Thursday, December 9, 2010

The London Eye

The spindle and hub of the London Eye remind me of an airplane for some reason. The spindle holds the wheel structure and the hub rotates it around the spindle. The spindle is 23 meters tall, which is the same as the size of a church spire. The spindle and the hub together weigh 330 tons--over 20 times heavier than Big Ben!
( for Interesting Facts)

London from 100 meters up!

The view from the top of Parliament, Big Ben, and the Thames River.

This is the view from our capsule from below to another capsule. The capsules need to be able to rotate on their axis in order to move smoothly around the Eye. Otherwise, the people inside would fall over or have to stand on the ceiling!

We had some extra time today since it's so cold here in Salzburg, so I wanted to post some much-overdue pictures from the London Eye. This is a must-do activity in London. It's
135 meters high. On a clear day, you can see for 25 miles around the city. It takes 30 minutes to make a full revolution, or 26 cm per second. That's twice as fast as a turtle sprinting! This way, it's easy for the passengers to step on and off. They don't have to stop the Eye for people to get on or off. If the Eye were completely full, it would carry 800 passengers at once! Wow!
We rode the Eye at night. It was so cool to see the city all lit up! I put up these pictures per request of my students at Robinson Elementary, especially Colby. (

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What's up, Pope?

Hello, Rome! I was blown away by the history, art, and architecture that this city holds. I loved exploring it's streets, although I quickly realized how much I missed having my family there for special trips like this. It was weird not sharing this with them. This is also the first BIG traveling that I've done with just myself and some friends. It's weird not having the security of my family right by me. Despite some stressful travel moments and confusion, we still ended up making the most of our two and a half days in Rome and got to see some incredible things. I wasn't able to put up all of the pictures that I wanted to, but here are some highlights from our trip:

Things we experienced-- it makes me tired and so thrilled just thinking about it all!
  • Vatican City
  • listening to the pope give his Sunday blessing from his apartment
  • St. Peter's Basillica
  • climbing to the top of the dome of the Basillica
  • Vatican museum
  • Sistene Chapel
  • Trevvi Fountain
  • Spanish Steps
  • The Colloseum
  • Palatine Hill
  • Roman Forum
  • Piazza Novano and the Fountain of the Four Winds
  • Pantheon
Standing in Vatican City outside St. Peter's Basillica. Absolutely breath-taking!

What's up, Pope? Yeah, I got to hear you Italian and English! Thanks for making an English shout out!

Preparing to climb the Spanish steps with Lauren.

The Trevvi Fountain! So surreal to actually be here. It's something that you see in movies and hear about a lot, and there it was! It was just sitting in the middle of a neighborhood. I think my favorite part of seeing all of these famous things is realizing that they are normal to the people that live there. It's just something that's there...something real. It's no longer a story; seeing these wonders in their context really puts things into perspective.

Seeing the Colloseum and the Vatican were the highlights of the trip. I could have wandered around here for hours! I love to imagine what it would have been like to experience the Colloseum in action. It's crazy to think that those things really happened! It was also amazing to see the level of architecture and skill that went into designing this building that was made so long ago!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Pictures from Dublin!

Dublin was absolutely wonderful! I wish I had time to tell you all about it, but I wanted to share a few pictures.
Lisa and I at Trinity College in Dublin. We got to see the Book of Kells here. It's a beautifully ornate copy of the Gospels that was written in 900 AD. Crazy! Notice the snow on the ground...that was the day BEFORE it really fell. It was so cold and icy!

Apparently, this means "Dublin" in their language. Ths was in the main shoping area of the city, O'Connell Street. It was already beautifully decorated for Christmas!

After our day in Dublin, we went out to the cute seaside town of Howth. It was nice to get out of the city and be in the countryside. We even met some new friends...a seal and three walrus just hanging out in the harbor! So cool to see them in the wild. They didn't even mind that there were tons of people staring at them.

More of Howth. So cool to see boats above the snow!

Malahide cool to see this in the Irish countryside!

Friday, November 26, 2010

A visit to Parliament!

We had a half day at school today so we could go into town to visit the British Parliament. So cool! I wish I had the time to really talk about it, but I wanted to share a few pictures.

Such an incredible building. I really enjoyed Parliament!

An original part of the Westminster Palace AKA Parliament. I think it's the only part left since a fire. This is probably the oldest roof I will ever stand under....900 years old. It's also probably the oldest building I'll ever stand in...over 1000 years old!

