Monday, November 28, 2011

Leaving England & Gratitude Giveaway Winners

Wow, I can’t believe the last 10 days have flown by and it is the end of the Gratitude Giveaway hop. I used this time to take a break from blogging as I scramble to move across the Atlantic with two dogs. Even though I’ve done it before, it is an exhausting process with numerous details to track. Today is the last day for the movers to finish packing up our household goods, and then it is hotel time until we fly out.

Before I get to the winners of the giveaway, I wanted to share my top five things I’ll miss about living in England as I prepare to head to Florida.

What I’ll miss most about England:

1. The countryside. The verdant fields are absolutely breathtaking. I adore long walks in the parks with the dogs along paths that stretch for miles. Even when it’s damp or cool outside, which is most of the time, there’s something so peaceful and rejuvenating about it. Back in the states, if I’m out alone with the dogs, I usually listen to my iPod. However, here, I feel like I’m cheating myself out of the full experience if I dare don headphones. I can walk for hours, actually absorbed in nature.

2. The proximity to the rest of Europe and the ease of traveling. Paris is just three hours away by train on the Eurostar. Less than two hours on a plane will get you to Venice, Italy or Nice, France for the weekend. Although this is something we only indulged in three to four times a year, I think I might miss this most of all. The only reason I didn’t list it first is the expense of taking holidays. Jaunting off to Germany or Spain is fun, but adds up.

3. A perfect sunny day. They are so rare here that their infrequency demands heartfelt appreciation, but when they do occur, my oh my, they are glorious indeed. After living in Florida, I admit I took warm, sunny days for granted. They’re so common they eventually blend together. England renewed my childlike awe and gratitude for the little things, like sunshine.

4. Being immersed in a different culture outside my comfort box. Yes, England is pretty darn close to my comfort box, relatively speaking. Residing in Germany was a far greater adjustment. I can only imagine what it would be like in Africa or Asia. However, as an American, specifically a New Yorker, I’ve grown spoiled and accustomed to a particular way of life. Living in a house with no closets is a “hardship”, not being able to go to the mall at 8pm on a Friday or Saturday because the stores close early is an “inconvenience”, and showing up at a 24hr Asda (think Walmart) to find it closed because 24hr does not mean 7 days a week is “frustrating.” Yet, I’ve enjoyed the differences, big and small, the break from American media and politics, taking the time for a proper English Tea, and putting forth a little effort to appreciate the beauty of a slightly different way of life.

5. Cambridge Arts Picturehouse. A funky movie theater with a café in the heart of Cambridge, specializing in independent and artsy films. Unlike the local monster movie chain, Cineworld, at the Picturehouse we could pick our seats when purchasing tickets. No need to show up early for the movie and wait in a line since we already knew exactly where we’d be sitting. They also serve beer and wine, which you can take into the theater with you, and offer discounts on tickets, drinks, and food when you become a member. Of course, there is also the annual film festival that never failed to surprise and entertain.

It’s been an amazing four years in England! I’m really going to miss it.

Now, what most of you have anxiously been waiting for, the results of the Gratitude Giveaway.

Chosen at random, the winner of the $10 Amazon gift card or equal value from The Book Depository:

Teressa Oliver

Winner of the $15 Amazon gift card or equal value from The Book Depository:

Lexie@BookBug

I also selected a THIRD WINNER based on comments:

Linda Henderson, you have won a $15 Amazon gift card

Congratulations to the winners! I’ll send you emails later today notifying you that you won.

Thank you to all followers. I hope you’ll join me often and of course stop by for the next giveaway. For those who stop by regularly, please bear with me for another week or so as I bounce around hotels, chase after a solid internet connection, and fly ten hours across an ocean.

Wish me luck.

20 comments:

  1. I'm originally from England, but haven't been back since high school (so a very long time ago). My family moved to Houston, so I know what you mean with all your points.

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  2. I've always wanted to travel to Europe. Of course, Florida is one of my favorite vacationing spots so I envy your move. :) You've made England sound very enticing.

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  3. congrats to the winners!

    i wish you a smooth moving

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  4. Congratulations to the winners!
    And those four years have given you so much to appreciate. Living abroad really expands the mind.

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  5. Wow! Where are you moving to? What sweet memories you have of England.I wish you all the best. Hope you blog soon and let us know how you're doing.

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  6. Have a safe trip home. It sounds like you're taking a lot of good memories with you.

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  7. Best of luck on the next leg of your adventure.

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  8. Congrats to all the winners! You make me want to go to England...but I've always wanted to. Just the thought of it makes me feel like if I'm inside a historical romance.

    Have a good day. :)

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  9. Congratulations to the winners. Have a safe journey! I've never been to Europe. I imagine it is pretty amazing.

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  10. WOW! That's a huge move and I sure don't envy you. You description of your long walks and a lack of sunshine sounds a lot like living here in Western Washington (Seattle). But I'd prefer to be closer to Europe, too. Good luck on your adventure. Having lived there, I know Florida will be one, as well.

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  11. England sounds wonderful, but I think you'll like Florida, too. Good luck with your move!

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  12. Moving from Texas to California then back again 2 years later seemed daunting. I couldn't imagine moving across the world.

    England sounds like a place I could appreciate. Please have safe travels for your move.

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  13. Congrats to the winners. You listed all the things I love about traveling :)

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  14. Congratulations to the winners. I wish I had you for a tour guide when we visited England years ago. I'm sure you'll be happy anywhere you make your home with your growing family. Good luck with the move. Julie

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  15. Congrats to the winners.

    Good luck with your move. Hope it all goes well. *waving from a wet and cold England* :)

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  16. Good luck with your move, I love England too, though i have always lived here, I really enjoyed your list.

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