Saturday, August 27, 2005

leaving soon

I spent several hours at the British Museum yesterday. There was so much to see and I'm sure I only scratched the surface. I saw the Rosetta Stone and a lot of stuff from the Acropolis, and a lot of ancient British stuff.

One thing stood out to me though. There was an exhibit from artists in Mozambique. Mozambique has been in a lot of civil wars and conflict for years. Tons and tons of guns were being poured in to support the wars. Now that it's over there are millions of weapons spread throughout the country. A group, Arms for Tools I think, started a program to turn in guns in exchange for farm tools and other things. There is a story of one whole village who turned in all their guns for a tractor. Then a group of artists take these weapons and make sculptures out of them. There was a huge tree, the Tree of Life, made out of tons of guns. You can still see it all, pieces of triggers, etc. It was amazing, hard to describe when you see that many weapons turned into art...

I spent several hours trying to track down some Yorkshire tea and managed to make it to the Indian/Muslim area where there were a ton of stalls out. People were selling everything! Beautiful clothes and scarves, shoes, toys, fruits and vegetables. This went on for blocks and blocks and blocks. I wish I had discovered this area sooner! I could only linger so long though since I had a dinner date to keep.

I had arranged to meet Nancy Irving, the general secretary of Friends World Committee for Consultation, for dinner. (I think that's her title.) I had gotten way over to East London to find a big enough Sainsbury's that sold big boxes of tea and I knew I would be late. It was a rush back through the street stalls and the tube to get back to my hostel and unload all my purchases, then a quick turnaround back to the tub.

I made it to Friends House fifteen minutes late, but all was well. Nancy and I caught a bus over to the Thames area. The Tate Modern is over there and a lot of theatres (for live shows). There was a theatre show going on in a park area and we stopped for a few minutes. The setting was a barber shop and there were three actors. They never said a thing, just interacted with the set and the radio. They would occassionally change the station and then would interact with the radio. We came in and the radio was doing war of the worlds type broadcast. The actors were terrified, trying to hide, etc, etc, acting like the world was ending. Then a soothing voice came on saying that this was episode 6 of such-and-such show, tune in next week... The actors became embarrassed and acted like they knew all along. The radio was changed to a different station, and they were off on another skit. They just kept going and going! We finally left and meandered along the river. We had a lovely dinner at a pizza place then went to visit the Tate.

This museum was made out of an old power company building. It is absolutely enormous! The 'atrium' area inside has to be something like 10 stories high. They did a wonderful job converting the building into a museum. We only had time to visit one gallery. It was titled something like 'beyond painting.' There were a number of 'artists' who had created these pieces with clay, sacking, bits of fluffy stuff, etc. One was simply a large piece of burlap stretched over the canvass with a slice right through the middle of it. This particular artist had really gotten into poking holes into his canvass or slicing through it to give a sense of infinity. Hmmm. I think that one gallery was enough for both of us!

I went across the Millenium Bridge straight to St. Pauls and made my way 'home.' I had a good last day in London and wonder if I'll every get back here again.

Well, the St. Paul's bells just rang 9:00. Time for me to gather my luggage and head for the airport! See some of you soon!

Friday, August 26, 2005

Returning to Work

Joyce and I arrived in Idaho last night at 10:00 PM. Today I came into school in order to get everything set up for the students who come on Monday. I think I'm about ready. It has been such a fast transition from being with 230 other young adults to being at school again. There is so much that I want to think on from the gathering and so many people that I want to begin e-mailing. I'm hoping that I'll make space in my life for these things and not allow my time to be swallowed up by less important matters.

I'm grateful for all the prayers that were offered on behalf of the gathering. It was evident that God was at work among us, and I believe that he'll use that event for years to come in the continuing transformation of many lives. You can still be praying for the gathering that will occur in Kenya in October.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Back... to London

Time when you are traveling is a weird thing. Sometimes it passes so slowly and sometimes so quickly. Tuesday and Wednesday seemed to pass so quickly, and I felt like the whole last two weeks had gone by fast. But today, Thursday, I feel like the last two days have been forever long.

I was up early yesterday morning to be at Pendle Bar by 7am to check in keys. At 8:30 I was relieved and ran off to breakfast, scarfed down a full breakfast (yay!) and ran back to the Bar to continue checking people out. I was bummed to miss the last admin team meeting...but I don't know if anyone else made it either! I was able to attend most of the last session then, where worship was quite good. We then got to work approving the epistle. I don't even know what the final version is yet - I had to leave early and run back to the Bar to get the door unlocked so people leaving on the 12 bus could get their luggage!

The next few hours were spent checking people out, directing people traffic, trying to answer questions, etc. Also saying goodbyes to people which was quite sad. After many had left I took myself over to the office where the walls and desks were looking quite bare. I helped clean up the rest of the place. It was quite odd how bare and empty it felt, how life-less. And yet, you could still feel the energy in the rooms and halls.

I caught a ride down to Lancaster Meeting house and was reunited with about 20 participants who were staying the night there. I had a homestay though, and after dinner in the meeting house, two Rachels and I headed out. Rachel Phillip's house is way out in the middle of nowhere. It was a long drive! But so beautiful. It was quintessential English countryside. It was the Lancashire dales I believe, covered in fields and grazing sheep. We did have a near run in with sheep on the road a few times!

Rachel's house is quite simple and very old - about 200 years old perhaps, and is right next to a public footpath so there are always people walking by. She doesn't have a fridge, just puts items in the window and keeps the window open. That tells you how cold it is there! It was a wonderful, peaceful place to get a good night's sleep.

This morning Rachel and Rachel and I went into a little town to dry my clothes in the smallest laundrette in England - a little room on the end of a building holding one washer and one dryer! We did some shopping at a few local shops, collected my clothes, then drove on to Lancaster. There were still several participants hanging out so we all walked over to a great vegetarian restaurant called The Whale Tail.

Rachel, Thomas, Matt and I all had to get on the 2:24 train to London. Thanks to Chrissy for buying the wrong tickets so that Rachel and I could use them! =)

Getting back to London was weird. The noise and craziness was a bit overwhelming and shocking to the senses. And yet, I do really like this city. I had to drop off a lost passport at the Friends House, and then made my way over to my youth hostel. I'd tried to book this place a month ago for my first night here and it was full. I'm so glad I got it this time! I'm using the computer in the lobby and there is a big window right next to me. Out the window I can see St Paul's Cathedral, all lit up. And I can hear the church bells chiming each hour, and more often during the day. It is wonderful. I've mostly wandered around a few familiar spots today and will be going to bed soon as I am really knackered! =)

I think I might spend the whole day at the British Museum tomorrow, but we'll see...


