To Britain I Boldly Go!

Well Dear Friends,
            I am at a Starbuck’s right now finishing one of the last few things on my to do list before I leave: Update blog post.
As you can see (or be newly acquainted with) I have changed around the formatting of my blog to reflect the adventure I am about to embark upon. Tomorrow, at 4:50pm, I will be boarding a flight from IN to O’Hare (at O’Hare I have about a 50min layover) and then from IL I fly straight to London! Or you can take a look at my travel plans
            Now, some of you may be saying, “Wait a second, I thought you were staying at some odd sounding place, Univ of Brizzle brazzle drazzle, or something or other. What gives?” And you would be correct, (I believe the Uni you’re thinking of is Univ. of Bristol) I am in fact going to Bristol (I promise!) but first I have orientation for a few days in London.
            So, from Heathrow, I, my luggage, and my faithful sidekick Yuki the Ukulele will take a train from Heathrow into London’s Victoria station, from Victoria ride the underground to Notting Hill where I will get off the tube and find my hotel.
            What exactly is in store for me in London? I can’t say I rightly know…I believe the details, while vague, include orientationy stuff: A London policeman will talk to us about safety, a review of the rules and regulations at our universities, how to get a pay-as-you-go phone, how to best enjoy the study abroad experience, maybe a play at the globe theatre, lots of walking etc.  I am nearly positive there will be rain, and nearly positive that there will be tremendous fun! I mean, sure, there will be tedious meetings and what not, but none of that holds a candle to the fact that I will be in ENGLAND! Let me type that again, E-N-G-L-A-N-D, that is where I will be! Those meetings, while potentially boring, will be fantastic merely on the merit of their location. It’s going to be a bully of a time.
            “So”, you may ask, “where the pansies did this ecstasy about England come from? Where’s the thrill in a damp, foggy, drizzly, study abroad when you could be jumping with kangaroos in Austrailia, finding a ring in New Zealand, or even off adventuring with the Zanzibarabarians?” To which I have a somewhat garbled and multifaceted answer. First of all, I can trace my fascination back to a prepubescent (and then pubescent, and then adult) fascination with Harry Potter.  Being given the first book at a young and impressionable age, I found it hard to believe that any author could ever engage me and woo me quite like J.K. Rowling. Adventure, mystery, revenge, magic, possibilities, she wrote it all! But then I found other books and people that enticed further down the rabbit hole, I found Narnia, LOTR, Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, studied feisty Queen Elizabeth, learned about the exploits of Henry VIII, found English poetry, and so so so much more. At that point the CFA (crush from afar) I had been harbouring for England manifested into a semi-stalker relationship. I began to incorporate portions of English culture into my everday life: My internet home page became news.bbc.co.uk (the British Broadcasting Channel’s news page), I became an avid Dr. Who fan (a fantabulous television series), watched multiple independent British films, read pounds and pounds of books by English authors, and the spiral continued. Hence, when I decided to study abroad, I could think of no better place I would rather go than England. Sure, NZ totally made the top two list (I love sunshine and ocean probably a lot more than the average person, just ask my family), but England had already won me over from a young age. Hence, my bags are being packed for it’s chalky shores, and I cannot wait for the adventuring to begin.
           Furthermore, I feel compelled by the challenge that a change of environment presents. The thought of being placed amongst strangers in a strange place is invigorating. I cannot wait to go out exploring, trying the public transit system, get fish and chips, going to a pub, hiking on, around, and over nearby Cheddar Gorge, reading English novels for English classes in England, finding a church to attend and a Christian community, interacting with a diverse group of people, and I could just go on and on. I’m sure that I will have moments of weariness when I will long for little else than my familiar home, dear friends, and comfy environs. But, for right now, I feel ready to embark, ready to travel.
            It’s funny, I resonated deeply with the new Hobbit film. When I heard Tolkien’s famous words, “It’s a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no telling where you might be swept off to.” I felt a flutter in my chest, and a quickening of my breath. As I saw Bilbo running helter skelter out of the Shire to join the brazen dwarves on their perilous adventures, I felt an itch in my legs to jump up and run after the unknown that lay ahead. As the movie progressed, I felt myself become all the more inspired, enflamed, and decided to embrace that misty path which lay ahead, whether there be treasure, or there be dragons, or both, I had to, have to, know.
            So friends begins the travel log of my if not perilous then at least rousing adventures as I go to England for the next 6 months. I will try to update you weekly about my goings on and would be very keen to hear from you. I LOVE comments on my posts, and I really appreciate emails and skype convos.  Hopefully I can demonstrate to you through this medium some of the growth that I undergo as I travel, and share God’s faithfulness and His challenge as I go.
            Off I go to the road. Where it shall lead me, I do not know. But, shall the journey be grand? Aye, it shall be grand indeed. That is the one thing that is guaranteed.