Facebook Birthdays in London..

I’ll be the first to admit, last year I added my birthday to Facebook.. on my birthday.  There’s something about Facebook Love that is just so so so great!  I have always kept birthday calendars.. and then my computer crashed.  But thanks to Facebook… I can almost follow everyone.  Anyway, THANK YOU for making a girls birthday so great.  Even the simplest of Happy’s made my day!  :) xo

On top of the Facebook Birthday we were lucky enough to travel to London to meet up with my cousin Rob and his family.  He works for Grassroots Soccer in Cape Town and had some board meetings in London.  So we all decided it would be an ideal time to get together.  It was perfect.  From seeing Matilda to the London Eye.

Watching Arsenal tie (although a win would have been better) Manchester United.  Getting lost in the mirror maze in the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum which gave a whole new meaning to museum…. and then hustling through the British Museum (which sadly didn’t hold a candle to the Ripley’s “museum”)… but tied in beautifully with what the kids are learning about Ancient Egypt.  London was perfect!  It was fun to see cousins together.  To worry about which way to look when crossing the street.  To be a part of the London vibe.. it was perfect.

We loved our dinner at Cantina Laredo before seeing Matilda.  We loved our centrally located (and big roomed) hotel accomodations at Le Meridien in Picadilly (say that 10 times in a row and try not to laugh!)… and the last night’s dinner at Inamo was fun for all of us.  You order your food using a touch screen that is projected on your table… so fun!  The one thing we really would have liked to have seen would have been the Harry Potter tour or this and the ghost walk which we’d scheduled and cancelled due to time.

When the kids weren’t swimming in the hotel pool or jumping on the beds, we were able to slip out and attend a cocktail party hosted by Seb Bishop who is on the board of Grassroots Soccer.  He lives in a gorgeous row house in the Nottinghill area.. and we got to meet loads of interesting people.  I loved hearing the story of Grassroots Soccer.. which began with a guy named Tommy Clarke who is Scottish but moved with his family to Zimbabwe when we was 13.  His father was/is an amazing soccer coach and naturally Tommy played soccer his whole life too.  Tommy ended up at Dartmouth where his dad also coached the soccer team (and where Rob (my cousin) met Tommy)… and later returned to Zimbabwe to discover that several of his friends from his childhood team had passed away from AIDS.  And thus began Grassroots Soccer.  Grassroots is all about teaching kids and adults about AIDS and how to prevent AIDS.. but it is done through the medium of soccer.  The Grassroots coaches are hand chosen and very much become a role model in the community.  They teach the kids soccer, while at the same time, educating them about AIDS.  I am so amazed and impressed with the efforts Grassroots Soccer is making not just in Africa (although it is more prevalent there) but around the world.

I listened to Lauren (Rob’s wife) talk about her experiences living in Cape Town and working with the local children.  From children who don’t have any parents to kids that come over and linger for hours in her bath tub because they simply have never had a bath.       It’s all so amazing and I am so so so so proud of Rob, Lauren and their kids .. and the difference Grassroots Soccer is making in the lives of children around the globe.  I know their goal is to reach more than 1 million kids before the world cup in 2014..if you want to help them reach this mission, you can make a donation here.  And for making the donation, I’m going to attache a clever little scavenger hunt one of the teacher’s did for Lauren for us to do while we were in London.. we knocked off a few.. but never managed to meet the Queen.. :(  xo  Scavenger Hunt


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