Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Budapast is the Best!

Hello Everyone,

We’re refreshed after our weekend trip to Budapest, Hungary and I just wanted to fill you in! Yes, we went to Budapest this past weekend…that’s our 12th country since moving here, and it was just as exciting as the first! Honestly, we couldn’t have asked for a better autumn trip. We saw and did just about all there was to do.

We arrived in the evening and we got the layout of the city, strolled down Vaci street (shopping district) and went for a big Hungarian style meal. Hungarian means meat…and lots of it (at least that was our experience). So, Sarah and I went to a place that was mentioned in one of our guidebooks. The portions were big and the place was friendly. We went to leave a tip at the end of the meal and our waiter said that we had left too much…so he only took about half of it. After that we went back to our Hotel that was on the outskirts of the town so we had to take public transportation and such.

The next day we awoke to a breakfast at the hotel and then we were back on the tram headed into the heart of Budapest. I wanted to hit the Turkish baths first so we headed over Liberty Bridge to the Gellert Hotel, which is also famous for its baths. We bought our ticket and found ourselves in the infamous Turkish baths with all the other tourists and locals (and yes, I did experience the steam room, Milliken…and you were right). After spending the morning in the baths we left and went up Gellert hill to the Citadel were there is a statue that can be seen from anywhere in Budapest. It was quite a hike to the top so we stopped and took some photos and stuff before heading back down. On the way down we stopped at the monument to Saint Gellert himself. He was a Bishop who was a martyr.

We then went to the Castle District, and saw, well, the castle! Had lunch at another place mentioned in our guidebook—a cafeteria of sorts. We ate bean soup and chicken and potatoes…good hearty food again. Then on to the Parliament building. It wasn’t open cause it was Sunday, but it’s a great old building. Then on to St. Margaret Island, in the middle of the Danube River. We had been walking all day long, so we rented a hilarious 2-person bike thing, where we sit side-by-side and pedal this little car together. The island was beautiful, basically just a park, but with the autumn leaves changing, it was amazing. By the time we finished here it was dark. We headed across town to the State Opera House, a beautiful old building with winding staircases and 3 ton chandeliers! All red and gold inside. We asked if there was an opera on that night, and there was! It (an Opera called Jenufa) started in an hour, so we bought some great seats in the middle on the floor (not balcony). This was our biggest splurge—about 25 pounds. A ¼ of the cost of our entire trip! (Notice it was a CHEAP trip!) We were the only people there in jeans and backpacks, but we didn’t care! The opera was simply amazing, the best part of our trip.

We got back to the hotel late that night, then woke the next morning to check out. We put on our packs and headed back into town for a few more hours of wandering the streets and shops and the Jewish Quarter before heading back to the airport. The trip had basically no hitches, and ended up being just perfect!

So next up is our trip home to America for Christmas! We are so super excited! We will spend most of the time in Arkansas, but will be spending New Year’s Eve till the 3rd in Ohio. Now, Ohio friends, we did want to surprise you all and just show up at a party, so we confided our secret plan to Liz Dally, the only one who was supposed to know…but she let the cat out of the bag! All of a sudden we are getting emails from Ohioans saying they are excited to be seeing us over New Years! So, no surprise anymore (never tell Liz a secret!! j/k), we are definitely coming up to old BG. We’ll be there a few days, so we hope to see you all.

Write us soon with any updates, and we look forward to seeing almost everyone on this email list hopefully at Christmas!!

We love you,
Jason and Sarah Suel

PS: For all the music fan out there, on Sunday (Nov. 12th) Sarah and I went to see MUSE in concert in Cardiff, Wales. They were ace! Rockin’ tunes and great beats. Get into that!

At the Gellert Thermal Baths (check out Sarah's awesome rental suit!)
Sarah with a view of Budapest Castle
Jason (looking cool in his Tapes t-shirt) with a view of the Parliament
Inside the awesome State Opera House

Monday, October 30, 2006

One Year in the UK!

Okay, so this blog is a little late. We actually celebrated our one-year anniversary of living here on October 28th. One year in the UK…we can’t believe it! So, I thought to celebrate I would list 28 things that we would not have experienced if we had not moved here. Here goes:

