Thursday, February 27, 2014 that you?

In Texas, you know how on that first day of sub 85 degree weather, everybody busts out their scarves and sports a pumpkin spice latter, in hopes that fall is just around the corner? 

I've been thinking about that, while forgoing my puffy jacket in hopes that Spring will be encouraged to show her face just a bit more. These past few days, the sun has been shining and the air feels just a bit warmer. Some overzealous Londoners can even be seen wearing shorts in this sunshiny weather (it is still less than 60 degrees out...I won't be wearing shorts for a long, long time!). People just seem happier walking around without their umbrellas and winter coats. 

 While running in Regent's Park yesterday, nearly everyone I passed offered a warm, knowing smile, like we were both in on the secret that Spring is on her way.

Wild daffodils and other flowers are sprouting up everywhere, and the spring colors just make me so, so happy, after a winter full of grey.

In ways, I am glad we moved here in the summertime, as I would have been immediately homesick if we would have come when it was rainy and cold and bleak. However, I think I wasn't able to fully appreciate how dreamy London is during the summer- perfect weather, rose filled gardens, happy people. But now that we have come accustomed to getting rained on and never seeing the sun...well, I just really can't wait for Spring to be fully here, in all her glory. Especially after visiting Rome, I have come to realize how much my happiness is influenced by the weather. And rainy, dark, cold days make Christina a very unhappy camper.

I had to bring some spring into our flat! I'm just praying that this weather isn't a fluke, and that it only gets warmer and sunnier in the days to come!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Stuff Londoners Fancy: Being in a Hurry

Good morning! Thanks for all of your well wishes for Daniel's man flu- he is on the mend, at work, and even took out both the recycling AND trash last night, without even being asked (he does this quite often, might I add. But just the fact that he did it while battling the man flu is truly something to brag about)! 

 Not much else is happening with us in London, which means I will add a new addition to Stuff Londoners Fancy.

Being in a Hurry

When approaching a tube station, you would think that the underground only arrives once every 20 minutes. People are pushing others out of the way so that they can press their Oyster travel card on the yellow card reader before anyone else. And if it's your turn, and you don't have your Oyster card ready? You WILL be tsked at. Or possibly bludgeoned . 

Once through the line, people are halfway jogging down the escalator. You better stand to the right, if you are one of those deranged people not running to get on the train, or someone will huff at you to "MOVE OVER!" so that they can run down the escalator. Seriously, nothing quite screams "tourist" like someone standing on the left side of the escalator step, or, GASP, sharing a step with a friend. 

And if you hear the train approaching? Watch out. No, really. You will think people are being chased by a heard of brain-eating zombies to make it on the train.One time a man sprinted around the corner because he heard the train, RAN INTO ME chest first as I was getting off the train, and skidded about 10 feet before flopping on the hard, cold, dirty tile. I didn't know if I should help him or chew him out. I just walked away, pretending that nothing happened. 

With this being observed, you would think that the tube must not come very often. Wrong. Most trains comes about once a minute. These hurried people cannot let 60 seconds of their day go unaccounted for, so instead of just peacefully waiting for an extra minute, they risk falling down escalators, running in to strangers, or tripping into the gap. 

These signs are not a joke. They are scattered all around the stations: 

Truthfully, I always have to keep this hurried state of mind in check. When I catch myself walking so fast that I might as well be running, just to go to the store, I have to consciously tell myself to stop and slow down. I find when Daniel and I are together, it's like we try to one up each other with how quickly we can walk, passing up slow pokes, dodging stopped people. But why? Why are we so hurried? Why is it so bad to reach your destination 3 minutes later? What will possibly be missed in that short amount of time? Truly, being hurried is no way to live. But nevertheless, it is something Londoners seem to fancy very much. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Man Flu

The man cold

This is so my husband! Good thing I love him so much! :) It's also a good thing that I was the one who carried and delivered the four babes!Cards - Man cold

Our weekend consisted of me going to the pharmacy multiple times, buying jugs of OJ, making about 25 cups of hot tea with honey, cooking up a massive pot of chicken soup, sleeping in my husband's fever induced sweat (because cuddles were the only thing to make him feel better), and actually being asked to dry off his back because he was too weak to after his 10th bath. 

