Saturday 27 September 2008


this week i think i have ended up eating out more times than i ever have in such a short space of time. and since i love food and the people i ate with, i'm going to tell you about it :-)

1. sunday * central london * "marks and spencers" * sandwiches WITH Joy

OK, so it's not strictly "eating out", altho we did eat them OUTside in Hyde Park. and, it was the only place that was open and that we could afford (just about... RIP. OFF. !) but it was fun. and it was sun and catching up and grass...

2. tuesday * oxford * "carluchios" * homemade ravioli stuffed with spinach and ricotta WITH Dad

really recommend this little place. quality italian food and friendly staff. recommend my Dad too! :-)

3. wednesday am * botley * the (only) coffee place in elms parade * moccachino and sausage roll * WITH Mum

birthday coffee with Mum. lovely. i have not had a sausage roll in YEARS but for some reason that day it took my fancy. as the only cafe in this part of Oxford it gets away with being over-pricey. but it's not a bad place!

4. wednesday pm * Selly Oak, Birmingham * "Donya's cafe" * Iranian buffet * WITh Rosanna and her friends

the birthday night in the upper room of the restaurant. different, tasty food and good value. and then the belly dancing... which i mentioned before!! :-)

5. thursday * Oxford * "Nando's" * couscous salad with chicken and haloumi cheese * WITH Beena, Roz and Sarah

oxford birthday, with the few remaining. the couscous salad is new since i last went to nandos. it's GREAT. so is nandos in general. lovely catching up with friends... between us this summer we'd been to Kenya, Sardinia, China, Syria, Israel, Jordan and Ibiza! Ibiza definitely sounded the least "cultured". haha! followed by the reggae dancing, which was strange after being used to a bit heavier music. kept waiting for the bassline to drop while we floated around the dance floor...

6. friday * Oxford * "El Andalus" * tapas and 'cafe con leche...mas o menos'! * WITH Adam

so nice to hear people speaking spanish and flamenco-ish music and read the spanish menu... and olives and goats cheese in honey and croquetas... and also fantastic seeing Adam, a friend i met in Bolivia two years ago.


so there you go. i am now wondering why on earth i thought anyone would be remotely interested. but i guess i write it more out of gratefulness for lots of good food and many special people to share it with.

Friday 26 September 2008


this week there's been a few of those surreal moments that make you smile and be glad for the unusual unpredictable things (people).

like DJ Derek, a rather more mature than "usual" reggae DJ 70-something i would say; playing at the Carling Academy (formally zodiac) in Oxford last night. before each track he'd pause the music and introduce it with a short analogy in a semi-jamaican accent.

or Tanya, the english lady who works at Donya's cafe in Selly Oak, speaks Farsee and attempted to teach us belly dancing! hilarious. she told me i looked like i was giving birth. that's what i get for putting some enthusiasm into it!

then there was sitting on the minibus that takes people from Brent Cross train station to "Jesus House", a big church in north london where i was to meet a great friend of mine. just a few women dressed in their sunday-best sat silently gazing out the windows when all of a sudden on the radio comes the song with the lyrics "i wanna make you sweat, sweat till you can't sweat no more" (or something like that!). it just sounded so out of place i had to keep myself from laughing out loud.

yes... London, Birmingham, Oxford... this week I've been on the move again and it doesn't end there. today i went to chichester and Brighton and tomorrow i'm going to Nottingham and Derby. am i crazy?! maybe. but because i am not the one to stay at home and sit around if i can help it by tomorrow night i will have seen quite a few of my favourite people in the last 7 days. nice :-) but sometimes i really wish my friends all lived in one place....! maybe that would make it easier to put some roots down a little deeper. somewhere.

Wednesday 24 September 2008

i am 22

that's like, properly in my twenties. is it? a year ago i was in sevilla. crazy. since then i've danced my way through three very different parts of Spain to some very different rhythms but hopefully bit by bit i'm dancing more and more in time to the heartbeat of my Maker.

more soon, now off for coffee with mum then to birmingham to join my twin and crash her celebrations (because i havent yet organised my own!). x x x

Monday 22 September 2008


("Streams in the desert", sept 21st)

something stirring

this excerpt from Rick Mckinley's book "This Beautiful Mess" sums up/echoes quite a few recent conversations with a number of different friends. puts into words some of the frustrations and dreamings that i am beginning to think might be on the hearts of more than just an handful of people...

"when i compared the vision for life in the kingdom that Jesus put forth in the Gospels with the experience i had at church as a new Christian, I noticed a discrepancy. Jesus' fresh perspectives on money, suffering, justice and love had been refashioned into a tidy way of life for those who did their best to convey that they no longer needed much of what he had to say.

