1403; London, England // Londres, Englaterra

Currently typing this in Bryann’s flat ( that’s how the Brits refer to their apartments) in London’s borough of Islington as he and Greg venture off to buy some groceries for dinner.

This whole pregnancy thing has really taught me how to listen to my body’s limits, because most of the time I like to be non-stop go go go, and recently my body and this baby have been saying slow-down no no no.

Like Dwight says in the office this little fetus is calling the shots*.

It’s so bad ass.

All that to say, as they venture off to Salinsbury’s for groceries I rest, kick up my feet, and write.

Now that I think of it… it’s not too bad of a gig, thank you baby Irving.

Hard to believe our long anticipated trip to London is almost over ( I use the wording “long anticipated” lightly since we only decided to come to London 3 weeks ago).

Even harder to believe Bryann loves cooking, and is looking forward to cooking us dinner.

Regardless of whether I believe it or not, both are true.

Tonight is our last night in London, and Bryann has really grown to enjoy cooking and is eager to cook us up a delicious meal.

We have done our fair share of sightseeing and taste testing our way through London.

Our first day in London began roughly around 1:30pm after arriving at London Gatwick Airport and taking the National Express Bus to Victoria Station.

( Yes for those of you following along our brief international expedition we made it through the struggle of the 18 hour layover. Read more about how we were bored here and about our layover algae masks and Pylsur’s here)

After taking the hour and a half bus ( which was well worth it only 24 pounds round trip for both of us ) we walked 7.1 miles to see as many cliche tourist sights we could until we would meet up with Bryann at his apartment around 5.

Once we arrived in London at Victoria Station our tummy’s were rumbling so we split an order of Fish and Chips along Buckingham Palace road…

then made our way to Buckingham Palace…

and the Victoria Memorial.

From there we began our promenade through St. James Park

to arrive at Westminster Abbey where we took a much needed walk break and found the shade of an oak tree to sit under in a little park in front of Westminster Abbey.

After Westminster Abbey we made our way to Houses of Parliament and Palace of Westminster…

and then made our way to Big Ben only to discover he was under construction!

Greg took this very well. I would have been so annoyed. He made a joke about wanting a refund and then with such understanding said ” I get it, history needs to be preserved”. What a guy.

Then we leisurely made our way across the Westminster Bridge lookin out at the Thames River enjoying the breeze sunshine and each other.

Then… the heat from the sun, weight from our backpacks, and aches in our feet from long day of travel began to get to us

and we argued about whether to take the tube to Bryann’s

or walk 45 minutes to get there.

We disagreed all along the Thames as we made our way towards the front of the London Eye, then laid in the Jubilee Garden to make amends .

Conflict resolution doesn’t take a holiday.

When going on an international adventure with the love of your life make sure to pack the realistic expectation that a disagreement can arise at any moment and the sooner it’s dealt with the sooner you can get back to enjoying your holiday.

( instead of vacation the English say holiday so I’m trying to plug in British jargon any chance I get)

In fact they can and usually will heighten when hot tired and achey.

But Greg and I are no strangers to butting heads.

We disagree,

we openly communicate our frustrations ( not always with tact and grace)

we get down to the root of the issue

we take a breather

we both admit our feelings and our shortcomings

then we reconcile and resolve, we go about the rest of our day.

Which on this day included us laying in the grass for a few moments (after we made up) to rest look up at the sky and the London Eye,

before physically getting up and acting on the decision we came to together:

to head over to the Waterloo Station

to buy our Oyster cards

so that we could take the Underground to Bryann’s. ( the local’s call it the tube)

Here’s the kicker though.

After feeling so official with our Oyster cards and navigating our way through the tubes, when we finally arrived in Bryann’s neighborhood and address… he wasn’t there!

We waited half an hour to give him time to commute from his job and nothing.

Greg took a walk around the block several times

just to see if there were any nearby cafes that we could wait for him…nope.

We waited and waited.

His neighbor showed up and let us use his phone to call Bryann.

No response.

So there we were siting outside his apartment hot aching tired hungry cranky…

We sat and laid on his stoop with our backpacks and sore feet

for what seemed like forever after a 19 hour layover and then sightseeing all day

but it was only an hour and a half.

With one of us pregnant…

and fed up

and decided she couldn’t wait any longer.

One of us decided to say

” That’s it! Bryann’s not coming back. He forgot about us.

Our baby and me are not sleeping on this stoop.

I’m going to a hotel.”

…okay okay so that was me

Not my best moment.

But I was so over waiting a moment longer so I stormed off.

Greg had the good sense to follow after his wife

even though he found it foolish that I stormed off,

He knew it would be even more foolish to just let his wife storm off with out a way of contacting her in this foreign country.

I didn’t know where I was going…

I just needed to go… to take matters into my own hands and get in touch with him, find wi-fi on my own, no more waiting!

