Jan 9 2009

The World Travelers

Well, I might have lied.
It turns out the place we will probably be staying at three days a week has wireless internet.
So good!
So I thought I’d recount our excursion from Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England–to Santa Cruz Bolivia.
It started early morning, on January 7th. Well, not so early….(not as early as our Brazil team…they left at 2am)….we left the Lodge at 8am.

After a two hour drive to Heathrow, we were greeted pleasantly by Barbie-like airport attendants from Virgin Atlantic. Many security checks later, we were ushered onto the plane and found our seats. Virgin planes are niiiiicccee!

(Photo: Deliriously happy about Virgin Atlantic, or just delirious?)

Each seat has it’s own little entertainment unit, and I’d like to list a few things that it offers:
-A wackload of Movies. I didn’t count, but I think it might have been about 50. I watched “The Brideshead Revisited”
-A copious amount of Television shows. I picked Frasier to watch.
-A smattering of Documentaries.
-Way cool retro video games–that you can play multiplayer and challenge someone else on the flight! Just type in their seat number. So cool. I challenged Dave to a game of Battleship…and won. :)
-Music galore….I didn’t even get into that because I was so distracted by everything else.
-Up-To-Date News, Travel tips on places Virgin Atlantic flies to, and a little map to follow your flightpath.

Aside from the in-flight entertainment, the food was also good. But the most amazing part of the food was the dessert. Chocolate pudding with banana caramel. Soooooo sooooooo soooooo gooooood. We were also given a little gift bag with a toothbrush, toothpaste, socks, face mask, and a pen.
So from London to Miami–wunderbar.
Then we got to America.
I can’t even remember how many times we went through security checks….Then when we went to check in to our flights with American Airlines, it was tres miserable. Here’s the thing: Virgin Atlantic has this thing where you can check in with all your basic info first on a computer console, and then go to an attendant and they take your luggage. It makes it really easy, because you just type in the info and BAM. It works. American Airlines has the same thing, but it’s more like “BAM….umm…it didn’t work.” And then you go and talk with their attendants who very rudely ask you “Do you even speak English?!”
And they make you feel like a retard.
So then after haggling with the attendants and finally convincing them that, “Yes, the Bolivian Embassy did say we could go into Bolivia” we were on our way to the gate. Or, were we?
No, you have to go through another buttload of security checks before you can get there. I mean really…where could we have gone in the last half hour? It’s not like we are allowed out of the airport. So we go through another security check and they herded us through so many different roped off areas. I felt like a sheep. Then after scanning our carry-ons, they herded us into this little glass box that had no door handle to get out. The man who was looking at my luggage was trying to speak to me and ask “Is this yours?” But I was in a glass box. And he couldn’t hear me. After pushing Dave and Sarah and me into this box, I started to get panicky, because, well, there was no way out, and there was a man outside of it trying to say something to us, but we couldn’t hear him because we were in a glass box. Then he finally let us past, and says “Now I’m going to search all your bags and have all of you pat down.” Oh, how kind. So he then proceeded to go through everything, wiping down everything with a special cloth–I presume he was looking for drugs. Of all the people they pick to search….missionaries?! I was more than peeved. Finally we were let go, and waited to get on our flight to Bolivia. The AA flight felt so old-school compared with Virgin. The coffee was the most foul tasting thing I have ever put in my mouth. And the flight-attendants were ruthless with their little carts.
But after many hours of travel, we finally arrived in Bolivia. The Bolivian airport was a breeze. Clean, easy to follow. So nice.
This weekend we have off, and then Monday we 0fficially start our work. I’m thrilled.


Jan 6 2009

Last view from the window…

Shall I be poetic & deep?
The sun has set beautifully on our last day at The Kings Lodge.
What a powerful metaphor to use for the our TKL finale.
….*shudder* I feel lame.
Today was the last day in our little room and I must admit, it was quite lazy. Got up at 10:30 and putted around till about 2:00…We did some casual cleaning, and now the evening is free. Lately our group has been addicted to the game “Apples to Apples” It’s amazing. I think we might do that tonight.
The photo above is of the sunset today. In every place that we have stayed in England, Dave has done a picture called “View from the Window” I did this one today as our last view from Room 5, Second Floor at The Kings Lodge.


