Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Taking it Down a Notch

Today I took things at a different pace, slow!  Katie and I decided since tomorrow we start our rotations we were going to sleep in, refresh our memory on guidelines of disease states we might encounter, and just relax.  That is exactly what I did. I slept till 9ish, then read over old notes till 12ish, ate lunch, then decided to walk around my neighborhood.

My first stop was the post office, where I stood for a good 30 minutes in the que so I could mail Rebekah Harrelson the traveling journal that our high school friends pass around every two weeks.  I also put a little treat in there for her. J  Then I headed to Sainsbury’s, which is a local grocery store.  Man it is so interesting to grocery shop in another country.  I spent a long time just looking at the different items they had and some of the same items we have back in the states.  Since most foods here don’t have preservatives, you have to grocery shop more often because the food will go bad.  With that in mind, I bought stuff to make a salad, some chicken, cheese, hummus, and some pita bread.  That should last me a couple of days. Oh and how could I forget I bought some nail polish, obviously the best purchase!

After taking my new purchases back to the Daniel House, I set out for Hyde Park.  Normally I am really good at directions, but for some reason here it is harder for me to get my bearings.  I guess it is the fact that people drive on the wrong side of the road and that I use the tube so often that walking around is tougher.  So I ended up walking in the wrong direction for a while, making a big square, then eventually making it to the park. 

It was a semi-beautiful day with moments of warm sun and then moments of chilly clouds.  I first sat on a hill and soaked up some sun as I listened to a sermon from North Point Community Church in Atlanta.  Pastor Andy Stanley spoke on 1 Corinthians 13 in relation to relationships.  Even though most of his sermon was based on romantic relationships, I couldn’t help but think about it in all relationships.  If you look at verses 4-6, it talks of different attributes one should try to uphold in relationships.  As you read it you realize NO ONE has all of these.  It is impossible, but that goodness for a savior who can help us and love us even when we fail.  Andy Stanley challenged everyone to put this list of attributes into practice in their daily lives.  So with the help of a loving God, I am going to actively put this list to memory and try to implement them…patience, kindness, not envying or boasting, not being arrogant or rude, not insisting on things to go my way, not being resentful or irritable, and not rejoicing at wrong doings, but rather yet in truth.
I stayed at the park for a good 2 hours or so before heading back to the Daniel House.  I made a delish salad and pita and drank a cup of tea.  Now I am chillaxin in the room with Katie.  We will probably go to bed in the next few hours so we can get our rest before our first day at the hospital.  Tomorrow’s blog should be jammed packed, get pumped!!!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Where Did the Day Go?!

Happy Memorial Day or Happy Bank Holiday (the holiday over here across the pond).  It has no meaning besides that every year there are random “bank holidays” built into the schedule where most people don’t go to work and no school.  Well to celebrate Katie and I went to Cambridge with two other girls who are staying in the Daniel House with us, Courtney and Andrea. 

We took a 45 minute train that dropped us off at the Cambridge Station.  Our only plan for the day was to follow the walking tour in the book Emma had let me borrow.  To start off, we walked about a mile to a “colorful market” in the center of town.  That was the only description, but it was well worth it.  I bought a cute ceramic bowl and cream pitcher.  I would show you pictures, but the lady wrapped them up in cardboard so it can make it back with me to the states, but get ready because they are awesome!!! Then we must have looked super touristy because this guy asked us if we would like to go on a punting tour.  I know, you are thinking what in the world is punting!? 

