What have I gotten myself into?

A few weeks ago I thought it would be a good idea to do this:

Peachtree 1

Yep, don my running shoes and do a 10k. Me. The person who hasn’t been running for years, and even when I did go running I wasn’t THAT good at it. My friend used to have to kick my ass to make sure I didn’t give up, and when I’d finished said run (I say run, it was more like a shuffle that could possible pass off as a jog) I was bright red, out of breath and desperate for some water. A bit like a dog on a hot day.

Despite this, I thought it would be a good idea to do the Peachtree Road Race. I still don’t know why.

So, I mentioned this to the German, he was fully against it. I also mentioned it to my Mandy who I go to the gym with. She was also fully against it but she mentioned it to  her fiancé and he was all for it, but only if all four of us signed up. After not much thought and a lot of persuasion, both the German and Mandy agreed to sign up, or at least enter the lottery to attempt to get a place.

Last Saturday, Team Couch Potato was born and we all entered the lottery, literally hours before it was going to close. The German was secretly hoping our team wouldn’t be selected. His fingers were crossed for the next couple of days, until on Tuesday morning, the first word to leave his mouth was ‘shit.’

You guessed it people, we’d received this email:

IMG_8798

We’d only been picked to do this thing! The German wasn’t a happy bunny and when I text Mandy she said she was with him, but Carson was super pumped! I’m actually pretty excited about it too.

It’s something I think I should attempt to do, being an expat in Atlanta and having the chance to participate in something like this is all part of the expat experience – trying out as many things as you can. The Peachtree Road Race is ledendary in these parts, people come from all over America to get involved and I’ve got a place in it, along with 59,999 others! That and the fact I want the t-shirt you get at the end. Actually I think the t-shirt is what I want the most!

So it’s all happening on Independence Day – 4th July, 2014. My only fear is the weather. Even at 9am on 4th July it will probably be about 90 degrees. I do not run well in the heat. I don’t run well period, but give me some slightly higher temperatures and I’m completely rubbish. During my small career as a runner (I really can’t call it that but I’m gonna go with it anyway) I struggled to run in what us Brits call summer, we’re talking 70 degrees. Add another 20 degrees on that and the added humidity and I think I may struggle to survive. Oh and then there are hills. Atlanta is quite a hilly city and this gal is no good at running up hills. When I did run it was in Hull, the flattest city in the UK. But, I’ve signed up now, I have to do it…

Let the attempted training begin:

IMG_8823

Do you know what the worst thing is – this was all my idea! It’s me that’s got us all into this. Me. The non-runner. Oh dear Lord.

But, here goes people, the running shoes are on and I’m heading out into the great unknown that is running. Will I survive? Will I be able to complete this 10k? Only time will tell. I’ll be sure to keep you updated on my ups and downs along the way!

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The great ice storm of 2014…

Another winter storm hit Atlanta this week – I decided to blog my way through it for you guys (without leaving the house this time – we all know what happened last time I ventured out!) and work out whether all the hype was justified or not.

Monday:

So, just 2 weeks ago Atlanta was left crippled when Snowmageddon hit. Thousands were stranded, either in their vehicles, with friends, at school and even in grocery stores overnight as the city struggled to deal with just 2 inches of snow.

And now, 2 weeks on, another winter storm is on the horizon and all eyes are on Atlanta and it’s authorities to see if the same happens again. Today is Monday, the storm is expected to hit on Tuesday, with the worst of it on Wednesday, when the streets are expected to be covered in ice.

Already, the authorities have declared a State of Emergency in over 40 counties, and after school activities were cancelled first thing this morning, Atlanta Public Schools have already said schools will be closed on Tuesday and Wednesday. A State of emergency operations center opened at 3pm. People have been asked to leave work as early as they can today so snow ploughs can start treating the roads from 6pm. Extra trucks have also been brought in from southern Georgia, an area that’s not expected to be hit by the bad weather.The Mayor, Kasim Reed, has already said that shelters will be available for people who get stranded. Oh and we can’t forget the panic buying at the supermarket! This one always surprises me – do people really not have enough food in their homes for 2 days?

But, is it all an over exaggeration? Will the weather be as bad as it was 2 weeks ago or are authorities jumping the gun to save their butts from more embarrassment?

