“Way Out” is a blog of observations and experiences in the UK by Burr and Natalie Settles. The main goal is to keep our friends and family back in the USA abreast of our doings across the Atlantic, and also serve as an online archive or digital scrapbook of our time here.

Burr is a PhD student in Computer Sciences at UW-Madison. This journey came about when his advisor, Mark Craven, left on sabbatical here at Cambridge University for the year. Burr was invited to spend the year here as well, partly because Mark is collaborating with a research group at the Computing Lab that focuses on natural language processing and machine learning, which are Burr’s areas of study. Personal and logistical crises prevented us from coming here in the fall, but we are here now, from early January to late May. As a part-time musician, he plans to do as much European gigging as he can.

Natalie is an insatiably curious artist. She arrived in Cambridge with wide-eyed excitement and supplies and equipment to continue her recent work in her Field Series and Corpus Series. The rich botanical resources of the UK will be great fodder for her work, which is based on plant and plant-related forms. Weekly trips to London and surrounding communities will give Natalie opportunities to take in the rich national and international treasures in Britain’s museums, and grow weak-kneed over the surrounding architecture.

The title of the blog comes from the British sign that says “Way Out,” which is more ubiquitous here than the succinct “Exit.” While we speak the same language, there are subtleties beyond accent that we enjoy here. Americans prefer condensed language (”detergent”) whereas Britons lean toward the frank and descriptive (”washing up liquid”). In another sense, we named it thus because we’re “way out” here, several time zones away. And because this is a temporary “way out” of a lot of the grief and frustrations that have faced our personal lives in the past year.

We pray that this time in the UK will be constructive, bonding, and fun. Enjoy the read.


Musings about life across the big pond by Burr and Natalie Settles. More »