2012 sure was a very interesting year for our family! Totally! Major decisions needed to be made. Fervent prayers, on our knees, had to be done. Beautiful friendship were celebrated. Very important lessons were learned. Adorable children were so enjoyed with. Business was good. So much more space at our house was added. Increasing passion for greater understanding of God and His Word intensified, and so forth...
It sure feels like it's been a century since I last blogged. I was hibernating, I guess. ;) The only downside of being dormant in blogging for so long is that I have so many things in mind to write about. I can't really think where to start. Well, the last thing I blogged about was our trip to England in February. I might as well, organize my thoughts in chronological order as to what happened following that month. Now, it's getting better... here we go...
Hubby's side of the family celebrated a "belated" birthday party for me and for the rest of the members of the family who have their birthday in March. We had the birthday party at my SIL's place in Owatonna, MN. It was a fun time! I got the Royal Albert Old Country Roses Bone China Teapot set as a present. It was a pure delight to see the beautiful teapot set. I had been wanting to have the set since we bought the entire Royal Albert Old Country Roses Bone China formal dinnerware set a few years ago in memory of my husband's grandma, who left us money when she passed away. Well, there goes my passion for elegance! I made sure that my teapot set is placed where I can see it when I'm in the kitchen... one of my simple joys in life.
We were in 8 cities during our 15-day trip to England... hosted by a few families. Our main hosts were our close friends from Mongolia who now make their home in Stalybridge.
Day 1- Heathrow Airport/London (sightseeing) Day 2- London (Sightseeing) Day 3- High Leigh, Hoddesdon (for leadership training conference) Day 4- High Leigh, Hoddesdon (for leadership training conference) Day 5- High Leigh, Hoddesdon (for leadership training conference) Day 6- Portsmouth (hosted by retired British military couples) Day 7- Totland, Isle of Wight Day 8- Carrisbrooke, Isle of Wight Day 9- Newport, Isle of Wight Day 10-Totland, Isle of Wight/ London: Piccadilly Circus and Paddington Day 11-Stalybridge Day 12-Manchester Piccadilly Day 13-Liverpool Day 14-Stalybridge Day 15-London (Heathrow Airport)
The night before we left for the northern part of Great Britain, we were hosted by a family at Paddington. It was nice to be able to get a good night rest before our trip to Stalybridge (15 minutes away from Manchester Piccadilly). It's where our friends who arranged the trip make their home. Stalybridge has the feeling of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia but a lot smaller and much less populated. It was great to be with our friends. We've been friends with them for about 8 years. We spent a lot of time just chatting in their living room, eating, swimming, witnessing, praying and studying the Bible. We also walked around the city and went to Manchester Piccadilly together. We so love this family! We are amazed at the great things the Lord has done through them. We thank God they are our friends.
Rainy Stalybridge Manchester Piccadilly China Town in Manchester... shopping for Kimchi. Hanging out with friends outside the mall while daddy was witnessing...
Liverpool We also checked out the city of Liverpool. It's 1-hour train ride away from Stalybridge. We walked around the city for about 4 hours. Isabelle was so excited when we visited the Bug World. It's a zoo for bugs. It was really cool. We, later, learned that it is the home of the Beatles. Well, we don't really care. We are not fond of them at all. But it was interesting to hear that Liverpool is one of the cities that the UK is eyeing for as its center. Well...
I'd always wanted to spend my _th birthday at a restaurant overlooking the main London bridge. Well, it didn't happen... not a big deal because it turned out to be more special than what I had originally planned. We were in the Isle of Wight that morning... was greeted by the whole congregation of Christ Church in Totland and got to eat Pavlova. On the afternoon that day, we left the Isle of Wight and headed back to London. The Mongolian fellowship members were already waiting for us at their meeting place in Piccadilly Circus when we got there. We also met two of my close relatives on the way to the said place. I knew I was going to speak that night (and I did on Daniel 3. Paul also got to witness to one young man.) What I didn't know was that they prepared a surprise birthday bash for me. More than 30 young Mongolians were gathered there. They had a special birthday cake for me and Mongolian food, like Hushur and Buuz, for everyone who came. They also gave me presents. I felt very special. Coming from the people of my heart, the birthday party was very touching to me. How cool it was to celebrate my birthday with two of my cousins who live in London! It sure was awesome to get to see them after so many years. Chocolate monsters!!!
We took a ferryboat to cross the sea to get to the Isle of Wight from Portsmouth with our friends (the family who invited us to the UK?). Isabelle was so thrilled for her first ferryboat ride. Pastor Andy and his wife met us at the pier and drove us to Totland. Our friends stayed at their house. Paul, Izzy and I stayed at one very sweet lady's house, who is also Pastor Andy's church member. We are so grateful to God for bringing us to very generous hosts.
The house where we stayed at was a beautiful one on a hill. It's got a huge picture window in the dinning space. From it we could see the beach area.
Visiting Carrisbrooke Castle... We rode a double-deck bus from Totland to Carrisbrooke to check out the castle where King Charles was imprisoned. Princess Beatrice made it her home when she was governor of the Isle of Wight.
Climbing the hill to see the castle... with our friends. Jack, the donkey, was the one that did the walking that day to show the tourists how donkeys helped with turning the wheel to get water from the deep well.
Newport City We also spent a day exploring the city. It is located in the middle part of the island. It's a pretty small city but I think I heard someone saying that it is where the people in the Isle of Wight do some shopping. We checked out their shopping places and coffee shops... My Birthday... We were still in Totland, Isle of Wight on my birthday on the 21st. Our friends and Paul and I were asked to speak at Pastor Andy's church. The congregation also greeted me a Happy Birthday after the service. We had lunch at Pastor Andy's house. His wife made Pavlova! I found the dessert very yummy and promised to try to make it when I got home. For my birthday, Paul gave lots of red roses and chocolates! He knows I am a chocolate monster. :) Izzy and our beautiful hostess in Totland, Isle of Wight. Our little girl really enjoyed her morning chore at the house... feeding the fish and birds in the backyard.
The conference in Hoddesdon was concluded after lunch on the 17th of February. We then headed down to Portsmouth. It's 2-hour overground train ride south of London. Two sweet Christian couples and a generous widow hosted us there. It was such a blessing to get to meet and know them. Our time with them was spent mostly on sharing testimonies, praying together, eating their delicious English food, including Merigues. I really wondered why Meringues didn't get to America. Anyway, our hosts fed us like we were kings. I've never eaten that much in my entire life... (well, it's just to say, I ate like crazy there!)