Tuesday, 27 February 2007

Kerry and I went to see "We Will Rock You" this past week at the Dominion Theatre. It is a musical based around and intertwining Queen's music. Very entertaining, and just great fun to be at the theatre!
I know I have been a bit absent here on the blog the last couple of weeks, and I am probably going to leave you wanting in this installment, as well. However, it cannot be helped. I spend the next few days in Hertford, a town 30 min north of my bit of London, at my third installment of training. I have many an assignment to fine tune in the next handful of hours before my departure in the morning. I shall be back with you next week with stories of kidsitting this past weekend, my spinning class that turned my legs to utter jello, and a guy called Archie who has spoken much truth into my life the past few weeks.

Monday, 19 February 2007

Tis a cloudy day in Londontown today. I would be lying if I said it didn't cause me to be a bit more tired when the sky appears gray. However, I am rejoicing that the 100 days of darkness are over! My colleague Michael in Hertford (an area 30 min north) has affectionately termed the beginning of daylight savings time until about a week ago as the "hundred days of darkness". It applies. This phrase may not have originated with him, but for me it did. So, I will give him the credit. The days have begun to get a bit longer. The other day during a meeting with these girls to the right, I could see blue skies at 5:30! Woo hoo! We are on the upswing and the light only increases from here on out!
So, yes, these are the girls I have been telling you about since I got here. From left to right: Alix, Mallory, Angelica, Lauren, and me. Alix and Mallory are YL leaders on my team. Lauren is from Colorado and has been here working. She was my first pal here. I am so thankful for the family of Young Life. Lauren (and all the others, too, actually, with the exception of Angelica) sent an email to the general inquiry section of YL in London, and we got connected. ("Technology! Name me one thing that we have gained from technology?" "Email and the internet", I add to Meg's reply of "Electricity!". Can you name that movie?)
We actually took this picture last week as it was our last time to meet with Lauren. She is off to see Switzerland, Italy, and then home to start grad school in Colorado. A bittersweet goodbye...sad to see her go and thrilled for her new adventure back home.
Angelica just moved from Arkansas to Londontown to live with her dad and do some studies here. I am so excited that she is here to hang out with us! She has blended right into our group, and she brings such life and stories to our times together. Her dad works at Abbey Road Studios, and she gets to work there in the afternoons. She is living the true London life...going to shows, meeting celebs by just bumping into them... : ) Very fun.
I thought it would be fun for you all to have faces to go with names, so there they are...my sweet college girls that highlight my week by coming to my flat to eat, pray, and laugh!

Wednesday, 7 February 2007

As you can see, Krispy Kreme is alive and well in Londontown, and of course, us European YL staffers from America have found the nearest shop. How many of you have seen "Just Married"? Tell me that this car should not have Ashton and Brittany inside it stuck in a snowbank. If you look close you can see my reflection in the background. Unintentional, and fairly cool. It was parked directly across from my flat tonight as I walked in.
They are predicting a major snow over the next couple days here in London. It is truly strange to see how they prep for a potential storm. In a way , it is a bit like snow in Arkansas. All the sidewalks have sand on them just incase. Though it gets cold here, it rarely snows to any great degree. Like in AR, a few centimeters of white stuff will shut down school and halt most normal life activities.
I started this blog last week sometime, so that is why the date is off a bit.
I must start by saying that last night when I came home, this tiny hi-top car was parked across the street once again, but this time its nose was against the curb rather than being parked parallel. Truly, that is a small vehicle!
I have been venturing on foot through my fantastic city of Londontown. My mom gave me a guide to walks around London for Christmas, and I have been making a concentrated effort to explore. I love it! Wandering about on foot, becoming more familiar helps me feel more at home here. Last weekend, I journeyed from Bond Street to Baker Street which is very near my flat in St John's Wood. The Bond Street station is one of the places you could get off the tube to be on Oxford Street and Regent Street...the area most think of when they think of central London with tons of shops and loads and loads and LOADS of people most all the time. The next day, I went Jude-watching in Primrose Hill, another area just a few blocks away. I will end your suspense now. I had no sightings, but I did walk to the top the the "hill" to see a spectacular view of central London, including the London Eye. Where are those pictures, some of you are saying. Sorry. I am working on my issue of not wanting to look like a tourist. I will get you a picture sometime of said view. : )
I spent this past weekend in Virginia Water (Surrey) where my staff family resides. We had a regional staff day in Guilford, another part of Surrey, which is by the way, the name of the county sort of like Fayetteville is in Washington County. In this bit of Surrey is where those gorgeous scenes were filmed from The Holiday, speaking of Jude. (Zsa informed of this bit of trivia on our drive in. It is about a 30 minute drive from Virginia Water.) On the way back from V.W. on Sunday, I found myself in the midst of 3 couples speaking French as their first language. From what I could gather, one of the guys was English who was fluent in French and obviously married a French lady who did not stop talking the entire 45 minute train ride. If I sound annoyed, I just the opposite. What a beautiful language. I had to try hard to hide my big grin as I listened to them dialogue..."Ah, oui..."is the extent of what I understood. So pretty. No wonder it is one of the romance languages. No wonder Kate fell for Luc.
So, I did not see Jude, but...I did find out through my pal, Mallory, that the BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) awards were going on last night. The comparison that was made was to The Golden Globes. She and her friend Beth were queuing (lining up) at 8 a.m. to get wristbands to stand on the red carpet as the stars walked down. Alix and I decided to take our chances around 3:30 p.m. to see if we could get close enough to see anyone. I have never been so smashed between people in my life! My calves ache today from standing on my tip-toes. Why is is that the tallest guys always stand on the front row as if they need to be close. This was the case as it always is at a "must see moment" at a concert of potential star sighting. At least 3 people behind me and on either side were using my shoulders as tripods for their cameras. I guess, the English personal space rule goes out the window when it comes to seeing celebs. Well, actually most of the people nearby were Americans, so I still think the English are more respectful of their fellow man. I mean, who is NOT taller than me? Why can't us short peeps get a break? Anyway, we were squeezed into a mass of people at the very end of the red carpet and saw the nominees getting out of their sedans and limosines. Ok, ok, who did I see? Dame Judi Dench, Sir Ian McKellen (who waved at me!), Jake Gyllenhaal, Helen Miren... I could have waited around to catch a glimpse of more maybe, but I was literally smashed. We exited carefully and went out to Covent Garden to watch the rest of the arrivals on a big screen set up there. We met up with Mallory and Beth after at a pub nearby and heard their stories and saw pictures which I will try to post next time once Mal sends them to me. It was thrilling! Not as thrilling as it will be when I bump into Jude of Sir Paul on my street, but very cool.
Being proper as I am, I ate my first fish n' chips, served with green peas, since my arrival last October in this afore mentioned pub, called The Essex and something or other. The girls all sort of mocked me, but I felt it appropriate. In the words of Ella, "Hmm...tasty!"
Oh! One more thing, in the spirit of my trying to explore Londi on foot, I walked from my flat to Covent Garden yesterday which I must say I felt extremely proud for doing so. It was easily navigated, but it took about an hour...perhaps a bit more. I would like to write a big Thank You note to the person or people who put together this amazing book called the "A to Z(ed)".
Word/phrase of the week: "all swings and roundabouts" Let's see...how do I explain this one? Mark, our student staffer Englishman, said this phrase in staff meeting this past week. Ok, if you know what a roundabout is..."Look kids, Big Ben, Parliament!", you know you could just keep going and going around and around if you so chose. I would say, it is the equivalent of a conversation "going around in circles getting nowhere close to resolution". I liked it.