I usually joke that when Daniel has a sniffle, it's like the world is over. But now that he is actually really sick (seriously, the flu is no joke), it's just so pitiful. I'm not joking- I actually feel really bad for my big baby. 

And I am looking forward to the special treatment I will receive next time I'm sick. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Resume Addition

Schools, companies, and small businesses will literally be lining up to hire me once we move back to Texas. Don't be surprised when you see my smiling, successful face on Forbes...

I have a new job to add under my "work experiences" on my ever growing resume.

I already have amateur blog writer. This shows not only my excellent communication skills, but also my intelligence, whit, and impeccable vocabulary. Not to mention my endurance and consistency, since it truly is hard work remembering to post and finding interesting things to write about. Sometimes I just want to quit. But I don't. I think potential hirers will be delighted to see my ability to persevere through keeping up with this blog. New York Times, here I come!

On top of amateur blog writer, I also listed part time babysitter childcare professional on my resume. I think this really proves my ability to take care of others. My leadership skills. Plus, I help the children with their homework. This proves that I can perform 4th grade math (a feat I am most proud of...honestly, could easily transition my career to the world of accounting).

Well, now I can add something to my resume that shows I not only can lead, but can follow, too. Yet, something that shows I'm not afraid to get my hands a little dirty. Something that shows that I can come in and pick up the sh*t left behind by others.

That's right. I am now a dog walker professional canine caregiver. 

I know what you're thinking."Christina, how do you do it all? Why must you make all of us look bad?" Well, friends, it's simple. Go to one of the best state schools in the USA. Get a 4.0. Graduate early. Do really easy, simple work like teaching kindergarten for 5 years to prepare you for what you really were made to do. And then you, too, can be a blog writer/ babysitter/ dog walker. It takes a lot of work getting to the top, but I know that you, too, can have a challenging and fulfilling career like I do. 

I'm obviously being self-deprecating. Thanks for dealing with my facetiousness, sarcasm, and negativity towards my career. Truth is, I'm just being silly. I was open to change and gladly accepted it once we moved here, knowing it meant putting my career on hold. I know that this is just a season, and I will figure it all out eventually. In the mean time, yes, I do work that is usually outsourced to people under the age of 14. But I actually really enjoy being around children and dogs. Walking Isabelle today brought me great joy, and I am happy to be doing that a couple of times a week now. The family lives in our neighborhood, so it is easy money, exercise, and dog cuddling time. Win-win.

But yes, move over Oprah. You're not the only Renaissance Woman now. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Ancient Rome

I might have just watched about 30 minutes of Eat Pray Love. I bet you can guess which 30 minutes it was. I can't help it...cannot stop thinking about what a great time we had in Rome! 

On our last full day, we walked through Ancient Rome. It's just so neat how this urban, loud, pulsating city has grown around the shell of what it used to be. There are flats and little bistros right next to the ruins, people walking past them to work while on their cell phones, cars zipping by in a hurry, blind to the remains of an incredible empire. 

I'm not quite sure what this all was. There was a park on the way to the Colosseum that we walked though to see all of these sights.

Despite the hour long wait (can't even imagine how long the wait would be during the summer), I really enjoyed seeing the Colosseum. A part of me wishes I would have purchased the audio tour, because things weren't very well labeled. Daniel tried his best to be my tour guide and explain all of the parts of the old theater (I think you automatically become a certified Colosseum tour guide after seeing The Gladiator ). 

Not that you can see it in the picture, but we spotted a kitty cat slinking around the bottom part of the Colosseum like he owned the place. People are not allowed in that area- we think he was showing off.

Of course an Aggie would deface a 2000 year old Roman ruin. I am proud to say longhorns have the common decency to not vandalize one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Or at least, not that I saw ;-)

The only picture I got of Daniel not making a frowny face in order to try and stay off the blog. I think this is a half frown/ half trying not to laugh while being a ridiculous grump.

