Friday, October 30, 2009

October is ending...

As I looked up on my way to class this morning, orange and yellow leaves fell from the sky. It was as if it was snowing leaves. All around me, the wind shook the leaves off the trees and rustled them on the ground. I did not see the squirrels scampering around as usual. There were no birds greeting me as I past. Just leaves. Although I love seeing the animals, there was a sense of peace this morning without them. I finished my first assignment today, turned it in an hour ago. It feels so good to have that weight off my shoulder, but I realized the workload is just beginning. I have another essay due next week and then in a few more weeks I will have another. The term is at the halfway point and it is an interesting place to be. I wish I could just sit in a tree or against a tree and just write about everything I see and ponder life... however my time does not always allow this luxury. I assume would be able to, I guess it is my priorities rather that do not allow the stillness. Tomorrow is the last day of October and thus starts holiday season. Holidays are always full of mixed feelings... everyone is excited about the events that take place, but it is always hard seeing another year pass by. Another year of working and studying and living life. I love life really, it is always full of suprises. That Forest Gump quote, although it is so cliche, is actually quite true.

"Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get."

Everyday I learn something new. Everyday I am faced with challenges with many different options on how to face them. Do I take the easy road or the right road? Are they ever the same?

I am learning a lot about myself here and even more then that I am learning a lot about God. He is changing me and it is scary, but I know it will be good. Through my church experiences and the bible course that I attend, God is teaching me about a new culture. He is teaching me that my way is not always the right way, but His way always is!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

London: Weekly Updates from Days Almost Forgotten

Dear readers,
I apologize for the long drawn out time between posts. I always intend to sit down and type, but the thought does not carry very far. I should be writing for many different reasons, but I always have an excuse why not to do it. Therefore I am now going to stop jumping around and start explaining my experiences thus far.

Monday ( 5 October)-
I do not have classes on Mondays which is very nice indeed. I usually have an entire day to relax and catch up on what needs to get done. Well at least this was my thought when I realized I have several free days... I have soon discovered that these days are filled up quite quickly. This day was a fun day, sadly I was feeling very very ill...but of course I still went out and enjoyed my wonderful Monday. Today was the day we went to Central Perk. That's right! They opened a little cafe and made it into a temporary Friends Central Perk for the 15th Anniversary of the show. They were giving away free coffee and they had real memorabile from the show. There was also a line wrapping all the way around the building that we had to wait in to get inside... Our friend had told us that the line on the weekend was 4 hours long! Luckily our line only took about 35 minutes. :) And it was well worth the wait. The cafe was just precious. They had the orange couch and the tall tables and the chairs by the windows. The windows all said "Central Perk" on them and they had the Friends show playing on several different TVs. They also had several different pieces from the show, it was just priceless! We took pictures everywhere and just had a great time. Monday was a nice day.

Tuesday ( 6 October)-
I decided this is one of my favorite days of the week. For many different reasons. I really enjoy my Tuesday lecture and seminar. It is my Life Writing class and so I get a chance to learn how to improve my writing. I am in the class with a bunch of writers so I get intimidated a lot of the time, but then I realize they are all just like me. The seminar is wonderful because it is going to really tear up my writing and help me to become a better writer. I am excited. We got editing groups today, we were able to chose our own. I did not know anyone in the class so a group of us got together. It is a very unique group I would have to say, but I like that. I love diversity and I think we will really add to one another. There are two of us girls and two boys. There is Amy, Bob, and Kadeem. They are very kind and not the typical English people. I am still getting to know them, so there is not a lot I can input at this moment. Another reason why I love Tuesdays so much is because the this man comes on Tuesday and sets up a fresh Vegetable/Fruit stand. It is soooooo good. I buy most all my fresh produce from him because it is inexpensive and delicious and I can get it weekly. Mmmmm... Also usually every Tuesday there is a group of us that go to HTB ( Holy Trinity Brompton) for our youth pastorate ( college group) and it is really good. They have worship, a message, small groups, and food. It is a great time of worship and fellowship. I really enjoy it! This particular night however, we had a Froebel dinner. That is the college I am apart of, Froebel College. Roehampton is broken up into four colleges, and I live in Froebel. The dinner was very nice. I got all dressed up in a black dress and Angela did my hair and we all had a great time. We had a three course meal with appetizers and drinks as well. I had a nice time hnaging out with my flatmates. We all walked over together and everyone looked so nice. Everyone got dressed to their best, it was a lot of fun. Chelsea and I sat at a table together and everyone else was spread out all over the room. There were over 100 people there from the different dorms in Froebel. It was nice meeting some new people and having a free meal in the process. I was not feeling well toward the end so we did not stay long after everything was done, but I had a great time.