Meeting a wonderful new group of friends whom we cherish
Hearing the waves crash against the shore of Wales
Finding Platform 9 ¾ at Kings Cross Station in London (thanks to Harry Potter)
Celebrating Christmas on a crisp day in Paris, France
Listening to everyone’s “America” stories…Brits all seem to have at least one
Eating a true Belgian Waffle in Brussels
Coping with our extremely unstylish flat…complete with mismatched furniture
Lighting fireworks on Guy Fawkes Day…the 5th of November
Experiencing the Marionette Theatre in Prague, Czech Republic
Getting “Footloose” with our friend Suzy in Bristol
Biking up to the highest point of Corfu, Greece
Learning how to order a meal at a Pub
Exploring ruins in Saronda, Albania
Learning the intricacies of the British driving system
Taking in the sunset from the Algarve in Portugal
Involving ourselves in the ministry of Hereford Baptist Church
Chalking up 900 miles on the odometer as we experienced Ireleand/Northern Ireland
Running a marathon in Blackpool
Chummin’ around with Patrick in Gaudi’s home: Barcelona, Spain
Remembering to call them “trousers” and not “pants”
Seeing and hearing Big Ben for the first time
Using a myriad of new terminology, like: mingin, bangers n’ mash, bits, and burgle
Taking pictures with friends outside of London’s “Filthy McNasty’s”
Changing from Fahrenheit to Celsius
Teaching our Hereford friends the difference between a taco and a burrito
Learning how to make British style flapjacks…not the pancake kind
Watching Sarah perform in the musical “Singin’ in the Rain”
Establishing ourselves in Hereford, England and all its quaint beauty

Of course all these things, as great as they are, will never replace the memories and experiences that we share with all of our friends Stateside. And family, we miss you more today than ever. We hope to see all of you, family and friends, very soon so that we can make some more memories. Thanks for reading all the communications we send out and, as always, we would love to hear from you.

Sincerest Love,

Jason and Sarah

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Rugby, Running, and Random

Hello gang,

It’s been a while, so let’s talk. Since the last email, Sarah and I haven’t visited any new and exciting countries…we’ve just had a nice relaxing time here in the UK…but that doesn’t mean our lives have been dull and mundane…I’ll fill you in.

We went to a concert in Cardiff, Wales…the band is called Embrace. They are pretty big here in the UK and getting bigger in the States. The night was fun…Sarah and I haven’t been to a concert since seeing Gavin DeGraw in Toledo…we’ll be in Cardiff to see Muse on Nov. 4th…that’s another concert I’m looking forward to!

My birthday, as you may remember, was on Sept. 3rd. Sarah bought us tickets to a Rugby match in the nearby town of Bristol…the game was Bristol vs. Bath. These are two cities that are close to each other so the match was something of a local rivalry. We went with our friends Claire and Jez and had a wicked time! I’ve been to a few football (soccer) matches, but Rugby was different. The rules are similar to American Football, so it was easy to understand it…and even when we didn’t understand it, we still were able to enjoy getting into the game with the crowd around us. The final score of the game…I think, was Bristol’s 27 to Bath’s 22, which was good because we were supporting Bristol. So that was a lot of fun.

The next exciting thing I did was run the Cardiff Half Marathon on October 15th. There was much more support for this event than when I ran the full Marathon in Blackpool this past June. I did feel like a sell-out because I opted for the Half Marathon instead of the Full, but it was a good challenge and it was fun. Sarah is such a trooper…she always goes to these Marathons and walks around with the camera and takes my picture…so we’ve got some pics now.

As for traveling, we’ve got a trip booked for Budapest, Hungary in November. Then in February, we’ve booked a trip with our friends Claire and Jez to go skiing in Bulgaria! We are SUPER excited about both of these things.

On the other hand, some rather tragic news nearly stopped us in our tracks this month. A very dear friend of ours was killed in a car accident. His name was Preston Pahl. He was a great friend of ours in Bowling Green and he was the fiancée of another dear friend, Suzy Dally. You may remember that Suzy is one of the few people who have come to visit us here in England. We lived with the Dally family for a couple of months before we moved to England, so we are close to the whole family. To say the least, everyone in Bowling Green is aching over this loss. We are too. He was killed on his way back to University when a Semi ran into him from behind forcing him to go head first into oncoming traffic. He died on the scene. My heart aches for Suzy. They were engaged for one day shy of a month, by my calculations. I can’t imagine the situation that Suzy is in, but I do know one thing…it made me consider how blessed I am to still be living the life that I love. And, I encourage you to look at your life as well and think if you died tomorrow, would you be proud of the life you’ve lived? It’s a hard question and it’s okay to wrestle with it.

For our friends Suzy and the Dally family, and the Pahl family, we ask for your prayers and support. They need it. Needless to say, worlds have been drastically changed.

For those of you who don’t know, we’ll be coming home this Christmas. We’ll be home for 2 weeks, which will be great. Anyone interested in meeting up with us, please get in touch. We’re happy to meet up with as many friends as we can.

We hope to hear from you all soon, and love getting updates and pictures from all of you.