Punting is by far the best thing I have done so far on my trip!!! It is a flat bottom boat that is steered by a long pole that a person hits the bottom of the lake and pushes you along.  It is sort of like the British version of a gondola ride.  On the tour, our guide Jasper from New Zealand (don’t say Australia because that is a major insult, I found out the hard way haha! He told me to jump out of the boat or he would start calling me a Mexian…who knew!) told us all about the history of all the buildings and bridges we saw and went under.  He was a hoot or maybe we were.  I think we entertained the entire boat which consisted of some quiet Japanese people and two couples from Northern Britain.  Actually of those two couples, the man beside me leaned over at one point and said, “did you know you are sitting with aristocracy?”  I didn’t believe it at first when he said he was the Lord Tate of somewhere.  After a few minutes, he then told me that for 28 pounds you can buy some land that makes you a Lord or Lady. Haha! I want to get my Ladyship!! (remember my birthday is in OctoberJ ) Jasper overheard us and he exclaimed, “where can I get some Ladyship?” because he wanted to get one for his girlfriend.  Not the words we wanted him to say…oh well he was still cute and fun to cut up with as we punted down the river.  He actually let Courtney take a go at punting. It was hilarious because she ran us under a willow tree.  We were crying we were laughing so hard!  I would say Team America as Jasper called us, made the tour top notch!
 On the punt with "Lord Tate" and his wife

 That's the mathematical bridge which Newton made without any bolts, nails,or screws.  And the punter to the right looks like Matt Kerlin ha!

 Good ole Jasper taking us down the river on the punt

This is when Courtney ran us into a Willow Tree.

Oh and I forgot to tell yall about our climb to the top of St. Mary’s Church.  For just a couple of pounds we were able to climb up this tiny steep staircase to the top of the church which enabled us to see for miles.  It was BEAUTIFUL!!!
 At the bottom of the stair case
at the top of the church 

After our punting and site seeing we headed to a local pub called The Anchor.  It was so yum and we sat where you cold overlook the river and see people punting around.  I got a bacon and chicken club sandwich with chips and a glass of Pimm’s, which is the traditional summer cocktail.  I think it is lemonade mixed with fruit and some alcohol called Pimm’s.  But it is so good!

As we were eating, it started to rain…boo! So when we left we bundled up before we walked around the city some more and shopped.  I actually bought a super cute dress from a Danish store called Noa Noa.  We walked for about a hour then headed to king’s College to attend their EvenSong, which is the evening mass where the university students sing.  It was really pretty to listen to and it felt like a very traditional mass in a Catholic church.  After the service we headed back to London and grabbed a bite to eat at Nando’s, a delish chicken place around the corner from the house. 
Now, that’s what I call a good day! Cheers yall!!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

People Watching

London is the perfect place to people watch, which I love to do! On the train today to Windsor Castle there was a dad and his four year old son, Henry, that rode next to us.  He was the cutest and was constantly asking questions, which was so funny to hear him and his dad talking.  Then on the train back, there was a crew of teenager boys, maybe around 12 years old, and they were singing S Club 7 really loud.  It was so funny because I have NEVER seen a group of boys just randomly singing and of all bands, S Club 7. Hahaha! Who knew they were even still out and about!

So with all these interesting people to watch, Katie and I have made it a game to guess what nationality people are.  Whether we are walking down the street, on the bus/tube/train, or in que (line) with people we are always saying I bet they are...  We also love to find Americans which are normally pretty easy to spot because they talk real loud, dress touristy, and never follow the unsaid rules of traveling on the tube.  I am sure we fit in these categories, but we are trying to blend.  Each day I get better at it and I get real pumped when people ask us directions because they think we know what we are doing even thought that is false.

Another thing about London is how much of an ethnic melting pot it is.  Some cultures I enjoy and some I don’t care to much for.  For example, today when I was in que (line) to go into the Queen’s Dollhouse and Estate Rooms at Windsor Castle, I somehow got in between groups of Asians.  They would just get up right on you since they have so sense of space and they would just cut.  The lines were so long and if I have to wait, so should they!  It got kind of frustrating at some points.  However, Windsor castle is so fun to see!  This is the Queen’s favorite estate to go to when she wants to get out of the city.  When we were buying our tickets, the people who work there told us that she was there this weekend, but later we found out that she wasn’t.  I was bummed!   Oh well.

