Saturday, March 14, 2015

Hashtag Tinker Fish Take Spring Break

By now most of you have probably seen the multiple selfies posted on Facebook accompanied with the caption "#tinkerfishtakespringbreak" and I am finally providing some context and narrative for those selfies.

The Hashtag.

First things first, lets clear the air behind the meaning of the hashtag. Caitlin and I met while working at Pine Cove Christian Camps. At this camp the counselors get "camp names" and go by those assigned camp names for the entirety of the summer. You get named by playing the "name game" where a name is generated by how you answer certain questions. Caitlin's camp name is Tinker Toes, my camp name is Run Fish (this is the short version mind you). Since we are PCBFs (Pine Cove Best Friends) it makes since to smoosh our names together, thus creating Tinker Fish (thanks to Mac and Sneeze for providing us with this grand idea).

Caitlin's friendship has been a divinely ordained entity in my life. We have been friends for.... 3 or 4 years now (I can't remember because math) and our friendship has been one of those constants that always keeps going no matter what life throws at us. For example, boyfriends, school, distance. And I'm so happy she FINALLY came to see me while I'm living abroad.

Caitlin had never been outside of the states before her trip this past week. As you may gather from her camp name (a nod to tinker bell) she and her family have basically spent the majority of their life at disney world. Some of us don't have that privilege. I, for example, have never been to disney world. But my time will come, this week it was Caitlin's turn to do something new.

I am so proud of Caitlin for coming to Europe by herself to see me! My love language is quality time, and sitting in this little tiny room everyday alone has quite an effect on me. So having an extra bed take up the one area of floor space my small room provides made my heart so full!

I'm sad to be writing this post because it means she is back in the states, but I will see her again soon (hopefully in September!)

So, now that I've provided some background, lets get to the fun stuff!!

Caitlin in London

Friday 6 March

Caitlin was a trooper this week, and you will soon see why. I dragged her all around London (and Paris) to make sure she saw everything she could with her short time here.

I picked her up from the airport on Friday and we went straight to Buckingham Palace (she only got like 2 hours of sleep on the plane).

Then I took her to Trafalgar Square, where we toured the National Gallery and got tea overlooking the square. We walked by Big Ben and the London Eye. Bussed to the Tate Modern, I showed her the Turbine Hall and we walked across Millennium Bridge, had a view of Shakespeare's Globe Theater, and walked to St. Pauls. Then we went to Borough Market to grab a bite to eat and kept on trucking to Tower Bridge, which we crossed to the Tower of London.

Walking along the Thames!
I'm not done yet, folks.

Then we bused to Kensington Gardens and walked through the Park and saw Kensington Palace and Queen Victoria, I even took her way across Kensington to a big grocery store so I could buy a new kettle (this was all in attempts to keep her awake until 9pm).

I am seriously so proud of this girl. She didn't complain once and stayed up until 9pm, then she passed out for 10-11 hours.

We got up the next morning and headed straight for Paris!

Saturday 7 March

Paris has always been Caitlin's top European destination and it made my traveler's heart so full to be the one to take her there (and because I got to show her my "namesake" obvs).

Before I go any further, I'm sure you have realized our use of a selfie stick. Yes, yes, shake your head and judge us all you like but selfie sticks are so awesome. I honestly don't think we would've taken half the pics we took if we didn't have one, which would be a shame. It was also extremely fun to use. Yeah sure people looked at us weird, and it acted as a very large "LOOK AT ME IM A TOURIST" sign, but every time we took a pic we were laughing so hard, not to mention all the random creeper pics I took of Caitlin over my shoulder. Yes, I fully endorse the selfie stick and I can't wait to use it on my next trip!

Back to Paris...

We found our airbnb no problem, and when we got to the 8th floor where the flat was we were greeted with this view.

After admiring the iron lady for a few minutes we headed back out and about. We walked back by the Eiffel Tower, through the Tuileries, I showed Caitlin the Louvre and how massive it is (no, we did not go in. I have a love/hate relationship with the Louvre and decided to not make Caitlin go through the painfully large crowds of tourists only showing up to take a pic of the Mona Lisa, I will spare you from the rest of my soap box speech) and we walked ALL the way to the Notre Dame, where we watched the sun set.

