Monday, December 29, 2008

So...what exactly is going on here?

My financial support is raised in Pounds Sterling (GBP).
Sterling is currently the third-largest reserve currency, after the US dollar and the euro. The pound sterling is the fourth-most-traded currency in the foreign exchange market after the US dollar, the euro, and the Japanese yen.

However currently...This is not good. When I arrived in California a year ago 1GBP = 2USD. It's like getting a sudden pay cut for no reason whatsoever! new best friend

As I have mentioned before, my host family are incredible. Not just "ok" or simply "nice" but incredible. They are some of my favoUrite people in the world. Amongst other things, they gave me a new best friend for Christmas...
Imagine all the caffeinated memories we will share - Starbucks you have my heart (not least because of the Barista who was more than happy to transfer the balance from my 6 other gifts cards onto my new Gold Card - so many of you know me so well)

Monday, December 22, 2008 clarify

In England we spell things a little differently.

We enjoy using the vowel "U" - especially when we wish to honoUr our favoUrite coloUr
We enjoy moving letters around - especially when requesting a seat in the centRe of the theatRe
We enjoy spelling words in nonsensical ways - especially when buying new tYres for our cars.
We distrust the letter "Z" and much prefer "S" - especially when we wish to criticiSe or analySe

While looking up other fun language facts i discovered this one:
carburettor carburetor British pronunciation IPA: /ˌkɑːbəˈɹɛtə(ɹ)/; US IPA: /ˈkɑɹbəˌɹeɪtɚ/.
So pleased to have cleared that up?!?!?!?

We no longer use the vowel "E" unnecessarily at the end of words. You can no longer buy things from an "oldE englishE shopPE" unless the shop in question is themed for this very purpose.

...and as a side note to Susan Jones - I thank you for your efforts to highlight the different spellings of our languages on your site, however, British people may pay for items with a cheQUe but they would never deposit it in a banQUe! That one remains banK - perhaps you got carried away.'s official

After a week of conversations, faxes and emails to and from people in contact with the Congressman's Office we found out today that officially...(drum roll) visa application is...(wait for it)..."pending"! It is advisable that I do not leave the country at this time.

So basically, in a nutshell, after 7 months there has been no change. So I get to spend Christmas, and the foreseeable future, in California. Which isn't all bad - I mean, it takes a few moments but I can get used to looking at decorated palm trees and wearing sandals in December. It 's even raining today so very much like England!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

So...this is Christmas

For those that don't know, I have the best host family in world. They recently asked me to write a Christmas list which is something I have never done before. I don't even know where to begin. Is there some kind of list etiquette that I don't know about? Can I put things like this on it? How specific does it need to be?

While I think on this for a while here's someone else's Christmas list that I enjoyed...My favoUrite part is "a panda bear that was just born yesterday"!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

so...roasting chesnuts on an open fire...

Is there any other Christmas tradition more underused than this!! For "The 3" (event for Junior High Students) next week we want to roast chestnuts on an open fire. Having no idea how this is done I naturally looked to the fount of all knowledge - google. It looks pretty easy, cutting a cross on each seems important to "avoid exploding chestnuts". I wonder how we'll get on?

Friday, November 28, 2008


My first American thanksgiving was a great one. I spent the day with good friends and eating great food. I have much to be thankful for over the past year and coming to America and I offer my deepest thanks to those pilgrims that discovered Disneyland.

In Britain, churches celebrate harvest festivals traditionally when the wheat has been cut and the apples have been picked. The churches are decorated in flowers and greenery. Fruit and vegetables are also put on display, with a loaf of bread in the middle. The food is given to the needy after the service. I very much enjoyed an American Thanksgiving and a variety of pumpkin treats, mmmmm.

Monday, November 24, 2008 1st thanksgiving experience

When I got home from church last night I found that my host family had left me a slice of pumpkin pie. This left me with a slight problem...having never eaten pumpkin pie I had no idea what to do with it! I had already established that it was a dessert, despite being made from a vegetable, and I had a feeling I should heat it up but then didn"t want to look super stupid for heating up a cold dessert - imagine what you would say if someone heated up a cheesecake!

