Friday, September 11, 2009

Back to American Life

I suppose that's the end of this here lil' blog.

Hope you've enjoyed seeing some snippets of my adventures and call me up if you want to hear some more in depth stories, ponderings, and wonderings...

Thanks for reading.

Peace.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Some pictures for your viewing pleasure

I'm back home. I've been home for a few days now and have been visiting with my family and playing ping pong and such.

Here's a smattering of pictures from various places I was at. See if you can guess where they were taken...
























Thursday, August 27, 2009

And it's almost over...

Yep, I'm heading home in a few days already. I've been in a beautiful spot called Cinque Terre the past 4 days- mostly hiking and lounging on the beach. Cinque Terre is a chain of 5 little coastal villages on the west coast of Italy- mountains, ocean, hiking, delicious food, etc... And I was in Pisa for a day before that (pictures with the leaning tower to come)

I'll give a grand final update in a few day upon my return after I have some time to reflect and a chance to be at a computer where I can add some pictures and video.

See you all soon.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Italy

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Friday, August 21, 2009

I'm in the real Holland

Made it safe and sound to Rotterdam, Holland this afternoon. My friend Matthew and I took a ferry across this afternoon from Carwich, England- which was about a 7 1/2 hour trek. I slept most of the way in our little cabin that we purchased.

We were hoping to take the ferry leaving last night at 9pm, but it was all booked (Resulting in some unique adventures, which I'll tell you about when I come back if you ask. You should ask.), so we ended up coming this morning.

Going to stay here in Rotterdam for the day tomorrow too, hopefully head up to the north of Holland, and then tentatively going to fly to Italy. We'll see what happens though...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Spiritual Discipline of Drinking Monastic Coffee, Wales, and pubs where C.S. Lewis and his buddies used to hang out

Spent 3 days at the Franciscan Monastery at Glasshampton, and had an absolutely delightful time actually. This was a bit surprising because I'm usually a bit petrified of solitude and silence (which monasteries happen to be fairly well know for). It was myself, my friend Chris (a new friend I met at L'Abri), 2 other English folks visiting, and the 3 "Brothers"- Anselm, Nikolas, and Andrew. A nice small crew.

I enjoyed the rhythm of the place: daily prayer times (7am, noon, 5, 9), 3 dynamite meals every day (the monks make a pretty mean feast- we ate really well. Fresh fruits and veggies from their own garden and just really solid meals, even ice cream for desert. And all the meals were eaten in silence, which was unique and actually quite enjoyable- no felt need to create conversation, we just sat next to each other and ate), I read a full book in 2 days, went for some lovely walks, and just enjoyed the peacefulness of it all. And I got to have a few really neat conversations with the brothas as well.

My first morning there, I went into the kitchen and poured myself a cup of coffee and added my milk and sugar, I take a large sip and it's the worst thing I've ever tasted. I spit it out in disgust, thinking that maybe the milk was gone bad or perhaps that it was supposed to taste like it did (Maybe some bizarre spiritual discipline of drinking rancid beverages each morning...). I decide to try out the tea, only to find the exact same results- disgusting. I spit it out in the sink and decide that either the monks just don't know how to make a good warm beverage or that it is indeed the way they do things and it was intended to be repulsive. As I was about to give up, I notice that the 2 large scoops of "sugar" I put into my beverages was located on the stove by the coffee pot and after tasting it, I realize that I had added large amounts of salt to my drinks. So after this revelation, I added a few scoops of the correct white crystal sweetening substance, enjoyed my cup of non-spiritual-discipline coffee.

After the monastery, I ended up going to Wales for a few days with Chris. We stayed with a family that he had met a few years earlier- he met them when he was traveling and had gotten lost and didn't know where he was going to stay for the night. This couple saw him, took him in for the night, and they became good friends... Great story. And they were just fantastic to us- epic meals, good conversations, nice place. And it was just this absolutely georgeous area in the middle of a bunch of mountains, right beside the ocean as well, so I did a good hike each day I was there.

And now I'm in Oxford at a hostel and I'm about to walk out of the door to meet my friend Matthew at the "Eagle and Child" pub for some dinner. This place was one of C.S. Lewis and Tolkien favorite hangout spots here, so I'm excited to hang out there in that atmosphere.

I'll add some pics from the monastery and Wales soon...

Love.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

And I'm off to a monastery

Here's "The Manor House"- where we all live together here at L'Abri. It's huge, old, and beautiful, and hosts about 50 people

L'Abri front door

Yeah, I think that I'm going to hang out at a monastery for the next couple days- should be a really unique experience. I'm leaving L'Abri tomorrow morning (after my 3 week stint here, which was quite fantastic. I hope to return someday for sure.) and hopping on the train to the Oxford, England area where I'll be hanging out with a new friend from here at L'Abri and some brothas at the monastery until early next week. After that, my good friend Matthew (who I know from Memphis, TN) will be joining me for the last couple weeks of my expedition, which will be just perfect for a grand finale... hopefully including France, Holland, and perhaps Italy and whatever else we can fit it.

Over the past week, I took a L'Abri break for a few days and went into London for a bit- saw a show ("Wicked"), visited some museums- National British Art gallery, National Portrait Gallery, + the Tate Modern, went out for dinner a few times, perfected the art of the underground train system (for real, I think I rode to nearly every underground station in the whole city over my few days in London), etc... Here's a few shots from my time in London \/

In front of a real cool bridge (right beside the London bridge actually) with St. Paul's cathedral in the background- we went to a service there right before the picture...

At Trafalgar Square, a real big open square in the center of London.

Here's a nice pic of the whole thing. I didn't take this one.

Ice cream with my friend Noa.



Oh, and here's me with Hans and Jacqui- the family who hosted me for a few days when I first arrived here in England. This pic was from after they dropped me off at L'Abri (which they drove almost 2 hours to do)...