Sunday, October 04, 2009

A Long time

Since I joined the Facebook revolution, I have not made the time to update my blog. Most of the people I know who would read my blog are my "friends" on FB, so it seems silly to post pictures and what not to 2 sites. If you do read this, I encourage you to either join FB or find me on it. I've posted many pictures there and will continue to do so - I can't say the same for this blog.

A small update: the Ph.D. is going well. I finished the rough draft of my third chapter and am so relieved. Let's hope my advisor agrees! I taught the Bible and Field Archaeology course for the undergrads at the university. We went to Tel es-Safi / Gath in Israel and had a great time. Rob and I went early for a week's vacation and I showed him around. Once he left, I stayed and did research for two weeks before the students arrived. I researched at the Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem and was able to get some work done through the Israeli Antiquities Authority. This was my first time taking students to Israel and it was a great experience. I loved showing them around and teaching them how to excavate. I believe the University is already planning on me taking them in July 2010. I am hoping to submit my dissertation by Fall 2010. I plan on going to SBL that year to present and to interview for jobs. If I could submit, defend, and turn in any corrections by Christmas 2010 I will be a happy girl. Then walk in the ceremony in July and move back soon there after - assuming I get a job back in the States. I have a paper being published this coming year, which is good news.

Well, that's about it.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Our First Trip Home

In November (yes, I know it's been a while), I had the opportunity to attend the annual meetings of two academic societies I belong to: The American School of Oriental Research (archaeology) and The Society of Biblical Literature (biblical studies). Both were held in Boston. I was able to listen to some interesting papers, some not so interesting, meet up with old friends, and networked with some new ones. Some of my friends from NY were able to come visit me while I was there. I can't tell you how nice it was to see them; I sure do miss my girlfriends. Afterwards, I was able to fly home to California and spend some much needed time with my family, the sun, and the good ol' USA. I was suspicious that Rob was going to be flying out to CA to surprise me and his mom. Although, I wasn't sure. Imagine my delight, in both seeing my husband and noting that my 6th sense was correct, when I saw Rob walk in the door of Chevy's where we were having lunch. I did wonder why everyone decided to show up for lunch - they all knew he was going to be there. Rob had already been in contact with his sister, Anna, regarding when he would drive up to his Mom's house to surprise her. Unfortunately, I had already made plans to speak to my niece's 6th grade class about archaeology. Rob went up without me and was able to surprise his Mom. I wish I could have seen the look on her face! I will post some pictures from Rob's trip to his Mom's house once we get them. The time was short and went by fast, but it was good to be in familiar surroundings with the people I love most in the world. I also got to spend lots of time with my beloved kitty, Isis. Pictures are included.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

My Parents' Visit

My parents were able to come visit us earlier this month (September) and, by the time they arrived back in California, they had been here two weeks. They were the first of our families to visit and we had such a good time, but it was so hard to say goodbye. BUT! Let's concentrate on the fun times, right? What follows is a run-down of what we did while my parents were here:

The first full day (Tuesday) my parents were here we purposefully had a slow start since they had such a long journey and the time difference between CA and the UK is great. Rob's time off was starting a couple days later, so I showed my parents the town we live in (the tour didn't take long!) and we had some lunch at a nearby cafe. Once Rob came home, we went into the city centre looking for a place that sold good wine (didn't find it), had a drink at a little wine bar, and a great dinner at West 10 in Sheffield. Since we don't have a car, we walk everywhere and it was an adjustment for my parents. The next day (Wednesday) we took the train to York, which is less than an hour away. York is an old Roman city that is still walled and has also preserved its medieval English architecture. It looks like a movie set of medieval England and is worth going to see if you are ever here. We had a great lunch at the White Swan, toured the city on the double-decker bus, and listened to the Evening Song service at York Minster. Thursday we had a slow morning, showed my parents where Rob works and had lunch with the kids, Rob made his yummy bolognese sauce, pasta, and bleu bread for dinner, followed by the quiz at the pub with friends.

Friday morning we took the train from Sheffield to Lludandno, Northern Wales, which is a Victorian sea-side resort town and is at the base of the beautiful Snowdonia mountains. We took another double-decker bus tour, walked around the nearby village and castle of Conway, had a pub dinner, and stayed at a nice b n' b. Since we were only staying one night, the next morning we had our Welsh breakfast and then took the trolley up the Great Orme, which is a mountain that has an old mine in it, but also the best views of the area. We walked around the town before heading back on the train to Sheffield. That night we stayed in and had a chance to web chat with my brother and sister in law, who announced that they are expecting their second baby in May. Sunday was church and then off to the Forbes' house for a proper Sunday roast with their family, us, and the Stordy's. Helen Forbes really went above and beyond and created this English feast. Later that night we walked up to our friends, Stephen and Kate, and had an impromptu wine tasting. My parents had a great time chatting with our English friends who have been so good to us.

