Monday, December 20, 2010

Jump Start

Jump Start - December 20, 2010

Nej, jeg følte mig da slet ikke ramt, hvor kan du tro det? ;-)

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Let the planning commence!

Med andre ord:

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D :D :D :D

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Created For Freedom

The Christian women's conference this weekend was amazing! Possibly even slightly better than last year, so I'm definitely going again next year if at all possible.

I'm still on a total high from the weekend, and am almost going through withdrawals! ;)

Ever since last year, Nina and I had no doubt at all that we wanted to go again, so we got our tickets about 4 months back. A couple of days later, Rebekka told me that she'd bought tickets as well! Apparently Nina and I had been raving so much about it that she wanted to see what the fuss was all about. Unfortunately Mixi had other plans Friday, but she ended up coming along for Saturday as well! And I managed to lure my cousin-in-law along as well :) Lars and I had dinner together with her, my cousin and my cousin's parents last week, and I told Camilla that she should come along too! Thankfully she took my word for it, and even though she was only able to be there Friday, it was terrific to have her there. She seemed to enjoy herself too :)

The main speakers this year were Christine Caine (USA) and Rita Elmounayer (Lebanon). Turns out that Rita Elmounayer is a colleague of my uncle and aunt! (the ones in Cyprus). They work for Sat7 - a Christian satellite station that broadcasts all over the Arab world. I'm always completely blown away when I hear of their experiences. We really have it easy here! We're free to have church out in the open, we're free to convert to Christianity without being persecuted, we don't risk being fired or losing our house... Wow.

During her seminar, Rita showed a music video called "Let me live", sung in (I think) Arabic by various (I assume) well known people. Sort of like some of the charity videos done here. The music, the lyrics and the video gave me chills and brought tears to my eyes. Unfortunately I can't find it anywhere online, but I'm going to ask my uncle and aunt if they know if it's available. The chorus was (from memory) "You who try to kill me, don't you know we're both human. Don't make me leave my house, my family, my country. Don't terrify me. We only have a limited time on this earth - why do we spend it fighting?" We saw it twice, and I can still hear parts of it for my inner ear - it was amazing!

Christine Caine was by far the best speaker of the conference though - possibly the best speaker I've ever heard. She was inspired and inspirational, and so passionate for God. The theme of the conference was "Created for freedom" and she put a lot of emphasis on the difference between "being free" and "being delivered". As Christians, we've all been delivered, but if we're still walking through the wilderness, then we're not truly free. The Israelites weren't delivered from Egypt to the wilderness, they were delivered from Egypt to be FREE in the Promised Land (interesting aside, did you know that the journey from Egypt to Canaan should only have taken 11 days, but because of the Israelites' disobedience to God, they wandered the desert for 40 years! Of course I've always known the latter, but I didn't know that it was supposed to have taken as little as 11 days. Really puts things in perspective!). We need to be free of all the things that are making us wander around our personal Mount Sinai for 40 years - whether that's fear, harboured unforgiveness, unfulfilled dreams, a past of being abused etc.

Rebekka had brought Rosa along, and thankfully she was a doll most of the time, so Rebekka got to listen in on almost all the seminars. There was only one where she'd had enough and Rebekka had to leave, but considering that she spent a total of 19 hours there, Rebekka felt she got off easy by only missing out on half of one 45-minute seminar :D Besides, Rosa ended up winning a free admission to next year's conference! Gift certificates were given to the oldest and youngest woman there, and at 11 weeks, Rosa was a clear winner ;) And of course, it being a woman's conference, everybody went "Awwwww!!!" when Rebekka walked up to the stage with Rosa to claim her prize ;)

A fantastic, blessed, God-filled weekend. I already can't wait for next year!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Oberammergau Part 2 - The Play

We arrived at the hotel with no further problems, and were told that our rooms would be available in an hour, so decided to go for a walk around town until then. The town was very quaint and charming, and had a lovely church that the friendly local had recommended we saw, but it was raining and we were tired, so we only walked for about 30 minutes and then went back to the hotel and sat in their lobby with our books until the room was ready. Lunch wasn't for another hour or so, so we decided to retire to our rooms until then. I don't know about Mum and Dad, but I was sorely in need of a nap!

During lunch Dad commented on the fact that we'd had an insane number of "almost problems" on our trip, but that none of them turned out to be real problems. "We've got the right connections," I replied, because it really was amazing how many times we could have missed our connections, yet we ended up arriving at Saulgrub at exactly the time our schedule had said - pretty much down to the minute. We agreed that God must have wanted to get our attention for whatever reason, but also agreed that we'd be happy if He felt we were now sufficiently aware of Him, so everything else on the trip would run smoothly ;) As Dad said, "The prayer most rarely answered in the affirmative is, 'Please let it happen soon!'". God has his own timing.

After lunch we packed our bags, and got ready to head off towards Oberammergau and the Passion play. A bus came to pick us up at 1:20pm and drove us (via various other pick-up sites) the 14km to Oberammergau where we were dropped off close to the theater were the plays were performed. We quickly made our way to the theater and found our seats. Unfortunately we hadn't gotten seats next to each other (they were split up 2-1 - one aisle seat, and two center seats in the row behind), which was a shame, but at least they were fairly close to each other, so we entered through the same entrance.

Dad asked, and was told that the theater seats 4,800 people and they have about 100 performances from May-October.

The first half of the play took us from Palm Sunday to Maundy Thursday and took 2.5 hours. The play was in German, but with a textbook translation provided, and while I (obviously) know the story as the palm of my hand, it was still nice to be able to follow along in the English text, as it wasn't always easy to understand/hear what they said. I was incredibly taken in by the thoroughness and the lengths they had gone to, to make it appear accurate and detailed. It's the first time I've seen donkeys, sheep, horses and camels on the stage, that's for sure! And when Jesus emptied the temple, and overturned the cages, actual pigeons were released! It was fascinating! And really, really well done!

It did turn out to be a bit of a problem to me that the play was in German though. My vocabulary there is very limited, and the language barrier did mean that I didn't get as immersed into the play as I would have liked to. I kept having to pull myself out, to check something in the textbook, and therefore didn't get the same experience as I would have, had the play been in English. It did help that a LOT of the dialogue was direct quotes from the Bible though (OT and NT both), so as soon as I'd figured out the Scripture, I knew what they were saying ;)

The interval ran from 5-8pm with plenty of time for dinner. In order to keep from extreme chaos, every hotel had booked tables at different restaurants in Oberammergau, so we knew exactly where to go ;) The meal was fairly standard German fare, but thankfully with lot less vinegar than I've sometimes experienced. AND they had a dessert buffet, which is always a good thing ;)

After dinner, we still had time to walk around Oberammergau for a bit, and despite it currently being very touristy, I fell in love with the place :) Oberammergau is a typical Bayern town, and I really think I'd love to go back in a non-passion-play year to enjoy the atmosphere of it. I loved the nature and the buildings and would have loved to see the local museum to see if it had more information about the history of the passion plays.