So I texted Stephanie for advice - Crisis averted and pie was delicious!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

So...speaking of vehicles

I would love to own this British Beauty...

A Land Rover Series 3, LWB, 12 Seater Station Wagon in Java Green.

I've always wanted a Land Rover and this one is even Left Hand Drive so would be perfect!

Hear that Santa? Perfect!


The other week we took our High School Small Groups on an overnight retreat. Lots of fun was had. On the drive back one of the guys in my group commented that he had never opened a window with a crank before!?!?! - I felt old...and poor!

Here is a picture of my car (just imagine it after a few more thousand miles than this one and far from perfect paintwork). My small group would like to paint the Union Flag over it which would be awesome!!!

Unfortunately if I had the money for such a project I'd probably spend it on a better car in the first place!! So, at least for the foreseeable future it'll remain green and faded, sorry guys!

Thursday, November 13, 2008 the movie theater

If you sit near me at the movies and choose to eat popcorn louder than I thought humanly possible please do not be surprised if I launch your food across the room and don't even think about bringing a bag of individually wrapped candy.

Just saying.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

So...I got my haircut.

I don't usually enjoy the forced conversation with the person cutting my hair but this mornings exchange was even more obscure than usual.

She was washing my hair and I was contemplating whether these sinks were designed for extreme discomfort, whether it's just me that finds them painful or whether everyone else does too but nobody admits to it - like the "Emperor's New Clothes".

Anyway, she aksed me where I was from and I replied "England" which led to a surprised gasp and all that carry on, she told me she liked my accent then continued with what she was doing. I thought nothing more of it.

Then she asked what city I was from I replied "near London" to which she asked "is that like Rome or Florence?" not knowing quite where this was going I said "I have been to those cities" Then out of nowhere she said "Italian men are very hansome" which I thought was odd, but I don't know - perhaps they are - so I let that comment slide by. This was my first clue that there had been a communication error.

She then commented "Your English is very good for someone who's only been here a year!" This awkward exchange continued and it finally dawned on me that she had mistaken "England" for "Italy" - the accent had apparently not given her a clue as to my nationality.

So now I had realized the error I did what every self respecting person would do....

...I shut my eyes and pretended to be asleep until she was done! Then gave a big tip and ran away.

Thursday, October 30, 2008 there a better way to dispose of trash?

That's right, a 'Hereos' themed trashcan. Awesome.

so...another laundromat experience!

I saw this sign...
...and thought "what's a soap bag and how do I change it? Have I been using the laundromat for months without performing a vital task by failing to change this fabled 'soap bag'"

I pondered this for a few moments then realized....
it was not an instruction but just information regarding available products from the vending machine! Crisis averted! Phew.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

So...I've been tagged

I was tagged by bethany so before I pass the baton on here goes...

1. I have a paralyzing fear of snakes. I don't like that they have no arms or legs but can still jump and swim. I don't trust them or their twisty, coiling, hissing nature. They're mean, creepy and unpredictable. I couldn't watch "Snakes on a Plane" and this is the best picture I could bear to post - I tried a real photograph but just couldn't do it.

2. I like patterns. Cups in my cabinet should be in height order. ColoUred cups should be arranged in single coloUr groups or in at least in a symmetrical pattern. Chairs in an auditorium must be in a tangible layout even if no one else could possibly see it - it matters. Clothes live in their designated drawers or hung in an approved order (either by coloUr or by style), on no account should socks ever be found in the underwear drawer - it would disturb the natural order of things.

3. I want to be on 'Hereos' so badly it's almost embarrassing (almost!).

4. When I shortlisted which University to attend, 5 of my 6 choices were south of London, the 6th was Newcastle upon Tyne in the opposite end of the country in the North East of England just South of the Scottish border. I put it down for no particular reason and made it my first choice because I liked the Bridge. I ended up living there for 7 years!

5. I am a registered nurse and worked in the ER (or A&E depending on the country). It was nothing like the show 'scrubs' a little like the show 'ER' but without as many attractive people. I made some great friends and a ton of great stories. I miss wearing pajamas for work.

