Showing posts from June, 2017

Europe 2017: Oxford and Observations

I'm kind of bored with the "and here's what I did next" posts. Let's do something a little different today. I'll give you some observations, in random order, of what I did today! Buses are great. After last night's stupidity, I wised up today. This morning I grabbed the bus from outside St. Hugh's and took it into town. I am buying a few souvenirs, and my bag is starting to get a bit heavy. Luckily, my one-and-done days are almost over and I'll have two weeks of light bags once I get to Germany! The reason I went into town was to drop off said bag so I didn't have to lug it around all day. Rail stations in England don't have lockers, but after doing some digging last night I was glad to see that Backpacking Oxford, a hostel near the rail station, did offer to store bags for a fee. I found the place (almost accidentally) and left my heavy bag there. On the way back the guy that got my bag found it to be pretty heavy! I think it

Europe 2017: Out of Town

Have I mentioned yet how much I love the Tube? It is an interconnecting set of passageways where you go underground, get swept up by a metal rod, and then dropped off in a completely different area from where you were. I needed to get from Victoria station to Euston station to catch the London Overground, and in a few quick minutes I was there! I thought that all my train tickets were time-sensitive, and my reservation was for 7:57 a.m. I hadn't been leaving the Cherry Court Hotel - a lovely little nook that I will miss, with its reliable wifi, bathroom en suite, cable television, and air conditioning - until 8 every morning, so this time I had to backtrack my alarm clock an hour, leaving at 7 instead. Because of this, Victoria station wasn't as bustling as it had been the past two mornings. Apparently in London "rush hour" doesn't start until 7:30 or so. But that made me confident that I wouldn't have issues getting to the Tube with all my luggage. Wh

Europe 2017: All Over London

Today was much less structured, and much more on the whim. I started out at Kensington Palace, where William and Kate live with their children. I didn't go in, but just took a picture. It took me a while to get there - I was going to take the bus, but I couldn't find the correct bus stop. When I took the Tube instead, I exited outside in the wrong direction and had to retrace my steps! My route was just as confusing in Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park. Even though I was moving due east, there are trails all over the place in every direction. I had two stops that I wanted to take: the Prince Albert Memorial, and the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain. As a result, I was always checking maps to see if I was still going in the right direction. I did find both the memorials. The Prince Albert Memorial is huge and quite gaudy, constructed at the request of Queen Victoria when her husband died. It did remind me very much of the renovations done under Victoria at St.

Europe 2017: Tower of London, St. Paul's, and The Globe

My feet are sore! More on that later. I slept like a log last night, and woke up really excited to get out there and get started - never mind that most attractions don't open until 10. Fortunately, the Tower of London opens at 9, and I had reserved my ticket ahead of time. To get there is too far to walk, so I took the Tube. I never thought I was much of a crowd person, but I really loved being around the hustle and bustle as everyone is headed off to work. Just seeing everyone criss-crossing to make it to their correct destination is fascinating! I couldn't help but smile as I joined them. I could have taken the Tube all the way to Tower Hill, but I decided to utilize another perk of my Oyster card: the River Bus! It takes people to various stops along the River Thames, and it doesn't cost anything extra! I got off at Westminster and joined the River Bus there. It was extra fun seeing all the major sites from the river itself, and I didn't have to book a rive

Europe 2017: London and Westminster

Hello from the United Kingdom! I am in my tiny hotel room after an insane two days where I got zero sleep. I got dropped off at O'Hare on Sunday afternoon and had no problem with my carry-on and personal bag getting through security. This was my first time on IcelandAir, and it was cool to get a bottle of their special water as you got on the plane! They also had a blanket and pillow at every seat, along with their television on every seat. I watched La La Land  first, and I absolutely loved it. It had a profound effect on me, definitely. I tried to use the 3 hours of darkness (which encapsulated whatever my "Sunday night" was) to sleep, but there were screaming babies and I just couldn't get comfortable. So I watched Romancing the Stone  instead, which was not what I expected, but still fun. We landed at Rekyjavik airport but had to take a shuttle bus to the terminal itself. In Iceland it was cold and cloudy, and didn't make the area very inviting! I

Europe 2017: The Long Flight

If you are a frequent traveler inside the continental United States, you may think an Atlanta-to-San Francisco flight is a long one: 5 hours. But it isn't until you've experienced a trans-Atlantic or trans-Pacific flight where you know you've experienced a long  flight. My longest trip was definitely from Minneapolis-St. Paul to Tokyo. It was 12 hours in the air. I didn't even realize that planes could stay in the air that long! So what can you do to avoid complete and total boredom in the air? Read on: Get Ready Mentally Short flights don't feel short sometimes. Even a simple 2-hour flight from Denver to Milwaukee can take ages if are thinking it's going to be wheels-up, wheels-down.  I know I can make it through a long flight if I understand exactly how long the flight is going to be and what I can do during the flight. I'll prepare a lot of things to do and listen to. If I do that, I know I can make it without problems.  Movies and Music

Europe 2017: Packing Is the Worst

I used to love packing. The deep decisions that had to be made would cause my brain to send out signals of happiness. What cool outfit should I wear? What shoes need to come? What CDs should I include in my travel case? (Yes kids, this was a problem.) I loved packing because it meant I was going somewhere and doing something different. Packing started to become a chore when I just kept going places. My family and friends are spread out all over the country, and I am usually the one packing up my stuff and seeing them because it's much easier for me to go to them than it is for them to come to me. Most of the time I just throw a bunch of stuff in a bag and call it good. It takes a unique vacation to cause me to pack carefully. Next week's Europe trip just so happens to be one of those unique vacations. I have done what seems like millions of hours of preparations, and one thing that keeps coming up is to pack lightly! I can understand why; there will be a few times on my

Day 6 Worship Conference 2017: The Light that Knows No End

Read about Day 5 HERE! What a lovely week. I am now sitting at home watching my cat Riza run around. I am thoroughly exhausted, which is good. If any of you were at the conference and feel the same way I do, then well done. That means that you made the most of your time while you were at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin. To those of you that weren't  able to go, I pray that you will seriously consider attending in the future. As I've said before, this conference isn't just for music people!  It's for everyone. It gives people ideas for worship. It allows laypeople to open a dialogue with their pastor, worship coordinator, or worship committee on ways to enhance worship. It provides so many resources for all the members of Christ's church. The finished Pentecost artwork. (See yesterday's blog.) Today we had a simple schedule. (Simple, at least, for those not at all involved in the chapel events of the day. If you had any of those scheduled...

Day 5 Worship Conference 2017: Tips and Tricks

Missed the Day 4 recap? Read it HERE! Today I was going around the conference thinking of all the good tips and tricks I could share with you. When I started to write them down, I just kept writing, and writing, and writing! I pray that someday you'll get a chance to come to this wonderful event. If you do, here are some things to keep in mind: You are not at a hotel. Some conferences and conventions take place at hotels with a separate convention space. Many people are used to a hotel room with all the amenities and toiletries they would need, plus a daily maid service.  This is not one of those conferences. Many people stay in dorm rooms, which means reverting back to old college (or high school) living. Make sure to bring the following items: soap shampoo/conditioner tissues maybe another roll of toilet paper, if you get an en suite like we did a large towel (they provide you with some, but if you like 'em big, bring your own) fitted bedsheet (same