After we hit up Windsor, I was worn out! So I went back to the Daniel House and took a quick nap before I met up with Emma to go to church.  She goes to Holy Trinity Brompton which is about a ten minute walk from the Daniel House.  I really enjoyed going to church with her.  It was so neat to worship with other Christ believers but in a completely different country.  I will definitely go back with her because you can never get the full feel for a church in one visit and I really liked it!!

After church Emma and I picked up sandwiches and headed to Kensington Park/Hyde Park where we sat on a hill and chowed down.  Yum! Then I needed to borrow a book from her so I stopped by her flat before heading home.  I am so tired so I am going to bed early!!(By the way... I heard it takes about the number hours difference in time zones in days to re-adjust, thus I have a day or two to go to completely switch to the UK time zone)  Tomorrow Katie and I are going to Cambridge.  The book I borrowed from Emma has a plan for us to walk around and see the main points, so we will be walking a lot but I am pumped! Well tally ho (I have no clue what that means). Cheers Yall!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Market Day!

I just love markets! Today I was one of the first people up in the Daniel House because I wanted to hit up some markets before they were crazy busy.  Katie and I met up with Emma at the Nottinghill Gate tube stop and the timing was perfect because we came out just as it finished raining.  Today was kind of dreary, but no rain which is brilliant!  So first market of the day was Portobello Market which is huge full and full of antiques, ethnic food, brick-a-brac (random stuff), and vintage clothes.  This market is very touristy and it probably doesn’t help that it is talked about in the Hugh Grant film, Nottinghill.  But if you ever come to London, it is a must see!  At the market I bought a pair of earrings and a coffee cup (pictures below!).  I would have loved to buy more, but some things were out of my price range or junk that I really didn’t need.

 My new coffee cup from the market.  Cheezy, but I just had to buy it!
After Portabello, we walked through the nicer side of Nottinghill and then into the Holland Park district which is beautiful!  This area is more ritzy, but so cute!  We stepped in and out of a few shops and then I made Katie and Emma go to the park.  Which if you have ever read Something Blue by Emily Griffith, Ethan mentions this park several times. (Something Blue is the sequel to Something Borrowed which recently came out in the movie theaters).  I love this park and can’t wait to go back and explore some more!
 This was at some shop that sold face masks.  This is Borat! haha
 A turtle in Holland Park!
Katie and I with some peacocks in Holland Park
Since it was close to lunch time we decided to hop the tube across town and to Borough Market which is a huge market just of food.  There are booths for pretty much any food you could think of.  I ended up getting a chicken burger and a smoothie, but it was so fun to walk around and see all the options.  Great atmosphere and I highly recommend!

At this point, Katie was ready to head back, but not me (I have way more energy and need to explore), so Emma and I got off at the South Kennsington tube stop and walked to Chelsea which is another ritzy area of town.  Actually this is where Kate Middleton used to live.  You know when you see pictures of her stepping out of stores, yeah I went in some of those. Ha! I can’t help but get really pumped when I saw places she had been like I saw where she gets her hair cut.  Lame, I know.  But after we hit up Chelsea, Emma and I took a bus to a grocery store, then I took the tube home.  Now I am trying to figure out what I will do tonight J Cheers yall!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Life as a foreigner

It is amazing how at some moments I feel like I fit in and blend amongst the Brits and at other times I feel like I should just slap an American flag on and chant USA! USA!  Like for instance, today Katie and I are trekking around Oxford and we decide to do the double-decker tour like we did the day before but in Oxford (truly, they are the best way to fit an entire city in a day and get a good grasp on everything!).  Well while we are talking to the bus driver and paying for our tickets, some lady on the radio asks why he hasn’t made it to his next stop and he replied “passengers”.  Immediately Katie and I said, you can just tell her it’s because of the Americans ha! It’s kinda weird, but Brits really do stereotype Americans as dumb and it doesn’t help that we have country accents (Katie worse than I).  Then later we were walking out of Christ Church College, which is where many of the sites in the first Harry Potter where filmed, and I was just checking the map to see where the covered markets where when this man came up to us to ask if we needed help.  We asked him and then he rolled his eyes and pointed to the street right in front of us.  Hello, if you want to be friendly and give someone directions, then don’t be a jerk about it.  As Stephanie Tanner from Full House would put it, “How Rudeee!” 
 Being a typical American tourist on the Double-Decker!
 Fish Finger Sandwich and "Chips" at the famous Turf Tavern! This is where Bill Clinton "did not" inhale pot.
 University Divinity School, but better known as the infirmary at Hogwarts in the first movie.
 Katie and I in front of Christ Church's gardens!
When Katie saw these ducks she got really pumped and said "they look just like American ducks! I wonder if they quack the same?"  I laughed really hard! 

