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Archive for the ‘England’ Category

NINE Years!

It’s hard to believe, but Chad & I have been married nine years today. Neither one of us would have been able to predict what has happened in the last nine years. Chad was going to be a farmer, & I his farmin’ wife. He had 3 years of University to finish when we got married, we actually moved out onto the farm after a year of living in town, & life was good. We thought we’d wait until he was finished school before we started having kids b/c it was easier that way & I wasn’t allowed to work for the first year & 1/2 b/c of immigration laws.

After he finished his Bachelor’s degree, we felt that God was calling us to something different for awhile, but figured we’d still eventually come back to the farm. Chad’s interests were in Economics & Philosophy, so we kind of put God to the test & applied to the only 2 schools in the world that had combined Master degree programs, figuring Chad wouldn’t make it into them….. He got into both. One at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, Netherlands, & the other at the London School of Economics in London, England. After much deliberation, we decided to go to London & spent the next 14 months in England.

Without having many connections over there, we quickly learned to rely on God. We had no place to live after the first 6 weeks, housing was expensive, & I was only able to get a part-time job b/c of the working culture over there. One night after a church service, Chad happened to speak to a visitor from just outside of the city, who was enamoured w/ Canada & they got to chatting about out housing situation. Without even checking w/ his wife, he invited us to come & live w/ them!

We took them up on the offer b/c we didn’t really have any other viable options at that time & we quickly became part of their family. They made us feel very welcomed & really showed us God’s love during the next year.

At the end of Chad’s Master’s program we had two options for our future:
1. Chad was offered a PhD position in Logic at King’s University College, London, which would basically take 2-3 years & lead to him becoming a professor.
2. We could go back to the farm in Alberta as we had planned.

Neither option really seemed to be what we were supposed to do, so one night, Chad asked God to tell him where we were supposed to go & God laid it on his heart to go into the ministry. Not exactly what we had in mind, but God had really been working in our lives through the family we were living with & made it possible for us to see it as a possibility (but it was still totally out of the blue). At this point we had been married 4 years & Chad had changed his major at least 4 times, so I don’t think I really thought he’d end up as a minister. I still figured it would lead to something else, since that seemed to be the pattern.

Now, here we are, married 9 years, expecting our 2nd child next month & Chad’s taking his first call as a minister! We figured we’d have 3-4 kids by now, live at the farm/feedlot, & we’d be established in life, but instead we are just starting out! Ten years after Chad’s highschool graduation, he’s taking his first job w/ benefits!

It has really taught us that you can’t foresee the future, only God knows where He’s going to take you & you have to trust Him at every turn. That year we spent in England was one of the best we’ve had b/c it taught us to depend on eachother & rely on God. For the first 6 weeks we were there I earned £198/week, & our rent was £200/week. We were using money we had saved from home in Canada for our food, but the exchange rate was C$2.50 = £1.00, so to conserve our resources we were sharing a can of frank&beans for dinner, or Spaghetti-Os, or a package of Raman Noodles…. Times were lean, but we had the best time walking around together exploring the big city in our cowboy boots & God brought us to a great place b/c we trusted Him.

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I finally got the pictures from our trip loaded into the blogs they pertain to. Scroll through to see them!

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Have you ever felt like you’ve been in transit all day? We left G&M’s at 8am to go to Gatwick. We got there at about 10, & our flight was scheduled for 11:45. By the time we were checked in it was time to go through security.

I usually leave Asher’s drink in the diaper bag simply b/c it’s easier. There’s enough other stuff that we have to do that I don’t mind them having to check it after wards as it gives us a chance to get all our shoes on, the laptop put away, Asher in the stroller, & all our bags situated again. Well, the lady had to do a swipe of the bag w/ her little kleenex thing & then check the cloth in the scanner. When she did so, the scanner beeped & printed out a little report so she had to call over her supervisor who then had to question us & she had to re-swipe the bag. The second time it didn’t go off, however I had noticed while she was waiting to check the bag that her cloth thing was already quite dirty, so I think it was from someone else’s stuff, but it didn’t really matter anyway.

I did find it quite humorous however that the supervisor’s first question was “who does this bag belong to?” Well, truthfully Chad & I answered that it was Asher’s, so the man said to Asher, “well young man, you have some questions to answer here,” before he actually began to question Chad.