Love from England,
Jason and Sarah

Pictured: 1. An English Country Lane. 2. The Rugby Match. 3. Finishing the Half Marathon in Millenium Stadium. 4. After the Marathon, outside Cardiff Castle.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Singin' in the Rain w/Louie


So, It’s been a little while since we last informed you about our exciting lives…I’ll pick up where I left off. Our friend Patrick left and as soon as he was gone Sarah started rehearsals for the Courtyard Theatre’s production of “Singin’ in the Rain.” She is now into the run of the production. It’s going great for her. She is having an interesting experience to say the least. She is working from 9 to 5 as usual and after that she’s off to the theatre from 6:30 until 10:30. I think she’ll be glad when it’s over, but she is enjoying it while it lasts.

Also, Sarah made friends with another member of the community cast. She is in the community cast but she is not from this community. She is from Winchester. She had accommodation for a little while but when that was over, she didn’t have anywhere to stay. And, we decided to invite her to stay with us. So, for most of the month of September we will have the lovely Saira Belle staying with us. It’s been a trip. She stays in the living room and we have to be as quiet as mice ☺

My job is going well. I really don’t have much to report about that except to say that I love it!

Get into this…we totally met Louie Giglio. I realize that name may not mean anything to some of you. But, he is a huge evangelical preacher in the US. His name is associated with the Passion Movement, One Day, Chris Tomlin, and the David Crowder Band. We have heard him speak on a few special occasions. However, we are always in the crowd with thousands of other people. Well, before Louie was a big speaker and he was just a campus pastor in Texas, he used to do short term missions to England and even to the county of Herefordshire! So, he was back. Speaking to a crowd of about 800. And at the end of his talk, we walked right up to him and talked. It was totally weird. Before, we had only seen him on a platform surrounded by so many people and now we were just talking to him. We heard him give 2 messages…they were both inspiring. Anyway, I figured some of you who are Louie fans would want to know that.

Our next trip will be to Budapest in November. We just booked it yesterday. But before then we have a slew of other interesting things to look forward to. We are seeing two concerts: Embrace and Muse. And I’m running a half-marathon in Cardiff. Also, for my birthday (Sept. 3…27 years) Sarah got tickets to a Rugby game on Oct. 1st. It’s going to be fun. Our friends Claire and Jez will be going with us. That will be sweet!

Speaking of my birthday. We had a really nice time. We barbecued up at Claire and Jez’s and later that night we went old school and set up a fort in the living room. A fort is, you know, made of clothespins, sheets and chairs. We watched a movie under there. Sweet!

Also, be thinking about us on Tuesday. We are taking the first part of our Driving Test…the theory part. I know you probably think it will be easy because we have been driving…but the test system is so different here. About 50% of people fail their first time. If we fail…it will stink for both of us…so, pray for us on Tuesday.

I guess that is about all. Again, we have more photos available at www.suelfam.blogspot.com AND I have finally bitten the bullet and set up a myspace account. I have been avoiding setting it up, but now it’s done and I would love for you to add us as a friend. You’ll find us at www.myspace.com/suelfam. Email back with exciting updates!

Happy September and good luck to all you students!

Jason (and Sarah)

Pics: 1. Sarah in "Singin' in the Rain" 2. Jason and the ole b-day cake 3. Sarah and some of the cast (Saira, our houseguest, is next to Sarah) 4. All the friends in "the fort" for the b-day party!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Oh, The Places We've Seen

Hello to you again, friends

Wow, we have had an exciting month! But, whew I’m glad we are settled again. We last left you as we had just returned from Portugal. Since then we had a weekend in Ireland and Northern Ireland, a weekend in Barcelona, a week with our friend Patrick visiting from the States, and another weekend in London. Let’s get up to speed…

The Ireland Trip…
We flew into Belfast, which is the capital of Northern Ireland. At the airport we rented a car…our means of travel! We had a day and night in Belfast and on that first day we traveled to the northern most tip of the country to a place called the Giant’s Causeway: a collection of natural hexagonal rocks. The only other one like it in the world is on the coast of Scotland. In fact, both formations were once a part of the same chain…the rocks were formed from volcanic activity. We then drove around Ireland taking in the Cliffs of Moher, the Dingle Peninsula, Clonmacnoise (an ancient Monastic city), The Rock of Cashel, and the towns of Dingle, Cork, Blarney (home of the Blarney stone) and Dublin where we ended our trip.

I can’t say enough about what a great time we had. We put 900 miles on the car we rented and when we returned it we were exhausted. But, the beauty we took in was unmatched.

The Barcelona Trip…
Well, just getting to Barcelona was a trip in itself. Our original flight had a layover in Frankfurt, Germany. Upon arrival in Frankfurt we were informed that the employees of the Barcelona airport went on strike, which wouldn’t be resolved that day. So, after waiting in the line for the transfer desk for about 5 hours, we were finally told that the best the airline could offer us was to fly us out in about a half hour to Düsseldorf, where the airline would pay for us to have a night in a hotel. After the hotel and early the next morning we would board a flight to Barcelona. And that’s exactly what we did. So, instead of arriving in Barcelona Friday morning, we got in on Saturday morning. All in all, we didn’t lose much time in Barcelona, but we did gain a few grey hairs from the airport turmoil.

