31 January 2010
This afternoon Bethany and I went to Kensington Park and walked around for a couple hours. We saw grass, trees, open space, swans, geese, statues, water, and other wonderful, wonderful things. I realized that I had not been off concrete, stone, or other civilized materials since flying to Boston almost three weeks ago, and it was wonderful to feel like I was out of a city! We actually got far enough from the roads that traffic pretty much died away, we were basically alone most of the time, and the air, believe it or not, actually got clearer. I had intentionally not taken a bag with me - Bethany had the camera and map - and I could feel myself relaxing as we walked. It was absolutely wonderful.
Here's another You Tube clip I found. I have been thinking about the idea of consecrating my life, and wondering what it is that God wants me to do. So, this song is my prayer - and I hope it is meaningful to you as well. Here it is.
Tomorrow we go to Bath . . . I'm looking forward to it! GStQ
30 January 2010
Bethany is looking at my paper now, commenting, telling me what I can do to make it better. So, in a few minutes I will be revising. Just thought I would give a quick update! GStQ
29 January 2010
Today marks the completion of one cycle of London: we got our first papers back from the first week, and now have gone through the entire routine. Of course, there are things like new museums, galleries, trips to places outside of London, several dozen more things to read, and details like that. In other words, I have not yet experienced everything - just been through the parts of London that are routine!
This morning we had Plenary (class) number 4 and finished through St. Augostine and the split of the Roman Empire into East and West. Mr. Prof. Lipscomb went just far enough to hint that Attilla the Hun was being a threat and that the Germans were about to overrun that Latin emperors. However, he didn't really get into that.
When we finished plenary a group of us went to a Thai/Japanese/Vegetarian restaurant for lunch since it was Joel's birthday. It was the first time I have eaten such food as vegetarian duck, chicken and beef. I really don't know what else there was, but it was very interesting. I am still wondering if it was that I like Tiawianese food better, or if it was just that the Tiawanese food I've had before was by a Tiawanese lady who really knew how to cook! It wasn't bad, though - I'm just really really not a vegetarian!
We got back to the HC by 2 this afternoon, and the weekend routine - writing papers - began! This week's assignment was to compare or contrast the Hebrews and Christians and their relations with their surrounding pagan cultures. I started going through my copious notes (they said that we would be taking 'copious notes during plenary', and that is certainly true! Out of 4 plenaries, I've taken 42 pages of neat notes on college ruled, large-sized notebook paper. I think that might be past copious. Overkill, perhaps? My justification is that I will only be doing this program once, and I should learn and absorb all I can. Since we are covering far too much material to absorb now, I need to write down as much of it as is possible so I can learn it over the summer or whenever I have time!
This evening we had a surprise birthday ice cream time for Joel, then Kathryn read us makeovers on fairy tales. It was a funny book - Little Red Riding Hood became Little Red Running Shorts, who outran the wolf and got there in time to save her grandmother. Jack was caught by the giant before he could ever climb up the beanstalk. And on it went. It was a fun break from papers! GStQ
28 January 2010
It was pretty incredible to be standing there! I first read about his trial years ago, and I was very glad that Bethany noticed it so we could take note of it!
The House of Commons was debating remembrance of the Holocaust, and the neatest thing about it was when one of the MP's was speaking and brought up why the Jews were hated, some history including Jesus, then the man said, "As a Christian . . . " I was stunned - and wanted to move to Glasgow, which is the district he represents. It was so neat to hear a public representitive use his faith and Christian history in debate.
When we left Parliament, Bethany took a picture of me with the statue of Oliver Cromwell that is right out front there.
She also took pictures of me with that same august dude at the Guildhall, but it wasn't a nice picture (I was trying to imitate his scowl . . . )so I decided on this one! At the Guildhall we weren't allowed to take any pictures, but we saw some fantastic artwork (it wasn't required - but how are you supposed to walk into a place full of amazing art and now stop???) and finally got down to the amphitheatre. It was, actually, quite creepy since there were green mesh people positioned like they really were gladiators, etc, and sound effects. And it was dark, with lights shifting and turning on and off . . . anyway, I was really glad I wasn't there alone!
