Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Off wandering again

Well tomorrow I'm off to Ukraine- AAAAHHHHHHH!!!!
It's very scary but also incredibly exciting.
If anyone is interested to see how the trip goes there will be a blog for it.
We are hoping to be able to access the blog they have been using for the last 4 camps however we are not sure if we will have the passwords etc as the people who were doing it are leaving.
So if we have the pass words the bog will be at www.hopecentercamp.com under camp 5.
If not I have set up a back up plan hosted on blogger. This one can be found at lewinonmission.blogspot.com/

Monday, July 03, 2006

OK OK so update never quite happened....

Ok so the update never happened, but I didn't have instant internet access and the weather was far too good to be sitting in front of a computer for any length of time.

So now I am back in good old england. Parents came over this weekend and we got the ferry back today.
I was imensly sad and very strange- especially on sunday with people from church. Armelle and Claire started to cry then I did and it was all very sad.

I can't quite believe that chapter is over!!

now I just have to unpack- no small task!!!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Update on the way

Just so you all know. I'm not dead, I have simply finished work and so am not sitting with instant internet access for 7 hours a day. An update is on the way, it's just taking a little time to actually getting around to writting it.

Can't do it now though off to watch the footy!!

Monday, June 12, 2006


Friday was officially my last day of ‘holiday’ from Philips. It was funny taking a day off 2 days before I finish for good (yes the day is almost here- Tuesday is my last day at Philips) however I wasn’t going to miss this opportunity (nor was I going to let a perfectly good day of holiday go to waste). So what was the opportunity I hear you cry… well my littlest brother was in Paris, in a musical. But more on that later.

So despite a slight miss calculation (or just an act of stupidity) meaning I got to the train station an hour and a half early rather than the planned half an hour, the journey was fine.
On getting to Paris equipped with only a metro map I set off to find some sights to see. So I stepped out in roughly the direction I thought the river should be in. I was a bit off, but not bad. Then I managed a rather impressive feet- I lost the Eiffel tower! I saw it above the roof tops, started towards it but then lost it and didn’t see it again for about 20 mins. I did see some pretty cows though.

And the invasion of King Kong

Eventually after about two hours of walking in the blistering hear I found the Eiffel tower- they had left in next to the river, pretty close to where it was the last time I saw it!!

Two hours walking was enough, so I hopped on the RER and went off to Notre Dame. The last time I was at Notre Dame the entire front was covered with scaffolding, so this time I got to admire the amazing carvings on the front.

I also had a nosy inside. Then I saw a blow up rugby pitch,

had a brief mosey in the shops and found a bus that would take me almost all the way to the hostel where I was staying (I was so chuffed with myself for finding a random bus that was even more perfect than the metro I was going to take). I found the hostel and ‘checked in’- ha ha makes it sound like a hotel, and found my room.

The room had three beds with my bed being the one on top. A single random wooden step was all I had to get up to my bed- and of course I was wearing a skirt!
Then it was time for a much needed shower. Now I didn’t have a towel (well you always miss out something while packing). So I used specially bought towel- kitchen towel that is!! It actually worked fantastically.
After my lovely refreshing shower I went to find the school. It took me about two minutes leaving me time to kill, so I nipped into a bar nearby and watched 20 mins or so of the Germany- Costa Rica game. At last it was time… to get my ticket for the show.
So the show. Every year for the last 10 years, St Andrew’s (my old high school) have done an exchange with a school in Paris. It’s music exchange- with the French students providing the acting and the English providing the music. This year they put on a musical called ‘Potion’. It’s a musical we first performed it 8 years ago when I was part of the exchange (and boy how old did that make me feel).
Having done the performance before though meant that I knew all the words so having arrived early to have a chat with my music teachers (or ex-music teachers) I plonked myself down in the front row and proceeded to be a living auto queue for the singers. I actually got thanked by a couple of them at the end because apparently there were times when they blanked on the words and my mouthing along (I resisted singing) managed to get them back on track!

The performance itself was really good. The French kids had very strong accents making some of it a bit tricky to understand but apart from one kid getting a fit of the giggles and one of the mics not working at the end, it all went swimmingly.

After the show I helped clear up- it made me feel useful, also having helped clear up after St Andrew’s performances for so many years it would have felt very strange not helping!
Finally I bid goodbye to David and my ex-teachers and wandered back to the Hostel for bed.

