Time Marches On

Well we have an 8 1/2 month old now. I keep meaning to post, but have been consumed with raising a small human, and unsure of what to post, really. I’ve been taking monthly pictures of Sid, but not posting them, (or any other of the hundreds of pictures we take) mainly because of privacy. This blog is public, anyone can read it, and I’d like to keep it that way, so I have been hesitant to post a bunch of pictures or info about Sid. I post pictures and little videos on Instagram and Facebook, where I can control who sees them. I’ll probably do a collage of monthly pictures to post when he reaches a year, but until then, if you want to see daily pictures, you have to be my friend on Insta or Fb!

Sid is such a joy. He is happy and content 90% of the time, and makes spending all day with him easy. He is crawling, pulls up on anything he can, and thinks the cat is hilarious. He will say ma ma ma ma ma, but doesn’t associate it with me yet. Stephen tries every once in a while to get a dada, but no such luck. When out and about he is very serious, taking everything in. We went swimming for the first time yesterday, and Sid had fun, but you couldn’t tell from the look on his face! The fact that he at least wasn’t scared of the water is good news for his Aunt Kelsey and Aunt Meredith, who have determined that he will be an Olympic swimmer.13267871_10108231943850414_2682480713241982518_n

Now that Sid is crawling, we baby proofed the house and installed a baby gate at the top of the stairs. We shut the gate, close the doors to rooms we don’t want him to go in, and let him loose. He loves crawling around upstairs and exploring “all by himself.”

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Helping daddy install the baby gate. 

Writing this has reminded me how much I enjoy it, so hopefully I will find time for more posts, more frequently!

Sid

On September 14, 2015, at 10:16am, Sidney John was born!

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And can I just brag on myself a bit and say I am a baby growing, baby birthing machine. The pregnancy was great and the birth was everything I wanted. I’m not going to do a whole birth story post right now, but will just give the highlights.
I never got morning sickness, never had heartburn, minimal swelling at the end, but overall the pregnancy was easy!
My goal was a med-free labor and birth, and I accomplished that goal. Stephen did a great job as my birth coach, and took every chance he got to tell people I didn’t have an epidural. He was pretty proud.

But now, what everyone really wants, pictures!

One week old:

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One month old:

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It’s hard to believe Sid has already been here a month, but it also feels like he’s been here forever, like he has always been a part of our family. And we are so glad he is!

Welcome to our nursery

Today is our due date. And, as babies are wont to do, ours is totally ignoring the fact that TODAY is the day we have been counting down to, and has decided that tomorrow, or maybe even some time next week, would fit his schedule better. So while we wait, let’s take a tour of the nursery, shall we? (Click the picture for a larger image.)

FromTori

So, in addition to the usual work, house projects, and napping with doggies, I have also ventured into entenpensurship. Which I could not spell to save my life. Entenpensure. Onchenpenureship. Entrepreneurship. There, got it.

A short interview with myself:
What do I do – I make soy candles. And even sell some of them.
Do I have a business plan – no.
Do I know anything about marketing – no.
Am I having fun making candles – yes.
Does the house spell like bath and body works when I am making candles – yes.
Am I spending more money on candle supplies than I have made selling them – probably.
Did I open an Etsy shop in May and am just now telling you about it – yes.

Bam! Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/fromtori
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/FromTori

PROBABLY if you order something today and I have it in stock or the supplies to make it, I could get it to you by Christmas. Probably. Definitely if you live in the Charlotte area, because then I could hand-deliver it to you. (Contact me for a free shipping coupon!)

And remember – FromTori, for all your soy candle needs.

Maddie

FYI: This is not my usual witty post. If you are in my family, you lived this from your own perspective, and might not want to read it. This is really for me, because if I put it all down here, it takes up less space in my head. For all the friends who were praying for us during this time, but didn’t know why, this is why. It was hard to write this, and will be hard to read.

 

July 19, 2013, 1:00 am.

It’s never a good thing when your parents call you at 1am.

Dad left me a voicemail saying to call back when I could. I had been asleep and debated calling him back right away, or just waiting until the morning. I knew I wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep without finding out why he called. He said the last three words I expected to hear. “Tori, Maddie died.”

 

There was a sinking feeling as it felt like all blood drained out of my body.

 

“What?”
Dad knew I had heard him. “Uncle Stuart and Aunt Erin came home from visiting school with Emily and found her.”
“Oh my God.”
He told me what they knew, which was precious little so far, and we said good night.
They hadn’t been able to get a hold of Meredith in China yet, so I facebooked her telling her to call home asap. I told Stephen and he held me. No tears, just shocked.

