Thursday, February 4, 2010

Our arrival

Now I'm backtracking to our arrival in the UK on January 10th. After we got rerouted through Chicago and Dublin, we arrived in Heathrow, got our bags, and followed the signs to the lobby. We assumed we'd go through UK customs, but we didn't. The Irish don't have to and we were on an Aer Lingus flight. Word also had it that half of Heathrow's employees weren't showing up to work because of the snow. Yes, we arrived right after a snow storm.

Britain isn't equipped to deal with snow. It lies right in the Gulf Stream, which keeps its temperature above freezing. (It's a little amusing to hear what the Brits refer to as "freezing". It doesn't have to be cold enough to literally freeze water.) When 20 cm of snow got dumped on the southeast, London and the surrounding area didn't have enough snowplows and sand trucks to clear all the roads. Thus it was a looong, laborious process. In New Mexico, a snowplow can just push all the snow into one big heap at the end of a cul de sac, but in a big city, snow has to be loaded onto trucks and hauled out. There's no convenient place to just leave big mountains of the stuff.

But our friends, Neil and Yvonne, were able to get to us not too long after we arrived and we loaded our things into their two cars and went to their home. They were wonderfully hospitable to us while we scrambled to find an apartment and get our bank account set up. Trevor checked in at school and got his student ID and the chance to meet everyone in his lab.

Finding an apartment is its own blogpost, one I'll type later, when it isn't so late and I'm not so tired.

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