Thursday, 4 November 2010

When in Rome

We have just returned from our week long holiday in Rome.  We had a great time even though we were busy every day.  The food was delicious (as it should be in Italy).  We had pizza everyday and several pasta dishes.  And most importantly we had gelato (ice cream) everyday.  My favorite flavour was pistachio...So yummy!  :)  Here is a breakdown of what we did everyday:

We arrived at 1pm and then we made our way to the hotel via train from the airport.  We had a shock when we got to the hotel.  Matthew booked the hotel incorrectly and we had two twin beds waiting for us.  We pushed the beds together and it all worked out okay.  After a rest in the afternoon we ventured out to have a wonder around the area.  We went to two basilica’s near our hotel and then got our first taste of Italian food.  Then we walked to the Colosseum and waited until it got dark so we could see it at night.  While we waited we HAD to get some gelato so we had some very overpriced but yummy ice cream.  It poured down rain on the walk back to the hotel and then we relaxed the rest of the night.  We enjoyed the night watching Italian TV.  We found a new favorite show that we watched every night while we were in Rome:  Walker, Texas Ranger in Italian.  It was awesome and a major highlight on the trip.

First we went to the Vatican Museum.  Unfortunately we didn’t get a real early start this morning and ended up having to wait in line for two hours before we could enter the museum.  Blah!  Inside it was amazing.  It is a museum/gallery with paintings, statues, and treasures from all the different ages of time and from all over the world.  There is SO much to take in and one could never see everything there in one trip.  My favorite room was the Map Room which had maps on the walls with the most beautiful ceilings I had ever seen.  We even made our way to the Sistine Chapel which was impressive but not the most impressive thing in there.  We were going to try to go into St. Peters Basilica but the line was really long and we did not fancy another two hour wait so decided to come back another day.  After the museum, we went to Castel Sant’Angelo.  This was originally a tomb for Hadrian and become a residence for the Pope and then a castle the Popes could go to for protection.  It was neat to see and provided great views of the city of Rome.  We had another wonder around waiting for it to get dark (and another gelato) and saw Castel Sant’Angelo and The Vatican at night.  Again, beautiful to see at night all lit up.  Matt insisted on a McDonald’s that evening and of course – ended our day with Walker, Texas Ranger.

 The Map Room inside the Vatican Museum
Castel Sant'Angelo

We got up earlier and made it to the Colosseum so we arrived just after they opened.  We were trying to avoid long lines that we experienced the previous day.  I loved the Colosseum.  It was fabulous and it is a massive structure.  It is so impressive they built it in 10 years with the technology they had at that time.  The only disappointment was you could only go to the underground area of the Colosseum with a special tour guide you have to book in advanced.  Oh we just got to see whatever everyone else gets to see but it was still very enjoyable.  After that, we went over to the Roman Forum which was fascinating.  You could really picture how Rome would have looked like and been back in the first century even though mostly ruins are just left.  Again it gave great views of Rome and was just an enjoyable day of sight-seeing overall.  Plus the weather was fabulous.  Then we made our way to the Baths of Caracalla.  This was magnificent to see as they were massive and again could really picture what they would have been like in their day.  These Baths were Matthews favorite part of the trip.  It was really interesting and I’m glad we got to see them.  We went back for a siesta in the afternoon for a rest after a long day of walking around.  In the evening, we went out to Piazza de Popolo and watched the sun set over the Vatican (very romantic).  Then we made our way to the famous Spanish Steps.  Pretty but I thought they were a bit overrated.  We found a wonderful restraurant between the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain and had a lovely meal.  Unfortunately my tomato sauce did not agree with my white sweater I was wearing.  After a long battle, I think the tomato sauce won and my white sweater was the only victim of the trip.  We made our way to the Trevi Fountain.  The fountain itself was beautiful and fabulous.  The location of the fountain wasn’t what I was expecting in a small square rather than a big piazza.  Again, beautiful to see at night and I even made a wish and through my coin in the fountain (with my back to the fountain).  Another busy but great day – and of course, ended our day with Walker, Texas Ranger.

