Friday, December 30, 2005

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

There is a lot to catch up on since I last wrote. It has been a busy 8 days here in Edinburgh. After working last Thursday and Friday I had Christmas Eve off and really enjoyed it. All the volunteers that were in Edinburgh came to our flat and we made some food and then went to the city center for a candlelight service at midnight. It was a really traditional service at one of the old churches. We took communion, sang some songs, and then walked back to our flat into the early part of Christmas Day. On Christmas Day all the volunteers had to work, so in the morning I opened up my packages and cards! Thanks to everyone who sent me something in the mail, it was a blessing and made it feel like Christmas.

Around 2 pm Nick and I headed to work where we ate plenty of turkey, ham, stuffing, cake, potatoes, cranberries, and more! There were only about 7 guys in the House and the mood was fairly melancholy. A lot of the guys got emotional when we went around the flat and handed out the gifts we had bought them. It was even more difficult to turn some guys away from the Hostel when they came back drunk. They struggle at the Holidays because it reminds them of the things they don't have or have lost.

We have tried to make this past week special for the guys by holding an "activities week." I have led trips to the cinema, theatre, and held game nights. Of course another bonus of this job is the free stuff I get to do! I didn't work yesterday but I went along with staff and some of the residents for some go-carting! These go-carts got upwards of 35 mph and the track was pretty intense! I can say I represented my country well by taking first place in the second race! All that Chicago driving is paying dividends.

On Tuesday I went to go see the Edinburgh capitals, which is the professional hockey team here. But it is about equivalent to college hockey in the states, although I'm convinced MSU or Boston College would dominate.

Last night was the torchlight processional through the city center. Loads of people marched through the city with torches up Calton Hill where they shot off fireworks. There are about 4 other volunteers staying up here right now for hogmanay so we watched the procession and then went and listened to some Polish Music at a little coffee house.

Tonight there is a huge Cedhli out in the city center with a parade and dancers. Edinburgh goes to the extreme for the new year so I can't say that I have been bored of late! Here's a good link if you want to see what is going on here....http://www.edinburghshogmanay.org/

Beside that I am looking forward to doing some traveling soon. I am going down to London on Jan 16th for a conference and hopefully I'll get a chance to travel in February. It is starting to ice over here in the city and the snow is now sticking to the ground. Take care.

Mike

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

What's new?

Nothing much to report since my last post. I worked Sat-Mon and it proved to be a hectic weekend. We were pretty short of staff so I was busy all three days. Yesterday I finally got a chance to relax and went on a nice 1 hour bike ride around Arhurs Seat and the Crags. In the afternoon I went to one of my friends flats, she leads our house group and I showed up early to help make some mince pies for that evening. So now when I go back to the states I can make proper Scottish food! We had a good evening with the group and had some new faces show up.

I also went to a candlelight service on Sunday evening after work. It was nice that my church keeps that tradition that I grew up with. Today I had a nice 4 hour staff meeting, which was a surprise since I forgot about it. AFterwards J.P. Danny and I killed two hours by golfing, yet again! When I'm done here in the library at 6 I have to run out to the central post office to pick up a Xmas package from my Mommy! I should probably also do some shopping for some real food, we have a lot of sweets, chocolate, chips, and cookies in our flat from all the different Xmas parties we have individually gone to. It would be benefical to have some alternatives!

On Wednesdays the Cinema is really cheap here so I might hop on over to Ocean Terminal (think of a big American Mall) with Lauren, Paula and Nick so we can watch Chronicles of Narnia. We'll see...until then, since I might not get a chance to post, Merry Christmas. If you care to know I'll be workign Christmas day which will be nice. We cook up a big meal and it should be a pretty relaxed atmosphere. After work Nick, Danny, and I are heading over to another staff member's flat who is working with us that day. Many blessings

Mike

Friday, December 16, 2005

Mayo and sugar over popcorn??

So not much to tell...I went golfing again yesterday with some friends and then in the afternoons we had a staff vs. Residents football match. It was great because I am able to get all of my "revenge" against the residents by making them look funny on the pitch! There weren't enough residents to play a proper staff vs residents match but it was still a good kick about.

