Saturday, March 31, 2012

T minus three months to my return to the States

So I get to move house again before I leave London in June.  Yes, that's right, I'm moving house less than three months before I move back to the States.  Not something I'm very thrilled about to say the least, but I don't really have a choice.  The London Mennonite Trust, who houses me, is in the process of property purchases in both Birmingham and Wood Green, which will enable them to move myself and others out of rented accommodation into something they own.  I'll be moving with two other couples to share the property in Wood Green.  The move makes complete sense from a financial perspective, it's just not something I feel like doing again given that I'm so close to my leaving date.  After I move out the room I will use will be used by the future Director (yet to be determined who) when he/she comes to visit London.

The route I currently cycle to work will then be quite different as I'll be traversing around and over the hill of Alexandra Palace and over about twenty or so speed bumps.  My trip will be slightly longer in distance and probably slower even if it wasn't because of all of the added speed bumps.  I cycle through the streets quick enough that they really do slow me down, which is probably their purpose.  It means I'm probably slightly safer (if you could ever be considered "safe" when cycling in London) for going a bit slower, but a bit more frustrated.  In other news, part of the route I currently use just got resurfaced (section crossing the north circular).  It just happened to be the worst junction that I go across (multiple lanes converging, poor lines on the street, lots of traffic, lots of cracks/potholes/uneven terrain).  So I now only have a few weeks to enjoy the smoothness of the resurfaced junction.  There isn't any less traffic, it's just smoother and better marked, which makes it feel slightly safer.

I also realised a few days ago that it has almost been five years since I graduated from Goshen College.  I can honestly say if I looked back to where I was five years ago I never would have guessed to be where I am today.  I've basically been a full-time volunteer since graduating (after one last summer working as a camp counsellor) and for the first two years stayed relatively put in Colorado.  I took up cycling and occasional long runs (15+ miles bi weekly/monthly) with a lot of hiking in altitude.  After traversing the Atlantic to London in September of 2009 I've worked on courses all across the UK and had holidays in Greece, France (twice), Italy, Belgium, Germany (twice), the Czech Republic, and Ireland.  In the UK I've had multiple trips to Scotland and cycled from Glasgow to London through the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales, York, Lincoln, Peterborough, Ely, and Cambridge.  In London commute to work by cycling and have only been hit twice so far! I've also been a regular attender of Wood Green Mennonite Church and have been lucky enough to accompany one member (who is a film critic) to over fifty screenings (ranging from big blockbusters to small independent films) and plagued another member by beating him at his own board games.  All in all a lot has happened over the last five years (and in particular the last three years).

Since leaving the States many of my friends and family have gotten married, had children, bought homes, "settled down," and/or gone back to school.  A few more have left the States, travelled across it, or have done a combination of the two.  My home state of Vermont was ravaged by flooding (compliments of hurricane Irene) including the workplace of my Dad being decimated (which has since been rebuilt and reopened).  My cat Flicker, who has been my parent's cat since I left for college, died at the age of 17, and has since been replaced by two rambunctious kittens (both of whom my parents adore).  They also gained an awning on their house, remodelled a bit of the kitchen, and added a second chicken coop which houses a guinea fowl (from four down to one).  A lot more has changed that I'm hardly aware of and will probably never catch up on.  Life just keeps going regardless.    

To end this post, a few pictures from the course I just had in Sheffield from the middle of March (just because they're pretty pictures).  I mentioned it in my last update, but didn't put any photos up.  These were from a few walks I was able to take.

Pathway between stone walls

Part of the "Sheffield round walk"

Hiking around Sheffield makes me really look forward to my walk along the coast of Cornwall (which happens in about a month's time).  I'm also going to head up to Coventry to see one of our co-trainers and her husband for a day or so just after Easter.  Another trip I'm hoping to make (very short one) will be to Birmingham to see the new location of the Mennonite Centre, but that will only be once purchases have been finalised.

Still a lot to do and only a few months left...

1 comment:

  1. "Beating him at his own board games" - really?!! I seem to recall winning a few as well...