6. I have made a rap video (and you are welcome).

7. Although it makes no sense whatsoever, my brain believes that I save money if I wait till the gas tank is as empty as possible before stopping to fill up. I have run out of gas twice through this approach, once in sight of a gas station, once 3 miles walk from one (for British readers please replace the word 'gas' with 'petrol')

So with all that said...
Allison / Andrea / Josh / Alyssa / Jaime / Ange / Stephanie's over to you guys.

Monday, October 13, 2008


Today I made yet another visit to the Laundromat. Instead of my usual hour of people watching I decided to take my laptop and watch a DVD - it was a hugely successful move!

I still witnessed a guy take his white laundry out of the machine to find it had turned a delightful powder blue - Awesome!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Everyone wants a payrise...

So, I was recently informed that the Queen has asked for a little extra spending money. This intrigued me so I dug a little deeper...

She currently receives around $80million to use for all state business, buildings vehicles, boats, crown polishers footmen, doormen, coachmen, guardsmen and othermen.

She also receives around $25million from personal title and investments that is for personal use (which would buy a lot of starbucks). Overall she is the wealthiest monarch in the World and has assests worth around $70-80billion.

In fairness she does have 4 official residences (3 palaces and a castle) plus 4 private residences (including another castle) which aren't cheap to run.

Plus, of course the upkeep, of the Crown Jewels which consists of a fair few crowns, sceptres, orbs, a chair, a couple of swords, a ton of precious stones and a spoon.

This is my favoUrite "symbolizes the domination of Christianity over the World".

It would be a larger collection had Oliver Cromwell decided not to melt half of them down when he formed the Commenwealth in 1649.

When I was a kid I was taught that you can't have new toys if you're don't even use the toys you already have. So I wonder if the Royal Family really ought to put some of their possession to good use before requesting extra allowance....

Personally I would wear a crown often, depending on which one suited my outfit, I would always carry a sceptre and would travel to church in the golden carriage.

As for the residences, well it's always nice to have a few good vacation spots!

Another Friday night...

so, Bethany and I decided to watch some tv on Friday night. When we could not find anything to watch we decided to commence a marathon catch up on Heroes which neither of us has ever seen.

A quick visit to Blockbuster (and momentary stop for cookie dough) provided us with series 1 on DVD (and yes with hindsight this was not the smartest move financially).

So far we like what we see, which is good as it's a long road ahead!!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Thursday, September 18, 2008

continuing education in American culture...

Tonight Bethany introduced me to the wonder of TacoBell...
It was delicious (see above) though I decided it would be best not to ask too many questions about the origin of the ingredients - sometimes it's better not to know.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The things you learn...

For nearly 27 years I have always peeled a banana starting from the stalky bit on the top. This often leads to mushing the first inch of the banana which I had regarded as an occupational hazard, one of the sadder things of life - or so I thought!!!
Following the example of a particular German Intern I discovered the ease and joy of peeling a banana from the other end!! Amazing! Dom - my potassium level thanks you!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


I love getting mail! Especially when it contains delicious, classic treats from the UK!

We don't accept British...

Last night I was refused entry into a restaurant because I only had international ID. So I immediately contacted a Palace representative who promised to resolve this situation for me.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II II has issued a statement that should avoid such unpleasant situations in the future.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Nomophobia is the fear of being without cell phone contact. I bought a new phone recently which is a great achievement cos I have a fear of cell phone retailers. According to Wikipedia (the experts in all things) there is no name for this so I shall call it:


I can't explain it but have to mentally prepare before entering a cell phone store (and usually have someone with me for moral support and to answer questions).

Fortunately snakes don't work in cell phone stores because that's probably the worse combination of things in the world!

Why do small dogs insist on making so much noise?

So, I got home at about 2am and attempted the obligatory "quiet as a mouse on Christmas eve" approach to house entry. The dog had other plans and decided to alert the entire neighboUrhood to my arrival. Extremely unhelpful!

...until next time!

So today was a little crazy. I had to say goodbye (for now) to Allison - one of my favoUrite people in the world. I'm so sad to see her go and will miss her loads but I'm excited to see what God has planned for her.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Sometimes I wonder....

...whether a trained monkey in a Union Jack cape could do my job better than me. Hmmm.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Sometimes we let Bethany think she's cool. I'm not sure her computer is even switched on!