Tuesday, December 30, 2008

the one with oxford pictures

Well, I am finally over my jet-lag. This is made obvious by the fact that I now sleep in until 9.30 or 10 AM, even though my alarm is set for 7.30. Yay.I must say that while I enjoy not getting up at 5.30 before an alarm goes off, I feel that I cheat my days shorter. Oh well. I'm sure I'll get over it soon.
The past week has been a whirlwind of family and church Christmas celebrations. At one such event, I was reminded that I had not put pictures up from my last day when I went to Oxford.I promised I would fix that. So --here goes!

[This is where Joy Davidman lived with her two boys whilst she was in Oxford]
[This is Headington Quarry Parish Church where Lewis worshiped.]

[This is Lewis's earthly resting place. Men must endure their going hence.]

[The Kilns. The white door leads to Lewis's room.]

[Jack's desk. The actual desk is not original, but everything on it is.]

I'll try to put up different pictures with more stories as time goes by, and as I continue to miss London. It is hard being back here and almost harder to see this as 'home'. I'm starting to think it was all a dream and I know some of my other friends are feeling the same way.
One thing I need to get use to is my 'big' room here! Wow! It doesn't mean I have more room, it just means I have more room to put stuff. AND it's more to clean. That's the un-fun part right now. So I should get on that...right.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

the traveler returns

'Well, I'm back' to quote Samwise Gamgee. It is so good to be home! I had a safe flight, though my flight was delayed for some reason by a half an hour. It was okay though, because somehow I got a seat upgrade and had more room to get comfy. In addition to the cool seat, I got sleep on this flight. This is what enabled me to stay up until 2 or 3 AM (London time) which was like 10pm USA time.
I've done really well getting back into the swing of things at home. It is so great getting to see my sisters and my parents again. I remembered some things in my house differently and it was so odd to be walking through my house again. It took me a bit to get used to everything again. My bed, however, was almost exactly as I remembered it. :)
I'm so excited that I'm home for Christmas! I've wrapped all my presents and am eagerly looking forward to Christmas Eve service at Fleetwood Bible Church. How I missed FBC!
Well my duties since being home, mainly laundry, needs doing. So I will go do that and finish "The Muppet's Christmas Carol"--it is the best Christmas movie of all time.
Happy Christmas to my faithful readers!

Friday, December 12, 2008

the last post from across the pond

Well, it has once again been far too long. My deepest apologies and all of that. When you have three essays due in one week, there is hardly time for sleeping, let alone updating all you beautiful people.
The last week (yes,it has been at least a week since my last blog) has been a blur of colours and activities. We had our last GSE outing-- dinner at an Indian restaurant-- and then our last LMU event -- dinner at a neat pizza place and then a trip on the London Eye. I handed in my last two essays on Thursday and then visited the largest bookstore in the world (that's what I was told anyway...) called Waterstones. It had 5 levels full of books. It was like heaven. :) Well, actually, I had my "This is just like heaven" moment today. Don't worry, I'm getting there.
The reason I had to do all that crazy work to get three essays done by Thursday was so that I could go to Oxford to day. My last full day in England and I spent it walking up and down Oxford and Headington Quarry with my dear friend Miriam, who I met at St. Giles. The first thing we did when we got to Oxford was run all over creation trying to find Holy Trinity Church, where C.S. Lewis went to church. I am in shock and awe that who live in Headtington do NOT know where this is! I mean come on! Anyway, we found it and took loads of pictures. Yes, you will notice I do not have them up here. I seemed to have packed that bit of stuff and don't feel like trying to find it. I will post once I get home.
After the church, we went to find his house. Insert the same shock and awe here. Not know where The Kilns is? Seriously Oxford. What kind of a literary place are you? Once we found it, we took pictures of the OUTSIDE because you had to call to make an appointment for tours. I looked at Miriam, who was teaching me the importance of just asking for things (like directions and information), and said, "I should call, shouldn't I? I'll call." And I did. A lovely woman answered the phone and when I asked about tours, she said they were on three days during the week, and one wasn't Friday. She asked if I wanted to come tomorrow, but I told her that I was going home. She told me to come around to the front of the house and she would let us in and we would chat. Yay God! So I walk/run to the front of the house and enter the world that belonged to Jack Lewis. I want to, but I can't even begin to describe my experience there. My mind was on over load and all I could think was "C. S. Lewis was here!" The house was cold, as I think is befitting of an English house, but it felt homey. Donna, the woman on the phone, gave us a tour and we talked for at least an hour or two. I saw the wardrobe and the spaces in the attic. I saw the infamous bath room, and his amazing library. Even now, I am having a hard time describing what I saw. This was my "I'm in heaven" moment, if you hadn't caught that. I will write more when I put pictures up, promise!
I am staring at an empty room full of clutter. Half of my stuff is packed, and the other half is strewn over my bed. I have about a thousand things I am thinking of, and none of those things has anything to do with packing. But, as I must pack and leave to get to most of the things I am thinking of, I should probably do that.
Tomorrow, I fly home.
Tomorrow, I see my family :) Tomorrow I get on a plane, turn my back on a country I have learned to love, and leave. Tomorrow I leave the place where I learned to stand on my own two feet. Tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

the Thanksgiving/Stratford/Oxford post that is a bit late...