Another amusing British sign in the public "toilet".

After Parliament, we went to the Natural History Museum. This picture is for Mrs. Evan's class! I wanted to show them a comparison of am Emperor penguin against an ostrich. Honestly, I thought it would be bigger! Hope you enjoyed finishing Mr. Popper's Penguins. You may be getting something special from Parliament soon. : )

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Today is the day that I DEFINITELY miss everything back home. It's so weird that they don't really know anything about Thanksgiving, nor do they care about it much! I wasn't really expecting anyone to say anything about it, but I got a pleasant surprise when I got to school. One of my students ran up to me as I walked up to the building and shouted "Happy Thanksgiving!" I was so exciting that I almost cried! I hadn't told them anything about it yet. She explained that her dad works at the US Embassy in London and he had the day off of work for it. Right after I talked with her, the caretaker of the school walked by and said "Happy Thanksgiving" as well. It made my day!
After school, we all went into Kingston for a Thanksgiving dinner. It wasn't everything that we would be used to home, but it was still really good! If I couldn't be at home, this was a good alternative.
First course: butternut squash soup!

Second course: turkey with stuffing inside, potatoes, cranberry sauce, parsnips, and brussel sprouts.

Dessert: apple pie and whipped cream. Yum!

Sweet Dr. Talbert, he's leaving us tomorrow! It's been so great to have him with us...he's absolutely hilarious! Dr. Nesmith will be arriving soon. We're definitely going to miss him, but we'll see him again soon!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


One of the different things about England is that they have a sport called Netball, or High-Five. I had heard people talk about it before and really wanted to know what it was! It's similar to basketball in some ways, but also very different. First of all, the court is about twice the size of a normal basketball court, and it is split into thirds. There are seven players who play at a time on each team. Each player has to wear a penny (or jersey) that indicates which position they are playing...kind of like soccer. I don't remember them all, but there is a center, goal shooter, goal defender, wing attack, goal keeper. Really interesting!

Lauren and I got to watch a game in action! It started by the official holding the ball in between the two centers. The girls both grabbed for the ball, and, before I knew it, one team had it! They didn't throw the ball in the air or anything. It was strange. I really don't know how they decided which team got the ball. Anyway...

According the rules, once a player has the ball, they can't move or even dribble! They can pivot on one foot, but they have to pass of shoot. Meanwhile, the other players are trying to run around and get open, dodging and trying to outsmart thier defender. If the ball touches the ground, goes out of bounds, or is intercepted, it is the other team's ball. Depending on their position, students are only allowed in a certain area of the court. The object, like basketball, is to score goals...but (surprise!) there is no backboard. You just have to shoot and hope it goes in!

That's all I've learned so far, but I just wanted to share one of the many new and different things that I've been learning with you!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

One incredible weekend! Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, and the City of Bath

Yesterday, Lauren, Lisa, and I had an incredible day! We took a tour out of London to see Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, and Bath. Windsor Castle is one of the official residences of the Queen. She usually spends the weekdays at Buckingham Palace and then the weekends out here. It was actually not too far from London, but so incredible beautiful! The best part of the drive out there was seeing all of the fall colors! We've been in the city and busy suburbs so much that I hadn't been able to see to see many trees. It was actually gorgeous...and COLD! The Castle was amazing, though. I'm so glad that we went. The whole time, I just couldn'tbelieve how old it was. In America, we have things that are 300 years old at the most...and those are our most precious historical places. Here, 300 years is NOTHING. People in the countryside and the city live in homes that are older than that! I can't remember how old they said Windsor Castle was, but I think it was like at least 500 or 600 years. It was so cool! It's has three main sections: the State Apartments (like the royal entertaining rooms, old queen and king bedrooms, drawing rooms, dining rooms, ballrooms, everything!), the Royal Apartments where the royalty live when they are there, and a beautiful chapel. There was an incredibly huge dollhouse given to Priness Anne, tons of knights' armor and weaponry, and beautiful portraits, furniture, and carpets. I wish they would have let us take pictures inside. It was so cool to think about the history there and all the amazing people who have been there.
After Windsor Castle, we drove out to Stonehenge. A lot of the people here had told me not to expect much, that it was a lot smaller than you would expect. I absolutely loved it though! I think it was my favorite part of the day! To see something that you hear about your whole life...that's so old and mysterious and amazing, it was just so cool! They say that it was built in 3000 BC with stones that they think were brought from 250 miles away. Somehow these were trasported before the wheel was even invented! It is a big mystery about how it was built. When you see it, it is absolutely phenominal. No one really knows its purpose, whether it was for sacrifces or special ceremonies or astrology, but it amazing that these are still around today. Fun fact: a third of the stones are actually underground! No wonder it's stood the test of time!