At eighteen, I sensed the problem without quite being able to say it. In all the tidiness, the wonder of the gospel of Jesus seemed to be disappearing. As a recent convert, I was alive in that wonder. It was changing my life. But looking around, I realized that most of Jesus' followers lived pretty much like everyone else - except we hoped for heaven. The Christian life began to look like one long waiting game of Bible studies and boring parties. If I was lucky, a bus would hit me and i'd go straight to heaven. Until then the kingdom life i was reading about in the gospels would have to wait.

I felt disappointed - like i had entered C.S. Lewis' wardrobe, full of anticipation, but instead of standing in a magical place with fawns and witches and every kind of possibility, i had somehow managed to walk through the wardrobe and into a dentist's office. peoplesat around reading magazines and asking me to calm down, to be quiet, to take a seat. they said it very nicely of course, like you would in a dentist's office. the place was clean, with polite smiles everywhere, sterile smells and bad Muzak. What are you supposed to do in a waiting room except try to kill time? I did a lot of that. I killed time in college groups. In church. In Bible college. I even killed time as a pastor.

But leaning back in my chair one day I realized that the walls of the waiting-room were actually paper-thin. behind the veil of western evangelicalism existed an untamed, revolutionary reality. The world on the other side of the wardrobe did exist, i realized. you just have to tear down the fake walls first, kill the fake music, and let yourself go crashing with newborn, wide-eyed anticipation out into the world.
And there it is all around you. The kingdom of God."

(page 85-86)

Saturday 20 September 2008

southampton and thoughts

some more pics from last weekend. mainly because... i don't have much to say about this week. i haven't done much and my thoughts are too undefined and unfinnished to write down. or just not for a blog right now. a lot about goodbyes (is a "proper" goodbye even a reality??) and about home. having many and having none and if it really matters. i'll expand soon probably.
today i'm proper relaxing. it is nice (but weird) - not having loads to do, because i am very aware that in a week's time final year begins back in brighton it won't be like this for a solid 9 months. deep breath....

Thursday 18 September 2008

"HOME" highlights

'Home' was the name of the 24-7 prayer international gathering in Southampton. There were about 200 people from al over the world (that i can remember: many parts of the UK and USA, Canada, South Africa, Macedonia, Finland, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, Holland, Spain, Ireland, Czech Republic, Iceland and a lot more), all with a different story to how they came to be there and how they came to be involved in 24-7.

It was definitely more of a 'gathering' than a conference, although there was some great teaching - focused around the verses that say God's house is to be a house of prayer for all nations and some great times of worship. But a lot of it was seeing old friends and making new connections, sitting and eating together and listening and learning and encouraging.

i was glad that it was pretty chilled because don't think i could have coped with anything too intense. i didn't know loads of people there but that was OK too - again it made it more chilled. and i guess i just felt comfortable there - 'at home' - you could say. and it was the kind of atmosphere that conversations with 'strangers' just happened really easily and before you knew it you were talking about all kinds of things.

highlights for me were:

  • catching up with friends i met last year, mainly ibiza connections and from the "feast" (last year's gathering in Sevilla)... meeting ben and becky's new baby daisy; saying goodbye to another becky as she heads off to live in south africa; reunited with Ursina who was out in Ibiza with me, Rachel who also lived in Sevilla this year...

  • the AUCTION, to which people had given homemade CDs which all sold for extortionate amounts of money. the winner being the entry from the corringham community complete with knitted CD case which went for over £300!!! just incredible generosity from people who probably don't have much to begin with. the money went to a family from California who recently moved to Kansas to serve there.

  • worship being led by "tribe" - a group of 5 drummers from Tulsa

  • the goats cheese and roasted veg salad i had at bella italia (food is important!).. and the look on the waiter's face when about 40 people walked into the restaurant in the space of 5 minutes!

  • drinking tea with 2 swiss girls and a finnish girl (well they drank tea and i as the english girl lets her country down as she can't stand it so it was coffee instead!) in the uni flat i was staying in as we discussed european-ess mong other things. felt like i was in first year again!

  • meeting such a crazy collection of unique people from all over the world including a couple of lovely Spanish girls who i wish i'd met while i was living there!

  • exploring southampton on monday morning with Holly from Tulsa who lives in Ireland, Johann the only Dutch representative, Regula Michele and Matthias from Switzerland and Milka from Finland.

so... good times. and a good way to finish. and maybe to start dreaming about what could be next...