Tuesday:

The storm is apparently hitting us right now, but, as I look out of the window it looks pretty normal, it’s raining with a little bit of sleet mixed in. So far, so good. But, according to the news, tomorrow will be the worst day – that’s when icepocalypse hits! Yep, we’re expecting an ice storm. It will rain and immediately turn to ice, this could mean power lines go out and we’re literally stranded in our homes as roads turn into ice. Fine by me, I’m not leaving this time!

But, you would think the world is going to end! This time, the whole city has shut down, already, in preparation for the storm. Supermarkets were, last night, rammed and shelves were emptied of bread and milk:

Oh and not forgetting the looooong queues at gas stations because we all need a full tank of petrol when we’re being told to stay at home!

One news station described it as a ‘catastrophic event.’ Now, I’m not being funny, but I don’t class some bad weather as a ‘catastrophic event!’ To me, a catastrophic event is more like a tsunami or an earthquake, a terrorist attack or a mass shooting, not an ice storm! The advice is to make sure you have batteries for flashlights (I don’t think we even possess a flashlight but we do have candles!) to keep your cell phones and electrical devices charged (mine are both charging right now but that’s more because they were dying!) to have food that you can eat from a can without heating it up (I think I could manage that!) and to keep your taps dripping so pipes don’t freeze.

The German escaped the weather this morning and caught a flight to Chicago – he’s supposed to be back on Wednesday but we’ll see about that! With the ice storm expected to hit tomorrow I told him to take extra undies with him just in case!! And it seems I was right – seconds after writing this he sent me a text to say his flight has already been cancelled and he’s coming back on Thursday, via Detroit! Excellent. I don’t think we’ll ever have snow days where both of us are at home!

Anyway, I’ve just been to the local supermarket to get some supplies – everything is still a-ok out there boys and girls! Sadly, I didn’t see scenes of queues a mile long (I was actually hoping for it for blog pictures!) but there wasn’t much bread left:

Ice 1

And they’re all out of firewood:

Ice 2
Good job I stocked up on that one at the weekend even though I’ve never actually started a fire in my life and have no idea how to do so! Ah well, I’m sure if it came to it I’d get through it! I did, however, stock up on some essential supplies:

Ice 3
Pizza, a sub, salad and sushi – all the essentials! Ice storm…I’m ready for you!

Wednesday

Now this is more like an ice storm! I woke up this morning, looked out of the window and saw this:

Ice 5
Yep, the street, cars, everything is covered in a layer of ice and as the day continues, this thing is getting worse! At the moment it’s raining – freezing rain it’s called. It looks like the really fine stuff that gets you really wet but as soon as it hits the ground it freezes over and leaves another layer of ice. I really want to venture outside and take some pictures for you guys but I don’t want to get wet/iced up and with the German in Chicago I’m here on my own! I’d only end up falling arse over tit as we say back in England (imagine this little Brit doing some bad attempt at figure skating before her legs fly in the air and she lands on her butt with a great big thump!) and that’s not the best way to spend an ice storm day! So, instead I’m having one of these:

Ice 6
Yep, it’s a pyjama day in this Brits house! Yay! Maybe I’ll venture out in the morning to snap some pictures before it all melts away! Things are supposed to get better tomorrow – they better do, that German of mine is supposed to be coming home and I haven’t had any face to face human contact for nearly 2 days now!! He had better be prepared for a very excitable wife when he gets back!

So, right now I’m hoping the power doesn’t go out. Things are looking pretty bad over the rest of Atlanta – I’ve found some pics on Twitter for you guys and snapped some pics of the TV – I may not be venturing out but you still need to see these things!

By 11:30am this morning more than 100,000 people in Atlanta were without power. That rose to nearly 200,000 by 1:30pm. Things are still looking good here although the big trees outside our apartment are swaying pretty well today! Eeeek!

The rain’s just got a little heavier here in Sandy Springs…it’s mad watching it fall as rain but the ground is solid ice that just keeps getting thicker! I can only imagine what it will be like by the end of the day!

Thursday

Yaaaay! I survived the great ice storm of 2014! Phew!! The power stayed on and everything! Cabin fever well and truly set in last night though – jeez I was so fed up of seeing the same 4 walls! I even got fed up ofwatching Gossip Girl and I’m only on season 1! I figured I had to start something new – the constant coverage of the storm on nearly every channel was really starting to annoy me! But I woke up this morning to a layer of snow on top of the ice making the place look really beautiful!

