Mar 29, 2017

Exploring Cambridge: Day One

The reason behind our quick trip to England the other week was a joyous occasion: the wedding of our friends Sam and Georgina! Sam went to Cambridge for university, so their wedding was at Trinity Hall, his old college. As Jon was one of the ushers, we took the train from train from Suffolk east to the shire on Friday in time for the boys to all have a late lads' lunch together. (They went for sushi and the lads included a toddler. I like this phase of our lives.) After dropping Jon off at the restaurant, I made my way to our lovely airBnB to get settled.

I had time to kill before the wedding rehearsal that evening, so I volunteered to walk into town to pick up Jon's morning suit - really, I just wanted an excuse to explore! I'd been to Cambridge a few times before on choir tours, but my most recent visit was in 2003 and the medievalist in me was desperate to get reacquainted with centuries-old architecture.

From retracing my steps on Google maps, I'm pretty sure the photos below are from Christ College, Sidney Sussex College, and Jesus College (in that order), bookended by pictures of some of the sweet houses I passed on my way into and out of the city center. Can you imagine living amongst all that history? Sometimes I get overwhelmed just with everything that DC holds - on Saturday, I was brought almost to tears as Jon and I passed DAR Constitution Hall and I told him about Marian Anderson - so I'm not sure I could manage Cambridge! Luckily, the real estate market being what it is, that isn't an option anyway, so I'll just have to settle for reliving this visit.

Mar 24, 2017

The Suffolk Shore

Despite growing up just a few miles from the Potomac, less than an hour's drive from Annapolis, and within easy day-trip distance from the Delaware beaches, I wasn't really a water person for most of my life. I love swimming - my mother will have you know that I was the youngest Shark at summer camp - but I felt no great pull to be out on the blue.

And then I met Jon.

Jon comes from a sailing family. He's been on boats since he was a baby, he was a pre-teen when he was first shoved out on his own, and he went to a naval school from the age of 13. The little village in Suffolk where he grew up (and where his mum still lives) is about 20 minutes away from the east coast of England, where they have both the River Alde and the North Sea on which to catch the wind.

The first time I met Jon's parents, eight and a half years ago and three weeks after we'd started dating, they took me out to the yacht club to help them put away their boat for the season. It was November and the weather was bitter; I remember standing in the driving rain as a gale howled around us, dressed entirely inappropriately, wondering what I'd gotten myself into. (Needless to say, any "help" I provided was negligible.) But it's been smooth sailing - pardon the pun - since then, and no trip to Suffolk is complete without a visit to one of the seaside towns near Jon's mum's home.

The closest is Aldeburgh, and we did spend last Friday morning there with Jon's mum and aunt, but we headed to Southwold on Thursday afternoon for just a quick amble through the streets and along the beach. We got there a bit late to pop into too many of the shops and we didn't venture out to the famous pier, but we soaked up the sun and fantasized about which houses we'd claim as our own and bemoaned the ill-advised loss of Jon's late granny's beach hut. The smell of the saltwater and the feel of the breeze were glorious - the perfect antidote to the previous 12 hours of travel!