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  • Writer's pictureMaria Vandenburg

A little bit of Folkestone (and Clem) in my life...

So I'm in Kent visiting my good friend Clem at the moment. She last made a guest appearance in my blog and I posted a GORGEOUS picture of her ignoring her husband and shoving McDonald's down her throat.

Needless to say, she wasn't very happy with said post.

So hopefully this one makes up for it.

But, as always, we start off with "Items I have learned to day"

-Snuffed it = passed away.

Vom fest = vomit fest/something that's EXTREMELY cringe worthy (i.e. very public displays of affection) - although this might be a Clem original.

DFL - Down from London. Clem has informed me that that is what people are called who make day trips to Kent. She also informed me that spiders don't bite people in England.

I don't believe her.

So I am wrapping a week of visiting Clem and her husband Jon. After my great Irish trek, I took a train from Heathrow Airport over to Folkestone arriving on Monday night.

It's been great to see them both. Clem literally has the best stories, usually involving her being angry or cranky about something, and me hysterically cackling (that's what happens when I laugh really hard - I cackle, it's some what embarrassing).

Tuesday it was off to walk around Folkestone and end up at St Leonard's church crypt

which has the largest and best-preserved collection of ancient human bones in Britain. No one knows exactly how they ended up there. They are estimated to be approximately 700 years old and the signs around the place talked of "honouring your ancestors." I wanted ice cream, Clem suggested we walk around human remains, lol. But it was actually kind of cool to see. Normally bones and skeletons freak me out, but in all honesty I did kind of enjoy this. Plus it helped that you could tell that our "tour guide" (i.e. I'm pretty sure he was someone that worked at the church) was very passionate about the subject matter.

Day Two consisted of us going Canterbury Cathedral and wandering around Canterbury. Clem being the good sport that she is (every now and then she has her moments) - agreed to do a few tourist activities with me. So we found ourselves on a canal/boat tour. Unfortunately Maria and listening don't always seem to work out (I am working on this though people, I really am!) so I don't remember all that much other than the fact that our tour guide was cute and if I was 15 years younger, I probably would have had a gigantic crush on him.

Highlights from Canterbury include:

-The fact that these ancient/historic buildings are now turned around and rebuilt as restaurants. I mean we passed a Pizza Express while we were on the water. I'm pretty sure there is probably a Taco Bell there somewhere.

-The "Black Prince" although I don't really know anything about him - but they made a big deal about his tomb and they are doing some Renaissance re-enactment of him next month.

-The more modern stained glass windows in Canterbury as the figurines looked Arab - it really was kind of neat, like I was looking at family members.

-That we happened to be in Canterbury on the hour so we had a moment of silence and all said a prayer together (again, I'm not Catholic/Christian per se, but I am Spiritual, so it still felt cool to be able to gather in this holy place and say a prayer that was really meaningful to the founders of the place).

-Our tour of the crypt/the most ancient part of the church. The woman who worked there let Clem and I go back behind St Gabriel's walls so we could actually see the frescoes that remain. Apparently there was a wall that covered them during the time of Oliver Cromwell, so they were hidden. They are the only Frescoes that remain, and that's only because Mr. Cromwell couldn't paint over them!

Day 3 it was off to "shop" in Folkestone. And by shop I mean Clem walked me into the city, walked into one store with me and then immediately turned around and walked back home, lol. I wasn't bothered by it though because I am the exact same way. I'm not much of a shopper. I actually ended up spending my day writing in a coffee shop anyway.

Day 4 we walked up the White Cliffs of "White Cliff." Clem was wearing a dress and didn't walk to walk up, apparently I have a new found love of hiking now. When Clem wavered, I immediately jumped in and lead the way up the hill. Who am I and what have I done with Maria? Seriously, I don't know! Maria from six months ago would have been very happy to not have to do another walk up a hill. Maria from two days ago insisted on it (even after Clem mentioned that there might be snakes). We ended up in an area called "Little Switzerland" where we had tea (or ice cream if your name is Clem) and enjoyed the views.

That evening, we went to my very first silent disco. I was a little worried about this at first. The concept is that everyone wears headphones and you dance to the music in your own head (literally). When I walked in, it reminded me of those awkward moments in the movies/tv sets/etc... where everyone is standing around pretending to dance to music that just doesn't exist. Except in this case, it does. It's just only you can hear it. The Silent Disco was better than I expected it to be. The venue wasn't great. It was hot, stuffy and downstairs (so the music kept cutting out), but the concept was fantastic. You are in charge of what you listen to, you are your own DJ. If you don't like a song, you can change it. And everyone else has that same option as well. So what you end up with is a group of people with amazing energy because they are all listening and dancing to music that they love.

It took me a minute to be comfortable with the idea of dancing at this silent disco. but everyone else was doing it, so eventually I jumped on the band wagon... and I'm glad I did, lack of air circulation and all.

Yesterday brought us to two festivals. The first was a food festival in Hythe where apparently I decided that I loved and needed to eat all things Middle Eastern. Lunch was a falafel bowl and dessert (actually dinner to be fair) was a whole tray of Middle Eastern/Turkish delicacies.

In the evening we ended up at the Sandgate Sea Festival for fireworks on the beach at 9:00pm (sunset pictured above).

Now, I may or may not still be recovering from jetlag. I also may or may not need to take naps at 4:00pm every single day. I don't care if its been 3 weeks, the struggle is real! I figure I only have a few more weeks of freedom (before I get into crazy 60 hour work weeks) so if I want to catch up on my sleep, I should be allowed to. Does my dear friend Clem respect and appreciate this fact? Not so much. She informed a cute guy that owned some shop in Folkestone exactly how long I have been here (when I was trying to play off that I was just soooo tired from having just flown over from Seattle, lol). And then she texted our mutual friend Corrie that I have to take grandma naps everyday at 4:00pm.

I love Clem.. a lot. As you can tell (ironically enough, I'm not being facetious, I really do adore her even if she does suck sometimes, haha)

And my final day is today, where I am currently sitting at Dover Castle. There is a bank holiday on Monday so I am actually surrounded by children and some how ended up showing up on the day of "Castle Live!" but it hasn't been a bad thing. I got a brief lesson in the history of musical instruments from the Renaissance and got to hear Henry VIII complain all about his numerous wives.

Dover Castle in and of itself was great. I also particularly love that there is an ancient Roman Light Tower there called "Pharos" that actually dates back to 46-50 AD.

Pictures below:

So all in all it really has been a great week.

I head back to London early tomorrow morning to get my keys and move into my new flat, which I can't wait for.

I then have two weeks of calm before the storm.

Orientation for school starts on my mothers birthday of Sept 14th and I start my job the following Monday - Sept 18th (I will be working as a Project Manager at a major publishing company).

I'm looking forward to it all, but grateful I have had these last few weeks to travel and catch up with friends, as well as these next two weeks to hopefully find my rhythm here in England.


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