Monday, 24 January 2011

Bathing Beauty - Day 12

On Saturday we were whisked away in a bus half full of Koreans, the other half being full of too many ethnicities to name, to Bath - The home of Roman ruins, Georgian architecture and Jane Austin. The day was actually fairly uneventful. Obviously we saw a bunch of stuff, but Georgian as it is, most of the city looks like the rest of the city. Uniformity you know. There are two events of the day worth sharing though. I'll give you the slightly less fun one first.

At the Roman baths is a big museum (to keep people distracted by information other than the water they aren't supposed to jump into). At the start of the tour you walk around the top of the pool, looking down, then go inside to what was originally the temple dedicated Sulis and Minerva. It starts with stone carvings, then a room for spoons and shoes and a skeleton of a Roman, etc. Then you get to the room of dedications - pretty much stone podiums that people paid to have put in the temple in honor of someone. Then there is the place people went to buy curses - written on lead and thrown in the pool against someone who did them wrong. I am not anti mythology by any means, but at about this point I'm really starting to feel the unhappy atmosphere of the place. A little sick feeling starts creeping into my stomach as we walk up the steps to the next room and I immediately figure out why. There is the original temple courtyard and the original altar the priest made sacrifices on and the original Minerva statue that he made them to. I feel like crying and right when we walk past the statue, Nathaniel starts screaming and will not calm down. At the moment I thought he was just bored of it, tired and uncomfortable because he cries about that a lot, but in hindsight that was obviously not the problem. When we got outside to the pool he calmed down and was okay. There wasn't really a point to telling this other than seeing the spirituality of our son was pretty neat and it reminded me to be more aware of what we expose him to.

After the tour my out of shape hips were aching. We were sitting on a bench, resting until we got cold and discussing where to eat. Jon says "Should we look at the guide or just ask Holy Spirit where to go?" While I know HS would tell us something I opted away from that option because in my experience, HS usually has a round about way of doing things and I didn't want to walk extra. We check the cheap places in the guide and can't find them except the "California style" one that we obviously could not be okay with choosing. We walk back to the Walrus and Carpenter and the sign says Lunch 11:00-2:00, Dinner 6:00-8:00. It is currently 3:30. Dang! Jon asks if they are still serving lunch. No. Disheartened by our failure and the probability of having to walk more I despair on the sidewalk. I tell Jon to just ask Holy Spirit since we are failing. He won't. Says I have to. I'm convinced I can't hear him currently. "Well?" asketh Jon. "The only thing I'm getting is the third place in the second column of the guide." He busts it out... Lo and behold - third place, second column - The Walrus and The Carpenter - the place we're sitting in front of. This further fuels my frustration. Jon makes me go in and ask again. "Yeah, we're serving right now" I'm told. Crazy Holy Spirit. It ended up being one of the coolest places ever! We had Carrot Coriander soup, Avocado and Blue Cheese Pate' with Toast, and Tomato, Basil, Mozzarella Salad. Tasty tasty. On top of that, the owner of the place chatted with us the entire time we were there. Told us how he got the place and how the roof was bombed off in WWII, and how England and America are two countries separated by a common language. So fun. Then we ran back to the bus so we wouldn't get left. The End.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Picturesque - Day 9

Frost lacing the ground when the sun overslept
Breath rise in the air, invisibly swept
Like the lazy river lolling under the bridge
That's as tall as the wall who's memories a vestige.
The boots click on pavers, frozen crunch in the mud
With a scarf of each color to be seen on the quad
Wrapped round the necks, pink cheeks and glad faces
And grass green like the gutters on the house that it laces.

Playlist - Day 8

We didn't use Dramimine. Flying over the Atlantic and excited about London Calling kept us on our toes in anticipation. Who wants sleep when you're Zorbing in every detail, every minute, every second? Where we are right now is The Middle of a dream. Before leaving, people warned us about the weather but we LOVE weather so Let It Rain! Let it pour! With every drop soaked into our shoes as From Th*e* Fount of Every Blessing! Any second we could find ourselves in an inspiring moment, like when Paul McCartney found a receipt in a coat in a charity shop with the name Elenor Rigby on it, and now the world knows the song. Oxford reminds me a bit of Elenor actually, tired and old, but maybe she'll find a New Soul in the jar by her door one day instead of a Troublemaker. Jon started classes this week and Nathaniel and I spend a lot of time together. I sing You Make Me Feel Like Dancing and he dances (and sometimes falls off the bed). As for time with Jon... homework increases and so does the time apart, but I know it will Be Ok because I don't have remind him that "You Belong To Me" because we've made each other Home and are only rearranging for a time. Every day walking into town with the crisp air by my side, passing Penny Lane, I think of him and how I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm. I dreamed that we'd live here exactly like this but never knew how it would be true. This path has been hard and more of a learning experience than a fun one. But what have we learned? Despite all the trouble, It's So Sweet To Trust In Jesus, but oh for grace to trust Him more.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Coom-Nuh - Day 5

Blue Room so cozy
A bit out of town
A lamplit and drizzly walk home.

City so ancient
Holds much of my heart
Only his-try to make itself known.

Two days ago we had a picturesque train ride through English countryside to a surprisingly ugly Oxford. The oxburbs ain't no tourist attraction. Our house is four miles west of town. Only a quick bus ride away. The family we're staying with have nine kids, all but one moved out, and now they let the rooms out to other youngsters. The place is actually an old inn. Because of this I was going to call the place Mossy Inn but then I realized that it wasn't just our roof that had moss on it, but everything everywhere. We've settled on the title "Allen Inn" after it's proprietors.

