Jul 26, 2006

My Host Family.

My "Home Sweet Home" in Newark


Hot down, summer in the city.

The VBS theme is Surfing Safari

It was water day today

The youngest kids at snack time

One of my favorites- Johnny

My Tired Feet


The Saga of a Sad Scot.

Finally, here is the account of my return home, to which Sara alluded below -

On Friday 21st July I was due to leave St. Louis in the mid-afternoon, fly to Chicago, then from there to Glasgow, arriving in the early morning of Saturday 22nd. However, problem number 1 occured as we woke on that fatefull friday morning. As we lounged in Margo's front room, watching her 100,000,000" television, Sara said that she just got a voicemail from my mum wondering why I wasnt home. 'Thats odd.' I thought, 'I'm not meant to be home until tomorrow.' The the thought struck, 'Oh crikey, what if I was meant to get home today and I have missed my flight.' Somewhat panic stricken we tried to get onto Margo's wi-fi, but couldnt for some reason, so then had to go find a St. Louis Bread Co. (which has free wi-fi) to check my e-ticket. But, as was menitoned below, the storms had hit St. Louis pretty badly and we spent about 40 minutes looking for a Bread Co. with power. When we finally did we checked and I hadnt missed my flight - I was supposed to leave that day. On returning home I called my mother, who was in an understandable state of distress, and told her that I was to be home tomorrow. Well, it turned out that the airport transfer guy had been booked to pick me up on the friday, not the Saturday. In a state of excited anticipation of seeing Sara I had got confused and confirmed twice that I was arriving home on the 21st, not the 22nd. I'm a moron. However, we got it sorted and the panic was over. A sligthly stressful start to an already distressing day.

We got to the airport in time, and I got my plane to Chicago. Everything was okay, and I just wanted to get home. If I couldnt be with Sara, the quicker I could get home to my parents the better. We arrived in Chicago bang on time, and things were going well. When I left the plane I looked at the board to see what gate I had to go to to get my Glasgow flight. The board read 'Flight AA52, Departing 7.52pm, Notes: Departing 7am.' Oh yes, my flight was delayed by 12 hours! I wasnt sure what to do now, and so I called my parents and then called Sara. My natural British reserve told me to just sit down and wait it out. No point making a fuss, lets just wait. However my fiesty American fiancee told me that I had to get something in compensation from American Airlines. Somewhat reluctantly I agreed, and went and tried to get on another flight out that night, but no luck - the height of the season and there was no seat left. Sara then instructed me to go the ticket counter and demand something there. So I did, and they told me that they were giving out hotel rooms to those who should have been on the flight. So, I got my room voucher and then waited at the bus stance for about 30 minutes for the shuttle bus. That was fine. I was going to a hotel room and would get some sleep and a shower before the flight.

On arriving at the hotel it turned out that the shuttle bus didnt start running until 7am. 'But wait a minute' I hear you cry, 'isnt that when your flight was to take off?' Why yes it was! I would have to get a taxi to the airport to get me there on time. Of course returning from a holiday meant that I did not have a great deal of the old cash upon my person, but they would get a taxi that took a credit card, so that was okay.

My wake up call came at 4am (as did my wake up call from Sara, and the alarm going off - I wasnt taking any chances!), and I got up and went down stairs for the taxi. A taxi arrived with a couple of pilots and as the ordered taxi hadnt arrived yet I figured I will just take this one. I had the other one cancelled and went out to the car. But, in keeping with the theme of this journey, things werent to be that simple. The pilots who had come out of the taxi had no money to pay the driver and so were calling people to try and get credit card details to pay the driver. For about 15 minutes I sat in the cab waiting to go. Eventually, at 4.50am, it was sorted and we peeled out of the parking lot, with tires squeeling, Dukes of Hazzard style. The driver turned to me and declared 'I gotta get gas, it'll be 10 mintues.' So, we got gas and then peeled out of the petrol station. It was the wildest car ride I have ever taken. Literally ever corner we went round the tires squeeled. We were doing 60mph on city streets. It was ri-donk-ulous. But he did a 20 minute journey in about 10 and I got to the airport on time. (he also charged me $40 for it - I am claiming it back from AA).

At 6.30 we all boarded the plane and at 7am we pulled away from the terminal, finally flying home. But, of course, it couldnt end there. When we taxied to the runway, we stopped. And waited. Then turned round. The pilot sighed over the intercom 'In doing our final checks we found a mechanical error. We dont think it'll stop us flying, but we need an engineer to check it out.' So, back to the terminal we went. Just under an hour later we finally took off and got back to Glasgow.

