Thursday, July 12, 2012

Rainy London

Well, with Oxford behind us, we moved on to London. When we first arrive in a city, we tend not to have an agenda, so we wander. In London, the only initial plan we had was to have lunch in Borough Market after checking in to our room. This had been a favorite of Kelli's when she studied here, so I had heard about it for the last four years. When we finally got there, I was floored by it. The market is situated under a network of Railroad tracks, which in the US would sound like a bad thing, but here it was just good use of space- the platforms provided cover from the rain, and the pillars and walls provided plenty of space for the different shops. The market was made up ofnmore shops than one could count, with every kind of food and drink you could imagine. I had a kangaroo burger (one of the best things I ever ate), and Kelli hunted down her favorite sandwich in the world, Hobb's roast turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sandwich on a baguette- she was in heaven.
After that, we explored South Bank a bit, checked out Tower Bridge, and eventually crossed the Thames andbwent to St. Paul's Cathedral and stayed for the lovely Evensong service, sung by a boys' and men's choir. It was absolutely beautiful.
The next day began by taking the tube to Stratford to see he Olympic Park. The Olympics begin in London in two weeks, so we were seeing hints of it all over the city, but the largest of the venues, which you'll all see in the Opening Ceremonies, is at Stratford. We walked around for a while in the Westfield Mall, a huge, ultramodern mall built for the international crowds that are coming. After Stratford, we returned to Borough, but the market was gone so we enjoyed a delightful Italian lunch from a vendor nearby. We then toured the Southwark Cathedral, the oldest place of Christian worship in London. I paid £2 for a photography permit, so I have some lovely photos to share with you at a later date.
That evening we went to The Globe (as in Shakespeare's theatre) to see Henry V, where we paid the lowest amount, to be "Groundlings" and thankfully had the wherewithall to stand where we could lean on the rails and we had some cover when it started pouring. Most "Groundlings" did not. The play was long, and our legs were exhausted, but the experience was worth it.
By Monday, Kelli was developing some pretty bad blisters on her feet (apparently a pedicure before traveling Europe mostly on foot is a bad thing) but she stuck it out through an amazing tour of Westminster Abbey (no photos) and the outside of Buckingham Palace. Finally our feet and legs saw rest that evening, as we'd bought theatre tickets to see "Les Miserables" which I loved .
For our last day in London, we decided to wander the huge parks- Regent Park and Kensington Gardens. The highlights were meeting a woman with five cocker spaniels in a park (we chatted with her and played with the dogs for a while, it was nice to get our cocker spaniel fix, as we dearly miss our Cooper), seeing the flat Kelli stayed in (and running into some Cal Poly Study Abroad students in the tube station), and exploring Queen Mary's Gardens. Unfortunately, our nice day in the park wasn't quite what I had expected as it was poring rain most of the day, but hey, that's London.
All in all, London was a wonderful, albeit exhausting place to visit, and we will be back!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A pint amongst scholars

We had a delightful time in Oxford. It was, for the most part, a small enough town to simply wander and explore. It was surprising to us to find that there isn't a singular "Oxford University campus" but instead it is a town made up of a large collection of colleges, with quite a few puns scattered amongst them, along with shops and homes. I (Calvin) thoroughly enjoyed the abundance of local pubs. There I learned of what they call here "Real Ale," which in the States we would just call cask ale. Kelli and I enjoyed visiting puns known for the notable people that had frequented them. The first such pub was The Kings Arms, which is apparently the pub the Queen likes to visit whenever she's in Oxford. That evening we went to The Eagle and Child, which was the favorite hangout spot for "The Inklings," better known to Americans as J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis and friends. Later that night we went to The White Horse, which was Bill Clinton's favorite hangout when he was at Oxford. There I met a Peruvian metaphysicist named Max, who proved quite the conversationalist. He told me that, in life, I am a priest. We also paid a quick visit to The Turf Tavern, where Oxford students traditionally go to celebrate finishing exams. What was really cool for us about these pubs was how truly old they were, the newest of hem being only a couple centuries old, and, being a part of this amazingly old and historical college town, how much thinking must have gone on in them. In fact, Max told us about an even older pub hidden across town, The Bear, established in the 1200's, which Michael and I visited the next day. All told, we had the perfect little visit to Oxford. We thoroughly enjoyed spending time with Kelli's cousin, Joy, her husband Michael, and their darling daughter Riley. We toured some amazing places, including Christ Church, where Lewis Carroll invented the world of Alice in Wonderland, and Oxford Castle, which, despite its name, spent more of its history as a prison, finally being shut down by the Human Rights Act in 1996. Of course, the visit was not without its downsides, mainly due to having to replace a brand new suitcase, and dealing with constant rain for over half the visit. But it was worth it, we loved Oxford.