There were lots and lots of stores with woodcarvings, but I was a good girl, and didn't buy anything ;) Didn't want to have to lug it around for the rest of the trip, and anyway, there wasn't anything really obvious as I wanted something that represented the passion plays and not just Oberammergau itself. I ended up just buying my usual fridge-magnet souvenier with a photo of the theater.

At the main entrance to the theater was a small exhibition of the history of the play. I don't know if it's readable in this photo - otherwise click on the photo to see the inscription.

More than anything else, it's this background for the plays that amazes and inspires me.

Dad and I switched places for the second half, as I'd had the aisle seat, and there really wasn't room for his legs in
The second half was more or less solely Good Friday. At this point it had gotten so dark that it was no longer possible to read the textbook translations, so I had to focus more on understanding the words as they were spoken. Actually this ended up being a better experience, so I almost wish I hadn't had the textbook, because when I had it, I couldn't keep myself from using it. There were some amazing details and interpretations - e.g. Judas' motives for betraying Jesus. The play depicted it as Judas being tricked by Caiphas, and that he had no clue of his real intentions. I know this is pure speculation, but I really liked that different take on it. Somehow I find it easier to understand that he'd lead him to questioning than to his death.

And the crucifiction was incredible! I have NO idea how they did it to make it look so real. I'm sure there must have been handles to hold and places to put their feet, but none that were visible from where we sat.

I wasn't too impressed by their depiction of Easter Sunday though. For some reason they had decided to have Mary Magdalene meet an angel rather than Jesus himself. At first I thought it was because they didn't want to show the risen Jesus (which I could understand! Playing the part of Jesus is one thing, playing the part of the risen Jesus shown in all his glory is something else entirely), but he did enter the stage at the very end. *shrugs* I don't get it. That said, I really, really liked the person who played Jesus. I know it doesn't make much sense, but he completely fit my mental picture of him :)

As is fairly typical with passion plays, I felt the second half was a lot more drawn out and slow-moving than the first half. Of course it didn't help that I was running on very little sleep, and becoming even more tired by having to focus so much on understanding what was said. I wouldn't go so far as to say I found it boring in parts, but I certainly wouldn't have minded if they'd cut it down a bit - after all, it lasted 3 hours!

It was still an amazing experience though. But I really wonder how many people went because they were Christians and therefore wanted to see it, and how many went for solely the cultural experience. I went for both reasons, but for me it ended up being a HUGE cultural experience, but not really a religious experience at all. Like I told Mum and Dad, I'm glad I went, but I couldn't really see myself going on a regular basis... perhaps in 20-30 years together with my own kids.

The bus back to the hotel was a bit late, so I got to be QUITE cold. I wish I'd known that it was going to be late, as it was parked right outside what looked like a really yummy ice cream palour, and I would have had plenty of time to buy some if I'd only known ;) Finally we arrived back at the hotel just around midnight, and I fell into bed and asleep right away - sleeping so heavily that I was completely disorientated when I woke the next morning, as I was certain I was back home!

Compared to the trip down, the return trip was ridiculously punctual! No train was late (until we came to the ferry from Germany to Denmark, and at that point it really didn't matter, as we had no further time-sensitive connections to make), we made all our connections with plenty of time to spare, and nothing of any interest at all happened ;) Unfortunate we didn't have seats together until the very last leg of the trip which was a shame, but at least we had lunch in the dining area of the train from Munich-Hamburg (I had a DELICIOUS curry-coco soup! I'm going to have to see if I can find a recipe for that!), and had the chance to sit together and talk there.

But it was a LOOONG trip home! We left the hotel at 8:30am and I arrived home at around 11pm. I do like reading, but after awhile I want to do something else as well! Fortunately we'd brought along Fluxx so when we finally got seats together, we could spend some time playing that.

I'm really, really glad I went. It was an amazing experience, and I very much enjoyed getting to share it with Mum and Dad.

Oberammergau Part 1 - The Trip

Here's an account of my trip to Oberammergau in probably too great detail ;)

... Okay, I was going to post this as just one long entry, but I'm obviously even more long-winded than usual, so I'll split it up in two - the trip down there, and the play itself.

I left work early on Thursday in order to get to Copenhagen central station by 3:30pm as the train left at 3:45pm. We arrived a bit early, which turned out to be a good thing, as Lars sent me a text message saying, "Assuming I'm in the area and want to say goodbye - where could I find you?" He was out trainspotting and happened to be on one of the neighbouring stations, so he jumped on a train and arrived in time to give me a kiss goodbye. I thought that was sweet :)

The first part of the trainride was uneventful, and we arrived to Rødby Ferry exactly on time... Unfortunately the ferry didn't, and we ended up being half an hour late getting across to Germany! We had a 70 minute stop-over in Hamburg, so it wasn't a problem yet, but we didn't want to get much more delayed. Fortunately no further delays occurred, so we were only the expected 30 minutes late to Hamburg - no problem at all, and it still left Mum and me plenty of time for a dessert-smoothie ;) (we'd had dinner on the ferry which was delicious and surprisingly reasonably priced!)

About 15 minutes before the train for Munich was supposed to leave, we went down to the track, only to discover that it was 15 minutes late! No problem - while we didn't have much time to change in Munich, the trains from there left every hour, and we had plenty of time to reach Oberammergau, so we weren't worried. We were impatient though, so when the 15 minutes grew to 25 we got increasingly restless! It finally arrived though, and we got settled in our compartment. They were TINY though! Previously when we've taken the night train, we've usually had much bigger cabins, so there was room to move around and get comfortable even when not lying in bed. Not so here. There was room for a bed and a sink and not much else. Mum and Dad's compartment was even worse, as they had bunk beds AND lower to the ceiling, so there was no place Dad could stand up straight, and the only place they could sit up straight was on the floor. Mum and Dad ended up spending most of the awake time with me, as I had a single room so there was a tiny bit more room.

We played a couple of rounds of Bezzerwizzer (and - of course - listened to Skimbleshanks, the Railway Cat from Cats - that's a must!) and then went to bed. By then it was 11pm, and the train would arrive in Munich at 7am, so we figured we'd better get some sleep, as we had a long day ahead of us.

That was easier said than done though. The bed wasn't all that comfortable, and the pillow even less so, so I didn't sleep much. It didn't bother me though - I've always found the movemet of a train to be soothing, so while I didn't fall into a deep sleep, neither did I toss and turn as I would have, had I been home. I still ended up turning on the lights and grabbing my book half an hour before my alarm clock rang though ;)

After a quick breakfast (served on the train) we got off the train in Munich and went to find the regional train that would take us onwards via Murnau to Saulgrub. Thanks to Lars (I may tease him about his geekiness, but it comes in REALLY handy at times!) we knew exactly which track it would leave from, and were able to head there immediately.... only to discover that a cable had been cut between Munich and Murnau, so we'd only be able to take the train half way, and then had to change to a replacement bus instead! For those keeping track, that means there was an issue with all three trains so far! It was starting to get just a tad too funny for our likings.