Ok, so enough rants because the rest of the time everything has been amazing.  Or as our friend Jon Walter (some British guy we met today that guards Christ Church) says, “Smashing” or as the waiter at the pub we ate at today said, “Brilliant!”  You better believe these words will be added to my vocab!  Like if you ask me “how does my hair look?,” I would say “You look SMASHING and quite Brilliant!”  hahaha!

In a nut shell, I have moments when I miss the familiarity of America and home, but the excitement of the new and unknown is wonderful, rather yet, smashing! Tomorrow I shall be hitting up a couple of markets with Katie and Emma.  I am sure we will have a Brilliant time and buy lots of smashing trinkets!
Cheers Yall!

Thursday, May 26, 2011


My first full day in London and it was your typical day…cloudy, windy, and RAINY!  So I couldn’t sleep very well from my body clock still being in America, so I got up early and go ready way before Katie J did.  So what else do you do in London, but get a cup a tea! I headed out, hopped on the tube where some Spanish speaking lady asked me for directions and I was honored to be thought of us as a Brit!  I went to Victoria Station since Katie was meeting me there later and thought I would just find a coffee shop in that area…not my smartest idea.   Victoria Station is huge and full of people in transit, so it was very overwhelming to figure out what to do.  I had about an hour and a half so I grabbed a tea (with milk, duh!) and decided to walk around.  For the most part London is safe with just a few sketch areas so I figured I was good.  Well I headed about and it was cold and windy so it wasn’t the most enjoyable and it was a business area, so not much to look at, thus I headed back to the station.  I didn’t really have time to go anywhere else so I found a Starbucks in the station and chilled until Katie arrived. 

Katie and I decided we would take a double-decker bus tour today to reacquaint ourselves with the city.  I had found in our Rick Steves’ travel book that we would get a discount if we showed this one company, the Original Company, our book.  Duh, me being a cheapo, we did so and saved 4 pounds! For the next 2 hours we rode around listening to the British Tour guide talk about the highlights of the city which included where Gwyneth Paltrow and Madonna’s House.  Most of the time we had to ride on the bottom level because it was raining, but every now in then we would head up to the top and bared the wind to take some good pictures and take it all in.  I definitely recommend this tour!  Also it included the Jack the Ripper walking tour (about a murdered from 1866 and follows the location of his terrorizing) and a boat tour (which we didn’t get time to do).  Oh and I forgot to add that we made some friends on the bus from Ireland (a group of older ladies on holiday) and from Canada (a group of girls in their early 20s who have been traveling Europe for 3 weeks).  And how could I forget where we ate lunch…MCDONALADS!!!  It was cheap and good, just what we wanted!!
 On the bus tour 


 I am 90% sure this is Diagon Alley from Harry Potter. We saw it on the Jack the Ripper Tour.

After all our touring and being soaked from doing the Jack the Ripper tour in the rain, we headed back to the Daniel House to change before going to eat dinner with Emma.  We ate at Wagamama, which is an Asian place that is quite tasty! Afterwords, we walked to a supermarket to buy a few things before walking back to the house.  Now I am socializing with some of the other students in the house before heading to bed because I need to get rested for tomorrow…Katie and I are going to Oxford J

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Jet-Lagged and Getting Settled

Man is an overnight flight tiring or what! I got maybe an hour of sleep on the plane, but I just have a hard time and just take tiny naps here and there.  At one point, mid-flight I looked out the window and saw a lightning storm in the distance.  It was BEAUTIFUL and kind of scary to think that we are flying right beside it.  However, the flight was smooth the entire time, so no worries!