Once we got to Barcelona we met up with our great friend Patrick Peringer. I invite you to check out his website (http://myspace.com/peringer) if you want to hear more about the trip. But, from our perspective it was a great time. Barcelona is the city of Gaudi. Gaudi is an artist, whose sculptures and architectural designs are prominent in the city. In fact, some say that Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia is to Barcelona what the Eiffel Tower in to Paris. We took in the Gaudi (and his contemporaries), enjoyed the street performers along Las Ramblas (the main city strip), and tanned and swam at the beach. It was Patrick’s first time to swim in the sea and he was “well chuffed” about it (well chuffed is a British expression for very excited). It was great fun in Barcelona, and although our time in Barcelona was over…our time with Patrick was just beginning!

Patrick’s Visit…
Patrick was with us for a little over a week and we did a lot in that time despite both Sarah and I having to work. We explored Hereford and introduced Patrick to our friends here. Many laughs were shared over card and dice games. We went for a walk in the nearby Forest of Dean. We took Patrick to our local (and favorite) castle called Goodrich castle. We went to a local pub. We went for a night out in our neighboring town of Worcester where we ate Portuguese food and saw “The Breakup” at the cinema. And then we were off to London.

All of our visiting guests love to visit London. With Patrick, we did the usual: Big Ben, Westminster Abbey (we actually went inside this time), Trafalgar and Leister Squares, St. Paul’s, the London Eye, Millennium Bridge, Shakespeare’s Globe, Buckingham Palace (we witnessed the changing of the guard…in the rain ☹) and the parks. After, just about two days of this we left Patrick. He had one more night to spend and a flight to catch early the next morning. I do know that after he left us he went to the Tate Modern Museum and thoroughly enjoyed the Kandinsky exhibit.

Back To Normal?

Not exactly… I am still finding my footing for my new job. Sarah has now started rehearsals for “Singin’ in the Rain.” I’m not in it because it conflicts with my new job. But, I work for the theatre, which is doing the show, so I do have some involvement. And, we are studying up for our driving test. That’s right…driving test. We are allowed to drive on our U.S. license for up to one year and then we have to pass both written and practical parts of the U.K. drivers test. I know…it’s dumb. But, that’s the way it is. So, we have to pass the test before October 28th (that was our date of arrival one year ago).

So, are things normal? No…but we wouldn’t have it any other way! That’s all for now, but we would love to hear from all of you. Sent us an email if you get a chance.

Love to All,

Jason (and Sarah)

Pictured: Jason and Sarah at the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland (the pic with hexaganol shaped rocks). Jason and Sarah in front of the majestic Cliffs of Moher (Ireland). Patrick and Jason in front of the south entrance to Sagrada Familia (Barcelona). Jason and Sarah near Gaudi's infamous Lizard Fountain in Barcelona.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

New Job and a Visit to the Algarve

Pictures) The beach in Portugal...cliffs and caves!
We took kayaks through the caves for a first-hand look inside them. It was pitch black inside some of them, and with the waves pushing us UP and DOWN about to knock our heads into the sides of the caves, it was a bit scary! But worth it!

Hello all!

For those of you who don't know, we've got great news...Jason's got a new job here in Hereford! He'll be starting as the Education Officer/Youth Drama Person at the local theatre in Hereford! It's the Courtyard Theatre. This means he'll be in charge of all the youth theatre (including directing "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" for 2 casts of 80 kids!!) as well as working with all the primary schools in Herefordshire. He'll collaborate with the primary school teachers and lead interactive workshops for the classes on whatever subject the teacher is doing at that time. For example, he had to do a workshop for his interview as a practice, and he did one on "Unity and Diversity". He did loads of activities with the kids teaching them about this subject.

Anyways, this is great news, and means he'll start August 1. It is a full-time job with good pay. He gets 4 weeks vacation time (not quite as much as normal, but still good!) plus holidays and sick leave. Since he starts in August, and then doesn't get a vacation till Christmas (he has to take them when the kids are out), we're getting a lot of traveling in now...

So we've just gotten back from another adventure, this time in the Algarve. That means Portugal. We went with our friends Claire and Jez, and Claire's brother Keith. Claire's friend's fiancee's parents have this place that we got for a super good deal....luxurious golf resort! The beaches in Portugal are unbelievable, with cliffs above them and steep long staircases leading you from the cliffs to the beaches. All along the beaches there are caves in these cliffs. We kayaked inside the caves and took a boat trip one day all through the caves. So cool. (Until I found out I get seasick...just like in the movies, I was puking over the side of the boat...not my most glorious moment!)