It didn't end there though - we got the first replacement bus without any issues, and quickly arrived at Murnau... where the next replacement bus was just about to leave right in front of us! (not terribly smart to leave before the connecting bus arrives, but what do I know...) Thankfully our busdriver yelled out the window and got him to stop and wait for us (I'd hoped to have just 5 minutes break there, as I really, really needed to pee! Thankfully the next bus had a build in WC). We drove on towards Saulgrub, and got out of the bus when the busdriver announced "This stop, Saulgrub!" only to discover that we were in the middle of nowhere! Thankfully the bus hasn't left yet, so we were able to ask the bus driver if it really was Saulgrub. No, that was the next stop - he had made a mistake in the announcement! He was suitably horrified and apologized many times for making the wrong announcement, and just before the next stop announced, "This is definitely Saulgrub!"

From Saulgrub there were another 4.5km to our hotel. Worst case we could easily walk that (would take about an hour), but we hoped to be able to find a taxi - especially as it chose this moment to start pouring down. However, there were no taxis around at all, so Dad went to see if there was a bus we could take instead. There was, but it didn't leave for another hour and 20 minutes. We were just debating what to do, when a local came up and when he heard of our plight, he asked us which hotel we were staying at. We told him, "Ah! My sister-in-law works there!" (at least I think it was his SIL... my German is only so-so), and he proceeded to call up the hotel and get somebody there to come pick us up! You'd better believe we were very, very grateful!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

NC 10 year anniversary

NC turned 10 this year, and to celebrate that, the entire company had been invited to an all-expences-paid weekend at a spa in Ystad, Sweden. Apart from the usual spa events, other activities had also been planned, and we could sign up for cooking, bike riding, fishing, golfing and about 10 other things. As I mentioned before the weekend, I'd signed up for parasailing and was half thrilled, half terrified to discover it had been changed to paragliding instead. I now wish that it hadn't, because then we'd still have been able to go! At least in parasailing you make your own wind!

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

We all met up by the main office at 3:50pm Friday afternoon, and got loaded into three busses that would drive us the 150km to Ystad. Once there, we were immediately QUITE impressed by the place. It was big, luxurious and as always, a large NC banner had been hung in front of the place, so everybody would know who we were ;-)

We were more or less the only guest there all weekend. But granted, with 173 people with money to burn, they didn't really need to have all rooms occupied ;-)

After we'd arrived and gotten checked in, we all migrated to the outdoor grill area where welcome drinks and chips were being served before dinner.

Dinner was a really nice grill-buffet, and afterwards the grill area was turned into a dance area instead :-D I didn't stay for much of that though, as I was really tired, and wanted to be my best for the following day's activities! :-)

The weather the following morning could NOT have been better. We ate breakfast outside in the sun, and then eagerly awaiting our guides' arrival, so they could take us to the various activities.

Unfortunately, this was where we received the bad news - there wasn't enough wind to go paragliding. HUGE disappointment! We were 28 people who'd signed up for that activity, and couldn't believe that now we wouldn't get to go! Actually, I think it was bad planning that they didn't have a backup plan, but they kept waiting for the wind to pick up, so perhaps it was a very close call.

Anyway, while waiting we got to sit on a nice green hill and enjoy the sun, so not all was lost ;) It wasn't quite what I'd signed up for though. They also brought out a giant ball where two people could be strapped inside, and then roll down the hill.

I wasn't sure at first if I wanted to try, because I don't do well with being dizzy, but it looked fun, and rolling head-first is usually less of an issue than rolling on my side, so I decided to give it a go after all. I'm glad I did! I got a lot less dizzy than I'd feared, and it was so much fun! (Apparently the others could hear me laugh all the way down ;-) Jesper - my partner in crime - later said that I laughed and he squealed. LOL!) It was a lot more fun than I'd expected it to be. Still not what I'd signed up for, but at least I'd gotten something out of the morning.

We were driven back to the hotel for lunch and regrouping before the afternoon's activities. I'd signed up for 'Spa and massage' and had a lovely time first enjoying the outdoor spa with a glass of champagne in my hand and the company of about half of my female colleagues, and afterwards getting a nice, relaxing massage :)

Because there were two who'd cancelled at the last minute, two of us got to have two massages, and the others very kindly offered it to the two of us who'd been supposed to go paragliding. I thought that was really sweet of them :)

Once we'd gotten showered and dressed we met up by the outdoor grill again, to sit and relax for awhile before dinner. I don't do well with company 24/7, so while I love my colleauges, I also need some 'me' time, so I found a chair in the sun in a quiet part of the grill area and sat there with my book for awhile. I could have curled up on my bed instead, or in one of the many lounge areas, but I wanted to be outside, and I wanted to be together with my colleagues, even if I was on the outskirts of things. Another colleague came to join me later with his book, so I wasn't completely alone in feeling that way ;-)

Dinner was good, and nicely interspersed with various speeches. Naturally our boss had to give an anniversary speech, and as there'd been a contest of the best/funniest anecdote of the past 10 years, we also got some of those retold. The winner (no surprise) involved mooning a Scientology church, breaking the window and falling through, getting arrested and using the "one phone call" to order a pizza! No, I am NOT kidding. And no, he's no longer working here... although not because of that ;)

Oh! So funny! I sat next to one of the three founders of NC. Constantly through the meal he'd say stuff like, "Could you pass me the wine, sweeti... Maria?", "Swee... Maria, would you please hand me the salt" etc. Finally, I just laughed and said, "It's okay, Andre, you're allowed to call me Sweetie!" Teehee!

After dinner the bar and dancing area opened, and I had lots of fun mingling and talking to my best friends among my colleagues.

The busses arrived to take us back to Copenhagen shortly after breakfast the following morning, so we didn't even have a full 48 hours there, but I enjoyed myself SO much the time we did have. I think I may even have enjoyed myself more here than I've done on the skiing trips in years past. I felt more included (being an introvert in a group of extroverts can make one feel slightly left out at times), and I actually liked that it wasn't for as long, so I didn't even have time to miss Lars :) Besides, the weather could NOT have been more perfect! It would have been quite a let-down if it had rained, but we were blessed with warm sunshine from lovely blue skies the entire weekend. Lovely!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

London - Part 6 of 6

I've been procrastinating, but here is - finally - the last part of our London trip!

Part 6: Monday - The One Where We Go Back Home Again :(
Monday morning Henni and I were in a tricky position. We'd gotten to see pretty much all we'd planned to in London, and we had to leave for the airport shortly after lunch, so we couldn't go off and do something outside London. Instead we decided to putter around the center of town for a bit and visit some of the stores that weren't high on our list, but which we'd written down as "stuff to do if there's time".

We started by heading off to Covent Garden. I'd been there several times before, but when I tried to show it off to Henni when we were in London last, I'd picked a time when it was absolutely run over with people, so you couldn't really get a proper feel of the atmosphere. This time it was more or less the opposite though, as we arrived before many of the shops opened! It's still a fun place to walk around though, and the lack of people meant that even I got to see some new stores I hadn't discovered before.

My favourites were a knick-knack store and a toy/games store with all sorts of puzzles, gimmicks etc. I was very tempted to purchase some of them, but had just spent most of the morning desperately trying to pack (and close!) our suitcases without leaving anything behind. Somehow we always arrive to London with half-empty suitcases and leave with them absolutely stuffed to the gills! (Yes, our suitcases apparently have gills... aaaanyway).

