Hello UK

May 7, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

Hello again. It’s the first day of a two week survey in the UK and Ireland. I don’t survey very often anymore so this is an exciting opportunity to discover new places and also to take a break from the normal routine. After a difficult and busy past three weeks I am exhausted in every way so this will be short.

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The flights on Saturday were uneventful but felt long, I spilled a lot of sparkling water on myself and then there was a three hour layover in Dublin. On the first flight I saw Allied, which was great because movies about wartime are my favorite, especially WWII, and this one has Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard.  Then watched La La Land and cried pretty much the entire time. I’ll blame that on the difference in air pressure in flight…

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There was a three hour layover in Dublin during which I found a space to lie down for a little at the airport, in a circular nook carved into the wall with padding on it. When I got to Newcastle I moved very slowly and methodically. I picked up a rental car which has the steering wheel on the right side for lefthand driving. The hardest part is parking or turning left when there’s not much space because it’s difficult to tell how far the car goes out to the left and I don’t want to make scratches.

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I have a good hotel room and there was an upgrade. I arrived at around 14:30, unpacked, and walked around first down the river then up to some of the churches. I observed some spaces that had a very European feel with grand buildings, some places that were “normal” and dirty, some places with ruins and overgrown grass that looked like what you might see after things start growing back in a nuclear wasteland, and some with a lot of little packets for drugs, which I recognize from my time in Hartford.

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I walked into a bar to have a small beer, and ended up meeting two guys around my age who became new friends. They had really thick “Geordie” accents (Geordie is the name for people from around Tyneside — which means from around here here). At first it was hard to understand what was being said and after that it was interesting to discover cultural differences despite the same language. Still plenty of laughing. So that turned into a few half pints and a “pickleback” which is a shot of bourbon chased with a shot of pickle juice. It’s not a joke. It’s also not terrible.

Then I went out for Indian food. now I’d like to sleep 🙂

Hope you have a great week.

Love, Annie

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