Monday, September 29, 2008

MY wild card weekend

This weekend was my wild card weekend. After a long and depressing week of homesickness, actual sickness and sick of sam sickness my roommates gave me the go ahead and gave me permission to forget my worries and have a good time whatever that included. I only get one a month, luckily its almost October :)

So we decided to go to York. Laura had been the weekend before and found it one of her favorite places so far, so we took her advice and booked a hotel in York. Only after did we find out our Edinburgh friends were playing a show in York on Friday as well! Remind me to tell you the story of the Edinburgh boys at a later time, I found out today they read my blog ;)
Thursday I stayed home sick for a half day and struggled to get to school so that I could teach my Barbie Bungee activity that afternoon. Friday was part 2 of the lesson (which went fabulously by the way) and I was in charge of turning the film I took it into a promotional video for the school's Open Day on Saturday for the parents to come to. I filmed 3rd period and quickly uploaded/edited and burned the video before Laura and I left for MY wild card weekend in York.

We had to go back to the cottage for one thing only. Laura wanted to get the clothes she needed to return in York from last weekend. Guess what. We left without the clothes. Luckily, I remembered while we were still in town and Laura hauled back to fetch them. We hop on our train headed for MY wild card weekend and were completely bored by middle aged business men who thought we were interested in the geographical history of England. When in reality I just wanted to sleep, because I hadn't had any the past couple nights. Finally we reach our destination and I am immediately rejuvenated thinking about the fun dancing on the horizon.

We walk out of the train station after buying gross French beer from our new pal Dane and are almost to the walls of York before Laura realizes....
"WAIT! I forgot my bag!"
"On the train?"
"AHH! YES on the train!"
We sprint back to the platform only to be told that the train is gone. Oh wait. just moved. to platform 8. Still sprinting we find her bag. And when I say sprinting, I mean laura walking fast and my stubs of legs doing double time in her one step- so I was the only one sprinting.
Relief. We find her bag and now MY night can begin.
We stroll through the streets of York. York is a beautiful medieval city with castle walls and everything. Im talking typical castle walls like in the fairy-tales. It actually goes back to Roman days when it was in the Roman Empire under Constantine.
Anyway, who cares about that. Lets continue with the night.

Laura and I get to our hotel we were staying at with 2 adults +2 children under the age of 8. It was a double bed with a single pull out couch for our 2 children Colette and Laurel. We had to do some manipulating and twisting of the rules to get the cheapest deal. As soon as Laurel and Colette get to York we bolt on over to the Dutchess to hopefully get a chance to hear our British ROCKSTAR friends Lecorum. These guys we heard first in Edinburgh and we really like their music. Cold, Freezing and ready for fun, we get to the bar about an hour late! :( We returned again through the night, but they were no where to be found.

Devastated we were, but I wasn't going to let this ruin my night. We found the happening places in town and danced our hearts away. At one point a country song (or the only thing they have close to country) came on and I was pulled back in time as in reverse motion to a unforgettable summer at Daisy Dukes and memories of twists and turns, dancing with some of my favorite people. Laura and I attempted to pull off the Donna and other crazy spins with each other but realized it doesn't work because we were both trying to do the girl part.

The night wouldn't be complete without ligers following us from one bar to the next and a french hot dog to top it off. Laura and I walked back to one of the first bars we went to so that she could use her wild card and flirt with the bartender. We were distracted by some of the local University students who were blown away by our accents and went on to tell me I should change my name and actually everything else about me because thats not how they do it in York. Apparently Taylor is a last name (surname) and IF it was EVER used as a first name it would be for a boy. We ordered a pizza and took it back to the room and until only then did we discover our feet were nearly shambles from walking around in heels all night.

The next day we went to york minister and walked around the buzzing town of york.
Much needed fun. Incase you were wondering my 'wild card' was only redeemed through embarrassing dancing to oldies such as Jackson 5 in a circle with my girls, which is just the way I wanted it :)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Denise vs Richard

The rainy, cloudy and cold weather has left me to explore other means of tension release and cardio activity. Running around outside is my first choice in aerobic activity but with weather as fickle as it is I have resorted to videos. Yes, workout videos. I had plans to pop in these dvds on rainy days but since the dvd player at the cottage doesn't play american dvds I am left to play them on my computer screen as my only option.
As entertainment in combination with a fast pace workout I have Richard Simmons Sweatin' to the Oldies! Quite a show I might add. In addition I have Denise Austin Yoga Body in 21 days!

