Sunday, December 10, 2006

Hope you ate your Wheaties....

Once again, an enormous amount of time has lapsed. Combination of being way behind in school work and other reasons that will be revealed further in the post. Instead of trying to narrate everything that has occurred in the last month and a half (because I have a feeling it would bore you to tears, and I do not want to be the cause of that) I will bring to you the highlights of the past, present, and future. I think I will let the flickr account fill in the gaps.

The first came with accompanying the Goldsmiths Jitsu club to the National Competition in Birmingham. When I committed to go in early October I wasn't quite sure how the whole "I don't really train with you guys I just show up at the pub afterwards" relationship with the club would work out, but by mid-November I had a bit of a niche. The members seemed to appreciate the moral support, and the fact that I would watch their bags for them. I was rarely bored, for there was always training or competing on the mat, and the etiquette and hierarchy of jitsu is fascinating (for a Sociologist) to watch. There was also a lot of downtime for the team, so I had a chance to get to know more of them well. A highlight for the team was when the Goldsmiths sensei (the trainer/leader of the group) received the silver medal for the brownbelt competition (this is for Jitsu clubs all over the UK). We were very proud. A few picture highlights, the rest on Flickr.
Stacey, Heather, and me in a borrowed gi so I could get on the mat to video the competition.

Eating lunch in the stairwell with Bevis (our sensei, hence the cool pants) on the left and Adam on the right. We call this our Boy Band picture, b/c this will be the photo on our album. It was decided I was the quirky-yet-endearing lead singer.

Second came with a visit from my favorite Scotlander-implant, Lindy. She was only here for a short time, but there was much hilarity to be had as we visited the Meridian line and messed with the division of the hemispheres. We also went on the London Eye (a very posh Ferris-wheel but inside little egg shape thingers) and did other Londony things (including not being able to find the bar we had reservations at, (I'm still SO SORRY for that Lindy, Bad Hostess!). One highlight pic, rest on Flickr.

I'm on the Western Hemisphere, Lindy's on the East. Crazy, huh?

Third was our very own Thanksgiving. My two other close American friends decided to host a very traditional Thanksgiving, and we succeeded! We had 18 people over, complete with Turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, greenbean casserole, stuffing, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie! We even sat around in a circle and shared what we were thankful for. When it was my turn, I was struck with how truly thankful I was that I had people in my life here in London that I could enjoy such an important holiday with. God has really blessed me with some fantastic friendships, and I am looking forward to see how they develop more in the coming year. There was a slight trauma with my contribution however, it is a Van Antwerp family tradition (I think that I made up and maintained) to have pigs in a blanket as an appetizer. I was committed to continue that tradition here. I quickly ran into two problems: first, pigs in a blanket here in the UK is actually sausage wrapped in bacon (which, wouldn't that be "pig in a pig"?), second, as I was describing this culinary masterpiece to our british friends who came early to help "it's a cocktail sausage wrapped in croissant dough.. (blank stares). You know, croissants in a can? (crickets) Come on! The Pillsbury Dough boy!" (spark of recognition) "Ah yes, is that the white chap who chuckles when you poke him? How does he get croissants in a can?" I should have guessed it would be a bit of an issue. The grocery store did not have "croissants in a can" and in my blurred vision due to rage, I somehow couldn't find pastry dough either. My flatmate tried to console me at the register, reminding me we could still serve the cocktail sausages since we had toothpicks. "It won't be the same!" I pouted. But, it was MIKE TO THE RESCUE! Mike, my flatmate's boyfriend who was visiting for the weekend, had to make a lastminute run to the store for foil and lo and behold, he brought back pastry dough! There was great rejoicing, and I allowed the Thanksgiving Celebration to resume. Same bat-highlights, same bat-flickr location

Me reading the directions of the cocktail sausages, since I now had blankets in which to wrap them.

Heather, me, and Molly - the American benefactresses of Thanksgiving.


A very fun development of the present has been finding myself in a relationship! (that was a very awkward sentence to just say, I'm dating someone!) I actually met Bevis (short "e") the night I showed up for Jitsu and nearly died on the mat (they actually try to punch each other!). We started interacting more at the various Jitsu social events, which led to him asking me out a few times. We've recently moved past the "casual dating" phase. As a native Londoner, he's been showing me different parts of the city and patiently answers my inquiry's into UK culture as in "Why do cars start driving through the crosswalk even if it is still green for pedestrians?" and "Where would the chicken broth in a can be at the grocery store? What do you mean they don't have it?" He has started saying "mad skills" and I say "rubbish." It's very cross-cultural! He is also quite competitive, so we have a running count of card-game wins (he's unfortunately very ahead, but I'm plotting my comeback). He keeps me laughing and makes me think. So, be prepared for more mentions of him in posts to come, and he'll start to pop up in pictures too.

From Nationals, when things finally developed.

From the 20th Year Celebration for Jitsu in London. It was a true British party, with "crackers" that had paper crowns in them, so we....put them on. Very posh.


One of my most favoritest people is coming in FOUR days! Darbee will be joining me in London for three days before we jet off to Italy. Yes, that's right. In Italy. We'll start in Trieste, move down to Venice, have a quick stop-over in Verona to visit a classmate, down to Florence and then finally to Rome where we will meet up with two more of my most favoritest people (Jen and Jonelle) where we will be celebrating Christmas. Actually, we will be celebrating Christmas with the Pope (but he isn't on my most favoritest people list, is that ok to say?), for we managed to get tickets to sit inside St. Paul's Cathedral for Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. And then we say farewell to Darbee and the remaining three will go back up to Florence and then fly out of Venice. I am extremely excited to see these cities that I have heard so much about, but to be honest, I am so deliriously happy to see my girls I could be spending the next two weeks in a shoebox and be just as happy. Seeing Christmas trees make me sad I will not be in Boise with the entire Van Wyk clan, but Italy with three amazing women will be a tolerable substitute. Stay tuned for pictures and the hilarity that will most definitely ensue.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

safe from the tornado

I apologize for lack of posts recently (I had to initiate a time limit on the amount of time I spent on the web in order to actually work on school work), but just incase anyone heard "London" and thought "Lynn!" - the tornado that hit London was in north-west and I'm in south-east. Can't really get on more opposite sides of the city. I do have friends who live in NW London, but they were a bit further east than where it hit, so they are fine too. We did get some wicked hail and sleet, the loudest and most rumbly thunder I have ever heard, and I got a video of the streetlamp shaking in the wind (the exciting life I lead). Real update soon!