Behind Boundless – Busy Bees


This week has been absolutely crazy at work. Both of us have fast approaching deadlines for massive projects that are significant to Congress. Jodi’s main task has been organizing the volunteers we will need and constructing a program that includes roles, project planning, and recruiting. Among a million other things. My main project this week has been organizing the performers that are coming and trying to synchronize 40 schedules across 7 venues and myriad rehearsals. It’s fun. Like the stressful kind of fun. Not sarcastic.

This weekend was also packed with adventure. Or at least events. On Saturday we went to Angel with Alexa for Chipotle. Again. Burrito bowls. We then continued up the Northern Line to Camden Town, which is a lot like Pike Place or Fremont in Seattle. Or any other hipster sub-nation. I was really only looking for a new umbrella after mine was tragically retired last week but I was tempted several times by just about everything else Camden had to offer. I didn’t actually need any of it and, as John Murray would likely point out, none of it was of particularly high quality. John Murray works at IHQ. He’s the one that deemed us Ken and Barbie. Anyway, we had been planning to see Mockingjay in the week but hadn’t yet so we bussed to the nearest cinema to watch it. Being volunteers we decided grocery snackage was a necessity. This snackage, however, spoiled our dinner appetites. Nevertheless, we went to Southbank after the movie which is the literal south bank of the Thames. There is a new Christmas village that started earlier this month that Jodi tried to convince me to go to the previous night but I convinced her it would be more fun to go with another person. Southbank was a pretty typical Christmas village aside from a Christmas tree maze, which I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. Exciting as it was, I wasn’t about to pay £4 to walk through a fake forest…

Sunday. We went to church at the usual time and did the usual things until lunch. We had lunch plans with a family from the Wood Green area that sometimes attends the corps but they weren’t able to make it that morning. They were kind enough to call a taxi service for us so we wouldn’t have to walk through the rain which was pretty torrential that day. The food was fantastic. They’re a mix of Jamaican and Trinidadian which we learned is actually a very uncommon mix for marriages. The food was fantastic. I know I already said that. We were supposed to leave by 2:30 to go to a divisional event in Hoxton but the conversation (and dessert) were too good to leave on time. We still wanted to go to the event so we left after dessert. It took us considerably longer to get to Hoxton than we had anticipated and we ended up arriving about 20 minutes late but it was a relaxed event so it didn’t seem like anyone cared. They were just happy we were there. Dinner was provided at the event but we had eaten just a couple hours earlier so we didn’t actually eat anything.

Oh yeah. And we’re moving to South London on Saturday. While it’s nice to basically live in a hotel, it’s not suitable for an extended period of time and we would like to have a proper kitchen where there’s more than a microwave.



Us in Camden.

Not Camden. As in Southbank.

Behind Boundless – An Abbey in Autumn


Autumn has been slowly but surely leaving its mark on London. The trees are turning, the temperature is decreasing, and the rain is getting more intense. I was expecting it to be colder than it is by now but we still have 4 months until Spring… The rain isn’t terrible here. After living in places like Hilo and Seattle I consider myself accustomed to rain, though, so maybe it’s just me. Never mind. Jodi just said she thought it would rain more too. I also haven’t experienced a heavy rain since my umbrella broke yesterday so maybe my opinion will change.

This week was pretty normal. Work, some O2 visits, and then the weekend. I went to worship practice at Wood Green on Thursday and played bass with them on Sunday. That was pretty fantastic because I haven’t played in months. We attempted to go shopping on Saturday but ran out of energy almost immediately and didn’t actually know what we were looking for.

On Sunday we went to church as usual. This Sunday was one of the days where we have a coffee break half way through the service, which is Jodi’s favorite variation of Sundays here. Going to Wood Green has been particularly nice for us because we have had free lunch with someone every week so far! The first two weeks were at the Smiths’ house and then this week we went to Steve Burnett’s house with Alexa. Steve is Glen’s owner- the dog we watched in September. He is actually the person that suggested we try out Wood Green in the first place. After lunch he took us to Waltham Abbey which is just a few minutes from where he lives. I’ve found that I really enjoy cathedrals, abbeys, and old churches. They’re impressively beautiful particularly because when they were built there weren’t any design programs or motorized cranes. There was barely geometry. Also, Waltham Abbey is about 1100 years older than the United States of America. That’s crazy.


 Orange trees!

 Waltham Abbey.

 A closer view of the end of the abbey.

St. Paul’s reflected in the rain. 

Behind Boundless – Christmas, Coffee, and a Concert


We learned that Oxford Street was turning on its Christmas lights last week and thought it would be fun to go. The reason we originally found out was because someone from the Rink’s Songster Brigade had posted it on Facebook so everyone knew to avoid the area and plan ahead but we turned it into a reason to visit the shopping district. Carmen, Jeremiah, Alexa, Cameron, Kersten, and Karl all went as well. While the actual lighting was underwhelming, hanging out with friends in central London is always fun. That was Thursday.

