Saturday, January 30, 2010

Saturday in London

Last Saturday we started out with a stroll in the neighborhood and headed west to Notting Hill. 
We made our way to the Portobello Road Market.
MBA was a good trooper. 
There's tons of interesting stuff to peruse. And there were tons of tourists there to peruse it. 
I love all the colored buildings. It's so happy!
And then I spotted this ...... what the ????
More proof. 
Who walks through the Portobello Road Market with a dog balancing on his shoulders!?!?!? 

Only the Eccentric!
Next we headed to St. Paul's for a quick look. 
Then we walked north to John Wesley's church and home. 
Because he was a Dissenter, his meeting place was outside the city walls. 
This is Wesley's grave -- surrounded by Reuters. 
Wesley's Home
Across the street is Bunhill Fields where many Dissenters and Nonconformists were buried. 
Over 120,000 people were buried there from 1685 -- and it's small. It's crazy how many people are buried in four hectares. 
Next, we swung by the National Gallery for our monthly fill of Italian Renaissance Art. We couldn't stay long because we were headed to the Westminster evensong at 3.
On our way south to Westminster, we passed this protest. Did you know Christians are being killed in Egypt? I didn't. 
The evensong at Westminster was splendid. As we were being ushered in, we even passed William Wilberforce's grave. What a hero. He's the guy that put an end to the slave trade in Britain. 
  After Evensong, we met up with our friend Chris in St. James Park for a spot of tea. As a native Londoner, Chris was keen to take us on small walking tour. Here's some of the areas we passed through:
West End


Even though it was our second trip to London since living here, we're still keen to head back soon. I feel as though we've barely started seeing all there is to take in and experience in that grand town. I'm already itching to see more of what the world can show!

"By seeing London, I have seen as much of life as the world can show." - Samuel Johnson

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Friday in Kensington, London

Last Friday, MBA and I caught the eastern rail into London Kings Cross. In five hours, we went from door step to the heart of London. Within minutes of arrival, we were purchasing Oyster Cards and making our way across town using London's Underground. We stayed in one of London's most-exclusive and lovely neighborhoods: the charming Hollands Park.
MBA in Holland Park Neighborhood. Kensington, London.
While I was still quite ill last Friday (an icky upper respiratory infection), we still enjoyed strolling these streets close to the hotel.
Charming. I absolutely love all the white! It's refreshing to see white!

After a one-course dinner a block from the hotel, we headed back so I could rest.

And guess what -- there was a surprise awaiting me!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

And Along Come Tourists

Today is Holocaust Memorial Day, and in my feeble attempt to commemorate the day, I spent the afternoon at the Filmhouse viewing the film And Along Come Tourists.  The German film, set at Auschwitz, examines the German memory of history through the relationship of a young, German civil servant working alongside an 80-something survivor of the concentration camp. The young German, Sven, has some difficulty with the slow, depressing world embodying the former concentration camp. Yet, he convincingly evolves into a figure committed to civility, honoring victims, and recognizing the importance of history. In the last scene Sven's at the train station escaping back to Berlin, but he encounters a German school leader accompanying a group of young German students to visit Auschwitz. Sven abandons the train station and helps the group find the bus stop and how to get on to the camp. The German school leader, impressed with Sven's assistance, states [paraphrase as the movie was in German] that he's thankful that Sven's volunteering at Auschwitz as the world will now judge Germany as to their response to the horrific, systematic killing of millions of people. It's interesting that people, generations later, are concerned with an appropriate response to the atrocity committed by their former countrymen. Yet, the film never questions the appropriate response. Is commemorating a place, a piece of soil, a decent start? Is viewing the thousands of stolen suitcases, each representing a tortured victim -- is that an appropriate response?

Food for thought.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

There's So Much Entertaining Stuff on the Internet ......

You should totally try the Soul Train med sometime. I battled a nasty upper respiratory infection last week, and this is the only medicine that made me feel better.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Updates on the Wilsons

Tia's home! Check out the homecoming here.

Life Savers

There's a reason wellies were invented in Great Britain -- we desperately need them here! 

 Hunter, headquartered in Edinburgh, really does make the best rain boot. They've been protecting my feet from all the elements everyday since we've been back in the UK.

If you're headed to Scotland anytime soon, this pair comes highly recommended.

Three cheers to a boot that keeps your feet dry and is not too heavy to traverse the city far and wide!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What I'm Reading

Or actually finished ....

Written by Booker Prize winning author Aravind Adiga, The White Tiger is a fascinating first-person novel detailing the life of a lower caste Indian in modern day India. The corruption, the ambition, the "entrepreneurs," and the "half-baked," -- this is an intriguing read for anyone interested in gaining insight into real-life India.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


MBA and I have arrived safely in Edinburgh. Yesterday morning when we flew into Edinburgh, the whole of Scotland seemed to be covered in snow. It was beautiful.

Although - after spending all of my Virginia stay in snow - I felt a bit over it.