We then walked all the way down Paul's Walk on the Thames to Wesminster Abbey, which was quite a distance, but a scenic walk as well. We got there just as the bells were chiming, and got in just fine. It was amazing. I don't know how to begin to describe it. I'm inserting a clip I found on You Tube - it looked exactly like this, except it was darker, and the little red lamps on. We were sitting between the choir and the high alter - you can see people sitting there. Also, the organ was more prominant today. But pretty much, this is Westminster Abbey's choir, and they are magnificant.
After Evensong we went home (HC). It was raining gently, and it was good to get back and have hot broth for dinner! Tomorrow is the last class for week two - hard to imagine. :) GStQ
To end, I am copying a prayer that they gave us at the Abbey. I really liked it, and I hope you do too. It is attributed to St. Benedict.
O gracious and holy Father, give us wisdom to perceive thee, diligence to seek thee, patience to wait for thee, eyes to behold thee, a heart to meditate on thee, and a life to proclaim thee; through the power of the spirit of Jesus Christ our Lord.
27 January 2010
When I walked out of the Highbury Centre, there was one of those little kids on scooters out front. They seem to be everywhere, although I don't know that I've mentioned them before: little kids scooting down the street. I guess it is easier for the parents than having to carry them or convince them to walk. So, I said "how are you?" thinking it interesting that for once the children in the foreign culture can understand me! Although, to be honest, with my American accent, sometimes I wonder if my Ukrainian was easier for those children to understand :)This little one obviously understood me; she looked up and gave me the cheekiest grin, although she didn't answer. I wonder if she was amused by my accent, had been told not to talk to strangers, or what? It was an interesting start to my foray into the city.
When I had gotten a little further down the street, a woman walking a dog came out of a gate from a house. It was a very little dog, less than a foot high, and yet it was so fat it waddled like a duck when it walked. That kept me entertained for some time, until the slow pace finally convinced me to pass the duo and continue more briskly on my way.
The London air was brisk, and I was glad I was wearing a turtleneck, but it was very good for walking. Things I've noticed about London: they don't say 'stop somewhere', they say 'pop in'. Also, people really do not look at each other on the street. I've finally learned this, (which hopefully makes me stick out less) and not have only the regret that I can't study people as well. I know that on the Houghton campus, not only did I look at most people I walked past, I would often greet them as well. Here it is so different. I get vague impressions of height, clothing, etc, (that woman had a black leather purse; that man was tall and had a red checked shirt on) but nothing like faces. Something else I'm still trying to decide is if I should read Sherlock Holmes while I'm here. I really like reading those stories, but I am having a dilemma about it. On one side, I would really like to read them and find out that I now know where the places are. For instance, the other day I picked it up for a couple minutes and was reading about The Hound of the Baskervilles, and saw that Stapleton had taken the cab to Trafalgar Square. My thought? "I know where that is! I've seen buses heading there!" So that part is really neat. However, on the other side, when I was walking home it was after sunset and misty and I couldn't help but think about all the things that happened to people in those stories on the streets of London! So, I still haven't decided what to do about that. But . . . I'm in London! And that's just flat out exciting. GStQ
26 January 2010
I started out by taking the bus to St. Paul’s. I wanted to back to the cathedral, maybe take some pictures since it was raining when I was there before and today the sun was actually out! Well, I got off and just started walking toward what looked like a nice cathedral spiral. Um, it wasn’t. But that was okay. I never did go to the church; I did find a nice little place called Café Nero, where I got tea and a crescent since it was almost lunch time. While I was there I read the book of Luke, which was part of the assignment for tomorrow. Then, I went out and walked down the street. The street kept changing names, but it was basically the same road until I got to the Tower of London. I took pictures from several different angles, still experimenting with my camera, and got some that I was really quite pleased with. The picture below I actually took from across the Thames, but it’s the same thing.
