Tuesday, July 31, 2012

"Run the Race"

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. -Hebrews 12:1
 Let us run the race which He has set out for us. While training for a half-marathon this past spring, I found this verse and used it as guidance for so many aspects of my life. First, running more than 3 miles at a time (let alone 13!) was going to need a serious miracle so I frequented this verse on my deathly hot 'long run' day or even on the 'short run' day when I wanted to be anywhere but pounding the pavement through campus. As it turns out, on the big race day in Nashville,TN this verse was present in a big way! As my friend, Emily, and I were truckin' down Mile 8, we looked up to a huge banner set up by a local church that displayed the Hebrews 12:1 verse. Always the crier, I teared up at the 'coincidence' that I knew could not have been just that. Quickly recovering as I realized that crying and running simultaneously were not a simple task, I really took to heart these words.

Secondly, the verse resonated with me as I contemplated my all too fast approaching college graduation. For those who are a few years out from their collegiate days and may not recollect the ominous feeling, graduating college seems like The End of The World. Officially. All our lives (until college graduation) we are making choices and decisions that will affect our lives...but only truly affecting them for the next 2-4 years. Everything leads to college; it is the top of the mountain and the four years at college are the slide back down until you hit graduation. And graduation? Well, graduation is the cliff at the base of the mountain which you have slid perilously downward to and cannot help but plummet off into an unknown oblivion. For those of us lucky enough to 'know' our future plans post-grad, there still exists this cliff of unknowingness. We still leave dear friends, leave familial comforts (be in money, location, or school breaks spent together), and leave the confident and cool person (ourselves!) we have grown to be for four kick-ass ('scuse me) years in the safety and security of our campus and small community. Anticipating graduating college and all the 'unknowns' that came with it caused me to cling to the Hebrews verse for dear life. God sets a path and while it may seem, at times, I wander further and further into a unfamiliar and unknown forest, the path is right and true and I must trust it. Without that trust, I'm not sure I would be able to make these great leaps which are most exciting to take.

I'll leave you with my favorite verse from the Old Testament and that will be enough God talk for the moment!
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge Him and he will make your paths straight. -Proverbs 3:5-6

 Cheers y'all, Lis

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Opening Ceremony

The Opening Ceremony of the 30th Olympics was very interesting last night.. don't you agree? If you are interested in/love/are obsessed with the UK, (as I am) it was fun and exciting to see all the aspects that Danny Boyle decided to include in the performance. However, if you aren't exactly an anglophile, I can see how last night's Ceremony could be a let down. I was amazed at the transition from agricultural England to industrial England; the scenery and 'actors' flowed beautifully! As the experience moved to the last 50 years, the feel of the ceremony changed drastically.. while I understood and related to the 'tech world' as seen by the teenie boppers dancing to some awesome classic songs, I wasn't a huge fan of the whole thing. It was fun to watch but it seemed a bit irrelevant to the Olympic experience and the British culture. There are so many wonderful things that are unique to the UK and technology is not really one of them.

Let's talk about the Queen! I cannot express how much I loved watching her and Daniel Craig interact and have fun together. It was so clever to add the Queen into the ceremony and show her frequently referenced humor and wit. She's a total boss and I admire her at 86 years old!

Cheers y'all, Lis

Friday, July 27, 2012

One Month

One month! One month! One month 'til my big move across the pond. I've spent the last couple months in desperation for the 'final countdown' and it has arrived! Now I can begin packing, now I can start planning, now I can actually be truly excited every single day because every day means one more day closer to my move... my London adventure is just around the corner.

A dear friend of mine forwarded me a hilarious website: "That Time I Studied in London" and while some of the GIFs are ridiculous, some of them really, really ring true with me. I loved looking through page after page and remembering (and looking forward to!) London and all its glory. I'm sure I'll refer to it and its hilarious-ness throughout my time in London. For example, this reminds me so much of Eliz and me when we talk on the phone/Skype!

Too much? I think not...
Back to packing, I know I'll be gone for a year (at least) this time around so I've got to have some serious forethought while packing and cramming my life into suitcase(s). I feel more prepared now than two years ago.. In a fit of anxiety and uncertainty, I remember asking Mom "Where do I buy shampoo?! How do I go to the grocery store? What if they don't have toothpaste that I like?!"... Not quite where my head's at nowadays in terms of worries! I know whatever I forget or cannot bring, I can buy in London.. great shopping is one of the city's many perks. So I'll try to cram and stuff and smush my whole wardrobe into a few suitcases, say a prayer for me and my patience. Luckily, Zara (this tunic is to die for!), H&M, and TopShop will all be at my disposal! Oh, speaking of.. I just bought this J. Crew 'Schoolboy' Blazer which I cannot wait to wear on a blustery day in South Ken...

