Sunday, March 27, 2011

Castles and Cardiff

Today was an excellent adventure day. Navin's friend came to get us this morning and we headed toward Cardiff.
First, we went to Caerphilly Castle. It was built around 1268! One part of the castle was rebuilt around 1890...and all parts were amazing. I love history. Today was like magic for me. I will have pictures up on Facebook soon.

This place was huge! It is the second largest castle in Britain. I can't even describe the feeling.

The second castle we went to is called Castle Coch. It was a property built in the 13th century, but a family bought it in the 19th century and went all Gothic on it. It is in a little village called Tongwynlais. Yeah...say that three times fast.

Castle Coch was set up so you can see what it looked liked when the family lived there. The 3rd Marquess of Bute lived there with his wife and daughter. Bute's room was funny to me. His bed was tiny. His wife's room was upstairs...she had a bed big enough for two....but, maybe they didn't like each other. Who knows. Maybe he liked having a room next door to the privy. =)
We had a picnic outside the castle. You guys...I would have bought this place if I had the money. The area around the castle was breathtaking. I love trees. I'd like to go back when Spring really hits that area.
I would have repainted a few rooms though. Lady Bute like to decorate with creepy monkey paintings. Wait, maybe that is why Lord Bute slept downstairs! He didn't want the monkeys staring at him all night.
Navin's friend (Navin calls him Chico. Long story. His real name is Babu.) made a fantastic lunch for us. It's called Chitra-Anna. NOM NOM NOM.
Then we went to Cardiff Bay. YOU GUYS! This place is cool. It got pretty cold...cause we were by the water. But, cold doesn't bother me. You know what does bother me? People had ice cream and we didn't. Of course, that didn't last too long.
Anyway...such a wonderful day. So many wonderful adventures. So many blessings!


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

It begins...

I arrived in London a week ago. I was interviewed at the border for over a half an hour about my intentions while in the country. It was not the best interview, but she was a nice lady. She didn't think I was funny though.
The bus station is attached to the airport. So, I walked over and bought myself some breakfast. It was an egg and bacon sandwich. The first thing I did was throw away the bacon. It looked like they thought about cooking it...........but, then gave up and hoped no one would notice.
The bus ride was interesting. The driver was from Wales. He had a really thick accent. So, the woman sitting across from me would ask me what he said at every stop. She even woke me up twice. I will admit that I cheated a few times.....just looked out the window and found a city sign.....
Navin was waiting for me at the bus stop. His smile could have lit up Las Vegas. It felt like coming home.
I haven't taken many pictures yet. I have to admit, I've loved walking through town like I live here. Although, I do NOT love how steep the hills are....my knees are angry. (Maybe I'll have buns of steel though)
I took some pictures of Swansea Castle yesterday. You can't go inside though. But, this weekend we are going to see a few that you can tour. I'm very excited.
I will start posting pics soon! Keep an eye out for a new album on Facebook.

Oh, on a side note...remember when Christian Bale got taped swearing up a storm at a crew member on set? You guys, I'm not sure it is his fault anymore. EVERYONE here swears like you would not believe. For example, Navin and I were walking through the town square last week and we heard this conversation:
"What are you doing?"
"Having a smoke before I f**k off."
"Dinner tomorrow?"
"No. But, I'll ring you."
"F**king hell. What are you on about? Let's meet up for f**king dinner."
"F**k off."

By that time we had walked too far to hear more. Sometimes it makes me giggle. Sometimes I'm really surprised. I saw a few old ladies talking about getting some "good f*cking tea" the other day. Really cute little old ladies! It is funny, wrong, and funny again.....

Laters!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Road Trip: Adventure #4

This is the last adventure on this road trip. Sort of...I did have a short adventure where I ended up in a town that Katie, Becca and I had an opportunity to move to. Who thinks we are uber blessed because we didn't move there? This girl.
Anyway...my GPS said that I was going to arrive at 9:09pm. I was super excited cause I had been in the car since 7am and I was starting to get a bit crazy. I found myself funny and entertaining, but crazy.
I spent three hours reading signs in a Jimmy Stewart voice. Which was only funny because my Jimmy Stewart voice is HORRIBLE. Then I spent an hour reciting various SpongeBob lines. Then I spent 30 minutes reading road signs in a Woody Allen voice. (Which became a Woody Allen and Jimmy Stewart argument about bears attacking people in the woods)
AND THEN...I got really bored.
I started singing the songs on the radio in an opera voice. It's something I do on road trips to keep me awake. Every song is funny in an opera voice.
So, I called my parents when I had 20 minutes left in the trip. To tell them I would be there soon and I was safe and junk. 5 minutes later I turned onto I 66 E and the GPS told me to drive for 61 miles before my next turn. I yelled, "I can't drive 61 miles in 15 minutes!"
And then it occurred to me..................my GPS doesn't change time zones automatically like my phone. I still had another hour in the drive.
I called my parents and Kasha. Then I started singing the songs on the radio in a very sad opera voice.