Anyways, after I send this email, I'll be putting some pics on our blogsite, so check them out.

We leave for a roadtrip through Northern Ireland and Ireland on Friday! Another long weekend of fun! Also, Jason and I celebrate 4 years of marriage this Thursday! Yay!

Missing you all but having a blast in Europe!

The Suels

Pictured: 1. Took a boat trip through the caves. 2. Jason, Sarah, Keith, Claire, and Jez on the boat. 3. Walking through the town of Lagos to eat fresh fish for dinner one night.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Summer Has Started!

Hello Family and Friends,

Well we have a lot to update you on, so I’ll get right to the good stuff. I’ve decided to divide this email into sections, so that it will be easy for you to devour. If you are like me and have trouble holding your attention for the duration of a long email, treat the sections of this email like chapters in a book…feel free to take a nap or have a snack after you have finished the section. But, be sure to return to the email for “another exciting chapter in the lives of Jason and Sarah Suel!” (to be said in some announcer voice)

Sports and Leisure:

Well, we are actively involved now in some sporting activities that you should know about. First, Sarah has continued her impressive regimen at the gym…getting up at 7 in the morning to exercise…sometimes I join her. She has also started taking some classes at the gym with our friends Claire and Rosanna.

I have been playing squash at the gym with Sarah and also with my friend Jez. We aren’t really that good, but it’s a fun game and it’s similar to racquetball. Sarah and I really became great friends in college while playing racquetball, so the game holds great memories for us. I decided to take my squash game to the next level and, along with friends Jez and Chris, have joined the squash league. Exciting!

Finally, on June 4th, I ran in the Blackpool marathon. Marathons in England are different...to say the least. There is nothing like running a marathon and have few to no supporters. The last few miles, which are usually full of people cheering you on, are basically full of tumbleweeds and people giving us funny looks. I would let Sarah type some on this subject but she gets too frustrated and angry. Anyway, despite lack of support I finished the Marathon in a little over 4 hrs. Not the time I trained for, but not bad considering. I am planning to do the next one in October in Cardiff and then, hopefully, London!


Well, you can count two more countries as having been visited by us. This month we took our much-anticipated vacation to Greece. Unlike our other trips where we have tried to see the landmarks and stuff in the city we were visiting, this time we just wanted to relax. So, we didn’t go to Athens or Crete or Rhodes or any of the super well-known Greek places. Instead we had a great time on the Island of Corfu (Rhoda Beach to be exact). We stayed for one week and that week saw us rent bikes and cycle to the highest point on the island (Mt. Pantakrator), we rented bikes and found some more secluded beaches away from the main tourist path, we had a night out in Corfu Town where we did some shopping and took in the sights, and finally we took a ferry boat trip to the country of Albania…that’s right Albania! We visited Saranda…an impoverished town that is trying desperately to improve its economy, and we visited the ancient city of Butrint. This little city was basically just ruins. We had a tour guide and all and he showed us all around and we could see the Greek, Roman, Turkish, and Venetian influences…really interesting place! And, one more country we can say that we have set foot in!


On a very exciting note, Sarah and I have both auditioned and been accepted into the cast of “Singin’ in the Rain.” The musical is being presented at our local theatre and I am so excited about being in the cast with Sarah! The only other play we’ve been in (the only play Sarah has been in) was “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” back in 1999. So, be sure to send your congratulations to Sarah. She had to audition and perform a song and everything! I’m so proud of her!


Another exciting moth awaits us. Towards the end of July we will be vacationing in Ireland and Northern Ireland…two more countries! And, as soon as we get home our great friend will visit us from Bowling Green, Mr. Patrick Peringer. We are so excited about his visit! He’ll be here for a week and a half or so…oh man, can’t wait!

Well I guess that just about does it for now.
We love you all and hope to her from you (or see you) very soon,

Jason (Sarah)

Pictured are Jason at the Blackpool Marathon (with Blackpool Tower in the background), Sarah at the ancient city of Butrint, Albania ducking under some ruins, the lovely view from our beach towels on Rhoda Beach, and Jason and Sarah on their bike ride to the highest point on Corfu Island!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Inviting the Abbotts and Prague

Hello Friends & Family, Blokes and Girls, Lads and Lasses,

It’s Jason here writing to tell you about the exciting lives of the “SuelFam.” This month we have much to discuss and it centers around two interesting subjects: namely, the visit from Sarah’s Parents (the Abbotts) and our recent trip to Prague, Czech Republic.

