Seth Goes to the Big City

It’s me, Seth, again!  As many of y’all know—or don’t as the case may be—I am Annika’s (pronounced: A-Naka [ed: don’t you believe him]) little bro-ski, and in that official capacity I was able to biff off and visit sizzors in London a few months ago. The official reason I was sent was to see sister and Jared and JQ, but the real reason was because mother wanted to go, but she needed me to go with her and keep her from getting smashed by a double-decker bus or a bin lorry.

Anyway, having never done much flying, the nine-hour flight had already soured me on London before the plane even touched down. The flight wasn’t that bad; it was my lack of ability to sleep that made me completely miserable on this first flight of any duration (the flight back was lovely and Morpheus closed my eyes more than once for an hour and a half nap, which made  quite doable and even enjoyable). Upon my exit from the plane I was at once introduced to that famous damp weather that apparently London has a monopoly on. This did little to ease my sleep deprived mood. Next, we had to pass inspection by the border control personnel. This accomplished—after I cleared up some misunderstanding having something to do with them not getting some joke I made about coming to the British Isles to cause a ruckus at #10 Downing Street—we made our way across the city to Annika and Jared’s flat, which, I was surprised to see, was actually quite three-dimensional and very lovely. By this time I was ready for lunch. While I was still extremely tired, this in no way affected my ability as a trencherman. In short order I was cracking the chicken bones and sucking the marrow out of them, which was slightly odd because Annika had served us roast beef.

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By this point in time, my tiredness had become acute, and I was quite relieved when Mum and Sizzors biffed off to the other room to examine the stuffs mum had brought Annika and JQ from the states, and Jared biffed off to continue his studies, leaving me alone to take a nap. Well, not quite alone: JQ was there too. This presented complications as he was asleep on the only suitable piece of furniture there was to take a nap on: namely, the couch. I have often observed that babies have perfected the art of taking up the maximum real-estate they with their small size can muster, and I would not be surprised if some scientist discovered that the square footage a baby requires could expand into the double digits. I settled into the small corner of the couch left for me, and soon found myself desiring a more comfortable position. Being stretched out on the floor was no better, and soon I found myself coveting JQ’s spot on the couch. In short order, I found myself comfortably ensconced on the couch with JQ lying in the crook of ma’ arm. This worked quite well, and we both got quite a long nap.

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By the end of my time in London we were quite good friends and he even began copying Uncle Sethy.

When I awoke, London was looking much better. Anyway, over the next nine days we walked all over and saw lots of interesting things. The first major sight Annika took us to see was Tesco. It was absolutely amazing—it was there that we were introduced to British culture right where it counted; food, clothing, house goods, etc… and the admission seemed to be quite reasonable. To sweeten the deal, they even gave us a few heavy sacks full of various things to take to the flat. From there we walked around the square of the Woolwich Arsenal—for the cheapskate readers I would recommend the square because the admission price is a quite a bit less.And to make it an even better deal they only made one take a sack of fruit; apparently these British tourist destinations have so much stuff they can’t wait to pawn it off on helpless Americans. (ed.: Tesco is a British supermarket, and the square is the British equivalent of the American farmer’s market, but I did not want to let on to Seth that I knew this mostly because he would have balked at the idea of wasting sightseeing time to shop…)

Tesco

The next day Annika was beginning to get that look in her eye that one sees a welder develop as he realizes the shower of sparks and slag coming from his arc are finding their way inside his glove, and me and mum figured the prudent thing to do would be to get out of sister’s hair. Which is almost impossible to do in a two room flat. So we found ourselves exploring London solo. We continued this daily pilgrimage for at least a few hours every day and saw many strange and wonderful things, of which I shall only mention the highlights.   Jared took us around his college, and in the vicinity of the college we found this little shop, which Mum, being a Dickens buff, had to enter.

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But the final laugh was on her, as it was only inhabited by a grumpy Asian man selling shoes.

After we got over our disappointment, we took a cruise on the Thames and went to the Greenwich Observatory grounds and saw the laser arcing through the fog to show the meridian. We saw the maritime museum, several old important buildings that some guy named Parliament built, and next to them a big honking church built for some guy and gal named West Minster and Abby respectively. We went to famous London preacher C.H. Spurgeon’s church, the Metropolitan Tabernacle, for our Sunday morning service and heard a rousing sermon by Dr. Peter Masters. We also went further afield and took a trip to Gloucester to see friends, and had a delightful lunch and tour of the grand old town. I for one was glad to get out of the city for a bit and cool my heels in a place where it was not so easy to lose mum. The last notable place we visited was Dover with its white cliffs, and all the rest I shall leave without comment except to say that Mushy Peas look and taste exactly like they sound.

Dover Beach
Everyone but me on Dover Beach. I’m sure ya’ll are quite relieved that I am on the proper end of the camera.

In our many jaunts around London I was given to wonder why I had always wanted marry a spirited Lass. Mum is among one of the most spirited adventurous women I have ever met and at times it was with the utmost difficulty that I kept from losing her as she would move with the crowd to get on the bus or train—the wrong bus or train, or even worse when she would begin to cross the road having looked the “wrong way” and almost get smashed by an oncoming bus. I especially pondered this question as mum would duck into many little shops to examine small things (flowers, parks, paintings, baby clothing etc…) as I wanted to go look at bigger, better, more interesting things.

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Like this dredging bit. . . for some reason mum found its charm elusive.

