Hope you all have had a lovely Christmas! Ryan and I spent it in Colorado at Aaron and Katy’s house (Ryan’s brother and his wife). It was nice to see them and Ryan’s mom and sister since we hadn’t seen them since right before we moved to London. But, the best part I think for most of us, was getting to meet and play with Boden. He is so cute! He is smiley, good-natured, and wiggly. It was fun to see him do everything – roll over, squirm around, and even grab my hair. I did take a picture of other people besides Boden, but we’re all in our pajamas and I think there was general consensus that we didn’t want that photo public.
We were lucky enough to have a white Christmas! It started snowing about halfway through the day and we got maybe 3-4 inches. It was really beautiful and at night Ryan, Tia (his sister) and I went for a walk to look at the Christmas lights in the neighborhood. Colorado was also cool because we got to see a very different landscape compared to what we’re used to. Colorado has wide open plains and then beautiful views of the Rocky Mountains. It was a real treat.
Since it doesn’t get that cold in London and Ryan and I are non-nature-loving city slickers were weren’t totally prepared for the snow. Ryan had cloth sneakers and dress shoes. I had sneakers and leather boots without tread on the bottom. So, needless to say, we had to borrow boots from Aaron and Katy. I’m glad we did because the day after Christmas we took their dog Tarka on a 3 mile walk to the dog park. It was lovely to see all the snow and to be outside, but it was cold and our regular shoes could not have handled it. The dog park itself was pretty nice, and the picture at the top of this post is the view from the dog park.
In addition to getting to enjoy the outdoors, Aaron and Katy also took us to enjoy some local restaurants and sites. On Saturday we had brunch with Katy’s parents at the Mercantile in Union Station. The food itself was really good but the service was so weird. You order at a counter in the front of the restaurant, then you sit down and wait for a text. When they text you, you walk 5 feet over to the kitchen window and pick up your food. They come around a little to check on you and see how you’re doing, but they don’t bring refills of drinks or anything. It was odd, but nice. I wish I had taken pictures of Union Station. It’s a train station and it’s been gorgeously redone on the inside. It has a hotel, restaurants, and it has a modern and old look that works for it.
After brunch we went to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. It was packed with families taking their kids of after Christmas. It’s a really good museum for kids because there are so many animals and skeletons and I thought most of the label texts were written with young audiences in mind. My favorite part of the exhibit was the section on wales. I learned that whales sound out their sound, then it bounces back, and vibrates into a fat deposit in their forehead. How cool is that? Throughout the museum there were a lot of diorama’s of animals in their “natural habitats.” It’s an old style of exhibitions, but I think it works. What was sort of funny was that every diorama had lots of animal poop – as if that will make me think it’s really authentic. Also, they had a snake on the floor (that was scary looking) and weighed 100 pounds. The sign next to it said it was modeled after a real snake and that with your friends you should see if you can pick it up. Ryan did all by himself, but it looked difficult.
Aaron and Katy also made sure to feed us lots of the American foods we’ve been missing. They took us to Highland Tap and Burger because Ryan had been craving a burger. Prior to this experience I had felt like burgers in London were perfectly good and that I wasn’t missing an American burger. And then I had one bite and everything changed. It was cooked medium-well, it was topped with a fried egg, and it was so juicy.I took a bite and sauce and juices oozed all down my hands. I fell in love. That bite was like snuggling with your favorite blanket. It was like the perfect first kiss. It was like putting on your favorite sweater. That one bite was so satisfying. I downed the rest so fast there wasn’t time to take a picture. I sort of wish I hadn’t had the burger because now I know what I’m missing.
They also took us to the Post to have fried chicken, waffles, and biscuits. My British colleagues keep telling me a biscuit is just like a scone, but it really isn’t. I don’t know how to explain it, but biscuits are more buttery and savory than scones. Even though Post is sort of a nice restaurant, the chicken came out in a bucket – which gave us that real American feel. We went home stuffed. My pictures of all this might not look so amazing, but it was. It was amazing I think for anyone, but all this food was even better after months of being away from it. You know, absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that.
Sunday we had a low-key day. Katy and I spent most of the morning having some girl time. We went to the grocery store to buy ingredients for nachos (something else on our American food bucket list, and I’ll tell you more about it tomorrow). We took Tarka to the dog park, and then we went and got a pedicure. It was meant a lot to me to spend some quality time together and just hang out and chat. In the afternoon we all finished a puzzle then went to Ryan’s uncle’s house to watch the Broncos game.
Before we left, we got one more taste of American foods. For breakfast before our flight to Connecticut we had bagels with pumpkin spice cream cheese and coffee with pumpkin spice creamer. Oh America, you are wonderful.