 Inside the Colosseum
Beautiful sunset over the Vatican
Trevi Fountain at night

We got up earlier again today and went to St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican.  Instead of a long wait we only had to wait 10 minutes.  First we went inside the church and goodness, what a building.  It is beautiful inside with everything being marble or gold.  It is a truly beautiful building and very impressive but not really a church.  We went to the Tomb of the Popes where a LOT of the Popes are buried.  We found it quite sad as we can up to Pope John Paul II tomb as people were crying and praying to him by it.  Then we made our way up the 551 steps to the top of the basilica.  It was quite the workout but worth it because of the glorious views.  Then we made our way to the old quarter of Rome.  We saw Piazza Navona, Pantheon, more massive churches, Tiber Island, Jewish Ghetto, and the Capitoline Hill. When walking around Rome there are just beautiful buildings and old ruins everywhere.  It was just nice walking together and admiring the old town....just beautiful.  We walked our way to the Roman Forum and then to our hotel.  We had a small rest in the late afternoon and then went out for dinner around our hotel area.  Of course – we ended our day with not just Walker, Texas Ranger but CSI: Miami in Italian...hilarious!!
 Overlooking the Vatican
 Old Capitol Hill

Our last day in Rome.  We made our way to the Catacombs which are just outside of the city walls surrounding Rome.  It was quite the trek from the metro (subway) to the catacombs but it was worth it.  We went to two catacombs which had very different feels and styles.  The first catacomb was the largest covering over twenty miles with 500,000 tombs.  The tour was very Catholic but still very interested to see the history.  The second tomb was a very interesting tour with lots of history.  It was wonderful to see where early Christians would have been buried and where some would have hidden to avoid the Romans.  A really interested part was three Roman graves.  It was like a miniature city underneath a church.  It was really fascinating and really enjoyable.  It wasn’t the easiest place to get to but it was well worth the trip.  The walk back to the Metro was enjoyable as we got a real feel for Rome and Italians.  We even saw a massive traffic jams with cars honking and people out of their cars shouting at each other.  We got our last bit of gelato in which the ice cream was so heavy that it broke both of our cones.  :(  Very sad!  Since we had some time to kill before heading to the train station we found this little church and thought we would check it out.  We were very glad that we did.  The church was MASSIVE.  It was St. Paul’s church, the location with the apostle Paul was beheaded and buried.  It was beautiful inside and the front was just massive.  It was a real hidden gem and glad we were part of it.  But we had to return and we made it back safe and sound to London.  There was a bit of a delay once we arrived in London and made it home just before midnight.
 The church where St. Paul was beheaded and buried
 Matthew tired from our whirlwind trip to Rome.

We had a great trip and got to see a lot of things.  I feel very blessed to have seen what we did and it was a great trip.  I think Matthew is ready for another vacation as this wasn’t exactly a restful one.  I hope you enjoyed reading and seeing pictures of our trip.  :)  Until next time...

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

An Indiana Christmas

Good news!  The flights have been finally booked and its official.  Matthew and I are coming to Indiana for Christmas.  I am very excited and this would have have been possible without the help of our wonderful parents with early Christmas gifts.  :)  Anyways, here are the dates and details you need know.

Arrive: Monday, December 20th
Leave: Thursday, December 30th

Once I get the family plans arranged I will be sure to be in contact to try and arrange visits with as many as I can.  It won't be a slow, relaxing holiday but I can't think of a better way to end 2010 than being with my family and friends.  :D  The next seven weeks cannot come quick enough.  I'm dreading the flights there and back already but it will be SO worth it...and I'm already starting to think about which films I'm going to watch on the plane.  Hehehe!!

I am really looking forward to seeing some friends and family members that I haven't seen since we moved to England 2 1/2 years ago (as well as everyone else). Also, it will be my nephew's first birthday on the 22nd so it will be great to be there to celebrate such a special day!  Anyways, start thinking about what you want to do when we come over and looking forward to seeing a lot of you VERY soon!!  Happy November to you all!!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Keeping Busy (or trying to)

We have been living in Bury St Edmunds for 2 1/2 months.  Overall life is good and keeping us busy, especially for Matthew.  I am still awaiting news for my police check to come through so I haven't started working  yet.  I am really looking forward to working soon but keeping myself busy in the meantime with different things around the area, keeping up with the housework, and spending time with Matthew.  I feel grateful for this time to settle into our new life in Bury St Edmunds but I am ready to get busy and tucked into working.