First, let’s tackle the Abbott trip. Sarah’s mom and dad flew into the UK on an overcast spring day and much to their dismay…the weather didn’t get much better. For the week and a half they were here we did a lot of cool stuff though. I’ll recap the highlights:
• Driving all over Herefordshire and viewing the beautiful scenery and seeing some pretty need little villages
• Celebrating Easter with a big meal at our friends’ Claire and Jez’s house. There were at least 15 guests in total and after our big meal we threw around the American football that Sarah’s dad brought us (me) from the States.
• Going to a proper Castle called Goodrich Castle which is about 30 minutes from our door
• Experiencing Stratford-on-Avon (Shakespeare’s home): we took in the regularly touristy stuff as well and seeing Romeo and Juliet as performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company
• Navigating our way through Bath, which is one of our favourite places to take our guests but on this occasion, it was so busy that I had to drive around a parking garage for over 30 minutes…the Abbotts were freakin’ out!
• And, of course, there was London…all the usual highlights with one added benefit…the wheelchair. Let me tell you the London underground has never heard so much squealing as when me and Mr. Abbott helped Sarah’s mom down an escalator!

They flew out on a rather pleasant Monday, we breathed a quick sigh of relief and we were off again! This time we flew to Prague on Saturday and stayed until Monday. Prague is definitely a city we would recommend. It is different enough to where you are really taking in another culture and it is small enough that it is manageable. The only problem is that it is full of tourists!

We took in the Castle, the Astronomical clock (when it was built, the artist was blinded after he had built it so that he could never create another like it…yikes!), the Art Nouveau (the movement started here), and, of course, Marionettes. Yes, the Marionette tradition dates back 300 years in Prague so I was in puppet heaven! And I managed to get Sarah to let me buy a handcrafted Czech Marionette. Another interesting fact, Prague is the home of Good King Wenceslas of Christmas Song fame. Actually, he wasn’t a king but a duke. Either way, Sarah and I were humming the Carol for most of the trip.

And now we are home again to relax for the next couple of weeks until June 4th when I will be running the Blackpool Marathon…excitement is building and training is going well. I can’t describe to you how beautiful it is here in the springtime. Flowers are blooming and they have many flowering trees. There are fields of yellow amongst the green. I assume this is some sort of yellow flower/weed, but when there is an entire field of yellow it is truly breath taking.
Be sure to check out our new pictures on our Webshots page (there’s a link to the Pic Archive on the right hand side of this page). There is plenty of new material there. We hope this email finds you well and enjoying your spring. We’ll email you again soon, but until then email us back and let us know what is going on with all of you. We LOVE to hear about your lives!

Jason (Sarah)

(Pics: 1. The Abbotts in Stratford-on-Avon 2. The Abbotts in front of Big Ben 3. What the Czech!?! An interesting street sign in Prague 4. The Astronomical Clock in Prague)

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Suel's Relaxing with Friends and Family

Hanging out with Suzy, on a typical Herefordshire country walk and partying in Bristol (with random boys who jumped in our picture!)
Hello all!

Well, for once we're not sending you pictures of a trip we've recently gone on! We've been taking it easy since we got back from Belgium, France, and the States. We had Suzy Dally visiting for about 10 days once we got home from America, and we had a blast with her, of course. We visited several different cities, saw the sights, and enjoyed the simple Herefordian life with her. Since then, we've had several weekends now of just hanging out, something we haven't had in awhile. It's been nice.

Jason's news: Still working as a youth worker, still enjoying it. He's ready to lead a drama class of his own, and his boss is up for it. So he's planning that now. Jason was sick last week, a bacterial infection that lasted about a week. But it's almost gone now, just a small cough left. Jason and I are going to start up an 18-30s ministry at our church, and will be having our first meeting April 7. We'll see how that goes! And Jason is also still playing guitar in the Sunday evening services at our church. This is the more contemporary, casual service. They call it a Cafe Service, cause there's tables and quizzes and snacks. It's fun.

Sarah's news: Still loving my job, it's going great. It's been getting busier, I've recieved over 10 new patients this week, so I'm up to >30 now. It's crazy trying to schedule in that many people! But it's good being that busy, too. I've never bored! I'm starting up my first community group soon, teaching an Anxiety Management group to about 8 old ladies who suffer from panic attacks. Should be interesting! I'm looking for a venue and transport now, so once that works out, I should be up and running. Still working out at the gym about 4 mornings a week. Still on my own 3 evenings a week while Jason works (that's what's happening now).

The Abbott's (Sarah's parents) will be visiting on Easter week, for about 12 days. Looking forward to being crammed in our tiny house for that long! Just kidding, but we are looking forward to showing off our little town and home. We'll be heading to Bath, Stratford-upon-Avon (for some Shakespeare!), and London. Also, all the surrounding villages around Herefordshire. Should be fun!

We've just had daylight savings time here (yours in the States is coming up), and it's still bright and sunny outside now with it being almost 7pm. It's already throwing me off!

We're heading to Northampton this weekend, for a little getaway for one night. We found a sweet Spa Weekend deal online in a 4-star hotel. It looks beautiful!