In the knick-knack store I found the coolest cuckoo clocks. I've always loved cuckoo clocks, and these had all sort of different animals - a sheep, a dog, an elephant, a couple I don't remember, and then my favourite, a monkey resembling that from Madagascar!

No, I didn't buy it, because it was just a tad silly - but I liked it!

From Covent Garden we decided to try to make our way across to Trafalgar Square, but instead of taking the long way around, we wanted to take a short cut through some of the quaint walking streets of London. I don't know why I've never done that before! I know my way around, yet I tend to stick to the bigger streets, which is such a shame, because I'd missed out on these! Ironically enough we found lots of lunch places we wanted to try... next time ;)

Anyway, we found Trafalgar Square without problems. I was in doubt at one place only, and then discovered that we'd just crossed the road we'd taken when we walked there with Natasha, Ben and Alisa, and all was well again. I hadn't really planned on visiting the Kiwi Shop, but since it's right by Trafalgar Square and we had plenty of time anyway, I thought we might as well, which turned out to be an excellent choice, seeing as I finally found Bub Bridger's book!!! :)

We'd read about a shop in Burlington Arcade which had 25 different versions of macaroons and wanted to check that out. As we came close to it, however, we realized that this was definitely the higher end of London. And sure enough - the arcade was filled with shops where I'd be afraid it cost money to breathe, and the macaroons themselves cost £4.50 for 100g. Never mind then!

We'd arranged to meet up with Lars at the Plaza for lunch, and though we were in good time, thought we might as well head over there right away as we had nothing better to do, and my legs were starting to complain again ;) Again we took the small streets instead of the main ones, and again we discovered an entirely different part of London we hadn't noticed before!! Now I know where to go next!

We were about half an hour early, so decided to split up as Henni would find it easier to 'waste' that time in HMV and I'd find it easier to 'waste' it in Waterstones :D I was looking through some of the books I really WANTED to buy, but couldn't fit into my suitcase when suddenly I heard Lars' voice, "Sheesh, can't I even enter a single bookstore in London without meeting you?" He was early too and had had the same idea of how to kill time as I ;) We caught up with Henni and went to get some lunch.

It's just fast food, but I really enjoy food courts - of course, it probably helps that we don't have them in Denmark, so they're still a novelty, but I find it very practical to have so many restaurants share a space, so we could each have what we were most in the mood for. The recession has really taken a toll on London though - a lot of the shops were closed, and I was once again reminded of how fortunate we are not really to have been affected that strongly in Denmark.

We took the train back to Kings Cross, went to pick up our suitcases (having to empty out the entire luggage room as ours had somehow ended up in the back!) and headed back to the station to take the train out to the airport - where Lars was detained in security as he'd forgotten to remove an unopened coke bottle from his bag!!! Shame on him ;) Henni and I got a good giggle out of it though.

I don't remember much else from the airport or the flight home, so that must mean it was pretty uneventful. Our luggage was a bit delayed though, which I wasn't too thrilled about, as it was getting late, and I had to get up early to go to work the next day!

But finally it arrived and we took the nearest cab home - dropping Henni off on the way. It had been a wonderful trip, and Henni and I weren't even close to getting tired of each others' company, which is always a good thing ;)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Bøger læst i april

Cast, P.C.&Kristin: Chosen, 2.5/5

Dumas, Alexandre: The Count of Monte Christo, 4.5/5

Gaarder, Jostein: Sophie's World, 3/5
Grant, Michael: Gone, 4/5
Grant, Michael: Hunger, 4/5

Martin, Ann M.: En bunke Babysitters Club bøger for nostalgiens skyld :)

Riordan, Rick: Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, 4.5/5
Rubin, Gretchen: The Happiness Project, 5/5
Ryan, Carrie: the Forest of Hands and Teeth, 4.5/5

Sagan, Nick: Idlewild, 3/5
Sedaris, David: Me Talk Pretty One Day, 4/5
Smith, L.J.: Dark Reunion, 3/5
Smith, L.J.: The Fury, 3.5/5

Thursday, April 29, 2010

London - Part 5 of 6

Part 5: Sunday - The One Where I Spent Far Too Much Money
Since the breakfast at the hotel was nothing spectacular, Henni and I had decided to find a cozy-looking cafe to have brunch at one day. Lars isn't big on brunch, so he want to brave the toast-lady himself, while Henni and I headed out towards Brunwick(sp?) where we'd previously found a cafe (Giraffe) that fulfilled our requirements.

Good choice! The bruch was delicious! Henni had a fairly standard English brunch, but I'd decided to order their Mexican brunch with salsa, guacamole and scrambled eggs on a tortillas. It wasn't as heavy as brunch usually is, which was both good and bad, as I ended up being hungry for lunch after all!

From Brunwick we walked to Russel Square to take the train to Warwick Avenue and Little Venice. That turned out to be easier said than done as there were signalling problems on the Piccadilly Line, but fortunately it's really easy to find your way around the London underground, so I quickly found an alternative route, and we were on our way! :)

Little Venice was rather quaint-looking, and it turned out that we arrived at the perfect time to take the water-bus through the canals of London to Camden Market. Honestly, the trip was as canal tours are most, and not something I'd be likely to repeat, but it was a nice way to get a fair distance without having to worry about sore feet! ;)

Unfortunately we weren't too keen on Camden Market. It was a lot bigger and more busy than Borough Market, and seemed both more touristy and as if it appealled to a very different clientel. Henni did find a tea booth, and I fell in love with bags made out of zippers! (didn't buy one though), so it wasn't that it was a waste of time, I just very quickly felt stressed out from having so many people around, and not really feeling like I knew my way around. I don't think it actually was that big, but there were a lot of windy passages, up stairs, through houses, down stairs inside the house etc... Like a labyrinth really! I think I'd have liked it a LOT more if there had been a tad fewer people, and if we hadn't gone there on the second-to-last day where my legs had more or less had enough! So after about an hour we jumped on the water-bus again and went back to Warwick street where we took a train to Piccadilly Circus.

As has become tradition I wanted to buy a Swarovski figurine while in London. I can't remember if I've mentioned it before, but Henni and I had visited practically every Swarovski boutique we'd walked past, and I'd fallen head-over-heels for a slightly bigger, and definitely more expensive! figurine than what I'd usually buy. I hadn't wanted to spring such an expense on Lars, so asked him for 'permission', and thankfully he saw nothing wrong with me splurging a bit, so after having arrived to Piccadilly Circus, Henni and I walked up Regent Street (making a detour into the National Geographic store, which has some AMAZING photo books, but otherwise wasn't really all that interesting. But those books? Wow!) and popped into the Swarovski store there to add to my collection:

Welcome mother and baby koala! :D

From Regent Street we walked to Oxford street to browse a bit, but discovered that both Borders and Waterstones had closed :( Instead we found the nearest "Pret a Manger" to relax for a bit with our books and a cuppa.