I then went down to Saint Katherine’s Wharf and browsed through shops looking at all kinds of things. I did end up buying an umbrella, since I’ve been looking for one since the day after I got here and realized that I really was supposed to have one. This one was about a third of the price of similar ones I’ve been seeing and was within what I thought was a reasonable umbrella price, (as opposed to thirty dollars) which was nice.
I then went over to the Tower Bridge (please note, this is not London Bridge. I had been confused on that, and I don’t know if I was the only one. London Bridge is the next bridge down the river, on the other side of the Tower, and just looks like a bridge. Tower Bridge is the one that is the ‘London Icon’. See picture below.)
There I went up to the top walkway (some hundred plus stairs). On the way, I was stopped to have my bag searched and my picture taken. Like Parliament, I suppose they are on the lookout for terrorists. I then walked all the way across the one side, taking pictures and absorbing the view and information posters on the walls. I then went back and went down the other walkway. It turned out that I couldn’t actually get down the other side, so I went back down the way I came. After crossing the bridge, I went down to the Engine rooms on the other side to see the mechanics of the hydraulics that lift the bridge. It was pretty neat.
This brought me to the other side of the Thames, from where I took the Queen’s Walk down to Hay’s Wharf. I looked at the shops there, wandered around and felt like a tourist, and left. I’m trying to avoid the tourist feeling, although I’ll admit that with my camera I’m sure it’s obvious! So, pictures are my one concession to the fact that I really am a foreigner, and am knock-out amazed by London. I do try to avoid gaping at spectacular sights, however wonderful they may be, and go past the river with a minimum of glances. Summary of a paragraph that probably should be edited: I’m trying to be inconspicuous, but I make exceptions when it comes to taking pictures, and I refuse to sacrifice seeing things that are incredible just to look like I’ve seen them before – I just try to avoid staring. Okay, that didn’t help anything! (In order to maintain credibility as a writer, I must say that this entire paragraph says exactly what I want it to say.)
After Hay’s Wharf I followed the Queen’s Walk down to London Bridge. I went out on the bridge and took another picture of the Tower Bridge, with the sunset lighting and the HMS Belfast in the foreground. I’d been watching it as I came up the river, and was quite pleased with the way it turned out. I feel like at last I’m starting (note the emphasis on beginning) to notice some of the things about lighting, slant, and flash vs. no flash that will, hopefully, improve the quality of my pictures. I then took the Northern tube line to Angel, walked and window shopped some more, and eventually got on a bus to go home. It turned out that I had walked almost the entire distance, but that was okay and I got off a stop or two later, caught another bus for the station right near the Centre, got off a stop early (oops) and walked home. I was (am) tired, but it was a good day out there and I got my readings finished this evening, and have been hanging out with Bethany while writing this, listening to the Dvorak Cello Concerto in b minor, and relaxing. It has been a good evening. GStQ
25 January 2010
This is a tablet of real cuneiform writing - I was amazed. Mr. Prof. told us that the average language in those times had about 800 symbols used for writing.
This is a modern reproduction of a slingshot, with the stones that were used in the background. They are bigger than golf balls, if that helps give size comparison!
This lovely piece of art is early Christian - it shows the 'x' and 'p' signs, which are the first two sounds of the name of Christ. Also shown are the letters 'a' and 'w', which are alpha and omega - also representing the name of Christ. I particularly liked this one, since it was so intricate.
Well, enough of today - tomorrow we have colloquy on Genesis 1-11, I Samuel 16-I Kings 2, Job 1-2 and 38-42, and the book of Amos. It should be very interesting! Another wonderful day in London town . . . GStQ
24 January 2010
So - all for now! Tomorrow starts a week on Judeo-Christianity, and I'm really looking forward to it! GStQ
23 January 2010
21 January 2010
20 January 2010
19 January 2010
There are hardwood doors on the bathroom doors in the British Museum.
Space is a thing of beauty - architecture is not afraid to leave things strategically open.
The word 'lyric' comes from the fact that poems were sung to the music of the lyre.
If I had a million dollars - I could spend it all at one of the shoppes in the British Museum and not have wasted a penny of it, but bought lovely and useful things for my family and friends.
