I am afraid I was quite lazy while we were in Atlanta and did not post one single thing on the blog - now we have been back in Durham for a week and I still haven't posted! We made it back to Durham without too much drama - both of our flights experienced rough winds esp. the one coming into Edinburgh but I held it together for the most part :)! Edinburgh is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. We took a bus from the airport to the main train station (to catch a train to Durham) and went through the center of the city at about 8am. We were so tired that you know it most have been beautiful to get our attention! The train station was a whole fiasco with our luggage but Chris handled everything and eventually we made it on the train. We were soaking wet and starving but we made it! The train ride is about an hour and a half and takes you south from Edinburgh along the coast until you get to Newcastle where you begin to move away from the coast and if you don't stop in Durham you eventually end up in London (6 hours later). The first hour of the trip is through these little sleepy villages right on the coast (this is the eastern coast of Britain) and at times you are literally looking straight down from the cliffs to the water. So amazing! We are planning to drive up that way once the weather is a little better and take pictures. Chris said it reminded him a lot of the Irish coast. If you have ever read Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte this part of England immediately reminded me of her descriptions of the countryside, the cliffs and homes in the book. Even though getting to the train with all of our luggage was really frustrating I am glad we went through Edinburgh simply to see that part of the country - it was amazing.
We brought back a lot of things to make the apartment more homey feeling. This was really important to me since when we moved in September we only had room to bring clothes and shampoo! This time I brought 2 blankets, pictures, rugs for the kitchen and bathroom, fluffy bathroom towels, more DVDs, candles - the list goes on and on. Having these things has made a huge difference in the apartment - we were comfortable before and were adjusting well but now it is so much more comfortable and feels warm. We were also able to bring back clothes and shoes that were more appropriate to the weather - Chris needed new shoes badly and I had to have some flats that I could walk in - needless to say I think we came back with 6 new pairs combined! Thank you to everyone who took the time to give us such useful and meaningful gifts (even the "luxury" ones - a UK straight iron)!
I have been thinking about whether or not this is an appropriate forum to say thank you to our parents and families for all they did to make our visit a great time. Being with our families during Christmas meant so much to Chris and I and I know that you had to sacrifice and compromise a lot while we were there but it didn't go unnoticed and we are so grateful for all that you did. I have memories that will always be with me - too many to write them all but here are a few - Phil and Hattie surprising us at the airport, Christmas dinner with Meme and Papa, BAs at Jim and Debbie's on Christmas Eve, Brandon's picture, Christmas morning with my family, nuts and bolts at Bob and Cheryl's, Monroe's Hot Dogs, Memaw's Christmas Eve extravaganza, giving Grandma and Papa their gift and seeing all of the Hagan family, a lazy day on the boat, family night at the movies with Starbucks!, shopping in Greenville, riding in the car with my dad.
For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about thank you for indulging me for just a few minutes. To all of our friends that we did get to see (there were so many that we did not) it was wonderful to sit and catch up and you are all welcome to come see us anytime!
I have so many pictures from Christmas and of all of the new stuff in the apartment that I want to post. I will try to do so in the next few days.
PS - It started snowing about 6am this morning but the ground was too wet to really accumulate and now it is gone and we only have rain. Yes, we were up at 6am putting the finishing touches on one of Chris's essays! I hope it sticks better next time!!