Thankfully it’s not sticking around though and the great thaw of 2014 is now underway! But I have been out and taken some pictures for you, just before things really start to melt away!! Plus, I NEEDED to get out of this apartment!

The sun is out now and the ice and snow is slowly disappearing! All you can hear is water trickling as it thaws out from the roofs! If you walk under a tree it’s like being in a rain shower as the ice melts from the branches and when the wind blew the ice flew off the trees! It’s pretty but I’m soooooo glad it’s disappearing! I need to get out of the house and get a sense of normality back!! This ice storm has done nothing for my wedding diet and trips to the gym! The German is supposed to be coming home today – he’s about to leave Chicago for Detroit and then land in Atlanta this evening! Fingers crossed he makes it ok! Things should be a lot better by this evening as temperatures rise and more of the ice melts away so he should get back safely and in one piece! I need some face to face human contact!!! There’s gonna be one excited wife when he arrives home!

So that was the great ice storm of 2014 and it seems this storm was a pretty bad one. I think authorities were right to make sure everyone was home! Personally though, I think they did over-react a little bit on Tuesday – there wasn’t any ice on the roads and things were just like any other day. Forecasters were even telling you that it was safe to be on the roads until midnight! But, Wednesday was a completely different story – if anybody woke up that morning and attempted to venture out in their cars they were idiots who were asking for trouble if you ask me! It was treacherous out there but thankfully this time we didn’t see pictures of gridlocked roads with people sleeping in their cars overnight, people seemed to listen to the warnings and stayed indoors! That, I am not surprised about after Snowmageddon! Big up to the authorities for that one! I think they gave everybody enough warning that this beast was coming so people were prepared.

And the good news – according to my friend I am now a true Atlantan – I’ve survived my first ice storm!!

5 Things I Love about being an Expat in America…Part 1

Now then people, I thought I’d start a new little series in this lovely blog of mine all about what I love about being an expat and on the flip side what I don’t like about it/miss about good old Blighty! It could be anything from the simple things like food and drink, to new places we’ve explored or just the way things work over here!

Obviously you have to start with the good stuff so here’s my first list of 5 things I love about being an expat in the land they call America!

1. We’re living in America!!

Simples! What else could you love more than the fact you’re actually living in America? (Cue some James Brown…I know you’re all singing it in your head now!)

Flag 1

God Bless America!

Even after 12 months of being on American soil I still don’t think it has sunk in that I actually live here. I live in America!! I still kind of feel like a visitor who will be jetting back home on that plane in a couple of weeks, but the end of those couple of weeks never comes and instead I spend a couple of weeks in England! I still drive around going ‘Wow! Look at that!’ and then think ‘Oh my God, I live in America!’ There are so many places we haven’t explored yet, and of course, America is so big that the bucket list of places to go is always growing!! Watch this space and see what we can tick off during out adventure!!

2. The weather
OK, So I know I’ve said this a million times before but the weather here in Atlanta is amazing!! Well, apart from last week’s snowmageddon disaster, but hey, that’s a once in every 3 years thing and we were lucky enough to be caught up in it! (It was an experience to say the least!!) Usually this place is HOT, and when I say HOT I mean like 100 degrees in the summer hot, hence why they call it Hotlanta! Admittedly, sometimes it can be too hot, and just walking to your car leaves you looking like a sweaty mess but, after living in the UK for 29 years and experiencing the cold, wind and rain for practically 365 days a year this is HEAVEN!! Spending weekends by the pool (having a pool on your apartment complex is standard living around here!) being able to wear shorts every single day for about 7 months of the year, being guaranteed an actual summer, not just a weekend is just bliss! I don’t think I’ll ever take the extremely pretty days for granted or ever get used to them! Even now I rush the German to go out for a walk because it’s sunny until he replies with ‘Rachel, we’re not in England, the sunshine is sticking around!’

3. Meeting new people and making new friends.

An American, a Dane, 2 Dutch, a Brit and 2 Germans!

An American, a Dane, 2 Dutch, a Brit and 2 Germans!

I love meeting new people, I did it everyday in my job as a broadcast journalist back in the UK, I’d interview people from all different walks of life and it was always fascinating to hear their story, so coming to a new country and knowing absolutely nobody is daunting but it’s a challenge and we were willing to accept it! One of the first things on our list was to make new friends and meet new people and that’s something that is never ending! 12 months on and we’ve got a good circle of friends but we’re always adding to it. In anyone’s life, making friends is a job that never stops, even if you’re still living in the town you grew up in, doing it here in Atlanta just means we have an international group of friends – some are American, some German, some Brits, some Danish, some Dutch – the list is endless and that just makes it a lot more interesting!