Ready for some amazing news???
I slept in my own bed last night!
So, here are some thoughts and ramblings after the event:

I don't know for sure what I've taken away yet from the conference. I think that the "fruit" will need time to grow and ripen before I can see the full effects. I have not turned on my TV once since coming home, and I so far, I am enjoying that.
I have decided to make two changes in my life. The first is the aforementioned "silencing of the TV," and the second is... well... I am not going to buy clothes this year. I will if I need to replace something, but I am not going to buy something because it is on sale and "Too cute to pass up..".

Now, I am not one to think that just "doing" will increase my spiritual life, but I do feel that a call to simplicity must start somewhere. I want to declutter my life of some stresses and I think both shopping and TV have been a waste of my time and resources. Mike pointed out that I do enjoy shopping and that I needed to be aware of that but... look at the work "enjoy." Should I really find joy in shopping?? I should find it in being with friends and talking with Mike and doing my best at work... not to mention in my relationship with Christ. If I am finding joy elsewhere, where do I leave room (or time) to seek joy where it really matters?

If my friends invite me to go shopping, I will simply have to use the discipline not to spend money. I may need to leave my debit cards at home to start, but I will do it. When something does wear out, I think I will take my time and carefully purchase what I need, and in that, find better quality (fair trade) products.

Avoiding both TV and shopping I think will help me de-materialize my life. The constant bombardment of commercials through TV and the readiness and availability of goods are two of the challenges I hope to avoid.

Personally, I have come to love my 3 traveling companions a great deal. I know the 3 of them share a closer bond than I do with any of them, but I appreciate their willingness to share their relationships and love with me. Even though I thought they were a bit screwy in the beginning, I came to adore those oddities and just added in my own version to their mix!

I love you three very much, and look forward to many other crazy adventures!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

aimee's thoughts

I think we've about covered the first week of traveling around England. Luckily there are many more stories we haven't told (the windshield wipers... =) so we'll have plenty of stories when we return home. It is Tuesday now, the last full day of the Gathering. I have not shared much of my experience yet.

I have been glad to read the girls' experience, and to talk with them and others. As a member of the admin team I think I've only been able to experience about half of the Gathering. I've been running about doing a lot of work, organizing this and that, been in a lot of meetings, and been involved in some pretty heavy stuff (that i don't feel at liberty to share here).

I've made a few connections with people and had some good conversations and interesting experiences. I'm starting to ask myself now, what will I take away from this experience? What have I learned? How have I changed? What has impacted me? Where do I go from here?

I'm afraid I've been 'on' so much that I haven't had much time to just stop and listen and think. Interestingly, listening has been one of the common themes I've heard. Everyone has been very willing to listen to one another. I think we all expected there to be a lot more division and strife and arguments, but I haven't seen a lot of that. People have been very open.

One interesting story is that I met a girl who thinks that perhaps the 'other' Quakers (unprogrammed) don't really know God, they only think they do. She said that a couple days ago and I didn't have a chance to talk to her more about that. Today we were in a group and had to draw pictures of what we thought the future of Quakerism was. This girl drew a picture with the word 'God' written at the top, then EFI, FUM, FGC - all crossed out, and a crowd of people below that. She hoped that in the future Quakers could move beyond those divisions and have more in common. I really appreciated hearing that from her.

I've gotten to the point that I have a lot of thoughts... and no thoughts. This week has been really, really interesting in many ways. I don't know if/when I'll be able to share them on this blog. I apologize to my 'fans' that there aren't more travel details. My traveling has mostly been from my room to the dining room to the office, to the great hall, to the office, to the dining hall, to the office, to my room. =) I did go on a trip to Swarthmore Hall (and sat in both George Fox's and Margaret Fell's chairs!) and also climbed Pendle Hill. I will try to post about those soon.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Lake District

Just before the World Gathering began, Delonna and I stayed at the Elas Crag Bed and Breakfast in the North of England, near Keswick.

This area is known as the Lake District and is one of the most beautiful places, especially if you like nature, mutton, cloud cover, tea, foliage (especially ferns), flowers, stone walls, water and quiet.

Climbing Pendle Hill

Most of us at the World Gathering climbed up Pendle Hill today. This is the hill upon which George Fox had a vision of a large number of people to be gathered to God

"Didn't George Fox envision us in our climb: a great people to be gathered from all corners of the earth and branches of the Quaker Tree." - Ute Caspers, speaker WGYF 2005

"George Fox chose a challenging way to climb. This could be seem as a metaphor for us. There might be easier ways to live. But we choose to allow the Spirit to challenge us. Maybe it will be worth the view, especially if we have each other . . .. Get enough rest so we can be ready to face the challenges of loving each other." - Cherice Bock, facilitator WGYF 2005

Watch, read, & listen to the World Gathering live as it happens!

All the reports, pictures, sounds, & video from the gathering are being placed here constantly throughout the gathering, live as it takes place; both at Lancaster and during the post-gathering events both in the UK & in Africa.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Russian to English to Spanish and back

Translating languages is a recognized challenge. Translating ideas . . .

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Conversations about Jesus

Last night our base groups were supposed to discuss who Jesus is, but because we were running short on time we put the discussion off until today. This meant that I was able to have the conversation with the girl who asked me about how I see Jesus. In short I tried to explain to her how I saw Jesus as the one who has brought us back into a relationship with God, a relationship that is broken by sin. I talked about how the Isrealites made sacrifices in order to restore their "righteousness," and that Jesus was the final sacrifice for all time. She said that this was the first time that the concepts of "saved" and "washed in the blood" had made sense to her. She's still not at a place where she can say that Jesus is God or that he enables her to connect to God better. However, I believe that God is at work in her and she is continuing to seek Him.

In our base groups today we read statements such as "The Bible is very important to me" and "Jesus is the light of the world." Then we spread ourselves out on a line from "strongly agree" to "strongly disagree" and explained why we were where we were. Everlyn (a lady from Kenya) and myself were the evangelicals in the group and the others ranged from being brought up in the Christian tradition, but not really sure that other religions aren't valid, to seeing Jesus only as a good teacher, perhaps on a slightly higher level than others such as Gahndi.

At one point I told the group that this has been an interesting week. On the one hand I want to be respectful of others and where they are on their spiritual journies. I know that God leads us in different ways and that not everyone will experience him as I do. However, I want to be honest and say that my view is that Christianity is what I see as having the most truth about who God is and that if people are truly seeking God they are going to come to a place where they see Jesus as much more than just a teacher or a prophet. And even though other religions have some truth, in my mind it may be because the best lies are based on truth. I was really encouraged when two of the people in my group said that a couple of days ago they might have been really threatened by my saying this, but they feel like God has brought them to a place where they can hear this and not be on the defensive.

There have been many other ways that I have felt God challenging me to be open about my beliefs and He has helped me to do it in ways that are loving. Yesterday, at the meeting house near Swarthmore Hall, I felt like he was asking me to share a message that was a bit contradictory with the message shared by an older member of the meeting. At first I was very uncomfortable with this, but now I'm seeing that it's important that we don't avoid the things that we disagree about; we must discuss them in order to allow God's Spirit to work to the fullest during this week.