Friday, 2 February 2007

Is it just me or do the seats on the tube look like they belong in a Dodge Neon? I don't recall why or when, but at some point we had to rent a car years and days ago when I was a teenager. It was a Neon. I remember thinking then how strange it was to put such colorful seats in a car as upholstery. But, then again it is called a Neon. So, I suppose it is appropriate. Perhaps the engineers decided that since most journeys via the underground can be somewhat crowded, too warm, and prone to delay that the passengers needed a bit of brightness upon which to rest themselves during their commute. I had to sneak this photo, by the way, so people didn't think me mad (a.k.a. crazy).

I suppose I should be taking pictures outside today what with the weather being rather mild and the sun shining beautifully. The blustery winds have calmed, and the sun has emerged much to my delight. I am sitting in my flat listening to some Lionel Richie and trying to be inspired to formulate a talk and a Bible study I am presenting at the end of this month. I am looking forward to creating said assignments, to be honest. It has been awhile, and I have missed writing/presenting. Who would have thought I would miss speaking in front of people? Not me, I assure you. Not a few years ago. It is truly amazing how the Lord works.

I have been a fair bit nesty this past week. I know you are thinking, "Is 'nesty' a British-speak word?". Could be. It is Kym-speak, that is for sure. I have been working a bit more on my flat, making it warm and welcoming. I spend a good bit of time in this space, so I feel an extra need to make it "homely". : )

I had coffee yesterday with one of my new high school friends. She is going with us on the Service Project to Bulgaria in April! She is super sweet, and I so look forward to getting to know her. I also got set up to kid-sit (all teenagers, so not "babysitting") a couple times in the next month for another family! It looks like as of right now, all is going to go smooth with my helping coach the varsity girls softball team, as well. My thankfulness abounds as the Lord works on His own timetable and teaches me to TRUST. Isn't that what it is all about, anyway? I believe it is, don't you, Pop? Everyday I believe and embrace that truth more. TRUST, full stop. (In England, instead of saying "period" for emphasis at the end of a sentence, they say "full stop".)

Hope your are all well this week!

Word/phrase of the week: "mac" , raincoat. Go listen to "Penny Lane" by The Beatles. I learned this one while comparing words with Zsa one day. "And the banker never wears a mac in the pouring rain...very strange." Zsa and I were talking about definitions of words, and this one came up. The next time I heard "Penny Lane", I almost yelled out loud, "Hey! I get it!". I refrained, but I grinned big with new found understanding.

"Would you mind waiting until next week for another word or phrase?" A bonus...every little thing here is completely polite. In church, instead of saying, "Be seated." or "You may be seated.", they say, "Would you mind taking a seat?". I love it!