Wednesday 17 September 2008

leaving ibiza...

a few people have asked when my next flight is. THERE ISN'T ONE!! for the first time in a long time my feet are firmly on british soil. well... for the time being anyways! :-)

apologies for long delay in blogging, the last week or so has been a whole lot of comings and goings, goodbyes and hellos and goodbyes.

i really enjoyed my last few days in ibiza. there were only 4 of us available to work (the 'crew' in the photo above) so it was quite hectic but good. i was in the centre (which is sill busy every day with people booking flights home) monday, tuesday and wednesday afternoons and on the streets those three nights. on top of that went to Amnesia on tuesday night (trance-d it up!) then straight on to shipwrecked for the third week running. that was a little different this time, with the weather being cloudy (no sun) and the sea pretty rough (much vomit!) but still lots of fun and some great music from the two guest DJs (highlight: Dizzy Rascal - 'flex').
My last night on the streets was pretty cool - "messy wednesdays" meant several call outs with the van, including one from the police and paramedics. was grateful for my spanish then and it's amazing they are now calling us to help them out instead of being suspicious of us. said lots of goodbyes to the people i've seen pretty much every night since i've been here which was strange and made me wonder about next year and how it would be pretty cool to see everyone again. afterwards there was a party at one of the bars (Opium) with some really great music and loads of workers went there. we were still in our 24-7 shirts dancing away... which probably didn't help the fact lots of people don't believe we don't do drugs. ah well... they played "this is the way" by DJ Marky. SO HAPPY!! a great way to end the street work.
Thursday (my last day) was Kim Mazelle for lunch and packing and a last beach visit and swim in the sea where i saw lots of fish. yey! then a couple of friends came for supper and then it was off to the airport...
everything went smoothly until i realised at the other end that my wallet was no longer with me. PANIC!! and lost property is not open at 3am. somehow i got home praise God as i had no money or anything, although some friends were very kind and helped me out. to be honest i thought i mush have left it in the airport in ibiza so had little hope of recovering everything. which wasn't the end of the world, just a lot of hassle. didn't have much time to worry though as after just a few hours at home i was off again down to southampton for the 24-7 prayer international gathering, which i think i shall write about in another post...
ANYWAYS the amazing news is.... someone found my wallet on the plane and handed it in and i am at this minute waiting for it to arrive at my house. i won't quite relax until it's actually in my hands but hey that's all pretty unexpected! Thank you God for that!
So that's pretty much the end of my "year abroad" as it were. less than 3 weeks til fourth year begins. that makes me a little scared! quite a lot actually. but nevertheless i feel a lot more ready for it than i did before i went to ibiza. and... i'll write more soon. can't think any more this morning. can't summarise the last few weeks in a succinct (sp?) eloquent sentence. sorry.

Tuesday 9 September 2008

monday: Ibiza town (Eivissa)

yesterday i got up the earliest i have since i've been here (before 8am!) and got a lift to Ibiza town. i hadn't managed to go there yet and was determined to before i leave.

it was good to be up in the morning, and walk round the town before it got hot and busy. It's so pretty there, i really like it. walked up to the old town (which reminded me of the portuguese border towns like Elvas and Campo Maior) and round the city walls and up to the top of the hill where there's a cathedral and a stunning view of the sea. a spanish coffee, the sunshine, a comfy dress, exploring, my camera... happy day.

Monday 8 September 2008

sunday afternoon: CHILL

DAY of REST. is Sunday. i'm a fan.
eating together, another game of water polo, our mini-church-type-meeting in the living room, and this time, watched 'The Crucible', a film about the Salem witch trials that took place in the massachusetts a few centuries ago in a small puritan town. film wise, good acting by Daniel Day Lewis and Winona Ryder. Contents wise (more importantly for me) ....Not sure what word to use to describe it. I think i shouted out loud at the screen several times (angrily). and afterwards we just kind of sat there. yeh that kind of film. so crazy how far the girls went out of fear for their lives and the jealousy of one woman. how far the truth was twisted; how easily the people were deceived. how blind. and how it was all done in God's name. scary.

sunday morning: a walk

i found a place.

a quiet place.

no music. no people. no cars.

just wind and waves and crickets buzzing.

in the distance an older couple fishing at the water's edge.

the sea is so blue. so rich and deep and blue.

the breeze is cooling.

i found a tree.

a fallen tree.

offering a place to sit.

and rest.

and write.

and enjoy the quiet place.

if i lived here this is where i would walk to

to sit.

