Today we are off to find the one and only antichian orthodox church in london. i am tempted to skip it i am tired. but it is really the only sunday we can go, so we do. the church is old old old, i cant even say exactly how old. it is in regents park though, a nice area of the city. the entire service is in arabic, the congregation just got off the boat from syria yesterday it seems, and for coffee hour, they eat grapes right up front after the blessing. i am glad we did not miss.
the weather is beautiful, day after day we are having 70degrees, sunny skies, white puffy
clouds, perfect weather. truly extraordinary for england. so we walk through regents park, stop at st james garden so the kids can run around in the playground, drink coffee and milk and eat donuts at a polish cafe, and catch the tube back home by 3pm for a big family bbq.
and this is the day i truly get a feeling for the realness of being part of my england family. Fiona and Mick and DeeDee and Conner throw a big party and invite all the relatives. there is tons of food and aunts and uncles and all of the cousins i have not seen for 13 years have suddenly grown up and they are graduating college or working or getting married or having kids and it is like meetng this whole batch of people who are especially excellent because they are related to you. And they seem to come in waves so there is time to talk to everyone and the party feels long, it is good. The weather is wonderful and there are kids for the kids to play with and lots of great food and i dont think anyone wants it to end becuase at 11pm we are still sitting around picking at the desserts and talking.
And then suddenly the party is done because alex falls against a table edge and splits his head open and there is blood everywhere and so off we go to the hospital and that is the end of the bbq.
my sweet perfect uncle colman drives doug and i and alex up to the hospital. alex isnt crying now and the blood seems less, but it is still scary and up to now, not one of us has ever needed stiches, myself included and so thoughts are running through my mind like do they use a needle or what to do this? but alex doesnt care one bit. we sit down in the waiting area and he spies all the toys and he is totally thrilled, playing with a stream of blood on his cheek.
my experience with england healthcare is exceptional. we are seen in less than 20 minutes, the triage nurse fixes him up with paper stiches which are like sticky tape and dissolve in 4 days or so. she offers to cover them with a plaster to which i say yes thinking she means something like a cast which would be fantastic, but no, a plaster is a bandaid although it is red and has cute bunnies on it. alex has a war wound. we try to pay for the serice but it is not possible, emergency medicine in england is free.
So my cousins alan and sharon have come up to the ER to see how alex is doing and garry has taken my other kids back to the hotel i am so touched by all of this that i nearly start bawling. I would have been okay i think except that alex is excited becuase the ER has toys in it and he wants to play but we have to leave and so he cries and i have to confess i do too.
i am so lucky to have this wonderful british family and for us to be a part of their lives and they in ours, stiches and all.