Saturday morning I was up nice and early. I hadn’t slept very well due to the rooms other occupants turning on lights, talking, leaving the window and curtains wide open and then getting up sillily early. But never mind it did mean that I got to beat the crowds to the Louve.

The louver is well worth a visit even if it is just to see the building itseld and not the art work inside. It is beautiful!!!
And inside we got to watch a whole number of ‘copy cat’ artists. I don’t say that in a mean way- they were fantastic, but these were artists producing copies of part or all of an existing painting.

Then I went to Sacre coeur

and since I was in Montmartre I thought I’d go and have a butchers at the Moulin rouge.

I have never seen a road with so many sex shops! It was extraordinary. I did begin to feel that it was not perhaps the best place for a young foreign girl to be wandering alone. But wander a little more I had to, because the most important moment of the day was fast approaching. Come quarter to three I finally found exactly what I was looking for. And English/irish pub flying the st Georges flag outside, with a large TV screen and a few English blokes inside. So I plonked myself down with my 3 euro 50 glass of lemonade (made it last the entire time I was there) and watched England v Paraguay.
Our win got me a few “Hello England- you won!!” kind of comments for the rest of the day (my t-shirt did have ‘ENGLAND’ written over the front).
Finally I was dead beat so I hopped on the metro back to St Lazare station and got my train back home.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The sun has got his hat on, hip hip hip hooray

This weekend I have had the pleasure of a 4 day weekend :) yay.
So Friday Helen arrived in Caen at about 8:15 in the morning, so we wandered back to mine. Poor old Helen had been traveling since 14:00 the day before and had managed about a hour of sleep on the ferry. So she took a bit of a nap before we started off on the day’s activities.
We headed off to the ‘Hôtel de ville’, otherwise known as the Abbey aux homes.

We arrived just in time to take advantage of one of the guided tours. Although it was all done in French (and Helen managing about 10 words) we both really enjoyed it. The lady doing the tour was really nice. She knew it was an international group so she took everything slowly and spoke nice and clearly. She also waited very patiently or took questions for the others as I translated for Helen. It was really interesting. We learnt that along with the crows leaving the tower of London or the monkeys leaving the rock of Gibraltar, the fall of the British monarchy is said to come about when the church tower’s fall.
The tour however was really long- 2 hours. For a euro each this was a fantastic price but it meant that we were both rather tired and foot sore. So for lunch we made (in Helen’s words) ‘A monster baguette’. For Helen that involved cramming almost an entire camembert into half a baguette- quite an impressive feat.
After shaking the crumb covered duvet out the window (I’d love to know what the person in the room below thought of that), we headed back out to investigate the shops.
Dinner in front of ‘strictly ballroom’ and both of us ready of bed at about 8:30. However we couldn’t quite manage to go to bed so early, while it was still light- and not just a bit of light, it was gorgeous bright sunshine and blue skies!! We were fast asleep by 10 though!

Saturday we hopped on a bus to Oistreham. On arriving at the beach we found it empty!

Not for long though

Soon Helen and I were well settled in

With out bucket and spade (specially purchased at Carrefour the day before)

We set about building out sand castles (and sand crabs).

Castle building is hungry work so by the time the sea came to claim our master pieces we were famished. We had some yummy sausage and chips at one of the restaurants a little way from the sea front. Then it was back onto the beach for a bit reading- in the sun of course. Unfortunately there was quite a bit of wind so although it was blue skies and beautiful sunshine, it was lovely and cool- a fact we later found out was rather deceiving. So the evening commenced with a trip to Monoprix to get some after-sun. But then it was off to with Suzanne to start the now dubbed ‘night of the weirdoes’.
We started off with these strange English guys yelling something at us as we passed a hotel. Then in the Dublin café we found a load of English marines who all wanted to know if there were any decent clubs around. Well there aren’t, but I did give them directions to one (directions which I later realized probably wouldn’t have got them anywhere near!! Oops). Then we just chatted to them for a while. They asked us to go with them, but we hadn’t quite finished our drinks by the time they were leaving so we couldn’t go- what a shame. Instead we bid them fairwell, finished our drinks and headed out to bar number three (we had been in O’donalds for about 10 seconds but with a football match on it hadn’t been the kind of place we were looking for). In Café latin we had two French guys sit next to us and ‘offer to help us with the menu’ Suzanne and I immediately switched into French and politely informed them that we were fine and could manage the menus without a problem. Despite our blatant un-interest these guys persisted in talking to us, asking questions etc. So we chatted a bit with them, in French and englsih before heading to the final bar of the evening- whos name I have no idea of (through lack of a clear name n the front rather then me being too sloshed to remember). Twas a fun evening.

