Friday, May 30, 2014

Global Citizen

What does it mean to be a global citizen?  According to a global citizen is someone who identifies with being a part of an emerging world community and whose actions contribute to building this community’s values and practices.  Assuming that there is such thing as an emerging world community to which anyone would identify with and that they have a set of values, I would consider myself part of this community.  I can appreciate the things that other countries have to offer, as well as I do respect the other countries as well. 
I have to say that Americans have a definite stereotype in other countries.  This is not always a good thing.  There will always be those Americans that give us a bad name, and fit to well into the stereotype.  What is the stereotype? Lazy, t-shirts pants, rude, loud and ungrateful.  Yes I have witnessed this from certain Americans while abroad, and I tried my hardest to set this stereotype straight.  But it seemed no matter what we did there were still people on the underground whispering about us, or calling us stupid Americans. 
I would consider myself a global citizen I have experienced what it is like to be in another country that is so much different than ours.  I have to say I felt very safe the whole time I was there, and everyone was very friendly, as I liked to say, very politely rude!  Being aware of the social responsibility of fitting in while in another country is important.  We want people to fit in while they are here in our country so we should learn their social norms while we are in their country.  We have the freedom to travel freely to wherever we wish.  I would recommend embracing this freedom to anyone who asks me.  The experiences that you get is not something that can be learned or taught from a textbook, it is something that only living it will teach you.  Having respect for the other culture is critical if you want them to have respect for you.  You can be welcomed with open arms as well as we welcome foreigners with open arms here.
No matter where you go, no matter what country you call home or go to visit, you will always fit in with someone, somewhere.  I recommend becoming a global citizen and expanding your horizons!  It is something that will be remembered forever!  I will always remember what we did and what we saw, and the friends that I have made!

Differing ways of living in the world

The good thing about traveling abroad is the difference in food and drinks that can be experienced.  I was excited to try some new foods, and drinks, but by the end of the trip I was ready for a homemade meal and some soda on ice.  Eating out at a pub was a fun experience, but it gets old if you have to do it every day for two weeks.  Of course you didn’t have to eat at a pub every day, but it was so hard to try and find something to eat besides a pub.  Pubs are on every corner, another place to eat was hard to find, unless you were traveled with Dr. Nobiling and we learned that very quickly!  Unless we had the luxury of dinning with Dr. Nobiling, we spent most of our time looking for a place to eat.  We found some good places, and we also found some not so good places.  Our guide Maria told us that they do not eat the traditional food every day or they would all be very heavy.  I think that it is hard to eat out for two weeks straight and not go crazy, but I have noticed that a lot of the pubs have gone to a standard menu and it doesn’t even seem like it’s homemade.  I had come to enjoy the Aspal Cider with a shot of black current in it.  It was my favorite drink while I was there, and the Yorkshire pudding was good also.  I was happy to come home to a home cooked meal.
I found it very interesting that a pub would serve drinks all day, but wouldn't serve food until noon or 1pm.  I don't know how many times we walked in wanting lunch and they weren't serving food until noon, but we could drink!  The people that we would see on their lunch break having a pint was not normal to us.  Here in America it is frowned upon to have a beer on your lunch break, and over there they encourage it.  These are little differences that I had noticed. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Wide open spaces!