Once we were through security we began to look for a place to get some food, but the only places in the area were travel items, clothing, Harrod’s, cosmetics & alcohol, so we decided to head toward our gate figuring we’d find something out there. Costa Coffee was the only thing to be found, so we settled for a few muffins & smoothies.

They began boarding our plane about 10 minutes after we had finished eating, so we really didn’t have much time to let Asher run around before we got on the flight, but it couldn’t be helped. Once we were on board we discovered we were in row 4, just one row behind first class. I wasn’t sure it was a great place to be sitting, but it worked out ok. Our luggage had to all be put up top, which was kind of annoying, but the people behind us didn’t have anything under the seats, so we could shove our shoes under the seats & it also gave Asher more room to muck about.

It took about 10 minutes for Asher to fall asleep & he slept for over 2 hours. It gave Chad time to sleep & I had a chance to watch “The Bucket List.” I was quite glad that I didn’t have to pay for it since I didn’t find it to be that great of a movie. Out of a 7+ hour flight that was the only bit that Asher slept for, but he was pretty well behaved, so we didn’t mind too much.

When we got to Toronto, we called the hotel that we had parked at, so they could send a shuttle to get us. Once we were at the hotel they told me they said we had no reservation, so I showed her my confirmation paper, & she asked if it had been confirmed when we had arrived. I said yes, & she then told me that nothing had been booked, but she booked us in, so it was ok. She was in a bit of a snarky mood I had noticed. The man behind me asked her something & she directed him to the lifts. He turned & didn’t see them, so he asked her where they were. Her response was, “the brown things right behind you.”

We got settled in our room & then went to find a place to eat even though it was only 4pm local time, it was 9pm London time. We didn’t find much at first, it seemed we were in a bit of an industrial area, but then we saw a billboard for Denny’s, so we went there for dinner. When we pulled up to the restaurant I enthusiastically told Asher we were going to Denny’s b/c there was a McDonald’s right across the parking lot. Asher fell for it! He noticed the McDonald’s, but wasn’t overly upset that we weren’t eating there.

After dinner we went back to the hotel for the promised swimming! I had been looking forward to that since I booked the hotel. Asher wasn’t quite sure about the big pool, he got as far as the 2nd step & wasn’t sure he wanted to go any further. Perhaps having a Rubbermaid container for a bathtub is giving him a fear of big water. But once we started having him jump into the water to Chad he was ok.

Next on the agenda was a bath for me, since it is a luxury I seldom get these days. We got into the room to discover that the plug on the tub was broken! Arrrgh! I called the front desk & they said they’d send maintenance. I was pleasantly surprised to hear them knock a mere 10 minutes later. Chad figured they knew I was trying to have a bath right then, so they sent him quickly. I had a very enjoyable soak in the tub. It’s now 7pm & I’m off to bed!

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We took it a bit easy today. It was a bank holiday, so b/w the less frequent buses, & most places being closed, it was a bit forced upon us to take it easy, which was probably good since we’ll be on the aeroplane most of the day tomorrow. This morning began at 6:30am. Asher initially woke up at 5:45, so we decided that it wasn’t so bad to get up then. He’s going to be so off schedule that it doesn’t really matter anyway.


We had breakfast and then went off to the park, but there had been a very heavy dew last night, so everything was really wet. We had decided to go to Chingford today in a last ditch effort to find a coat for Chad. We got there around 9:30 & almost every shop was closed, so we stopped at Cafe Nero to kill some time & have a latte. I ordered an iced latte & the next thing I knew she was blending it. It wasn’t overly icy though, so it was a bit like a melted milkshake. Not too pleasant. Another reason to not go to Nero.


Then off to shop we went, however the shops were still closed, so we made our way up the street & found nothing open, & caught the bus back to Highams Park. Then we went back to the park, since other children’s bottoms had dried off the playground. Chad was quite interested in getting an English breakfast before we leave, & had seen some signs at pubs for all day breakfast, so we took the car & returned to Chingford.

We stopped at a pub advertising all day breakfast & went in only to be greeted by a waitress telling us that they didn’t open ’til noon, & it was 11:45. We contemplated the “All Dayness” of their breakfast if they didn’t open ’til noon, then decided we’d go elsewhere b/c Chad doesn’t like to be the first patrons in a restaurant after it opens as sometimes the kitchen isn’t in full swing yet at that time.

