I can’t believe I haven’t posted yet! ack. My excuse is that I didn’t have a fitting adapter for British electrical outlets.
I am going to go ahead and apologize for my spelling and/or grammar right now. It has been a long few days and we are all exhausted. We don’t know whether we are coming or going and it has only been three days!
I left Clovis Wednesday morning around 8 (Mtn. time) and drove to Amarillo, then flew to DFW. I sat there all day and then met up with Ashley, one of the girls on the program, who I know from SPJ. We also ended up roomies in London and Paris.
Our flight to London was an overnighter. I didn’t get much sleep because the movie on my little screen messed up and I had to start it over and then a baby cried and the dude next to me had his screen on.. etc. Arrived at Heathrow with few problems. (We couldn’t find one of the girls that was supposed to meet us there, but she was in the wrong terminal, so no worries.) We then took a charter bus to Imperial College near Kensington, Victoria and Albert Hall and close to where my family stayed two years ago near Hyde Park. It is a very mod-city-style university with nice dorms that they rent out as a hotel during the summer.
The first day we walked around Kensington Gardens, the Albert memorial, Hyde Park and down to speaker’s corner. We took photos with the Peter Pan statue. We then went to High street to eat dinner at an Italian restaurant. I was on the end of our table, next to another table of Parisians. It was a grandma, her daughter and her grandson. The grandma was diagonally across from me and kept staring at me so I looked over. She asked if I spoke French. I said not much and she looked confused. I answered "une petite" and laughed. I tried to tell her I was learning it in school. We tried to have a bit of conversation, but I was soooo bad at it, we just smiled and laughed. It made me wish I had a memory and could retain all that I learned last year. I was better in December than I am now. sigh.
Yesterday (friday), we toured the Tower of London (crown jewels, old palace, Norman castle, historic armor) and Hampton Court Palace (home to Henry VIII, short train ride out). Both were good, but since we were running out of time, we didn’t get to do as much at Hampton as we hoped. Some of the students went to the national gallery instead, but since I had already been I chose to go with Kaitlyn and Jennifer to Hampton. We met up with Jennifer’s friend vacationing here and went to Les Miserables. It was awesome. Since we only got the tickets that afternoon, we had to go two and two and sit behind a "safety bar" on the first row of the top balcony, but we could see almost everything and it was only 20 pounds ($35)! We thought that was a great deal considering the people next to us paid 40 pounds for theirs. (they were from South Africa and California. cute couple.) It was a greart musical to see because I have the sound track and knew almost all of the songs, but didn’t know the story. After the musical, we got British McFlurrys and walked around Leichester Square (the theatre district, where the musicals and movie premires are).
Today we got up early to catch the train to Canterbury. We had Brit Lit class on the way, discussing, of course, the Canterbury Tales by Chaucer. We walked to the cathedral, which has an inn. It is pretty nice, with little one-person hotel rooms. After dropping off the luggage, we walked to St. Martin’s church (where we attend 9 a.m. service tomorrow), the ruins of St. Augustine’s Abbey and toured the Canterbury Cathedral. It was interesting and had the most beautiful stained glass. We are attending "sung service" at the cathedral tomorrow morning at 11 and I am excited to hear the voices of young boys in the choir in their "ideal" environment.
After following the development of Christianity in England by walking a few miles, we headed off to dinner and to tour the city. Jennifer, Micah, Steven (the lone boy, lol), Kaitlyn and I walked around together, took a few fun pictures and bought dessert at a French pastery shop. It was really good, three of us got versions of chocolate cake that we ate back at the inn’s patio.
After dessert, Jennifer and I walked around the grounds more, talking and taking most of the Canterbury Cathedral exterior photos you will see in my albums.
The girls and professors both on this trip are amazing. I know we will be great friends after this month. i already feel close to some of them. We have talked about books, religion, philosophy and traditions in a way that I don’t think would have happened anywhere else, certainly not in regular daily life at school. I’m finding the social situations to be a prime opportunity to exercise both my old "organized leader" confidence and interested listener skills. For those of you familiar with the Baylor Strengths-Finder, you might have read that and known it’s my Strategic and Relator strengths coming out.
I bought postcards and will hopefully write them on the train tomorrow, so expect them in about a few weeks. haha.