(10.23-10.30)- What a crazy week! Looking back on it, I can’t believe how busy it was. We had class in the morning Monday thru Thursday, and went to four different evening plays. Here is a rough outline of my week:
got to London and went to a play that took place in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina. It was intense, but a little confusg. It did prompt some valuable conversations about the topic. Then a few of us explored Soho before going back to the hotel for a good nights sleep.
Woke up and went to Hillsong London church. I was overwhelmed. It was huge and too over the top for me. I left feeling a little confused and withdrawn. On the positive side, it was good to be in a church in the UK that wanted to sing loud and celebrate the love of Christ. Then a group of people decided to walk to Reality London (over 4 miles away). The idea was to casually walk and enjoy the scenery and get to the 6pm service. It was farther than I thought, and we almost did not make it. The walk was beautiful, but to be honest I was in a bad mood. I was having a hard time adjusting to being in the city again, and I was not sure whether I wanted to go or not but went anyway. Once I got there I was so glad I came. It was a small congregation that met in a nice and spacious pub. Everyone was really friendly and the message was great. My gloves did dissapear somehow on that night, bummer.
(side note) This week I have struggled with feeling very indecisive (I think there is a pressure to see and do everything- one that stresses me out and makes it hard to figure out what I should do). I am praying about this. I think it is part of living in a big city. Everyone is constantly going somewhere or buying something. There are endless museums and sites to see. I feel like there is a checklist of London ‘must-sees’ that is swimming around in my head, taunting me. It sounds so silly right now. This week has challenged me to balance schoolwork, site-seeing, relationships, time with God, and time for me to reflect. Sorting out all of these things has brought up some insecurities and fears, but I think I am learning new things about myself as my faith is tested in this way.
I am trying to find a good balance and praying for contentment. I feel so blessed to be here and have these opportunities! Aside from this struggle, I am having a really good time exploring the city and learning new things everyday. That is what this is all about—and I am grateful for the good memories, new friends, encouragement from family/Jordan, and trying to embrace the struggles too.
As part of the party planning committee (actually we pretty much are the party planning committee), Rachel and I got treats for Mckenna’s birthday celebration that took place after class. Later on, Rachel and I walked through Hyde Park on our way to Kensington Gardens/Palace. I realized that I am in love with fall. The leaves were golden amber and the sun was out and shining through them. It was beautiful.We went in the Kensington Palace and learned a little bit about the lives of the princesses that have lived there. Lets just say I am so glad I am not a princess (their lives were not that happy after all), even though the palace was beautiful.
Then we walked to Round Pond, there were cute young families surrounding the pond and ducks and swans swimming, so we were drawn in. It was one of those moments that the lighting/scenery is so perfect you cannot take a bad picture. It did not really feel real. Then Rachel kicked her foot at a duck coming at her in the water (they are pretty ferocious) and her shoe went flying in! It kept drifting and drifting… and there was nothing to do about it. We watched it float for a while as we laughed. We gave up and decided to find a store where Rachel could get a new pair of shoes. We ended up on Oxford Street. I got a new jacket too, so I have been sufficiently warm this week (thanks Grams!!) We ended our little outing with some tasty Indian food before retiring to the Celtic Hotel.
After class we got lunch (?) at a place called ‘My Old Dutch’, specializing in Dutch pancakes! I was pretty excited about this place, keeping in mind that they probably would not be as good as Grandma Katie’s. I had a salad and a yummy dessert pancake. I was very full afterwards, but it was a yummy treat.
Rachel and I took the tube to Trafalgar Square (such an busy/exciting area that is characteristically “London” in my mind) and saw parliament buildings, Big Ben, and checked out the impressionists section of the National Gallery :) Afterwards we took a leisurely walk over the Jubilee bridge towards the National Theatre (with Big Ben chiming in the background). We ate some noodles and veggies and then sat and enjoyed some coffee by the Thames River before seeing Hamlet with the group.
After class I got tea with my professor Jody, it was great to talk to her about Belfast and life in general. It has been so great to get to know my professors in different contexts.
Later on in the afternoon, Rachel, Marie and I went to Hyde Park to do some reading for Shakespeare. It was an enjoyable homework setting :) Then we went to check out Harrods (a huge department store that is apparently famous?) IT WAS CRAZY! It was impressive, I think in the moment I referred to it as the Mecca of materialism. We looked through a few of the rooms, and it was fun to look around together just for the experience. Harrods is definitely an experience. We almost got dessert in the massive “treats” room(s) in the store, but opted for a Starbucks instead.
Thursday (10.28) –
After class I got lunch with a couple of girls at a Spaghetti House. Then we went to the British Library. I looked around one room with famous manuscripts, there was a wide range represented: Shakespeare, the Beatles, the Magna Carta, and the Bible from the 3rd century on papyrus! It was crazy. Then I did some homework at a coffee shop.
In the evening we saw an interesting play called “Men Should Weep”, giving insight into the life of a family living in poverty in the 1930s. I really like it.
After class a big group of us got some groceries and had a picnic in Hyde Park. It was fun to hang out in a big group. I was kind of tired and I little overwhelmed so I went back to the hotel in the afternoon to finish a paper before going to the play. We saw ‘Blood and Gifts’, a political thriller play set during the Cold War that followed US an UK relations with the Middle East. It was interesting, but some of it was a little over my head. Afterwards a couple of us went out to a pub called The Blue Lion.
Wow blogging is exhausting! haha. I should work on bullet points or something. The internet is slow here so I will add some London pics in a slideshow or something soon :)