Well we've just finished an international dance time (there was bellydancing, folk dancing, the hokey pokey, a Zulu dance, and New Zealand dance, and much, much more) and I'm feeling a bit tired so I will sign off in the hopes that I can get some sleep before speaking at the early programmed worship tomorrow at 7:30 A.M.

Midway through the World Gathering

It comes down to Jesus. Who do you say that he is?

In Edinburgh, Scotland

The Stone of Destiny is considered by many, as more important the the Queen's crown.

Walking on cobblestones is supposedly good for one's health. If you can get past twisting your ankle, it puts both of your body's balance systems into use.

I was Driving in England....

There is a band from the 80's I used to love called, "The Swirling Eddies." They were a not well-known band that delivered most of their messages in parables. One song went, "I was driving in England on the Santa Ana Freeway, somebody's screamin' out, "You're goin' down the wrong way"....
Fortunately, I didn't actually go the wrong way except when there weren't any cars around.

Driving was a bit scary at first. Deep down, I was worried my primary impulse would be to hop to the wrong side of the road in case of emergency. I pondered a couple times if that changed the "suicide seat" to the driver's seat or if it just meant we'd all be in trouble if we got hit. It wasn't a thought I harbored long...

I did declare a bit of marshal law on the topic of direction-giving. I knew driving would be challenging enough, but I couldn't have 3 intelligent women trying to direct me and therefore creating arguments amongst each other. It did work for the most part.

Finding the hostel in York was the most frustrating (I admit I was near tears), but that perhaps due to the fact I hadn't looked at a map myself. Thereafter, Joyce and I spent time before each trip looking at maps and then checking them together along the way. It helped me ensure a sense of direction. Next time, I'll remember to pack a compass.

Getting (not lost) turned around north of Amble (we never actually made it there) was one of my favorite times driving. There weren't many cars on the roads and we just wandered around, looking for anything labled "A1". There was this one young man we encountered on a bridge pushing a pram (that's a baby-carriage for you non-brit speakers). "Hi! Excuse me, but do you know how to get to the A1?"
"Hm well, its a bit far from here... you just... you jus' go up the road here and you'll come across a high um... wall. Its really high. You jus' follow it 'round till it goes to the left. You ya don' wan' ta follow it. Ya wanna go to theh uh.. theh... (at this point, he is motioning with his right arm towards the right. It is flapping around...) the wall goes to the righ' an' ya go ta the um... uh.. to theh..."
"Yeah, go to theh right. Then you'll come to a roundabout an you go.... blah blah..."
because that is about all I heard. Inside my head I'm thinking, "Great, we're getting directions from a guy who can't say the word "right." This is painful."

When he finished, I said, "So, we'll see you back here in about 15 minutes, huh?"
He laughed. I did too... but sure enough, about 15 minutes later, we passed the same spot going the opposite direction.

I now understand how in British Literature, there can be stories of people thinking they were bewitched and that was why they were lost. I mean really, we are four intelligent, college-educated women. We are logical and sensible... yet we drove around the same 10 square miles for over 2 hours!


Nothing like being separated by a common language! I've been collecting lots of interesting phrases that are used here.

In response to 'Do you want to share this tray?' = 'go on'

In response to 'Do you want chips or peas?' = 'I'm easy'

There's also a lot of 'faffing' about. Faffing about with our memory sticks, faffing about with details, faffing about with unimportant things, etc.

People often 'can't be bothered.' As in, 'do you want to run over to the store?' = 'ooh, I can't be bothered' or 'I couldn't be bothered.'

There are more which I can't remember right now. But the funny thing about this worldwide conference, I'm not sure where these phrases are really all from. So, pardon my possible english/irish/scottish/canadian/nepalese/australian/kenyan/new zealand/mexican/guatemalan/russian/bolivian/peruvian/indian/french/dutch/etc phrases/accent. =)

aimee says - a little more detail

Right, well I appreciate lots of detail and I don't mind it in this main window, so here I go again. (Sorry Joyce =)

So it was a bit stressful at first learning the left side of the road. Delonna started out doing the driving and she insisted that only one other person at a time, the navigator, be allowed to talk. This sounded okay in theory, but Chrissy and I (or maybe really just myself) were back-seat-drivers trying to be helpful in pointing out road signs and every other thing we saw. This created a bit of tension, but we survived.

I kept my eye out for things that were different from driving in the US, other than driving on the left side of the road. One of course is all the roundabouts. Instead of exits that go off to the side, every now and then you reach a roundabout in the middle of the highway. You travel around it and go off in the direction of the place you want to go. Takes up less space than exits I suppose. I also saw signs on big trucks saying "abnormal load." We followed signs to "The North," and tried to figure out the meaning of the round sign post with a red x on a blue background. We passed signs for many towns: Tickencote, Doncaster, Pickworth, Clipsham, Cottesmore, Woolsthorpe, Colsterworth, Buckminster, Sleaford, Harlayton, Nottingham!, Claypole, Bathley, and Kneesall.

We got into York on Wednesday night just about dusk. We were going to be staying in a backpackers hostel and had some vague directions on how to get there. We had already found out a few road rules for England which Joyce has alluded to. One, they don't really label their roads. There are street signs every now and then, posted on buildings on that street. But they aren't everywhere and it's hard to see them, especially at night. There are also lots of one-ways and roundabouts to help you get lost. Also, streets seem to change names about every three blocks. The street we were staying on I think had about 5 different names on in within about a 12 block length! We drove around lost and asked directions a few times and the stress levels increased! We were tired and just wanted to go to bed! And all the directions sounded like - 'go down that road, turn right, then left at the roundabout, can't miss it.' But we did! Anyway, after speaking with the hostel we finally found the place, which we'd passed at least once thinking it was on the other side of the road!

We came up a few steps, rang the bell, and were invited into a beautiful old house. Dark hard wood floors and a sweeping grand staircase climbing to the second story. It was a beautiful old house with a lot of charm. We signed ourselves in and climbed up the stairs to our room. I was last in line as Chrissy, Joyce, and Delonna crowded in to the room. They stopped in the doors and seemed concerned. I peeked my head in and saw there was a bucket of water in the middle of the room, with a steady drip into it from the ceiling. That one bucket was not enough. The entire ceiling was leaking! It was like a waterfall coming down right in the middle of the room. The ceiling (very high up) was cracked and had signs that this was not the first time it had leaked. The carpet through the whole middle of the room was wet and it seemed that the floor was sloping in toward the middle.

