One week in Nottingham and things are going well. Thus far there have been no major catastrophes, though there was one minor incident wherein cycling shoes were destroyed, a pair of nice jeans was compromised, and I was honked and laughed at by a car full of teenagers whilst lying on the ground in the rain unable to disentangle my legs from my traitorous fallen bicycle. Add to that the fact that I have not enjoyed a hot shower since my arrival (water heater due to be fixed on Wednesday), I have made grave errors in judgment where packing weather-appropriate clothing is concerned, and I seem to have brought the rainy winter weather with me from Seattle, and one might think that I'm having a bad time of it here. But no, not I. Despite the minute challenges presented me since my arrival, I am not discouraged. No lack of hot water is going to keep me down. No mocking teenage ne'er-do-wells can crush my globetrotting spirit. Jeans will be patched and new bike shoes purchased. And I, I will survive. Now, it seems like I'm focusing quite a bit on the negative. And I am. Because challenges are what make us stronger, right? But non-challenges are what make us happy! So let's have a look at those, shall we? =) First and foremost, my arrival was in no way difficult. Gordon had already gone about the difficult business of finding an apartment, had learnt his way about town, and had stocked up on all the necessaries (hand soap, wine, chocolate, etc.) before I even got here. He made the actual travel quite a bit easier by renting a car and driving us back up here so that I could avoid the potentially harrowing travail of dragging my valises and bicycle all around the Kingdom on trains. Most importantly, I get to live in the same country as my boyfriend! =) I have friends in this country to whom I am quite glad to be closer, and I have a month to get the lay of the land before I have to figure out where I want to work when I get back here. Things really are good. In addition, we live in an amazing apartment! =) I've not had an opportunity to photograph the building from the outside, as the weather has been most uncooperative, but here's a picture I found on the Internet. It's a Grade II preserved building. Used to be some sort of mill but now it's home! =) Our apartment is unbelievably cute. =) The main living area includes the lounge (British for "living room") and kitchen, and is very small. But what it lacks in spaciousness it more that makes up for in cute! =) We have a tiny sofa and chair with spotty pillows, a little glass tv/stereo stand, and an odd but cosy little area rug. There is exposed brick on the wall with the big windows, which is painted white. Gordon bought a doorstop shaped like a pig. He's stripey. He really pulls the room together. =) The kitchen has a small glass dining table, plenty of cabinet space, and is finished very nicely with chrome and wood. Everything is brand new, and we have the most adorable appliances my American eyes have ever seen- a tiny stove (called a "hob" here), a tiny oven, a tiny washer/dryer (all in one!), and perhaps the cutest little microwave I have ever seen. =) The bedroom and the bathroom are both quite large in comparison, and the bedroom is decorated with bed linens that match the spotty pillows in the lounge. =) They have even provided color-coordinated potpourri and flower arrangements! Definitely the cutest place I have ever lived! So, that's good. Really starting to feel quite at home there. We have access to a small gym and to secure bike storage as well, which is quite handy! All of the amenities (minus the hot water)! Many more wonderful things about Nottingham to be revealed in future posts as I do a little more exploration, but for now I must head home, as I have been promised a feast of Roast Veggies a la Gordon and all of this blogging has made me hungry!