Tonight we have organized a volunteer xmas get together. We'll probably just make some cookies and chat before several of the volunteers head home for Christmas. About half of the volunteers are going back to their respective countries (Germany, Sweden, Czech Republic) but a lot of us are sticking around.

I'm feeling a little sore today from football yesterday and I just went to the gym for a swim. Man let me tell you swimming is not easy! I was fine working out in the gym but when I jump in the water I become a stone. I was doing laps and there were a bunch of 40 year old women passing me in the pool!!!

Lauren and I are getting together this afternoon to knock out some Xmas shopping since the volunteers are doing "secret Santa." So actually I have lucked out because this will be my only real Xmas shopping of the year!

What else....last night when I got into bed I found an ironing board under my sheets. Danny has become the practical joker of the house and I need to get some revenge, so any ideas will be gladly welcomed. As a side note we made popcorn last night and he thought it was disgusting that I put a little bit of salt on my popcorn. He put mayo and sugar on his! Mayo and sugar??? And what is even worse is he went to the shop to get us dinner and came back with 2 "Chicago style deep dish piazzas" I told him he would have to come home with me for the real experience, although I have to respect the Scottish effort put into the pizza.

I have free calls to the states on Sats in December so if you want a call give me an e-mail. Also Danny and I are leading worship again on Sunday so prayer would be great, and we are trying to kick off a coffee house ministry once a month at the church. Enjoy the season!

Mike

Monday, December 12, 2005

Golf, Kung Fu, and Carols

I went out for some golfing on Wednesday, my day off, which makes me even more Scottish. Think about it, December, cold weather, blustery wind, and yet I was playing golf! Some guys from work and myself braved the weather and shot 9 holes. My hands were so cold I couldn't feel my right hand thumb. Which in turn made me alter my grip, which actually was good because I started driving the ball farther!

Friday night was Kung-Fu night! We watched some cheesy Kung Fu movies, order Chinese food, and rented a projector from work. It made for a difficult morning on Saturday when I got up to play some soccer. We tied 3-3 when our opponents scored with 30 seconds left! We are still 3rd in the league, so we are in striking distance of first place.

Saturday night I went with a group of friends to a big Christmas concert at Usher Hall. There was a full choir, orchestra, brass ensemble, and more that performed Christmas Carols, worship songs, contemporary music, along with a brief message.

Yesterday was a realaxing Sunday and once again Danny and I led worship at church. Today was suppose to be my day off but I just finished a training course on anger and conflict mediation! I can't seem to pay attention for too long during those courses but they are beneficial to an extent! Tonight I'm getting together with some of the volunteers for dinner and then going out to listen to some music. Tomorrow I hit the grind again with a couple days of work!

I do feel like Christmas is arriving! Briefly on Saturday I went to Ocean Terminal, which is a three story mall (it looks like it has been plucked from Naperville, or any big city suburbs) and the place was absolutely packed! I was so caught up in the spirit I almost jumped in the line to sit on Santa's lap but I was in a hurry. Tis the season!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Dancing with guys in kilts

I danced to a guy with an accordion last night for 3 hours! I went to my first Ceilidh with 3 girls from none other than Bluffton University! They are heading home from studying over in Belfast and it was great to have them stop by! We were able to get together over the weekend and I showed them the city, made some penne pasta (I think in retrospect I got the recipe from eating my mom's version), and listened to some good ol traditional folk music.

I realized I had not made it to the city center for awhile but since last Thursday I was down there 5 nights in a row, excluding Sunday. After work on Sunday, Danny and I led worship at church, it went well. Tonight I have house group and tomorrow I'm going golfing with Danny, a friend from work and our pastor. But the apex of the weekend is going to be on Friday. Danny and I are beginning to plan these movie nights at our flat. We are going to watch two similar movies and make food with the theme. So this Friday we are watching a Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee movie, with some stir fry, instant noodles, and rice! The future holds a Western Night (beans, Mexican food) Mob/Mafia Night (pizza, pasta) and maybe an Ocean night (Seafood)!

