a message from norah

It’s a bit bewildering to start over again in a new culture–even one similar to our own. There’s just so much to learn. For example, at church on Sunday I learned that children from “creche to registration year” are aged 0-5. And so often we learn through our mistakes. I seem to make them every time I go out. Sometimes it’s a little daunting to think how many I have left to make before I figure it out, if I ever do. Yesterday I asked two teenagers in a deli where the bathroom was, and they giggled and asked if I wanted to take a bath. Toilet or loo, NOT bathroom…how long does it take to reverse the habits of a lifetime, I wonder? Friday I learned that if you stop on the sidewalk next to a bus stop for any purpose, such as to give your child raisins or replace a missing miniature tennis shoe, the buses will pull over for you to get on. Probably seems pretty obvious to most of you, wasn’t to me. (“No, thank you, just walking, thank you, sorry.”) There are minor changes and yes, deprivations (they do not appear to sell maple syrup in this country) to adjust to everywhere. And there are some really lovely things: the glorious, brisk, breezy climate, the delicious breads and pastries, the fact that every time I spend money I feel like I’m losing weight (“Tha’ll be fyve pounds, please.”).

But it’s bewildering. We’ve been having family devotions with Norah in the evenings–aiming to begin in a way suitable for her attention span, which is about two minutes. Alex began teaching her to memorize a very simple little verse. It’s so familiar to me, as it probably is to lots of us, that I almost forget to think about what it means. But it’s holding me together these days. And it picks me up just to hear her say it. Go to YouTube and check it out: Norah’s first verse.


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7 Responses to a message from norah

  1. Erin says:

    i was giggling and squealing out loud when i watched that video. oh, how i miss you three. please post videos all the time so I can hear your voices and see your pretty faces. love you so much

  2. Haley says:

    I’m loving your blog, Betsy! I gawked when I watched the 360 video of Keble, sighed with envy with your descriptions of Magdalen, and now I’m trying to calculate how soon I can teach Anna to say, “The Lord is my shepherd.” Praying for you as you experience delights, deprivations, and everything in between.

  3. therigneys says:

    Her grin at the end of the video is priceless! I see you have a blue chair and a yellow curtain hung, see?…n no time you will make a bare flat into a home!

  4. Liz says:

    LOVE that little girl (and her parents too)!

  5. Heather Labudde says:

    Hi, again…I can relate to so much that you have written about how the ways of the British are so different! I am glad that you learned “loo” instead of bathroom.
    After you have “had sufficient” Betsy..you alone can say “I am full” after a meal because it means
    that you are pregnant. Some other little things to share:if you want some Starburst
    candies they are called Opal Fruits, M&Ms are called “Smarties”. Sneakers used to be
    called “plimsels ” (not sure of the spelling of that word!)..but I think that is now out of
    date. If you want to buy jello you are looking for “jelly” (jelly is Jam if you want that for
    your peanut butter sandwich or “sarnie” (Liverpool)). Cookies are biscuits (a really good
    English one is a “chocolate covered bickie”). Look for “Digestives” which were one of my favorites in England as a child! Cadbury chocolate is very creamy and
    delicious if you are craving very good but ordinary chocolate. Hershey’s just cannot
    compare at all! Wall’s brand ice cream is good, Biz detergent. Ask for “washing up
    liquid” if you want hand dish washing liquid. Don’t forget to throw out your trash
    in the “rubbish bin”. If your groceries are very expensive they are “very dear” don’t
    you know 🙂
    Oh! I just remembered making this mistake in a restaurant: if you spill on your
    pants…you have spilled on your “trousers”..DO NOT refer to pants (like jeans, etc..
    as pants..because everyone around you will think you are talking about your
    underwear or underPANTS).
    When you are amazed at something try “well by gum, that was amazing!” another
    one to try is “krikie..I’ll have to see about that one!” (CRY-KEY is how it’s pronounced)
    Again..I am not sure of the proper spelling of that slang word.
    “wellies” are of course what you put on when it’s raining and possibly “a plastic mac”
    (for macintosh raincoat). I don’t think I have heard anyone say “bumpershoot” for
    an umbrella in many years. How does Norah like watching “the tele”? Has she seen The Magic Roundabout ,Andy Pandy, or Mr.Ben ?-I LOVED Mr. Ben!! don’t of course
    know if any of those programs are still around but maybe they are.

    Finally..if I think of any more I will let you know..but I am sure you are doing just
    ducky. oh..I tell a lie..one more thing: try using a clear spray-on hairspray to help
    remove the pen (ink) from the walls with a scrubby sponge.
    Blessings to you all!

  6. Kristin Tabb says:

    Love Norah! Love her. No doubt she’ll be saying the whole psalm in no time.

  7. Pingback: six months across the pond | part of the main

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