The first week we arrived Laura, Colette and I attempted to enthusiastically hit up Richard Simmons dance moves. It was quite a HILARIOUS night as we tried to overlook his forward leadership in shorts that are way to small for tv and focus on the dance moves by watching the pumped up overweight backup dancers behind him. It actually can be a very good workout!
Since I am the only one who works out I have now changed my routine to early morning before school at around 5:30 am. Yes, most of you are still up in Texas because it is only 11 pm your time. The only thing is I can't stand to do Richard Simmons that early and without the company of my friends to enjoy this humility.
Thus, I have resorted to Denise Austin's Yoga video. yes.. her hair is way to perfect for a workout. Yes.. her eyes open much farther than they should, giving a creepy look about her. Yes.. her "calm and soothing" voice sometimes sounds like a man in a woman's body, but all in all it gets the job done.

Yoga before the sun comes up and the blowdryers start buzzing is actually quite relaxing and comforting. However, I am ridiculously sore! Man! that balancing stick is a killer. But at least I can feel it going to town on my backhandles. Denise's favorite move is of course the complete sun salutation. For those of you who do yoga...i HATE that move. I can't do the full back alignment(or whatever its called) and the upward facing dog position really hurts. it really really REALLY hurts. Dennie keeps saying "doesn't this feel good?" "this is excellent for your back!" No its not! My back hurts. killing infact. But in the end I guess it gets the job done. I have broken a sweat and the warrior position has left my legs numb and flimsy.

So Denise or Richard?

Who is Samuel Butler?

"Life is the art of drawing sufficient conclusions from insufficient premises"
-Samuel Butler (1612-1680)

Monday, September 22, 2008

The London Bridge Isn't Falling Down

So when people said I would be obsessed with London...they were right! Wow! What a weekend. Its not even fair to only spend one whole day in London. Its too much of a tease! There is so much to see and do that we found ourselves being torn in so many directions trying to fit it all in. Of course that didn't happen and we will have to go back a couple more times in order to do that.
We did however hit up some of the big spots.
We woke up and headed straight to Notting Hill for some market shopping on Portabello Road. It was crazy crowded but a great spot for some reasonably priced purchases. The sidewalks were lined with various musicians trying to make a penny which only added to the flavor of the area. We had lunch at Gourmet Burgers, the BEST cheeseburgers we've had. Then we hoped on the tube and hit up the big stop of Westminster with Parliament and The London EYE towering over the Thames River. Incredible.

After touring around that area for a little bit we went in search of a boat tour that would take us to Greenwich. Greenwich is famous for one thing and there is really only one thing to go there for. Take a Guess.
Oh remember back to 5th grade when we learned about longitude an latitude? You know the Eastern and Western Hemisphere? Something called the PRIME MERIDIAN? It runs right through the middle of Greenwich, about an hour boat ride from London.
HOW CAN YOU BE SO CLOSE TO THAT AND NOT GO? we HAD to see this. Its not everyday you can be in two places at once.
We hop on his overcrowded boat full of Asian tourists who were sleeping in the prime seats(annoying) and are guided past the London Tower, Globe Theatre, London Bridge and many more incredible tourist attractions. We get off of this boat and basically follow the crowd down the small streets of Greenwich. Its funny because all of a sudden there is a pack of people stampeding down the streets headed to the park- Im sure the locals are thinking "Another boat must have just docked. Watch out!" So we head to this gigantic park and haul up this hill literally at like an 82 degree angle to what we thought would be a huge line painted on the ground saying "PRIME MERIDIAN! EASTERN HEMISPHERE HERE, WESTERN THERE" nope! Everyone was just fascinated by this clock and all the measurements underneath it. Colette Laurel and I were like "Where is this frickin Prime Meridian?! I didn't climb up this right angle of a hill to see a clock!"
So we went over to see what all the hype was about this stupid clock. Oh wait. haha. this is kind of a big deal. its the clock that the WHOLE WORLD GOES BY! It was the clock with the OFFICIAL TIME...for the whole WORLD! and we just walk right by it. Underneath it were iron knobs measuring out one foot, one inch, one yard, one meter , etc. So incase I ever want to know and compare my measurement of one foot to the original I just have to travel to Greenwich to do it! The official ONE FOOT measurement for the WHOLE WORLD!! crazy crazy.