Once our legs decided they were on speaking terms with us again, we left the cafe and walked past Foyles (so I could pick up the Walter Moers book I was missing, as well as a present for Isabella) down past Cleopetra's Needle (which was unfortunately being renovated, but Henni did get a photo of the miniature Sfinx next to it) to Temple station where we'd arranged to meet Lars.

Henni and I had found a very nice English pub close by when we were in London last, and we wanted to have our final dinner there.

Unfortunately it turned out to be a bit of a disappointment :( I don't know if the pub just did lunches better than dinners, or if they'd just deteriorated in the two years since our last visit, but unfortunately it really was nothing special :-/ It wasn't bad just not as good as we'd hoped or lead Lars to expect. We weren't even tempted by any of their desserts!! ;) Ah well, we bought some chocolate on our way home, and ended the evening with a very cozy chocolate-tea-bezzerwizzer-fluxx session back at the hotel :)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

London - Part 4 of 6

Right, I've finally gotten hold of Henni's photos, so time for me to continue! :) Unfortunately I noticed she had some really great ones from the days already written - specifically Stable Inn, Greenwich Foot tunnel and the Monument - that'll teach me to start writing down the travel journal before I have all the information! ;)

But anyway! Onwards and upwards!

Part 4: Saturday - The One With Yummy Ice cream, Sweet Friends and a Disappointing Musical
Last time Lars, Henni and I were in London together, Henni and I had walked past Westminster Abbey, but hadn't actually gone inside because of the cost. Henni had regretted that ever since, so obviously it was on our "must do list" this time.

Fortunately we were there early, so the line wasn't too bad, and it got even better when they opened up a new line just a couple of minutes after we'd joined the original one, and invited me to the front! Of course it may just have been a coincidence, but then again, it may have been because of my crutch. Either way, I'm not complaining :)

I'm glad I finally got to see Westminster Abbey from the inside. I still think the outside is the nicest (best Abbey EVER! ;) ) and probably don't feel any real need to go see the inside again, but it did have it's cool points... seeing England's oldest door for instance - or discovering that people actually still live in the Abbey! My favourite was the Poet's Corner though - I liked seeing how many of the artists I actually recognized.

Once done with the Abbey we walked past Big Ben to the nearest tube station so we could take the train back to Leicester Square. Henni and I wanted a quick bite to eat before meeting up with friends at the Häagen-Dasz restaurant, as that would otherwise be our only lunch, and we thought Chinatown was as good a place as any for that.

Unfortunately it turned out to be not the best idea we'd ever had - the service wasn't as quick as we'd expected, so it ended up being rather rushed, and one of the things we had (trying something new, so yes, it was a risk) was pretty much inedible :( I don't even know what it was... it mostly resembled a deep-fried sea-food dumpling. Thankfully the other (which turned out to be fairly standard spring rolls only with shrimps) was fine, so we did get a bit of a snack. Both Henni and I want to try again for a proper lunch next time and hopefully end up with a better experience.

At 12:30 we'd arranged to meet up with Alisa and Natasha (two of Lars' and Henni's old class mates) on Leicester Square. Natasha had also brought along her boyfriend, Ben, and the 6 of us ended up having a wonderful time together. I'd met Alisa once before, but never Natasha, and none of us had met Ben, but we clicked right away, and really enjoyed ourselves.

Of course it didn't hurt that the ice cream was absolutely delicious too ;-) I'll always be grateful to Lissanne for introducing me to the place :)

We ended up sitting around talking for AGES. The waitress came past twice to ask if she could get us anything more. I did feel a bit bad about taking up the table for so long, but she made an effort to ensure us we weren't being thrown out, and there were plenty of empty tables, so I guess I shouldn't worry. Finally we figured we'd better move on, and went for a walk down to Trafalgar Square (which turned out to be handy, as you'll see when I get to write about Monday) as there was some sort of happening/demonstration/speech going on there. I never did find out exactly what was going on, but Natasha and Ben wanted to stay for awhile, and as it was time for Henni and I to head towards the theater anyway, it seemed like a good time to part. Alisa walked back to Piccadilly Circus with us - the four of us had had dinner together one evening when we were in London last, and I remembered really liking her, but time had dulled my memory, and I'd forgotten just HOW MUCH I like her. She has this exuberant personality that draws a person in completely and made me feel like I'd known her for ages, despite it only being the second time we met. She's absolutely delightful, and we've already made plans to meet up again when she (hopefully) comes to Denmark later this year.

It's long been a tradition that I go see a musical every time I'm in London. I think I've only missed once, and that was when Lars and I were there just the two of us, and I didn't much feel like going alone (I mentioned this to Natasha who immediately said that next time I should give her a call as she'd love to go with me. Excellent!) Anyway, fortunately Henni thinks that's a great tradition, so she's joined me the two times we've been in London together. This time we'd decided to see Thriller - Live. Neither of us knew much about it, but we both like Michael Jackson's music, so figured it couldn't be too bad.

... Okay, I have now learned my lesson. Next time I will research before buying the tickets!! No, it wasn't bad, it was just boring. I don't really know what I had expected, but my thoughts went along the lines of either something similar to We Will Rock You or perhaps the story of Michael Jackson's life or one of his tours. It turned out it was neither, but basically just a concert with a bunch of his songs. Not bad at all, and the singers were excellent, but not something I'd pay to see live, and definitely a disappointment when I'd expected a musical. Ah well - you live, you learn. I think that's actually the first time I've been disappointed by a musical I've seen live - considering how many I've seen, I've been really lucky!

Lars met us after the show, and we decided to have dinner at the nearest Garfunkle. Good choice too, as they had excellent burgers! And we were obviously in just the right place for people spotting - we'd gotten seats by the window, and I think 3 or 4 hen parties walked past while we were sitting there. I missed the planning, but suddenly Lars and Henni started waving and making weird faces at one of the parties - they'd gotten it into their heads to do something weird, and see what would happen! I think they were a bit disappointed when the women just laughed at them and moved on ;)

But a little weirdness has never hurt anybody, and we seem to revel in it... proven again by the fact that Henni decided to act tour guide on our way back to the hotel! She doesn't know her way around London as well as Lars and I do, so without thinking about it, we've taken to mostly lead the way around - which of course doesn't help her any. However, she'd bought a bright pink program at the theater (don't ask - I have no idea why it was PINK!) and figured that meant she was the tour guide, so lead us all the way back to the hotel, holding it up above her head so we could see to follow! Gotta love that girl :D

Saturday, April 17, 2010

London part 3 of 6

Friday - The One With TOO MUCH WALKING"
Friday morning after breakfast Lars wanted to try out the high speed trains going out of London, so Henni and I walked him to Euston station before taking off on our own. The weather was absolutely gorgeous, so I wanted to see London from the top of Monument.

I hadn't stopped to think how it would look to others that I was intending to climb Monument while carrying a crutch, and can't really blame the guy selling tickets for asking me if I'd be okay ;) I assured him that the crutch was more a symbol than anything else, and up we went! Those of you who've been to Denmark and visited the Round Tower - imagine the top stair case, only 10 times as long! I didn't count, but the guidebook said that there were 311 steps to the top, and I believe that number. My legs were shaking beneath me when I got to the top, but the view definitely made it worth it!