4. Seeing everything with fresh eyes.
Arriving in a new country, everything is fresh and different and exciting, and when I say everything, I mean everything! I’d been to America before I moved here (New York and Florida) but that was a holiday, this is now my everyday life. I might have seen the street signs and school buses in the movies, but seeing them in the flesh every single day is still as exciting 12 months down the line as it was on day 2! The German thinks I’m a nutter when I get excited by a really old American car, or when we went to the cabin in the mountains – I’m literally like a little child! I go to the supermarket and get excited by things like ‘Lucky Charms’ (well I don’t anymore, but in the first few months I did and obviously I had to buy them just because I could!) and the massive selection when it comes to things like salad dressing! It’s the little things, obviously!

5. Everyday is an adventure.
When you’re an expat every day is a new experience, even if you’re just sitting on the sofa at home! Sounds random, I know but believe me, even sitting on the sofa is a new experience, depending on which channel you choose on the TV! (There are some very random programmes over here – no doubt there will be a blog post on that one day!) Whether it’s exploring a new part of the city, heading to a new restaurant or just to a new grocery store, expat life is just one massive adventure and it’s blummin amazing!!

What do you love about being an expat?

Today’s Ramblings #13

Right peeps, it’s time for some more Me, Myself and Atlanta ramblings!

So things are calming down now in the ATL following the disaster that was Snowmageddon 2014! I still can’t believe what happened and how Atlanta turned into one big car park with kids sleeping at schools and people taking shelter in grocery stores and Home Depots! Just madness! Thankfully though, yesterday we were reunited with Mindy – she was patiently waiting in the car park I left her in without any extra bumps or scrapes! Phew! The banana skin I left inside didn’t look too pretty though! Whoops! Oh and when we got into the German’s car to set off on our mission we found this…

Oopsy!

Oopsy!

Yes, that lovely little German of mine had left a can of Coke in his car…that can of Coke then froze in the extreme temperatures and then exploded, all over his car!! It was EVERYWHERE! Obviously in the cup holders, all over both seats, on the mats, around the gear stick, the hand brake, on the windscreen, the visors, the dashboard, the rearview mirror, on the back seats…it definitely exploded well! Thankfully though we found it while the Coke was still ice so it was much easier to clean up! We wondered what the hell it was when we first opened the car – I thought the roof had been leaking, the German thought it was the Starbucks coffee cup but couldn’t work out how until he got closer to the Coke can! Whoops! I don’t think he’ll make that mistake again!

So what else has been happening apart from Snowmageddon? Well, we had a trip to Ikea last weekend (it had been a while, we were definitely due one!) and I got myself a desk! Yep, I now have an area to work in at home which I guess means I now officially work from home! Shame I didn’t take that into account when I ventured out of the house on Tuesday! All would have been better with the world if I’d only worked from home!! Argh! Anyway, here is the lovely little number the German went on to build for me when we got home…

Very professional!

Very professional!

Isn’t it lovely?! I was even allowed a pink seat cover (the German doesn’t like pink things in the house – he’s a boy!) and we got a door mat with a stripe of pink in it too! I did wonder if he was feeling OK but everything was back to normal when he said no to the floral bedding I found! Ah well – I did well with the 2 pink things! So what do you reckon? I officially love it and it definitely makes me more productive than sitting on the sofa! Plus I can have a little look out of the window and people watch! Everyone likes to do that, right?

I bobbed into a craft store the other morning and was greeted with this…

Really?

Really?

So Valentine’s Day is around the corner and the American’s go mad for it…like seriously mad! I think it’s even classed as a ‘holiday’ over here! What? So, as well as the usual cards that maybe some Brits will stretch to (I buy a card for the German, if he’s lucky he might get something tacky as a stupid gift but that’s about it!) you can literally get everything over here! So, today I found heart-shaped cookie cutters, cake moulds, cupcake cases with hearts all over them, heart-shaped doilies and any other heart-shaped object used for cooking or eating that you can think of! Then, in addition to all that, if you really want to you can trim your house up with heart decorations!! Like, really?? There’s tinsel, heart-shaped tinsel, actual Valentine’s Day welcome signs, ribbon, banners, garlands…the list is literally endless! What I want to know is who actually does this stuff? Actually, one of my neighbours – they have some heart-shaped lights outside their door! It’s literally been trimmed up since Halloween with some sort of decoration!! The German doesn’t even agree with taking me out for Valentine’s Day because he says it’s overpriced and would happily take me a day later when prices have dropped again! I admit he has a point but seriously, I’ve married a German version of Pa Cook! That’s exactly what he would say!! Argh! Anyway, I think it’s going a little over the top but it wouldn’t be America if it wasn’t!!

