The postman rang the flat this morning to say that he had a package that wouldn't fit in the postbox. I usually love packages, but this package said that we had filled out the wrong forms to get the boys into school, the schools we wanted to enroll them in were full, and would we please start the process over again. So I spent the morning and early afternoon calling around to primary schools to see if any nearby schools had space for Christopher in their fifth year classes. After calling four schools, only one had space available and scheduled a tour for Friday morning. There is one more close by to call, so I'll take care of that later. Jonathan will need to enroll in Desborough School, which is all boys, and I'll be scheduling a tour as soon as someone calls me back! I'll fill out another form and turn that in tomorrow with all the associated passports, work permits, etc. at Maidenhead Town Hall. Unbelievably frustrating!
After dealing with all that, I was feeling a bit dejected and still had to go to the grocery store. Since we did get some of our things, including baking pans and a cookbook yesterday, I decided to bake a cake. Gingerbread seemed nice and seasonal and had a short list of ingredients, so that sounded wonderful. I made the list and off I went to Sainsbury's. I had trouble finding the baking powder and baking soda, but the helpful were able to direct me. However, they not only couldn't find the molasses, they didn't even know what it was! I tried describing it as something that might be found with syrup and was thick and sweet like honey, but it was nowhere to be found. One stocker was undeterred -- he took our hunting expedition to the experts at the store bakery. They should know what to put into gingerbread! And they do, but it's not what the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook says should go into gingerbread. I explained to the baker that I was trying to bake my first cake in the UK and that I was using an American cookbook. He asked when I was going to return to the store and offered to bring me some recipes from his own cookbook at home. Unbelievably wonderful and welcoming!
Of course, I then had to trek home with the groceries in the pull-along cart. Even though it was 4:30 PM, the skies were dark, but I enjoyed the walk through the park back to the flat. As I was on my way to my door, I finally met the neighbors across the hallway. They are a lovely Indian/Australian/English couple who invited us to tea or coffee at the weekend and offered to help us with anything. Even though lots of people say the British people are very reserved and polite, but not very quick to offer friendship, they weren't describing any of the people I encountered today. Unbelievably reaffirming of the reasons that we came across the ocean in the first place!