Thursday, 10 December 2009

The Happy Christmas Post

Festive greetings to our friends in all continents!

Mel here. This is actually my first ever entry for this blog (contrary to popular opinion) and its purpose is to act as our 'Christmas letter' for 2009. If, after reading this, you feel desperate for even more Edden news and commentary, you can check out the older posts which Richard has been keeping since our return to Baltimore in September.

We are back in the UK for the Christmas period and last night I went to watch the Year 3 and 4 Christmas concert at Howell's Junior School in Cardiff. I had been seated in the front row next to the teacher who was frantically prompting lines and song actions. It was hard to believe that it was myself sat in that chair exactly one year ago! Looking back, the first half of 2009 was, to be honnest, a bit of blur. Teaching kept me very busy and, before I knew it, I had reached the end of my NQT year and was stripping down my classroom walls. The second half of 2009, on the other hand, has been a complete contrast. My american visa does not allow me to work so, once all-things-related-to-an-international-move had been taken care of, I embraced my new-found free time by joining the local library and borrowing a bicycle from a friend. My current lifestyle now mostly features: reading (a mixture of classics-I-should-have-read-years-ago and other fun-looking fiction - suggestions welcome!); cycling around the harbour, mostly to and from Safeway; swimming (in a salt water pool which is "a little like swimming in contact lens solution" apparently!); cooking new receipes (the most successful being a peanut and bok choy stir fry, the most scary, yet tasty, being Mexcian chimichangas made by deep-fat frying); and meeting friends for lunch! So I can't complain really!

So Edden life 'stateside' (as a friend coined it recently) is going well. We have settled quickly into our new apartment, which is in the newly-developed 'Harbor East' neighbourhood of downtown Baltimore. It is close to shops, some fantastic restaurants and supermarkets which is very convenient, especially while we are car-less. Richard is continuing his MRI research back at the Department of Radiology at the Johns Hopkins Hospital (photo above of the original hospital building which is still on site). He seems to be collaborating with lots of different people on various projects, including maintaining links with Cardiff University (hence us being able to spend some time back in Wales this Christmas - yey!).

We really haven't 'done' much in Baltimore yet that I can log in this letter, except get settled and catch up with some old friends. We have, however, found a fab church and are enjoying making new friends there. Also, Richard's parents were able to combine a wedding in Connecticut with a visit to Baltimore in November. Their visit was intentionally planned to coincide with the 'fall' leaves and we had many enjoyable hikes where we leaf, bird and even chipmonk-spotted. It was lovely having our first guests and showing them where were were living. Hopefully 2010 will bring more visitors?...

Wishing you all a very peaceful Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Love from Mel and Rich

Some Photos:

Unpacking our shipment! Very exciting after living with two plates and two bowls for two months!

A view across Baltimore harbour from our roof garden.