Fun fun!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Bagpipes vs. Fiddle

I read through some of my post and realized that they are pretty boring. It reads like a personal calendar. So I hope if I post more often, with smaller posts, it will be more interesting to read.

Yesterday was St. Andrews day which not one person at work knew the purpose behind. All I know is that the castle was open for free. So we organized some guys from the House who wanted to go up to the castle. Of course not all of staff can go on these little trips, since there are things to maintain at the hostel, but since I'm a tourist/volunteer it seems that I always get priority! So myself and another project worker took about 5 guys to the castle. The perks of this job!

Also the night before we had a lot of staff on and somebody suggested taking the guys to a movie. Well the other 4 members of staff had support meetings, interviews, or paperwork to do, so they asked if I would be "willing" to take the guys to the cinema. As you can imagine I decided although it sounded hard and difficult I would have no problem going and watching a movie for free while working.

What I like most about these outings is that it is a great chance to talk with the residents. In the House the environment is always a little restricted. There seems to be a barrier, or an unspoken tension, that always exists between us and the clients. But outside the House we are put on more of a level playing field. Instead of being a "assistant project worker" I am just another guy going to watch a movie with other guys. It's nice.

I got off work early and met up with Nick and Lauren downtown. On the Royal Mile they pulled out a stage for some bands. Dougie MacClean played with his band and a branch of the tattoo marched up and down the mile. Dougie MacClean plays a mixture between folk and rock. I would say he is a guy who made traditional folk music cool and was in his prime back in the 70's-80's. I really knew I was in Scotland when he pulled out a fiddle and his lead guitarist pulled out the bagpipes. With a full band jamming behind them they had a bagpipe-fiddle-sound-off. Kind of like dueling banjo's! Good times!

Monday, November 28, 2005

nothing new!

Not much has happened since I last posted. I had a couple of boring days off before this past week of fun! Tuesday I went to my cell group and really enjoyed myself and then on Wednesday we had a "Thanksgiving" meal at my church. The pastor is American but the food consisted of coleslaw, baked potatoes, and ham! Not quite a traditional meal. After a couple days of work I was able to relax this weekend. On Friday night I went out with some guys from work and Saturday we had a genuine Thanksgiving meal at my flat. All of the volunteers came over and we ate Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, bean casserole, salad, and all kinds of pies! The other 2 American volunteers had friends here so it was a full house! We went arond the table and said what we were thankful for, so it felt somewhat "homey."

All this being said, I need to make a public Happy Birthday wish to my dad. Who turned X years old on Thanksgiving day! I'll let you guess how old he is. :)

Yesterday I went to church as usual and then over to one of my co-workers to watch the Manchester United match. One thing that Edinburgh does really well is celebrate Christmas. Downtown is decked out with a ferris wheel, carousel, trees and tons of lights. There are also a lot of different programs and events going on during this coming month. Tonight there is "begginers-comedy-night" at one of the comedy clubs. It's free so I think we are going to head up and see if we can heckle some future comics! Other than that I think I am going to go see my first movie in a theatre since I've been here. Nick, one of the volunteers, and another fellow I work with want to see a film this afternoon so that's where I'm headed to in a couple of minutes.

This Friday some friends from Bluffton are flying into Edinburgh. THey are studying in Belfast as part of the Bluffton program, so it will be an exciting time of catching up and showing them some of the city. Alright, this has been short but so is my time on the computer. Take care people!