I think I took a million pictures of it. It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience. People around here said that you used to be able to go right up to and touch the stones and climb on them. Of course, then people starting defacing them and messing around, so they had to rope them off.

Our last stop on the tour was the city of Bath. Some ancient Roman baths were discovered there. They are feed by natural hot springs that are still flowing today...hundreds of years after the Romans created the baths! What they have been able to uncover is so cool!

After a look at the baths, I got to see a sweet kamper from Kanakuk, Gabby Mack! She and her family have lived in England for the past 7 or 8 years. It was so exciting and refreshing to see someone that I know so far away from home. She and her mom rode the train to Bath and I got to spend some talking with them before we had to head back to London. This eas definitely one of my favorite moments of my time here in England so far!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sorry it's been a few days...

We saw Les Mis tonight! Absolutely incredible! Hopefully we'll get in one more musical before we leave.

Thanks to Lynn Holly for my Starbucks gift card! It worked in England...this is what I got with it: a scone and a hazelnut hot chocolate. So good!

Monday, November 15, 2010

On the way to school...

Today was my first day in an English school! Lauren (the other Intern with me at my school) and I left our hotel this morning to catch the 8:10 bus to a stop near our school. We weren't sure how long it would take to get their by bus, but we had walked to our school before and it had taken about half an hour. Our goal for today was to be at school by 9:00. (They don't even start school here until 8:55 and they asked us to come at 9:00 so we could meet with the head teacher, or principal, after her morning duties.) The bus ended up dropping us off at the stop at 8:15. Awesome. I had hurried out the door and not even had time to make my sandwich to catch this bus and now I had 45 minutes before I had to be at a school that was now 10 minutes away! Thankfully, I had brought my jars of PB and jam with me. Lauren probably thought I was crazy, but I figured, why not make my PB&J sandwich on the way to school? There was a nice, wide fencepost by the sidewalk and we definitely had time to kill! So, I proceeded to make my sandwich on the side of the road!
After we got off the bus, Lauren and I walked up this road to our school.

Making my sandwich on the way to school!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday in England

Today is Rememberance Sunday in the UK, similar to our Veterans' Day, but on a much bigger scale! They have been celebrating this weekend since we got here. Most people wear red poppys on their shirt or coat lapel as a sign of support and rememberance. They celebrate the soldiers that died during WWI and WWII. It's a huge deal! There are parades, fireworks (even though they were a little lame), special ceremonies, etc.

Anyway...I have been looking forward to Sunday since we got here! I have definitely missed my almost constant Christian community back home in Waco. We went to Hillsong Church in London this morning. I was so excited! I just found out they were here in London a couple days ago so it was a pleasant surprise. It was hilarious because the church is in the Dominion Theater near the West End district. During the week, this theater is home to the Queen musical, so there is a giant "We Will Rock You" across the top! So funny to see that and then the tiny print saying "Hillsong Church in London" below. Of course, the worship was amazing. (I need to get their new CD). Then, there was an awesome presentation afterwards. I want to do that justice so I'll have to blog more about that tomorrow! Overall a good (but rainy and cold) day in London and then some good relaxation time at the Lodge before our first day of school tomorrow. Here are soem photo highlights below:

Outside church after the service. It was so cool to gather together with so believers from another country to worship!

After church, we stopped by a nearby McDonald's for a drink. I thought it was cool that you could get a Rollo McFlurry. Might have to try one of those.

Trafalgo Square! I think I have decided that this is my favorite place in London that I've seen so far. I love how open and beautiful it is, and it's surrounded by such cool buildings! We took pictures there and also explored the Natural Portrait Gallery. I was surprisingly more intrigued than I thought I would be.

Off of the Square, we found the Texas Embassy (it's actually just a restuarant, but that works) and stopped in for some chips and salsa. On the second level, people fron Texas have signed their names and schools on the wall. So Lauren, Lisa, and I added ours to it. Shout out to Waco K-Life from London! Miss y'all!

