Sunday, March 6, 2011

Remember that time I went to England?

Last March I went to England for work. It was a great opportunity. But as it goes with work trips...mostly work, only a little sightseeing. I had one real day for sightseeing, but we got off the plan that morning (jetlagged) and my 6.5 month pregnant feet were so swollen I was unable to trek all over London the entire day. I wimped out in the afternoon and went back to the hotel.

Lets not talk about how heartbreaking it was and how I ended up crying on a street in London when a bus passed me and my feet were in excruciating pain and I was tired, alone, and pregnant. Sad. I blame the breakdown on pregnancy hormones in combination with a truly physically miserable experience.

Lets talk instead about the fact that my work sent me to ENGLAND!!?? I'm glad I got to go at all and I look forward to returning someday. Not-pregnant and with my husband (who served his mission for our church there).

The other sad thing about going somewhere like this for work is that since it's a work trip you don't get to take photos in the same way (i.e. very few photos taken). You can't exactly whip out a camera in every work meeting or at dinner with colleagues--that's awkward. And I didn't want to take my nice camera because I was lacking on space so all these pics are taken with my point and shoot.

I long to return and wander the streets of London and Oxford with my big fat camera and some rented killer lenses. But that's a future trip, lets review the one I went on last March.

Here's a slideshow of all the pics for those of you who would like to peruse them all:


And here are my favorites with a few captions/notes:

When we first got there it was morning so I decided to eat a true English breakfast. I must say us Americans are much better at making baked beans, but I was proud I tried something traditional. (And overall lets just say I was less than impressed with British cuisine.)

One thing I loved in London was how they tell pedestrians where to look when crossing the street (traffic is so crazy it's easy to forget which direction it's coming from. I'm not sure if this is just for foreigners who are used to cars driving on the right or if London is just crazy and we all need help). Notice the "look left" on the ground.
If we'd had more time I totally would have paid to take one of those double decker bus tours. In hindsight maybe I should have just done it alone instead of trying to bravely trek with my coworkers on foot all over a big city. Hmm....
Scotland Yard!!!
For those of you who aren't Anglophiles or political science geeks...Downing Street is where the Prime Minister lives (so down this street behind gates is the British version of the White House).
Big Ben. Proof I was there (and looking so puffy and pregnant). I love how grey it is...typical English weather.
Westminster Abbey. We didn't tour it because it was pricey, but it was really beautiful outside.
Hyde Park. Beautiful. We took a nice rest here for my poor feet.
Buckingham Palace
Tower of London. I'd really love to come back and tour this when I go back with Joe. It was at this point I split up from my coworkers and headed back to my hotel.
Oh Holiday Inn...felt like America, in a good way. I propped my feet up, wrapped them in cold wet towels, read on my mom's kindle (which I had borrowed) and slept. I ate dinner that night down in the hotel bar.
The conference itself was at Oxford College. This is a picture from our opening meeting...proof lots of working was happening here talking about www.aiddata.org
At Oxford we stayed at the dorms...it was so charming. Here's the view from my dorm window out to the courtyard. Look how grey and British it looks...
The sun came out for a little bit. Isn't Oxford beautiful? In a lot of ways I preferred it to London. In my dreams I go live there for a year and get my masters. Look at the street!
Right there on the right is the dorm where I stayed.
The main drag in Oxford. Ahh...if only I'd had time to shop. I'm telling you, this makes me ache to go back there with Joe as a tourist and not stay inside all day at a foreign aid conference...
We were so lucky to have a lunch break where the sun came out. We paid to hike to the top of this church tower (and a hike it was...at the end up a stone tower that we had to go single file...and take turns with people coming down). The view was worth the price & hike. One of my favorite moments of the trip.

This pic (above) is of Christ's Church -- the Great Hall from Harry Potter is here. It cost like 8 pounds ($12) to tour and we didn't have time, but I thought it was very cool. Below: pregnant me with coworker Brooke (love her).
Anytime you see your name you have to take a picture of it, right? (that's my maiden name for those of you who don't know)
Here's the courtyard inside Oxford College (to get in you have to go through these giant wood doors---so historic! To get to my dorm you had to go through these locked iron gates. And just off this courtyard is the cafeteria where we ate most of our meals.
Went for a walk one afternoon around Oxford. So beautiful. You can rent a rowboat to row down this river...made me miss Joe and wish he was with me.
This is a ground level view of Christ's Church (remember, Harry Potter?). Sadly I have no interior shots of the Great Hall, just a postcard.
On the grounds at Christ's Church. Does this make you long for Jane Austen novel...when Joe and I go back we're going to tour some of those great houses.
I may not have pictures of the Great Hall from Harry Potter...but similar in style is the cafeteria we ate in at Oxford College
And after the conferencing was over we headed back to London (to fly out the next day). I had to snap a shot of this McDonald's ad in the tube station. Anyone who knows me well knows my distaste for mayo...nasty!
From our hotel in Kensington. Last night in England. Kensington was so charming.
That last night we got to see Wicked. One of my bosses was so kind to buy tickets for the two project managers (Nick and I). I'd been wanting to see Wicked for YEARS. It was fabulous. And the ending was such a surprise (for someone whose only listened to the soundtrack).
And the last morning in London before we headed to the airport I mailed my postcards from this cute little mailbox
And sadly said goodbye to England:
In truth I couldn't wait to get back to Utah...figure out how to get my swollen feet back to normal, and see my husband. It was a relief to return home, but such an awesome experience.

Can't believe it's been a year since I went. So much has changed. I'm no longer working full time. No longer huge and pregnant. And I now spend my day caring for little Evs. It's definitely a different life, but good different. It was such a blessing to go on an international work trip before beginning parenthood. Not sure if I'll ever have that opportunity again.

Thanks for indulging my reminiscing.

3 little remarks:

Henderson said...

Ahh...makes my heart ache!! But thanks for the photos. I absolutely love England. I spent four months there as part of a BYU Study Abroad Program and had such an incredible time. I really hope you and Joe get to go back and spend lots of time there. LIKE!!! :P

*Aliese* said...

LOVE.LOVE.LOVE. these pictures! It totally makes me miss England.

madison said...

I love this post! You got some amazing pictures- can't believe you only had one day to take them all! Seriously Anna, amazing job. And way to brave the trip so far along in your pregnancy!PS. Glad to see things are looking up with Everly's sleeping:)

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