Meredith called me around 6:30am because mom wasn’t logged into Skype. I tried to tell her what happened, but our connection was terrible, all she got was that someone had died and I urged her to call mom.

I went to work. I emailed the rest of the staff and the prayer chain, telling them what had happened. My 21 year old cousin had died. We didn’t know how yet. Please pray for the family. Then I cried. I sat at my desk, alone in my office, and cried.

I obsessively checked Facebook and my email for any updates that day. Any information. How it happened. Funeral plans. I knew I would get a phone call as soon as anything new came up, but I couldn’t stop. I think I just wanted to see activity by my family, to know that even though I was alone in my office, alone in the whole church building, they were still there, and we were together.

Finally we had a memorial service time. We booked flights to Denver. Stephen almost didn’t come because he was going to be busy with work, but then was able to book a flight after an important meeting, and just get into Denver later than I was. During the week before flying to Denver, I started devouring books. I read and read and read, losing myself in romances and fantasies. It was better than thinking about what had happened.

I flew to Denver by myself. I picked a seat next to a mom and daughter, who promptly introduced herself as Hayden as soon as I sat down. She looked to be about 10, and ordered tomato juice when the flight attendant came around. Her mom, Kim, slept the entire way. As we reached our stop in Houston, Hayden’s sisters sitting behind us introduced themselves as well, and we chatted for a bit. I told them I was going to see my family in Denver. We disembarked and as we parted ways in the terminal, the girls all said, “Bye Tori! Have fun with your family!” Their cheerful innocence stayed with me the rest of my solo journey, and was such a blessing.

We gathered at the Colorado Wrights’ house. We all agreed it was good to see each other, but wished it wasn’t for this reason. We learned what had caused Maddie’s death. She was home alone and fell asleep at the kitchen table, slumped in her chair in such a way that her airway was cut off. It wasn’t alcohol poisoning. She wasn’t drunk. She didn’t do any drugs. She just fell asleep and didn’t wake up. I know it is hard for some people to believe your body wouldn’t wake you up if you couldn’t breathe. But it happens. Think about people who suffer from sleep apnea. They stop breathing or have long pauses in between breaths while sleeping.

The memorial service was wonderful and terrible. It was our first family funeral. Emily sang “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again” from the Phantom of the Opera, and it was beautiful. I don’t know how she did it, because just remembering it right now is making me cry. I was so glad Stephen was able to come. Meredith was Skyped in from China for the service.

We know Maddie is with Jesus. But it is hard for a memorial service or funeral to be a celebration of life when that life was so short. Right now it still just hurts.

Madisen Wright,  April 9, 1992 – July 18, 2013

The Flight the Masks Dropped

We were flying to Texas from Charlotte to surprise Stephen’s little brother, Paul, for his high school graduation party. We were able to get pretty good tickets on Southwest, plus you can check 2 bags for free, so off we went! First a layover in Houston, then on to Dallas Love Field. The flight into Houston was going fine, uneventful, like any flight should be. I was reading, Stephen was sleeping. There had been just a couple little drops of turbulence maybe 20 mins earlier. No biggie. Then Stephen gets hit in the face by an oxygen mask.

I heard a noise, and looked up to see oxygen masks dangling from the ceiling up and down the entire plane. Other passengers are looking around, pulling the masks down, putting them on, a little confused. I believe my exact words to Stephen, as he shook the sleep out of his eyes, were, “Oh, huh. I guess we’re…supposed to put these on?” I tried to figure out how to pull the mask down to put on, eyeing my fellow passengers to see what I was doing wrong. Turns out the masks are held up out of the way by a string, and you have to really yank on them to get it to disengage. As I put my mask on, I thought of numerous flight attendants on numerous flights over the years demonstrating how to put it on and pull the side elastic to tighten it. I looked out the window, hoping I wasn’t going to see flames coming out of the engine, or anything like that. The flight attendant came on over the speaker, ordering everyone to put their masks on. Now! We all had ours on by now.

The missing Malaysia flight briefly entered my thoughts before I dismissed it, focusing instead on breathing normally, then switching to my “yoga breathing”. Deep, slow breaths, feeling the air travel though your nose, lungs, expanding your belly. Then pushing it all out again. A simple prayer, “Dear God, please protect us. Please be with the pilots as they are dealing with whatever is going on. Please give peace to the screaming baby behind us.” That baby was NOT happy. He did not like the mask, did not want it anywhere near him. Finally a flight attendant made her way back to us, and she shoved the mask on his face.