We cautiously put our stuff down at the edges of the room. The bunkbeds were circled around the outside of the room so we thought it would be okay to sleep there. Another traveller came in then and exclaimed, 'ah! it's still going!? They said it would stop soon!' "When was that?" we enquired. 'About two hours ago.' We then discovered that several of the beds were getting wet and perhaps the management didn't know about the severity of the problem. Indeed they did not and they moved us all to a different room.
Some of us were a bit sad about this as we thought the drip-drip-drip sound might be soothing. Of course then they changed the bucket out and it was more of a plunk-plunk-plunk, followed by bits of plaster falling from the ceiling.

Thursday morning we woke early (finally!) and managed to make it to York Minster Cathedral for their morning service. The Cathedral was very beautiful and quiet in the morning. I think the girls managed to find a reference to Quakers there. I read a bit of history about a lightning strike in the 80s that struck the roof of one wing and set the Cathedral ablaze. The roof was destroyed as well as one grand rose window. They spent years fixing it and renovating.

After the cathedral we went to the Merchant Adventurers Hall. This was a really old building still in possession by the original organization. This was a merchants organization which sort of had control over who could sell what in town. The building was hundreds of years old and quite interesting to wander around. (Sorry I don't have much more detail!)

We then cut across town over to the Castle Museum. It was probably quite similar to other small town museums, with recreations of what the town looked like in the early days, and a portion of the gaols (english spelling!) and shops and a millworks, etc. They had a spy game to play where you searched for clues amongst the artefacts in the museum and tried to figure out the mystery. I didn't play the game all the way through, but did go into the 'solution room' to find out what the solution was. The man there told us it was based on a true story of WW2 when spies were all over the country trying to find out what was going on, what the plans were, etc. Many business were closed down or shifted over to making different things. In York there is a chocolate factory and this factory did not shut down. But, part of the factory was not making chocolate. It was making ammunitions! And none of the spies ever found out.

After we finally got out of the museum (Joyce was having a blast with the spy game) we wandered over to The Shambles, a really picturesque little street with many, many little tiny shops selling all sorts of things. The cobblestone street was only wide enough for a small car and there were hundreds of people milling about. Many of the shops were only big enough for a couple people to stand inside. Chrissy, Delonna, and I had lunch at 'the sandwich man' - or something like that. The one-man shop made about 50 different kinds of sandwiches, to order, for £1 each.

We realized that one morning in York was certainly not enough! There was so much to see, but we really needed to get moving and get up to Edinburgh. It was going to be about a 4 or 5 hour drive, or so we thought...

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Traveling in the evening

Looking for places to stay was not always a game. It was serious work.

Finally at the Gathering

I arrived in Lancaster on Tuesday afternoon. The group from Woodbrooke traveled on the train together and then waited at the Lancaster Meeting House for the next bus to the University. Right as the bus was pulling away I saw Delonna and Joyce come out of the train station. I was glad to see that they'd come out unscathed from their travels without Aimee or I.

The first two days of the gathering have been full of meaningful conversations and fun activities. Already I've talked about such various topics as alter calls, Quaker worship and culture in other countries, spiritual journies, pastors, the nominating process, absence of young adults in meetings for worship, and much more.

I was also able to help organize the worship session last night. We had about 9 Yearly Meetings that each did two minute presentations, NWYM and North Carolina YM led singing, Colin Saxton and Ute (from Germany) spoke, and we had some silence. The one and a half hour meeting somehow turned into two hours, but nobody seemed to mind too much. NWYM sang a blessing at the end in English and Spanish. (The blessing that the youth sang during youth night at yearly meeting.)

Last nigh after worship we had a Bible trivia game. It was very fun. After answering the first question correctly my team chanted, "We know the Bible, yes we do. We know the Bible, how 'bout you?" Aiden (from Ireland) told us that if we knew the Bible we should know it says not to trash talk the other team. I think he was just jealous. Most of the Spanish speakers were on the other team. One recited the books of the Old Testament in Spanish flawlessly, and we gave her a round of applause. This was a fun way to get to know people.

Today, after morning worship, my base group had a very powerful time of sharing and we were able to pray for one of the members who is going through a difficult time. Afterwards one of the girls asked me if we could talk sometime about how I view Jesus. Although she is a Quaker, she hasn't really looked at Jesus before, but she says that she sees something in those of us who profess Jesus that she would like to explore more. You can be praying for this conversation and others that I have with people about who Jesus is to me.

This afternoon a group of 20 or so played soccer. The representative from Jamaica is very good and unfortunately he was not on my team. We lost by two and both goals were scored by Joyce White. (It is a good thing for her that we were not calling off sides, otherwise I'm not sure that the goals would have counted.) Tomorrow, Benny from Cuba wants to get a group together to play basketball after our trips to various Quaker historical sites.

Hand sanitizer

You can live without it.

aimee says - continuing the story

Wednesday morning we decided to split up a bit. Joyce and I went to see the Tower of London and the crown jewels, Delonna went to the British Museum, and I think Chrissy went to the Tower Bridge. We were all going to meet back at the Museum at 11:45, then head back to our rooms, grab our stuff, and head out of town.

Joyce and I took a bit more time at the Tower though wandering through the grounds, looking at all the crown jewels, etc. It felt like we really didn't spend that much time there at all and I think we'd both like to go back and see it in more detail. We ended up leaving there around 12ish and jumping back on the tube. We made it to Totenham road station around 12:15 and decided to call Delonna. We thought it would be better if we continued on to our hostel instead of meeting up. We called Delonna and Chrissy still hadn't showed up! So Joyce and I continued on to our hostel at Sheperd's Park station and when we arrived there, called again. Still no Chrissy! So Joyce and I did email for awhile, then called - still no Chrissy! It had occured to us that she didn't have Delonna's cell phone and I wasn't sure if she remembered what tube stop to get off on, and I don't know if she had a watch to check the time - I worry a lot when traveling, we've all realized. =)

Anyway, at some point Chrissy finally caught up with Delonna and they made their way back to us. We grabbed our bags and jumped back on the tube and rode it out of town. We were on our way to pick up our car for the journey north. We got off the tube at a station in the middle of nowhere it seemed. Someone pointed us down the road to the car place 'about ten or fifteen minutes walk.' After an eternity we made it to the car shop only to find out we needed our confirmation email which we hadn't brought. Was there an internet place nearby? 'about ten or fifteen minutes walk' back the way we came! We found out everything was ten or fifteen minutes walk from wherever we were. It took FOREVER to get the car! While Delonna and Chrissy were getting the details down the road, Joyce and I went to a little shop for lunch. We had pies with peas and chips. Sounds odd I suppose. =) I think joyce's was a kidney pie, can't remember mine; chips are of course fries; and the peas were excellent!

We finally got the car and began a short lesson on how to drive on the left side of the road. Delonna did quite well, but perhaps I'll stop here and let her tell. =)

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

aimee again!

It's almost 10 pm here in England and the office is quite. There are three people here working on various things and most have gone to Pendle Bar to play Bible trivia. I must catch up soon - and go to bed! But one more post today to catch up.

