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Tag: Interim abroad

Ashley’s Interim Adventure In England, London (to be precise)

by Ashley on Jan.31, 2012, under Ashley Bingle

The last few days at the office were slow, and then on to the whirlwind of traveling to London. Waking up bright and early on Saturday morning was obviously not something many of us were excited about, including some of our host families, but I think it was almost worse for us because we were about to go back to our normal time zone after a few short days in London. The train trip was quite long, and after leaving at 8:00, and taking two trains to get to London, two Undergrounds (subways) to get through London, and another two trains to get to Bromley, where the Manna House (OM owned Victorian hostel) was, then walking two miles (or at least if felt like it pulling the +50lb suitcases), then up two staircases to my room on the top floor, it was 2:00 and we had not eaten much beyond breakfast snacks. All the travel really meant we did not visit London on our first day there, so Sunday and Monday were full of sight seeing.

There were tons of things to see in London, I’m sure we hardly made it to less than half of the big, important ones. The science museum was pretty fun, as was wondering through Kensington Gardens, looking at the outside of Buckingham Palace and Big Ben. We got to visit the Sherlock Holmes museum on Baker Street, too, and watched Phantom of the Opera in Her Majesty’s Theater, Haymarket. Wandering around London was pretty fun, and we figured out the Underground, also known as the London Tubes, pretty fast, so we could almost always get where we wanted to be. It was neat to be pretty much set free in a city, to do whatever we wanted to, but everybody was responsible about it and no one got lost, hurt, or stolen from.

After our brief stay in London (the London area, really) we headed home to Grand Rapids, Michigan, bright and early Tuesday morning (extra bright and early, up by 5:00, out of the house by 6…). The transatlantic plane ride was nice, much more up-to-date of a plane than on the way out, and very empty as opposed to completely full. Some of the guys stretched out on the three seats in the middle of the plane and slept, even though we were not flying overnight this time. We had met up with another group of Calvin students coming back from interim in Italy and England, when we were in the Heathrow airport, so by the time we arrived in Detroit, we were the majority of the people on the tiny puddle jumper going from there to here. All of us were tired from being up so early and just wanted to get home (no thanks to a half-hour flight delayed more than an hour and a half because of missing paperwork), but we all made it safe and sound.

The only real trouble I had was readjusting my sleep schedule so it made sense for school, getting tired at 5-6:00 is not so great, and neither is being wide awake at 2 in the morning. Thankfully, I was able to force my body to sleep in an hour later each day, so by the time class started again I was feeling well rested. It’s just pretty funny to see a bunch of college students who can hardly stay awake after it gets to be 7:30, but we had to try to stay up later than that too, or we would never get quite back into routine in time for school. It’s good to be back, although I could do without the homework, but I will always remember this amazing trip as a once in a lifetime experience.

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Ashley’s Interim Adventure In England, Second Week

by Ashley on Jan.18, 2012, under Ashley Bingle

This weekend did measure up to my expectations. We spent Saturday wandering around Edinburgh, which was very fun! I enjoyed listening to the street pipers, but the one old man we liked best disappeared before we could go back again. We looked in at a lot of museums and took pictures of the lovely architecture, including Edinburgh Castle, which we walked past many times. I ended up purchasing a kilt as my souvenir of the trip and have planned to wear it to the “Robbie” Burns dinner tomorrow (Thursday) night, where we all get to taste haggis.

The hike in the Lake District was lots of fun too! We climbed up to a peak, but once we got to the “top” realized there were still higher mountains behind that we hadn’t seen. It was very steep, and the “path” was just a beaten down area on the tree-cleared ground. It was quite cold this weekend, so there was still frost on the ground, combined with mud, it made things pretty slippery. I only fell twice, and my pants and jacket aren’t too muddy either, probably because of the frost.

We walked along a gravel and stone path by the river, too, and some of the boys got a bit too close for my comfort. Thankfully Mrs. Schwarz wasn’t comfortable with it either and made them stop and move away from the edge. We got some pretty nice pictures of the waterfall by Aira Force and tried to capture some of the beauty of the view from the top of the mountain before we headed off on a drive up between some more mountains. The trip was really fun, but exhausting, so it was nice to have dinner at the Mallons’ and watch the movie “Robin Hood” for the rest of the night.

The rest of the week has been filled with coding, research, and meetings, including another prayer meeting at which our group is requested to participate in leading part of. I am just looking forward to finishing my work on this help software, and getting on to the next weekend, where we will be in London! It is hard to believe that we are so close to being done with the trip, when we have not even been here very long.

I wish we would have had more chance to visit places, but we already talked them into the trip to Edinburgh and to the Lake District last weekend, and it is not as if we can really skip work or anything. Oh well, it has been a wonderful trip already anyway! Cheers!

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Ashley’s Interim Adventure In England, First Week

by Ashley on Jan.13, 2012, under Ashley Bingle

So as of yesterday, we have been here an entire week. It has been a very full week, too. As soon as we arrived at the actual OM offices in Carlisle we were toured around and introduced to whoever was in the office on a Thursday right after winter holiday. They were trying hard to keep us awake, and I think it worked, but we certainly don’t remember all the names and faces they pointed out that day.

I am staying with a lady named Becky Barnhart, who has two spare bedrooms in her house, so I get one all to myself. Her house is right near the City Center, and all the shops, just outside the old wall that protected Carlisle Castle. Since it is so close, we have been able to walk back and forth to several places, including the 12-15 minute walk down to 3 Richardson Street, the house where three of the boys are staying alone. They are just around the corner from Keith and Dawn Mallon (and their three girls), who have hosted the boys and I on several nights, as opposed to always eating with Becky.

We spent the end of last week getting oriented and then touring around (town and Hadrian’s Wall). Then on Monday we began in full with the IT work, which we have been doing since then. Each dinner we have been having either with our host families or some team member’s house in particular. Today, Friday, we are on break from all that, and going to another “session” of discussions that is going to last all day until the IT department games evening.

I am more excited about this weekend, because Saturday we visit Edinburgh (yes, in Scotland!) and then Sunday we are going to hike through the Lake District and maybe even go to Keswick (pronounced KEZ-ick). So, this first of two weeks with OM has been pretty good, and we still have more fun stuff left. For now, I’m off to the meeting and then fun, so this is all I have time to say.

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