christmas and new year's in england

once you stop blogging for a little while, you kinda lose your touch and your subconscious schedule -- that part of you that says "man i need to update for this week". but here's my game of catch-up.

I ran for a flight that was three hours delayed.
I met a real interesting guy who was sloppy, imposing, and very British. as well as an obnoxious mother and her son. finally on the plane, i had a big cup of cocoa that wasn't free but was still worth it... and a couple cat naps.

a friend of dave's picked me up from the airport just after 1am. it was truly wonderful to have someone make a fuss over me, making sure I was taken care of, fed, and comfortable. plus they had one of the cutest dogs i've ever met! the next day he took me to dave and anna's place. it was so cold and snowy i didn't want to go anywhere. and the next day too. finally on tuesday, i went out for the afternoon to see natalie and chris. we really just wandered around everywhere for a few hours - saw the national gallery at trafalgar square, saw the parliament and westminster through the upper deck bus windows, and went to the winter wonderland in hyde park. it was cold and rainy. it was nice to see them and some of london :) i'll be going back there in a few days, so i'm not too concerned about that.... unless it decides to snow again *knock on wood*.

on wednesday the 22nd, i took a coach (a bus) from london to birmingham, but it was an hour late because of a heavy snow that was falling in the birmingham area. what was I thinking taking a bus that drives on the wrong side of the road? i got used to it pretty quick, mostly because it's just like looking in a mirror the whole time. fortunately, i hadn't bought any train tickets toward telford, where steve and sam live, because the first train i tried to catch was cancelled so i had to wait another half hour for the next one. i got there just a minute before they got to the station to pick me up - fortunately the weren't still snowed in!

so now i'd been here for a whole week! we were snowed in a bit because it didn't melt until a couple days ago. sam and i went shopping on thursday and yesterday (wednesday), the first to scope out selection, and the second to snag some deals during the after-christmas sales. on christmas eve sam and i had a girly day where she did my hair and we painted our nails, and then tried to build a snowman, but it ended up being a snow monster. we all watched a movie and stayed up till midnight when we opened presents (well, more just me because they've been spoiling each other for the past month or so). on christmas day i made biscotti in the morning, and then we cooked a feast for dinner, complete with christmas crackers (yay english traditions!).

on sunday, we popped over to church and had a nice service. on monday we had some people over for dinner and a game of cluedo (what we call "clue" in the states). they had changed all the rules, at least that's how it seemed, so it took quite a while to figure out how to play. the rest of the week consisted of after-christmas shopping and a few bubble baths :) on new year's eve we went to a party with steve's old roommates, which was fun, and then to a little party at one of the churches they go to, where we did the countdown and popped confetti poppers. apparently people also release lit chinese lanterns -- and my goodness were they pretty! i had a moment of quiet contentment (i.e. crying) watching the fireworks go off and the lanterns gently floating away.

on sunday we went to church in (well, near) birmingham, but we left early so we could go to ironbridge on the way; it was the first iron bridge built in europe and predated the industrial revolution by quite a ways. we had tea and the popped out of town. it was so cute and quiet, quaint really. i liked it a lot.

after church, we went out for lunch and then coffee before i grabbed a train to london (instead of taking the coach i had booked). in the following few days, i would run about seeing some sights. i got to see sonya (one of my suite mates from first year at UCSD) who is studying in london this year.

and then it was back to lyon. and it felt good to be home. and to speak french again. but i didn't have school (except finals).

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