Oh and it’s Superbowl Sunday tomorrow!!! Technically it’s my second one in the States but seen as though I’d only been in the country for 6 days I’m classing this one as the first! The Superbowl is one of the biggest sporting events of the year – this one is Superbowl 48 and the Seattle Seahawks are taking on the Denver Broncos in New Jersey. But it’s not just the football people are looking forward to – I think the half time show (this year with Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers) along with the adverts (commercials if you’re American!) during the show and the food (think chips, dips and extremely fatty snacks!) are what people look forward to the most!! Oh and of course the beer! I’ll report back on what happened next week!

Hope y’all are having a good weekend! (Did you see what I did there? I went all Southern on you!!)

Snowmageddon/Snowapocalypse/SnowOutAtlanta/SnowJam2014

Whatever you want to call it, this thing was bad. So, for the first time in 3 years it snowed in Atlanta on Tuesday, and guess what, oh yes, I got stuck in it! It’s resulted in a very interesting 24 hours, that, of course, I have to tell you guys about! Before we start, I’d like to point out that Tuesday officially marked one year since we stepped off the plane and arrived in Atlanta (read more about that here!) and this is gift it gave me to celebrate…

Atlanta doesn’t do snow. There, I’ve said it! It’s in the south, snow doesn’t hit the south apart from once every 3 years or so when there’s a freak winter storm like the one this week, and, despite the warnings, the city simple cannot deal with it. It doesn’t have the infrastructure to deal with it, I think the whole of the city has around 30 to 40 snow ploughs, bearing in mind this place is massive with about 6 million people living in it that really isn’t enough. But, seen as though they very rarely have this weather I can kind of understand why!

The snow was forecast to hit on Tuesday afternoon, on Tuesdays I volunteer at the German Cultural Center in Midtown, did I just say I wasn’t going to go in because of the snow, erm no. I’m European, we’re used to the snow and when I left the house there was nothing, nichts, nada! So off I trotted, with my big winter jacket on and Ugg boots (something that was going to come in very handy just a few hours later!). My thought was there’s 2 inches forecast, I’m used to driving in the snow, how bad can it be?  Figuring I would leave early and yeah, it might take me hours to get home but I’d make it! How wrong was I?!

The snow started falling around 12pm, we cancelled language classes and decided to head for home…just like the rest of Atlanta! I went into the car park and there was a HUGE queue just to get out of the garage. The first 40 minutes of my journey was spent there…maybe that should have told me something like DON’T DO IT but I ignored that and carried on. Once out of the parking garage I crawled along the road, decided to take a new route and then hit another main road where I crawled again. Basically  my main view for the afternoon was this:

Snow 1

Talk about a traffic jam…

I spent the next 6 hours looking at this, slowly moving along Piedmont Road and finally making it to the junction with Roswell Road (sorry guys, this may make no sense to you but if any Atlantans are reading this they’ll know what I mean!) where there was chaos! Absolute chaos! People were blocking the intersection which meant when lights were green others couldn’t move! There was a LOT of frustration and anger going around with horns being constantly beeped! They seriously shouldn’t have done that though, it didn’t get them anywhere and just gave me a headache!! Anyway, I digress!

So I carried on crawling, moving an inch or so every 2 hours. It was total gridlock and I was going nowhere. I’d travelled about 5 miles and according to my wonderful sat nav app (that, for the whole of the journey told me I’d be home in an hour, then 40 minutes…I think that was wrong!) I still had another 14 miles to go. I checked the clock, by now it was 6:30pm. I’d been calling the German who was also on his way home from work, he left at 3 and made it home at 5:30pm. He was safe. Phew. He gets all the luck! Whenever there’s bad weather his plane is on time, he makes it home. I do not – I once got stuck in Germany with Ma Cook for an extra 2 days.