Then I awoke this morning to lots of rain and howling wind. I quickly decided I prefer snow.


In other news, we also just received a phone call that my luggage will be delivered before noon. With all of our traveling in the past several years, I've learned to plan on having at least one piece of luggage to go missing for a few days. It will inevitably happen! When I travel back home for approximately a month, that also means that my entire wardrobe is basically traveling with me. Hence, it's nice to know that by noon today, my belongings will hopefully have found their proper place in our flat and not at Charles de Gaulle airport.


And in the most important news of all, please keep my friends Mike and Missy Wilson in your prayers. The Wilsons are such tried and true friends of the Suttons, it's hard to put their friendship into words. When massive catastrophes occur, like in Haiti this week, it's difficult to know how to pray for hurting people beyond asking God to help and meet needs. But when it's three million people that need food now ... it's hard to know where to begin and how to help. However, you can specifically pray for one situation. The Wilsons are in the process of adopting their little girl Tia from Haiti. Mike and Missy were both in Haiti last week signing the paper work before the Haitian judge to finalize matters with the adoption. Mike and Missy have both spent quite a bit of time with Tia in Haiti, and she's already begun being grafted into the Wilson clan. When Missy called early Tuesday evening to ask us to pray for Tia and Katie (their other daughter who just left last week to work at an orphanage in Haiti for seven months), my heart just hurt for her. How devastating to know that your children, if they survived the 7.0 earthquake, must be going through so much -- and you're not there to comfort them and take care of them. Wednesday morning the Wilsons heard from Katie, and she and Tia are both alive and well. Wednesday afternoon Mike flew to Haiti and is in the process of trying to bring Tia home. Mike had to get some final paperwork from the American Embassy, and the American Embassy closed right there in front of him. Not only is the adoption process incredibly trying, but the devastation of Haiti that he's experiencing is especially difficult. You can hear more from Mike and Missy at their blog Bring Tifi Home. Please keep them in your prayers.

Here's a video of Tia and Katie from last week before the earthquake hit.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Books of 2009

Must Read: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

Skip: Julie & Julia 

Interesting Read: Tipping Points

Skip: Notes from a Small Island

Entertaining Read and Thought-Provoking: The Reader and Boy in Striped Pyjamas

Fascinating: How We Survived Communism and Even Laughed

New Favorite Author of 2009: Helmut Thielicke (new to me)

Still Reading and Likely Worth Finishing: Audacity of Hope

Not everything I read in 2009 is title-worthy. Some were ho-hum. Some were fascinating but not life-changing. Other books I enjoyed but am not convinced everyone out there would enjoy them equally.

So what did you read in 2009? Anything worth recommending? Anything you're looking forward to reading in 2010?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Frequent Flier 2009

Where did we go in 2009? Here's the frequent flier list for this past year:

Nashville, TN
Lynchburg, TN
Charlottesville, VA
Knoxville, VA
Oakridge, TN
Washington, DC (The White House!!!)
Alexandria, VA (British Visa attempt numero dos!)
York, Engalnd *
Loire Valley, France
Berlin, Germany
Prague, Czech Republic
Cambridge, England
London (Whoops!)
Florence, Italy
Siena, Italy
Rome, Italy
Dundee, Scotland
St. Andrews, Scotland
Inverness, Scotland
Dunskeld, Scotland

And: Many, many, many castles which were at one time considered unique and individual jurisdictions. Such is life in the old world! We also drove through many villages and small towns in England and Scotland, each with unique and individual charm.

Here's to more globetrotting in 2010!

* Indicates more than one overnight stay.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Let's Make a List

Since we arrived in America a bit over two weeks ago, we've been traveling and going like crazy. I've been on a whirlwind tour of the South and have seen many family and friends. It's been a joy! Highlights include many family meals, hearing my young cousins read Hebrew (impressive!), and driving a car. Is there anything more liberating than driving?!?! I'm not convinced there is. 

2009 has been a crazy year. Some highlights and favorites:

1. Receiving my British Visa after drama, drama, drama. I can now live legally in Britain until 2012.

2. Family visits.

3. Living in Paris for five weeks (one block from the Seine and Notre Dame). Subsequently, dining al fresco on the Seine almost nightly the entire time we were there.

4. Traveling, traveling, and more traveling. I love it! (Frequent Flier Post to Come!)

5. Helping my parents find a home in Virginia. We love putting down roots!

6. Welcoming new international students and their spouses to Edinburgh.

7. Reading some fabulous books and participating in a few book clubs.

8. Cooking up a storm with a really good friend in Edinburgh.

9. Weekly adventures with my husband. Whether it be hiking the Fife Coastal Path or visiting the Edinburgh Music Hall, we were always on the go.

10. Really, truly appreciating our ex-pat life for what it is.

I'm really looking forward to 2010 and all the blessings, challenges, and adventures it will bring.

Happy New Years!
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