Matthew is doing great and keeping very busy.  He has been busy studying for his Presbytery exams as well as preaching twice on Sundays and leading Bible Study on Wednesdays.  He has his two hardest exams this week in Wales so we'll be glad when that is done.  We have been encouraged at the church with several new visitors since Matthew started in July.  Please continue to keep Matthew in your prayers as there is a lot of work ahead with his ordination and his ministry at the church.

Here are a few things we've been up to for the past few weeks:

The Tour of Britian (British equivalent to the Tour de France) came through our town of Bury St Edmunds one day in September.  I was able to get to see the start of the race.  It was fun but over in just 40 seconds.  A lot of build up for a few seconds of fun but it was still nice getting to see.
And they're off....
Go, go, go, go!!

Next I got the opportunity to go to Newmarket on the train to see some horse racing.  They were having a Festival of Food and Drink and allowed free entry to part of the stands.  The weather was beautiful and it was a fun experience.  My only complaint is all the downtime between races so I watched a few and then went home.  Like the bike race, it was over in about 40 seconds so it was a lot of build up for little excitement.  If you aren't into betting or drink, not the thing for you.

Our annual church Harvest Supper was held on October 1st.  It was a big success with over 70 people in attendance.  We served soup and dessert and Matt gave a small talk.  It was a fun evening to be in fellowship with members from the church and visitors.

We are looking forward to our trip to Rome which is less than two weeks away.  It will be a quick trip from Monday to Friday but I am looking forward to seeing all the sights and getting to share it with Matthew.  Please continue to remember us in your prayers with both our job situations.  The weather has been good and the feel of autumn is in the air.  There are lovely day with blue skies and sunshine and grey, cloudy days.  I'll leave you with this autumn picture I took while walking around the Abby Gardens by the cathedral.

Happy Autumn to you all!!

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

A Great Homecoming

One of the joys of our new home in Bury St Edmunds is the American Air Force Base located several miles away.  This is the place that Matt refers to as 'the place the flows with milk and honey'.  It has American food, American restaurants,and even gas at American prices.  Matt and I have had the privilege over the past two weeks to go onto base and welcome the men from church back from their four-month deployment to Afghanistan. 

The first group that arrived to the base was by bus.  Over nine buses pulled up to the hanger where the family and friends were waiting. 

It was so nice seeing family reuniting after four months of being apart.  It was especially nice getting to see some fathers getting to hold their child for the first time.  It was very emotional (even for those of us who weren't greeting a loved one) and felt very blessed by being there.  Three of the five men that are members of our church arrived.

And the last two men arrived home.  Again, we were privileged to go to base and welcome them home.  This was a different arrival as they actually flew jets back.  Due to strong wind, they didn't land quite how they were supposed to (in formation) but we saw them land one at a time.  Six jets (F15E) pulled up one by one and then opened the hatch at the same time.

Once the jets were switched off and the hatches opened, the families were able to run to greet their family.  Again, it was truly lovely getting to see the families reunite after four months of being apart and even brought tears to our eyes.

Here is a picture of the remaining two men from church with their families.
I will truly never forget this opportunity we got to be there when these brave men arrived and those first few moments of being reunited with their families. It was a wonderful experience and made for a great homecoming.  :)

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

I'll be Home for Christmas

I'll be home for Christmas,
You can count on me
Please have snow and misteltoe
And presents under the tree
Christmas Eve will find me
Where the love lights beam
I'll be home for Christmas
-Bing Crosby-

After the summer seasons I always look forward to the autumn with the weather and the different holidays building up towards Christmas.  I am really looking forward to the autumn but looking even more forward to Christmas this year.  Matthew and I will be returning to Indiana for Christmas.  We haven't booked the dates yet but are hoping to come for 10-14 days in December.  It will be nice to be home and with family for the holidays.  Also my nephew Connor will be celebrating his first birthday right before Christmas so it will be special to be there for his first birthday.  We are hoping to have plenty of time with family during the holidays and plenty of time visiting friends inbetween.  I will be sure to post the dates of our trip as soon as we have it booked but I wanted to let you know the good news that we'll be home for Christmas and look forward to seeing everyone then!!  :)

Friday, 20 August 2010

A New Beginning

Welcome to our blog all about our lives in Bury St. Edmunds.  We hope that you will be able to check this from time to time to see what we have been doing and where we have been.  I'll be sure to blog an update soon....until then!!