Friday, December 24, 2010

World Cup madness and visits from Sara, Elise, and the Kramers

Summer 2010 brought on World Cup madness across Europe. Offices shut down for football matches. Pubs were overflowing. England flags were pulled out of storage. The whole place went absolutely crazy. We went to a pub with a bunch of American friends to watch the England v USA match, which was quite the experience. There were probably about 80 of us crammed into a tiny room that was meant to hold about 20, and everyone was screaming their heads off the whole time. The game ended in a tie, which overjoyed the American fans as we should have lost by a lot. I went to work the following Monday with a big, obnoxious grin on my face. We watched a lot of matches, either on the telly or at our work computers. It was great fun!

Near the end of the World Cup, we had a short visit from Sara Huff, who was on her way to Oxford for a study abroad program. We spent a couple of enjoyable days with her, and her visit overlapped with Zach, Mary Frances, and their two boys, who were in London for a couple weeks while Zach was teaching some seminars in England and elsewhere in Europe. We all went out to Regents Park for a birthday picnic for Zach and the next day Sara, Andrew, and I babysat the little ones while their tired mom and dad got to go enjoy an adult meal on their own. We got to spend a lot of time with the Kramers while they were in London. I think it’s fantastic that they travel so much with their kids; it looks like hard work, though!

Also overlapping with the Kramers’ visit was Elise, who came in mid-June. This was her second London visit with us, and we had another great time with her. She and I spent a lot of time walking all over the city, and one evening the three of us went to a performance of The Crucible at the open-air theatre in Regents Park. I had never seen it before, and it was a fantastic show. We sat in the grass on the side of the stage and enjoyed a picnic while we watched. And when we got home and cleaned out the picnic basket we found we had a stowaway slug! Ah, nature. We also spent some quality time at the Victoria and Albert museum, where we had a leisurely tour through the quilt exhibit and a lovely lunch in the William Morris rooms.

Later in the month the Kiwis and Andrew and I went to another outdoor play, this time The Taming of the Shrew in Montagu Square. This was the private garden I had tried to gain access to when we first moved in, and we were very excited to finally be allowed inside. We had a lovely picnic courtesy of Amy, and we thoroughly enjoyed the show, which was a 1980s-inspired version with excellent acting and singing.

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