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.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I just found this sign humorous. I love the word choice that they use! You would never see this in the States! We got a good laugh at it.

The whole group in front of the Thames River. Sorry my coat looks weird...I had put my purse under there when it started raining.

The Coronation Stone in Kington with the names of the seven kings who were crowned on it.

Holding a fancy new Twix bar! It was quite tasty...sorry the picture is sideways.

This was the coolest thing. As we were flying out, I looked back and you could see the sun setting in the horizon to the west and darkness to the east. So cool!

Just more fun British packaging! This is a cereal in our dining room at the Lodge.

Hello, UK!

Well, after a long and tiring flight, we are finally here. I feel like I've been looking forward to this day for so long that it's weird to think that I am actually here. I keep forgetting that I am in a completely different country! Let's begin with the adventures of yesterday...when I was packing for this trip, I knew that it was going to be hard to pack well and take everything that I wanted to. As I was heading to the airport, I realized that my bag was SUPER HEAVY. There was no way that it was going to stay under the 50 lb. limit. I tried to think of a way to rearrange things, but I wasn't able to make any adjustments that would actually make a difference. Finally, the moment of truth arrived. I put my bag on the scale. 37 lbs.Uhh...really? A sigh of relief. Then, the agent went to take the bag off the scale and place it on the conveyor belt. He lifted it with a confused look on his face and placed it back on the scale. 73 lbs. Awesome. haha...I was so embarassed! But such is I know to pack better next time.

The flight from Dallas to London was 8 hours long. I was so excited at first! I had never been in a plane that big before and had always wanted to! Out of the nine seats in the row, I got a window seat...yay! Each seat had it's own TV screen as well with a selection of not-yet-released movies and a variety of TV shows. I knew that I had to get some sleep, but I just wanted to watch movies all night! There was also a map on the screen where you could track the path of the aircraft as we flew. We passed over Chicago, Michigan, and Quebec before I finally decided to get some shut-eye. Thank goodness I can fall asleep on planes! We were set to land at 7 am London time AKA 1 am Texas time. We would not have time to rest until that evening, so I knew I had to force my body to sleep.

This day has literally been the longest of my life. When we landed, I felt well-rested, but it wasn't long before I could feel the effects of jet-lag on my body. By the time we got to Warwick Lodge, it was 10 am., or 4 am Texas time. I was beginning to feel sick from force-feeding myself "breakfast" right before we landed to try to begin adjusting my body. We ate lunch at 1 pm. The food was good (I had my first taste of fish and chips!), but my body was expecting cereal at this point, not fried fish and mushy peas. (see picture above...sorry...I'm still working on formatting.)
After lunch, we explored downtown Kingston. We are technically staying in Surbiton, which is like a suburb of Kingston, although there is not much distinction. It was good to look around, but we were all gross and tired, so it was hard to get completely excited about it. We saw the Thames River and the Coronation Stone in Kingston where 7 kings were crowned over hundreds of years before they started doing it at Westminister. After exploring downtown, we went to find our schools. Lauren M. and I are at the same school and I'm glad I have a buddy! It's a 25 minute walk to Knollmead. Today it was rainy/windy/sunny all at different times. Although the walk is far, I think I'm going to enjoy it. The school seems awesome! We just got to see the outside today, but it seems great. It's nestled in a quiet neighborhood and has a swimming pool out front! (although it is drained for the winter, of course). On the way back to the Lodge I ran into Boots (like Walgreens) to get some soap and shampoo. It's still so weird paying with pounds...I don't know quite what I'm doing yet. I just hand them a bill I know will work without relaly thinking about the coins that I could have used instead. I'll figure that out tomorrow!
I kept looking at my watch today, hoping it would be time for bed. The hours seemed to drag on. Even know, at almost 9pm, it's only3 in Texas. I'm exhausted and need to go to bed...we are exploring all of London tomorrow! The thought of it is exciting, but tiring. I'll add more pictures on another post, because I can't figure out the format right now.
Things that I've noticed about England that are different from America:
Rain and bad weather doesn't bother them at all. They keep walking and driving right through it. Their strollers even have special plastic coverings for bad weather!
Not only do they drive on the other side of the road, but the steering wheel is on the right side!
Walking and taking public transportation is completely normal.
It gets dark here so early--4:30 today!
The pace is very relaxed. People seem to really be enjoying each other's company even during the middle of a business day.
English terms I heard used today:
que (line)
chip (french fry)
crisp (chip)
to let (to rent)
Love you and miss you all!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

UK in 3!

So in 3 short days I will be on my way to the UK! It's crazy, I know. It still seems so surreal to me...but I know that I'm going to love it! I'm going with a group of Education students from Baylor as a study abroad. Since we have to student teach all year, we can't study abroad for a semester like other majors can. Instead, we have to fulfill our requirements at a school here and Waco and can choose to spend a month out of the country. There is one group from Baylor going to Australia (my roommate, Kelsey and friend, Deanna are going on that one) and then my group going to England! There are seven students and two professors in my group.

I am so excited to get to go on this adventure and would love for you to come along with me! The blog will once again become active as I head off across the world. Some of my posts will be for my 3rd grade class at Robinson Elementary and some will be for my friends and family (I'll specify accordingly). I can't wait to share this experience with you!