Finally home in Scotland I left the plane, only to find that 3 flights had got in at once, and the 2 guys appointed to check the British passports were somewhat overwhelmed. It took me over an hour to get through passport control and collect my bags. At 10.30 pm I finally was reunited with my parents, and their friend who had kindly offered to drive through to pick me up from the airport. At 12.30 I was in my house - home at last!

So, thats my story. It was some journey, and I would be glad never to have one like it again!



Alex wanted me to offer a small explanation of why we took engagement photographs. It seems that it might be a new concept to some of you out there. Well, engagement photos are used for annoucements in newspapers, for various pre-wedding activities, and are in general just part of the wedding photograph package. Often times the pictures are taken at a location that is special to the couple, either the location of a first date, the place they met, or perhaps where the engagement occurred. (We are hoping to get to the funeral home at some point and snap just a few pictures for fun!) Alex and I decided on the Grand Basin at Forest Park because it is where ended up the first night that Alex was in Saint Louis back in January. It has become a special spot to us and seemed like the perfect place to snap a few pictures together.

By the way, the electricity is back in Saint Louis. My parents went 6 days!

New Jersey is going well. We went to a Brazilian barbecue last night at 10 pm! More updates to follow......


Jul 24, 2006

Pictures and Power Outages.

Apologies for the lack of posting of late. The last week of life has been a bit crazy. For those of you who haven't heard last Wednesday night Saint Louis was hit by some mighty powerful storms. We lost power around midnight and as of this evening there is still no electricity at the humble Campbell home. We are apparently among 6oo,ooo St. Louisans that have had some loss of power as a result of the storm. (you can read more about it at www.stltoday.com)

To make a bad situation worse, Thursday was the hottest day of the summer with the thermometer reading temperatures over 113 degrees! Alex and I spent a lot of the day seeking refuge in air conditioned buildings such as the mall, Target, and even my car! Thanks to the generosity of my dear friend Margot (Maggie) we had a cool place to sleep on Thursday night.

Friday was a sad day for this young couple. We braved the heat of the apartment in order to get Alex packed off and after savoring a few hours together we said some tearful goodbyes at the security checkpoint at the airport. While my parents and I sought the cool shelter of the mall and a few bridal shops (the dress shopping has begun!) Alex was attempting to make his way back home. He ran into a few problems in Chicago and ended up spending the night in a Holiday Inn and catching an early flight Saturday morning. (I'll let him tell the full story) Friday night we enjoyed the hospitality of the VandeKamp family and camped out in their basement.

Saturday rolled around and still no power. I spent most of the morning packing my bags for a mission trip with high school students to Newark, New Jersey. I caught a plane out of Saint Louis Saturday evening and left my parents to brave life without power.

So, as you can see its been a busy week for us. I'm currently in Newark with 7 high school students. We are working with a Brazilian church doing two different VBS programs. We'll be here until Saturday then we'll head into NYC for a few days of fun before heading back towards the S-T-L.

I've attached a few of the engagement photos that Maggie took in Forest Park on Thursday. Nothing like have pictures taken on the hottest day of the year! I think we look pretty good considering it was 113 degrees outside!


Jul 18, 2006

Engagement Party.

Our friend John driven a little crazy by the fountain d'chocolat.

Last night my parents hosted a little shindig in honor of our engagement. There was wine, cheese (much to Alex's delight), salmon, a chocolate fountain, and lots of good friends to share in our excitement. It was a fitting start to a year's worth of celebrations. Here are some pictures (thanks Katie Moon).


Jul 15, 2006


(check that ring!)

Today myself, my fiancee and her parents went to see the Cardinals play the Dodgers. It was a very fun way to spend the afternoon, but crikey was it hot.... like, 110F! Crazy go nuts. So, after the game we went to Ted Drewes for some frozen custard, and came home. A good time was had by all, but we are now sitting in the cool of the apartment, recovering and trying to get our body temperatures down to a somewhat normal level, and looking at cutlery.


Jul 14, 2006


Dear world,
Welcome to the life of Alex and Sara. To begin with, we would like to announce that we have just got engaged! Yup, as in, to be married. Wednesday night, at 10pm, in Gerber Chapel Funeral Home's car park, Miss Sara L. Allen agreed to be my wife. As you can imagine we are both in a state of excitement. Having both declared our aversion to open-diary blogs, we have decided to start this one in order to keep friends and relatives on both sides of the Atlantic (as well as those in Africa and Asia) informed as to developments in our life. Welcome to our life.


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