Monday, January 3, 2011

Warm As Ice

Our nine days of holiday travel will be documented as a three-part series, each with an appropriately witty title.

London was the first stop of the trip, where we spent a few days with our friends Bryan and April from Portland, who are on a rotation there.  We both went through the rotation logistics at the same time, and knew with the big moves that we wouldn't be going home to the U.S. for Christmas.  So, back in Portland we decided to celebrate Christmas in London together, as a bunch of family-less expats.   And, although we all missed being home, we had a lot of fun!

Also, I'll add a side note in my intro of Bryan and April: we never would have ended up with the rotation in Oslo without them.  Bryan originally had the Oslo offer, and knew Ken was trolling around Europe for a rotation as well.  A London/Zurich rotation that was better for Bryan popped up at the last minute, and he gave Ken the info on Oslo.  It really worked out so well, since Oslo ended up getting Ken when they still needed someone, and Bryan got to take what was best for him.  So, many thanks to them!

The whole crew in front of Kensington Palace.
A classier version of an American state fair:  Hyde Park Winter Wonderland.
B taking his icing like a champ.  We're hoping it's a new Christmas tradition.
In case you aren't familiar with the term "icing," here's a definition provided by Urban Dictionary:

"Icing" -- or "getting iced" -- is a frat star drinking game. The rules are simple: If a person sees a Smirnoff Ice, he or she must get down on one knee and chug it, unless they happen to be carrying their own Smirnoff, in which case they can "ice block," or refract the punishment back onto the attacker. In order to dupe people into stumbling across the beverage, participants have devised creative ways of presenting them with Ices, like strapping the bottles to the backs of dogs or burying them in vats of protein powder.  Typical Icing situation @ work: Bro has to get some quick copies to hand to the executives. “Why isn’t this copier working!?!?!” Dave asks. To his disbelief the paper drawer acts as a makeshift cooler for a nice warm ICE.

In this instance, B received an icing by opening the Yankee Swap gift containing the lovely, warm Ice.  He also received a second icing the next morning when he opened his stocking to find an Ice we placed in there before bedtime.

Ken and I find icing to be absolutely hilarious.  Kudos to B for not backing down on the Ice.
We definitely ate at the Texas Embassy,  and Ken definitely had to pose in this position five different times while I adjusted my camera settings.  

London's version of the Chicago Bean (actually it was shaped like a bracelet, not a bean, but same trippy idea) in Kensington Gardens.

Basically, we spent the weekend eating tons of delicious food (not only are they dashingly good looking, they're also great cooks), playing Yankee Swap with a couple of other fun expats on Christmas Eve, watching Christmas movies, taking long walks around London, and chasing after buses due to the transit strike.   

Definitely a memorable Christmas.  Thanks for a great time, B and A!

Amsterdam will be the next stop in the trip.  Probably tomorrow...