After arriving home (Wyoming) I have realized how much we take for granted in this wonderful state! Although I have not been able to really enjoy anything but the guest bed in my parents' house, it is comfy! My immune system took a hit from the environment of London, could be the millions of people on the underground, the congestion of the city, or just bad luck on my part. I have a severe upper respiratory infection and I have to say I'm so thankful that I'm home to be this miserable. If we were still in London I would be struggling to breathe in the second hand smoke and congestion, while walking to our next destination.
I had a blast doing the things that we did and meeting the wonderful people that we met. This truly is a chance of a lifetime, and everyone who has the chance to go should jump on it! It is so worth it in the end!! Looking back on the two weeks abroad all I have to say is, my butt was on Buckingham Palace!! I was leaning against the wall!! I stepped into the stoop when it started raining!! Among every other thing we did of course, it was amazing! 
I have made some forever friends (Jessica, Michaela and Nick) because let's face it, once you stay with someone for that long in one setting, your practically family!! I will now have someone I can bug when I decide to go back (Constable Watson) haha, and of course you have a place to stay if you ever want to come stay in the real mountains in Wyoming! Elk hunting? What do you say Constable Watson? I hear retirement can be awfully boring... Just saying :)
We all have to expand our horizons and experience things we haven't experienced before. We do have things in this country that we would consider luxuries, (soda, ice, wide open spaces, regular water pressure, free public restrooms, and toilets that flush, just to name a few) but other countries have things that we could never have, history! I will always be blown away by the tradition of this country that dates back to before our country was even born! They have buildings and castles that have been standing since before time! You can not even grasp the concept until you are standing next to that building or touring that castle, or standing next to that reporter taking pictures listening to him tell you why the soldiers are doing what they are doing! Not to mention the monarchy! That alone is so different for us to experience. Everything about the police force that is responsible for the birth of our police force is still so different! I don't want to give them props, but they have things pretty figured out, but after all these years, you would hope so. :) I have a tremendous amount of respect for all of those on the force in England, especially those on Watson's team! They really have a hard job trying to plan those events that America would never have to worry about because we do not have a monarchy, or 13 million people in one city.  
We have to be aware of what is going on and how things run in other countries, hey maybe our leaders should take some notes. America is all we know and all we like to come back to, but they feel the same way about us. I think I have heard more bad thing said about us than good, but it's all we know. We could improve, we could be a better country, but they aren't perfect either and outlawing guns wouldn't solve our problems, it goes much deeper than that. I would not trade my wide open spaces though, I love the fresh air and the fresh river running through my home town, even though it might flood it this year! It beats the green water flowing through London :)

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Global effects of local behavior

So I am sick along with three of my fellow travelers. The one thing that I have noticed the most about this country is the smoking, everyone smokes everywhere here! And the congestion of the cars, they tax you for driving in this city. It's called a congestion tax to try and make you take public transportation. There are an average if 6 million people that use the tube system here and there is black soot in our lungs and nose because if the tubes. The germs alone on these trains are outrageous, I'm not surprised that we all got sick! We will be bringing this sickness back to America with us! I will not miss walking out if a store and getting second hand smoke blown in my face! I have only seen a handful of people using the vapor cigarette. This city is very comparable to the cities in the US, but most if our cities are outlawing smoking in public.
I will not miss having to use public transportation, I'm so sick of the smell of the underground. I have to say that I do have the handle on it though! The public restrooms here are nothing like America either, you have to pay to use a nasty bathroom, and the people working them are so grouchy! I have had a good time but I have to say we are spoiled in our wonderful country!

Oxford, Stratford and Warwick Castle

For our last organized day in England we went to visit Oxford University. There are 38 colleges within this university. The biggest college within this university is the Christ Church College with a total of 435 students. The process of applying to this second ranked university is you have to pick one if the 38 colleges to apply to and then go through a vigorous interview and if you are hot accepted they might refer you to another college, but if not your out of luck. The Christ Church college has significant ties to the filming if Harry Potter. The stair case below is part if the film and the dinning room is the basis for the dinning hall in the movie. This was very interesting to learn about the process of how these colleges work. 
Stratford Upon Avon was interesting to see the house that Shakespeare grew up in. We are at the best pastry shop, I had the best raspberry cheesecake I've ever had!
The Warwick castle was by far the best part if yesterday! My kids would have loved it! This is the oldest castle in England, it was built in 943. They had all of the rooms in the castle made up with wax people that looked so real! I wish we would have had more time, but all in all it was a really good day!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Group photos

In front of New Scotland Yard
10 Downing Street
Buckingham Palace before we went through the gates!!

