This post is the eighteenth in our England 2015 series.
“Now it is a strange thing, but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much to listen to; while things that are uncomfortable palpitating, and even gruesome, may make a good tale, and take a deal of telling anyway.” —J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
Even with all of our planning and resources, I’m attuned to a certain sense of vulnerability that comes with international travel. I had several nights infused with anxiety-induced insomnia before our trip, imagining illnesses, injuries, and lost luggage — difficulties that would be challenging to overcome as strangers in a strange land. The boring truth is that none of these worries came to pass. But even if they had, I could soon see that we would have been very well cared for through the amazing hospitality of our dear English friend.
We wouldn’t have been able to even consider this adventure without Teresa. Lady Carter (truly!) has been a friend of the Boyd family for decades, even hosting Jon in England for a whole month one college summer. We love to tell the story about greeting her in Jon’s parents’ home in the spring of 2008. Rosie was just a baby, but Lucy, in the throes of potty training at age two, made an impression when she made her mark — literally — on the floor right in front of Teresa. No matter! This unflappable Englishwoman took it all in stride.
Now, in her eighties, Teresa is still as gracious and energetic as ever. On our first morning, she awaited our arrival at her London flat with a breakfast of eggs, croissants, jam, juice, and hot tea —just what we needed after our long journey. She left us to commandeer her flat for the next week, receiving us from the train eight days later and shuttling us to her home in Wiltshire. She fed us, loaned us her car, housed us, and treated us like kings and queens — calling us “darling” all along the way. We experienced the gift of her devoted network of friends on the day we locked ourselves out. Lucy marveled at being almost as tall as this tiny woman, and we got familiar with the adorable way she covers her mouth when she giggled. How grateful I am to have married into such an amazing extended family! For that is what Teresa is to us all now: family.