So that was neat and we got pictures but we are still in search of the big white line painted on the ground. We are asking everyone.
They all tell us "Its right over there by the clock"
"is there a line on the ground?"
"yes there should be"
"We dont see it!"
"its by the clock"

Ok let me tell you why we didnt see the 0 degree longitude. it was like behind this gate on the side of the wall with a GROOVE in the ground like on a sidewalk between two cement slabs. There was no sign. No, that would be too easy. Instead you have to wind your way and scooch your way through a narrow talking turning your body sideways- to this place on the wall with faded prime meridian sign that obviously dates back to a long time ago. Did I mention the sidewalk is probably as long as I am before there is a wall of bushes hiding the cliff off of the 97 degree angle hill that we climbed up. And tourists are packed in this area trying to take a decent picture. Interesting.
Needless to say I have been in TWO places at once. TWO HEMISPHERES at once, Two parts of the WORLD at once. AHHHHH!!!! The feeling was not powerful which I was hoping for. No, the feeling was exactly the same as if I were standing across the Oklahoma/Texas border which feels the same as if i was standing at the intersection of Texas and University in College Station, which feels the same as if i was standing on the property line of my house and my neighbors house. It wasn't the "Walk to Remember" type feeling that Mandy Moore gets when Shane West takes her to accomplish her goal of being in two places at once. Oh Nicholas Sparks.

Then we managed our way back to Westminster by taking a RED double decker LONDON BUS and the tube. We had tickets to get on the London Eye and we hit that up just as the sun was melting in darkness and saw a spectacular view of London in the evening.
After changing we found a hip part of town where we showed off our new dresses while escaping from the realities that this London dream will be over tomorrow and its back to boring Windermere to be a responsible adult and teach kids about maths.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Tiny British Robot Children

This morning I had my first full responsibility lesson with my adorable little 6th graders. We started off doing a KWL chart (know, want to know, and learned) on fractions. Im screwed because they already know a good amount on the future lessons I have already planned. They are very smart and are way ahead of expected at this age. I guess thats the point of this KWL chart, so that I can assess their prior knowledge and not waste time going over things they already know.
Moving on to the lesson. I felt it went very well. I have had PLENTY of time to prepare for it so I was just ready to DO it.
Fine. Dandy.

Can we talk a little bit about their behavior problems please?
Um..... first I would just like to say how scary it is. In fact, I have a couple of words to describe their behavior.
you get the picture.

They are SO Creepy because they are SO well behaved! Its just wierd. I ask them to get out their book and guess what- they actually do! The first time I asked. I ask them to be quiet....oh wait I dont have to.
Today there was a part of my lesson where we created our own tangram. They had to cut and color individually. It was silent!
I said to them:
"You may quietly talk to your neighbor now"
Nothing. You could hear crickets.
"Im not going to get you in trouble if you talk"
"you do know how to talk, don't you?"
some giggles but NO talking
"ok seriously. Please talk! I don't like sitting in silence"

Which is completely opposite of American students. Most of the time I am praying for silence and for them to listen to me and follow instructions. Two different worlds
It is also like a competition on who finishes their work first. Without fail, each and every one of them will raise their hand to tell me they are finished. Every single one! Then they will put down their pencil fold their arms and sit up straight. Like ROBOTS! I want to Shake them! Its not fun teaching robots! They are too similar in their matching uniforms and matching beaviors playing matching sports in matching PE clothes. The only thing not matching are their pencil pouches. When I saw that it was almost as if it screamed personality. They only way I know about these kids personal lives is through their pencil pouches.