Day of No Access

Today was our last day with Constable Watson (boohoo) and it was probably the best day so far, well the morning anyway ;) Watson and his colleague Phil (can't remember his last name) took us to see the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace. If that wasn't enough he got us inside the gates and the ceremony was literally right in front of our eyes! Yes the guards almost ran Phil over!! It was so amazing! We couldn't take pictures while inside the gate because the Queen does not allow it, but I really wanted to take a picture of all those people outside the gate! Their faces when we walked through the gate was priceless! I felt so important I thought I was going to faint! Constable Watson you have out done yourself! Oh and not to mention he got us in to see 10 Downing Street too (where the Prime Minister lives)! So I have to say the only thing that would have made today better was meeting the queen, but even he doesn't have that much pull, haha! Though her entourage, personal car and police escort, were pulling up as we were being escorted out of the gate, so we could have potentially seen her if Watson wasn't rushing us along haha. But we had to go to 10 Downing Street before lunch so Constable Watson, I'm not complaining! :) I have never met anyone who works harder than Constable Watson (yes I need brownie points, but it is also true)! This trip would not have been nearly as amazing if it was not for him throwing around his weight and pulling strings to get us to see things that normal people do not get to do! Constable Watson, I might just take your place when you retire, you truley do have the best job in the world! Thank you sooo much for everything you have done for us! Cheers Mate!!
Phil is the head of the mounted police, and graced us with his presence today, thank you for your knowledge and company today! It was a pleasure to meet you, sorry I can't remember your last name (seems to be a pattern)!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Day off

What did I do today you ask? I started my day by standing in line for wicked tickets for two hours, but it was worth it!! I met some lovely ladies from Maine (also saw them at the show) and four ladies from south England in a girls trip to London. I have gotten just about all my souvenirs bought and I also got the tickets for the London dungeon for Saturday! I got lost trying to find a tube stop, but I found the most wonderful Chinese place and had an amazing lunch there. I went back to the hotel to change for the show and then tried to find my way to the theater. I had dinner at the Shakespeare Pub by the theater and enjoyed the most wonderful show! I would recommend this show to anyone! I have wanted to see this show since it came out and I have to say it was totally with the wait!! The music, the costumes, it is all wonderful!! My heart is with my daughter Ashley today, she has her first dance recital tonight and I will be missing it! I love you baby and good luck!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court here is only five years old. The last appeals process was held in the House of Lords, so they brought the informal setting over to the Supreme Court. The law lords were brought over to seperate the politics from the law. Everything is on one level, the lords are not sitting higher then the other people in the court room. The emblem is the flowers of the four countries it represents, North Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Trooping of the colors

Every second Saturday in June the military does a birthday parade for the Queen. We had the awesome opportunity to witness the practice of this major event, thanks to the amazing Constable Watson ;) and today was the first time since we have been here that I have actually seen him working (haha)! He has been working so hard planning all of these special events. Police in America don't have to deal with the issues these guys do with the monarch and all if the people gathering for these events. They have to manage the crowds of millions of people with thousands of officers. This was very awesome to watch the troops showing the colors today. I had the pleasure if the photographer standing next to me and telling me all about this very old tradition of trooping the colors. Everything comes down to the traditions if this very old city and government. There are five regimens that come to honor Her Magesty the Queen's birthday, and the colors are presented. The troops used to parade everyday and show the colors so they knew what they looked like in battle just in case something went wrong, they needed to gather around the flag in battle. One guy passed out because it was so hot outside and their uniforms are so hot, poor guy! They also have metal on the bottom if their shoes so they make notice when they are marching. So many things to learn about this ancient tradition!
(Proof he works on the street! Haha)
Big shout out! You are the man! 

More random pictures

Gelato is always better in Europe!
Thai food was awesome!!
Michaela's twin!
Wild raven!