I had to try to find a way to contact Bryann.

And sure enough in the following me…

Greg managed to access wi-fi.

In that very spot of the street where he stopped to communicate with me…

and ease my angst.

He was able to communicate with Bryann.

Jokes on me …Bryann recommended us go to a particular coffee shop with free wi-fi and wait for him there.

Greg and I made our hot-achey-tired selves way over to the cafe.

And I am no runner so I can’t say for certain,

but the moment Bryann arrived in that coffee shop it felt like a second wind.

Bryann began to prepare us dinner, Brucie arrived from Northern England, and Greg & I enjoyed our first evening in London in Bryann’s flat over a delicious home cooked meal.

Oh my gracious can I just say how after long longlong hours of travel

how grateful we were

for the refreshing wonders a fresh cooked meal, comfortable bed, cool breeze,

and lush comfoter does!

Speaking of which, and going full circle, this evenings meal is now ready!

So I will have to fill you all in on the rest of our adventures of Day 2, 3, and 4 of London some other time.

Until then, stay tuned!

Cheers Mate,

Thressa and Greg Irving

* the quote Dwight says verbatim for you office lovers out there

If she eats something the fetus doesn’t like, she is screwed.

It’s amazing: a three ounce fetus is calling the shots. It’s so bad ass.”

P.S.

Just thought I should let you know that right now Greg is glowing because he just found a dubbed version of The Office in Portuguese, which I have no doubt be the game changer and dramatically enhance his ability to speak Portuguese.

1402; Algae Masks & Pylsur’s

Around 5 o’clock our time and 1 o’clock in the states (it’s about 4 hours time difference in the states) Greg and I decided to stretch our legs some to explore the airport a bit.

We had already familiarized ourselves with the general lay out, scoped out the location of the futuristic washrooms and staked out a cozy resting space to claim as our own.

We, after streamlining through the several eateries filling the air with the alluring aroma of hot savory cooked meals, stumbled into the airport’s Duty Free Gift Shop

*mind you at this point we had been consuming only Cliff bars, Lara Bars and Kind bars…. so naturally our mouths were watering at the smell of real food…thus the streamlining*

We enjoyed seeing Icelandic beer, lava salt, their adorable national bird the puffin ( in stuffed animal form), Icelandic candy, Iceladic wool sweaters along with other Icelandic handcrafted goods.

Perhaps the most relaxing part of this little promenade was The Blue Lagoon portion of The Duty Free Shop. The Blue Lagoon is a lava field in Grindavik on the Reykjanes Peninsula located in Southwestern Iceland. It geothermal waters are rich in minerals like silica. Greg and I will be going to the ACTUAL Blue Lagoon on the last leg of our trip.

But today, we went to the Blue Lagoon portion of The Duty Free Gift Shop.
There were various Blue Lagoon products for sale as well as samples available.
What particularly caught my eye were the Blue Lagoon Masks labeled try me.
Mud Mask, Silica Mask, and Algae Mask.

Between the 3 I chose to sample the algae mask because the other two were included in our package during our ACTUAL Blue Lagoon Visit.
I jumped right in and began applying the mask to my face.

Greg was mortified at first, but the bottle did say try me and in order to “Try Me” properly I needed to test run the algae mask. Then I further made a case for myself by saying “Greg if they didn’t want you to try it and fully apply the mask to your face, why would they have conveniently placed this sink and mirror right here”?

Logic is always my weapon of choice when it comes to convincing Greg to do anything he’s initially hesitant of.

He can’t resist logic.

And with that use of logic,next thing you know he’s joining in and applying his own Blue Lagoon (airport edition) algae mask.

Then all of a sudden the representatives of the store call security on us for using the free samples of the algae mask! We were escorted out of the gift shop!

Nah just kidding, but can you imagine what a story that would be?!

I will say this our faces felt so refreshed after that algae mask experience, that I am even more so excited to experience the real thing on Friday with Greg!

After washing our faces from the algae masks we ventured off to find a new resting place to switch up the scenery.
Corner cushioned seats facing a map of Iceland felt like such a victory!
We napped, watched Despicable Me 2, and then it was time.

One of my favorite times of day.

Dinner time.

For dinner we decided to grab Pylsur’s.

Apparently Iceland is famous for their hotdogs.

I’m not kidding

It just happened to also be the most budget friendly eating option in the airport,
so win win.

Icelandic hotdogs are made with free range, grass finished, hormone free, Icelandic lamb meat.

They were served on a warm steamed bun with raw onions, crispy fried onions, Pylsusinnep ( a sweet brown mustard ), Remoulade ( a sauce that is made with capers, mayo, mustard, and herbs) and of course ketchup!

It did not disappoint at all they were very tasty and the perfect dinner to kickoff our international adventure!

Thankful to get such a delicious taste of Iceland without hurting the wallet.