Hello Kitty= comercially girly
Colorful flowers on canvas material= a soon to be little hippie
Billabong and Quicksilver= watch out this dude is going to be popular because he already knows what's up
Plain colors= need a little spice

I LOVE when they ask me questions. "Ms. Terry" (in cute little boy and girl british accents). I secretly pretend not to hear them so they will say it again. :) am i bad?
I LOVE how they say thank you at the end of a lesson and say bye. "Thank you Ms Terry" "See you tomorrow Ms Terry" "Bye Ms Terry" AHHHHHHH I want to squeeze their little heads they are so cute!

Overall good day :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Periodic Table

Today in my Year 8 (7th grade) Chemistry class we were going over the periodic table. To start, my teacher Ms. Herron, just asked students to volunteer with names of elements.

Ms H: "yes Grace"

Grace: "orange"

Ms H: "Orange? haha, no not orange. Lets get our CHEMISTRY thinking caps on. Someone else give me the name of an element."

Harriet: "kinetic!"

Ms H: "hahahaha NO! thats physics! we are in CHEMISTRY!" "Think about the periodic table." "Ole"

Ole: "movement?"


This lack of 7th grade common knowledge could be the result of one of two things.
1) the kids arent as bright as we would think they should be in 7th GRADE!
2) the result of a confusing and completely not necessary time table (aka schedule)

You see the kids go to the SAME teacher 3 times a week. Once for Physics, Once for Biology and Once for Chemistry. Rather than spend 8th grade in Biology and 9th in Chemistry...etc....they do all 3 every year! Hence the illusion of bright kids coming across as dumb.

They also say Aluminum funny.

Ah-LOOOOO- min-EEEE- um

Crazy Brits.....

Monday, September 15, 2008

Psalm 125:1-2

“Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever. As the mountain surrounded Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people”

Trust…..Trust? What does that even mean? To my family, I trust that they will always love me. For my friends, I trust they will always listen. For my pet I trust she will always be at the door waiting for me. I trust that the sun will rise every morning and set every night. I trust that September comes after August and April before May. But why do I trust these things? Do I all of a sudden start trusting them? The pattern of certainty provides credibility to the things listed above.
So why is it so hard for me to trust the Lord? I know I’m not the only one. “Trust the Lord”…Sounds easy enough. Not just believe in the Lord, TRUST Him with my LIFE! Giving full control, letting go, handing over the wheel. It’s Scary! I think its because the Lord is not tangible. Its something you have to feel. I can trust the Sun to rise and set because for 22 years I have proof that every day it rises and sets.

“But how do I know that’s my plan?” “But does He even know what I want?”
These sound so selfish.

I have my whole life ahead of me and many people my age are also trying to plan out what comes next. So how can I trust something I cannot see and sometimes not feel with the rest of my life?

After reading that verse I have never felt more secure. At dinner today I stared out the window into the beauty which I am completely engulfed in. The beauty of God’s mountains, steadfast and strong, but also the trust suddenly made tangible. Through this verse I feel at peace with my future and can now begin to hand over my reigns, because honestly trying to control them is quite exhausting.
I know there will be hard times and good, but I know in the end with the presence of trust, its going to be GREAT!
It’s time to sit back and enjoy the ride called my life.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Locker Problem

This is a problem my teacher did with my 6th graders today. I remember doing this problem in college-never in high school, not to mention middle school. They were so adorable counting in their British accents. I was totally impressed with their skills. Definitely above average with critical thinking. Everyone in the class got the answer- and within minutes! They were Brilliant (if you want to use British terms)

Check it out- see if you can solve it!

Here is the famous locker problem:

Imagine you are at a school that has 100 lockers, all shut.
1. Suppose the first student goes along the row and opens every locker.
2. The second student then goes along and shuts every other locker beginning with locker number 2.
3. The third student changes the state of every third locker beginning with locker number 3. (If the locker is open the student shuts it, and if the locker is closed the student opens it.)
4. The fourth student changes the state of every fourth locker beginning with number 4.