I can't even remember what day it was now, but one day we had some time and went off to the British Library. It was quite large and I'm afraid I don't have the details in front of me. But apparently it has the deepest basement in England, with book stacks stretching something like 6 stories tall in the middle of the building. it's a research library so you don't actually get to go into the stacks, but ask for what you want.

I never even got there because we had a very short time there and I really wanted to check out the Hans Christian Anderson exhibit they had there. They tons of stuff about him, original drawings and books, quotes, autobiographics, etc. I'll leave you to read some of his stories or an autobiography instead of repeating it all! But I did find one quote he wrote in May of 1831 after traveling to England when he began to be more famous, which I shall share here:

'Oh, to travel, to travel! If only one could spend one's life fluttering about! I feel as if the world is my home and I shall, I must, frolic about in that home!'

aimee says - finally!!!

So sorry for the delay!! I 've been going 24/7 it seems since I left the girls last friday. I'm not going to make a big attemp to capitalize or correct things as these english keyboards have keys in all the wrong places. There are a ton of things I'd like to talk about - some of which have been mentioned ever so briefly in past posts. but it's 6:00 and I'm skipping most of dinner while the office is clear so i don't feel so bad about using this computer. =)

So, first to St. Paul's Cathedral, which I think we visited last Tuesday! Hate to rehash old history, but I did take copious notes and don't want to waste them!

We got off the tube and walked down toward the cathedral. It is enormous! I wanted to take a picture of the front so I went down about half a block. Then I just had to keep backing up and backing up through the square and across the street. Finally I just took three pictures, top to bottom, and will have to paste the pictures together when I get them developed.

It was obviously very beautiful inside and humongous. There is carved wood, carved marble, statues, other carved items, wrought iron railings and decorations, paintings, sculptures, mosaics, and beautiful chandeliers.

We first wandered around on the ground floor. I found a US memorial for 28,000 soldiers killed in WW2. There were a lot of war memorials which seemed odd to me.

Anyway, we were quite interested to climb to the galleries. It's 590 or so steps to the top. We started climbing up a wide spiral staircase made of shallow, wide wooden steps, with windows looking up. We climbed, and climbed, and climbed! I kept expecting a landing to be there, surely, any minute, but we just kept going round and 'round. We finally reached a landing then went down a dark, narrow hallway, up a short flight of stairs, half a spiral staircase, more straight stairs, then emerged into the Whispering Gallery. This is basically a hallway-width pathway along the inside of the large dome. There is a railing and you can look down into the cathedral, probably 2 or 3 stories below. There is a bench running all along the Gallery. From the bench I could see statues in niches of St. Augustine, St. Ambrose, St. Basil, St. Gregory, and below these are mosaics of Daniel, Matthew, Mark and Luke. Up above in the dome are painted images from Paul's life. It is called the whispering gallery because you can whisper and people on the other side of the room can hear everything you say. The other side is about 30 feet away - it is quite amazing!

After whispering at each other and eavesdropping on other conversations, we circled round and exited to climb to the next Gallery. This time it was a tight stone spiral stair case up and up and up and up and up. The stone gallery is outside around the main dome. and there is a fantastic view of the whole city. We spent a while taking photos and catching our breath before climbing to the Gold Gallery (I think!).

The way up was many, many, many wrought iron spiral staircases up through a vast hollow of the dome. So as you're climbing up you can look way, way, way down, through the stairs. It was a bit scary! After 156 or so steps on these spiral stair cases we reached the top and passed through a tiny little hallway that was so narrow, my arms at my sides touched both sides of the wall, and I had to duck so I wouldn't hit my head! We came out onto a breathtaking view of the city, the Thames, the Eye of London, other churches, parks, etc, etc. It was a tiny little walkway wide enough for one person or two at best and I think there were 20 or 30 people crammed up there at the very top of the Cathedral.

Well, it took us forever to climb up, so then we had to climb down. We went down 2 iron spiral cases counter clockwise, then down two more clockwise, then a few sets of stone steps, then more iron ones, then another stone set, another spiral set, a few steps, a narrow hall, 2 more stone spiral staircases, a landing, another spiral staircase, a landing, another spiral, another landing, a creaky wood staircase, down a hallway, to the right, through another hall, down some steps, through a hall, to the wide wooden steps, winding clockwise, down, down, down, down. I see light ahead! The end! Nope. it's just a window shining light. down, down, down. Ah! Here we are. nope, just another window. down, down, down, down. now?? nope. down, down, down. I gave up that we would ever reach the end.

Then - the end! We finally came down. Wow, my legs were feeling weird. They were all shaky and weird. We sat down and listened into a service that was going on and then eventually went to have lunch in the crypt.

Just so you know, I did not make up all the stairs and hallways, I took notes as I went. =) Well, I'm off to dinner and to collect my laundry I hope. I have much more to say and hope to overwhelm you all soon. The other girls will be quite jealous that I've made it to a computer! =)

Monday, August 15, 2005

Pregathering at Woodbrooke in Birmingham

On Saturday I left Joyce and Delonna in Edinburgh and caught a 6:32 train to Birmingham (home of the Cadbury chocolate factory). At 11:20 I arrived and began to find my way to the Woodbrooke Quaker Center with nothing more than an adress in hand (1042 Bristol Rd). Luckily I was able to find Bristol stop on a bus map and found I needed to take bus number 61, 62, or 63. Unluckily the stop was for Bristol St. not Bristol Rd. Luckily I discovered by studying the bus maps that Bristol St. turned into Bristol Rd. so I started walking. Unluckily it started to rain and after 10 minutes I was still in the one hundreds. Luckily I boarded a bus for the rest of the trip. Unluckily I got off one stop too soon and so was drenched when I arrived. Luckily there were people waiting to register me when I arrived. Unluckily I was not on one of their lists as people coming to the pregathering. Luckily it was the other lady who assigned rooms and I was on her list.

Being here the last couple of days has been great fun. There are 2 friends from Nepal, 1 from India, 2 from Cuba, 4 from the Northwest, 1 from Ireland, 1 from Korea, 1 from Canada, 3 from Kenya (although they only arrived last night) and several from the East Coast. Yesterday we worshipped and ate with local Friends in Warwick and then went to Fenny Drayton, where George Fox was born and raised. There are also some older Friends here at Woodbrooke working on various writing projects and using the library here for research. It has been very interesting talking to them about their research on various Quaker/religious topics.

Today I'm hoping to do some laundrey and make a trip to the chocolate factory. Tomorrow I catch a train for Lancaster an the main conference begins. There are many who planned to attend (especially from Kenya) who have not been given visas. We will miss them, but maybe their absence will be another reason to travel after the gathering.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Thursday - I got to plan it!