This place made me really miss home...and it's only been 4 days. It just felt so good and homey there. Funny story from the restaurant...we accidentally gave the waitress a nickel along with our British coins. She was so excited! She was like, "I've never seen one of these before! Someone gave me a penny once though. Can I keep it please?" Oh course we said yes! Maybe if we get a chance to go back, we can give her a dime and a quarter. It's so funny to think that our money is a novelty to other people around the world like their money is to us.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Mind the gap!

Our group is definitely still adjusting from the jet lag. I accidentally slept in later today than I planned to...thank goodness the Brits enjoy taking their Saturday mornings slowly. We met with a travel agent today and booked our trip to Ireland (which was a stressful experience to say the least), explored Surbiton a little bit, and then headed into town. Today there was a celebration in London for the Lord Mayor and we were hoping to catch a firework display at 5:00 on the Thames River. By the time we got there, the crowd to get out of the tube station and onto the embankment was crazy! We finally made our way out at 5:04 and saw 2 min. of fireworks before the show ended. Everyone looked around so confused that it? One British guy even came up and asked us if the show had started earlier than scheduled. Sorry, England, I'm not impressed. I've seen bigger in a backyard on the 4th of July : )

After that disappointment, we made our way across the Thames to a carnival that was a part of the Lord Mayor's celebration and were able to get some neat pictures. Then another trip back to Harrod's to explore this incredible and gigantic department store and then dinner and dessert with two friends from Baylor who are here with Baylor in Great Britain!

Looking up at the London Eye! This thing was absolutely beautiful all light up against the Thames River.

Parliament and Big Ben. Breath taking! This is when I have to pinch myself and remind myself I'm in London.

This makes me smile every time I see it. In each tube station, this phrase is written along the platform to remind riders to "mind the gap" between the platform and the train. I can imagine that way too many umbrellas have been lost down there. They also say it over the intercom in their British accents as you enter the tube. So fun!

The son of the owner of Harrod's was killed in the car crash with Priness Diana. This is a memorial in the ground level of the store.

The poor British don't have the excitement of Thankgiving around the corner so they have set their sights directly on Christmas! Posing with some giant Christmas friends in the Harrod's gift shop.

My Baylor friends, Eric and Mark, took Lisa and I to get some yummy crepes and gelatto. My first real European tastes of these treats! The nice thing about walking so much here is that you can et dessert almost every day without worrying about it!

Baylor friends in Britain! So good to see these two guys. I'm excited for more hang out time to come.

Friday, November 12, 2010

OMG, where did you get that playsuit?

^ That was one of my favorite Bristish ads I saw today.
What a day! Phew...thinking of it just makes me tired. We started our day with a full English breakfast at our inn: Candian bacon, sausage, fried egg, beans, and a tomato. i tried it for teh experience. Too bad I'm not a fan of beans or tomatoes. Butthe English definitely know how to get their protien in! Props for that. I thought of Allison Benage with all thatprotien on my plate.

After breakfas,t we went into London. Take a bus and train into Waterloo Stationand there we are! My frist time in thisfamous city! It was really cool...but much busier and crowded than I envisioned. We proceeded to go on "Barrett's Beath March" led by our professor. This basically equaled speed-walking around London dragging behind a man who could be my grandfather. We saw Big Ben, the House of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, a glimpse of No. 10 Downing Street, Trefalgo (sp?) Suqare, Buckingham Palace, the theater where Harry Potter premiered last night, Chinatown, Harrod's ad the Tate Modern Museum. Quite a day when I look back on it! We got to look at a lot, but not much in depth. I'm realizing on this trip how much I'm like my dad...I enjoyed the historical things way more than the shopping/glitz of the city...oh man. NOw back ot the city tomorrow for some more LEISURELY exploration and dinner with some of my Baylor frieds who are here with Baylor Great Britain. Yay!

P.S.- Idon't see how people can enjoy life here all the time...all the rain, cold, and darkness. It's been getting dark at 4:30. So crazy!

The London Eye. I think it's the second tallest observation wheel in the world. Can't wait to go on it! This picture is for my student, Will, who was asking about it.

The group in front of Big Ben!

The theater where the 7th Harry Potter film premiered last night. It would have been really cool to be there last night.

Lisa, Lauren, and I in front of Buckingham Palace!

Posing with a horse guard in front of the building where the Queen's calvary is stored.

With a friendly guard in front of Buckingham Palace. He told us our fun fact for the day: England could fit into the state of Texas 28 times! (I guessed 7...way off.)

Lunch! Shepherd's Pie, salad, and a latte. I'm trying to convince myself to like coffee, but it didn't work. And yummy pudding for dessert.