Imagine that this continues until the 100 students have followed the pattern with the 100 lockers. At the end, which lockers will be open and which will be closed?
What is the pattern?

Post a comment if you found a solution!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

International Students aka American Teachers

The school I am teaching at is an international school where students can board if they are from a different country. During one of the teacher inservice days before school started at the beginning of September, we had to go to an international students seminar. In this seminar they talked about the stages students go through when they are boarders and from different countries and the levels of homesickness and when.
At the time I didnt think anything of it and just listened to the suggestions of how to deal with a homesick student and what to do in order to comfort them and make them feel at home. It wasnt until last night that I realized...I FALL INTO THE SAME CATEGORY!

The checklist:
1. They are away from home (check!)
2. They are from a different country (check!)
3. This is their first time in the country/new culture (check!)
4. They speak a different language (ehhh.sometimes it feels like it so check!)

The usual routine is as follows
The first two weeks the students feel like it is fun and a new adventure- kinda like camp. After the second week is when the bell curve really plummets. This is when homesick is the greatest and it takes until about week 4-5 on average to make friends and bring their spirits back up.

I must say that last night the girls and I started to feel this- after only week one!!!
I think it has to do with the fact that we have such a hard time getting on the internet. It is magnified because we have no connection with the real world. No connection back home. If you have read the previous blogs you will understand our only forms of communication are blocked while at school.
Today I asked the computer guy at the school to PLEASE un-filter my blog so that I could update my family and friends on my well being!

Edinburgh and Braemar

All four of us were ready for the weekend. It decided to take its sweet time getting here too. We arrived in England only a week ago but it seems like forever. We have had very busy days with little entertainment so Friday couldn’t come fast enough!

Friday we boarded our three hour train the bustling –yet eerie- town of Edinburgh Scotland. The city buildings are so old that from a far it almost feels as if it is abandoned. Eerie enough that ghost tours is a popular thing to do there.

The hostel we stayed at was awesome. It was almost like Urban Outfitters Hotel. Of course it wasn’t the cleanest place I’ve ever stayed but it wasn’t the filthiest either. The main room felt like an awesome coffee house/ chilled out more artsy version of commons lobby at A&M. We stayed in a mixed 16- person room, which proved to be most interesting. Laurel freaked out by the cleanliness of the place (or lack there of) got up twice during the night (slept walked) to unlock her locker with the keys she tied to the drawstring of her pants twice to get hand sanitizer. We met two guys who were on leave from California that were stationed in Germany, some Spanish travelers and some Chinese that tried to teach us dirty words in Chinese/Cantonese.
After settling in we battled the weather and struggled to walk up hills as the wind tried to tumble us in the other direction. Looking for grub we found the “Filling Station” and decided that’s exactly what we needed in so many ways. Not only did we fill up on food and drinks it was also time for an enthusiastic reminder “AHHHH! We are living in ENGLAND!” and had a girl’s night on the town. We found a pub that had live music in the heart of Edinburgh. It was fun just people watching and observing the people that live on the other side of the world. Before leaving we were introduced to the band, but then drug ourselves around 11:30 back to the hostel ready to pass out from sleep deprivation.
Around 3am the Spanish travelers came back to our hostel unfiltered and entertaining. Although all of us were awakened and annoyed by their obnoxious behavior I couldn’t help but silently laugh as they made farting noises followed immediately by girlish giggles.