The funniest part was when we were getting ready to head down again. We had to wait for a family to pass. The father was huffing and puffing, looked at me, looked at my crutch, "You did that on a gummy foot?!" Hehe. Well, yeah! If I didn't I'd never get to see anything that required proper walking.

From Monument we walked along the Themes to Tower Bridge, passing Tower on the way. I haven't seen either in ages, but it does look impressive in a weather as gorgeous as this.

(I think it was around here that we actually took off our jackets and walked around in short sleeves! For the first time in at least 6 months! :D )

The Tower Bridge exhibition had a lot of information about how the bridge was designed and built, how it had changed through the years (not much, except for the paint job in honour of the Queen's something-anniversary), special events that took place on and around the bridge (i.e. a bus that didn't stop in time and therefore had to jump the gap as the bridge started opening!) and other major bridges around the world. It was actually surprisingly fascinating! We skipped the engine room though - neither of us had any real interest in that.

Once on the South side of the Themes we started walking West, as we'd read about a local market down between London Bridge and Borough station. If you ever go to London, I can highly recommend Borough Market! It was absolutely the highlight of the entire trip! It's a shame I haven't gotten Henni's photos yet, because I didn't think to take any myself. Very quaint and atmospheric, it seems very much like a local market and not one specifically aimed at tourists. Although that may have changed in recent years, as it was apparently used in the filming of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban ;) It was slit up into three parts - they had names, but I don't remember them, so I'll just refer to them as the food market, the produce market and the spice market :)

Coming from London Bridge as we did, we hit the food market first, which was very convenient, as we were quite hungry by this time, and definitely ready for lunch. The food market had stalls offering dishes from all over the world, and smelled fantastic! I'm sad I only had room for one lunch! It also seemed like this was where business people from the neighbourhood came to get lunch, as we saw a number of people in suits - again leading me to think it's not first and foremost a tourist attraction.

The produce market mostly had butchers and stalls with fruits and vegetables, so we didn't spend too much time in that section, and made our way over to the spice market instead. Here they had stall after stall with different spices, different oils, different varieties of tea, olives etc. I don't know if I'm glad or sad I didn't actually live close by, because I could have gone absolutely crazy there! As it was I limited myself to a bottle of chili-garlic olive oil, but would have loved some of the different olives as well. Yum :) Henni and I both agreed that we definitely want to come back there sometime.

We took the train back to Central London and went to find a Swarovski store, as Henni needed a new battery for her watch. My legs were absolutely killing me by this time, so while she was getting that done, I went to the nearest Starbucks and found us a table where we could get a cuppa and sit and relax for an hour or so. While there Lars sent me a text message saying that he'd been contacted by the police (happens occasionally - in Denmark as well - they tend to want to know why he's taking photos of trains ;) ). As per usual all was fine once he explained that he was a trainspotter, and the female police officer almost felt sorry for him when she heard that his wife was shopping in London ;)

At 5:30pm Henni and I caught the train back to Kings Cross station as we were picking up Katie at 6pm. She lives up north of London, and had arranged to come down for the evening so we could have dinner together. I think it's been two years since we saw each other last, so we had a brilliant time catching up. We'd found a very cozy-looking Italian restaurant close to the station, so we wouldn't have to worry about getting her back in time, and fortunately the food turned out to be excellent, so we've added that to our mental list for another time.

After dinner we still had about an hour before Katie's train left, but apparently King's Cross is far away from the very center of London to be dead in the evenings, because though there was both a Starbucks and a Pret a Manger just across the street, they both closed at 9pm! Ah well, giving up atmosphere for some extra time to talk, we found a Starbuck inside St. Pancras Station and sat chatting away there until it was time for Katie to go. As always we had a lovely time together, so I'm really, really glad she had time to come down and see me! :)

Friday, April 16, 2010

London - Part 2 of 6

Part 2: Thursday - The One With Greenwich and SHOPPING"

After a very restless night (I never sleep well the first night in a new place) we got up at 8:30am to have breakfast at the hotel.

I don't think I can properly explain how absurd (I was going to write 'surreal', but I'm not quite sure if that's the right word) breakfast is at that hotel. They have complimentary continental breakfast. Most things are on the buffet as per usual. Not toast however. No, toast is only supplied if you want it. There's a small toast-lady (at least, that's how we've taken to refer to her) who'll walk around asking tables "Toast? White or brown?" (I've never heard her say anything else, so we're starting to think that's all the English she knows ;) ). She'll only ask one table at a time though, and you have to be quick, or she'll only take the order of 1 or 2 people at that table, and then disappear. We have a theory that they can only toast 4 pieces at a time, so she sees no reason to take orders for more ;) Also, you have to be careful how you order. The standard portion is 2 pieces, so one morning we ordered "1 white and 2 brown" - expecting to get 6 pieces in total. Nope, we got 3 pieces in total. Fair enough, our mistake in not being clear enough. The next day we asked for "2 white and 4 brown"... and ended up getting 12 pieces in total! After that we just took to each answering for ourselves and not trying to sum it up in any way ;)

Henni and I both commented that anywhere else we'd be completely frustrated by the level of service, but here it's so wacky/far out that we just laugh and take it as part of the experience :D

After breakfast all three of us walked to the British Museum. It's almost become a tradition for us to visit that together, and it's SO huge, so there are still lots more to see. This time we visited the Chinese/Japanese/Indian/South Pacific sections, part of which was really interesting, the rest - not so much. Lars was hugely amused to find both a snake god Nagiri and a goddess Pavarti in the Indian section though. We have a feeling a certain author may have gone there for inspiration ;)

From the museum we walked past a games store to see if any new expansions to Munchkin had been released (not the case, but we found another Carcasonne-like game that looked interesting) and then on to the nearest station to take the train out to Greenwich. I have to say, I was NOT impressed by people's reactions to my crutch in London. I'd remembered it today, as I knew we were in for a lot of walking, and had expected the same level of courtesy as I'd experienced in NYC, but that was not the case at ALL. In NYC I'd say people stood to give me their seat 90-95% of the time. In London it was 50% at most. I was especially annoyed on the DLR to Greenwich where the train manager pointedly looked at my crutch and then asked me to move as he needed my seat :-O I'm very glad I didn't actually need-need the seat, but I was definitely very unimpressed by his actions. And no, there were no signs that that seat was reserved for the train manager. Ch!

Ah well, we arrived safe and sound and walked through the Greenwich foot tunnel to the other side. Once there (after I'd rested for awhile - the 99 steps back up from the tunnel were a bit of a challenge ;) ) we found a wonderfully quaint British pub called The Spanish Galleon where we had the best lunch of the entire trip :) Definitely a place worth revisiting.

