Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Settling in

Well, two more days down -- including our first day at work! We spent yesterday running a few errands and preparing -- both mentally and the laying out outfits variety -- for the big day. One highlight from yesterday that comes to mind is lunch at Café Rouge: I tried ratatouille for the first time (delicious!) and Tea had a fantastic french onion soup with an amazing selection of breads and olives. (Unfortunately I was so distracted by all the tastiness that I only got one picture from early in the meal -- that Belgian beer in front of me, Früli, was really refreshing, incidentally.)

On the way home we stopped in Waitrose again for our first real grocery shop. Of note was the Arla lactose-free cheese I picked up and the Manchego cheese that Tea picked up: the former was fantastic (even my tough critic agreed wholeheartedly), and so was the latter; it's made from sheep's milk, which I now know I can also eat. Very exciting for me... This is the best cheese I've eaten in years, other than a lactose-free smoked gouda that Tea stumbled upon in Ottawa a few years ago. One final note on my lactose intolerance -- yes, it's all about me today and every day ;-) : they have a different definition of 'high-fibre' over here, so, faced with eating straight-up All Bran again, I decided I had to spice it up, so to speak. My solution was flavoured yogurt, and, odd as it sounds, the Activa stuff doesn't seem to bother my stomach. It's a big relief for me, 'cause breakfast has always been the cornerstone of my day.

A few comments on their embracing the 'net over here: when we got home last night we decided to set up a grocery delivery for later in the week; you have to book your spot a bit in advance, so we figured the timing was good, now that we had food for a few days. The Waitrose site was amazing: you can easily pull up the sale items in any category -- my eyebrows went up at seeing Innis & Gunn Original for £1.66, with an additional pound off when you buy three (which I did, of course) -- pull from your favourites (we've been told), and Tea was most impressed by how easy it was for her to isolate which products in any category were dairy-free (e.g., freshly-made soups). The delivery comes this Thursday evening, so we'll see how that part of the experience goes.

Then there was booking this morning's cab (to ensure we were lookin' our best on our first day): we booked it on-line last night, got the confirmation, and then, just as they described in that note, the cab showed up right on time this morning, immediately followed by an automated telephone call informing us of that. In a word: seamless.

Finally, Tea ordered some power adapters for North American grounded (i.e., three-prong) plugs yesterday at a steal, and they were waiting for us at the Royal Mail office before we got off work today. (Tea was a bit nervous about using them with her precious Powerbook, but all's well, as I assured her it would be.) I'm stretching it with that last example, but truly, the 'net is useful here in ways it simply isn't (yet) back home.

We also came home to a fabulous message from Linda, the lady of our land-couple: Tea's fears about wardrobe space have been assuaged; more furniture is on the way. Those two really are amazing, I have to say. We've heard of a few problems with landlords now -- they have many more rights here than they do in Canada -- and feel all the luckier for it.

Finally, remember that essential equipment I picked up the other day? I have a new appreciation for proper -- read: big and sturdy -- umbrellas after today. We walked for a good hour 'n' a half this evening -- picking up the adapters and then supper at The Everest (Yum! Will I recognize when I've become addicted to Indian food?) -- through a series of downpours and showers, and I hardly noticed. As I mentioned to Tea, that sort of weather normally would've kept us in back home, but, as I understand it, we won't have that luxury over here; 'course Ottawans didn't really have that luxury last month either -- only six days without rain in the whole month or some such -- so it was great prep. for us!

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