So I hope everyone enjoys the Olympic Opening Ceremonies tonight, it is going to be awesome watching London show off to everyone in the world!

Cheers y'all, Lis

Thursday, July 19, 2012

"Old" London and "New" London

Just left the bank after hours of waiting and paper work, I officially am a Bank of America customer now! Why, you ask? Well, Bank of America charges no ATM fees when using Barclay's Bank in the UK. Barclay's is a huge bank and it is on every street corner so I feel great knowing I'll have no crazy fees for withdrawals!
WOW that is boooringgg.

So as I mumble on about bank fees and other boring topics, I'll continue my list of "Can't Waits"...

1. Returning to South Ken!
a) watching the little children in red or blue uniforms (matching hat included, of course) walk to school with mothers and nannies
"Our Booth": Eliz & I enjoying Da Mario's with friends
b) two words can describe the thing I miss the most: DA. MARIO'S....Gnocchi with 'special sauce', Caprese Salad, Garlic Bread, and a bottle of Montepluciano to top it all off! I dream about this meal, maybe because I enjoyed it about three times a week while abroad my Junior year! My best friend Elizabeth (from here on out called: Eliz) ate at Da Mario's more than a few times a week. Yes, we had our favorite waiters and even more, we had 'our' booth. At one point, other customers were nicely asked to move so the 'favorite American girls' could have our booth.

While on the subject of 'past London' or London: Round One as I like to call it.. I beginning to recognize that my London that I knew my Junior year may nooot be exactly the same as it was when I left it in December 2010. First of all, my sweet friend Eliz will not be there to enjoy every waking (and sleeping) moment with me. She now lives in California and will be a famous actress in no time! Yes, I will met new friends and I will have new restaurants and new pubs all at my finger tips... but I struggle with exactly how much of my 'old London' I should cling to. I know the familiar places will bring a smile to my face and a strong comfort to my fluttering heart and I will be forever grateful for those places, not for their physical presence but their memories. The laughter, the meals, the tears, the friends and "more than friends" made, the happiness and the belonging that I felt so greatly in a place that could not be any more different from my home in NC. These places will bring me reassurance as I return to South Kensington but I am thrilled to find more places to see, eat, drink, socialize, read, learn, and bond with my city, my London. I have a great advantage to those who have never been to a city before; this August will be my fifth trip to London! London will be fresh and exciting as it has been every trip before but this time I will have not only the past experiences to throw me directly back into the London I love so dearly, but also the security of a whole year to search and find and love and learn and grow.

Also... there is the fabulous event going on in London in just a few days, you may have heard of it? THE OLYMPICS. The Summer Olympics 2012 will take place in Stratford, which if you were curious is actually across the street from the children's museum where I used to work as an Educational Intern! What a marvelous thing it was to see the very beginnings of the London Olympics Site way back in 2010. London will be (and has been!) rocked by this momentous occasion and I know London will put on an amazing show for the rest of the world to sit back, relax, and enjoy. I will not be in London for the Olympics, which I am not quite sad about. I'm thoroughly excited to watch the events in the comfort of my own home with my friends and family.. I believe it will be the most wonderful way to be excited and thrilled (even more than I already am) for my move to South Kensington on August 27.
So to quote Morgan Freedman and plagiarize Visa, Go World!

Cheers y'all, Lis

Thanks to DailyMail.CO.UK for the picture.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Less than 2 months until I return to London town. A dream I never thought I would see actually come to fruition… still not sure it’s really happening but 'til then I’m starting a list of things I cannot wait to do again..

1. Covent Garden
a) eat at Cafe Eterno alone.. my thinking spot (hummus with no olives, please!)
b) shop at Rokit for fab vintage clothes/bags/hats
c) go on Thursdays for the lunch time market, best gnocchi ever
d) Punch and Judy’s pie & pint, of course

2. Camden
a) market on a Saturday, nom on ridiculously awesome asian food out of a brown box
b) purchase a new cheap string bracelet to go with my previously purchased one, to commemorate london round two
c) nights at ProudCamden listening to absurd bands & meeting even more absurd people

3. Notting Hill
a) spend nights at the Arts Club, enjoy crazy music & drink red stripe tall boys
b) Saturdays at the market, great long walk up to the top
c) lunch at ‘The Portobello Kitchen’

More "Can't Waits" to come!
Cheers y'all, Lis