Eventually the captain came on and told us we had descended down to 10,000 feet, and no longer needed the oxygen masks. The cabin pressurization system had failed at 36,000 feet, so the masks were deployed. The back-up pressurization system kicked in and worked, but since the masks had already dropped, we had to use them and then land. So we made what I am calling a semi-emergency landing in Birmingham, Alabama. That plane was obviously done for the day, so we all got reassigned to other flights. We were able to get on a flight directly to Dallas from there, so that was nice. While we were waiting for our flight to Dallas, I decided to check out Twitter to see what other passengers may have said about previous flight that forced us to land in Birmingham. I found only one person who had tweeted about it, a girl who said something along the lines of, “worst flight ever, oxygen masks dropped, I’m never flying Southwest again!” I guess she doesn’t realize that all major airlines use pretty much the same kind of plane, just with a different paint job. Also, we figure the odds are in our favor every time we fly now!

UK and Berlin, part 4 (FINIS)

Lesson: bring an actual alarm clock when traveling outside the country, rather than relying on your cell phone.

A couple of the hotels we stayed in didn’t have alarm clocks in the room. This was only a problem when we needed to be somewhere early, like Heathrow to fly to Berlin. Oops. For some reason it was my job to get us up and moving that morning. I set an alarm on my phone, which would have worked fine, had I hit snooze instead of turning the alarm off. It is clearly a flaw of design that on my phone, it is much easier to turn off the alarm than snooze it. Who has the presence of mind when jolted out of sleep to find the little button that says snooze?! So much easier to just swipe down and make it stop!

Luckily, we only ended up missing breakfast, and made it to the airport with time to spare (and buy breakfast). We bought a one-way pass on the Tube to Heathrow. Heathrow is much like any other large international airport, with the exception that when we arrived, there were two guards with large guns standing on a walkway keeping an eye on things. It was a little unnerving, as the only time you see something like that stateside is if there has been an incident, like after 9-11. When we were checking in, the airline agents also actually asked us all the questions that you usually just skim over and hit “yes” on the screen in a US airport. Like, “Who packed your bag?” “When did you pack it?” “Has it been out of your possession at all?” “Has anyone asked you to carry or transport anything for them?” We made it through security with no problems, and then found some food. Something that drove Stephen crazy was not knowing what our gate was until it was time to start boarding. I guess they don’t want people clogging up the gate area, but you better hope you are on the right side of the terminal when it pops up on the screen, otherwise you better truck it.

A little over three hours later, we were in a cab on our way to the Abion Spreebogen Hotel. Since Stephen was working most of the time we were in Berlin, this hotel was on Siemens’ dime and recommended by Stephen’s manager, who was also staying there. It was a wonderful change from our tiny London room – big windows, a king size bed, and room to spread out!

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We had a late lunch at an Italian place close by, then walked across the Spree River for a bit, just to see what there was to see. After that it was of course nap time, until we met up with Sam for dinner. Sam (Stephen’s manager) has been to Berlin before, so he showed us how to buy tickets for the train. The trains in Berlin are kind of on an honor system – there is no turnstile to go through, or system for punching or scanning your ticket as you get on the train. But if you get caught travelling without a ticket, there is a hefty fine. So it is better to spend the 6.7 euros for a day pass (good on trains, subway, and buses) than get caught without one. We went to a Turkish restaurant for dinner, where the waiter tried really hard to sell us some fancy dinner package. We said no, but ended up with free anise shots anyway! After dinner we walked to the Brandenburg Gate, which was not as close as Sam thought it was to where we had eaten. Ha, oh well. It was neat to see the Gate lit up at night.

If I look English, Stephen definitely blends in with the German locals. Must be the beard. We were waiting for our train back to the hotel neighborhood after seeing the Gate, and were approached by a little old lady asking about which train she needed (we can only assume). Sam knows a little bit of German, and was able to tell her where the train we were waiting for was going, and that it was the correct one for her. She then proceeded to go on and on, telling us her life story (we can only assume, again). Somehow Sam got in that he only spoke very little German. She asked him what we spoke, and replied, “Oh! Englisch! Mama mia!” And then continued to go on in German. Somewhere in there it also came out that Stephen and I were married, and Sam was a colleague, and not my father. When our train arrived we got on, I assured her it was the correct train for her (I dearly hope it was) and we all continued on our merry way.