saturday: zoo project

we (me, Bruce, Helen and Michael - the only ones remaining apart from Brian, Tracy and family) went to the Zoo - the same location that the "Shit party" took place. there wasn't so much dressing up and it wasn't as crazy but still a really good atmosphere, three different venues going on, all outside, began in the afternoon and mainly workers (costs €5 for workers and €40 for tourists!!). The music was quite minimal (check me learning my dance music terms!!) i.e. quite simple bleepy beats and not particularly my cup of tea BUT did get in a proper dance session around the middle of the evening when we all were just going for it... "DANCING LIKE NO ONE WAS WATCHING" as the saying goes, as Michael's friend John reminded me. i said this time i put on my sunglasses to aid that feeling. proper using all our bodies dancing so that we ached all over later on. a bit like last time at the Zoo. i like this place!! :-)

these are photos from the Shit party that i meant to put up before. gives u a bit of an idea of the place...

finished up at midnight then went to the West End to try an infamous (according to Michael and Bruce) pennsylvania burger ("you thought all burgers were the same..."). finally getting recognised without my 24-7 prayer t-shirt on. people seem surprised to see us "not working". 24-7 doesn't mean we're working 24-7! shame. and most people don't believe we're not drinking/taking anything. apparently my pupils were big. i said it's cuz it's dark. truth. it's really nice bumping into people there. could fool one into thinking one was quite popular. haha!

friday: bright lights

Pre-party at PLASTIK then Wonderland at EDEN (Pete Tong, Groove Armada, Digitalism...)

dancing with the team. much bouncing around. fun times :-) and i've learned to dress comfy so was loving the trainers. woop. bed as the sun came up. nice.

Thursday 4 September 2008

last night

was quite hectic and messy out on the streets. something about wednesdays it seems... it's changeover day for tourist companies therefore the first or last night for many people. the last team of the summer are here, but just for a week, but they've got stuck straight in, having lots of conversations with people, praying, giving out bibles and last night - waking up lots of sleeping drunk people on the beach! people don't realise how dangerous it is to sleep out here. although one guy we'd bumped into earlier this week fell asleep on the beach round the bay and ended up being taking to the medical centre in an ambulance. so although he was a little confused as to how that had happened and claimed he was absolutely fine, it was a better outcome than it could have been for him! we walked him back to his hotel at 4am, still in just his swimming shorts!

the highlight for me last night was meeting a group of young people from northampton who weren't having the best time on their last night. we ended up chatting to them for quite a while, giving them bibles and offering to pray. its crazy when u offer to pray from people suddenly the tone of the conversation can change from chatty and 'banter' to being quite open and serious. nearly everyone has something or someone they are worrying about or something they want to change in their life. maybe here is no different to anywhere else, but it does seem like so many people come here to escape from something. so many people we talk to are really hurting and have really sad stories of their past/family/etc situations. it reminds me of the verse in Luke about God wanting to gather His children up in his arms like a hen gathers her chicks. i felt that so strong when i was talking to the northampton guys. one of the guys had been crying when we found him and i read to him part of psalm 116 that's really encouraged me in the past before: "For you, O Lord, have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, and feet from stumbling, that i may walk before the Lord in the land of the living." He said talking to us had stopped him crying. :-) and suddenly it all just seems real and close and reminds me how much God knows and cares on a very personal level.

Wednesday 3 September 2008

the sun rises and it sets

i got to see the sunset last night then rise again this morning. i had uhhhh ONE HOUR of sleep in between, and have since had 3 more. not suprisingly i feel a little less than wide awake.

SUNSET: Kumares: (the beach nearest to where i am living and where i got spiked by a sea urchin. grr. a week later there's still 4 pieces of it in my foot). however i still like it down there. it's more a place where local people go rather than tourists and there used to be a hippy-esque bar there until it got closed down for drugs. walking back up from there the sights and smells and sonds reminded me of being in (proper) Spain again and i realised i do think quite 'fondly' (not a word i usually use but it fits... "absence makes the heart grow fonder",and all that...) of the country, even though it was quite hard being there a lot of the time and when i left i didn't think i'd be in a rush to return. funny how time changes things.

SUNRISE: we went to 'Shipwrecked' again. it was great. lots of people we knew were there and there was a great atmosphere. several people are leaving over the next few days having spent most or all of the summer here so sad times for some. it's just so amazing being out on the sea in the sun, i think it would be possible not to enjoy it, even if you did just sit at the side rather than attempt balancing on the plastic chairs and dancing. but i think a lot of people will put down the great experience they had to the chemicals consumed on the lower decks...