I'd love to use the excuse that these last few days have been uneventful, hence the need not to post. Alas, that is untrue. I was just being lazy...well, that and all of a sudden school has consumed my life. But the end is in sight, and after a refreshing time at Bible study and Christmas decorating at Pete's (Bible study leader) flat, I feel it is time for an update. Lucky you.
Last week was Thanksgiving, as you Americans remember. However, it kind of sneaked up on me here. Rachel's parents came in for the weekend and we all went to this smoke house for a full Thanksgiving dinner. And when I mean full Thanksgiving dinner, I mean it was a 'I'm still eating leftovers' kind of a full Thanksgiving meal. (For real, I am. Just had a cold turkey sandwich. Bring on the turkey coma!) It was an interesting experience, spending Thanksgiving with people who aren't my family. It made me miss them a bit more, but I had a great time.

This past Sunday, my GSE trip was to Stratford-upon-Avon and Oxford. It was delightful--except for that fact that it rained the entire time we were in Oxford. Actually, the day didn't start so delightfully. It all started when I woke up an hour after my alarm went off. Yeah, I'm great at the whole 'morning' thing. NOT. I got ready in good time though, and if I hadn't forgot my roommate's shoes I would have been fine. But the shoes were forgotten, and of course the Piccadilly line-which is never late- was running late. Very late. So I pick up another line and take it half way to where I needed to be with the intention of picking up the Piccadilly there. As I'm transferring from the Victoria to the Piccadilly, running like the awkward person that I am, I hear the beep-beep-beep of the doors getting ready to close. I turn the corner, run up to the train and-- the doors close on my face. Yay. Five minutes later ( I want to take this moment to say that when you are waiting for a train, five minutes feels like 5 days) I get on the train to Earl's Court. As I'm willing the train to move faster, I'm trying to text my leader to tell him the lines are running slow and that I will be there. As soon as the train pulls up to the platform, I dash off and start running to the exit. So I'm running with my messenger bag on one shoulder, bag of shoes in the other AND I'm trying to text people to let them know I'm coming. Thankfully I didn't drop anything as I leave the station, nor did I get run over by a car whilst crossing the street to get to the bus that hadn't left yet. Yay God.

[Anne Hathaway's house]

After driving for about two hours, we arrive in Stratford-upon-Avon. It is all hyphenated because it means the town of Stratford that in on the River Avon. (For those of you Anglo-Saxon, English-y major people, you know that the word 'avon' is just the word for river, so its really the river River, which I find amusing.) It was a great town, but over populated for my taste. We got to see Anne Hathaway's house and Shakespeare's birthplace. I used my excellent map following abilities (okay, Michael gave great visual directions as well...) I made my way down to Holy Trinity Church, the church Shakespeare is buried in.
[William Shakespeare's grave at Holy Trinity]

I think those are the most important parts of a trip to Stratford. Everything else is just "Oh we think Shakespeare spat here, so we will charge you oodles of money to look at that spot." A bit of an exaggeration, but not too far off. According to Pauline Frommer (who wrote my excellent guide book) the locals of Stratford didn't care too much about the house Shakespeare was born in years ago. However when P. T. Barnum offered to buy it and ship it to America stone-for-stone, they all of a sudden loved it. Riiight.[All Soul's College]
Next stop was Oxford. In the rain. It wouldn't have been so bad, but it was also quite late in the day, limiting what you could see. I climbed to the top of St. Mary's Chapel to get the best view of Oxford, which is really best when the sun is out. I saw the Bodleian Library, but couldn't go in. I also found Magdalen College, but couldn't go into that either. I did however get into The Eagle and the Child, which is almost more important.
[The Eagle and the Child and the back room where the Inklings met to make amazing literature. Oh, and a picture of C. S. Lewis {to the right of the clock} :) ]
School is coming to an end, which is something I desperately need. I've already had my end of term break down, I think, so I should be able to knock out the rest of my course work without any problems. I get a little jealous when I think about all this work I still have to do, and how the students who aren't leaving for home have until 16 January to turn these papers in. Booger. Ah well, such is life.
Tomorrow I will be wicked. No, I haven't regressed into a past decade--I'm going to see 'Wicked'! I'm so excited! Tower of London tour on Saturday, but basically I"ll be working on school work all weekend.
Less than 10 days til I see home!