It truly is nothing to walk 4 or 5 miles to get somewhere - although as I understand the public transport system better (ie: get a map)it may become less frequent.
On second thought to the above, walking around London is wonderful and if I have the time I will probably continue to do so.
Dollars and pounds can be equivilized to each other culturally. A nice book might be 16 pounds, and a cheeseburger at McDonald's was advertised for 99p. Recall that with the exchange rate, that means a $30.00 book and $1.70 cheeseburger (roughly).
It is weird to Not have an umbrella when it's raining. People don't seem to wear hoods much.
We arrived in the worst weather (according to the mobile phone salesman) since 1995 - there were patches of snow on the ground.
The cashiers at Tesco's do the self-checkout for me - although it's just like home, and their questions are harder to understand than it would be for me to do it alone! It is very nice of them, though.
There is no garbage in London. Clean city? Well, they call it rubbish or litter.
I will never have to buy phone minutes. Unlimited calling? Well, I might have to top-up my account.
This afternoon I was looking at Roman art and realized I needed to go. So, I walked briskly through pre-Greek Italian art, down several flights of stairs, took a wrong turn into the Parthenon gallery, ended up near a sphinx, and blundered into ancient Japanese (I think) before finding the open area (I would term it a courtyard . . .) and finding the others. What a way to get lost!!! Great scenery and all :) GStQ
18 January 2010
Most of us went there, although there were two other museums listed that I will go to later in the week. We took the 19 bus to Chinatown, then walked to the museum (which wasn’t very far). I had forgotten to put the memory card back in my camera after uploading the pictures to my computer, so my camera was useless since the internal memory only holds 8 or so pictures and they were pictures of my family. So, Bethany very kindly let me use her camera. She probably figured she would get more pictures that way, anyway . . . We looked at pots of various and sundry and many and lots and quantities of ancient pots and figurines from the Minoans and Myceans and Athenians and Spartians and Corinthians and Egyptians.
It was fascinating. I especially liked the Egyptian saragophous, of which the placard said the lid alone weighed over 900 kilos (2000 lbs).
It was beautifully decorated.
We stayed and looked at other things, which were also amazing, then had to go.
We went downtown and bought cell phones, looked for maps, resisted the urge to buy chocolate, etc. It was getting dark by the time we got home, but things were fine. I got my phone set up, went to dinner, (which was Chinese food - yum!)and enjoyed the evening since I did my homework yesterday. The day was amazing, and we even managed the public transportation system without any 'professional' help! I am looking forward to the discussion tomorrow - we're going to be discussing the Peloponnesian War and Antigone. Should be fun. GStQ
17 January 2010
Well, today being Sunday it was time to experience church in London! A group of us wanted to go to Southwark Cathedral, and since our TA Laura was going there it worked. We left around 0830 because we thought the service started at 0915. Well, it turned out that the service didn’t actually start until 1100, so we walked down the Queen’s walk to London Bridge and walked across the bridge. It was amazing. We also saw the Tower of London, since it’s right across the river near the bridge. On the river was a large boat that Laura said they probably had to raise the bridge to let through. I wish I could have seen that – one of the things I want to see before I leave London! We walked back in plenty of time for the service and went in, got service orders, and sat down. The order was 17 pages long, and included pretty much every word that was spoken except the pastor’s (I know that’s not his Anglican title, but I don’t know what the correct one is) sermon. They had a baptism service – a baby named Charlotte and a girl who looked to be about 5 named Katie. That was neat to see. We also had the Eucharist. I had always called it communion, but it was different enough that it makes sense to call it something else. We went up to the front, knelt at the altar railing, and held out our