By 7 am Saturday morning we were Braemar bound and about to experience the BEST thing of the trip so far (obviously, its only been one week)!! We went to the famous Royal Highland Games up in the far reaches of the highest points in Scotland, hence the Highland Games. These games have been around for 900 years and every year hundreds of Scots and their adoring fans, aka clans, gather around to watch the events and get a glance of the Queen of England. We ordered ringside seats in order to capture all of it firsthand.
Let me just paint a picture here for you.
Men in kilts- EVERYWHERE
Little boys in kilts- EVERYWHERE
People in general in kilts- EVERYWHERE
Its no wonder the Scottish have this stereotype tagged on their back. THEY ACTUALLY DO THIS.
So events included in these Braemar Games:
- the long jump
- sprinting and races
- little girls highland dancing
- The putting of the stone (kind of like shot-put)
- Throwing the hammer (what?)
- TUG OF WAR (which would have been a lot more interesting if they were pulling a rope over a slosh of mud or even a hungry pit of alligators…take your pick)
- AND, my personal favorite…The THROWING OF THE CABER! This, for those who don’t know, is equivalent to picking up a TREE weighing WHO knows as much and about one and a half stories tall, running with it, and then throwing it in hopes that it will rotate one complete turn and then land a specific way. See pictures
YES! THEY ACTUALLY DO THIS- For anyone who has seen Made of Honor with Patrick Dempsey and the highland game scene, that’s what this was! Something that you have to see to fully understand! Anyway- It was just incredible!
The band of bagpipes was also one of the most cultured thing I’ve seen and I lovedddd it!
It was FREEZING so we went into the town and picked out our plaid association in matching blankets and scarfs in order to bundle up. Each clan in Scotland has a different kind of plaid. Different color combinations and size of the patterns is designated to a specific clan. I tried to find the Murray Clan (which is my mothers side) but couldn’t so I picked out my own plaid because I liked the color combinations. So now I’m associated with the Buchanan clan!

An hour before the games were to end the Royal Party arrived. And when I say royal party, I mean THE QUEEN OF ENGLAND. Queen Elizabeth herself, in all her glory, right before us. Of course she had a grand entrance (this lady doesn’t do anything slyly) Stopping the games to roll up in her Rolls Royce sporting the British Flag, the crowd silently watched as she then walked up her ramp to her Royalty Box. Wow that was cool. Then everyone stood and sung Hail Queen Elizabeth or something like that. It was interesting. But definitely not the most shocking experience of our weekend.

After riding our bus back to Edinburgh we again stopped to pick up some food and then headed to another local pub with live music for a drink. The other girls were set on trying a Scottish Whiskey while in Scotland even though I was too tired and not really interested in having a drink. I went anyways in hopes the live music would wake me up. We ordered two different whiskeys and some coke to share. I could SMELL it before Laura and Laurel even returned to the table. It was overwhelmingly strong and could taste it without even drinking it.
We asked this man sitting behind us to take our picture and before we knew it he was taking a picture alright…AND showing us Americans what was underneath his kilt. I hope you can gather what happened when I say it was the most SHOCKING experience of our weekend!!!!!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

First Days of School

Wednesday was our first day of school. My school is the most beautiful school on the most beautiful grounds. I will hopefully upload pictures soon to justify my claims!
So like I said we have trouble getting to school in the mornings. We can walk to Elleray (the elementary school) but up to Browhead (the middle school) is quite a journey- described in an earlier post. So we arranged for a bus to pick us up in the morning on its route to pick up the kitchen staff. Well the morning of school we were out there at 8:10 just as asked but the bus never came. Laura and I had to put on our wellies (rainboots) and haul it to Elleray in hopes that someone would give us a lift up the mountain. Thankfully we did but we missed the first 45 minutes of school and barely made the opening assembly in which we were special guests and announced to the school. Phew!

The school is SO different than ours. For example
- They dont have grades, they have "years" but their "years" are different than ours in that Year 7 is really 6th graders.
- They have time tables instead of schedules
- Homework= Prep
- They work off 2 week timetables Week A and Week B
- They dont go to the same class everyday in the same room with the same teacher at the same time.
It is mega confusing.
For example:
If I was in 6th grade class A I could go to Math on Monday for 7th period, Wednesday for 2nd period and Thursday for 1st period. and then the next week go to Math on Monday for 5th period, Tuesday for 5th period and then Friday for 3rd period.

So if you can imagine I am not really assigned with one teacher for one class. Instead I am working with a 8th grade math class, 6th grade math class, 7th grade science class and a 6th grade science class.
But I have tons of breaks.
On Thursday I only have 1 6th grade science class.

But what makes this interesting is that all the classrooms are seperate from the main house. They are through all these footpaths, some paved but others are just gravel. It is interesting to me because for as much as it rains here, you would think that they would cover the pathways!
But instead, everyone walks around soaking wet and with their umbrellas and raincoats everywhere. Then the kids just walk around with wet blazers that begin to give off the most disgusting odor. Almost like a wet dog.

