This past weekend, I went to Kingham which is in Oxfordshire in the Cotswolds (think the scenery from the movie "The Holiday"). I went there because my dad's sister, JoAnn and her family were here. They were here as my Uncle Abdul's mother died last week. Though I never met her, she was an AMAZING woman (I learned this weekend!) who lived an extraordinary life that began in Tanzania where she was friends with the wives of ambassadors and government officials and was deeply involved in the women's rights movement there. Eventually, to help her diabetic son, she moved the whole family to England where the majority of them still live. My Uncle Abdul moved to Seattle in the 1960s where he met JoAnn and they have lived there ever since. I hadn't seen them since my Grandma's memorial in August 2009 so I was really excited to spend time with them!
So, because of her passing, JoAnn, my Uncle Abdul and my cousins Nate and Annie came to England for the funeral. We spent the weekend in Kingham at the house of Adbul's brother, Naj. Though it was a sad occasion, there were tons of laughs, lots of food, and it was great to be around family when I was on the sad side from being gone for Thanksgiving.
I met Nate, Annie, and JoAnn in London on Friday and we were drawn to go shopping due to our American heritage that tells us to shop on the day after Thanksgiving! We then took the train to Kingham to meet the rest of the family and commence the eating. Theme? By Sunday evening, between 10 of us, we had finished 18 bottles of wine and all of my clothes smelled like fried food as I had learned to make East African food and was in charge of working the fryer! I'm darn good at it now...but man, it is very permeating of everything!!!
The "kids" stayed at a bed and breakfast in the village and, as usual, it was so cute that I almost died of the cuteness. I need a new word to describe English villages...quaint, adorable...HELP!
My cousin Annie and I in front of our 'cute' bed and breakfast!
Church rectory house in Kingham. I love the old stone houses!
Church next to the rectory house.
The fried bahji's that we made...they are made out of rehydrated lentils, hot chilis, onions, and garlic and are DELISH!! Jenny (Naj's wife) and I got really good at making them and made about 100 of them!
Jenny and I working the fryers! I might be able to get a restaurant job if I can't go back to teaching as I am now a really good fryer!
Abdul & Annie making the mix for the lamb/potato kebabs...also fried....see what I mean!
They were also amazing!
Annie is my "twin cousin" as I was born on her due date and she was born on mine.
We are 11 days apart.
JoAnn (my dad's younger sister) had to be in constant kitchen cleaning mode! We made a serious mess. So, that pretty much made it exactly like Thanksgiving where I feel like cleaning the kitchen is actually part of the holiday traditions!
We went to a pottery factory and I saw this sign. It is too true. Funny.
What you can't see in this picture is that Patrick Swayze is helping her sculpt it a la "Ghost." This was seriously the largest pot I'd ever seen. If someone fell in while trying to plant something, they'd be trapped forever!
Not sure what this structure actually is, but it was so idyllic that I had to take a picture of the scene. It has been REALLY cold here and I was wishing that I had a fluffy wool coat like a sheep!
Manor house in Oxfordshire.
I can picture carriages driving up to this.
It was right across the street from the idyllic sheep scene.
This was the view from the window of our bed and breakfast.
The fences were woven together. So cool!
It was a great weekend, despite the sad occasion and I am so glad that we got to spend so much time together!