Sunday morning we gave church a miss and instead went to explore the market. It’s impressive how long you can spend simply looking around. We were there for close to an hour and a half and we bought strawberries, a goats cheese, two tomatoes and a baguette. I made Helen get the baguette- well after all she is in France so she should speak a bit of French :) hee hee I’m mean.
Lunch saw the disappearance of all but the tomatoes and well as half the contents of my fridge!
In the afternoon I took Helen to see the castle, where we took some photos for her mum (and for all of you as well)

Bizarrely after about 5 or 6 photos my camera started taking photos like these:

Now pretty as they are, they weren’t quite the view I wanted to show. I have no idea what was wrong with it, but after ten mins or so it had recovered and was taking pretty photos once more.

I dunno maybe it was too hot!

Monday was a semi holiday in France. It used to be a national holiday but then the government decided to change that. So many people still treat it as a holiday. We did manage to find a number of shops on to peruse though.

We had a wonderfully lazy afternoon in the park, lounging on the grass, reading our books and listening to the fountains

Then in the evening we went to the Lux cinema and saw 'Marie-Antoinette'. It's not bad, though a bit strange. There was quite alot of the film where nothing really happened. But we had fun.

I saw Helen off this morning *big sniff*. It was so nice having her here and I'm sooo glad that she had nice weather while she was here. There is not much to do in Caen when it is raining!

PS sorry for the larger than normal photos blogger is being stupid and not loading photos so I'm directing the photos straight from my site and they are much bigger. Hope they don't take too long to download for anyone.

Monday, May 29, 2006

busy busy busy

OK So last week I did so much that I've split my entry in two. Saturday gets a whole entry of its own!!

Thursday was a bank holiday so I didn't get up to much during the day. However in the evening we had a party for Genevieve, who was leaving us to go back to Holland. Despite being initially forgotten by my 'lift' I got to Boris' in the end.
And boy was it a fun evening. We chatted, munched and sang. The singing started with Armelle handing round the words of a song that the choir did. We then worked our way round the room and got songs in a whole range of languages- french, english, german, breton, Creole. So many english worship songs have been translated into french that as we moved into singing other songs we cound sing them in several languages. Interestingly though in germany they often just sing the songs in english!!
Then Dolphin proposed a game of Mafia, and although there were a couple of changes it was played almost exactly the way that we play it in england. Now I don't know what phyco-analysts would have to say about it but I always find it mildly amusing that I have only ever played mafia in a group of christians!! lol.
I spent the rest of the weekend being refered to as the little Mafia- but it's just because they are jelous that I'm so good. Out of a group of almost 30 I only had a possible 3 victims left!! And there were only two mafia to start with. Ha Ha.

Friday was... quiet to say the least. Because of the bank holiday most people had taken the friday off as well so that they had a 4 day weekend. As a result there were two of us in my department (normally there are over 20). So I got to play my music out of the groovy speakers that our screens have- much nicer than headphones, and sing along :)

Saturday was a lovely day trip (see "Day tripper yeah" for more details), though it was a very long day.

Sunday was mothering sunday in france. The choir sang two songs, one of which was requested specially to accompany all the mummy's getting given a rose. It was a song that we have done a couple of times before, but we got such positive response. People loved it, and it was a really nice way of closing the service.
Sunday was also the Monico Grand prix (formula one) and what a race. I felt so bad for Kimi Raikkonen who was doing so well- untill his engine set of fire!! But Couthard got third!! I supported Couthard when I first started watching F1- mainly becasue he was the only brit in at that time. So I was dead chuffed to see him on the podium.

Sunday I also had a chat with Mum how told me that although my cousin Naomi is in Java (where that big earthquake was) she is fine.

Then we are at today. Well today's news is that firstly there will not be anyone coming from Surrey to take my place (so I officially finish on the 13th) and secondly that Helen has (finally) booked her tickets over here so will be coming to visit this weekend- so exciting.
OK well I'm off to try to get friday and monday off work so I can spend some time with Helen.