Mike

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Greetings

Warning: This post contains several spelling errors that I wasn't able to correct because spell check wasn't working and because I am not the best speller in the world! :)

That's right, two post in about two weeks! I told you I would get better. However, this week has been less exciting then weeks past, no international travels! On Sat. I was able to see the U.S. at least tie Scotland, it would of been nice to see a win but I can't complain. It was a great chance to hang out with the volunteers. On Sunday after church I just lounged around the flat and played a lot of games with my roomates. We all get along really well and each night normally ends with us chatting away in the living room. On Monday, although I didn't work again I had various meetings and went out to eat with my pastor. He has given me the challenge (or mission, goal, ministry, whatever you want to call it) to reach some junior high age kids in the neighborhood. They play football a couple times a week and I am going to play with them and eventually try to introduce them to the church. Hopefully create some relationships and go from there. I am also preparing to help lead worship with my flatmate, Danny, in a couple of weeks. Danny is quite the guitar player and has been blessed with an awesome voice, so I don't feel any pressure since I can just play away in the background!

I worked yesterday, which was pretty normal (which means that it was abnormal by a lot of working enviroments standards). I stayed pretty busy with a lot of various tasks but the day ended well becaues I had the chance to spend a lot of time in the flats visiting the guys. One of our residents moved out into his own flat after a 4 month stay. It is rewarding to see a guy like him move on into supported accomodation. He came in with a hosts of problems and was viewed as a high support resident. He left yesterday as one of our best residents and a guy that had come to know the Lord during his stay.

Today I had food and hygeine training from 9-5 and am currently on my way to the house to finish the shift with the rest of my team (so I'll be working from 5pm-9pm). The weather here is still manageable, I am still finding the energy to run at least 4 times a week, which is encouraging. My new routine now involves a bicycle that I found in our flat! Instead of taking the bus to our training today I biked 20 minutes both ways, it's good transportation, excersise, and gives me a little bit of variety.

One last update....I saw the sun today :) That means two days in a row! I think I am going to start to identify the sun as a U.F.O since it is such a rare sighting! Not a lot sun here but still no complaints, I love what I am doing. Take care

Mike

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

I'm back!

O.K. I will get better at posting! I promise, think of it as a Thanksgiving resolution (even though I don't celebrate Thanksgiving here!) The reason I haven't been able to post is because I just got back from Paris yesterday morning. The week prior to that I was workign night shift! That meant one week of 12 hour shifts from 9 pm- 9 am! It was pretty uneventful because the guys are in bed around 12 and not up until around 8, so I spent a lot of time cleaning, watching some television, reading, and brushing up on my French. Probably the highlights of that week were when I fire alarm went off and when one of our residents came back so drunk that he forgot to use the bathroom and opted to use his pants! He is a bit of a hassle but our residents struggle with everything from drug addiction to severe mental problems, as is his case!

Hands down the best part of the past week was going to Paris! I was able to stay at the Mennonite Centre just outside of Paris and at the same time able to avoid all of the riots! I can't begin to tell you everything I did, but I'll try. The first weekend of every month all the meuseums and monuments (the monuments that cost money) are free, so I did it all! Eiffel Tower, the Arc, Notre Dame, the Louvre, Musee Rodin, Musee Picasso, Musee D'Orsay, Royal Palis, Petit Palis, Sacre Couer, Markets, Latin Quarter, Bastille, Pierre-Laizze Cemetery, The Catacombs....and some other stuff.

What was the best? Well I can honestly say I was blown away by the Eiffel Tower and the Notre Dame. These building are absolutely stunning! I also enjoyed the little things like watching 700 people on rollerblades (think of a giant parade) skate throughout the city, the spontaneous jazz concerts on the bridges, the warm weather, and the view from the Arc! Paris is awesome and I defintely encourage anyone to go there! Better yet I did all of that for under....15 Euros! However, the worst part of the week was when I threw away my Metro ticket, which I didn't know you had to hold onto, and the police stopped me to check that I had it! Unfortunately I didn't have it, and I didn't have 25 Euro's on me to pay the ticket. What is even worse is I didn't have my passport (whoops!) and the lady started threatening me that I would have to go to prison! By that time I was getting a little mad because here she was telling a foreigner he "should of known better," when they have thousands of youth rioting around the streets! I think they could have spent their time a little better! However, lucky for me they did take credit card! So the cost of that stupid ticket was double what I spent in one week in Paris. Oh well, live and learn.

