In only a few days, I feel like I have done so much already.
I was up for a million hours to try to adjust to the time change.
Thank God I slept on the plane. There was no way I would have made it without that.
A 6 hour time difference is so weird. It’s not like a 10 hour difference, where my evening is their morning [their refers to anyone in Texas]. It’s like, my afternoon is their early morning and by the time they’re free, it’s time for bed, or I’m free and they need to go to bed, so it’s strange.
I met a lot of new people (and know everyone’s face and name, though maybe not together).
I have the impression that some of these people are going to be friends for life. I really like a lot of the people I’ve had the opportunity to meet. It’s a very interesting dynamic.
I got a little itty bitty phone to use locally.
Our teachers asked that we get a phone for them to use to get in touch with us, and us them, in the event that there are last minute changes to the schedule.
I went to the store and picked up a phone with a few of my fellow classmates. For £20, I got my phone, 150 local minutes and unlimited texts for the month. Next month, I’ll “top up” for £10 and I will have the same plan. And, the guy at the store told me that my phone is “unlocked.” That means that if, when I come home, I want to use this magical little phone, all I have to do is put a SIM card in it, and it’ll work. So, cool.
I went to see Billy Elliot.
This was a musical about a little boy whose mother just died and whose father is a miner on strike. One day he stays late after his boxing lesson and ends up in the ballet class. The play centers around his struggle between what he wants and what his father wants.
It was a beautiful show.
The little boy who played Billy was so talented. It was impressive. He was dancing and singing, sometimes solo. The whole cast was very talented. But watching someone his age, who couldn’t have been older than 12 sing and dance and act that way was impressive.
I managed to learn how the Tube system here works. Sorta.
They [and in this case, they refers to our teachers, who hate us] sent us on a scavenger hunt type game called the Tube Rally. It was a tool they like to use. They put us in groups and we have to go to specific place and answer questions and take a picture, so there was proof that we were actually there.
Except, the tube system is very well planned here. Color coded and all that. And when I say that, I mean the colors on the paper maps (which they did not provide to us; it’s okay, they’re available at most of the stations) match the colors on the big maps on the walls, which match the colors on the signs which match the rails in the actual cars. They’ve got their public transportation figured out here.
Thus, a 6 hour game was not necessary.
I tried fish and chips.
I don’t like fish. I never have. I used to like shrimp, but somewhere along the way I decided I didn’t like that either. After our Tube Rally, they took us for a celebratory dinner of fish and chips. And I almost didn’t go but I decided to because bonding and free food and all that.
I tried a bit of it and didn’t touch it again. I did eat all the chips (they’re french fries, for anyone who didn’t know). Besides the fact that I couldn’t get over it was fish, Lisa found little bones in hers and that really turned me off. But, when in Rome.
So. I have tried fish and chips. And never will again.
I walked about a million miles.
There is none of that driving thing when you’re a group of 30+. We walk everywhere. To the grocery story. To the cell phone store. To the bus stops or the train stations. To the restaurants. Everywhere.
The first full day we were here, we got up and walked all morning, trying to get our phones and picking up some little things. And then they took us on a historical walking tour of the neighborhood. For. Four. Hours. And we were walking the whole time. And then the next day, they sent us on that Tube Rally, which was a lot of walking, because our group didn’t do enough planning to start. So. Walking. All the time.
I stumbled onto two parades.
During that Tube Rally we had to go to Buckingham Palace. While we were there, there was a group of horsed-guards. That was interesting.
A little later, we were walking down Whitehall Street, and we saw a bunch of people dressed in kilts with bag pipes. Gabe, one of the boys on my team, really wanted to sit somewhere and he was hungry. But when he saw them, he was so excited (like, I think that’s the most excited I’ve seen him so far). He didn’t complain once while we were watching them. And then he complained when they left. It was very impressive. I have a video I’m working on posting; be patient.
I went to a church service in St. Paul’s Cathedral.
We went to an Anglican service called Sung Eucharist.
It was so impressive. Talk about being in awe of God. It was a beautiful service. And so impressive. I guess I hadn’t realized all of the similarities between it and the Catholic church. It was very similar to a mass I would go to at home.
The choir was amazing. The people were so talented. And the acoustics in the church were great. It felt surreal. But, then again, everything does.
And this is just the beginning.
Classes start tomorrow, and I cannot wait.
More pictures are on the way. I haven’t figured out how I want to share them. I’m working on it.