We safely landed at Heathrow-London Airport around 11:30 am.  It took us about an hour to get through the airport, customs, and to get our luggage before finding where the Heathrow Express was to get to Paddington Station.  When we got to Paddington Station we hopped in the taxi line, or should I say que, and noticed a group of women who kept looking at us.  Eventually, I asked one of them if it was that obvious that we were Americans because I noticed her starring.  She told us no because she thought we were Scandinavian like herself except for the fact that we had way more luggage.  She only had one little bag compared to our two large ones.  I bet she was thinking, “Oh those Americans” ha!  We then hopped into a cute little cab and headed to the Daniel House.
 On the Heathrow Express 

Our Cab!

Once we arrived, Katie H. (our resident director) welcomed us to the Daniel House, gave us the grand tour, ran over some house rules, and then let us get settled.  We didn’t stay long because we went to go see my friend Emma who has been living in London for the past few months.  We met her at the High Street Kensington tube stop in a little cafĂ© called Pret Manger.  Katie J and I were famished so we grabbed a quick bite before Emma helped us get a few necessities like a phone, an adapter, and a hair dryer for Katie.  After that Katie J headed back to the Daniel House to finish unpacking as I headed to Parsons Green with Emma.  She lives in this cute, non-touristy part of London and has an amazing flat!  It was so fun for her to walk me around and feel as if part of her new British life.  Hanging out with Emma will be one the best parts of being in London because A of all she is like a talking/walking Fodor’s travel book and B of all she is one of my bestest friends!!!

Well I am wiped and am about to hit the hay even though yes it is only 9 pm here! Cheers Yall!

Here we go...

Good Day Mates! Yes, I know that is Australian lingo, but oh well.  At the moment I am sitting on my flight from Miami to London.  I am just gonna recap the day for yall…

Today began my big adventure, I embarked on the journey to LONDON, ENGLAND with my bud, Katie Jones.  The day began at 6:30 with my alarm going off and duh I didn’t get up for another 30 minutes. However, when I turned on the Today Show, they were talking about London.  It was a sign…sigh!  I quickly got ready, chatted with the parental as they headed to work, then Katie and her dad picked me up to drive to ATL. (Theme song:  “Welcome to Atlanta where the playas play…”).  At the airport I was relieved to find my 2 suitcases were under 50 pounds each, one 45 and the other 47 to be exact.  Katie’s were 48 and 49.5…that was close! Then we grabbed lunch and hopped on our first plane to Miami.

On our first flight we sat by a very nice Floridian who was glad to be chatty with me.  He was a sweet old man from south Florida.  At one point in the flight I was watched the state dinner at Buckingham Palace with President Obama and Queen Elizabeth…sign two…sigh!  Bahh! I am going to LONDON!!! Can’t contain my excitement.  Oh so, we landed in Miami (theme song:  “Welcome to Miami, Bienvenidos a Miami…”) Once in the airport we noticed the board of flights did not have ours listed, odd right!? So we asked a Delta guy and immediately he said Gate D10…we were impressive, except when we got to the gate he must have known since we were the only delayed flight in the terminal. Yikes!! My first thought was geez that dang Ash Cloud from the volcano in Iceland is interfering, but no it was just a mechanical issue that would only delay our flight for 3 hours. 

