Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Site Pics

This is the old high ropes set up. The elements you can kind of see is jacob's ladder, the leap of faith, vines and beams. The new high ropes looks a bit different but I like the old better.

Pioneer Centre Pics

These our the climbing/abseil towers. This view is about from the window of the room I have been sharing.

Wet and Wild Wednesday

It is Wednesday night already how did that happen so fast? I haven’t even had a chance to write about my weekend at all and it was pretty busy. First I will start with the present and work backwards. Today was wet rainy and cold. Besides lunch, dinner, and some meetings hear and there I spent the large majority of time outside. I was wet for about 6 straight hours, but what do you do, get used to it. We had soft skills, observed two sessions, then had abseil training, then more abseil training, then dinner then campfire. All in the pouring down rain woo hoo! I don’t think I was every miserable in it, more just like thinking, “Wow, I have been cold and wet for a really long time I cant wait to not be cold and wet.”

I observed an amazing high ropes session with some hilariously cute 6-10 year old Jewish kids from London. One of the smaller kids names was Hugo and he told me he “quite fancies American voices like mine.” It was pouring down rain, they were scared, but I was truly amazed how high-spirited they stayed and how much fun they had. It showed me that even in crappy weather you can still have a good session/ time if the attitude and tone are right. The instructors on the session were great and it was lots of fun. It was actually kind of strange though because the kids on the session knew me from a session I had assisted on the day before, but today I was just supposed to be observing the high ropes. Of course they kept coming to me to play with them and asking me to help them with their helmets and harnesses and everything and I wasn’t exactly sure where my place was. But it was all well and good and they had a great time, and so did I because they were.

I moved rooms last night. I have my own room in Quebec Lodge now. It is pretty awesome. Ask if you want pictures, it is pretty humble but I kind of love it, it is very cozy. Two single rooms came open this week and my friend Lucy and I decided to move to Quebec because we were told they were trying to move the girls out of Ontario and into Quebec eventually so we just thought we would move now. The problem was that one of the rooms was a bit smaller than the other. We struggled with who should get either room but in the end; we could not come to a conclusion so we had to turn to rock, paper, and scissors. I came out victorious with two rocks to two scissors. Lucy was a very good sport about it and has since managed to make her room aka her ‘cell’ very cozy. I am fairly certain most people’s bathrooms in America are bigger than her room, much bigger. (Most people’s master bathrooms are probably bigger than the one I have so there isn’t that much of a difference.) But anyway its nice to have your own room, I am sad to leave my sweet Danish roommate, but I can only be 23 with a college degree sleeping in a bunk bed for so long while still having a positive outlook on my life in general, ha-ha just kidding it wasn’t that bad.

So yeah I was going to write a lot more about last weekend and my life in general but it turns out I am completely ‘gutted’ another awesome British word for tired, and I am falling asleep while writing this. So I am going to hit the hay. Cheers, G’night.

More to come tomorrow… I wish I didn’t want to say so much.

P.s Song I am listening to right now "The Angry Young Man" by Billy Joel, classic.


Friday, August 20, 2010

Thoughts of the Day

Thoughts of the Day

You know how everyone says when talking about England that the weather and food are crap?
Turns out all of those haters are accurate. The food and weather are in fact totally crap.
Unless you adore days rainy and food smothered in batter and deep fried ;). I am surprised everyone in this country are not hugely obese given most things are deep fried and its hard to run outside because it is always wet. The thing they have got down that I dont think Americans understand (or at least I never have). Is portion control, and not eating when you aren't hungry! That the only way I can rationalize everyone not being huge, which they aren't.

We had a large group of Americans come into the center this week with the Young Life organization. It was fun to hear familiar ways of speaking. I threw around a frisbee with two guys from North Carolina and one from Chicago a couple of days ago it was really fun.

Some English words that are different from American:
They always say 'floor' even when they are outside. Example: "Kari you dropped your name tag on the floor." I am pretty sure we would say ground or grass when we are outside, it just sounds funny to me for some reason.

Also Vaccuming, they always say "Hoovering" when hoovering is in fact a type of vacuum helloooo. I am sure some Americans say that too but not all of us.

Also they say "Well Done!" and very rarely "good job!" when encouraging people so that if nothing else makes me stand out as an American, I tend to shout "good job" quite a lot.
I was observing a high ropes session the other day and there was an American girl leader with the group that was encouraging the kids. I felt really bad because I found her Americanness quite annoying!.... And I realized probably because she was way to much like me. We got into a bit of a cheer- off... I am pretty sure I won.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Why not right?

England Living Three Weeks In

So much for me updating every day, fail.

I am really going to try and be better.

Funny thing about that sentence, I don’t really know how it got started, but two of my closest friends here, Ed and Lucy say “Be Better” in an amazing American accent (well they say it in an amazing American accent I just say it normally). Whenever it fits the situation. We find it ridiculously funny for some reason. I think it started the first time we were on high ropes and Lucy was up on something and somebody shouted, “give her encouragement!” and I might have decided on “Be Better!”

Anyway my life. I will start from a few days ago and work forwards shall I?

This week was pretty good in training. Lots of soft skills modules about team building and communication and healthy competition and what not. We had our first proper abseil training on the towers, which was great. It was actually more difficult to keep track of the different safety lines and all of the random carabineers that need to be screwed down all over the place. But I'm pretty sure eventually it will just be second nature. I just need to remember when be asses to CHECK THE HELMET AND HARNESS, of every kid every time, because if you don’t do that you fail automatically and that would be a huge bummer.