The next morning I slept in while Stephen went to the office. He decided to take the afternoon off though to see the major sights with me. We grabbed a lunch of Currywurst at a mall food court, just because it seemed like the thing to do. It was pretty much just sausage (wurst) with tons of bbq sauce dumped on top, sprinkled with a generous amount of curry powder. Lets just say I will not be re-creating it at home.

The first landmark we wanted to check off the list was the Berlin Cathedral. We rented audio guides, which were very informative. Stephen pointed out the vast difference in information between the Berlin Cathedral audio guides and the Westminster Abbey ones. The Cathedral guides were full of the religious symbolism and theology behind the architecture, art, and history of the building, which the Abbey was all about who was buried here and memorialized there. The Berlin Cathedral is a gorgeous building. We followed the arrows for the self-guided tour as best we could, and ended up going round and round up narrow sets of stairs that said they led to the roof. Surely they don’t go all the way to the roof, we thought, as we kept climbing and climbing. There is no way they allow you to traipse around up on the roof. Wrong, they do.

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After the Cathedral we went to Checkpoint Charlie. There is not a whole lot to see there, they do have some sections of Wall, and an informative display of it’s significance, with stories of people sneaking though, successfully and unsuccessfully.

From Checkpoint Charlie we walked to the Topography of Terror, the site of the former Gestapo and SS headquarters. The buildings have long been razed, and the lot covered in grey gravel as a bleak reminder of the horrors committed during the Nazi regime. It is also the site of the longest stretch of Berlin Wall still standing in its original location.

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The next day Stephen went to work all day, and my feet and legs were getting very tired of walking. I decided to ride Bus 100 around, which goes by all the major sites, and do as little walking as possible. The day was dreary and was not helping my runny nose or slight cough. I was suffering from a bit of a cold and running low on cough drops. So I mustered up the courage to go into one of the pharmacies that seemed to be on every corner of the city. After once around the little store, I found the Ricola bags right by the door. The pharmacist had started talking to me, probably asking what I needed, so I said, “Ah!” and held up the bag of cough drops. There were many different flavors, none of which I could read. I picked the one that said “Zitronenmelisee” thinking that “zitron” sounded like “citron” which was like “citrus” and the bag was yellow, so maybe it was lemon? I took it to the counter to check out, where the pharmacist said something else to me, and I just stood there sniffling. She had probably figured out by then that I did not sprechen sie Deutsch, as she pulled a little pack of tissues out from behind the counter and looked at me questioningly. I smiled and nodded, and said, “Danke!” Success! I now had cough drops and tissues. Unfortunately I did not have the same success when I stopped at a kiosk in the train station for breakfast shortly thereafter. I ended up with a latte and a soft pretzel. I was going for a latte and a soft chocolate covered pretzel, but the chocolate part was lost in my zero understanding of the German language. Oh well.

I made it to the bus stop outside the Berlin Zoo, hopped on and climbed the stairs to the second floor of the double decker. From there I happily shot photos through the window of all the significant things we drove by, no walking required. Once done with my ride and back on the hotel side of town, I did walk down to see the Siemens turbine building, which anyone who has taken an architectural history class will recognize. That night we had dinner again with Sam, a night-cap at the hotel bar, and then the next morning it was time to head home!

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Last thoughts: Berlin was rather dreary and damp when we were there, I would love to see it again in the spring or summer. Shout-out to our Land’s End Squall jackets for keeping us warm and dry the entire trip! Stephen kept on commenting, “Why didn’t we buy these before we went to China?!” And froze our bums off. Travel lessons learned the hard way.

 

UK and Berlin, part 3b

Our second full day in London we had a few things we needed to check off our list – Westminister Abbey, Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and at least a walk-by of the Natural History museum. Since our hotel was so close to the Natural History Museum, we walked by it and admired its architecture and size while keeping an eye out for a possible breakfast place. We soon found Le Pain Quotidien, where Stephen got porridge and I had a soft-boiled egg with bread. I have never had a soft-boiled egg before, and didn’t quite know where to start, but I managed to enjoy it without making too much of a mess or getting bits of shell everywhere. Stephen thinks I’m silly because I have told him I don’t really like eggs, but then I persist in ordering them, or eat them when he fries a couple on Saturday mornings. I would have rather had a scone with berries and cream, but knew that the protein in an egg would stick with me longer than the sugar and carbs of a scone. And really, I just don’t like scrambled eggs. Once again, not super speedy (ie. American) service, but there was really no rush, and it was nice to just sip our coffee and take in the dreary London morning.