Wednesday ( 7 October)

Today was another day where I have the time to sleep and in and enjoy the day. It rained today which was not a complete surprise. It had been raining on and off for about a week and I absolutely loved it! We planned a trip to ASDA today which is one of our big outtings. It is a supermarket that is the sister store to Walmart. It is huge and they have everything there. It takes hours to get everything you need and about an hour in travelling as well. This was a trip to ASDA that we had never done before. We missed the bus that we were to take to get to ASDA and instead of waiting for the next one, we decided to walk. Yup, we walked over a mile in the rain. Thank God for my lovely raincoat :D Although it was raining, it was not terribly cold and when in good company, the time always seems to fly. We walked and talked and just simply enjoyed each other's time. And we just so happen to stumble upon a trail leading to a lake that was just magical! There were a few small benches and it was so picturesque that I could not help taking pictures in the rain. It was so beautiful! God gave us a little present that we all seemed to need to brighten up our day. The rest of the day was simply that much better because of our little secret place. It was as if God showed us a little bit of Himself in a way that we so often taken for granite...

Thursday ( 8 October)
Globe Theatre!! That was today. We went, we saw, we conquered. I convinced Chelsea and Christina to come to the Globe Theatre with me even though we could not sit together because my teacher bought tickets for me... The Globe was everything I could ever imagine and more! As we were walking across the bridge, I saw the big round white dome and I felt as if I was in a movie. Everything seemed to be going in slow motion and I just could not believe that I was staring at Shakespeare's Theatre. Even more then that I could not believe that I was about to go into Shakespeare's Theatre and watch one of HIS plays! We walked up big black iron gates and I was just simply mesmorized... this was the place that so many of Shakespeare's plays were written for. He wrote them with this theatre in mind. Wow it was so surreal. And the place was simply amazing. When we finally found my professor and got the tickets, we went inside and everything was made of wood. The stage was simple, there were no backdrops ar fancy colors anywhere, but it was beautiful. So much of this theatre is appreciated based on the imagination. It is just wonderful. And the play was really good as well. "As You Like It" was the name of the play and it was a romantic comedy. The characters were hilarious! They interact with the audience so much. We were in the first set of seats above the groundlings so we were not in the action, but we could see very well. It was one of the best plays I have every seen...I do not know if it is just because it was at the Globe Theatre or because it was Shakespeare, but it was just breathtaking. After we left the Globe Theatre, we continued our evening in that part of London by going to the Tate Modern which was right next to the Globe. It was a large Modern Art Museum that seems to be quite famous. I realized I do not appreciate modern art as much as maybe I should, but at least we gave it a chance. After we left the museum, we headed off to see the Tower Bridge that was just down the street from the Globe. It is nice how closely everything is placed to each other. The Globe Theatre is right off of the Thames River and you can see the Tower Bridge from the edge of it. We walked along the inside edge of the Thames River and found many different shops, I felt as if I was walking through Diagon Alley with all the stones on the wall and old shops. It was a really nice evening, walking along the Thames River over the cobble stone, it felt like we were in a Sherlock Holmes novel. And then there is the Tower Bridge...Wow! It was as if someone placed two large castles on top of a bridge and then drove through it. It is beautiful! I felt like I was at Disneyland... I feel like that is a sad comparison, but that is the only real castle experience I have had...that is all I have to compare it to. It was beautiful. Then if this evening could not get any more beautiful, we ended it with our first taste of the traditional London and chips.
This was a day well accomplished, it was an evening of the, museum, strolling along the bridge. An evening of good taste.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