But it is all worth it. Because of the view. Overlooking the most gorgeous lake with mountains in the background.
God's beauty is unmatchable.

Internet update!

We still dont have it!
The portable wireless USB drives that we purchased cant reach a signal at our cottage. I am at our landlords house for a couple hours of unfiltered internet.

Travel Day

What a long day.
Leaving my parents at the airport couldn’t have been more saddening. People could have thought I was leaving for 2 years the way my tears were flowing. I was standing in the xray line and Im pretty sure I was getting stares as I tried to sniffle silently. Once I met up with Laurel and Colette I started to feel a little bit better. Our adventure had begun!
The flight to New Jersey was uneventful if you don’t include our pilot who looked like he was a die hard nascar fan (mullet/beerbelly and everything) playng dress up for the day in a pilot costume. Almost like a mail-order pilot- if those exist. The best part of the flight was flying into Newark with a left handed window seat and seeing New York City as we landed- probably the coolest view ever…and then there was Windermere. But I’ll get to that later.

Once we got on the plane leaving for Manchester I found my seat in 16 A. Once I had settled all of my things properly above in the overhead bins I awkwardly scooted my way over and in doing so noticed hundreds of tiny illuminations of heaven equally centered in every seatback in front of me. I looked like a little kid on Christmas. My eyes immediately light up and I began shouting to my friends in different rows to notice the greatness I had discovered. Not like they didn’t see it already. The t.v. was MINE-inches before me for 7 hours..ALL MINE! It was touch screen and had 20 different movies, 20 different tv shows, games and music choices. I felt very first class. Way to go Continental. My movies of choice were What Happens in Vegas, Chaos Theory, Leatherheads. Choas Theory was my favorite if you haven’t seen it, please do.
I sat next to some sweet but very impatient British people that were very quick to inform me to get some “wooly jumpers” and “wellies”.

We landed in Manchester at around 2 am Dallas time but it was 8 am England time. Cute little George picked us up from the airport and we found him with no problem. Driving on the other side of the road wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be but this was only because we were on the highway. One lane/two way roads are a different story. Driving through the country side of England is so different. Sheep line the roads kept in by stone fences. These fences are not just along the road, they go miles into the country side and are their main material for fencing- since the fences have been there for centuries.

George took us to the Legge’s main house who own the cottage we will be renting. The most adorable family cooked and served us lunch and treated us like they are our own. Being as hospitable as they are, they wanted us to have tea and chat for hours. Laura (who met up with us later) was the only one awake enough to talk. Apparantly my eyes were shutting and that is when Mrs. Legge decided to take us to our cottage.

First of all it is a gravel alley off park road. And our literal address is the evergreen cottage off park road. The downstairs is perfect. Just enough space. Upstairs is a different story. There is one room at the top of the stairs that is big enough for a bed and for someone to stand beside it. The other room fits two single beds snuggly with a narrow closet the size of a small person (me) and a set of drawers. Laura and I are sharing this at the moment. Then there is the master room with a double bed and a huge closet that all of us get to use. One problem- no hangers. This will hopefully be resolved tomorrow with a trip to town.
The only bathroom does not have a shower curtain and the showerhead comes up to my thigh. It was an interesting shower- that first go. We all sat down shivering beneath this shower head. HA! The Adrian (our landlord) is supposed to be fixing that soon. On top of all of this I would like to point out a few things
1) We have 4 British Channels not one containing the news
2) The dvd player does not play American dvds
3) They do not have a Blockbuster type store
4) We do not have the internet
5) The school has filtered internet that does not allow gmail, my blog or facebook as sites we are allowed to go to
6) The school us up a highway through a pasture of sheep, over a creek, along a tiny footpath over looking a cliff, up a rocky hill and then back on a tiny one lane/two way highway that is windy and curvy and has no shoulder. Oh did I mention it is about 40 minutes and that it rains here?

Needless to say this is not the best option for our internet and that we are going to a nearby town tomorrow to get internet.