Thursday, November 11, 2010

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!

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