I was moving nowhere, but I kept telling the German that I was determined to get home!! The gridlock had to end and clear at some point – I could do it. But a state of emergency had been declared in Atlanta. Things were bad. By this point I had fallen out with Atlanta and the Polar Vortex could kiss my butt! After another phone call to the German I kind of realised there was no way I was getting home that night. There was some crying by me (I literally just wanted to get home!) but we came up with a plan, I would try to get closer to the Marta station at Buckhead, take the train to North Springs where the German would try to pick me up! Yes! But, once the German attempted to get out of the end of the road he soon called and said it wasn’t happening. The roads were icy and he was going nowhere. So, Plan C came into force.

Just a week ago, my friend Meredith and her boyfriend Omar moved into a condo in Buckhead…and that was where I was headed! So, after dumping my car in a CVS car park and walking about 2 miles I was finally in a safe place, having an unscheduled sleepover at their house, along with a couple of other stranded drivers! I seriously cannot thank them enough!! They saved my bacon and rescued me from a night in the car!!

But, my adventure didn’t end there! Oh no, no! This is me we’re talking about, things are never simple! Overnight temperatures dropped to below freezing and things literally iced over. The roads were a sheet of ice, highways were still car parks with people who had stayed in them overnight, conditions were terrible. I seriously did not fancy taking a trip out on the roads in my car so I came up with a new plan, walk to the Marta station, take the train and then walk home. Sounds simple right? Except for the fact that the Marta station was 2 miles from Meredith’s place and our apartment is 5 miles from the last Marta station on the track. I figured it was the safest way to get home, I’d work out getting my car when the roads were safer!

Talk about icy...

Talk about icy…

So, off I went. I fell over before even leaving Meredith’s car park – this was going to be an exciting walk! But, after about an hour I made it to the Marta station! Result! Luckily, the train came within 10 minutes, soon I was on my way and even closer to home! Things were looking up! By this point I’d already persuaded the German to walk half way to meet me in the middle, he also wanted to go for a walk and check out the roads, so we were both en-route! I trekked through the snow, trying to dodge the icy patches and walking in the fresh snow so that I stayed on 2 feet! Then, after just over an hour I spotted him – my lovely German was heading towards me! It was the best sight ever!!

Yaaaay! The German!!

Yaaaay! The German!!

After being reunited we carried on with our trek and, 25 hours after leaving Midtown I walked through the door and into the apartment! Finally I had made it home!!! After 25 hours, an abandoned car, an unscheduled overnight stay with Meredith (thanks again lady!!), a trip on the train and 10 miles of walking I was home!!!

But the sights I saw on my way home were just unbelievable! First of all, I’ve never seen so many people walking the streets of Atlanta – this city is not a foot friendly zone so to see people actually out and about was fab! Even though half of them were probably like me and still trying to make their way home! I saw school buses still trying to get children home – some of them were forced to sleep at schoool overnight! Then there was the abandoned cars – they were everywhere! And I mean on every single road, parked in every single direction with some even left right in the middle of the road! Big cars, small cars, trucks, massive lorries, all of them abandoned! The street we live off was terrible – so many cars were abandoned near the bridge that the road was actually blocked. And not forgetting the state of the roads – I have never seen roads so thick with pure ice! People were literally sliding all over them including the ones that did brave it out in their cars!

All this for 2 inches of snow. Yep, you read right there, 2 inches of snow. People were stranded in their cars all night, there was a state of emergency declared, children had to sleep in schools, workers slept at their offices, hotels were fully booked, TV stations had continuous coverage of the developments or lack of if you were sitting in a car, all because of 2 inches of snow. Seems incredible for such a small amount of the white stuff but I can assure you there is only 2 inches on the floor out there!

So here’s what I’ve learnt from those 24 hours:

1. If snow is forecast in Atlanta, don’t leave the house.

2 Atlanta cannot deal with snow. Period. This city is not built for severe weather and with the amount of cars on the road (apparently 1 million people were trying to get out of the city at the same time yesterday – me being one of them!) total gridlock is expected! The public transportation system isn’t good enough and the city simply does not have the infrastructure to deal with it.

3. Don’t leave the house if there’s snow on the cards.

4. Atlantans do not know how to drive in snow. I saw so many people driving way too fast for the conditions, overtaking each other on the very icy roads and skidding everywhere. The German said he slowed down on the highway near the exit with plenty of space in front of him for braking distance but the car behind him overtook him and moved in front of him!!