On Saturday we had a concert with the London Central Youth Chorus… also known as Central. The concert was in Hendon but we met up with friends yet again to watch the Lord Mayor’s parade in Queen Victoria Street. When we went through our initial tube station we learned that our destination station was closed because there was a person on the tracks. This meant we had to get off at Moorgate and walk the rest of the way. It wasn’t particularly far, but because the streets were closed there weren’t any cars or people roaming around which made it fell eerily empty. The parade itself was pretty similar to American parades aside from the amount of military personnel and machinery. There were a lot of guns. They handed out everything from candy to lemons to sausages to show how much they supported the new Lord Mayor. There was one band that played on horseback which was pretty much the most impressive thing ever. The parade wasn’t quite long enough to warrant going straight to Hendon for our rehearsal so we stopped at a coffee shop on the way there to kill some time. We killed a little too much, though because it started to rain torrentially and it was a 10 minute walk from there to the corps. We were prepared for rain but it was still incontrovertibly wet. After the concert we started looking for food. This always takes ages when we’re in a group of 10 because we can never decide or agree on one place. Eventually, we decided on Chipotle because it’s delicious and it was on the way to all of our stations.

Sunday was pretty normal. We went to Wood Green and discovered that the second Sunday of each month is done almost in a Bible Study style where everyone sits around tables and works through a passage of scripture together. After church we went to Jonny and Catherine’s house again for lunch and, naturally, Monopoly. I managed to beat both Jonny and Gerard (an alleged Monopoly guru) which helped boost my Monopoly ego after painfully losing last week.

Yesterday we went grocery shopping and did laundry. In case you were wondering. Maybe we should blog biweekly.


Christmas lights in Oxford Street.

 The empty streets before the parade.

 A giant fish and a smiling European. 

The Lord Mayor. He was waving to the other side…



Behind Boundless – Bashful Birthday


This weekend was my birthday weekend. Now, if you don’t already know, I’m not a big fan of making a bigger deal of things that ought not to be a big deal in the first place. Birthdays fall into this category. When you’re turning 7, 10, even 16, making it a big deal makes sense to me. Once you’ve passed 21, though, it’s just a waste of energy. Moreover, it’s downright embarrassing. The last thing I need is 10 people singing an overly repetitive song at me in public. And that happened.

On Friday, which was Halloween for those of you unAmericans, our department was planning to go to lunch on the roof of a nearby building because it was going to be a nice day. We probably won’t get very many more of those. The fact that it was Halloween isn’t really important, I just wanted to type unAmerican because it’s a real word. Look it up. Anyway, Halloween is the day before my birthday so I was expecting little more than a few costumes and a sunny picnic lunch. Wrong. This is the part where I was sang to in public. Sang at in public. I tried to sing along and make it look like it was actually Jeremiah’s birthday but you can’t throw fake extrovertism at a real extrovert. It bounces back. We ate some random candies and baked goods we had brought to the office at varying times that week and the Hobgoods gave me a gift wrapped in Harry Potter World adverts. I don’t know if that was a really well planned thematic idea or just a fluke, but I was appreciative nonetheless. The gift was a stone plaque with scripture on it and, most importantly, eagles. Birds of prey are my favorite types of animals so I thought at first that was the reason for the theme of the gift. I never actually found out otherwise so we’ll say it was true. It’s also the first grown-up thing I’ve owned. As in something that you always have and has a place in your home but it doesn’t really have a funny story from college. It’s a big step. The only problem is that our bags were already at the weight limit on or way over here.

On Saturday we made no plans. We had breakfast at the usual time, I played some video games, and we eventually settled on McDonald’s for lunch. We were going to go shopping with some of the other Boundless 8 but I couldn’t be bothered to travel AND spend money. I’m just like my dad in that aspect. I don’t like spending my money in general and now it’s amplified because I don’t actually make money anymore. When I do buy things, however, I’m a quality over quantity guy every time. End of tangent. We decided to go to as-fancy-as-we-can-reasonably-afford dinner in Oxford Street. Our plan was to simply walk from place to place until we found a restaurant that seemed to meet our needs. We got off the tube at Oxford Circus and started the walk east. And kept walking. For a while. We made several detours off of Oxford and into alleys and around various buildings but nothing had the right balance of quality, price, and available tables. We eventually made it to Covent Garden where we ate at a quaint Italian restaurant called La Ballerina. Jodi kept saying “Happy birthday” because it was funny. Ha ha.

On Sunday we went to Wood Green again. I was in a particularly good mood because my birthday was over and I didn’t have to relive the trauma of being sung at for another year. Church was different yet again than any format I’ve been in. We split into groups Bible Study style and talked about a specific passage within our group. There was a set of questions at the end that Jonny, one of the corps officers, then asked with a mic, bouncing from group to group for answers. It reminded me of BSF but in a slightly larger form. We went to the officers’ house after church for a proper English roast dinner. We have had several of these and I love them because it’s like Christmas dinner but whenever you want because Sunday. They have 2 boys, Samuel and William, who both took a liking to me because that’s what young boys do for some reason. It may or may not have been because of my Minecraft knowledge. But don’t tell anyone. Anyway, after lunch/dinner/tea/whathaveyou Catherine brought out a rolled pavlova, put a massive candle/firework in it, and everyone started singing. Again. This one wasn’t so bad because there were only a few people singing and no strange onlookers to gawk. Also, it was pavlova. With a firework in it.


 On the roof of One New Change, which I just remembered the name of. That’s St. Paul’s.

Cold dinner in Covent Garden. The food wasn’t cold… the night air was.

Birthday/Guy Fawkes pavlova.