Monthly Archives: November 2007

Supplies are not forever

We knew before we moved to England that some common household items were considerably more expensive here than in the US, while others may simply be non-existent. It made perfect sense to stick large quantities of some necessary stuff into the shipping containers. Relocating young mothers are routinely advised to ship large supplies of diapers,

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LaplandUK

Lapland in UK

As if to make sure that my complaints about general inactivity were unfounded, we have decided to entertain ourselves in the middle of the week. We went to the seasonal attraction called Lapland UK, in Kent. As the name suggests, it is a Lapland-themed little village that holds a number of Christmas activities, aimed primarily

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speedcamerassuck

Of speed cameras

What motorist would appreciate a device whose main purpose is to convert additional speed into hefty monetary penalties! I am no exception, certainly. A policeman hiding in the bushes with his radar never fails to trigger a Tourette-like urge for me to utter some unflattering epithet in his address. A speed control camera always grates

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expat

School trips are fun

One way in which British school curriculum differs from its American counterpart is in the quantity of school field trips. As they bring variety to frequently dull coursework as well as often become an effective tool for learning certain topics, we are quite happy that our girls are exposed to that. Consider. In this trimester

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Becky-main

Becky dances to YMCA

It took me several days to figure out a good way to post locally stored streaming videos on my website. Trust me, every blogging software puts limitations on what you can transparently do, and what appears to be a simple task with embedding YouTube video becomes a lot less simple when you want to refrain

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Less than active

Blame suburban living that keeps us away from the hustle and bustle of the big city or blame the expected decline of novelty in things that we can do. Blame the dull weather if you want. But our weekends have disappointingly become devoid of interesting family stuff. We lately got into let’s-just-chill-at-home mode of spending

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expat

A license, finally

Well, well, well, look who is now a fully licensed British driver. Natasha has passed her road test! She swears that taking three lessons with an instructor has helped her, so I guess I’ll do likewise. As I said before, the point was to practice the right tricks that ensure passing the test, and the

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Becky-main

Girls singing beautifully

It has not been a great week, as we all fluctuated between unwell and well states. Natasha took through Tuesday to recover from Sunday’s malady, but was feeling fine and went for her badminton session on Wednesday. I was back in office on Tuesday, but continue to have a peculiar relationship with food intake, and

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travel

Disparity in travel costs

The cost of a weekly economy car rental (automatic transmission, A/C, unlimited mileage) in Andalucía for a UK resident: £157. The cost of the same rental for a US resident: $650. Something to be said about the inter-EU travel. On the other hand, business-class-only MaxJet tickets cost almost 50% more (at the current exchange rates)

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Natasha’s Birthday

Thank you to all who wrote, called or otherwise expressed their adoration of my lovely wife on her birthday. I am happy to report that we celebrated the occasion with a bang. In more than one sense… We did not want to either leave the kids at home or bring them with us to the

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interwebs

Elementary?

With a tip of the hat to Jason Bennion. This blog is at an Elementary School reading level I don’t know whether to take this as an insult to my mastery of the English language or a compliment to the clarity with which I express myself…

pioneerNatasha

A bit of social networking

Even though I’ve never been to either Facebook or MySpace, I do my little share of social networking on the web. I am not in it for the networking, per se. Other people like finding new friends or are intent on becoming widely-known for their opinions or want to distribute their attempts in art or

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What’s in a name

Say my last name out loud in its anglicized pronunciation. Now, transliterate it phonetically into Russian. What do you get? Right – Бёрлак – which is exactly how it appears on the visa issued to Natasha by the Russian embassy in London. I suppose I can’t imagine a Russian embassy worker in charge of visas

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The unending source for contempt

Lest some of you think that I am becoming nonchalant about traffic in England (the last time I devoted more than a sentence to it was over a month ago), here is a sad reminder. Driving distance from the house to Becky’s school: 4.1 miles. Driving time suggested by Google: 11 minutes (up to 20

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Nice Sunday, good Monday

Despite what I wrote on Saturday, Natasha and the kids did not want to waste a perfectly cold and unpleasant weekend. So, on Sunday, they picked one of Becky’s school friends and went to the movies. That is, they drove to the movie theater together. After which Natasha and Kimmy went to see Ratatouille (raving

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soccer-ball

On football

Remember this ESPN commercial that ran during the World Cup last year?     On any given Sunday these days, I proceed from watching one football to the other and back. I can’t help but notice how the environment dictates the primary watching habits. While the last few years of my sports fan life have

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Let’s not go to the beach today

We woke up this morning, looked out the window, regarded skies of dark lead hues, and decided to stay home for the day. Not that we had much planned, but we could go to the city and spend some time with our friends. Only, the weather outside was loudly hinting that it did not welcome

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customerography

Loose ends

Tying a few of old threads today. Since the last time I wrote about my year-long adventure with the gas service, it has finally reached a closure. It took over a month to properly register with British Gas that the meter at our house was not the one that was appearing on the bills, but

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Thinking same thoughts

One thing I neglected to mention in my brief tribute to married life. After this many years, Natasha and I have progressed from finishing each other sentences to frequently thinking the same thoughts at the same time. Quite uncanny, I should say. There are obvious house-related things such as remembering an outstanding chore and going

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Sleepover and fireworks

The invasion of adolescent girls left one member of the family exuberantly happy, the other exhausted, and the third excited but relieved. Me, I was exempt from proceedings, and holed up in my study occupying myself with various blog-related tasks (for instance, Loire Valley review). The most excited was Kimmy, who was allowed to participate

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