Welcome


Welcome Friends,
If you are viewing this page, you are on my blog that I plan to use to document my journey here in Europe, more specifically London. I borrow my blog title from Christian author, Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life. In this book,Warren provides insights on how to seek your own purpose, authorized by God, by examining your life over 40 days. I go on to say all this to point to the fact that I do indeed believe that this entire journey, as well as what I have gone through in life thus far, is in fact part of the plan that God has for my life. I cannot easily say what my purpose in life is yet, but I do feel that I am called to do great things. To say the least, I hope you all enjoy reading as I continue to post. Feel free to comment and let me know you are thinking of me, as I am surely thinking of you. Keep myself and my cohort in your prayers; we greatly appreciate it.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

THIS PAST WEEK

St. Alban’s, England
This past Tuesday, January 24 we visited St. Albans where we toured St. Albans Cathedral, Verulamium Museum. The museum was filled with intricately designed tiled mosaics that were hand-crafted for people of wealth during the Roman occupation of Great Britain. The layout was designed to be like a walk in the life of someone during this time. We had to leave this museum and come back about an hour later.  It seems like everywhere we go there is a school field trip going on and the kids are in our way.  St. Albans Cathedral was decked with stone architecture and sculptures that, for their time (circa the 4th Century), is quite remarkable.  The craftsmanship of the church and sculptures alike is breath-taking, and the building is massive. We also toured the remaining infrastructure of what was a theatre and townhomes during the 4th century.

Bath, England
We visited Bath Thursday, January 26 and toured a museum built around the preserved baths of Roman-Britain. The “spa” we visited acted as both a meeting place and a shrine to the gods the Romans worshiped.  In addition to the bath pools there are sculptures that have remained that prove the close relationship to religion and politics during that era. 
More exciting than that we actually got the chance to bathe in a model bath.  The pool was obviously not one of the original baths; however we did swim in the same mineral water. The spring that would fill the pools then, is the same one that fills them now. It is 116 degrees when it leaves the spring and by the time it is filtered, and in the pool it is 94. There was a fountain there outside the pool that ran water that was 10,000 years old.  Each time you touch the fountain, you are the first person to touch that water in 10,000 years.  “There are 43 minerals in the water…the mineral content is 2.18 grammes per litre” (These facts courtesy of our tour guides and this pamphlet).  It was truly a good time.
We also got the chance to drink some of this mineral water, which they sell for like £1—the lady gave it to us for free. It was gross.  It was warm and tasted like a rock was at the bottom of the glass.  My friend described the taste as “kind of like biting your tongue or tasting blood.” It had an iron taste, but it is supposed to be good for you.  Stupidly we downed it, finishing it very quickly. We had to go to the bathroom afterwards, LOL. 

  
    



The British Museum
The British Museum is only like two blocks from our house, literally in our backyard if you’re looking at a map. This by far is the best museum I have ever been to. We saw only a little, because we were there to view a certain room of artifacts, but its massive. You would need well over a week to see everything. The British Museum has so many ancient remains and is currently in the middle of a controversial argument that debates whether they have the rights to certain artifacts. The dispute is about whether they should leave the remains where they were originally nested and built. The Museum’s defense is that the objects will get much more exposure at such a centrally located
museum; honestly, they do merit a lot of traffic. I’m on the side of the British Museum, especially since other countries are not taking the time to build museums to preserve such history.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

First Few Days



Home Suite Home

HOME "SUITE" HOME (Should've been posted Monday 1-23-2012)
    
         I am not sure how to start this blog post, but I will start by saying that I do indeed like it here already.  From the students on the trip, our teacher who is going to be here for a week, and our flats, I feel at home.  We are a group of high energy (when we are not jet lagged), funny, and interested students. From our very early moments at the Buffalo Airport we have gotten along great!
     We arrived here Saturday, January 21 at 10:30 and customs was actually very nice.  This is contrary to what I was told to expect.  As we waited for one student to arrive, one hour later than us, we found out that our car service “forgot” that we were waiting, so he didn’t come. This has turned out to be one of a handful of hiccups in some of our prearranged plans.
        
           Our flat is incredibly close to an Underground stop and is situated right in the middle of Russell Square. This is a really nice area with a walking park, restaurants, shops, and many hotels.  There are so many students and tourist who reside here, although this is not where any of the attractions are. I will upload pictures of our living quarters soon. Our flats are quite nice, nothing too fancy, but definitely better than our apartments back at Canisius. By the way, after curiously opening each door in the place, we discovered a third bathroom!
          Just to run through a few more things we have done so far, Last night we ate at a really nice pub, and had Indian our first night here; both were really good. We had lunch yesterday at Paul’s, a bangin’ sandwich spot, right outside St. Paul’s Cathedral. For company at lunch, we had the Occupy protestors, who (without stepping on any toes) make such a beautiful landmark look atrocious.  I’m sorry, but I want them to move the movement elsewhere.  We got to see the houses of Parliament and take pictures with Big Ben (coming soon), as well as The London Eye, some street performers, Downing Street (which is blocked off), Westminster Abbey, and were feet away from the gates that lead to the mall of Buckingham Palace. Many of these we will have to revisit because we didn’t give them enough attention. As I mentioned earlier, we have had some hiccups, in this case our tour guide never showed.
          Just another anecdote before I close this post:  On our way to our flats for the first time we all struggled to carry our own and each others’ luggage up the most awkward stairs in the tube station. A very young woman decided to help pull up some of what we were carrying while others behind us were also patient.  To back track to last night, we met Akil, as store clerk who was very good at answering all our questions and was really friendly. You would have thought he knew us.  They say that Buffalo is the city of good neighbors, if that is true I have no idea what that makes London.  If the people here keep this up, we will surely have a good time. If not, we always have each others’ company.  I’m happy to say that for the next four months London is HOME.