After lunch we walked over to the Maritime Museum to have a look around there. Unfortunately it wasn't all that interesting, so very much a waste of the little strength my feet had left at this point. Especially since it meant we got to miss out on the Royal Observatory. Ah well, I was the only one who really wanted to see that, and it's not like it's going to go anywhere before I make it to London next ;) Instead we walked back to the nearest DLR station to take the train back to the center of London. On our way there we stopped to get some ice cream... usually I probably wouldn't have thought that noteworthy, but it ended up being the basis of a running joke for the rest of the vacation. One of the flavours offered was Hokey Pokey which is a flavour of ice cream invented in New Zealand. I don't particularly like it myself, but was very amused to see it offered here. I became even more amused though when Henni ordered it, only pronouncing it "Hockey Pockey". I don't know why we thought it that funny, but both Lars and I cracked up laughing. Even more so when we realised she had no idea what it was, and only ordered it because of the name!

Funny! ... but probably one of those "you had to be there" moments. Henni later commented that it would be a great name for a house boat (of which there are several in Little Venice), setting us off again ;-)

Aaaaanyway, Lars, Henni and I went our separate ways with Lars going off trainspotting again, and Henni and I taking the train back to Oxford Circus to walk down Regent Street (and drool at the gorgeous Swarovski figurines) and browse in the HUGE Waterstones bookstore by Piccadilly Circus. However, I was very unamused to find that out of the four books I'd found and wanted to buy, they only had two of them - two of the three I'd found by Walter Moers. Figuring I could always go back to Foyles, I didn't mind too much, but walked around for a bit looking at their other offers. I don't know if I'm getting more picky or what's happened, but I didn't find nearly as many books of interest as I would usually have! Strange ;)

While I was browsing one of the cashiers suddenly noticed I was holding The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear and called out "Great book!" As I'd already read that one and completely agreed with him, we had a small chat about the book and Walter Moers' other books - including the one I hadn't been able to find there. I 'complained' that they didn't have it, and he went to look it up for me. Turned out it was sold out from most of their stores in London - at least the ones in central London. Upon hearing this I mentioned, "I hate to say this, but they have it at Foyles..." He looked at me, and then with a grin replied, "Go Foyles!" Not often you actually have cashiers tell you to seek out their competition ;)

It didn't end there though, when I later went to pay for the books, another cashier was cashing me out, and when he came to Captain Bluebear, he called out, "Hey, John! Check out what she's buying!" to get the other's attention! Obviously he's not making it a secret that he likes that book ;) Well, it IS excellent! He then had great sympathy for me buying such heavy books, "And you're on a stick too! I hope it's just temporary?" After the indifference of the train manager earlier, it was great with some sympathy, even if I didn't quite know how to answer that question. Ehh... it's permanently temporary? ;)

We'd spent enough time shopping that it was time to meet up with Lars by now. We'd arranged to meet at the HMV by Trocadero and "go nuts".... and we kinda did ;) I don't think we've ever before bought so many DVDs in London... on the other hand we've never before been there while they had a £3 sale! :D

Dinner was had at a very delicious Spanish/Mexican (not too sure which) restaurant by Leicester Square called "Chiquito". Lovely food, excellent service, and while a tad more expensive than TGIFridays, not insanely so, so this may be our standard first-evening-restaurant from now on :)

We were all completely exhausted when we came back to the hotel, so didn't spend much time on games, but just had a quick look-see at the things we'd bought that day. We did laugh when Lars showed us what he'd bought though. "London, Baby!" and "I choose the hat!" had been regular comments while planning the trip (Friends references to those not in the know), and Lars had found the hat! We later agreed that while Lars might have chosen the hat, the hat chose me, and Henni's head was just too small ;)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

London - Part 1 of 6

As always, Henni, Lars and I had a wonderful trip to London! And as always, I spent far too much money there ;)

Like my account of our trip to NYC I'm going to split this up into several posts, as I think it'd get too long otherwise. So without further ado - part one!

Part 1: Wednesday - The one with the Arrival, A Case of Mistaken Address and A Case of Mistaken Dessert!
Lars, Henni and I met up at the airport at around 10am. The flight wasn't until noon, but we're all in the camp of 'better safe than sorry'. Besides, it gave us time to grab a quick snack/lunch before boarding the plane. When we arrived to London Heathrow, we quickly found our way to the baggage arrival, and it didn't take long before it started running... only to stop suddenly with a very violent jolt. Cue confusion and a bit of worry, especially when we heard that the belt had broken and the baggage would be delayed until it had been fixed, but fortunately it took no more than 15 minutes, and after that ours were some of the first suitcases out.

As per tradition, we'd booked rooms at a small hotel right by Kings Cross station. Nice and central while not too central. We got to our hotel without problems and here got our first, and thankfully only serious, disappointment of the trip - the hotel was almost fully booked, so we couldn't get two rooms next to each other. Instead Henni was on the third floor and Lars and I on the first. Granted, not a big deal, but still somewhat annoying.

Anyway, we dropped off our luggage and headed out. Lars wanted to go to the souvenir shop at the Transport Museum by Covent Garden, and I'd been told about a Christian book store I wanted to visit that was - according to Lars - close by, so we took the train to Convent Garden together and would split up afterwards... only to discover that Lars was mistaken!!! The address for the Christian bookstore actually put it quite a bit of a walk away from Covent Garden and not right next to it as he'd thought. He'd been so sure that he hadn't checked a map, and he's so often right, that I hadn't considered double-checking either. Ooh, we teased him mercilessly about that! ;)

It wasn't too long a walk though, so Henni and I set out confidently, and found the reason for Lars' mistake when we about half way passed Stable Inn. Henni had mentioned wanting to see that, but as it seemed rather out of the way compared to everything else we wanted to do, we'd put it on the "maybe" list. We both agree that it must have been Lars subconscience that caused him to make that mistake, so we'd get to see it anyway ;)

After having browsed in the bookstore for awhile we did take the tube back to town though ;) No reason to ruin my legs on the very first day! I'd brought my crutch but had actually managed to forget it at the hotel - trust me, it was the only time I made THAT mistake! We took the tube to Tottenham Court Road as we wanted to look around Foyles for a bit. I got thoroughly confused walking out of the station though, as they're renovating so my usual points of reference were all gone! Lars laughed at me when I told him this, until he walked past it the following day and had the exact same reaction! Ha! :) We got our bearings, and made our way down to Foyles where I immediately found 4 books I wanted to buy. However, Foyles is known for being more expensive than Borders or Waterstones, so I just made a note of them and didn't buy anything at all :-D

From Foyles we walked further south through Soho to Leicester Square (and got very confused by a sign towards LS pointing in the opposite direction from what we knew to be right! Good thing we're so familiar with London by now :) ) and on towards HMV and Trocadero where we browsed a bit (still not buying anything other than gifts for others - go us ;) ) until it was time for us to meet up with Lars for dinner. It's pretty much become tradition that we eat at TGIFridays on the first evening, because we know where it is and that it's good food, but I'm thinking that may start to change... We've been in London often enough by now to find other and better places, and we weren't too impressed by the speed of their service. The food's still good though :) Especially their Dessert Minis... even if the waitress did get both of mine wrong! ;) I'd ordered mint chocolate and raspberry, she brought me chocolate and blueberry cheesecake. I sent the chocolate back right away (thinking it was an easy thing to mis-hear), but was about half way through the other before I discovered it was wrong! Ah well, it was still yummy, and I had been wavering between that and the raspberry, so we joked that the waitress had just made up my mind for me.

