Thursday, June 25, 2009

Well, I'm off to Italy. I'm getting married!!

The past few weeks have been a nightmere. Visa rejection, 28 days to leave the country, suspended work status, tube strikes, postal strikes, emergency name it I've done it when it comes to bureaucracy. All in the name for love.

Well my illegal alien status stands and at this point I'm hoping that post wedding they will let me back into the country. I'll be camping in New York until my spousal visa is approved.

Wedding....Ian and I are very excited for the big day. We're driving down tomorrow, ferry, a night in northern Italy and then the farmhouse for a week. Check out Pian di Cascina in Casa Castalda, Umbria. We're delighted that many of our friends and family will be joining us to celebrate our nuptuals. A porchetta party will take place on the 4th of July to celebrate the festivities bringing American and Brits together on neutral land.

I'll keep you posted on my plight. A new journey awaits me and I'm looking forward...

Love Loyalty Friendship,

Monday, February 09, 2009

So note to self.....

when you get a new job and don't dry your hair in the morning and it's snowing so it never dries on the hour long train ride....don't dry it in the Dyson hand dryer that claims to dry hands in 10 seconds or less. Paul Mitchell and Jose Eber would be jealous of the rats nest that was created. I had to cut knots out of my Bob Marley hair.


when writing a colleague at your former employment make sure that you've typed the correct address for there could be a man matching the exact first/last name who instead of being your friends is the Legal Secretary (the big cheese lawyer) for our company of 70,000 people. And when he says, you have the wrong address, your response e.g second message (like the first wasn't enough) is...."are you mad?" because I think my friend is actually just a little upset for my delayed email, and then the realisation hits you and punches you in the face and gut...and a third email is sent which gravels for forgiveness.

and lastly

don't spill a pint of water on your new laptop in your new may leave a bad and costly impression. But hey, those Dyson hand dryers sure do come in handy when getting water out of a battery and keyboard. How 'bout those Dysons?

Good people, good times.

p.s. the Legal secretary and H20 incidents occured within 3 minutes of each other.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Happy New Year
She's not mine!
The New Year kicked off with the birth of my niece, Isabella Faith. For the first time, I was home to witness from very afar the birth of my niece. She was precious to hold, and even better was great seeing her older sisters' reactions. BAAABBBYY!
Home for 2 weeks, Ian and I enjoyed friends and family. We had our engagement party, hung out in Santa Barbara, wined and dined in Long Beach, took a trip down memory lane watching a Servite basketball game, found lions and snakes going wild in my niece Hannah's imagination and prayed for the warm sun to grace us before heading home.

Friday, December 12, 2008

An instrument of peace....where there is doubt, faith

What's new? What isn't new?


Some are real sites, others are not.

Some is big news, some is old.

Friday, November 07, 2008

This is my most random e-marketing from Check it out.

Dear Laura,
America has voted for Barack Obama, and now it’s your turn. We’re giving you a choice of top US destinations at election-winning prices in our exclusive three day seat sale starting Friday. On the ticket are 12 cities and a host of hotels, all campaigning for your attention. The question is, which will you choose?
PS. America’s president isn’t the only thing that’s changing — we’ve got a brand new look and feel. We hope you like it as much as we do.

Orlando£279Los Angeles£315

Living near Peckham, the afro-caribbean town, I was quite surprised by the Obama fever and buzz pre-post elections. Some of the Africans were sharing iPods (which is absolutely disgusting!) others were sharing the paper, people peering over shoulders to catch Tuesday's events. People were genuinely friendly with each other on Wednesday morning and many of my colleagues stayed up through the night watching the election results. In the countries that I've travelled to in these past 3 years, sentiments towards the States have sadly been mostly negative. It was truly spectacular and I've been amazed at the international interest and hope that I've witnessed. Our Tube papers continue to dedicate the first 3 pages to Obama's victory. It's been really interesting to experience. I don't know if people will say goodbye to the America bashing, but I'm hoping it becomes more passe as time moves on. Interesting times.

xoxo, L

Sunday, July 27, 2008

At the end of April, Chief Bongard and the Mrs., Mary Jo came to London for a family wedding. We met up with them after they drove something like 7 hours for what should have been a 2 hour journey. Four words: men, directions, mobile phone!
Anyways in was great to see him and catch up on the Torrance Mafia. Seems like everything is still the same, good people/good times.
Bongard hung up with Fire Hat 2 weeks ago and will find himself sidelined on the football field for one of the local schools.
Oh my goodness. I'm quite excited right now. One of the downers with the Blogger programme has always been the slow download of photos matched with people's requests to SEE more photos. Hurray! I can finally make a slideshow and share for everyone without filling your inbox with countless photos that you make or may not be interested in.