Monday morning we took the train from Sheffield to Edinburgh, Scotland for 2 nights. We all fell in love with Edinburgh - what a great city. The place we stayed in was probably the coolest place I have ever stayed in - it was so very swanky. We had a nice dinner out at this Scottish restaurant. We ordered haggis for our appetizer, of which I can proudly say I did have a little bite. I did have the veggie haggis for my main course, though. Not the same, I know; But if you know what haggis is then you know why I chose the veggie one. Tuesday was drizzly, but we still took the double-decker bus tour (it does have a roof on top), went to Edinburgh Castle, had lunch at the White Heart Inn - the oldest pub in Edinburgh, a little shopping, and walking around the city centre. Since we had this swanky house to ourselves, we decided to stay in and feast on cheese, baguettes, olives, and wine. Wednesday morning we had a full Scottish breakfast (yes, Rob ate the black pudding - another questionable Scottish delicacy), went to St. Gilles Church where John Knox, a Scottish Presbyterian pastor and theologian, preached and is buried. We took the train back later that day and rested that night. Thursday was my parents' last day, so we went into Sheffield, showed them the University, the Biblical Studies department, had lunch with my advisor at the pub we have our reading group, and walked around the city centre. We went into this pub where the people were so amazed that we were from CA (granted, they were all a little, if not a lot, drunk). In fact, this one guy was chatty-kathy, but he had the broadest Yorkshire accent Rob and I have ever heard. My dad couldn't understand a word he said, but laughed whenever he laughed, which is what Rob and I had to do for the first few months we were here since we couldn't understand a work anyone said - you'll see the picture. That last night we went to the Greenhead House for dinner, which is supposed to be one of the best places to eat in South Yorkshire.

The following morning we went to the airport via Meeghan Transport (my friend Meeghan took us to the airport). It was a busy visit, but we had such a good time. I've included some pictures. Enjoy....

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Peak District

The last Monday in August is a 'bank holiday' in the UK. For all you Americans out there, a bank holiday is the equivalent to our national holidays. A couple from our church, Julian and Marie, invited us to go for a walk in the Peak District that day. The Peak District is in the county just south of ours, Darbyshire, and is known as some of the most beautiful countryside in all of England. I may have mentioned before that the English love to 'walk'; I don't mean little walks around the park or to the store (although they do that as well). Here a walk can range anywhere from a light stroll on a country lane or a rigorous hike in the peaks. The path Julian and Marie picked out for that day was a light hike on a path around a lake in the Peak District and totaled 10 miles. It started out grey and windy, but by lunch time was clear and warm. In August the heather on the moores is in bloom and all you see is this purple haze everywhere. We packed a lunch and sat by a stream as we ate. Afterwards, we headed to an old pub and had a couple of pints. All in all it was a wonderful day with good conversation and beautiful scenery. I've included some pictures here.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Riga, Latvia

Rob and I went on vacation / holiday to Latvia a few weeks ago. Most people have heard of Latvia, but are not certain where it is. Latvia is a country in the north east of Europe and is on the western boarder of Russia. It is one of the Baltic nations that was once part of the the Soviet Union. Not knowing much about the country, our expectations were somewhat low; however, we soon fell in love with the capital, Riga. Our good friend, Dave, moved from Canada to Riga a few years ago to work with the YWAM base there. He soon met Santa, a Latvian Christian pop star, who also works with YWAM and they married last year. We were able to stay with them in their city centre apartment and spend some much needed quality time with an old friend.

After our arrival, Dave and Santa walked us around the city centre of Riga pointing our various highlights of the city. Riga is about 800 years old with amazing pre-Soviet architecture, parks, cobble-stoned streets, and is very clean. We were surprised to see lots of 'super model'-type women walking about the city centre in high heels. These were not the stereotypical eastern European women, but I didn't quite understand why they were walking on cobblestone streets in high heels. After having a drink at a high-rise bar that had an amazing view of the city, we soon found out why all the women were wearing high heels: apparently there is an annual race of the young workers (mostly females) around the streets of Riga and the women must wear high heels. I'm not sure what the point of this is, but we managed to see it and take some pictures. I hope no one twisted an ankle. We had dinner at a great Japanese place and hung out at their place that night. Friday we slept in, had some yummy pastries, walked around the city, went to the occupation museum, and then to this huge traditional Latvian resturaunt for dinner. After dinner, while Dave was at a previous engagement, Santa took us to a wine studio that just opened down the street from their apartment. It was a very cool place with good wine and appetizers. Dave joined us later and we had a great time chatting about how Santa and her friend, who was with us, had grown up under the Soviet occupation and how different things were now. On our third day in Latvia we went to a resort town on the coast of the Baltic Sea where we walked around and hung out on the beach. That night we asked Dave and Santa what was their favorite resturaunt and took them out to dinner there. We went to this great Indian place that had, not only great food, but great atmosphere. For our final day in Latvia, we took a drive into the countryside and stopped at: the YWAM camp, a town that is trying to maintain it's historic atmosphere and is used to shoot old Soviet and German-era movies, Europe's widest waterfall, and lastly we went to Santa's parent's apartment on the coast and her mom cooked a traditional Latvian meal for us .

The following day we left Latvia for London by air and had about five hours to kill before our train left for Sheffield. During those five hours we went to the British Museum and saw the Egypt, Assyrian, Greek, and Roman galleries. The Holy Land gallery was closed, unfortuneatly; but I was able to see the Rosetta Stone and the black obelisk of Shalmanasser, which talks about and depicts King Jehu of Israel bowing before the Assyrian king. I was so happy to finally see these artifacts I've studied about for so long.

We had such a wonderful time in Lativa and highly recommend Riga as a vacation / holiday destination. We learned from an American friend at the end of our travels that Riga is considered the Paris of the North. I'm not sure I would put it in the same category as Paris, but it is a beautiful hidden gem.