There are so many things I want to say in this post—but first things first, SEAHAWKS!!!!! Can’t believe we FINALLY did it! So great! I actually really, really wish I could’ve been home during this entire post-season; the energy around the city is palpable, even 5,000 miles away in London!
It hasn’t been a particularly interesting last couple of weeks, just continuing to adjust to regular life in London! Quite honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever been so enamored with a place—the architecture of the buildings, the smells that come from the bakeries and restaurants, the varied languages and dialects spoken all over the city, and even the musical performers that play in the Tube stations, even sometimes on the streets. This city is unbelievably idyllic—it is impossible for me to walk down the street without feeling so blessed to live in a such a city. Often, I struggle to verbalize this city: there are no words to describe.
While I don’t have much to say about my activities, I can tell you that I am exactly in the right place, at the right time. Friendships are being formed, with both locals and those in my program, I’ve found a great church in Hillsong London, and I’m going to be traveling to places that I’ve only previously seen in my many daydreams since I was a young boy. Currently, I have a golf trip booked for this weekend, and then five days in Paris over Valentine’s Day, then Dublin, Jordan, and Scotland, all with friends. Then, my mom is coming and we are going to Italy and then Santorini, Greece!
My classes are excellent—I have required museum trips weekly all throughout the city! Because of this, I’ve been able to tour Ben Franklin’s home while he was a diplomat in London, the National Maritime Museum, and the London Docklands Museum. Not only that, I live within about 100 steps of the Victoria and Albert Museum, which encompasses a variety of art and culture, as well as the British Natural History Museum!
It is so interesting to discuss political issues with local residents, as well as other Europeans (yes, you can tell that it is actually me writing this!) Unfortunately, their system, while failing, looks to me to be the future of America if we continue down the path our political leaders have chosen. Their tax system includes a 20% Value-Added Tax on nearly everything purchased (this is included in the sticker price, so you never know how much you truly pay in sales tax), and their income tax brackets start at 40% for the middle class! This is all seen as normal, but funnily enough, the British healthcare system that many in our country tout as a system that we should pursue, is hated by the British people!
Also, the Tube (subway) workers have gone on strike, because, in the natural progression of industry, ticket booth workers are being replaced by machines. While this is an elimination of about 900 government jobs, about 30% of Tube workers voted in an election, and the “majority” of that 30% voted to strike! So, London is essentially at a stand-still today, tomorrow, and next Wednesday and Thursday! Come on. The buses are overcrowded, and now unreliable due to the increase in car and bike traffic.
Anyways, I am LOVING my life thus far, nearly a month in, here in London! Thanks all for reading, please continue to keep me in your prayers!