History Live!

At my university there is a club called The Quill and the Sword – a medieval reenactment club. While in school I remember seeing club members dressed up on campus, occasionally sword fighting and the like. Now, while I never had any interest in participating in the club I am willing to admit I’m always down for an interactive history lesson, and I think period costumes are awesome. And because of that I have to acknowledge that The Quill and the Sword members fill a, umm… diversity niche and that I respect the club members’ passion.
I know that seems like a super random paragraph but, last week we went to what I can only guess would be something of a dream come true for someone whose club’s main purpose is to educate people about medieval life, warfare and politics. History Live! was basically a glorified Renaissance Fair. Scratch that, I’ve never been to a Renaissance Fair. It was a glorified what-I-imagine-a-Renaissance-Fair-would-be-like except that it covered British history from Roman times through World War II.

For example, we saw:
A Battle of Hastings (William the Conqueror’s big 1066 take-over) reenactment. Here’s the Saxon line before they fell apart (which is why England lost to “William the Rotter”).IMG_5540 Medieval Knight sword fights
Victorian Variety Shows
AND Gladiator reenactors, a War of 1812 battle, a British Civil War battle, Falconry demonstrations, a wild boar burger eaten by Derek, and lots and lots of various historical costumes.
And probably the most exciting, a D-Day battle complete with parachuters, tanks, mortar, and a fighter plane.IMG_5548 The battle reenactments were narrated (live) with some pre-recorded bits. During the D-Day battle one of the pre-recorded voice-overs included an American Sargent saying, “Where are those G** D*** Brit vehiculars?” (vehicles). The Crowd laughed at the accent. Derek felt mocked. 🙂

While we didn’t entirely know what we were going to when we left the house that morning (“an action-packed blockbuster and Europe’s biggest historical event” didn’t fully describe it), History Live! was entertaining and informative and I’m glad we went. To be fair, I’m not sure how else the English Heritage website should have described the sort of all-in-one staged battles+Victorian displays+historical music performances and Renaissance nerdiness meets family fun.IMG_5557 It was less than an hour away so it was a nice little day trip. And overall we had a lot of fun seeing the battles, learning (and recalling) our history, and talking to people whose passion lies in some bit of history, be it Victorian steam engines, Wild Boar recipes, Medieval games, Tudor clothing, etc.

Stay tuned for our following Saturday’s day trip including a walk back in time and a visit to a world heritage site.

P.S. While we were there I was reminded of this clip from the Big Bang Theory.

P.P.S. Happy Harry Potter Day! We’re making pumpkin pasties to celebrate & watching this. 🙂


IKEA Marriage Therapy

Sorry we’ve been MIA lately. We moved from temporary housing into our apartment two and a half weeks ago. Our new place is “part furnished” which means there were couches, beds, and dressers, but not much else. The primary work of furnishing and filling up the apartment with kitchen goods (meaning food as well as dishes, cutlery, pots, pans, etc.), linens, and everything else we need to turn this place into our home has fallen to me as Derek is busy working to pay for said home. There is, thankfully, a store nearby that carries some household things (rubber gloves, mops, clothes hangers) but I can only buy as much as I can take home with me in L’s stroller. Yesterday I did a big shopping trip to a store that’s about a mile away, but much better priced than one that’s only half a mile away. When Derek and I were discussing how I got the groceries home he suggested hanging a bag off of the stroller handle. I had. And I was carrying two shoulder bags, and the underneath section of the stroller was full to the brim. “Oh you must have been quite a sight.” haha It’s nothing new, really.

Last weekend we rented a van and drove out to IKEA. This included a little bit of stress in advance – what if the van only has 2 seats? Do I wear L in the moby while we drive there? Will that be okay? Can you (Derek) drive on the left side of the road? How comfortable are you with stick shift?

IMAG0030There were 3 seats so she was in a car seat (whew!) even if she was in the front, Derek was great with driving on the left, and fine with the shifting gears. And boy did we filled up that van. At least now we have a dining table, a crib, duvets (warmth!), kitchen goods (pots, pans, etc) all which allow us to feel so much more at home!
I wasn’t kidding when I said we bought a lot:
The day after our big IKEA trip we spent a good chunk of time putting things together, as is the norm with IKEA.  While Derek and I were putting together our home we decided that working together as a team is kind of like a marriage therapy exercise. (If you’re a NBC/Tina Fey fan – Liz Lemon has her own theory about IKEA shopping and relationships). You have the same goal as each other, each of you have different strengths, and ultimately you have to figure out how to use your strengths to compensate for the other’s, um… non-strengths to succeed. And in time, once the goal is accomplished, or the table is built, or the curtains are hung, you are proud of what you’ve done together. Too cheesy? okay. (Side note: After re-reading this, my theory is similar to Liz Lemon’s in that the table has become a metaphor for our relationship. Ah blerg!)

I’ve also been MIA because it has taken us a while to finish setting up some things like internet, phones, electricity, etc. BUT our WiFi is up and running (we’re no longer in the stone age…) and I think the majority of our to-dos have been checked!

So Happy 4th of July to all of you! We’ll be having a mini barbecue tonight with just the three of us and then getting together with another expat and her family to celebrate this weekend. And to those who are sweltering  in 100+ degree weather- I hope it brings you a little solace to know that, at least for today, I’m a bit jealous.IMG_5163

[The last fireworks we saw from the window of our apartment in Chi-town]