6:30am Wake up in York, England
7:10am Brisk walk to Minster (large church)
Breakfast - thanks Delonna!!!
Visit the large of building
Play spy games through the museum
Spend eight hours driving to Edinburgh (instead of the estimated four), and have a lovely time doing it!
More to come on the drive.

blog (the other)

so, I haven't posted here since arriving.. but I have posted elsewhere! In an attempt to not be a complete traitor to either blog, I'm posting links on both. So, visit my other one for more travel info and this one for group info. I may get to post on both when I have time, but for now, this is going to have to do!

We have done nothing today but sleep, read, eat, shower and check email/internet correspondence. And that is exactly how I like it.
We are going to the Meeting house later today to see a show. I went out last night and bought 1/2 price tickets to see an Irish string quartet/comedy troup. Aimee left us yesterday for Lancaster, and Joyce took Chrissy to the train early this AM. She and are in the process of determining what we really have time and inclination to do for the next few days. She would like to go horseback riding, and I want to visit Livingston (not far from here).

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Wednesday - bloody day

Good thing I carry band-aids in my travel pouch.

Good thing I don't live in the 1600s when heads were being hacked off at the Tower.

Good thing thoughts don't kill.


"Early" does not exist.

Would you believe I climbed 200,000 steps up St. Paul's Cathedral?

Would you believe I lost my waterbottle in St. Paul's gift store?


I got to fly over Ireland this morning!

A busy day of sight seeing (Chrissy's perspective)

Well today I have a whole 12 minutes to write and a computer that actually functions well; that means that this may be a long post. I probably won't get as many responses as Aimee, though, because I don't know if my mom will respond three times to this post. :)

So yesterday we started out at St. Paul's cathedral. We got there about 11:00 A.M. because we had to stop and get our heritage passes and use the internet at the tourist info office. This very large cathedral has actually been built three different times. The first two buildings were destroyed by fire. It has many memorials to war heros. (Does that seem a little odd in a church?) One of my favorite memorials was to a naval officer. It said something about him being appointed by providence to maintain the royal navy as the most powerful in the world. Then to the left of the memorial was a plaque with a quote from Luke saying: Do harm to no man. A bit ironic don't you think?

Next I went to the crypt. They have all these signs about the displays having alarms and at one time Joyce beeped me on the walkie talkies and I thought I'd set off an alarm until I rembered the walkie talkie in my bag.

Delonna and I climbed up to the inside of the dome. There if you whisper next to the wall people on the far side of the dome can hear you. We got to listen in on an interesting conversation between a father and son. Climbing the rest of the way to the top we met a lady named Charlotte from Vancouver, Canada, and discussed knee ijuries and climbing the Statue of Liberty with her. At the very top we got some great pictures of the city and talked to a couple from Conneticut. The climb was deffinitely a great workout.

We had lunch for the second time in a crypt. ( I wonder if this will become a pattern?) They had some humongous pieces of pizza and Joyce bought some delicious cheese cake. After buying some stuff at the gift shop, we headed off to the globe theatre.

Joyce and I got standing tickets and were very close to the stage. The play was The Tempest. It was amazing because even though there are about 12-15 parts in the play, the whole thing was done by only three actors. They were all guys, so the women's parts looked a bit odd.

Well, I'm almost out of time, so here is the short version of the rest of the day:
Joyce went to get her water bottle which she'd left in the Crypt of St. Paul's. Aimee and Delonna went to see a replica of some ship. I went to get Joyce and we all met at Westminster Abbey for evensong. Then we went on the eye and ate dinner.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Finally in London (from Chrissy's perspective)

So here we are in London. Yesterday Joyce and I met a girl from Alaska on our flight over (Her name was Kerrico). We helped eachother figure out how to get to Victoria station where Aimee was waiting for us. Then we went to find the St. Christopher's hostel at Shephard's Bush. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to bring the directions, so we didn't find it until after going the wrong way, asking several people for directions, and then finally stopping at an internet cafe to get the directions on line. Then we went to lunch in the crypt of St. Martin's-in-the-field. They had a very nice cafeteria. Aimee and Joyce had cheese sandwiches, while I splurged on quiche, salad, figs, olives, and bread with a sweet onion spread. We had enough time to get tickets for Les Miserable before going to get Delonna.

Then it was off to find Delonna. Seeing as she was at the Victorian charter bus station and we were at the Victorian train/city bus station, it took us a while to connect. We then lugged her luggage(including the extra bag she'd picked up in Germany) to a Burger King so that she could eat and we could have ice cream. Then Aimee and I went to pick up her luggage and Delonna and Joyce went back to the hostel.

Finally we got dressed and headed to the theater. Well I'm out of time, I'll post again tomorrow.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Confirming plans

Just to be safe, I wanted to be sure I had the game-plan down:
I arrive at 1:50pm. I"ll hop the tube and get to the YH. I"ll check for reservations under our names, but if there isn't one, I'll make my own. Then, I'll head to Big Ben.
I'll be expecting a phone call at about 2:30... right??
If things go off, I'll drop by Big Ben every 1/2 hour until about 6:00 when I will probably just return to the hostel.

I have enjoyed Germany immensly. France also. I bought Mike a gift in France I know he will love and I hope he'll like what I got him here in Germany. I bought a cute outfit... that I would not have normally picked out for myself. Its white. I'm a bit of a clutz.

I am not looking forward to tomorrow. I think I'm tired of planes. I will feel much better when the four of us are together. I hope we will take time for silence... I crave it right now.

Aimee says: change of plan(e)s

Hey all! I'm writing from the youth hostel in Holland Park in London. I've got 17 minutes left on my time, so hopefully I can get everything out (despite the slow connection, missing keys on the keyboard, and keys in different spots.)

So, I should have written sooner about Friday because it was crazy with so much stuff to do (and not being able to find my passport) - but things just got more fun after that, so on with Saturday!

My pals Jessica and Jill stayed the night and they helped me make sure I'd packed everything I needed. (thanks!) My ride was on time and I got to the airport with 2 hours to spare and sped through security, as usual. Our plane was a bit late since they were still loading the luggage (and two poor dogs in kennels!) So when I arrived in Chicago I had a much shorter layover: I got off the first plane, walked a few gates down, got on the second plane.

Then we sat. And sat. And sat. And the 3-year-old behind me kicked the seat and whined and cried. Then finally the captain said that there was a leak in the engine and they'd let us know the status soon. Kick, whine, kick. The captain then announced that there was a fuel leak in the engine and they were working to fix it. It would take an hour and they wanted us to stay on board. To make things 'easier' they served water and started the movies. At this point it was midnight in London and I was ready to start forcing myself into my new schedule. But it was also 7pm and I hadn't had anything to eat since breakfast! After half an hour the captain informed us that we were getting off the plane and getting on a new one. So we all got off, waited in another gate room for another half hour, got on the plane and waited some more. I think we left around 9:00 - a bit after our original 6:28 time!