I had a fight with a Diablo this week that lasted all of two days. A Diablo for those of you that don’t know is a silly little circus like toy, that I have to master in order to maintain my piece of mind. It is one of the things we are supposed to teach the kids how to do on the circus skills session besides juggling, and spinning plates on sticks. I still haven’t really figured it out but I will one day.

I went ice-skating one night I forget which, with some people in Telford. It was a very pretty drive. We went through a little town called ‘Brignorth’ which I hope I can go back to soon because it was ridiculously charming from the road.

Ice skating was fun, I was better than I thought I would be, it was weird because I was the only newbie there I kind of felt like I was crashing there party, but it was good to get away from the centre and not to just go down to the village but to do something different, glad that I went.

Last night six of us (names): Ed, Lucy, Me, Anne (Dane), Paul and Kieran. Went to dinner at the Balti, which is Cleorbury’s leading ‘curry house’ aka Indian. It was Fantastic! I had something with chickpeas and potatoes and chicken and spinach with rice and Nan, EPIC. I am officially converted.

Then we went to the ‘KA’ pub, also known as the Kings Arms. It is not the PC (Pioneer Centre) kids’ ‘local’ joint, meaning the pub they most frequent. But I still wanted to try something different. And I loved it, it looked exactly as a pub should, we then went to the Lion (our local pub which is just down the street a little.) I was feeling quite ‘squiffy’ British for buzzed, one of my favorite new words. And we all headed home in Lucy’s car pretty early, except for Paul and Dane who went to his flat in the village… that’s another story.

Today was surprisingly fantastic.

I woke up feeling pretty crusty. I made my way to the gym around noon; on my back from the gym I finally popped into the Cleobury bookshop on the high street. It is in a three story yellow stucco Georgian building and it is adorable. Walking through the door the smell of the musky old books and the helter skelter beauty of different colored book spines all pilled on each other was incredibly comforting. Sitting in the back was the shopkeeper, who looked exactly as the shopkeeper of a bookstore in a English village should look. Grey sweater, gray hair and glasses, upon seeing him I thought in my head, I want to know this man.

And so I endeavored to do so. I did not leave the bookshop for another hour and a half. It was pretty much the coolest thing ever. His name is Mark, and he has lived in Cleobury for 30 years. Upon hearing my interest in history he went up to the back room and pulled down the town records from hundreds of hundreds of years. You could tell he complies it all just waiting for the day that someone will show an interest in the town.

For example: I asked him about the cemetery up the road and how old it was. He said “Oh that cemetery was founded in 1890, its rubbish not old at all.” He then proceeded to show me the document signed by queen Victoria (a copy of her signature he adorable assured me. HA as if). That declared all cemeteries in England should be moved away from the town’s water supply. As it turned out the Cleobury church sits right on top of the old town spring and for hundreds of years the well water was passing directly under the churchyard where the villager cemetery was. Due to a nasty outbreak of cholera in London at the end of the 19th century, and the subsequent link of water born diseases, all cemeteries near wells were moved just in case. Cleobury’s included.

What else did he say that I loved? Hmmmm. Oh Cleobury used to have a cinema. During WWII (he found out I like WWII, guess what he loves WWII, yeah he is my new best friend) the us army I believe it was the 57th infantry division, was stationed up at Kinlett (a tiny town not far from here) and the special forces asked the owner of the cinema if he might mind opening the cinema on Sundays (which was illegal) so the soldiers could have something to do. So the guy that owned the cinema had to write all of these letters to local magistrates to ask them to let him stay open for the troops. Anyway Mark, (that’s the shopkeepers name) had all of these letters. He also had the original letter from the US Army to the cinema owner to ask him to stay open for the war effort. It was very cool to say the least.

Also we talked about books. (He thinks Atticus Finch sold out at the end of to Kill A Mockingbird to the system)… I'm definitely going to have to re-read that one to see if I think he is right. I told him he needs to read Guernsey and he said he would do it.

I needed up buying three books. Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence. Until You by Judith McNaught (an old friend I thought was a very good omen when I saw it in the book store.) And the book that he recommended called Fair Stood the Wind for France. He claims it is one of his favorite WWII books. Funnily enough when I got it home it turns out by WWII books he meant about the war but I also think he means during the war, because the copy I bought for 1 pound 50 was published in 1946. It is a very cute little book and I can’t wait to read it and go back and tell him what I think.

He says next time I come back to the shop he will talk to me more about WWII, he says his favorite part of the war is the code breaking/ spy situation. I can’t wait to hear more.

That’s all for now. Cheers to anyone who has actually read this ; ).

Love, Me

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Commencement of The Daily Posts

Went on a run this morning with the Dane. It was kind of rough. We ran through the golf course and out into the forest. Tons of freaking hills. Everywhere you go out here there is no escaping them.

We did some ‘soft skills’ training. Of how to talk to kids and the like… ‘to brief and debrief’ them on sessions. Mostly common sense kind of repetitive but good stuff in all.

Lots of people went climbing at an indoor wall tonight in Birmingham, I didn’t go because I am crap at climbing at this point or ‘rubbish’ at it as they would say here. But hopefully I will get better and go some other time. I would like the actual arm muscles being good at climbing would create.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

My attempt to post a picture. This is taken on the fathers day hike up Angel Rest falls in the gorge this year.