We'll talk to you soon, keep us updated. Send us some info on you, and we'll look forward to hearing from you! We love you all!

Jason and Sarah Suel
Top: Jason's family (parents, sister & her hubbie, and newphews)
Middle: Sarah's mom and grandma
Bottom: New friends Claire and Jez (we love them!)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Great Times & Rocky Times

Hello all,

I (Jason) am writing this blog from the Atlanta airport. Crazy, I know…we are back in the States, unannounced. Unfortunately this is due to the recent passing of my Grandfather on my Father’s side, my Pappaw. This happened Monday morning and we should arrive back home Tuesday night in time for the funeral on Wednesday…hopefully I’ll have sent this email by then. You should know that my Pappaw died peacefully in his sleep due to heart complications. His health had been declining these past few months so, although we are certainly saddened by the news, we are not shocked by it. He is survived by his wife, my Mammaw, who is as strong as she is beautiful. Keep her in your prayers.

But…there is more to tell. While we are in America for the week, last week(end) we were in Belgium. I thought I should write a little bit about our wonderful visit. We left last Thursday from Hereford and took the coach (bus) to London. We played in London for the day and got up early the next morning to head to the Eurostar (train) station. That’s right, instead of flying we took the train, through the Chunnel and on to Brussels! That was a fun experience.

We arrived in Brussels to disappointing weather, but we tried to stick it out and do what we could that first day. So, we went to a comic museum. Among other things, Belgium is famous for comics. Some of you may remember the popular cartoon “Tin-Tin” about a boy and his dog Snowy and I’m sure you all remember the “Smurfs.” Both of these are apparently products of Belgium. The hotel we stayed in was a highlight of our trip, the Art Siru Hotel. In the late 80s, artists were given free-reign to the hotel, to paint and design each room as they wished. Each room was different, and told the story of the artist with a picture of them. It was amazing! Plus, we were given an “American” buffet breakfast daily!

The next day we took a side trip to Bruges, a medieval town about an hour away by train. It has canals all through it, with many bridges (Bruges means “bridge”). It is a beautiful and picturesque city, and we enjoyed our day. We ate Belgian waffles (much sweeter and delicious!) and bought plenty of Belgian chocolate.

Our last day was spent back in Brussels with better weather this time. We wandered around for a good hour first thing, lost. Brussels is one of the most difficult cities to navigate, we found. Finally, we found all the touristy things: the Grand’ Place (main square), Hotel deVille, and Mannekin Pis (Peeing boy statue!). Good fun. Then we took the tram up to another part of town to visit the Atomium, which reopened the day before, so it was sparkly and new. This is a huge building in the shape of an atom, built in 1958 for the World’s Fair. Inside is a museum and was very interesting. All in all, it was a great trip. We hope this trip back home will be good as well. It will be really good to see everyone. However, as soon as we return home (England), we will need to drive back to London on Thursday to pick up our great friend and adopted family, Suzy Dally. We will host her in the UK for a little over a week and we are looking forward to a really good time.

I guess that is all. Everything seems like a whirlwind to us: London, Belgium, Hereford, US, and back. One thing is for sure…there’s never a dull moment for Sarah and I. We are really thankful for that at this time in our lives.

Keep us in your thoughts and prayers,

Jason and Sarah

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Wonderful Welsh Walks

Hello all!

We have just come home from a weekend trip to St. David's in Wales. Just thought we'd tell you about it. St. David's is about 3 hours almost directly west of us (London is 3 hours east of us). It's on the coast. My supervisor at work, Cheryl, goes there often and recommended it. It is super popular in the summer for surfers and coastal walkers, but since we went in February, it was almost deserted! We felt like we were the only ones there, it was so peaceful.

Basically, St. David's is the birthplace of St. David. So his bones are kept in a beautiful cathedral in the city. Also, this is the smallest city in Britain. Which actually doesn't mean much, cause there are a million "villages" in Britain which are much smaller. But technically, it's the smallest "city". Also, since it's on the coast, there are miles of coastal walking paths, along cliffs above the crashing ocean waves. It was so beautiful.

So, we stayed in a B&B, the only people staying there. It was nice, and smack in the middle of the city. We explored the cathedral, and also the "Bishop's Palace", right next to the cathedral. This was ruins of a palace built in the 1300s for all the Bishops of the time to live and work from. It was so amazing. We were able to walk all through the rooms and crypts, and again, we were the only people in there for the entire time we toured around it! Spooky, crawling through some of the dark corners and stairwells!