I came to realize that it was for the same reason that the cat goes and eats grass when it is sick; namely, because it knows what is good for it. I dare say I would not have had a hundredth of as good a time if mum had been less adventurous. In fact I probably would have been content to sit in the flat bugging sister and holding JQ. Thus, the moral of the story is, always take along a spirited woman when you set off to see the world—or else you probably won’t see it, although look at it you might.

I found it fascinating to watch the inhabitants of London who, despite their many differences, all seemed to have one thing in common—they are always in a hurry! Secondly, it struck me as slightly disorganized in its general layout, and for the most part, a hodgepodge collection that had evolved into its present state over a long period of time, which, while not providing for the rapid assimilation of the American tourist, did lend a particular je ne sais quoi to the overall mystique of the city, and aids the adventurous in finding new roads. Thirdly, I had to marvel at the transportation directors and their splendid work in organizing the publick transportation for so many millions of persons every day, so that even a backwards American farm boy could get around quite easily . Lastly, London struck me as a place where I would not like to live—as I far prefer open fields and the clean air of country life. But for all that, London is a fascinating place full of great history and well worth a visit.

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Home sweet home on the Colorado Plains

 

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In Which You Get the Scoop on the REAL Me

Goodness, it’s been quiet around here lately. Only a few finals left till the end of the semester, though, and I’m wondering, is that like being a few fries away from a Happy Meal or a few screws loose on the steering wheel? Let’s hope not.

Anyways, this blog has been a lot of me blithering about me and China and everything else I could think of (which, granted, hasn’t been an awful lot, especially recently!). And while nothing has been happening for us here in China, back in America there’ve been funerals and graduations and weddings that I’ve had to miss. So for a change, I thought you could hear from other members of the family. Enough of me talking about me–now you get to read what others think about me.

So without further ado, here’s my younger brother Seth’s take on farm life in Colorado.


Greetings from the beautiful state of Colorado! My sister Annika being ‘blogged’ out currently and ensnared with the worries and cares of this life has expressed a wish for me to fill some dead air and thus I her little brother Seth will be writing this post. If I do a good enough job, methinks I shall be added on as a regular contributor, which would be fitting seeing as how I introduced ma’ sister to the concept of milk and pickles in the first place. Be sure to let us know in the comments if you think I am “succ-Seth-ful.”

At this point some introduction is probably in order. I am Seth. If you met me in person I probably would tell you something along the lines of, I am a simple sheep farmer who is seeking to reflect the face and affections of God in my life albeit imperfectly—as any of my siblings would gladly tell you (at least about the imperfectly part).

As Annika hasn’t discussed much of her past life on this here blog, I thought ya’ll’d like to see a side of her she doesn’t let on about—the tough older sister who isn’t above doing some spinach picking until her back is sore. A large part of my life includes farming, which is a little different from the gentrified city life Annika’s gettin’ accustomed to here. Well, a typical summer day on the farm starts at 4:56 AM when you wake up and shut off your alarm before it rings because as everyone knows a ringing alarm is the worst way to start the day. Incidentally, even if you don’t set an alarm you will still wake up no later than 5:30 because that is always the time you get up. You then go read the Scriptures. After this time of reading and prayer you go get some “starting fluid” (water, orange juice, or for the strong-stomached, V8), and head out the door to begin the day’s work.

At the field this time of year, me and my ever hardworking younger brothers Abel and Hans (note: names are the same but attributes have been changed to protect the guilty), go out the door, grab a hoe, and begin working like David Copperfield, A Christmas Carol, or A Tale of Two Cities (i.e., like the Dickens). (This is one of the attributes that has been changed, never fear!)

abel hoeing
Abel working extremely hard. Notice how he is outstanding in his field.

But it is not all hard work and early mornings. A few years back when Annika was still at home and she did not appreciate something I was doing—I don’t remember what it was, probably something quite annoying as is the wont of little brothers—anyway, she didn’t like it, and next thing I know I was being chased through the cucumber patch with a crazy woman behind me brandishing a large cucumber as a fearful instrument of war. If we are perfectly honest with ourselves, I think Annika could teach Attila and Genghis a few things about striking fear into the heart of the enemy. It is not every woman that can strike mortal terror into the heart of the enemy with a cucumber. But Annika did not always have to use fearsome weapons: she could also strike fear into the heart of her little brothers—or anybody for that matter—with a look that would in the middle of August freeze every lake in Orlando solid.

Fortunately, Annika did not always freeze us solid all the time, and to be perfectly honest with ourselves she is truly a wonderful older sister. When I wasn’t making her mad enough to chase me with my enormous cucumbers, another exciting thing to do was teach Annika how to drive a manual transmission. She practiced and practiced and when she got good enughf we finally let her have whack at driving a manual transmission with a pickup under it. However, she disliked this “beast,” my beloved first vehicle. For some reason, the two inches of mud on the floorboard, the gaping hole in the dash where the radio was supposed to go, or the seat whose only padding was the old jean jacket, gunny sack, and other oddments that the previous owner had stuffed in there left her immune to their endearing charms. In fact, she thought it was treacherous to her just like Brutus to Julius, liable to leave her stranded in the middle of the highway any time she needed to make a left turn. O All of its charms, such as its rugged good looks and perpetual cleanliness were lost on her and she could only see its faults. Alas, thus is life.

Well I have probably driveled on enughf now so I will let you all get back to your lives. I shall leave you with this quote from the great Groucho Marxs “Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.” Well, have a blessed day, toodles!