The little boy behind me settled down so I did get some sleep. We arrived in London at 10:05. It took anotherhour just to get to the terminal; then another 45 minutes to get through passport inspection. I am so glad I only brought carry on!

After asking around I figured out how to get a train to Kensington High Street station which is only a couple minutes walk, through a beautiful park, to the youth hostel I'm booked at.

After stowing my stuff, I set out to explore, and take care of my 'to-do' list my pals gave me. =)
I first wanted to head for Portabello Road and check out the market and antiques. I got an excellent map - complete with green highlighter marking out every road I should take. And I got totally lost! Well, I was able to backtrack so I knew where I was, but the map wasn't making sense and nothing was right. It doesn't help that they don't label any roads here!!

Totally depressed at my inability to find anything, I came back to the park for lunch. That's when I realized my mistake and the wrong road I'd taken. I went the right way and found Portabello Road. I meandered through the shops selling clothes, shoes, scarves from India, antiques, etc, etc. (I found something for my mom! Several of them in fact. =)

Anyway, I came out onto Notting Hill gate and decided to go do my errands. Now, I've been on trains here in England before and they've never made any sense at all! This was one thing I was worried a lot about. How would I ever find my way around!?

It only took a short time to get it. From Notting Hill I went to Tottenham Court Road, then switched to theNorthern line down to Leicester Square. (That was to get tickets for the theatre but they were closed!) So back down to the tube and on to Piccadilly Circus. That was to go to the visitor center and get bus/tube passes. (They were closed too!) The day was still young(ish) so I decided to go down and see London Bridge. I took the tube to Green Park, transferred to the Jubilee Line and went to London Bridge station. I was following the signs to the bridge, but got distracted by this beautiful church.

It turned out to be Southwark Cathedral, the oldest gothic church in London. It was rebuilt in 1212 after a fire and has been a place of worship for 1,400 years. They believe it was founded as a Saxon convent in 606. It was really beautiful. I kept following the path I was on, a really old awful cobblestone. You need good hiking boots for this stuff! Around the corner I came upon a full life-size reconstruction of Sir Francis Drake's 16th century galleon - just floating there in the water. Down the road was Winchester Palace (what's left of it) , from the 14th century. The most beautiful part was the carved stone rose window. I also passed by its prison, the 'Clink.' I walked along the Thames looking at all the bridges, one every few yards it seemed. I never actually saw the London Bridge - at least I don't think I did.

After this full day of walking I decided it was time to head home. Back on the London Bridge tube to Westminster. I wanted to catch the Circle Line to Kensington High Street, but it didn't seem to be running so I had to go to Earl's Court on the District Line instead, and transfer over.

Sorry to bore everyone with this. I'm just so glad I figured out the tube! Now when the girls come tomorrow we'll have that on our side (unless I'm the only one who didn't have it figured out...) Wish us luck connecting at Victoria Station - I don't know what they were thinking. =)

It's 9:00 and I think I might go to bed now. More later!

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Tickets from Lancaster to London

So, Joyce and I decided to go online to see if buying train tickets ahead of time from Lancaster to London was cheaper than the World Gathering folks' 60 pound estimate. We found out that 14 day advance tickets are only 15 pounds. However, if you don't book them for the right date they can end up being double that. I accidentally booked ours for the 24th instead of the 25th of August. I called to try to get them changed, but they weren't willing to make them earlier, only later. This was not helpful. (Also, 14 day advance tickets are not refunded.) This meant that I had to go and buy a whole new set of tickets so that Joyce and I are both paying about 30 pounds each (which is still better than the original 60). So, now we have two extra tickets for the 25th. If they are transferrable, we'll hopefully find someone at the gathering who can use them. If not, well at least I learned the lesson of looking at the date before I click on "buy tickets now" buttons.

Staying in York

So I got a response from the hostel in York and they have a "family" room available to stay in. It looked like a great deal, so I already booked the room via long distance call. The total per person is only 16 pounds, and we get our own room. The only other option was mixed dormitory beds and that would have been about 15 pounds per person. I say we got quite a deal. Hope you guys agree since I already put it all on my credit card. We'll probably need to call once we leave London and let them know what time to expect us. The phone number is 0 1904 627720.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Tuesday and Wednesday Itineraries

We can't start using the heritage pass until Tuesday because we want it to last until Friday so that we can get into Edinburough Castle. So here are the things we'd like to see Tuesday and Wednesday and the times they'll be open.

Probably Tuesday
8:30-16:00 St. Paul's Cathedral (H. Pass)
9:30-12:30 Shakespeare Globe Tour (H. Pass)
9:30-18:00 British Library
10:00-17:30 British Musuem
9:30-15:45 Westminster Abbey (7.50 pounds) -- Evensong at 17:00 (free)
14:00/16:00 The Tempest at the Globe (5 pounds)
9:30-21:00 London Eye (11.50 pounds)

Probably Wednesday
9:00-18:00 Tower of London (6.75 pounds w/H. Pass)
10:00-18:30 Tower Bridge Experience (H. Pass)
The Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace (H. Pass)
11:00/11:30 The Changing of the Guard
9:45-16:00 Windsor Castle (H. Pass) -- drive out to it on our way to York?
14:00-16:00 Leave for York


So it appears that we have to find a place to stay in London and in York because our contacts have not panned out. Due to an unhappy stay in a hostel with my brother five years ago, I must admit that I'm not excited about another one. However, hostels do seem to be the cheapest way to go. St. Christopher's Inns in London seem to have the best prices and availability. They are also conveniently located. However, I'd much rather stay in the Cherry Court Hotel near Victoria Station. The difference in price? about 2-10 pounds, depending on what type of hostel room you stay in. I've also found a promising hostel in York called the York Backpackers Hostel. I've sent an inquiry to see if they have beds available on the 9th. At least we have people to stay with in Edinburgh.

Moin moin!

That is the common, local dilect greeting in Hamburg. Aparently, it doesn't work here outside Frankfurt.
I grabbed my "Literary Walking Tours" book as I read the last post. Nothing for Sherlock Holmes. It does have: The Brontes Moors, DH Lawrence's Midlands, Lewis Carroll's Oxford, Thomas Hardy's Dorest, and Jane Austen's Bath.

