to eat with Melvyn and Pamela at a lovely Italian restaurant. Mmmm… we had a wonderful time and it was great getting to know Melvyn and Pamela!
My house, I must say, is WONDERFUL! Jo and Vicky have really set me up with a great place to live (thank you, again!). I’ve posted a lot of pictures on facebook, but have time to load them on here at the moment… However, here is the link to my photos from Leeds plus the House on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2473727&id=27431854&l=ed3bc100bc
After a good night’s rest Mevlyn picked my mom and I up around 10:30am (England time) and dropped us off at the Leed’s Market in Leeds City Centre. It is sort of like a flea market, but nicer 🙂 And, in addition to clothing, jewelry, and homeware it has fresh produce, meat, and fish along with flowers and textiles. We bought some towels, toilet paper, and bananas–the necessities at the moment. After an hour or so at the market we met back up with Melvyn and attended our first meeting with the Leeds Rotary Club. I was very excited to meet the Rotary members, who were all delightful and cheery people 🙂 One of the Rotary members, John Hill, will be driving my mom and I to York next Wednesday to walk around and do some touristy stuff!
After the Rotary meeting we walked around in the shopping district for a bit. We found an amazing soap/body product store called Lush. I will definitely be going back there! It had all kind of soaps in every shape and scent possible. There are some photos on the link I posted above. We also hunted down a good hair straightener as mine I brought from the States decided to stop working and I successfully set up a mobile account with the company Orange. I have to say that Melvyn is an excellent “chaperone,” and tour guide. He knows a wealth of information about the Leeds area and he has been an amazing help since we’ve arrived.
When we had finished in the shopping district Melvyn dropped us back off at the house where my landlord, Jo, was waiting for us. Jo showed us all the electrical switches in the house, because here in the UK the switches are A LOT different from ours in the States–somehow mom and I had managed to turn lots of them off and thus, we were without hot water this morning 🙂 Jo also helped me set up my Vonage pieces so I now have my landline from the States up and running in the UK. Jo also answered my bazillion questions I had about UK-things. He even made me a personalized GoogleMap, which I am more than sure will come in handy. After a bit Jo went and picked up Vicky, his wife, and together we signed the contract for my house–SO, it’s official that I am renting the house! After signing the contract they gave us some advice about places to go and things to do while my mom is here with me. They are two totally awesome people!
I must say, I am very impressed with Leeds and the UK in general. I haven’t gotten on a bus yet, but the public transportation system seems to be excellent and everyone has seemed very friendly. The landscape here is very green and very pretty. There are lots of pretty, quaint parks all around Leeds and there are walking paths and biking lanes everywhere. I am extremely enthused about living here and can’t wait to explore more of the city…
So, I guess that’s all for now… Tomorrow my mom and I will be walking and wandering around the student area close to my house. We’re going to try and find some thrift stores, which I’ve learned are called charity shops, as well as do some serious grocery shopping.
Until next time…