I’ve actually included some pictures of the Pylsur’s we ate as well of the Remoulade, Pysusinnep, and the lamb meat sausages!
So if anybody wants to me to bring the Icelandic Hot Dog experience home so they can partake in the delicacy just let me know.

In the meantime we’ll be here.

Face’s refreshed.

Bellies satisfied.

With only 6 hours remaining to this layover people =) !

Then look out London here we come!

Stay Tuned,
Thressa & Greg… and Baby Irving

1402; Being Bored is Good For You

Growing up with 3 brothers we were often aprontando.

A Portuguese word that was a regular part of my parents vocabulary.

Aprontando, it meant we were up to something, specifically something that we shouldn’t be.

Something that more often than not would get us into trouble.

On rare occasions, when we weren’t aprontando we were doing something else.

Something that we in present day society don’t practice too much.

Something I’ve found we avoid at all costs and don’t allow ourselves to be .

Bored.

I remember as a child saying to my Mãe, “ Mãe eu tou bored”.

And she would just go about her business quickly stating in Portuguese “ Good, being bored is for you. Be bored”.

I remember feeling like that’s your advice ? What a rip off!

As a child I never understood how in the world being bored was good for you and why my querida mamãe was telling me this.

Fast forward to present day.

Greg and me right now.

Sitting in the Keflavik Airport on our 18 hour layover.

Yes 18 long… slow…boring hours.

And it is so good for us.

Not fun.

Just good.

Here’s why; life is full of long slow and boring so we might as well get used to it.

I personally love to run from one fun adventure to the next…

( I suppose I never quite grew out of the whole aprontando thing.)

 but I’ve learned when we rush out on boredom we miss out on being.

Sometimes we just have to be bored.

When we are bored we face awkward lulls head on.

We stare at walls.

Look up at the sky.

People watch.

Contemplate.

{ ^ That’s the hardest/bravest one for me.

To just BE  left alone with my thoughts, giving them the airtime the need and not just washing them out or watering them down with whatever form of entertainment I choose to occupy myself with (ranging from scrolling on social media to burying myself in my reading). That requires a lot of will power from me,but every time I choose to confront my contemplations when I’m bored, I usually end up breathing a little lighter. I feel more in touch with myself and sometimes it leads to a fantastic side effect of boredom…creating. For example, creating this blog posts after sitting in my thoughts and contemplating for a good hour and a half).

Don’t get me wrong.

I THRIVE off the moments in life that are fast paced, gallivanting from one adventure to the next.

Spontaneous, adrenaline rush seeking, quenching my wanderlust even if just a little moments are my JAM.

Whenever I can I try to fill my life and our marriage with moments like these.

But you want a glimpse into our real every day life?

You want to know what sustains and strengthens making the adventures richer and worthwhile?

It’s a whole lot of :

the slow.

the boring.

the mundane.

It’s the taking turns sleeping on each others laps on the plane during our overnight flight.

It’s Greg searching high and low throughout the airport for water fountains for me because I was parched after our overnight flight …only to discover there are none, so he returns with a tall disposable plastic cup of Icelandic Tap water.

( yes it was some of the best,if not THE BEST, tap water I’ve ever had)

It’s thinking about our dog, how much we miss her and wish we could get her a passport to bring her here with us

It’s filling up our bags with Cliff,Kind, and Lara bars… only to discover  I was not a fan of the cranberry almond Kind bar, but thankfully the chocolate peanut butter Lara bar was much more appetizing.

It’s Greg sleeping on my lap with my scarf covering his eyes because of the massive skylights that pour natural light into this Icelandic airport and me staring at the wall and sky trying to make sense of my thoughts as I sit here…with my thoughts facing boredom head on like a boss… on this now 16 hour lay over.

We are thankful for this trip, it’s going to be so much fun,

but in the meantime it’s not.

In the meantime it’s boring.

It’s boring, but its good.

As you follow our blog posts as we travel to England and Iceland, let me reiterate, don’t be deceived.

There is plenty of slow and boring and mundane in our life as well as marriage.

We need it all.

The boring. The slow. The mundane.

Somehow it wonderfully manages to sustain and strengthen our lives and marriages making

The fun. The fast. The adventure

richer and more worthwhile.

Enjoy these pictures of Greg and me on our trip so far,including some snapshots of our boring 18 hour layover.

Because sometimes life is slow and boring,

and that is a freaking sweet gift.

I encourage you to be bored today, don’t rush out of it just SIT IN IT, be bored!

Stare at a wall. Look up at the sky. Contemplate.

After all like my Mãe was trying to teach me so many moons ago;

being bored is good for you.

(Also baby Irving has been kicking while Ive been typing away sharing my heart.  I’m taking that as a secret baby signal to keep writing about our trip and sharing it here on Irving’s Count Up blog.)

Stay Tuned,

Thressa & Greg… and Baby Irving