5. Did I mention not to leave the house?!

Ah well, it’s just another experience in the American adventure! It would be boring without them! The walking has probably done wonders for my wedding diet! All I need to do now is figure out when I’m going to rescue Mindy, my car! (Please tell me I’m not the only one who gives their car a name?)

Today’s Ramblings #12

Time for another Rambling post from your friendly little British expat in Atlanta! So first up, I know what’s on all of your lips…how is the wedding diet going? Right? Well, even if it wasn’t you’re getting a little update! So after eating VERY healthily for a week (except for the Mexican on Friday night – everyone has to have a cheat day!) and hitting the gym like there’s no tomorrow (my poor jet lagged body wondered what the hell was happening!) I lost a grand total of 3 lbs! I’m happy with that – if I lose that every week I’ll be set for the big day! The German did well too – I think he doubled my weight loss and dropped 6 lbs! Good work bolo! The scales, this week, were our friend! Lets see what happens next week…

On Saturday night the German and I went to the movies! (Yes, I did just say movies and not cinema – I’ve gone all American on your asses!) Since we moved to America we’ve only been to the flicks once – we’re really bad at seeing films! But we’re making it a priority to go more often this year and more so after going to the cinema at Phipps Plaza in Buckhead. Three words – BEST CINEMA EVER and here’s why:

WOW!

WOW!

These were, by far, the best cinema seats I have ever had the pleasure of sitting in! We’re talking full on recliners with leg raisers – you could practically lie down in those beasts! We were tipped off about this treat of a cinema by some friends but this was more than we were expecting!! We’re talking so comfy you could fall to sleep on them – the German predicted this of me but I proved him wrong despite my track record of sleeping through entire films! I think the fact that we saw Anchorman 2 helped with this – Ron Burgandy is a legend! I think it’s safe to say we won’t be going to any other cinema apart from the one at Phipps in the future!!

However, the curse of the American car park struck when we headed home! Seriously – those places are so confusing! For a start they are HUGE, like bigger than any other car park I’ve ever been in! I would sometimes get confused in multi-storey car parks back in the UK but now I realise they are a breeze compared to these American beasts! So, we walked out of the doors and into the car park and headed in the direction of where we thought we’d parked the car. We walked, and walked, and still didn’t find it! The place looked the same in every direction, every corner we walked round I was positive the car was there but every time we were disappointed! Then the German remembered he’d done this:

Clever Boy!

Clever Boy!

I knew I married him for a reason!! Yep, the clever German took a picture of the column we’d parked next to, anticipating our problem before it even happened! Soon we were heading in the right direction and a couple of minutes later, after the words ‘we’re getting close’ from the German we turned a corner and the car was patiently waiting for us! YAY! However, I’m sure this won’t be the last time we have a ‘we can’t find the car’ moment!

And I need to show you a few pics from the walk I took on Monday. The past few days had been beautiful (well actually the past week) bright blue skies and sunshine, and I was itching to get outside and take a walk. It had been a little bit chilly but on Monday, despite a frosty start that saw me de-icing the car (I thought I’d left those days behind when I left England!) the temperatures warmed up and it was beautiful – we’re talking 16 degrees celsius, or around 60 degrees fahrenheit! OK so it’s not get the shorts out and celebrate summer temperatures but it was pretty warm in the sunshine! So off I went for a stroll along the Chattahoochee River:

Every time I walk along this route I’m still amazed by the beauty! I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the fact that bright, sunny days without a cloud in the sky are pretty much the norm around here – I’m always expecting them to disappear after a couple of days so I try to fit in as much as I can outside! The German laughs at this but, after being brought up in rainy England where you’re only guaranteed a few days of sunshine every year you’re trained to make the most of it! Monday was Martin Luther King Day and schools were closed for the bank holiday. It seemed loads of families had the same idea as me – to get out in the sunshine! The playground areas were full of children playing on the swings – it was lovely to see them out and about with their parents having family time, riding their bikes, taking a walk and getting some fresh air! I walked along, thinking about just how lucky I am to be here, in this country being able to explore new things every single day! (BIG thanks to the German for that!) If you’re handed a once in a lifetime opportunity you have to grab it with as much enthusiasm as possible and truly make the most of it. I don’t think I’ll ever take the beautiful sunny days here in Georgia for granted – ever.