This is my day off, I worked yesterday and I am hitting the grind again tommorrow. On Saturday the U.S. is going to beat Scotland here in Glasgow! So I'm heading to watch the match with some people from work and other volunteers. Pray that the U.S. wins or else I'll end up hearing about it until next August! Blessings!

Mike

Friday, October 21, 2005

Long time, no post!

Wow, sorry folks it's been so long. I took a week off from posting, and then the Internet went down here in Edinburgh, then I took off for Brussels and I just returned 3 days ago to find the city still having computer problems! But finally the mess is all sorted out and I can try to give a little insight into what has been going on in my life.

Highlights over the past 3 weeks...I had a chance to climb Aruthur's Seat which is the highest point in Edinburgh, it is absolutely beautiful and gives a great view of the city. Another day I had off I jumped on the wrong bus and ended up by the Craigmillar Castle. Normally vistors are charged 5£ to tour the castle but since they were just getting ready to shut it down the lady there allowed me to do a self guided tour for about 1 hour! It was fantastic! I finally was able to join a soccer team and I played my first game a couple weeks back. We are 5-1 and it's looks like I got lucky and joined the best team in the league! We have a game tommorow that I am gearing up for.

I have started attended a small church of about 100 people. There is a house group that meets every fortnight and I really feel at home in the congergation. I'm meeting with the pastor sometime soon to talk about ministry opportunities and to just connect with his family. They are from Flordia and his wife already offered to cook me a homemade meal!

Work is going just fine although it can be demanding. I just returned from 3, 12 hour shifts in a row and feel quite drained. I have the next 3 days off and then I work 7, 12 hour night shifts in a row! The rewarding part is that I get the entire following week off. The residents are great guys and girls but they demand a lot of attention. At times I find myself getting frustrated with their complete lack of motivation to move on from the House. Other times their complaints and bickering overwhelm the staff. However, I am encouraged when I see guys move into their own flats and even if I have a tough day everything is washed away when a resident asks me about my faith.

What else..? Oh yeah, Belgium! I was able to take 6 days off and go to Belgium to visit my friend Caroline. We studied at Bluffton together and she lives with her family just outside of Hasselt. She met me in Brussels where we spent the night and toured the city. She had friends in every city so lodging was cheap and food was provided! We then headed to a terrific little town called Lueven (spelling?) It is a town of predominately university students and has a great feel to it. We ended the week by going to the diamond city of Antwerp and then spending a couple of days relaxing at her home. All in all it was a fantastic trip and we were lucky to get such great weather!

Here in Scotland it is starting to cool down but I'm staying plenty warm! I'm still learning the city and am starting to feel more settled. Thanks for your prayers and e-mails. God Bless

Mike

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Hi

Let's see what has happened this past week since I posted last? Last Friday, Paula and I, one of my flatmates, both had the day off. So we visited Lauriston Castle, just outside of Edinburgh. There were some gardens, a tower built in 331, and some Roman ruins as well. The walk was great becuase we were right by the coast and the town, Crammond, is where a lot of fishing is done. That night about 5 or so of the volunteers came over and we watched a movie/played some games.

On Saturday and Sunday and Monday I worked! Things can go from quietly calm in the house to incredibly insane. On Sunday I worked the late shift and within the first hour one girl had taken an overdose, one guy's clothes had been stolen, and another guy was irrate because devotions were not on time!

One of the greatest things about Edinburgh is the amount of activity in the town. It also helps that I have made a lot of new friends through work. After work, which normally ends around 9, we head to a pub or a coffee shop where we know there is going to be live music. It makes for a cheap and affordable social life.

Yesterday I had the day off as well and headed to Rossilin Chapel/Castle. I just wanted to have a day trip by myself. THe great thing about working here is that my bus pass takes me to all of these places for free. However, upon entering the one road town of Rossilin I soon found out that the castle and chapel were closed. Why? Because Tom Hanks was there shooting film for the Da Vinci Code. I didn't know that is where parts of the Da Vinci Code took place, let alone that Tom Hanks was shooting a movie there.