So as we sat around trying to figure out what to do next, we sat by this sweet couple from Athens, GA (Fran and Emory).  Emory was a retired history professor from UGA.  They were quite chatty, but such an interesting pair who seem quite cultured.  Then another couple came to chat with us, Don and Katie also from GA…I never really caught where. Don works at the VA dealing with homeless and drug addicted veterans and Katie is a preschool teacher.  Don was originally from AL and graduated from University of AL and at one point lived in Birmingham, so obviously the four of us became buds!  About that time a Delta representative started handing out $25 gift cards to help while we were stranded.  So after meeting our new friends, Katie J and set out to eat dinner with Don and Katie Farris at a rando restaurant in the Miami airport.  Carlos our waiter was a confused man because he was definitely Cuban in an American airport, yet kept using French terms like Bon Appetite!  Hil-arious? Yes!

During dinner Katie J and I learned about Katie and Don lives' and their family.  They were headed to England to see their oldest son graduate from University at Oxford.  He was a Rhodes Scholar which is one the most prestigious scholarships/honors EVER!  Impressive right? Also he is about to go to Harvard Law while his wife is in her medical residency at a hospital in Boston.  Then there other son was in Atlanta still and they were sad it didn’t work out for him to join them on this trip, but that is life.  They had traveled all over the UK years ago and were telling us highlights of places we needed to check out when we are using our BritRail pass (any train we want in the UK!). 
 Dinner in Miami Airport with Don and Katie Farris

After dinner, Katie J talked on her phone and I sat with our new buds…all 4 of them.  Fran helped me pick out a book at a store.   I got “The Help” which I am pretty sure Julia recommended? Or maybe Kristin?  I can’t wait to read it!  Then we just sat around and chatted.  Fran and Emory are just going to London for a fun trip.  They are probably in their late 60s/early 70s and seem to just travel and visit their children and grandchildren who live in Sewannee, TN (WOOP WOOP) and Seattle, WA.  Then Don was trying to recruit me to work at the VA…ha! Who knows where I will end up, but he sure made it sound good! I could totally do a Monday-Friday 8-4 job with 10 paid national holidays.  Katie Farris then joked that I should marry their 23 year old son Jason…I could work and he could stay home with the kids since he doesn’t know what to do with his life yet.  Hahaha! Everyone keeps trying to marry me off, but I am ok with that! 

Then about an hour and a half later it was time to board.  Finally!  So  now I am typing this as we sail through the air over the Atlantic Ocean.  My next move is to watch a movie, maybe Harry Potter 7 part one to get in the British spirit, which let’s be honest I am already in.  So on that note, I am gonna peace out.  Cheers Ya’ll!! (that is my Southerner-British combo!) 

Monday, May 9, 2011

Inaugural Post

To preface, I have always been against blogging.  I didn't really understand them or see what the big deal was, until my friend Emma got one.  She thought it would be fun to live in London and a great way for the rest of us to know what she is up to was via her blog.  Smart right!?  Well this year I always told myself, who would want to read a blog by someone semi-dyslexic AND who can't spell.  Yep, thats right...english/grammar has never been a strength of mine.  But here it goes... my first blog!  I apologize now for my all misspellings and incorrect word usage.  This is just a place for my random thoughts to hit the web and update my buds on my latest and greatest adventures...

Right now I should be studying for my last major final of my academic career, but instead I am wishing I was outside in the sun by the pool, or hiking Signal Mountain with my bestie Kristin, or strolling the downtown streets of Chattanooga, or driving a ski boat on the river.  Here are some pics to show you were my head and heart are right now...

Pretty Chattanooga!

 Driving boats with my Co at CVP
Signal Mountain with Kristin

Isn't Signal Mountain B-E-A-UTIFUL!  Hopefully I will be able to hit that up this summer :)  Well I just wanted to share a piece of my heart before I hit the books again : / 

Over this next year this blog is gonna be my journal to the world and myself as I am about to live a gypsy-like life hopping from place to place.  So far I should be hitting up Jackson, TN (big surprise); London, England; Florence, Cinque Terre, and Venice, Italy; Montana...and I sure there will be more.  So get ready, friends this girl is setting off for multiple adventures and you are invited to join (via this blog!).

Peace Out ... "Ok, Bye!"