Today’s Ramblings #7

I reckon I can read your mind! Yep you heard that right, I reckon that right now, at this very second that you’re reading this I know exactly what you’re thinking. What you’re wondering right now and you’re desperate to know is…Did the German get to light his fire? Am I right? Yes? No? Well if it was a yes (yay I can read minds!) then you’ll love the next bit of this blog post, if it was a no (boo my mind reading skills ain’t what they cracked up to be!) then tough, because you’re about to find out the answer anyway! And here it is:

Toby's Fire

Yes, the German’s dream finally came true and he got to light a fire! It suddenly turned cold yesterday here in Atlanta, and despite the German saying he was going to the driving range after work, he skipped it, was home before me and the fire was already underway! That’s despite the fact I said wait for me to get home for blog pictures!! Yes ladies and gents, I’m always thinking of you and this blog! The German just couldn’t wait any longer to play man and fire! (What is it with men and fire?! They have some sort of obsession with it don’t they? Or is that just my German and should I be worried about this?) Anyway, the fire was looking pretty and the German was very happy indeed:

Toby's Fire 2

Look at those smiley, happy chops!! The boy is in his element! However, he did use a whole box of firewood and had to be stopped when he went on the hunt to his man cave (also known as the spare closet or dumping ground where the suitcases, bike, golf clubs and the German’s DIY tools live!) for more wood and even then it was still glowing when we went to bed! The German assured me this was ok but I was kind of worried about it! When I got up this morning, however, it was freezing, and I mean FREEZING in the apartment so I went to close the fireplace to keep some cold out, but, the German’s blummin fire was STILL smouldering!! Yep, over 12 hours after he started it there was still smoke coming from it, sadly no heat though! But the first fire in the Me, Myself and Atlanta house has been deemed a success, the house doesn’t smell of smoke (phew!) and the German will no doubt be lighting more of them throughout the winter, well once he’s cleaned up from the last one – his fire, his mess, he cleans it up! My housewife duties don’t stretch that far!

Speaking of the weather and how cold it’s become in these parts over the past couple of days, we got an amazing email from our apartment complex the other day! It was entitled ‘Freeze Warning’ and went along the lines of:

‘Dear Neighbors,

The weather reports say that we will be getting some freezing temperatures for the next few nights. Here are some helpful tips to keep you and your home safe and warm:’

So my first thought was check out the spelling of neighbours (I sometimes forget where I am!), then soon after it was more along the lines of ‘are we really getting this email?’ Yep it seems in America you get warnings about everything, even how to handle the weather! Now I know we Brits like to be prepared for things and as soon as a snowflake hits the ground we bolt out of the office and head home causing traffic jams 10 miles long but emails like this don’t happen back home! Anyway, I’m sure you’re wondering what handy and helpful tips we were handed? Yes? Well here goes:

‘Please remember to let your faucets drip.’  The German’s reply to this was ‘what’s a faucet?’ once the fact it’s the tap was quickly cleared up we moved onto the next one:

‘Set your thermostat to at least 65 degrees (heat – auto)’We were already failing on this one, our heating system isn’t even turned on! However, that is kind of self-explanatory, you’re not gonna have it any lower than that – you’d be sooooo cold!!

‘Leave all your interior doors completely open to ensure proper circulation in your home’Common sense if you ask me!

‘Open the cabinet doors under the kitchen/bathroom sinks to keep the pipes inside the walls from freezing.’Now when we’re talking freezing temperatures in Atlanta, we mean temperatures might reach freezing overnight but will warm up quickly the following morning, not the minus temperatures we see back in England that stick around practically all day and I’ve never kept my cupboard doors open under the sink to stop the  pipes from freezing, I’ve also never had frozen pipes!

And my personal favourite:

‘Please be careful when walking/driving on icy surfaces.’Basically because if they don’t write that and you slip, fall and hurt yourself of your car skids into something they’re probably going to end up being sued for a large amount of money! Got to love the suing culture over here!

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not slating the fact they did this – it’s kind of nice that they’re looking out for you and making sure you know what to do/staying safe. However, it’s really just common sense isn’t it? You’ll more than likely take these steps anyway! It just amazes me that companies think they have to do this to cover their own backs if something went wrong and now that we have this email they can always say ‘well, we did warn you about these things!’

Please comment and let me know, is this a common thing in America or just something my apartment complex seems to do? You definitely wouldn’t get it in the UK, that’s for sure!