One of the locals recommended that I take a walk in the nature preserve, which I did. It provided some nice views and waterfalls. Somehow I ended up pretty much on the set of the movie! I came behind the castle and was just walking through the graveyard when a guy came up to me and asked if I knew where the production team was meeting. I then looked to my left and saw all the equipment and what not for a movie production. I could of hung around but I split instead!

Today I walked around downtown Edinburgh. I could seriously spend at least 4 hours there everyday. I just love the streets and historic buildings. It was a good chance to get to know the town more.

Last night I also attended my first cell group with the church I have started to attend. This has also given me a connection to play some soccer. TOnight we were suppose to have practice but it got cancelled due to rain! Oh well, we have a match on Saturday so that is something else to look forward to.

Thanks for all the e-mails I get and I apologize for not responding sooner. I have a list of people I need to get in touch with so I will, I promise! Blessings

Mike

Thursday, September 22, 2005

It's been a long time!

I apologize for not putting a post up sooner folks! This is the second time I have had a chance to be online in about 10 days or so! So much has happened in the last two weeks. Lets see.... I have already started working. Today is my day off and the past two days were my first back to back 12 hour shifts. I have been blessed with a great staff to work with. There is about 25 of us and many are young adults like myself.

I spend my time at work doing everything from watching soccer matches with the clients (hard work huh?), playing pool with the clients, or when it gets really stressful I might have to eat meals with the clients! :) A lot of my job here is to create and build relationships with the guys and few girls in the flats. So I try to spend as much time just hanging out with them. However, it is not all fun and games. I spend more time preparing meals, interviewing potential clients, writing paperwork, reviewing files, and dealing with general problems. A lot of the residents come from broken homes and have experience with drug and alcohol abuse. Some have been victims of rape while others have severe mental challenges.

Outside of work I have also been enjoying myself. Bethany Trust (the place I'm working for) has a soccer team. I was able to practice with the team on Monday. I was also able to take a bus out to the Pentland Hills with some of my flatmates to see the rolling hills of Scotland. Recently I have gone to listen to live folk music, had 15 guests over for a game night, attended a soccer game with friends, climbed Calton Hill in Edinburgh, and more.

So far the weather here has been great. Today is unusually warm and clear outside which gives me another good reason to go downtown and soak in more of Edinburgh. The town is incredible and I live in such a perfect location. I am no more than a 5 minute walk from the water and a 7 minute bus ride from the city center.

Thanks for reading and God Bless

Mike

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Update time

It is 9 Am here in Edinburgh on Saturday morning. I had a full week of training at the Bethany House, just trying to learn the in and outs of the hostel. Every morning we start off with staff prayer and the night shift crew gives us a review. Our duties through out the day include preparing meals, taking referrals from possible clients, holding flat meetings, and visiting the clients.

We have 3 different levels of clients in the House. Low, medium, and high. We house 7 high clients, 14 medium, and 7 low. All of the clients are divided up into 6 flats, where they share a living room and kitchen. One flat is all women (right now only 4) while the rest are all men. Some of the clients, (the low level) simply lost their job and couldn't pay their rent, while other clients (high) are fighting problems with alcoholism and other addictions.

We do not allow clients in the House if they are intoxicated or if we feel that they are a danger to the House. The clients pay for their stay at the House with the money the government supplies them with for being unemployed. Their stays can last anywhere from a couple days to one year.

There are 26 members on staff, most of them are in their mid 20's early 30's. All have a great heart for the clients and the homeless people in Edinburgh.

Yesterday was my first experience of Edinburgh weather! It was rainy, cold, and windy! This morning (Sat) is much of the same. I was able to reserve a 1 hour slot here at the library which is only about a 2 minute walk from my flat. Last night I went to an African children concert with the rest of the volunteers. Today I am meeting some guys from work at the restaurant to watch a soccer game.

