Saturday, 24 April 2010

One year ago...

...Jerremy and I left the USA and moved to the United Kingdom.  We've made our home in Worcester, England and have enjoyed living in this fine country.  (We do have a small American flag framed and proudly hanging on our wall.)  Over the past year we've noticed and come to appreciate certain aspects of British culture.

Why we love the British....

  1. Learning the fine art of proper 'queuing' (forming a line).
  2. Three things the British love with a reverence, four they can't do without:  a proper cuppa (tea),  a pint of beer, the local chippy (fish and chip shop), and a good curry. 
  3. The roads are smaller and much more narrow, but apparently it's okay to park on the street or on the sidewalk creating a one lane road into town. 3b. It seems like people will also pull over on the side of the road and hang out.  And I don't mean the ones who are waiting for road rescue.
  4. Listening to news reports. We love the passionate rhetoric and demand for inquiries. 
  5. Quiz night mania.
  6. The sweet look on every British face when you say, "baked beans on toast." 
  7. In conversing with a stranger the dialog goes like this:  "You alright?" "Yeah, I'm alright. You?" "Yeah. You have a different accent, where are from?" At that point I say, "I live in Worcester." But you can't fool the British. The next question is, "Well yes, but where do you come from originally?"   Always very keen to know where someone is from and they can pinpoint British accents to the town.  We were amazed.  Even more amazing, I'm starting to hear the different accents from around the country.  It's the size of Oregon, but it's like saying to someone, "Oh I can tell you're from Grants Pass" just by hearing them speak. 
  8. The way a proper gentleman will walk with one arm tucked behind his back and conversely, the way other British men will remove their shirts whenever the sun shines. 
  9. The British Breakfast: Eggs, sausage, bacon, blood pudding, tomatoes, baked beans, mushrooms, and toast. 
  10. And, finally, a sacred love of holidays and six weeks of vacation a year. (Plus bank holidays.)

Thursday, 22 April 2010

God Save the Queen!

April 21st was the Queen's birthday so to celebrate I made coconut cupcakes (thank you Ina Garten for a delicious recipe).  Also, it was my turn to bring goodies to community group.  I did try asking around to find out what the Queen has on her birthday, but no one knew.  Coincidentally, it's been one year since we moved to the UK and I thought what better way to celebrate our year anniversary than with cupcakes?   So the Queen had cupcakes. I fully intended to add blueberries for a red, white, and blue theme, but they were four quid (over $6) for a little tub and I couldn't be bothered.  In getting the other ingredients I found that Tesco's (equivalent to Safeway) does not have flaky coconut. (Or molasses, macaroni and cheese, Lucky Charm cereal, and lime flavored tortilla chips-- more's the pity.)  But, despite these circumstances, the cakes turned out quite nicely.  We now have an abundance of cream cheese frosting which I think is exceptionally dangerous, because what isn't cream cheese frosting good on?   A great way to start another year living in the UK. 

Monday, 5 April 2010

Luck O' the Irish!

St. Patrick's Cathedral

View of Dublin from top of Guinness Storehouse. 

We talked it over in the car on the way home and after much discussion decided that we liked Dublin over London.  Don't get me wrong, we've loved our London trips and plan more.  You can't beat London for history and things to do- it's a brilliant city.  But we liked the vibe in Dublin better.  It's more easy going.  And for all the rain quite cheerful.  We decided it's the music, the Irish banter full of stories, and the pubs which make it a delightful place to visit.  

For the short time we were there we squeezed the most out of our trip.  It was one of the most relaxing trips we've taken because we're finally learning what we like when we travel.  We picked a hotel in the heart of the city within easy walking distance and then walked all over.  Our walks took us past St. Patrick's Cathedral where we went for Easter Sunday Service.  Also to the Guinness Storehouse, Grafton Street, the Temple Bar area (for local music and pubs), the Gaiety theatre, Christ Church Cathedral, and Connolly Train Station. 
We took the train 2 hours north to Belfast and met up with our friends Rita and Stephanie.  Great to catch up with them!  Then back to Dublin for one final night. We didn't make it out to the Gaol or Hospital-- 
maybe next time!

Thursday, 1 April 2010

This is good news.

      A month or two ago we listened to a John Piper sermon. It was the story about how Jesus miraculously feeds 5,000 people from a few loaves of bread and a couple fish.  The story continues with the crowds following Jesus and asking Him to perform more miracles.  I've always been hard on the crowds, why do they keep demanding miracles?  Wasn't it enough that they tasted the bread? But Piper had this insight: they got hungry again.  It's a simple factual observation from the text.  Jesus fed them, they followed Him, a day goes by, and they got hungry as you do.
     The solution Jesus offers is to provide them with Himself- eternal Bread for eternal Life.  John 6:51 "I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." This is what we are thinking of and praising God for on Easter that Jesus died for our sins and rose for His Glory as our great Saviour to be the Hope of the world. This is good news... Happy Easter!