Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Pictures Up

For those of you who wanted pictures, the photos from my walk about the neighbourhood today have been uploaded here:

Thought for the day: If I don't understand the terminology you are using because we use a different name in Canada, saying it slower and louder will not actually help. Please think of a synonym and try again.

Non-bitter thought for the day: I love public foot paths.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

First day of exploration

I went to the University today and discovered that while many things are new, bureaucracies everywhere are just the same. So, I played the old "I'm sorry, I can't help you at this building, but if you walk across the campus to this other building they may be able to help you there" game, until it got tiring. Luckily, I am almost done! In favour of my day running around, I am trying to register almost two weeks before everyone else is, so there are no line ups anywhere.

After that, I took a trip into town to try and find a bicycle. After three different bike shops, I found one that sells used bikes. But they are fresh out, and will get back to me by the weekend.

Also, I passed a fancy dress shop, but apparently that means costumes, and not fancy dresses.

I forgot to take my camera with me, so no pictures today. Hopefully tomorrow! Other than that, things are great.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Leaving London

I've had a great week here in London, and head off to Maidenhead tonight to go to Exeter (via a day in Bristol) tomorrow.
It was really interesting this week... London was not the place I had expected. I didn't see the evidence of the riots, people were super helpful and friendly, and Muswell Hill feels nothing like a huge cosmopolitan city. It has gorgeous woods nearby, with ancient oak trees and beautiful paths. And then, the mailman came by the other day with a package for our next door neighbours... but they were not home, so the mailman delivered it to our house instead, with a note left to the neighbours that it was here. Not what I expected... but awesome.
All in all, this has been a great interlude. Now, off to Exeter!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Linnean Society

*Written the day before yesterday*

So, I went to the Linnean Society today. For a meeting. Yup, that is the same meeting where Darwin and Wallace first presented the idea of evolution to the world on July 1, 1858. It is also a place where Darwin and Wallace stare down at you from now-famous portraits.
The meeting was really interesting for a lot of reasons. Here are just some of them:
-I've almost always talked about science and the pursuit of science from a Christian perspective. It was fascinating, and a bit somber, to hear high level discussion about the purpose of science with no higher metanarrative to appeal to for common ground. This really stunted discussion in ways that were totally alien to me. Actually, even in fairly common ways, there were problems that were unfamiliar. For example, a big deal was made by several people about the necessity of not creating a huge distinction between organism and environment, because both are part of a bigger system. They kept saying how even the word "environment" was problematic because it excludes the observer (us) from it as well. In my head, I was thinking, "In a Christian context, we just call the whole thing 'the Creation' and are done with it. Totally not a problem."
-At one point in the meeting, the moderator asked "Is there anyone here who does not agree with the basic theory of evolution?" and absolute silence prevailed. Afterward, a young German scholar, knowing I was a theologian said "Why didn't you speak up?" I ended up on a familiar topic (being a Christian and accepting evolution) from a completely different side than I am used to!
-I also realized I just don't know a lot of about science itself. A day full of unknown terms and graphs of impressive but also impregnable data left me quite exhausted. I really AM a theologian, apparently. Apparently, my questions are theology questions too.
-Victorians knew how to build awesome buildings. Apparently, we have forgotten. And if we had gates like these to go through on the way to learning, we might be more impressed with it.

*Written today*
Yesterday, I went through the British Museum, which was as awesome as always. I am amazed, though, that the best museum in the world can also manage to have the very worst gift shop. OK, so there is one cool gift shop, but everything in there was over 100 pounds, and that was not helpful! But the "average joe" one was not cool.
I also met a Canadian woman, identified by her MEC bag. That felt good.
This is a great country though, and I am really enjoying being here!

I think I am starting to settle in here too. At the very least, I am starting to look instinctively to my right when I am crossing the street. Apparently, all those months in Thailand of training have not gone entirely to waste, since it took me at least a month and a half to get used to the change of direction there!
Tomorrow, I begin the journey out to Exeter, so keep thinking of me, as I finally finish this "transition period" that I count as starting July 28th when I left for Chicago!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Well, I'm here now. Most of me does not believe I am here for real, but then, I am only in London and not out to Exeter yet, so there is a valid sense of "not being here for real." Either way, it is very nice to have come and found Jim, the long-time Anglican studies chaplain at Regent, who just arrived to start on his PhD about a month ago. He and his wife and 2 year-old son are hosting me in North London (Muswell Hill) which is really nice.

I went to get a converter plug for my computer yesterday, and definitely managed to get the wrong one. So, I finally have power for my computer, and thus also for my iPod, which is great.

Also, my one pair of jeans ripped on the plane. I knew they were going, but figured that simply replacing them in Edmonton was too easy. I said to myself "Self, it will be a good excursion for you to shop in England." I didn't expect to have to do it on the first day though! So, with some direction from Amber, I found a bunch of thirft shops, and managed to get a great pair of jeans for cheap (£7) and they were even hemmed to the right length, which NEVER happens. So that was quite a gift.

Today I am just hanging around the neighbourhood. Tomorrow, I will head out on a proper downtown London adventure. I am trying to decide between the British museum and a walk around the downtown core. I'm guessing the museum will win out... but we shall see!