Friday, October 27, 2006

A Visit from My Mum

The view from our front porch
The view from our front
porch (taken by my mum)
My mum came to visit us for ten days recently. Mark was working most of the time and the girls were at school, so there were no big day trips to see the sights. Her experience was very much one of everyday living in the Goodacre household. Nevertheless, she didn't give the impression of being bored. Perhaps next time we can show her a bit more of NC.

Day 1
Lauren, Emily and I picked my mum up from the airport, then took her to Bojangles on the way home, so from the outset she was introduced to NC life.

Day 2
We started the hunt for Emily's Birthday present by visiting Target, Walmart and Dick's Sporting Goods. If you're American and reading this, you may wonder why, when she's dragged herself nearly 4,000 miles, I'm dragging her to places like Target instead of showing her the sights. The answer is that:
  1. My mum is very easy going, so she doesn't mind what we do.
  2. Visiting quintessentially American places like Target and Walmart is part of the overall experience, so people who visit from the UK quite like doing this (we particularly like to point out the sale of guns in Walmart and things like "no concealed firearms" signs on doors -- this really freaks the average Brit out).
  3. Whatever we did had to fit into the school day.
  4. Emily's Birthday was drawing nigh and I had to buy her a present.

In the end, we bought her a pair of rollerblades from Dick's.

Day 3
We had lunch at school with Lauren. This is a must for visitors because this too is a very American experience because:
  1. One cannot, in most (if not all) schools in the UK, waltz into the school to have lunch with one's child on any day of the week and without notice.
  2. The school dining hall is full of American children (including Lauren's friends) talking in their little American accents. One also gets to hear Lauren talking to her friends in her American accent. You see, Lauren speaks in a fairly Southern American accent at school, but a Birmingham (UK) accent at home.

We rounded off the day with a lovely curry made by my mum.

Emily riding a horseDay 4: Emily's Birthday
While the girls were at school and Mark was at work, my mum and I went shopping. Emily celebrated her birthday by going horse riding. We rounded the day off with a calorie-intensive trip to the local Marble Slab Creamery (Mmmmm.... fat-ilicious).

Day 5
Today, it was sushi for lunch. In the evening, Emily had some friends over for pizza, cake and a Birthday sleepover.

Day 6
The plan for this day was for Lauren to attend a "cheer clinic" -- a one day cheerleading event held by the local high school to introduce children to cheerleading. Unfortunately, Lauren was ill (she'd been ill for a few days, but had got worse), so couldn't go (this was also $30 down the drain). Emily and her friends went bowling as part of her Birthday celebration. The idea was to drop them off at the bowling alley, then pick them up later. What actually happened was that Mark dropped them off, then sat in the car reading, in the bowling alley car park, until it was time to pick them up. My mum and I stayed at home to look after Lauren.

Day 7: Mum's Birthday
She started the day with the opening of her card and present. We then went to church, then out to Golden Corral for lunch. I know what you're thinking -- "Couldn't you have taken her somewhere nicer than Golden Corral?" Well, we had planned to go to a nice restaurant to treat her, but my mum wanted the full American experience of an all-you-can-eat feeding trough (a phenomenon that is still in its infancy in the UK). She asked if we could go to Golden Corral and after much persuading we relented.

Day 8
Occasionally, I help in Lauren's class at school. This morning was one such occasion, so I had to leave my mum to fend for herself. We spent the afternoon postcard and smoothie shopping.

Day 9
Mark and me by the lakeAs I mentioned before, we've decided to apply for our greencards. Part of the application process involves a medical examination. This morning, we left my mum to fend for herself again while the four of us went for our medical examinations. In the afternoon we went for a walk by the lake. In the evening, Mark's friend Stephen, who happened to be in Raleigh came to see us. We had a lovely chicken carbonara and garlic bread dinner, cooked by Mark and all the requisite wine and liqueurs. Stephen stayed the night, then went home the following morning.

Day 10
Mum enjoying a smoothie in the Bryan Center of Duke UniversityOne cannot come and see us without the obligatory trip to Duke. Mum and Mark in Sarah P. Duke GardensThe trip included a walk through the chapel and smoothies in the Bryan Center while Mark was teaching, followed by lunch in the Divinity School Refectory and a walk through the beautiful Sarah P. Duke Gardens.

Day 11
Lauren relaxing at homeThe last day. Mum didn't get to say goodbye to Lauren before she set off for school because this is the day that Lauren has her Choral Ensemble practice before school. Instead, we had lunch with Lauren so that my mum could have a chance to say goodbye to her. In the afternoon I took my mum to the local Lifeway Christian Store, where she didn't find anything worth buying. Then Mark drove Emily to her horse riding lesson and my mum to the airport before going on to work.

On the bright side, it's not long until Christmas.


Ren said...

I laughed when I heard about Emily's changing accent. When I get mentally fatigued, my Aussie accent breaks out (have I told you that already?)

selwyn42 said...

How right you are about being allowed to have lunch with the children in school - utterly unheard of in the UK. Loved the idea of Lauren having a school accent and a home accent. I look forward to hearing it at first hand.