Behind Boundless – Flops, Fridges, and Food Findings


Our accommodations in Highbury come with a provided dinner, which is left for us in a refrigerator outside our room. It typically appears there before we get home by some form of witchcraft we have yet to discover. On Tuesday, however, we opened the fridge after returning from IHQ to discover there wasn’t any food in it. We waited for a while until we decided to ask the front desk if we had been forgotten or ignored… in a polite manner. Unfortunately, there wasn’t anyone attending the front desk. We waited another 45 minutes or so and tried again to no avail. At this point we were very hungry and decided there wasn’t going to be any Highbury-provided dinner so we went out to find a Thai restaurant. There is one closer than our tube station, less than a 10 minute walk. To our surprise it was also delicious! We finished our food after asking for our bill (which, heads up, you have to do here) and headed back home. Much to our dismay, we opened the closet containing our refrigerator only to find that there was a meal there waiting for us. It was probably because we were home and the witchcraft doesn’t work when we are nearby. That’s my theory, anyway. As tasty as it looked and smelled (Yorkshire pudding!) we simply weren’t hungry. We rarely see anyone around that we could have offered the food to so we begrudgingly decided to throw it away. Neither of us are really the type to tell the concierge that we went out for Thai food and needed to find a place to throw their dinner away… We’re supposed to let them know if we won’t be home for dinner by 10 am. Lesson learned: good things come to those who wait. Hopefully none of the Highbury staff read our blog…

Jodi’s birthday was on Thursday so we went out with the other Volunteers on Wednesday to celebrate with dinner. Jodi didn’t know it was happening. I called Highbury from IHQ because we have to let them know if we will miss dinner… I didn’t want a repeat of the night before. When we got home Jodi was keen to do laundry but I kept “procrastinating” with other excuses, trying to buy time. Fortunately, someone was already using the laundry facilities (or facility; there’s one washer and one dryer) so we had to wait anyway. Dinner still hadn’t shown up, which wasn’t a surprise to Jodi after the previous night, so I convinced Jodi we should go for a walk. While we were out, I told her we should go to a bakery (which I made up) down at King’s Cross, which is only one tube stop away from us. Birthday people are supposed to bring their own pastries at work so she agreed. When we got to King’s Cross, however, I lead her to another tube instead of to the way out. She started getting suspicious at this point. She figured our scheme out on the second tube ride but she was still happy to have dinner with the team in China Town. Also, Leicester Square is ridiculous at rush hour. I was almost taken out by a woman on a bike to whom traffic laws don’t apply, apparently.

On Thursday, Jodi’s actual birthday, we went to Simon and Rachel Gash’s house for a properly cooked roast dinner. We remembered to let Highbury know in advance, too. It was nice to spend some time in a home because all of our time so far has been spent in the office, at our hotel-esque studio, or on a train. We had a fun night getting to know them and their two kids who are basically the cutest kids ever, British accent and all. We had only planned to meet up “Thursday” without thinking about the fact it was Jodi’s birthday but it turned out to be a very nice birthday dinner anyway.

Some new fun facts:

There are foxes here. Like, real foxes in our driveway that stroll around the neighborhood like it’s nothing. Weird. Last night we were able to see our breath for the first time and it’s only August. Scarves will come in handy. If you need to do laundry here, set 3 hours aside. Their washers here are tiny. If you’re going to an event in the middle of nowhere, don’t show up 3 hours early. Not all of London is interesting and safe. Listerine is expensive here. If anyone is compiling care package lists, you can add a giant green Listerine bottle to it.


Jodi’s birthday dinner in Chinatown.

Post-dinner exploration in the city. 

Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. 

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Behind Boundless – Becoming British


This weekend we visited Hadleigh Farm which is the location of the Hadleigh Training Centre, a facility focused on teaching people with special needs how to develop work skills safely. It was originally started by William Booth back in 1891 when he basically bought the entire hillside to host his vision farm. If you have ever seen the poster and cover from “In Darkest England and the Way Out”, “The Farm Colony” is Hadleigh Farm. And we’ve been there. End of history lesson.

In the office, we’re starting to get more and more familiar with everything Boundless. We and the other Congress volunteers have also been assigned to various jobs depending on our skill sets and interests. Jodi will be working mostly with volunteer services so the congress can function with ease and with the sponsored delegates for Boundless who are coming to the event on some form of aid or scholarship-like program. I will be split between International and UK Headquarters for the most part and my duties fall mostly into programming and logistics for visiting musical groups. I will also be helping the Congress Office with any video needs for the website and marketing.

Personally, we’re finally getting acclimated to the weather, time zone, jargon, and public transport system. We have umbrellas and travel cards now so we’re ready for anything! There isn’t much of a language barrier here but there are several words and phrases we have discovered that don’t always mean the same thing. Similarly, people react differently in social situations because, believe it or not, England’s culture is completely different from America’s. Life is hard without a Target down the road but we’ve managed to find stores that sell what we need.


 Hadleigh Castle. Or what’s left of it.

Most of the Congress Team, in front of William Booth’s house at Hadleigh Farm.

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Behind Boundless – Living in London


So we have finally arrived in London and hit the ground running. We started work almost instantly- we arrived in London on Monday afternoon and started work at IHQ on Tuesday morning. There are 5 other volunteers here so far and an eighth will join us at the end of the month.

Our first day was spent organizing our room and getting familiar with our neighborhood. Our accommodations are small but newly refurbished. There is a photo of the very English courtyard located in our backyard.

Yesterday we started the day with department devotions in the International chapel and walked around Central London for a couple of hours after that. We got to see all of the typical touristy sites like Parliament, Buckingham Palace, the Thames, the London Eye, etc. After that, we took the train to the O2 Arena where the Boundless Congress will be taking place. This helped us get a general idea of what will be taking place and where it will be happening.

We have started to learn how to use the public transport here and have learned a bit about London in the process:

1) Street signs are on buildings. Look up.

2) Not knowing how to use your Oyster (travel) card will cause a line of disgruntled Londoners to form behind you.

3) Do not talk to or make eye contact with anyone on the tube. Ever.

4) Many newspapers and magazines are free! And actually read!

5) Things aren’t as cheap as they look. A British Pound is worth more than a US dollar…

6) Sleep deprivation and jet lag are funny.

7) Layer your clothing. It will rain. Even if your phone tells you otherwise.


 The Courtyard

 From our tour around London

International Headquarters with St. Paul’s Cathedral in the background

Behind Boundless – Leaving L.A.


So we’re all packed and ready to go to London. Four days and counting. Our apartment is empty and what few items we are taking with us are ready to be packed into suitcases.

Building up to this point, we have applied for and received visas, resigned from our jobs, sold our car, cancelled every American service we had (internet, car insurance, etc.) and now we are just waiting for Sunday.

In case you don’t already know, we are moving to London to participate in a year long Volunteer Opportunity at The Salvation Army’s International Headquarters. We leave Sunday and arrive at London Heathrow Airport Monday morning. We start work the next day. Over the course of the next year we will be assisting the International Congress Department with the planning and logistics involved with the Boundless 2015 International Congress, which will be held at the end of our time in London.

This blog is technically a personal blog but we will be covering everything we do in London in both personal and professional capacities.


Our uncomfortably empty apartment…

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