Because of the speed (or lack of same) of the service, it was rather late at this point, so we took the train back to the hotel, and hung out in our room for a bit playing games and drinking tea. Very cozy :)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Bøger læst i marts

Abrams, Douglas Carlton: The Lost Diary of Don Juan, 3/5

Golding, Julia: The Gorgon's Gaze, 4.5/5

Lin, Grace: Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, 4/5
Lowry, Lois: Gossamer, 4/5
Lowry, Lois: Number the Stars. 4/5

Mac: Professional Shrink, 5/5
Montgomery, Lucy Maud: Anne of the Island, 5/5

Kate, Lauren: Fallen, 3.5/5

Smith, L.J.: The Awakening, 3/5

Thomas, Scarlett: The End of Mr. Y, 4.5/5
Turner, Megan Whalen: The Queen of Attolia, 3.5/5

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Angel of Faith - Revisited

I believe I promised you photos from when I was the "Angel of Faith" at church. They were finally uploaded, so here you go :)

Just woken up:

Listening to the 4th recital of the Jesus Creed:

The three angles at church the next morning:

From left to right: Angel of Faith, Angel of Hope, Angel of Love.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Angel of Faith

In Danish churches it is tradition that children take confirmation classes when they're either in 7th or 8th grade. So also at my church, and this weekend was their bi-annual overnight stay in church (something Morten likes to do with them - they always tend to think it's great fun). Morten had planned a happening/role-play were the kids were to find and wake up the Angel of Faith, the Angel of Hope and the Angel of Love and do certain activities together with them. He'd asked me to be the Angel of Faith, and I'd happily agreed as I thought it sounded like a great laugh.

And so it was :) Our deacon had gotten hold of some delightful wings and halos, and we'd arranged to be dressed similarly - jeans, and then a blue blouse for the Angel of Faith, a green one for the Angel of Hope and (of course) a red one for the Angel of Love. I promise you, we were a sight for sore eyes! I'll be sure to post photos as soon as I get my hands on them ;-)

I was to hide in the crawlspace of the church, and when the kids found me, they had to say/sing the Apostle Creed to wake me up. That didn't wake me up completely though, so I sent them to the church room where the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle of the Jesus Creed (Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these. Mark 12, 29b-31) had been hidden. Once they found them and completed the puzzle they had to learn it off by heart, and say it to me. I then had them sit around the alter while I told them of Paul's conversion and the events that lead to him writing 1st Corinthians 13. I was a bit worried about that part of it, as I wasn't sure I could hold their attention, but thankfully it went really, really well and I managed to round off before people started fidgeting too much ;) And I loved telling it. It's a story I know well, but one that new Christians don't always know well, so I didn't feel like I was just wasting their time. Afterwards Morten told me that he'd occasionally thought, "If I were to tell the story, I'd now say abc... hey! She said abc too!" Teehee! Like uncle like niece I guess? ;)

We then sent the kids downstairs to find their New Testaments, split up in groups, and skim through four chapters (John 3, Romans 10, Hebrews 11 and James 1) and find the verse that spoke most strongly to them about what it means to have faith. I loved one group in particular. They'd picked Romans 10:4 (Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.), but when I came to ask them about it, one of them admitted that she didn't really know what it meant, so I got to explain it to them :)

I disappeared shortly after that, promising to return the following day for church.

Before the service started, us three angels met in the deacon's office to get dressed without anybody in the congregation seeing our wings and halos. We hid out during the sounding of the bells, and when the organist started playing the voluntary prior to the service, the doors opened wide, and we strode in to walk through the church and sit up by the alter. Small titter started as soon as we entered, and roared into full-blown laughter by the time everybody could see all of us. Priceless! For most of the service we just sat there, but instead of a sermon we'd invited "Zacchaeus the Tax Collector" (of Luke 19) who was then interviewed by the three angels as well as anybody from the congregation who cared/dared to come up and ask a couple of questions. We should probably have prepared more questions on beforehand, but for an impro, it worked quite well.

Definitely one of the weirder things I've ever done in church - and as somebody attending Haraldskirken, that's saying something! I loved every minute of it though :-)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Bøger læst i februar

Bevere, Lisa: Be Angry, But Don't Blow It, 3/5
Brammer, Rebecca: The Year of Plenty, 5/5
Burau, Caroline: Answering 911, 4/5
Burt, William D.: The King of the Trees, 2.5/5

Clausen, Nick: Ulm, 4/5
Collins, Suzanne: Catching Fire, 4/5
Collins, Suzanne: The Hunger Games, 5/5

Julin, Mette: Sandheder og løgne, 4/5

Lange, Sue: Uncategorized, 4/5

Takami, Koushun: Battle Royale, 4/5
Thomas, Angela: Do You Think I'm Beautiful, 4/5
Turner, Megan Whalen: The Thief, 3.5/5

Wilder, Laura Ingalls: Little House in the Big Woods, 4.5/5

Monday, February 1, 2010

Bøger læst i januar

Adams, Richard: The Girl in a Swing, 4.5/5
Adler-Olsen, Jussi: Fasandræberne, 3.5/5
Adler-Olsen, Jussi: Kvinden i buret, 4.5/5
Anonymous: The Book With No Name, 5/5
Anonymous: The Eye of the Moon, 4/5

Child, Julia: My Life in France, 4/5

Fisher, Carrie: Wishful Drinking, 4/5

Jackson, Dave: Harry Bentley's Second Chance, 3.5/5

Moers, Walter: The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear, 5+/5

Niffenegger, Audrey: Her Fearful Symmetry, 2.5/5

Wilder, Laura Ingalls: Farmer Boy, 4.5/5
Wilder, Laura Ingalls: Little Town on the Prairie, 4.5/5
Wilder, Laura Ingalls: The Long Winter, 4/5
Wilder, Laura Ingalls: These Happy Golden Years, 5/5

Månedens bog: The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Livigno, Baby!

Renting the skis the first day. I love the contrast of these two photos - the skier who knows what he's doing, and the one who... doesn't (actually, that's not fair, the other guy's a great skier too, but these two photos were too much fun not to put side by side).

The weather was terrific and the snow perfect, so we were soon joyfully swush-swush-swush'ing down the slopes :)

It is a policy of mine that I have to wear an odd-looking hat when going skiing.

Livigno is situated in a valley between two mountains, so it's very thin, but very long.

One of our favourite slopes can be seen here - see the thin ribbon going through the forest?

If there's one thing Italians know how to do it's make food. I had the most DELICIOUS pizza one night, a melt-in-your-mouth tender balsamico fillet another, and an even better salmon steamed in white wine and with a mushroom sauce on the final night. Uhmmm!

The evenings were spent mostly playing Bezzerwizzer (a MUCH better alternative to Trivial Pursuit), eating candy and having fun :)

Mostly we just skied, but on the last day Frode and Dennis decided to rent snowboards instead in order to try that out. Looked like so much fun, but I'm pretty sure I can't do it with my bad leg. I could take photos of them falling over a lot though ;)

From left to right: Frode, Henrik, Wendy, Lars, Dennis, Henni, me, Rikke.