Later that day we walked St. David's Head, about 4-5 miles along the beach and cliffs. We didn't run into much this day, except beautiful scenery. The next day, we drove up a little farther to a tiny fisherman's village called Porthgain (pronounced port-gine). We walked to Aberreidi Bay, where along the 4-mile walk, we went down to a rocky beach, shared the paths with about a million stray sheep, and visited the "blue lagoon" (an old quarry). It was a nicer walk than the day before. We ended the trip with lunch at "the Sloop Inn", built in 1729 for the fishermen in Porthgain, and still serving happy customers like us!

We've got pictures from Wales on our website, you should check them out. (suelfam.blogspot.com). Look under "pic archives" and St. David's.

We are well this week, Jason's been working a lot, but enjoying it. He has to commute by bus, which is a pain, as well as costly, so whenever he can snag my car, he does. He's getting it all day tomorrow cause I've got a work conference, so he's glad for that freedom!

We are going on a Youth Retreat Weekend this weekend with our church's youth group as sponsors. It will be the first church youth work we'll have done since Maumelle! We are excited, there will be 25 kids going, as well as our 4 good friends (2 other married couples). Should be fun. Then next weekend will be a 4 day trip to Brussels.

Keep us in your prayers, as we do for you. Keep us updated, as well, we love your encouragement, support, and love.

God bless,
Sarah and Jason Suel

Top photo: We climbed down a million steep creeky rusty stairs down to this beach...the water was freezing!

Bottom photo: A view from inside the Bishop's Palace walls to St. David's Cathedral.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Beauty of Settling In...

<--Fog in the Welsh valley makes for a picturesque Sunday Drive.

Hello friends and family!

Sorry it’s been awhile since we’ve updated you all on what England life has been like, but getting settled has had us busy! But here’s the British scoop:

Jason: Has quit waiting tables, and is now working full-time as a Youth Worker in Ross, a nearby town (about 15 miles south of Hereford). He has officially started, but the kids don’t start coming to sessions until mid-Feb. He’ll be teaching the teenagers drama stuff 3 evenings a week in order to keep them out of trouble. They are from somewhat poor neighborhoods with a good chance of them getting into drugs, etc., so this program is offered for them. It is super popular and the kids love it. He’s excited to get going on it. His employer is a guy named Barry, and they hit it off right at the start. He’s a Christian, too, and got married the same year as us. They have him on full-time through March. Then in March, the fiscal year starts over and they’ll “reassess”. He may get bumped down to part-time then because of finances, in which case he has gotten certified as a life guard this past week in order to take up extra hours at the Leisure Pool.

Sarah: Still loving my job, getting more and more into it and taking on more work. My patients are all so great. I go into their homes so I really get to know them on their turf and their families, etc. It’s really personal, which I really like. And when I see that I’m making a difference, it means so much. Driving has gotten much better, no more being scared. I can drive through a narrow street with less than 6” between my side mirrors and other traffic (on both sides usually) straight up a hill going about 60 mph through a thick fog with no problems now! That’s pretty typical, actually!

Travel: Since our Christmas in Paris went so well, we’ve got a few more trips up our sleeve…we’ve just book tickets to Brussels on Eurostar (train) for February for 3 nights. We’ll probably take a day and go to Bruges. (These are both in Belgium). Then when our friend Suzy Dally comes to visit (our first visitor!! We’re SO excited!), we’ll go to Cardiff (capital of Wales) and London for sure, and probably Stonehenge. Then at the end of March, a trip to Prague in the Czech Republic. Then in April, Sarah’s parents are planning a trip over (yay!), so we’ll go wherever they want to go. Then in May, we’re hoping for a trip to Romania and Hungary with our friend Adi. Then in July, a trip to Ireland has been booked, and possibly a trip to Spain with our friend Patrick. Then we plan to go to Greece for a week in August!! So that’s the plan so far for the next months! Jason has had to plan his vacation times for his new job/boss, so we were made to actually decide on a few things.

Sunday afternoons have become our “exploring” days after church. We just take the car out to a nearby village or town and explore. So far we’ve seen almost every neighboring Hereford area. It’s really fun.

We are soon to become members of the Baptist Church here in Hereford. We are hoping to set up some sort of young adult ministry here (like in BG), although on a much smaller scale. There are no ministries like this here.

We went on our first British hike this Saturday with some friends. It was bizarre! No trees or vegetation, only snow and ice! And open fields and hills. And wild horses and sheep! It was super different than any hike we’ve ever done. We took some pictures, and are going to put them on our blogsite tonight, so take a peek when you can. It’s really beautiful.

So that’s us in a nutshell! Keep us up to date with yourselves and families. We always love to hear what you’re up to. Take care and God bless, and come visit when you can!!

Love in Christ,
Jason and Sarah Suel

PS: Be sure to click on the Pic Archive link on the menu to the right to check out new photos!!!
<--Six friends hiking up Hay Bluff on the Welsh/English border
Jamie, Jason and Jez are anxious to get down for a cup of tea.