Safe to say Caitlin's feet were killing her, but I lugged her all that way because I brought the wrong plug adapter for European outlets (big time fail on my part, I promise Im not a newb), so we went to a department store by the Notre Dame and found some european phone chargers. Then we ate at an amazing french restaurant (the man who greeted us at the front door had an 80's style black and white glamour shot of himself hanging up on the wall, it was fabulous).

Sunday 8 March

We woke up the next morning and went to the Orsay. I showed Caitlin all the big name paintings I learned about in undergrad and have since forgotten their significance, which means I mainly walked around saying "this painting is famous but I can't remember why," art major problems.

Then we walked back to the Notre Dame to find a bookstore Caitlin wanted to peruse, Shakespeare and Company, and we ate baguettes overlooking the Seine.

After baguettes, we went to Montmartre, which was my favorite place in Paris the first time I visited as a young, bright eyed 12 year old.

View of Paris from Montmartre
After wandering the streets of Montmartre we went shopping on the Champs Elysees.

I don't know if you can tell, but it was 65 degrees in Paris on Sunday, and the ENTIRE city was out and about on the first real day of clear warm spring weather, which made shopping a nightmare. But we endured through the hectic sweaty swarming mobs and found ourselves lounging on the lawn of the Eiffel Tower.

We didn't want to spend money on dinner because we are broke, and it was Sunday and were afraid everything would close up on us, so we got frozen pizza and wine at the local supermarket and ate dinner watching the sunset over the city.

Monday 9 March

Our last day in Paris we spent with no plans, and it was probably the most fun we had in the city. It was also the ONLY day during Caitlin's time here that the sun was not out the entire day (I've decided it is officially spring.)

There is no way that waking up to this view could ever get old
We woke up early and had a photo shoot under the bridge that is in the movie Inception.

Then we walked along the Seine and soaked up all the views of the Eiffel tower (we also spent the majority of the day trying to get super Parisian photos of each other.)

Caitlin wanted to see the Luxembourg Gardens, which I had never visited, so we found them and sat in front of the palace for about an hour and a half people watching and talking about boys.

I mean, come on, you just can't beat spending a morning like this with your best friend
After lunch we headed back to the Notre Dame (Caitlin's fave place in Paris) and walked along the river and found a nice place along the Seine to sit and talk some more about boys (we had a lot of heart talk to catch up on, okay).

We found Point Zero, which means we will come back to Paris... or something like that....

My favorite view of the Notre Dame

Spotted: Caitlin practicing her ballet at the Notre Dame!!

We sat here for a good hour and half as well, and then bought another dinner's worth of groceries and spent our last night in Paris gazing over the Eiffel Tower (we had a REALLY early morning train back to London).

Tuesday 10 March

Back in London I took Caitlin to the Churchill War Rooms. If you love history (and even if you don't, in which case, you're weird) the Churchill War Rooms is one of my favorite museums in London. It takes you through the war rooms where Churchill worked during WWII. After the war was over the lights were turned off and everyone left, leaving everything how it was when they left in the late 1940's. So, for the most part, everything that was there then, is still there now and its incredible.

After the war rooms we parted ways. I had to meet a professor about my thesis. So I armed Caitlin with a map of London and had marked up her tube map to help her get back to tour Kensington Palace.

They grow up so fast! So proud of this girl for conquering the tube all by herself!
We met back up and headed to Westminster for an Evensong service.

If you've never been to an Evensong service you should go. Right now. It was spectacularly brilliant. I had never been inside Westminster, and the Evensong service is free, so we spent an entire 45 minutes inside the Abbey for free while listening to angelic voices sing to the heavens. It was all very surreal and Caitlin was beside herself when it was over. Then I took her to a pub and we ate pie and chips to finish off another fun day!

Wednesday 11 March

I took Caitlin shopping on Oxford street so she could get a few London things to take back to America, then we went to the Orangery at Kensington Palace for high tea!!

It's spring in London!!! It arrived just in time for Caitlin's visit. Could not have asked for more perfect touring weather!

