HostUK is an awesome program designed to give international students a “real” taste of Britain. I signed up at the beginning of the year and after completing form (something that I imagine would resemble an eHarmony profile) was matched with a lovely couple in Cornwall. My host mother’s background was in healthcare, ergonomics, and nutritional medicine; my host father was a semi-retired engineer, music enthusiast, and excellent cook; and both enjoyed outdoor activities. Win, win, win. Something to be said for those matching algorithms!
Cornwall is ~4.5 hours SW of London and since it is on the peninsula it is blessed with weather that blows in from both coasts. Translation: it rains a LOT. And although a newcomer may initially focus on her thanksgiving for packing an umbrella, it doesn’t take long to realize that this rain is necessary for rainbows and green pastures. A good life lesson.
The following pictures will give you an idea of my weekend. The captions will be described by their location on the clock/collage.
Some sights from the road
– 1:30 — Putting the window down seemed like a pretty good idea to take this photo… until the rain picked up. The smudges in this photo are from raindrops hitting my camera… and me, and all of the inside of the car. Oops.
– 3:00 — Golitha Falls. Only snapped a picture from the entrance. The road was flooding when we came in, so we didn’t stick around here very long.
– 4:30 — Along the North coast, between Padstow & Newquay (pronounced N00-kee, one of the many fun pronunciations in Cornwall haha)
– 6:00 — Sheep!
– 7:30 — Hedges & winding roads are a signature feature in Cornwall. This is pruning season, but as shown in this picture, some of them haven’t had their grooming appointment yet. I’m told that these hedges are covered in flowers.
– 10:30 — On the road again, now with some glorious sunshine!
– 10:30 — Walking up the coastal hill at Padstow
– 12:00 — The plaque on the cross at the top of the hill
– 1:30 — We saw **FIVE** rainbows at Padstow. Not 1 rainbow that was covered and uncovered by clouds 5 times. Five rainbows that showed up at different parts of the sky at different times throughout the day. Is this real life??
– 4:30 — Low tide
– 6:00 — Following my host parents down the hill
– 7:30 — In the harbor
– 12:00 — One of our big adventures was going to the Eden Project, a really cool sustainability / educational project that has developed into its current flourishing state over the past 15 years. Read more about it on their website.
– 1:30 — taking a rest on the tire bench in the Rainforest Biome.
– 6:00 — An overview of the whole area. The white bubble-ish things on the right are the biomes.
– 10:30 — My host parents taking a swinging break.
– 10:30 — A proverb from the giftshop
– 12:00 — The outdoor cafe. The table centerpieces are made from old pots and pans and feature quick facts about the environment and sustainable living.
– 1:30 — Tobacco facts from the Mediterranean Biome.
– 3:00 — One of the many different types of chili peppers featured in the Mediterranean Biome
– 4:30 — One of the many oversized friends of the Eden Project. (My picture of the 10′ tall bumblebee didn’t have very good resolution, so it didn’t make the cut for blog pictures.)
– 7:30 — Info on the WEEE Man
– 9:00 — The WEEE Man in all of his glory
– Center — A picture of the quarry used to be here before the Eden Project was developed.
Other snapshots from the Eden Project. Note, the description of driftwood provided at 10:30 corresponds to the horses shown at 7:30. The bucket displays shown at 4:30 and 6:30 are from the water conservation display.
A few of my other favorite pictures from the Eden Project. The pigs (7:30) are indeed made of cork (description at 10:30)!
A summary of the weekend
– 10:30 — Out to lunch with my host parents
– 12:00 — A lovely sign in my host’s kitchen…
– 1:30 — …which was demonstrated throughout the weekend, especially around the table. My favorite dish was a lentil lasagna which featured homemade noodles made with almond flour. I wasn’t kidding when I said my host father could cook. YUM.
– Center — Quintessential panoramic from Cornwall.
– 4:30 — The final tea time before leaving Cornwall. The more tea that I drink in England, the more appreciative I am for having learned how to navigate tea time at Martha Cook. 🙂
– 6:00 — Remembrance Sunday in Looe, a small coastal city in Cornwall
– 7:30 — Goodbye Cornwall! Snapshot from the train ride back to London