I haven't taken many pictures the last two days because I wanted to soak everything in first. We had a tour yesterday, the highlights of which were: St. Michael's at the North Gate, the tower of which was built in 1040; The Eagle and Child pub where the "Inklings" met; and Radcliffe Camera.
Today we walked around at Oxford Castle (pictured below) but opted out of a tour until Joelle gets here and Jonathan had Orientation and Blackfriars Hall. He is officially an Oxford Uni student now. ID card and all. It's crazy. The doors have coded locks and it's all so secretive (probably to keep the tourists out. There are SO many of them!). Faculty and peers alike have been very welcoming to me and especially Nathaniel. Well, I'm feeling uninspired by this post so I'll leave it here.

PS. On the way out to our place there is a Toys R Us and an Aldis. I now realize why Jon hates chain stores. Especially here they seem so inappropriate.

Not a fan of the "pusher"

Had a video to add but the internet here is too slow. Will have to wait until tomorrow.

Friday, 14 January 2011

God Save The Queen - Day 2

Sights and sounds of the day:

After eating "Breakfast" (also known as lunch) we headed out on the town

 Our first ride on a double-decker bus. I'm super glad we're not driving here, although the roads are actually set up in a very efficient manner. Just VERY different!
 Nothing like Buckingham at night.. No guards though. Apparently they are just for the tourists.
 First sighting of Big Ben on our walk at the London Mall (where the idea for the one in DC came from).
 The weather is uncommonly warm. All we were wearing was sweater. The locals were wearing all but parkas in preparation for winters unannounced return.
In front of a Telephone booth just like the one Ali and Kev gave us.
Nathaniel's squeal at the end of the six o'clock chime signaled time for dinner and now the yawn I'm suppressing signals bed. The men are sleeping already. Hopefully the boyo will sleep the night through instead of another two hour playtime at midnight. In closing I have to say, even after today it still doesn't feel quite real. There are too many similarities and we have learned to take new cities so in stride that this seems just like an east coast city we haven't visited yet. Maybe once we get to Oxford and are staying with a British family instead of our American friends it will be better. Goodnight!

Noteworthy moment - Day 1

Walking around Hampstead Heath (supposedly the park inspiring Lewis' picture of Narnia) we came across a lovely little duck pond with children playing at it. With the ducks were two swans. Beautiful. As we arrived at the pond there was a park vehicle pulling up. Two men hopped out, walked directly to the swans, grabbed their necks and gathered the flapping wings and bodies under arm and walked away grunting to themselves at the strain of containing the large birds. Everyone a bit confused one lady called out "What are you doing with them?" This was the answer and must be read with a poky british accent almost exactly like Jasper and Horace from 101 Dalmations: 1st man "They were being a menace, chasing the ducks away." "Being a menace!" echoed the 2nd man. 1st man "They didn't want to leave." "Didn't want to leave!" again echoed the 2nd. They then dropped them in an adjoining pond and walked back to their van. The End.


I've imagined this day for a long time. Not necessarily the time in
the plane, but stepping on to European soil. I can cross it off my
list, and probably find a bunch of stuff to add. Whenever I think of
looking at the buildings I hear the Death Cab For Cutie song in my
You and me have seen everything to see/ From Bangkok to Calgary/ And
the soles of your shoes/ Are all worn down.
What I actually wrote on the plane was much less poetic, but I have to say, it is the best yet at an attempt to think and feel on paper. Here it is:

Feel it. feel it. experience. excitement. I can’t sleep. I can barely rest. my mind is racing. I’m somewhere I’ve never been before. We’re landing in a new place. Adreneline rushing. I don’t care if i don’t sleep. let it take me. pump through my veins. this is why we do this. This rush this life. excitement. new. explore it. feel it. feel it FEEL IT! my heart is pounding excitement chemicals through my veins. my hands are shaking. you have to sleep. sleep while he sleeps. But the ADVENTURE!! the Adventure!! what is sleep! don’t turn off the feeling. so I’ll be tired for a few days. I’d rather that than to learn how to not feel this. We are exploring! Finding . Searching! Seeing! Things we’ve never seen before smelled before heard before. stories coming to life - to our lives! Don’t lose the moment.

Magical Day

I'm in the plane right now on our way to Atlanta flying the border of
Colorado and New Mexico. The boyo is sleeping on the floor and Jon is
studiously reading his Philosophy of Religion book. I was going to go
on Facebook but Internet is $12.50 for the flight. Boo. My social life
has been suffering in this flurry of preparation.
Day before yesterday when we were sorting what we need and don't into
our two suitcases we got an email. Some saint of a person in Cumnor (a
town a couple miles, or kilometers as the case may be, outside of
Oxford) said they will host us in their house, with our own private
bathroom, for £300 a month. Not only is that at least £100 cheaper
than anywhere else I found, it includes bills AND basic food! As I
said.... A saint of a person; Can't wait to meet them!
Yesterday we met Alisa in San Francisco, had clam chowder in bread
bowls and wished we had longer to sleep. Scott, a friend from
Jonathan's time in Korea, let us crash his apartment for the night.
Now we are on our way. Nathaniel has done great so far playing and
making friends with everyone and we are as excited as can be. Once we
land I'll post this and be off to board our international flight in
Atlanta. Then the only thing between us and England will be the
Atlantic and time.