Caitlin LOVES Kensington Palace and all the history that comes with it, so I loved taking her here for high tea. And I'm very pleased to say that Caitlin now knows what a good cuppa is, which means there is no turning back now!

We went to Harrod's after tea and went on a hunt for some running tights I've been eyeing and obsessing over for the past week and a half. And what girl doesn't want to walk through shoe heaven?!

We also found the Disney Store, which obvi Caitlin loved. Also, who knew they have a plush minnie mouse doll dressed as the queen? It was seriously the cutest!

Thursday 12 March

I took Caitlin to the Shard for breakfast! Because I'm basically a regular there now and HAD to take her, plus that view >>>

After breakfast Caitlin wanted to go to the British Museum (I know, it seems like I'm dragging her to all this boring art stuff, but she actually did want to go to these places). I actually knew what I was talking about in the British Museum, and at that point I think Caitlin had gotten a hold of the whole museum etiquette thing, she hasn't been to many museums before.

The other thing she REALLY wanted to do while she was here was see Abbey Road. I had never been and didn't even know where it was. Fun fact its not too far from where I live! So we went.

Watching the tourists try and take pics in the middle of the street with cars coming from both directions was HILARIOUS!!! We found out there is a web cam with audio that you can watch online and I plan to watch it when I'm bored just to get some good laughs!

Caitlin had a few more items to pick up before she left the next morning so we ran some errands and walked back to my room through Green Park, Hyde Park, and Kensington Gardens and it was absolutely wonderful. I wish I had someone to take long walks with, I don't realize how much I enjoy them until I take them, but they aren't fun alone. We spent the rest of the evening watching netflix and eating cadbury chocolate bars while Caitlin packed.

Friday 13 March

Caitlin's flight was delayed so we didn't have a rushed morning, which means we just sat in bed and watched Netflix until it was time to head to the tube.

I took her back to the airport and put her on a flight to America.

Seeing Caitlin was just what I needed. While I sat alone on the tube on the way back into the city I broke down. It was waterworks, I was that girl crying on the tube. Caitlin leaving started this homesick downward spiral. I knew that when she got off her flight she got to sleep in her own bed and see her family.

The circumstances I've found myself in this weekend are also contributing to the homesickness. Some of my fam went to see my brother at A&M this weekend and it makes me miss them more that I can't be in Cstat with my bros. I'm running a half marathon in the morning and I'm not looking forward to it as much as usual. I love races and the early morning pre-race jitters and hype and nerves that come with waiting at the start line. But, I've always had an amazing support system during these runs. I always know my brothers are ahead and my mom is close by and my dad is bringing up the rear. We usually have extended family and friends running with us too, so showing up to a big race tomorrow morning seems daunting and extremely lonely. But I'll make it through, especially because I have these bae new running tights.

All that to say, today I confined myself to my room because the past week I had Caitlin to do everything with me (quality time, remember) and I got spoiled, now running errands around London alone seems unnatural, even though its all I've known for the past 6 months.

Traveling gives you a new outlook on life and changes your priorities. I love traveling and being abroad and I will always want to go explore somewhere I've never been and have a new adventure, but I put high priority on my family and the time I want, get, and need to spend with them. Caitlin served as an amazing reminder of all the love and support I have back home, which is the only reason why I'm able to live over here. If I didn't have my family's support and encouragement there's no way I'd make it so far away from home. God has provided an amazing community for me in the States and I'm so thankful that a dear dear friend of mine spent her spring break with me here in Europe. She is a blessing and a treasure and traveling with her was a fun new stepping stone in deepening our friendship, here's to hoping our next adventure is to disney world (cough cough).

Caitlin, you're a gem, and I'm so thankful God put you in my life back at Pine Cove all those years ago. I miss you and your fam and freaking loved having you around the past week and am already looking forward to seeing you again, cause lets be honest, I already have some more stuff to talk to you about (because boys.)

I'm hoping my homesickness will dissipate quickly as I have a lot to do for school (I skipped all my classes this week), plus I'll be heading stateside in just 27 short days! But for now, its back to that grad school grind!

1 comment :

  1. I'm totally crying as I read this. Thank you for everything, friend. I can't wait to take you on a Disney adventure!