Hamburg was amazing. A beautiful, flat city. I made getting around easy.. except for the part where I got lost on the #5 bus.
Aug 3:
I woke up in Chris' apartment as soon as he turned the key in the lock as he left. I dwadled around, getting slowly ready. I had to keep telling myself I should hurry along and "You survived China fine not knowing the language, you'll do fine here..."
I did very well really. I got on the right bus, and got off at Rathouse (the legislative building).
walked around the Rathouse square
went on a boat ride through the cannals
walked up to St. Michaels
Ate a dumma (domma?) along the way (A turkish gyro)
Took the elevator to the top of St. Michaels... walked down
Wandered the Crypt
Decided my feet hurt and needed remedy
Took bus 37 back downtown
Looked for a new pair of shoes
Decided I needed a nap and tried to get home4
Got lost somewhere on bus 5
Decided that since I was near a market, I may as well go shopping
Bought a few random things
Finally got home (with the help of 2 old women, a teenage boy and a woman about my age)
Chris arrived around 6:00 and we dressed for the soccer game. I even work a team shirt.
Train to the game with fans
Lots of Anarchists at the game
Stood in line to get my reserved ticket
Bought a scarf
Stood in the standing area and watched it all unfold:
The fans were a mix of businessmen, Anarchists (and all points in between) and a smattering of women
They sang loud songs about love and dedication to San Pauli (and ironically, "You'll Never Walk Alone" by Oscar and Hamerstien.
San Pauli scored the only point of the game
It was pouring.
Port area next. We saw where the Beatles got their start, which meant going through the Red Light District.
Home and in bed by 12:45am.
Up at 5:30.
Dressed, checked email, packed, 10 minutes of silent worship and off we went to send me down here to Frankfurt.

Long post... but there it is!

I am happy to report I slept almost 8 hours tonight! The past few nights I'd only been able to sleep 5. It didn't matter that I went to bed at 12:00 or later, I just woke up.

Chris and I had a fabulous moment of silence before we headed to the train to send me off (and he left for work).

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Tentative Itinerary

So we talked again on Sunday and tried to figure out last minute details before Dalonna left for Germany. The biggest issue seems to be how we're going to meet up on Monday. Dalonna will be posting her phone number so that we can call her, but it may be a bit more difficult for Joyce and I to meet up with Aimee. Here's our plan so far:

9:55 Joyce and Chrissy arrive at Gatwick airport

10:30 Joyce and Chrissy catch the shuttle to Victoria Station (12 pounds)

11:00 arrive at Victoria Station where Aimee will be waiting to meet us. Hopefully Aimee will have already done the following:

~gotten all of us 3 day bus/tube passes for Zone 1&2 (15 pounds)

~visited the Britain and London Visitors Centre at 1 Lower Regent St. just off Piccadilly Circus in order to picked up information on walking tours (especially if they have a Sherlock Holmes one) -- this is also where the bus/tube passes may be found, and the theatre guides

~go by Leicester square or Canary Wharf Docklands Light Railway Station (near platforms #4 and #5) to get tickets for the theatre Monday night (preferably 18:00 or later) Make sure to go to the freestanding kiosk with the "tkts" name as there are several dishonest outfits nearby that advertise "official half-price tickets."I would like to see Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, or Mama Mia if possible.

12:00 After dropping off our stuff wherever we may be staying and reimbursing Aimee for tube
pass and theatre tickets, we'll need to go and pick up our heritage passes.

13:00 Lunch and a free concert at St. Martin's-in-the fields.

14:00 Dalonna's plane arrives, we'll be walking from St. Martin's down towards Big Ben. We
will call Dalonna on the way and arrange a time to meet near Big Ben.

15:00 Meet Dalonna near Big Ben, perhaps go and see the Westminster Abbey or the Old
Opperating Theatre or the British Musuem or Library.

17:00 Return to our place of residence to get ready for the theater

18:00 Eat dinner

19:00 Go to the theatre

So there is the tentative schedule for Monday the 8th.


Yesterday and today I've been packing. I don't want to check any luggage and I'm trying to pack light so that I don't have to carry too much around England. I decided to take just my Trager back pack that I've had since my junior year of highschool. I was amazed by just how much I could fit in: 2 skirts, 3 pants, 2 pairs of shoes, 5 pairs of socks, 7 shirts, a Bible, sm. towel and washrag, rain jacket, plus a variety of other necessary items.

Unfortunately there are still a couple of things that I need to take. Maybe I can convince Joyce that she has room for them:) After all, she's the one who volunteered us to possibly take 50 world gathering t-shirts over. I don't mind taking them, but if I end up having to carry them around London, I won't be happy.

One thing that makes me verry happy is that my passport was waiting for me when I got home from Yearly Meeting early Saturday morning. I was so glad that it hadn't gotten lost or something. Of course, I went straight to the Library to make copies of it. It wasn't until later that night, after the library was closed, that I relized my passport was still in the copier. Luckily someone turned it in to the desk, and I was able to pick it up on Monday.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Bad Example

Okay, I'm a bad example because I said I'd post while I was on my trip and I didn't! So, after the fact - my trip went well. I made it to the train station in time, had an uneventful trip down, even got into Portland early! I got to catch up with my two sisters and brother and mom over some lovely soup - even though it was stinkin' hot in Portland! Every fan in the house was on. I missed my nice cool Seattle.
I was very happy that my mom had finally finished my college graduation present - a quilt. And my sister, visiting from North Carolina, had brought the set of ceramic salad bowls she'd made for me for Christmas. They are great!
Saturday my Grandpa and my aunt and family friend Joe came up and we had lunch and chatted. It was a regular family reunion! I had to leave at 5 but before I left we started up an old family favorite - Uno. I won the very first round! Then my next sister won, then the other sister, then my brother - in descending age order! It was very weird. My mom joined in and we assured her that after we all won, it would be her turn, since she had joined in late. But after each of us had won, I won the fifth round, and my next sister won the next! My mom was out of the loop. =)
The train trip home was uneventful again. We arrived about 15 minutes late and I was prepared for my ride to be waiting outside the station for me. I was glad I'd arranged for a ride since I was carrying this huge quilt and big heavy set of salad bowls. As I neared the station exit, something seemed wrong. I had heard sirens going which seemed strange. The first thing I noticed when I exited was that there were hardly any taxis. Usually there are dozens of taxis lined up for train arrivals; this time there were only a couple. There were only a few cars too. Then the noise caught my attention and I looked up. The next block over there was a parade going through! The parking lot next to the station was the ending point for this parade and it was filled with floats and clowns, high school marching bands, vendors selling all sorts of things. I took one look at the troop of acrobats dressed in karate garb, jumping through the air to pop balloons with their feet - and I turned around and went straight back to the station. I used my only two quarters to call Greg, my ride. The cell phone was off. I knew he was out there somewhere in this late night parade (it was after 10:30pm!) and I might as well enjoy the parade. I went out to the sidelines and watched a huge dance troop and marching band go by, a bunch of people dressed like cowboys, lots of old fire engines, then lots of tow trucks, including the Lincoln "Toe" Truck, which is painted pink and has a set of five giant toes stuck to the top of it. That was actually the end of the parade. It took some time for all the clowns, horses, high school bands, groups of musicians in Korean garb, vendors and more to clear the streets - but eventually traffic started moving and my ride found me.
A perfectly wacky ending to a rather wacky weekend with my siblings.