Things are going well with my flate mates. Although the guy I live with, Danny, is seldom around. We both work at the Bethany House but we will be on opposite shifts. So when I work 9-9 he is off that day, and vice a versa. Danny is from Edinburgh originally so he has a lot of connections and friends here and has given me some good advice about the city. Also, Nick, the volunteer from England, is also working at the House, but he too is on an opposite shift. What this boils down to is a lot of time with females! There are only 4 guy volunteers and 12 female volunteers. I think this is God's way of "domesticating" me! All my time in college and high school was spent with a bunch of guys so I figure I had this coming! Nevertheless I have learned that living with 3 girls means simply nodding and listening to what would look "cute" in our living room. :)

Well that is my update, Mon-Wed concludes my training with the rest of the volunteers. Thank you so much for all of your e-mails it means so much. I'm sorry I have not done the best job responding. Also I'm not sure if I put my updated address on here so here it is

Michael Moore
7 (2F2) North Fort
Leith
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
EH7 4EY

Monday, September 05, 2005

Hello From Edinburgh

Me and 7 other volunteers arrived in Edinburgh on Friday night after missing our flight from London. I have a flat downtown in the city and am sharing it with 3 girls and one other guy. They are from Scotland, Minnesota, Germany, and England respectively.

On Saturday we spent the whole day walking around the city, getting our bus passes, and seeing some tourist type sights. The city is amazing and quite beautiful. I am getting familar with the bus system and finding it quite easy to get around the city.

On Sunday we attended church and then had a huge picnic at one of the volunteer flats. Overall there are about 12 volunteers here so the social life is quite good. We are split up at three different locations in Edinburgh and all of us work within Bethany Christian Trust. Some work at charity shops, others in Public Relations, and coincidentally the only two other males work with me at Bethany House.

Scotland is quite differnt then the states! Surprise! Outside of driving on the other side of the road there is a lot slang that I have had to get use to. Pubs outnumber gas stations about 40-1, meat is a requirement at every meal, gas is petrol, rubbish is trash, and more.

Today was my first day at the Bethany House and I continue to have training until the end of the week. Right now my hours are 9-5 for this week and next week we have training the first couple of days. But eventually I will be working 9-9 shifts. Bethany is close to my flat, about a 7 minute walk, so I don't bother using the buses.

Thanks for checking in on me,

Mike

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

From London

I am still in London receiving my training at the TIme For God offices, which are connected with a hostel and church.

The weather has been great, I haven't noticed a difference from the states in that aspect. People here do drive on the left side of the road, I have seen a couple red phone booths and plenty of double decker buses!

Everyday we start and end with worship and have several meetings during the day. Today we talked about culture shock, English customs, and creating a network of support while working. The staff here encourages us with daily prayer and Biblical reflections during our time together.

Some members headed into London today but only far enough to see the London bridge because we had around 4 hours. I went with another large group to the Alexandria Palace which is the highest point in London and a short walk. I figured I needed more than a couple hours to digest London and I will come down here again.

We just finished supper and they actually have tea time here! I slept well last night and even ran a couple miles around London this morning! Until next time

Mike


Here is an e-mail that I sent out to some of my family yesterday

Let's see, I landed at Heathrow just fine around 11:00 London time and ended up having to wait 3 hours to leave the airport.? TFG was shuttling people in and out of the airport and it just so happens I was at the front of the last crew so I had a long wait.
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The flight was good, they served dinner, at 10:30 pm, but I probably slept only 1 hour so I am running a little low now.? Currently me and 50 other volunteers are at the TFG Conference Center.? It is pretty much a church, a hostel, and some office buidlings.? HOwever, I do have my own room and there are plenty of activities to do here like ping pong, a weight room, movies, musical instruments, and so on.?
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I have already met a ton of great people.? I would estimate about 15 of the 50 people here are from the United States.? One girl as close as Bolingbrookšçčllinois.? I have already met a lot of the people that will be working with me in Edinburgh.? I think I really have been blessed, one other fellow from the UK is working with me at the Bethany House and I belive we are living together in the same flat.
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I just got done eating dinner, at 12 central time!? But they feed us well, a choice of chicken, fish with potatoes or r ice, vegetable or salad, and dessert!? So don't worry family I am not going to starve.?
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Tommorow we have a small window of time to go and? take in some of the sights.? I know that 5 hours won't be enough to become fully enthralled in London but I hope to at least see some things like the palace, big ben, westminster abbey, picady cirrus... and so on.?
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Tonight we have worship and some general introductions.? Our day starts at 7:30 tommorow morning and the rest of the week is planned out with meetings and training.? I leave Friday at 12 to go up to Edinburgh.? God bless and thanks for the prayers
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Mike

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Almost time to leave!