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From Le Pain Quotidien we hopped on the Tube at South Kensington station and off again at Westminster. This time we went straight to the Abbey, where there was already a line queue to get in. It was outrageously expensive at £18 each, and you weren’t allowed to take pictures inside. Westminster is significant architecturally, but the real draw for some visitors (not us) are all the famous people buried or memorialized there. It is more shrine than sanctuary. Don’t get me wrong, it is pretty neat to be able to say we saw where numerous former monarchs (including my ancestor Mary, Queen of Scots) are buried, and notables such as Charles Darwin (ironic), Geoffrey Chaucer and Charles Dickens. But Stephen and I both agreed that the hundreds of memorials and plaques marking burials took away from the sanctity of the place.



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After spending a couple hours at Westminster, we walked along St. James’s Park to Buckingham Palace. On our way, I was stopped by a middle-aged Indian man with a camera. I thought he was going to ask me to take a picture of him and his mother. No, he wanted to take a picture of me with his mother. I have no idea why but now some family in India has a picture of me with their grandmother. Perhaps he thought I was a typical English girl, but I was very much playing the tourist though, with my big fancy camera around my neck, so I didn’t think I looked like a local…

Buckingham Palace was a quick stop, as tours of the Palace were not available. There is only a short time when you can actually go in Buckingham Palace, in August and September, when the Queen is out of town. Snapped a couple pictures, and continued on our way. At this point in time we were on the look-out for a late lunch, which is pretty much how all our lunches went this trip. Popped into the gift shop at the Royal Mews for some royalty-themed paraphernalia, and just past that found Bag O Nails. It had food, which was good enough for us. We aimed for a light lunch as we were planning on dinner with a friend later. I had their fish finger and mayo sandwich, which is exactly what it sounds like, and just ok. The chips that came with it made up for the so-so sandwich.

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After eating we wanted to get on the Tube to make our way back to South Kensington to see the Palace there. Such a simple goal was made difficult by the fact that there was major construction going on around Victoria Station, and we had to take a rather circuitous route to get to an entrance. We made it though, passing Westminster Cathedral on the way. We got off at High Street Kensington, a short walk from Kensington Palace and Gardens. The Gardens were pretty in February, so I can only imagine how lush and beautiful they are in the spring and summer. Kensington Palace itself was a little anti-climatic. Really, it just looks like a huge brick house that lots of history just happened to occur inside. Queen Victoria grew up there, which is the main reason I was interested in it. William, Katherine, and baby George live there now, but we did not see them. After checking out ticket prices (£16) and calculating how much time we had before needed to get ready for dinner, we decided against actually touring the museum portion of Kensington, and settled for just peeking in the few rooms we could without actually paying anything.

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On our way back to the hotel we walked though Kensington Gardens and past the Albert Memorial, Queen Victoria’s tribute to her beloved husband, Prince Albert. I told Stephen when he died I would try to do something similar for him. We also swung into the Victoria and Albert Museum, home to a vast collection of decorative arts from around the world. It is huge, but also free, so we didn’t feel about walking quickly though just a couple exhibits. You could easily spend 2 days seeing everything in the V&A.

 

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Our plans for dinner were to meet up with my college roommate, Molly. She actually lives in Harrogate, which is very close to Leeds. Unfortunately, she was traveling when we were up there, but was back and house sitting for her parents in the south while we were in London. It was close enough that she was willing to come into London to meet us. Sadly, our plans were thwarted by the flooding affecting the south at the time, and she couldn’t make it. I already know we will be visiting England again (there is still so much to see!), so until next time, Molly! Stephen and I decided to continue our tour of London pubs and went to the Princess Louise, another place Rick Steves-approved. It is a Victorian-era pub with a bar downstairs and informal dining room upstairs. It looked much like someone’s living room, with a fireplace, couches and coffee tables, and smaller tables for eating at. Very cozy. The service there was excellent. There was one waitress manning the small bar and room. We told her we wanted to eat dinner, and she encouraged us to grab a seat at a coffee table until an actual table was ready for us. The food was good English comfort food, and we lingered for a bit, enjoying the local atmosphere and our last night in London.

 

UK and Berlin, part 3a

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The Grange Strathmore Hotel. The only indication it is a hotel are those brass plates on the columns with the name. South Kensington is very posh.

