4 - Butt-puckering close calls of death by stepping off the curb while looking the wrong way. Everyone knows they drive on the opposite side of the road in England, but our muscle memory makes us look the wrong direction, apparently. Combine that with complicated intersections in a busy city like Manchester, along with two clumsy-footed Americans, and you’ve got yourself a dangerous touristy cocktail.
0 - Air conditioned spaces. England is experiencing record-breaking heat at the moment, and - despite the weather being gloriously cool compared to the 100+ temps we’d left behind in Texas - when the buildings and homes are all closed up tight without any air movement inside, we Americans who are used to cold, recycled air blasting in our faces start to get panicky. And very sweaty.
At one point, when we were visiting with our family, who were all clad in sweaters and long pants, there was so much heat radiating from between my legs and under my pits, and sweat was dripping through my hair and down my neck, and I tried not to be conspicuous as I blotted it away with a thick wad of paper towels, but I was roasting like a damn pig on a spit and - I've told you how I sweat like a 400-pound welder, anyway, right? My cousins probably all thought I was suffering some affliction.
3 - Packages of Fox’s chunkie cookies consumed over the course of our 9-night stay. The perfect blend of sweet and salty, these oatmeal-textured cookies have a coating of English milk chocolate on the bottom and chunks of chocolate throughout.
5 - Buses we’d attempted to board, only to immediately disembark because the bus drivers couldn’t understand the questions we were asking about their route because, do they even speak freakin English over there?
16 - Packages of English chocolate purchased and brought back to the States between me and my dad. Let me tell you something about American chocolate. You think it’s tasty, but it isn’t. Not if you’ve had the blessings of God to experience English chocolate. American chocolate has WAX in it to help keep it from melting. Seriously. There’s none of that foolishness in English chocolate, and you can tell by its velvety, rich texture.
502 - Pictures taken just by me. Not sure, yet, how many my dad took. I captured everything I could of this incredible trip with my dad because I don’t want to forget a single detail.
2 - Times I had to wake Dad up because he was singing in his sleep. And you know what? I only woke him so he wouldn’t disturb others since we were on the airplane. His singing didn’t bother me one bit. The man has a song in his heart - if only we could all be so lucky.
36 - Hours spent researching my Nana, her parents, her husbands, her siblings, and her sons; researching WWII in the Manchester area; researching Salford, specifically the neighborhood my Nana was born, grew up, and married in, to help me write the most accurate story of her life. I can't WAIT to share this story!