Ok I'm warning you... this might be a long post... I had a really fun weekend and have been keeping pretty busy! On friday, I went to the Photographer's Gallery, which is London's photography museum. It made me miss MoPA, but it was still really awesome! There were two exhibits. One was primarily men's fashion, and the other was a collection of black and white photos, all of people reading. The exhibitions change in the beginning of October, so I will definitely be going back soon to check it out!
After that, I went out with some of the girls on my floor to a pub that is just down the street, called The Builder's Arms, where I had my very first pint of beer. It was a strawberry beer called Fruli. It tasted pretty good, but I didn't like the aftertaste at all. Everyone has been very patronizing when it comes to drinking. It always seems like a huge deal to everyone that I don't drink very often, and I usually get comments like, "Oh you're not drinking? Aw it's ok, honey... Don't let anyone pressure you..." as if I'm a middle schooler who is being faced with peer pressure for the first time. But I'm sure I will get used to it and everyone else will get used to my choice not to drink much. I knew that drinking would be part of the culture here, wether that be because I'm in London or because I'm attending a secular college, but I guess I underestimated how often people would go out for drinks. However, I have been having fun going out and socializing with people, and if they give me a hard time for ordering a hot chocolate at a pub, I guess I will just have to get used to it, because lets face it... who doesn't love hot chocolate??
On Saturday, a group of students from our program took a day trip to Brighton, which is on the south coast of England. Brighton is a beach town where the English go on holiday. One of the main attractions, besides the beach, is the Royal Pavilion, which was built by Henry IV in 1803. We took a tour of the beautiful building and saw all of the luxurious furniture and garish ornamentation, which was definitely over the top, but still very beautiful.
The Brighton Pavillion
After our tour, we went down to the beach for lunch and I tried the classic English meal, fish and chips. It wasn't very fishy and didn't taste nearly as bad as I expected it to, but it was extremely greasy and we all felt sick later in the day.
We then explored the Brighton Pier, which has little gift shops and places to buy food. At the end of the pier, there are a bunch of carnival rides. The weather was perfect and the sea looked gorgeous!
Zeny, Brittany, Ryan, Alexis, and I on the pier
We then went down on the beach and put our feet in the water. It was a little chilly, but felt nice. Brighton's beach was unusual because it had pebbles instead of sand. It hurt to walk around, so we all decided to lay down and take a nap instead. It was wonderfully relaxing but, after about an hour of napping, we decided to walk around the city. We happened to be there during the International Culinary fair, so the streets were crowded with booths and vendors selling all kinds of food. We walked around the market, went in to a couple shops, and of course stopped to sip a cup of coffee on the patio of a little cafe. I absolutely loved Brighton and think I could maybe see myself living there! It reminded me a bit of Santa Barbara and even a little bit of San Diego. It seemed like there is always something going on, but it doesn't have all the industrial hustle and bustle that a big city like London has.
On sunday morning, I was able to go to a church called Reality London. In case you don't know, my brother is a youth group leader at Reality Carpinteria and came here a couple weeks ago to help with the first service of Reality London, which is a brand new church here in London. Everyone was really welcoming and I felt very comfortable there, which was a huge blessing. That following night, I went with some friends to the Thames Festival. There was a parade and tons of booths along the riverside. The festival was concluded with fireworks, which were amazing! It was really fun and felt like a typical european festival that I have heard about from several people.
I've been spending a lot of time trying to make travel plans for this semester. Yesterday, my friend Kevin and I finally booked everything for a trip we will be taking in mid-october to Slovakia, Austria, and the Czech Republic. So I'm really really excited about that!! Today I'm going to try to finish most of my homework for this week and next week... so we'll see how that turns out... Anyways, you all get to read about my life but I have no idea what you're up to! I miss everyone and would love to hear from you!!