From Canterbury to the Mansion House

2-3 October

Today was a long day starting at about 6am in the morning... it was a fun day, but exhausting. Yesterday the weather changed from moderately warm to quite chilly in one quick flip. I know that this is just the beginning of the weather changing from cold to freezing... which can only mean one thing... Time for my Pea Coat!!!!! Woohoo! I am excited to wear all my winter clothes, possibly all at once. Well before I begin to venture into today I must describe the surreal events of yesterday. It started as just an average day, the first day of my Shakespeare class ( which is amazing!) and slowly it just progressed. First off it turns out that I am going to the Globe Theatre next Thursday to see one of the last shows of the season. I can hardly contain my excitement... the Globe Theatre!!! After being introduced into my Shakespeare class, I hurried back to my room to get ready for my next event. Amazingly enough I was given the opportunity to help out with a fundraising event at the Lord Mayor's House... I was a bit stressed out about what I was supposed to wear due to the fact that the only real direction I was given on dresscode was "wear a white/light colored shirt" and then after further probbing was told to "be comfortable and wear smart dress". What is smart dress????! After a lot of stress a wonderful flatmate/Biolan of mine helped me relax my nerves and dressed me in the perfect little outfit, not too causal not too dressy. It is funny when I worry about the little things and then everything works out... I guess it sort of always happens this way. The Lord Mayor's House was beautiful. There were chandeliers in every room, a couple rooms had more then one. Each chandelier was hand-crafted and the only other ones like them resided in Buckingham Palace. This we discovered after talking to the Lady Mayoress herself. The Lord Mayor was in California...of course he would be in California when I was in London...Well anyway at least we got to meet the Lady Mayoress, she was nice. I felt as if I almost broke her hand when I shook it though, she is not elderly at all, but she shakes hands as if she were a porcelin doll... Very intersting. The entire night was lovely though. No one was dressed up at all, the room was full of good Samaritan type people. It was not what I expected at all, but I had a great time meeting people and having great conversation. Also they served freshly squeezed orange juice which was the most delicious orange juice I ever had. Mmmmmmmm.

After we left the Mansion House, we headed over to St. Paul's ( not the Cathedral, a different church) where HTB was holding their launch party for the student Alpha courses. The Alpha courses are these classes where people can come and basically just ask anything they want about Christianity and God. There have been many people telling their testimonies the last couple weeks and it sounds like they are really life-changing. The launch party was nice though, they were giving out free beer and burgers ( I just had a burger). They had live bands and people were everywhere just enjoying themselves. I was very tired so I had a hard time fully enjoying the time, but I met some nice people and tried to keep my head up.
Overall I had a great time...oh London and its many different angles...I see something new each day.
Canterbury was the day that I meant to write about, I apologize. The Mansion House was on Friday and Canterbury was on Saturday. I am all mixed up... Well Canterbury was a lovely experience. We took the train there and I slept on the train. We had to be on the train at about 8am and so it was an early morning. The couple that will taking us on all of our field trips met us at the train station in Canterbury and they were very hospitible to us. They admitted their experiences in Canterbury were few, but they did a wonderful job showing us around. We got a chance to see an old Abbey that was just about in ruins as well as a Hospital ( which was not for the sick, but actually for the poor). We were given a tour around an old cathedral and then we ended our time at an Evening Song. It was so nice. Young boys and older men singing beautifully together, I was very impressed.It was a long day, but well worth the time spent.