A weekend with a real bed and real food is not to be underestimated. We (another American student and I) went on a HOST UK visit to Leeds over Thanksgiving weekend. They've visited America a time or two in the past (they've been to 22 states, more than the other student and I together), and they like having American students over to do their own version of Thanksgiving for them.
All in all, most of the foods were not what one (were one to be an American student) would expect of a Thanksgiving meal. That being said, it was a wonderful meal that we helped prepare and we set a truly beautiful table. I think it was, quite honestly, the most courses I've ever had for one meal.
Saturday morning, we (the student, our hosts, and I) went to the Leeds Statue Park to see rabbits and poppies. Well, poppies anyway. You may (or may not, I don't know you) be aware that there was a display done by an artist of ceramic poppies for an anniversary of WWI. Some of those had been moved to the statue park where they were on display for anyone to see. I found some lovely poems there about WWI. We also went to Oakwell Hall. Our attempt to go to Red House was thwarted by the closed display on the Luddites. We were going to get some background information to Charlotte Brontë's Shirley.
Then there was Thanksgiving dinner. Our hosts, their son with his wife, her sister, and their grandson were our company for dinner. A lovely dinner and conversation followed including a longish consideration of transportation to Leeds from London. (We took the bus, and they—literally everyone else there—takes the train. The bus is cheaper. The train is faster. If you book three months in advance, the train can be about the same as the bus, but, alas, that option was not open to us.) We also talked about other things and were encouraged to try out a British accent.
Sunday morning we were given a tour of York (oddly enough, we didn't end up seeing much of Leeds even though we were technically staying there), which is a beautiful city if you were wondering. We were originally going to go out for the afternoon to Leeds to see the arcades (shopping centers), but we were so damp and chilled from the York walk that morning that we stayed in with mugs of tea and looked through our hosts' wedding album and vacation photos.
I had a great weekend with two people who truly wanted us to have a great time with food and family (even if they weren’t really ours).