Dec 18 2008

It’s over! ….Umm…I mean…It’s halfway through!

I’ve got to be honest…I’m pretty amazed at how proficient of a blogger I am. I mean, daily–sometimes even twice a day I’m posting something new about school here in England. What? You mean, you haven’t seen any of those posts? Hmm…it must be because of the shoddy internet here.
So this is our last week at The Kings Lodge in our lecture phase. That feels very strange to type. Sunday we are leaving to go to London for a week, then we are back at the school for 12 days doing local outreach. After that, we are on our way to Bolivia!
Here’s a pictorial overview of the last three months, because…well…I’m just too lazy to write everything that has happened.

My birthday in London. We spent the day at the British Museum. It was really incredibly and overwhelming. I spent quite a bit of time in the Egyptian section, but then had to move on because everyone else wanted to see the rest. Then we went to Covent Garden, and later on spent the evening in Kensington. Had a grand time up until we missed our train back to Nuneaton and had to spend the night at the most disgusting hostel imaginable. I was really sick, and spent most of the night awake listening to snoring from one of the roommates. Disgusting, disgusting, disgusting. No other word.
Spent a weekend in York doing some outreach.
Wished we could have explored the city a whole lot more. It was very neat….we hope to go back sometime. York is known for still having it’s original walls around the city. It also has a beautiful cathedral that is world famous in the city center. The city itself is really beautiful, and has a lot of history. It was very cool that the downtown area is all just for walking.
The first evening we were there we got to wander around the city late at night handing our water bottles to people coming out of the pubs and night clubs. Dave & I got to chat with a bunch of teenagers who were high as a kite. It was funny/interesting….they seemed super impressed with what we were doing in the city…possibly a little confused, because they couldn’t understand anyone wanting to help drunk party-ers.
The next day we spent in Leeds, a city close by, doing gardening in some single-moms homes where their lawn and garden had been completely overrun. The lawn that we had was amazingly overgrown, and we ended up hacking down almost everything, just to give the lady a fresh start.
In early November we went to Stratford-upon-Avon. This house is the house that Shakespeare was born in. We wanted to go in to some of the museums, but they were quite pricey. It was cold and rainy outside, but still very interesting to see all the Tudor style houses and buildings. We also got to see the church that Shakespeare was baptized in and married in.
Was so close to getting tickets to see Patrick Stewart in Hamlet, but missed out.
So sad.
Winter here has been pretty much non-existent. The other day everything frosted over and it was very pretty. But overall, it’s just been cold and wet. Heating is very expensive here, so we end up wearing a lot of layers during class time, otherwise we will freeze our bums off!

Well…that sums it up. Kind of. Oh well….until next time…


Oct 2 2008

It’s only just begun.

I guess I have to fill in my throngs of loyal readers on the happenings of our trip thus far.
But quite honestly, I have just finished writing an email to be sent out this evening that has all those details in it. And I’m sure that you, Reader Extraordinaire, will receive that email. So I’m not going to reiterate what the email already says.
However–I will talk about some of the goings on here.
Friday: Arrival at the school. Orientation/Large Bonfire. Burned a whole tree.
Saturday: Trip to the ever-exciting Nuneaton on Market Day. Evening was games. Made bridges out of spaghetti & marshmallows. Played human foosball.
Sunday: Church. British football for two hours straight. The non-Brits didn’t know what hit ‘em.
Monday: First day of classes.
Tuesday: Classes. First day of small groups in the evenings. Played Pictionary.
Wednesday: Classes. Received our Work Duties. Dave is Kitchen Guru. I am Media Wonder-woman. Went to a British Pub down the road with a bunch of students and staff, and listened to a Ukulele band.
That brings us up to today…which was classes, and then work duties so far. I hope you have enjoyed my thrilling and heavily detailed depiction of our schooling so far.
Hopefully next blog I will be able to give you a more detailed version of our experience.
Ta ta for now!


Sep 11 2008

Holy Cow.

We leave in 10 days.