Alright, well I am getting close to leaving and these past couple weeks have really sneaked up on me, much like I envisioned. My plane flies out on Monday night at 9:30pm and I will arrive in London at 11:30 (4:30am Central Time). My time in London is spent with the other volunteers as we get trained before we head out to our sites.

I did find out that there will be approximately 8 other volunteers working in Edinburgh. Three of them I believe I will be living with, however, that does not mean I will be working with them. This is why...the place I am working at is called the Bethany House, which is part of the Bethany Christian Trust. They have 8 different levels of care within Edinburgh. Which includes men and women's counseling centers, soup kitchens, second hand shops, drug rehab centers, and more. It is my guess that these other volunteers will be working with Bethany but perhaps not in the same area of concentration. Based on one e-mail to these volunteers it looks like a couple are from the United States, some from Denmark, Sweden, and the United Kingdom!

If you are wondering what exactly I will be doing at the Bethany House let me tell you! My title is "Full time Assistant Project Worker (aka Full time Volunteer) What the Bethany House does is provides temporary housing for those in need of a place to stay, in essence it is a hostel. My duties will include some busy work, things like, paperwork, keeping files up to date, staff meetings, being on duty, etc... A large part of my job is to build relationships with the clients through general interactions, like informal counseling and organized Bible studies. As a volunteer I am expected to coordinate with all the other areas of the Bethany Circle (rehab center, second hand shop) in order to help the clients find permanent housing and financial support. Lastly all volunteers are expected to pick a church and become actively involved. That could mean anything from simply attending to leading worship or teaching a Sunday School class. Since the Bethany House works so closely with a number of churches I am looking forward to becoming involved in one.

My work schedule is the same every week. I work two 12 hour shifts and then get two days off. So on Mon and Tues I could work from 9am-9pm (which is always the work hours) and then I would have Wed and Thurs. off. Every four weeks I will work one week of just overnight shifts (9pm-9am).

I will be living in a flat with 3 other volunteers. I looked up our address on mapquest and it is about 1.5 miles from the Bethany House. Public transportation has been paid for thanks to a nifty bus/rail pass so I will be taking a bus, rail, or hopefully riding a bike to work everyday.

Make sure you check out my links, I have a photoalbum link up so you can see what I see and experience while in Scotland. Also if you want to know about Bethany and Time For God (the volunteer agency) then check those links out.

My mailing address is as follows:

Michael Moore
1/1 Quality Street
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
EH4 5BB

I am confident that I will have some sort of access to the Internet, not that it is of incredible concern. But I know that this and e-mail will be the best ways for me to stay in contact with many of you. I will have a phone number but I have to wait to find out what it is.

In the meantime, God Bless and take care.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

About this Blog

I realize since I sent the mass e-mail's out that people are actually looking at this website. So I decided to update it a little in an effort to not disappoint. I know people are wondering about the phrase "Waching Gravity" so I am writing with an explanation. I suppose that the phrase "sounds" deep and meaningful but it's not!

Simple story, my junior year some guys were being loud in our hall at around 2 AM. My roomate, Dan, asked me, "What are they doing out there?" I responded, "Being obnoxious, throwing stuff, and watching gravity." I was rather pleased with that description of intoxicated college hooligans so it has now morphed in the name of this blog. I figured it is at least original.

If anything waching gravity could simply mean "watching life" or "observing." That is what this little spot of land on the internet is, just a plot to write about my life. For someone who is not good at keeping in touch I think this will be a good way for me to keep connected to my friends and family. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Introduction

This is the day this thing was created, but I don't expect to use it until next fall.