We arrived at the Grange Strathmore hotel around 6pm on Saturday, Feb. 15. I picked the hotel because it had a good location (South Kensington) and a neat back story – it used to be the Earl of Strathmore’s London home (maternal grandfather to the present Queen). We checked in and rested a bit before breaking out Rick Steve’s England guidebook to find a place to eat dinner. Did I mention that he became my best friend during this trip? Stephen would often ask me how I knew something and I would reply, “Oh, Rick told me.” It didn’t take long to pick out a Rick-recommended pub (The Angelsea Arms) that we thought was fairly close to where we were staying. However, it was dark when we arrived and we knew the general area where we were, but not exactly how to get to the pub. Since we hadn’t paid for internet yet we couldn’t just look it up online to make sure we knew where we were going. (First world problems). But that is what the hotel concierge is for, right? Well, kinda. We went downstairs and the concierge was not at his desk. We went to ask the front desk lady what the cross streets were, so we could orient ourselves on the map in the guidebook. She looked at us blankly, and indicated we should ask the concierge, who had just walked up. So we asked him what the cross streets were, and he also looked at us like he had no idea what we were talking about. It was fairly obvious that English was not his first language. I was trying to figure out a different way to phrase the question – does the term “cross street” not translate in the Queen’s English? Stephen asked him what the main streets were. Finally the concierge pulled out a map and marked the hotel on it for us, which was perfect and really all we needed.

It was only a 10 minute walk to the Angelsea Arms. It was obvious that is was a very popular neighborhood pub. It was very crowded and it seemed like we would never find a table. Luckily Rick had told me there was a dining room in the back corner, so we headed straight for that and were seated right away! Stephen had their fish and chips and I had some other grilled fish with couscous, I don’t really remember, but it was very good!

After dinner we just headed back to the hotel to relax and figure out our game plan for the next couple days.

As you can see, our hotel was quite close to the Natural History Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum, and Kensington Gardens.

Sunday morning we walked to the closest Tube station – Gloucester – to get a day travel pass and hopefully spot a place to get breakfast. There were a variety of restaurants across from the Tube station, including a Burger King. We did not eat at Burger King. But because the goal is always to prevent a hangry Tori (that goal was not met that afternoon) we stepped into The Patisserie for coffee and protein to fuel our morning, before navigating the Tube station. Now, in the US we are all about customer service. Speedy service, attentive service, the customer is always right. Not so in the UK. It is important to learn this before dining in the UK, or else you will be sitting around for a very long time waiting for your server to come check on you. Because they won’t. One of Stephen’s colleagues, originally from Liverpool, explained this to us, and it is a good thing he did, or we would have never eaten breakfast. There were a few waiters at The Patisserie, and it seemed that they would stand in the middle of the room, just observing, until you called them over. The only reason our waiter ever approached our table was because I caught his eye and gave him a little smile and nod. Stephen did not realize I had been doing this, and commented on the slow service later. I told him the only reason our waiter came over at all was because I caught his eye.

We bought two day passes and traveled by Tube the entire time we were in London. The rest of that morning and part of the afternoon was spent at the Tower of London, until I was starting to get VERY hangry (sorry Stephen). We practically ran into the first likely restaurant (The Minories) we saw for a late lunch around 2pm. It turned out to be a neat place, made up of brick tunnels tucked under a train bridge. Every so often the whole place would rumble with the sound of a train going overhead. And it wasn’t too expensive either!

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After lunch we made for the Churchill War Rooms, which were very neat. It is so incredible to think that those rooms were just sealed up as-is after the war, until the past decade or so. There was sooo much information, not just in the War Rooms, but in the included museum chronicling what seemed like every single year of Churchill’s life.

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The sun was setting as we emerged from the War Rooms. At 5:45 every Sunday evening there is an organ concert at Westminster Abbey. It was just starting by the time we got there, so we ended up having to sit on the floor. It didn’t matter though, as it was simply awe-inspiring to listen to the organ music soar through the vaults of the church. After the short concert, we were not that hungry yet (remember our very late lunch?) so we found another Rick-recommended pub (The Blackfriar) for a pre-dinner drink. For dinner we tried a Chinese place in Chinatown. I think it was our only disappointing meal the entire trip. It was just average. After eating Chinese food in China (I guess it’s just food there), nothing else can compare.

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We are not real big night-life people, so after dinner we once again headed back to our tiny London hotel room to rest and plan our last full in London.

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