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Waterford
Michigan 48327
19/04/98

Well David and I finally made it to the United States of America and I must say that first impressions made us want to get back on to that plane and come back to sunny Scotland.

Maybe it was the airport. To say it was dingy was an understatement. We were not impressed. It was one of the worst looking airports either of us had ever been in - and we have now seen a few. So beware anyone who would like to visit us - do not be put off by the airport.

Maybe it was the weather. It was not the nicest of days when we left London but we were not prepared for the storm that greeted us and announced proudly in our cold faces - 'Welcome to America'. There was an ice storm. Not snow, not sleet and certainly not rain. There was ice falling from the sky along with what felt like a gale force wind.

David's new boss, George Strachan picked us up at the airport. He forgot to bring a name card to the airport with him so he was looking for two people who looked Scottish. David was wearing his Scottish rugby top as a subtle hint, and he knew that I was pregnant so after a short search we eventually found him.

He took us on a forty-minute car journey - during the ice storm - to a hotel near where he stays. The hotel was very comfortable, we ate, had a beer and were in bed at 9pm. I think the jetlag finally got a hold of us especially as we awakened at 3am as bright as buttons.

The ice had now turned to snow and it was a winter wonderland outside. Luckily we had packed winter clothes and boots as it was still snowing heavily. George came back to get us about 10am and we went about the serious business. We had to go to sign for our new apartment and hire a car. George very kindly helped out there. Although David and I were both a little worried about driving an automatic car, on the wrong side of the road and with a good few inches of snow on the ground.

We dealt with the apartment first (there was an insurance problem at the car hire place so we abandoned that in the meantime). At least it went smoothly. We had to sign lots of papers and give them lots of money (boohoo) but the apartment itself is very nice, as well as the location. Our balcony is off the living room and looks out over a pond with pine trees all around. At night you can hear the insects singing to each other - it is very romantic….

I suppose I should get back to the car. We got the insurance problem sorted out and rented a Ford Contour originally for one week, but due to unforeseen circumstances we had the car for three weeks. Although I nearly lost the car and our lives on the first day. I very stupidly, on a green light but looking in the opposite direction, turned left directly onto a very busy line of on coming traffic. David and I still do not know how they missed us. To say we were lucky would be the biggest understatement in the world. We eventually recovered later that day and ventured out into the deep blue yonder and survived.

Gerry, my brother, lives in Toronto. It is only about a four and half-hour journey by car from here. He was supposed to be visiting us on our first weekend here, but the weather was so bad in Toronto he couldn't make it. We ventured far and wide on the Saturday for lunch and dinner i.e. Burger King. There is a television in the apartment but it only gets the four Detroit public TV channels which are not the best in the world, so we stayed in on Saturday night and watched 'Zena - Warrior Princess' and 'Hercules'. Let's just say that Saturday night was exhilarating. We decided that we must get cable installed as soon as possible or we would both be driven to drink! Sunday was a much better day. The sun was shining and the temperature was rising.

David was due to start work on the Monday or so we thought, but the nice Mr. George Strachan let him have a few more days to get settled. We had some shopping and organizing to do so the extra days came in handy. We had to buy an iron & board, toaster, kettle, laundry bag, clothes (for work for David) food and of course beer and lots of it. David managed to get a social security number (that took 48 hours to process) and then we could get a bank account.

You can't get a telephone or cable installed without a social security number. Now that we had one the companies would talk to us. It took Ameritech (the telephone people) 4 or 5 days to process fax information we sent them. Talk about a saga. Eventually they got us connected. The cable was easier, they just made an appointment to come to the house and install the equipment but like any of these companies they didn't turn up when they said they would. The engineer had gone off sick, and because I still did not have a phone they could not let me know they would not be there. There was one benefit to this - they have an install on time policy, and if they do not do it they credit your account by $20. So I was now up on the deal and got it installed the next day as promised. So we now had a telephone and watchable TV and this is when people all over the world started to hear from us.

During all of this time I managed to find a Doctor after some recommendations from David's colleagues at work. They are very nice Doctors and the surgery or consulting rooms are only 5 miles away and the hospital where I will have the baby is about 7 miles away. That's generally quite close for around here. They are taking good care of me so far. I have to visit them once a week for a check up. My haemaglobin has dropped to 10grams so I am now on iron tablets - great fun. David and I started our 'birth awareness' classes last Thursday - this should be fun. We are in a class of about 10 other couples and our baby is due first!

We have been trying to buy a car since we got here and we eventually got the one we wanted last Thursday. It's a Pontiac Sunfire. It's very nice or 'quite good' as I have been quoted as saying before. It is leased instead of buying. We are still trying to work out our finances, but I hope to get a car as soon as tigger is born, as there is no public transport at all. There are no trains, buses or taxis unless you are in the heart of the city. No one walks anywhere they all drive and give you strange looks if you are walking.

We have been over to Canada a few times so that David could watch the football at the Scottish club in Windsor. It takes about an hour to drive there but David is convinced that it is worth the trip. I am the one who has to drive back though because they serve Tartan Special! Gerry came to visit us last weekend (Easter weekend). He drove down on Saturday and we went out for dinner and a few beers and he went home on Sunday around lunch - time. It was nice to see him.

The technical director of David's company invited us out for Easter lunch at his yacht club. We actually had three invites for Easter but he asked first - Oh to be so popular. It was very nice. We were there with all his family and they made us feel very welcome. His wife has phoned me a few times to make sure I'm ok and settling in well. She took me to a playgroup that she goes to with her 3 kids (she has a 3 month old baby girl) so that I could get to know all the new and old mums in the area before I have tigger. So I am going back again this week! I must be a glutton for punishment as there are at least 16 children from the age of 2 months to 5 years and it's pandemonium.

We were out apartment hunting today. We are in a fully furnished one at the moment and we would prefer an unfurnished one, as it would be cheaper. Also this one does not have any facilities i.e. swimming pool, fitness centre etc. so were are looking at some that do. We saw some lovely ones on Elizabeth Lake today and I am going back tomorrow to get some prices from them as the office was closed today.

I will let you know of my new address when I get one and I want to here from you soon. Take care and I hope that this saga of a letter made good bedtime reading. I certainly am ready for bed now.

Love and hugs for now

Ellie & David