When I decided to travel I knew my first stop would be England. My dear friend Catherine, whom I have introduced in my previous posts, lives in West Yorkshire, in England. To be more precise, she lives in Ilkley. Ilkley is a quaint little English town with plush greenery, grazing cattle, and landscape that I can look at for hours. Like other trips I have taken, I did not have any expectations when I arrived in Ilkley. As I have learned, no expectations is the best way to greet new experiences.

A drive through the Yorkshire Dales

A drive through the Yorkshire Dales

An afternoon drive through the Yorkshire dales

An afternoon drive through the Yorkshire dales

So when Catherine mentioned we would be spending time with her family, I was excited! I absolutely love family time! Not only did I meet Catherine’s mother and father, I also met her sweet niece Sarah. We spent a wonderful afternoon in the city of York. As we walked through the city, Graham, Catherine’s father, acted as our personal tour guide, it was fantastic! The day was great and that night made it even better! That evening I met Catherine’s brother Rich and her very polite nephew Max. We all gathered at Rich’s home to order “take away” and watch rugby. We ordered from a Chinese restaurant. Yes, Ilkley has Chinese, Vietnamese, Italian, and Indian restaurants! This was so cool! Wine in hand, shoes off, settled on the couch surrounded by people who, outside of Catherine, had known me less than 24 hours!
After rugby, Catherine stated that we would be going to her parents house for ‘Sunday Roast.’ Home cooked meal. I’m down.

Marjorie, Catherine, Graham, and Sarah.

Marjorie, Catherine, Graham, and Sarah.

City of York and York Minster

City of York and York Minster

When we arrived to Catherine’s parents home, we were greeted by her mother who was finishing up dinner. I was handed a glass of wine and shown the sun lounge. The view was incredible! Graham joined me and we were soon greeted by Lisa, Rich’s wife. Shortly thereafter, everyone was sitting in the sun lounge enjoying pate and crostini.

The view from Catherine's parents' home.

The view from Catherine’s parents’ home.

Look who came to dinner!

Look who came to dinner!

From the direction of Marjorie, Catherine’s mum, we all made our way to the dinning room. At the site of the dining room table, I could feel the tears wanting to make an appearance. At that moment, I was back at my parents home and my sister and I were helping my mother with dinner. In that moment, I felt connected to this family because it was familiar, I could feel the presence of my family.

The Bradley's

The Bradley’s

Graham and Marjorie

Graham and Marjorie

With each bite of the deliciously prepared meal, I could taste the love in each morsel. From the Yorkshire pudding to the crème brûlée, to the conversations, I sat in amazement yet again at how we as people are more the same than we are different.

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