Do you ever wonder if people miss you as much as you miss them? If the people you think of as friends think as highly of you? Perhaps I'm just a weirdo, and a paranoid one at that, but I get worried sometimes that friends I haven't seen in a while (especially since I've been so bad at keeping in touch with people for the past couple of years) are just being polite when they say they want to get together and things like that. I worry that it'll be awkward to be around them, that they'll be disappointed in who I am now, that they'll wonder why they are friends with me... or something like that. I know it doesn't really make much sense, but I still always worry anyway.
And then, once I decide to brave it anyway, and I get together with friends-- well, I wonder why I ever worried. I should know better. My friends are my friends because they like me, and I like them. Time doesn't change that, and when I do get together with good friends it's often just like no time has passed.
A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to spend a wonderful week with good friends. I got to know Abson and Lara at Asbury, and they now live in Jamaica with their two beautiful girls, Daniella and Sophie. I hadn't seen them since Daniella, who will be four this year, was a newborn and they were still in Kentucky, which means that I had never met Sophie, who is 18 months. It's amazing how time flies....
So my friends were in London for a month, in order for Abson to pass his viva (the lucky duck) and work on his corrections. And to visit me, of course. Or rather, for me to visit them. I'm sure that was a big part of the plan from the beginning. =D I would have loved for them to be able to come up to Scotland, but it was well worth the money for me to travel to London to see them for a week. I stayed with them in their accomodations at the London School of Theology, which was wonderful. A full week with good friends is something I don't get very often. And in London, no less. Woot.
I caught Megabus (always a wonderful experience. ha.) to Edinburgh, and spent one of the coldest days of my life in the capitol city. I love Edinburgh, and even though it was snowing and couldn't possibly have made it above 0*C that day. I spent most of it shopping for cool stuff to take to my friends, and just wandering around the Mile and Princes Street, sitting in Starbucks and Subway, and freezing my @$$ off in the train station. Because the sleeper train doesn't start boarding til 11pm, and everything pretty much closes by 7pm or so, I end up sitting in the very breezy train station for ages, until I finally convinced them to let me into the sleeper lounge at 9pm. It was supposed to be open, but they didn't have anyone to man it, so they didn't want to let me in. I finally talked them into it, and it was the warmest I'd been all day long. Once I got on the train, I got ready for bed and went right to sleep. Well, pretty much. We had some crazy delays, apparently due to flooding along the normal route, which meant we were awakened early and still got in late. And my breakfast? Huh. A cup of tea and two shortbreads. What kind of breakfast is that?!
Once I got into Euston, I walked from the train station to the tube station and made my way out to meet my friends. For the next week, whether we were out sightseeing or staying in drinking coffee, I didn't care. It was so great to get to catch up, to play with the girls, to just be with people who know me. I have friends here in Aberdeen, of course, but there is something special about friends who have known me before here. I guess that's why old friends really are the best... and I look forward to my Aberdeen friends being 'old friends' one day. In the meantime, I'm very lucky to have loads of other old friends from all the other stages of my life.
Anyway. I got to see a lot more of London this time, as well as spend the other coldest day of my life in Oxford, and reverse my trip back to Aberdeen on the sleeper (to Edinburgh) and then on Megabus. Whew. But in case you couldn't tell already, the best part was getting to be with Abson and Lara, and getting to know my 'nieces' Daniella and Sophie. As the photos will attest, they are cute as can be, and I dare anyone to disagree. =D Oh, and the photos are in no particular order. I'm running out of stream, so the photos will tell the rest of my story.
Big Ben, thankfully repaired after the Slytheen crashed the decoy spaceship into it
It was cold in London. Yes, that is ice in the fountains at Trafalgar Square.
The National Gallery, in Trafalgar Square
Having lunch at the British Museum
My neices at church
A little changing of the guards at BuckinghamBuckingham Palace
Cheeky wee Daniella
A good area for seeing things
London Bridge, not falling down. Oh, and my awesome new blue coat.
Beware the beheading!
I liked the Christmas tree perched up in St. Pauls.
On the bus. Good times.
The girls, out on the town.
The seige of Lachish, at the British Museum. Very, very cool. Cheeky wee Sophie
Christmas decorations in the city
The city at night, from the top of a double decker bus. Somewhere near Picadilly Circus.
The famous London fog, on the Thames
The inside of the British Museum, with the refurbished reading room up top
The Rosetta Stone. For real.
As good Wesleyans and United Methodists, Oxford was an important place for us. Aside from Wesley, it was important to us as fans of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, as well.
Having lunch at the pub, just like Lewis and Tolkien did.
Lara and Abson, Daniella and Sophie-- thanks so much for having me down, and for letting me invade your home-away-from-home for a week. It was wonderful getting to see y'all, and I love y'all lots! I can't wait to come to Jamaica next.... =D