cupped hands. One robed man put a wafer that was about 1 inch in diameter in my hand, saying “the body of Christ”. Then another robed man came by with a cup of wine which he held for me to drink a little from, saying “the blood of Christ”. We then stood back up and went to our seats. (For anyone who is from Houghton College and is concerned over the fact that there is a ban on alcohol, I offer the following explanation: members of the London program were told, when we arrived here, that the rules of Houghton still applied. [They added a further restriction that we are not allowed to go to dance/night clubs, but that is beside this point.] We were not allowed to drink, unless our parents gave us the drink, or parents of our friends. This was said citing the Houghton College Community Covenant, which states that parents overrule the college and so if they gave us some alcohol we were allowed to drink it. This authority, specific to the London program, was also extended to the parents of friends, essentially making them in loco parentis. Back to the states: the legal drinking age is 21, and yet priests in the states serve wine as a part of the Eucharist to minors. When questioned about the legality of that, my political science professor responded that it was because the church had been given special rights of in local parentis since the parents, by allowing their children to attend the service and take communion, were giving tacit approval to allow their children to partake of the wine. Last night, I Skype-called my family and in the course of the conversation told them that I would be attending Southwark Cathedral today. They did not object, giving the same tacit approval. Therefore, I believe that I am exempted from the ban on alcohol in this case.)(I did think this through before I went up, just in case you were wondering. One of the penalties for drinking can be dismissal from the London program, and I didn’t want that.) After the service we went to a small reception place where they were serving tea, coffee and cookies, and we stood around and talked. There was an older gentleman who was very interested in talking with us. He wanted to know where we were from, etc, and Laura asked him for recommendations about what to see. He strongly recommended the Tower of London, History Museum, Tate Museum, and so on. He was very friendly and had a rather noticeable accent.
When we left the cathedral we took the tube back to the HC where we were a bit late for lunch, but not so late that we missed it. (Most days lunches aren’t provided, but on Sunday they are and dinner is not. Breakfast is provided every day, and dinner is provided Monday – Saturday.) It was green beans, potatoes and carrots with ham and gravy. We each also got a bowl with an orange and a clementine in it. After lunch I read more of my homework assignment for Tuesday’s colloquy session, then at 1510 we met to go test for our walking course. We walked briskly around a lovely park that was a little more than a mile around and tested our pulse at the end. Mr. Prof. Lipscomb recorded it, and we will do the same at the end. The point is to see if there is any physical improvement over the course of the semester. We came back, and I did more homework, ate granola bars and raisons for dinner while I read, read more . . . and just finished. But I’m done with my readings for the next few days, and ready for the plenary session at 0900 tomorrow morning, so it’s all worth it! I’ll post this and get some sleep so I’m ready for tomorrow. I love London. GStQ
16 January 2010
This morning I woke up at 0630 and realized that my Houghton friends would almost certainly be up, since it was a Friday night, and I could Skype them. However, I went back to sleep. J I slept until 0830, (thus getting 11 hours of sleep last night!) and am now sitting on my bed, with the sound of running water and wind in the trees in my ears and daylight streaming in our large window that doesn’t have a screen. Lovely! I skipped over breakfast in that, but it didn’t deserve it. There was real bacon, scrambled eggs and waffle potatoes on the hot plate, three kinds of cereal, plums, apples and oranges in a bowl, and rolls. There was apricot, strawberry and raspberry jam, orange marmalade, chocolate spread, peanut butter, and creamed honey to go on the rolls. There was also tea and coffee!
