Thursday, November 8

Mum's Visit: Keele University

For the past 10 days I have been traveling around the countryside of England, experiencing so many different places and people, accents and food! My mum and my cousin from back home decided months ago, to come visit me while I was studying abroad here in England. Mum and I planned a packed itinerary to experience, shocker, not just London as most visitors do. First things first, they arrived in Manchester and took a train to see me in the Midlands area at Keele University. 
Due to the fact that neither myself or my mum have an international phone, I had no idea if she landed or what train she was on, so I just arrived at the train station around the time I suspected she’d arrive and wait. I got a latte and went to the platform and waited. One, two, three trains rolled through and still no sign of my mum. I was starting to get worried that maybe she had issues with the train or her flight had been delayed and I wasn’t aware; so I started trying to contact my dad to see if he knew where she was at…which was 5 in the morning his time! Just as I was finished texting him, I looked up and there mum was on the OTHER side of the platform waving :) I had completely missed them getting off their train on the other platform!! I flew across to the other side and gave her the biggest hug ever; it was so great to see her again. Poor mum and Kelly looked absolutely exhausted, so we went into the little cafe at the train station to get some breakfast and a hot drink.
In the cafe, my cousin Kelly ordered a bacon sandwich thinking it would be some good protein to start the day off; however when she got her sandwich she took a bite and looked funnily at it. She opened it up, and looking at me puzzling asked where the egg was. Ha. Unlike in the States where a bacon sandwich comes with egg and American bacon- here in England a “bacon” sandwich is actually just a slab of country ham on bread! Welcome to England.
We decided to catch the bus back to campus so I could kind of show them the highlights of Stoke and Newcastle while we were making our way to campus. The bus ride finally pulled up to where I live and mum was astounded to how rural it seemed, she always pictured me more in the heart of the city! There were cows out in the pasture, some of the village people walking their dogs, and the kids were out at recess in the parish school. It was actually a ‘warmer’ day at Keele, as I didn’t even have a coat on, but bless them mum and Kelly were freezing!! We lugged their luggage up three flights of stairs, waking some of my flatmates (sorry guys) and finally arrived to my small humble abode. After letting them freshen up, they got to meet some of my flatmates before we headed out to walk into campus so I could show them around.
Campus was busy as usual on a Thursday afternoon, so I got to show them around to where some of my classes were, where I dance salsa, where I sit and skype mum during all my class breaks and so forth. I even got to introduce them to several of the salsa family while we were out and about! I also got them to try a pretty typical lunch for us, jacket potatoes…covered in cheese and tuna. Let’s just say they liked it, however, I don’t think they’ll be making tuna cheese jacket potatoes for themselves anytime soon when they return to the States! Haha.
After exploring around campus I wanted to show them Keele Hall, the iconic building of Keele. We wandered over to the Hall and even got to sneak inside for a bit! The outside gardens were still beautiful with color and there wasn’t a soul around. It was quite peaceful. We were wandering through the paths and stumbled across what used to be the carriage house, but now was a music studio, and there was an opera singer practicing that just completed their experience out in the woods of Keele, stunningly magical. The day was drawing to an end so we headed back to my block so they could take a quick cat-nap before our dinner at the local pub, The Sneyd Arm’s. It was Thursday pie night and I got to introduce them to savory pies- steak and ale, to in which I think they are hooked; oh and apple ‘cider’! It was a warm and cozy night where we got to catch up and talk about the rest of the weeks plans.
Finally, we walked back to my block, gathered their luggage, lugged it down three flights of stairs, and got a taxi to the adorable bed & breakfast we were staying at in Newcastle. The inn was absolutely precious, with quite possibly, the most comfortable beds in the world! It was warm, cozy and the three of us crashed as we were all absolutely exhausted!!