I don't think my words can give the Colosseum any justice. All I can say is, it was very impressive and to me, worth the wait.

And that concludes my posts on Italy...until next time!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wandering Around Rome


This post is dedicated to my favorite thing to do while traveling (other than eating, of course): just walkin' around and exploring a city. We at times have a destination to get to, but often times, we just like to wander around aimlessly and come across unplanned sights. 

Rome was surprisingly such a great walking city. I had read that it wasn't, and I really have no clue as to how people came across that notion. Maybe the heat during the summer? Nevertheless, with staying in the city center, nothing was more than a 30 minute walk away. However, it usually took us much longer than that, because we were so busy detouring to view churches, shops, and taking millions of photographs! Pair gorgeous sights with heavenly weather, and you can understand why we enjoyed wandering around Rome!

Rome is definitely a sight to be seen at night. Especially on a Thursday night in February, when the streets aren't as crowded as they would be in, say, July. 


The Pantheon was behind our flat (and again, I really suggest staying in this area if you are to visit Rome), so we enjoyed sitting by it at night, whilst listening to a man playing the cello and another playing the guitar. Romantic, indeed!  

We were also very close to Piazza Navona. The area was very touristy during the day, but around 8, it wasn't too bad!  
I absolutely love the narrow, cobbled streets of central Rome. I really was shocked that cars would drive down these streets- the streets looked more like sidewalks! And people would just walk in the middle of the streets, cars tailing them at a snail's pace. I couldn't deal with that if I was driving in Rome!  

These were sights on our way to The Vatican. Closer to the the Vatican, it was just sooooo congested with people trying to sell rubbish. That, along with the hundreds of gypsies, was our least favorite thing about Rome. We pretended that we didn't speak English so that they would stop harassing us. 

 Checking out the Spanish Steps wasn't on our itinerary, but it ended up happening, anyway! 
The views from the top made it absolutely worth it!
Just a cute group of buildings on a cozy little street
While walking towards Ancient Rome, we passed the Tomb to the Unknown Soldier. Totally didn't even know this existed, but holy cow was it impressive. It puts all other memorials of the same sort to shame. 

View from the top of the memorial

But the greatest lesson to learn from wandering around Rome is to go into every single church you pass. Every.Single. One. It was more ornate than any English palace I have ever been in, and they are FREE! 

Only in Rome will you find an archway made of chandeliers in a church 

I have one more post on Rome for you then it's back to life in dreary London. Seriously, the taste of sunshine that we had in Rome is making London seem that much colder and more depressing. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Now, for something a little, er, lighter than the last post: the food, which makes Rome so grand, so wonderful, so enjoyable. I am a total foodie, and the food might possibly have been my favorite thing about this trip.
The owner of this ristorante, bless his heart, was always creepin' at our table. Glad we got a pic to remember him by! 

The most delicious pizza. Daniel kept it real with just cheese and prosciutto. Me? I had the same as Daniel, along with mushrooms, olives, artichokes, and a fried egg. Yolo!

Random cute bar we went in to...called DAKOTA so it's even more special (that's one of  our dog's name). 

Oh good lord, the gelato. We had (not all in one sitting) champagne, dark chocolate, caramel, oreo, nutella, coffee, and tiramisu gelato. And honestly? That wasn't enough. I feel like we really skimped on gelato during this trip. We should have enjoyed it AT LEAST after every meal. And maybe as a snack, too.

Funny gelato story #1: I accidently whipped my hair in Daniel's gelato after he asked me if I wanted to try his, getting gelato all over my purse, jacket, neck, mirror..... Daniel yelled "WHAT WERE YOU THINKING" like I meant to get my hair in his gelato and then without skipping a beat, devoured his gelato in about 3 seconds. Glad he didn't mind my nasty hair!

Funny gelato story #2: I licked my gelato right off the cone and watched it fall, slow motion, to the cobbled road. Actually, that's not funny. That's the saddest story that I might have ever heard in my whole life. And no, I didn't eat it off the road.


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