Well, a lot has happened since I wrote! At 1000 we had a meeting with Sue, the manager of the HC, the assistant manager Deborah, and our three professors. The TA’s were there, too, but they sat with us. We learned the rules of the HC, suggestions for where to go to church, received our textbook Living Traditions and a map of the Highbury/Islington area, got information about safety and security, the walking course, and varied and sundry random things that we needed to know that we hadn’t heard before like that nightclubs are off limits. That let out right around noon, and we had half an hour to grab a bite to eat before we left for our walking tour of London at 1230. Well . . . all the wonderful food I bought yesterday was in the library, (where it was supposed to be, since that is where the Houghton refrigerators are,) and there was a meeting in there! So, I couldn’t get in and couldn’t make myself a sandwich. So, I ate some snack foods that I had here in my room and bought a French Butter Crescent roll near St. Paul’s Cathedral this afternoon for 99p. I certainly don’t have London figured out yet, but the walking tour helped a lot! We walked more than 5 miles, (this doesn’t count the bus and tube rides, so we traveled much further than that) and saw St. Paul’s, the British National Theatre, the London Eye, the Thames, the Palace, Westminster Abby, etc. I was taking a picture of some building by the Thames (I don’t know what it was, or if is significant) and looked to my right and saw Big Ben and the houses of Parliament. I gave a happy sigh. My life was complete. Well, maybe not. But I took a lot of pictures. In fact, I got teased about how many pictures I was taking. But it was fun. I suppose I’ll have plenty of chances, but I’d like to get the tourist look over with while I’m in a group of people, and when I’m in a smaller group or by myself look like I know what I’m doing. (Hopefully, I really will know what I’m doing!) Laura Jackson and I walked around the block when we got back to the HC and I saw again where the professors live. I really like this place! GStQ
Greetings from London! I am staying here in London with Houghton College as a part of their honor program, and will have classes starting Monday and concluding April 19th. The trip began on a Virgin Atlantic flight from Newark, NF. We arrived in the Heathrow Airport at around 1000 this morning (all times being London time) and got out no problem, met up with our professors and TA’s, and took a pre-hired bus here to the Highbury Centre arriving here around 1230. We got our room keys in the conference room, (Bethany and I are sharing a room this semester as well,) and had a few minutes to get settled in. Each of us was assigned to a group of 5 and given a leader to familiarize us with London. Prof. Chamberlin led the group I was in. Also in the group were Kathryn Dygert, Joel Ernst, Hannah Hannover, and Annelise Hein. I drew 10 pounds at an ATM, saw where the Highbury/Islington tube stop was bombed in WWII, studied the tube map I got at the HC a little, and went to a grocery store and bought bread, mayonnaise, and turkey ham at a self-checkout kiosk for pounds and a few pence. When we got back at around 1430 we had free time until dinner at 1800, which I used to go online, make contact with my family, and catch up on what was going on at Houghton. Dinner was vegetable soup, vegetable lasagna, and apple crisp with pudding and raisons on it. The soup was self serve in pitchers, with stacks of bowls there. The lasagna was served on plates. Each plate had one piece, and that piece was about six inches by four inches by two inches. Laura Jackson, one of our TA’s, explained how to save food (for lunches, since they aren’t provided). This evening I organized my stuff, (I’m done unpacking – so much easier than moving to Houghton!) and started my homework that’s due Tuesday. Things seem good so far. GStQ
07 January 2010
I hope you have had a wonderful holiday season, and Happy New Year! I have been very busy with getting ready to go to London, and I know it's been a long time since I have written anything. That is not, however, because nothing has been going on!
I think I said that I survived my first semester at Houghton College. Well, I did much more than survive; it was wonderful. In so many ways, it was so much more than I could have ever expected. I learned a lot, (both in my education and in living pretty much on my own,) made wonderful friends, and in general had a very satisfactory college experience. I now approach with confidence a semester in London, a study abroad program offered by Houghton College. The experiences I had over the last few months have taught me much about living outside the life I grew up with as a relatively protected, homeschooled farm girl, and I am thankful for having my time at Houghton as a more controlled environment for learning about the world before jumping into it. But now, I am anticipating living in London and by God's grace, I fully intend to have a wonderful time there.
One of the things I have learned over break is the importance of living and not merely existing. I had probably heard it/subconsciously known it before, but as I was reading Erwin McManus's book Chasing Daylight ( http://www.amazon.com/Chasing-Daylight-Seize-Power-Moment/dp/0785281134 ) it was brought to my attention that I must not hold back when God is clearing the path for me. I need to be watching for the opportunities He puts before me, and when He says 'go', I need to throw myself into it instead of asking "are You sure?". I am praying that He will give me courage and wisdom, because I sure need it! But, perhaps just as importantly, I'm praying that He will give me passion and vision, joy and strength, and that everything I do would honor Him - including taking off running when He says 'go'.