Roman Bath

The Roman Bath was found by the Romans over 10,000 yes ago. This Golden City set in a valley set in the hills was a destination for all kinds of people. There is 43 minerals in the water and it stays at a steady 46C. 
Romans were building a road when they found the hot water, and they made it a temple to worship the goddess Sulis Minerva.
Water is green from the contact with the sun.
The pavement surrounding the bath is 2,000 yrs old
After the Romans abandoned England the bath was considered the Florida of England became a vacation spot.
After the 1600's people stopped bathing in it, they started drinking it
People came to the bath for their health, they would drink the water so that it could cure them, it was a place to meet people, ladies came to meet men and to shop.
Many people come to gamble, and get pregnant because the water was thought to raise fertility. This was a city people would come to reinvent themselves, kind of like a modern day Vegas. Now the cities population of 150,000 with a estimated student population of 80,000.

Sacred spring people used to throw coins in it to buy blessings from the god and to curse people 
Drinking the water, it was warm and tasted a bit weird! Cheers!


We took a day trip to Stonehenge and to the Roman Bath. Stonehenge was really cool there are so many theories on how the stones got there and what they were used for. The big stones that are stood up weighed 40 tons and took 200 men to move them. The little ones that are on too weighed 5 tons and were strategically placed on top. There was a pointer rock that would show shadows on the rocks when the sun moved, my opinion is so that they could tell time like a sun dial. But there were 56 trenches dug and it is believed that the stones were used for the 56 times the sun sets in one month, (calendar? Possibly). This was massive! I could not imagine how long it took people to build this. 
Stonehenge selfie!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Tower of London

Tower Bridge
Also we visited the Tower of London. This was also interesting, I guess I'm a nerd but I am in love with the way they run things here, and how the government works. We saw where people were beheaded, including King Edward VIII's two wives, and the Bloody Tower. We talked to one of the Beefeaters and he said that there was around 130 soldiers and their families that live on site. The Crown Jewels of course are amazing! 

Armed guards

As many people know here in England firearms are illegal to own. Therefore 90% of officers here do not carry a firearm. I thought it was so cool to see the constables carrying firearms at the House of Parliament because it is an important government building, of course. Nick and I walked up to them and asked if we could take pictures of them and they said we could take pictures and if they happened to be in them it would be ok. I even got one to smile. They were so nice and talked to is for a while! I really can't believe how polite they are here, even when they are mad they are politely rude. I think it's funny.

House of Parliament

The Houses of Parliament and the Westminster Palace were interesting to learn about. They have two houses like us, House of Commons and House of Lords. In the House of Commons the members are elected and serve a term of 5 years, and the House of Lords are appointed for life. The House of Commons have more power than the House of Lords. The monarchy is not allowed into the House of Commons, I thought that was interesting that the Queen is banned from there only after she has been crowned. I learned so much today about this my brain is on over load, I will try and get this as accurate as possible! They vote by sitting on one side of the hallway, the right side is the agree side and the left side is the side the opposition sits. All votes have to be unanimous at all levels. The vote starts at the House of Commons, moved to the House of Lords and is the vote is not unanimous at that level the bill will get sent back to the house for reconsideration. Commoners can not sit down in the houses of parliament except in very small areas. You have to have an important tushy to be able to sit down! 
The bell in Elizabeth's Tower is named Big Ben, it weighs nearly 14 tons and it chimes on every hour. Each session is recorded via a stenographer and is published in a book and stores in the tower of Elizabeth.  
This was by far my favorite building from the outside, I took so many pictures on my camera. It blows my mind how people made is these buildings. It is so detailed I would think that it would take a century just to design the metal work!

Westminster Abbey has the most amazing sculptures inside of it! It took 500 years to build from start to finish, and I can see why! The tomb of the unknown warrior is the most visited tomb and it is the only tomb no one is allowed to walk on, not even the queen. After every royal wedding the bouquet is laid at this tomb after Queen Elizabeth, because she lost her brother in WWI and his body was never found. Every royal wedding, funeral and coranation is held at the Westminster Abbey. So many famous people were buried here, there were over 3,000 people who were remembered or buried here among those are: Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Dickens, Charles Darwin, King Edward the confessor, Winston Churchill, CS Lewis, Edgar Allan Poe, and many kings and queens. This place is by far the most beautiful place so far.