So we returned to “The Royal Forest” pub that we had eaten at with Theres. I had a carbon-copy of the mal I had the other night & enjoyed it thoroughly. Especially the Sticky Toffee Pudding, this time I had it topped w/ Custard & it was DIVINE! I figured since it is so difficult to make & impossible to get at restaurants in Canada that I’d better take advantage of being able to eat it as often as possible.

Asher had a double burger & was doing quite well with it except it was a bit large for his little mouth. Chad decided to break it for him…. thus began a small meltdown where Chad & then I was instructed to “fix it.” We had to explain that it couldn’t be fixed, the crying actually stopped quite suddenly b/c a boy at a nearby table started having a tantrum of his own & Asher doesn’t like to compete at times like these, so he let the other boy do the crying from there on out. It may have helped that my dessert showed up shortly thereafter as well. He was a bit disappointed that there was no ice cream this time, but it couldn’t be helped, Sticky Toffee Pudding is better w/ Custard!

We came back to G&M’s for naps (yes we all enjoyed nap time) & then went out to the back garden to enjoy the grass & the sunshine for awhile. Chad wasn’t feeling well & didn’t want to leave the house so we ordered Pizza Hut (don’t we splash out?) for dinner & Asher quite enjoyed that the man came & brought it to the door.

So we are in for a long day tomorrow. After an 8 hour flight plus airport travel & waiting & am already looking forward to our hotel’s pool & my once-in-a-blue-moon chance to take a bath at the hotel. Signing off from England, Ta-Ta!

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This is what Asher says every time we tell him that we’re going to go to church. He loves going. I think perhaps it’s more for the toys & the kids than anything else, but it’s a good start. We decided to go to All Souls this morning since Chad never had a chance to go while we lived here. Church was at 9:30 or 11:30 & since it takes 1:30 to get from here to there we decided to go for the 11:30. We also knew they had a lunch at 1pm so we thought if we were interested in staying for htat it made more sense to go to the later service.

We got into London at 10, so we stopped for a coffee at Caffe Nero since Asher had fallen asleep on the Tube on the way in. We’re not the biggest fans of Caffe Nero since when we lived here every time we went our coffee had been made with sour milk, but we figured that the weather wasn’t overly hot, so it wouldn’t be as much of an issue. We had a rather good latte & Asher continued to sleep for about 45 minutes. Then we continued on to All Souls. Chad spoke w/ one of the ministers about getting into ministry in England, but he didn’t seem to know how to go about it, so he wasn’t a whole lot of help. We enjoyed the service, the singing was really great too. Asher enjoyed being able to play with other kids for awhile, but when we went to get him from the creche he was standing in the window looking for us.


After the service we talked to a few people & went to check out the lunch, but since there was no highchair we decided to go elsewhere for lunch. We had passed a Garfunkel’s on the way to church & I thought we should try it b/c it looked rather good. My meal was ok. I probably didn’t choose the right thing to order, but my dessert was magnificent! I had a Treacle Sponge with Custard. Asher also enjoyed my dessert. He doesn’t seem to understand that we aren’t buying them for him, but I don’t mind sharing… within reason!

Post dessert we took the bus down to where I used to work, just to look at the area again, & then we rode another bus to catch the Tube, to catch the Train to get home. Asher has really enjoyed all the different forms of transportation that we have been able to take here. Even though when we are on them he won’t sit still. We got home quite late in the afternoon, so Asher didn’t get an afternoon nap, but he was really quite good. We had a bit of an early dinner b/c Chad wanted to go to All Saints in Woodford Green.

All Saints is the church that we were in at about the same time of year five years ago when Chad felt God was calling him into the ministry. I told him he really ought to go there again so God could tell him what His plans are for us again. I’m now waiting for him to get home & let me know.

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Today we decided to walk through Walthamstow Market to see if Chad could find a suitable coat. Of course our first stop was Costa Coffee to fuel up for the morning of shopping, but we had to walk right by a park, so after we had purchased our drinks we let Asher go play on the playground for awhile. Apparently the most exciting part of the playground was trying to escape it, so that little play break didn’t last very long.


