Friday, March 6, 2009

British Friends

I didn't really know what I expected when coming over here in terms of friendships, but I guess I didn't realize it would take as long as it did for people to warm up to Danielle and I.  Don't get me wrong, British people are nice, but they can seem a little standoffish at first.  For example, our first time at the student lifegroup, no one introduced themselves to us.  I felt a little bit awkward in a room full of people I didn't know but who all knew each other and me being the one who had to initiate conversations and introduce myself.  That's just not how it's done in Texas.  If someone is new at church or wherever, I welcome them in!

After meeting the university students though, they became more friendly and would talk to us at church.  Danielle and I initiated hanging out with some of the girls and made plans for tea, etc.  However, this week there has been a breakthrough!

Drumroll please....

People have asked us to hang out!

Yes, the tables have turned.

We went over to our friend Noel's house for dinner on Wednesday night and played games.  I even learned how to play poker, but I don't have much of a game face.  When I had a royal flush in my hand I got really excited and squealed...then Noel and Danielle folded immediately.  We had fun though, despite not being aloud to put sugar in our tea.  Noel insisted that British people don't do that, but I know that they do because I have seen them do it!

Thursday morning our friend Emma picked us up, and we drove out to The Peaks, a famous National Park in England.  We only saw a sliver of it, but we hiked six miles!  There were some ugly parts, only because nothing is green yet, but once we got to the top it was well worth the journey.   There was a beautiful view of the reservoir down below, so I'll post some pictures of it here soon.

After our hike, I took a really long nap because I was worn out and then got ready for girl's night.  Our friend Pip from lifegroup (we go to the 'YoPros' group now which stands for Young Professionals) invited Danielle and I over for dinner, along with our friend Rosie.  Pip and her housemate Hannah made us homemade pizza, and we just hung out and watched a chick flick. I love being around British people because I always learn a new word for something or learn what a phrase I keep hearing means....always enlightening let me tell ya. 

Did you know that 'torch' is the word used for flashlight?  I also kept hearing the phrase 'taking the mick' but had no clue what it meant.  Apparently that is slang for when you are mocking someone...which I might do on occasion.  :)

Monday, March 2, 2009


Well, in true Danielle and Janelle fashion, we only had rough ideas of what we wanted to do when we arrived in Dublin.  When we landed at the airport, we bought a map and jumped on a bus headed for the city.  We started out walking through St. Stephen's Green, a beautiful park right in the middle of the city.

We walked through the Trinity College campus while imaging what it would be like to go to school in Dublin.

We went and saw the Book of Kells, an illustrated manuscript of the four gospels written circa 800 A.D., at the library there.  This is a picture of "The Long Room" at the college which holds a ridiculous amount of first editions and other really old books.  The shelves were stuffed!

We took a self-guided tour of the Bank of Ireland and luckily we got out of there when we did... it was robbed the next day, and the thieves took 7.5 million euros!

We went to the Dublin Castle but didn't want to pay for the tour.  Instead, we walked around the courtyard, and this is us trying to pose like one of the statues in the garden area.  Thank goodness for the self-timer button on the camera.

After the castle, we decided to make an appearance at the Guinness Factory.  The stuff is disgusting, which I expected, so we stuck to drinking our free cokes.  

This is a picture of a little town outside of Dublin called Howth.  We had to take a short train to get there, but it was worth it.  They had the best fish and chips I've eaten so far and a really pretty lighthouse.  
After touring Howth, we took a train to Malahide.  This gothic castle was part of the Talbot family and was taken over by Oliver Cromwell for awhile.

On our last day in Dublin, we walked around Merrion Square and stopped by a statue of Oscar Wilde, a famous Irish author.

Next on our list of things to do was find The Harlequin, a vintage shop I had seen in a magazine back in November.  It's famous for its celebrity shoppers, such as Brad Pitt and Bono, and on the way there, I spotted a pink door.  Dublin is famous for its Georgian architecture, and I became obsessed with all the different colored doors.  I had been hoping to find a pink one and couldn't believe I did on my last day there!

This is a random sculpture we saw, but I thought it was so funny.  It's a ball made out of metal chains....get it?  Ball and chain?  Haha...

Well that's my trip to Ireland summarized into a few pictures.  I have loads more but don't want to bore anyone...until I get back home ;)

The Happy Song

I'm sure everyone has heard this Delirious song, and the lyrics keep running through my head tonight because it's how I feel!

Here's how it goes:

Well I could sing unending songs
Of how you saved my soul
And I could dance a thousand miles
Because of your great love

My heart is bursting Lord to
To tell of all you've done
Of how you've changed my life
And wiped away the past

Well, I want to shout it out
From every roof top sing
For now I know
That God is for me, not against me

Let me just reiterate the "my heart is bursting" part because it is!

One of my clues for treasure hunting today was 'trees,' specifically outside.  When I shared this with Daniel, who I was paired with today, he said he felt like it was a park near the church offices.  I said great because I had no clue where there were big trees in the city centre.  We headed there and ended up spotting one of Daniel's clues which was 'bleached hair'.  We saw a guy with bleached hair sitting by himself so Daniel struck up a conversation with him.  His name is Michael, and he is a college student here in Sheffield.  The three of us chatted for a bit about traveling, school, his church background (which he didn't have one), and then I pulled out my "treasure map".  

I showed Michael our clues that led us to him, and then I started crying....awesome.  I just felt so overwhelmed that we had found our treasure!  I showed him where we had 'Devonshire Park' written down and 'bleached hair'.  I asked him if his hair color was natural, and he said no it was bleached and laughed.  I said I didn't think he'd mind me asking since he wasn't a girl, haha, and then we all laughed.  

I proceeded to tell Michael that he was our treasure, and that God loves him.  You know what his response was? He said no one had ever told him that before.   What?!  Can you imagine never hearing that before?  This made me sad, but it also increased my hope that our meeting was really impacting him.  

We talked a little bit more and Daniel asked if we could pray for him.  He said yes, so the both of us got to pray for him while sitting there at the park.  Michael said he had never read the Bible but had recently been thinking about it.  We encouraged him to go for it!  

I can't really explain how I feel right now, but it is an incredible feeling to find the person God has you looking for!  It was also really cool because often times people here are not open to talking, and if they are, they usually don't want prayer.  I know God wanted us to find Michael today, and I feel so blessed that we did!