Road Trip: Adventure #3

I stopped for the night in Memphis. I was pretty tired. It was just after 10pm. I was in a dodgy part of town...so, I was super surprised when the guy told me how much the night at the hotel was. But, I paid him and went to my room. I took a rolly cart and unloaded most of my car. Just in case I was in a dodgy AND sketchy part of town.
But, I still worried that my car wasn't safe. Then...I got too tired to care. But, just before I fell asleep I caught a news story about a dude running around in Memphis armed and dangerous. The police were hunting him cause he shot a five year old.
So, who had nightmares? Me. Who woke up at 2am and couldn't go back to sleep? Me. By 4am I was bored out of my mind. So, I started playing Angry Birds and considered just starting my drive. But, I said, "LEAH! You paid too much for this hotel room. Stay. Take a shower and eat the free breakfast."
So, at 5:30 I took a shower and I was at the breakfast bar just before 6. I started eating before they brought out the eggs.
I was on the road by 7am. 4 hours of sleep........and I drove until 10pm that night.

Road Trip: Adventure #2

I stopped for gas the first time in Arkansas. Some tiny little town called Friendship or something. A name that made you feel welcome.......
Until I got to the Shell station. This gas station has probably been in every horror movie I've ever seen. Or, it had to at least inspire a few scenes in horror movies.
Most of the lights around the place didn't work and there were trees everywhere. Lots of places for Freddie and Jason to hide.
The lady behind the counter was missing some teeth (NOT KIDDING), she had a slow Southern drawl and droopy eyes. She smiled and took my money....told me to have a good even'....
I said, "Thank you. Where is the restroom?"
Creepy smile, "Round the side, hon. Round the side."
So, I fill up my tank and go around the side. The ladies room is locked. There was one other truck there at the time. So, I figured someone from the truck was in there. But, a few minutes go by and the dude in the truck finishes his cigarette and drives away.
I figured maybe I missed the chick getting in the truck. So, I go around the side again and try the door. Locked. So, I decide to use the dude restroom and just get it over with and leave the horror movie set.
I come back outside and there is a new truck. Parked under a broken light over by the trees. All in shadow. I started laughing a bit hysterically and got into my car and sped away.
I'm telling you....horror movies.

Road Trip: Adventure #1

Okay, so...I'm going to Wales! But, first I had to drive to Virginia to Kasha's house. I was supposed to leave Monday around Noon. The plan was to get to a sleeping spot around 6:30pm so that I could watch 'House.' Yes, I know that I have issues.
Anyway, Noon comes around and Debbie and I say goodbye to each other and she helps me load up the car with the last few things. We hug and leave her house at the same time.
I'm halfway down the street when I realize that my cell phone is on her kitchen counter. EEEEEE! So, I go to Firestone...hoping and praying that Firestone was her first errand.
She is there, but she doesn't have a house key on her key chain! And the garage door opener is built into the truck!
So, I go back to the house and check the back gate. Locked. I go back to Firestone and Debbie had been picked up by a friend for lunch. I wait an hour. Debbie returns. Debbie takes my car and goes back to the house and JUMPS THE BACK FENCE in flip flops to check the back door. And, of course, I had remembered to lock it.
Then she drives to the high school and gets the house key from Sidney and brings me my phone. I finally get on the road at around 2:30. By the time 6:30 rolls around......I'm in the middle of nowhere! So, I called Kasha and asked her to DVR the show for me.
I did get to watch 'House'....just a few days late. =)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Also...

Today is my last day with Legacy Travel. I've been here for a little over 3 years. Can you believe it? This is the longest I have ever had a job.

I've been blessed, you guys. I've learned so much here. I've grown so much!

I'm a little emotional right now. I probably should wait to write a blog about it until after I'm done crying. But, I was just thinking about how blessed I've been.

I came to Texas to be closer to my sister. I'm in denial about leaving my sister, so that we have to skip right now........

Texas brought me more family. It reconnected me with an amazing college friend, brought me so much closer to my nieces and nephews, and gave me some peoples. A few very dear peoples.

I will miss you Team Legacy. I will miss you Dallas Funjet Team! This has been a wild ride. I can't do it justice with this blog. There aren't words......

Rappers

Okay,

This is what I've been thinking about today:

I listen to rap. Stop judging me. But, this morning, I was listening to a morning show on a rap station...and something profound occurred to me. Well, maybe it was only profound to me.

Some rappers create music about strippers, killing cops, beating "bitches," throwing money at chicks while they dance, bringing chicks home and making them use a stripper pole......and all sorts of other things.
Now, not all rap is like that. Some rap is really funny and entertaining! Sometimes they are going on and on about strippers and even THAT is funny. I was being general to make a point.
But, none of this is my point. (Yet)

My point is............so many rappers give all the credit to God. Everything they do, everything they have, everything they create....they give the credit to Jesus/God/Lord/Father Above.
I find that amazing. I was thinking this morning that it is proof that we are not made of what we do. We cannot be totally defined by what we do. A big part of it is who we are at the core. Isn't it?

That makes up a big part of thoughts today. Just thought I would share....