Friday, July 6, 2012

An epic journey begins

This year we finally get to return to Europe!  The journey began July 1st, when we left our friend Lee at our house to take care of our babies (our dogs) and we headed down to Calvin's parents' house in Lancaster.  From there we traveled to LA to go to Megan Overholt's wedding, and then on July 3rd we headed to LAX to fly out for England.

It's funny how amazing trips always begin with a lot of waiting and exhaustion.  We got to LAX the prescribed 3 hours early, but security and all that took less than an hour, so we had to wait almost two hours before boarding.  The flight was cramped and very long- we sat in the middle of a five-person section in the middle of the plane, so every bathroom or stretch trip was an ordeal.  Finally the ten-hour flight ended, and we were in England!... sort of.  We then stood in the line for customs for about an hour.  Eventually, we made it across the border, then bought our Oyster cards for the Underground, took the tube (full of funnily-obnoxious British teenagers) to Paddington Station (only took the wrong tube once on the way there) and arrived to wait for our train to Oxford.  Again, we were a bit too early (I had pre-booked the train tickets) but we were at least able to find a couch at a bar where we could relax and clean up a bit.  We got on our train, ready for another hour of sitting, hoping to catch a short nap- but our seats were right next to a large group of Special-Needs British teenagers returning from a trip to London.  Needless to say, the train journey was not as quiet as we had hoped.

It took us a while, but eventually we got to Oxford.  Kelli's cousin's husband, Michael, met us at the train station, and then we had a short walk to the bus, from which we had a short walk to their apartment.  Well, these technically are short walks, but of course on the way to the bus, the wheel on Kelli's brand-new suitcase busted, so I (Calvin) got to carry the 40-pound bag most of the way.  But we made it to the apartment, after about 16 hours of traveling, and got to enjoy being welcomed by Kelli's cousin Joy and her darling daughter Riley.  We had dinner, relaxed a bit, and finally crashed- and slept for 12 and a half hours.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Love and Cherish the ones you are with...not just today but everyday! I love Love!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

I'm Going to be a Ranger!

It is Saturday. On Wednesday, I was so incredibly nervous because I had my first job interview on Thursday; and English position at Redwood High School. Getting little sleep the night before, the day of the interview had finally arrived and needless to say I was very anxious. At about 2:30 I walked into the Redwood front office and then 2:40 came and I was called in for the interview. I answered the questions that were asked but not as well as I had anticipated myself answering them. Fifteen minutes later the interview was over and I did not feel wonderful about it; I felt like it could have gone either way. Friday afternoon I got a phone call (well a call from Calvin telling me there was a message on our home answering machine telling me to call the HR department at the district office). Could it be that I actually got the job?....




YES!! I got the job! Yesterday, Friday, I was so excited that I did not really have time to let it sink in. Today is Saturday (it all happened so quickly) and it has finally settled in that beginning in August I am going to be an actual teacher, with an actual classroom, and actual students who will depend on me to teach them what they need to know! Needless to say I am VERY excited! And, I will be working at the same school as Calvin, which I feel like is just an added bonus.

I am so thankful and so blessed by God, the one who made this all possible. I believe that he has a wonderful plan for me at this school and I am very anxious to discover what it is. Thank you to everyone who sent prayers up for me, I believe that everyone of them was answered!

I can now throughly enjoy my summer without having to worry about what I am going to be doing career wise next year. Now, I just get to plan, plan, plan! Yay!

Peace, love, and blessings!


Thursday, February 11, 2010

An Update...

coming soon...

Sorry for the teaser, but I am getting tired of looking at my last blog every time I log in, but alas I don't have time to update right keep a look out for something new!

Peace, love, and blessings!

Monday, December 14, 2009

A little holiday love...

As the holidays come around there is one movie that is on the MUST watch at least once (maybe twice, or more) list, and that movie is Love Actually. Since I have been incredibly busy so far, I have not had time to watch it yet, but it is calling my name for this weekend! So for now, I will share one of my favorite scenes from the movie!

Remember this Christmas season that "love actually is all around."

Peace, love, and many blessings!