I'm going to jump around for a bit and get you all up to speed. Not that I have any true excuses for the four month lag, but life has been busy.

The photos below are from my unexpected trip back home in June. I ended up at my cousin Angela's wedding. It was a dry festivity with praise music in Murrieta, detoxing can be fun, but sneaking out to the parking lot and taking whiskey shots is even better. Oh, takes me back to the good ole days.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Cape Point to Senegambia Walk About, Bumsters and Dirty Tourists

We left the hotel early morning and headed south to Senegambia Beach. The journey is less than 10 miles so with a few bottles of water, the cool ocean breeze, and childrens sunscreen we were ready for the adventure. It would seem simple to head out on a day walk; however, ne'er did we anticipate meeting nearly all nine tribes within Gambia.

I believe my self awareness is tuned in and I'll admit I truly hate questions; it's small talk, rapid fire inquisition and most people never really want to hear the answers. So on this trip I practiced my virtues, specifically patience...I thought What Would Job (not Jesus) Do and I survived.


Where are you from?

Are you English?

You like David Beckham?

Man United?

Remember me? It's Omar!

How was the music last night?

Would you like to come visit my shop?

Are you hungry?...I know good restaurant.

You like jewellery? (You thought I was going to say lap dance....wrong country!)

How far are you walking?

You like the Gambia?

Shake hands, shake...It's nice to be nice!

That's a typical encounter with one person. Every person who sees you wants to be your friend. And the glowing, white body doesn't help, it's like a beacon flashing SOS signs. I would say that you court the average person for at least 3 minutes, 30 second break and the next wave comes. Sometimes there's one man, other times Ian has one and I have the other. It would be different if it was just one man per block, better one per street and amazing if it was one per town. But it is one poor man after the next wishing to be your friend. Friend to me and friend to you the reader probably bear similar connotations. Friend to the Gambian equates to getting a little bit of your wallet: meals, day trips to the monkeys, crocodiles, Treasure Island for the wacky backy, river cruises...feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick. It's Corporal Works of Mercy gone mad. The Gambians are tireless in their effort to find the one poor soul who just can't take the barrage of incessant chatter who crumbles and succumbs to the pressure and buys African drum that will rest god knows where upon the trip home.

While many might read this and say that they'd be forceful yet diplomatic or simply hard nosed, I put my money on the Gambians. You're not in Kansas anymore and there is definitely the peer pressure of knowing that you must concede otherwise you could get scolded, informed it's not the Gambian Way, perhaps asked if you were German (from personal experience that makes an impact on the Brits, who knew???) or simply told you're ugly. There is a pressure to conform and abide for not only are you supporting the economy with your trip you are also the temporary employer for the week or two of your stay.

Who are these men that prey on tourists? They're called BUMSTERS. They are young men, no longer at home, aged 19-30. Some live in Banjul, yet other live far outside the tourist centres but bike or taxi in just to make 100 dalasi (2GBP or $4) for the day. Some tourists pay for the daily escort service which keeps the rest of the Gambians at bay. Others forget what century we are living in and use the Bumsters to carry around the Gambian treasures back to the hotels. Then, hold on to your hats and glasses, there are the sexual tourists.

While I was nearly sold into sex slavery in Shanghai, I have NEVER seen anything like this before. Oh and I know that you're little minds have already jumped and created a scenario of dirty old men and lovely young ladies. Au contraire mon frere! How quickly we judge! Let me just say that I was completely beside myself. I have travelled alone, slept alone, eaten alone and seen countries solo without regret. Isolation was never feared and solitude was welcomed. Here you cna pay someone to be your friend, date, lover all for the price of ???? These women who fail to get a man in their hometown, prey upon the Gambian souls. During dinner you just sit and watch as the lone female takes a seat at an empty table, soon the seat opposite her is filled by a wandering man, dancing, drinks, taxi rides home. Holy Moses, it was a sight to be seen.

The top picture is a photo of Cape Point the small village outside of our hotel. I believe we walked 100 meters to reach it and we were lucky if we only talked to 5 people. The most I would say could be 20+.

I got the bumsters one time, "Ask me a question that hasn't been asked today and I'll answer it." Dumstruck and perplexed, I think there was a moment of silence! Love it.

Here is a picture of Hannah and Michaela celebrating St. Patrick's Day. I dig the shirt which states, Kiss Me I'm American. The Irish American label is not highly thought of over here and often the term used is Plastic Paddy for those who hang on to the Emerald Isle as the homeland. I think the Scots and English are simply jealous.

They're getting old.