We walked up & down the stalls only to discover that 95% of them were not men’s clothing items, which was what we were primarily looking for. However I did find a nice “England” sweater for £3. I’m very excited about that purchase, but won’t be able to wear it properly for about 3 more months. It’s a good investment. We also found a cute baby book for the new little one & that was only £3 as well. So it was a pretty good day for me. Not so much for Chad as he still didn’t find a coat like he wanted, but I think he’s somewhat enjoying having something to look for, so it’s not so bad.

After the market we came back home & tried to get Asher to sleep, but he’d fallen asleep at the market for awhile, so it wasn’t meant to be. Chad took Asher out for a walk later & I had a bit of a kip. Then we went to Chingford to the King’s Head Pub. We used to go there occasionally & quite enjoyed both the atmosphere & the food. We brought Theres along as well. She’s living @ G&M’s house & we had met her before we left England before.

However, once we got to the pub we were told that children under 14 are not allowed inside the pub. We were invited to eat outside, but when I asked about a highchair the man said, “no, we’re not really a child friendly pub. I mean, we’re friendly, just not to children….. I mean, ummmmm.” At this point we knew it wasn’t meant to be. Asher isn’t really the sort to sit on a picnic table bench for an hour while we try to have a nice dinner.


Theres suggested “The Royal Forest” pub in Chingford at the Inn, so we decided to go there for dinner instead. The service was a bit slow, but the menu had really good variety, even the kids’ menu had over 15 choices. We had a very enjoyable dinner & I had Sticky Toffee Pudding for dessert that was delicious.


Tomorrow it’s back into London for Church etc, so off to bed I go!

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Today we went into London to do some shopping. Chad had some Christmas money that has been burning a hole in his pocket. He wasn’t really sure of what he wanted (other than a haircut), so in & out of shops we went. We had the stroller, so it wasn’t too much of an issue w/ Asher.

We started out by going to Starbucks b/c that’s the way one is supposed to begin shopping on Oxford street, obviously. There is literally a Starbucks every block, it can’t be a coincidence. Up & down the street we went. We decided to appease Asher for lunch & eat at McDonald’s. He’d been such a good shopper & he didn’t even complain when we passed the first McDonald’s, he just watched it slowly go by.
After lunch we stopped at a green space for Asher to run around for awhile. It was a bit wet, but we thought it more important for Asher to get a chance to expend some energy than to keep his shoes clean, so off Chad & Asher went chasing pigeons. Shortly thereafter I heard a wail that was distinctly familiar. Apparently Asher had been running to investigate a statue & found the only puddle in the park, slipped, fell & cracked his head on the cement base of said statue. Amazingly he was more concerned about being wet & dirty than the fact that he had a giant goose-egg forming right b/w his eyes. We cleaned him up as best we could & moved on. I figured it was about time for a nap & kids tend to sleep better after they bonk their heads!
On to more shops. Chad still had not bought anything & it was going on 2pm. We had circled all the way back to where we had started & the rain began to fall. We decided that since Asher was now either sleeping peacefully or passed out in the stroller, we’d go into Starbucks & read for awhile until the showers passed. At about 3pm we decided to head for Piccadilly Circus & Leicester Square since there are a few more shops along there.
Chad suddenly remembered there was a jacket that he really liked in one of the shops we had gone to earlier that morning, so we went to try & find it. We had no luck, BUT he did finally make his first purchase…. a pair of sunglasses! We decided since we were so close to Chinatown at this point we really should have dinner at Wong Kei‘s since it was where we went almost every week with our friends Jeffy & Meigan. It was all we remembered it to be & Chad really enjoyed the garlic hot sauce.

After a scrumptious dinner it was time for the traditional dessert…. Ben & Jerry’s ice cream! I was sad to discover they were not serving “One Sweet Whirled” as it is my absolute favourite, but I made do with a scoop of “Coffee, Coffee, Buzz, Buzz, Buzz!” & a scoop of “Baked Alaska.” They were the perfect compliment to each other. And off we went to try to find Chad’s jacket once more.
After nearly an hour we managed to find the correct shop, but in the course of the day they had sold the last of the jackets he liked. Needless to say, he was disappointed, but hopefully he’ll find something else to take his mind off the “jacket-that-wasn’t-meant-to-be-Chad’s.”
Now we’re back at G&M’s & I’m doing yet another load of laundry. I thought I’d make it until we got back to Canada, but I didn’t really want to haul a bag of wet muddy clothes back with me. Sounds like the washing’s done, so I’d better get everything all laid out on the radiators! Yay!

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