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Last Days in the UK

All good things must come to an end. Our last two days in England have been restful and full of reminiscing. They have also been full of the expected menial tasks, like packing and taking our take-home final exam.  So it goes.

Yesterday, several of us returned to St. Mary’s church to experience Anglican worship for a second time. It wasn’t quite as special as the first time, but we all still enjoyed it very much. Just like our first experience, the people were incredibly friendly, and it was fun to worship in a style different than we get at home. For lunch after church, we returned to Spencer’s Cafe…because that cranberry & brie panini was too good to only eat once ;)  

Cheltenham, final load 001 Stitch

Today, Monday, was our final day in England. As Regan and I ran a few errands, it was a bit strange to think that I won’t be returning to Cheltenham anytime soon….possibly ever. At the same time, that realization made me want to savour every moment of English raindrops, public transportation, busy streets, aged architecture, and amazing accents all the more. These past three weeks have been exhilarating, fantastic, mind-blowing, amazing. I have seen the graves of kings and queens, dead for hundreds of years. I have walked in the steps of Shakespeare and C.S. Lewis. I have seen the Atlantic from the opposite side of the world. I have visited two castles, and seen Cotswold hillsides dotted with sheep. I have seen top-notch Shakespeare productions, not once, but twice! I have eaten delicious food, and have become better friends with a dozen people I hardly knew before this trip. I am incredibly blessed.

Tonight we had a farewell dinner. Sandy and Denise, our two Cheltenham coordinators, joined our entire Cedarville crew for a fancy meal at Copa, a restaurant here in town. Although much of the menu consisted of traditional British food, the restaurant served it in an especially classy (and delicious) manner. I had salmon niçoise (which had a poached egg on top), with a Belgian dark chocolate torte (with salted caramel hazelnuts and creme fraiche) for dessert. It was uh-mazing.

Cheltenham, final load 009

The last meeting of our dinner club :/ It was a sad fact to acknowledge, but we compensated by having perhaps our most enjoyable meal yet. :)

Cheltenham, final load 007

As I sit here typing, watching the sun set outside my second floor window, Cheltenham town lies silhouetted against a multicolored sky. It reminds me that yes, this has been a wonderful trip, but my trip home tomorrow will also be wonderful. I have enjoyed myself immensely, and definitely will miss jolly ol’ England…but Iowa is the place to go if you want to see real sunsets ;)

Well, friends, I am heading to bed. Tomorrow will be a very long day of travel, as we hope to leave for Heathrow by 7am. Thank you so much for reading my blog! All of your positive comments have been so encouraging, and have meant a lot! It’s because of you sweet readers that I’ve been able to stay somewhat punctual with the updates. You are wonderful!



Getting to know you, Part 2 – Aliese

Name: Aliese Gingerich
Age : 17
Favorite movie: The Lion King
Currently reading: The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman
Who is your host sibling? Dominik
Do your host parents speak English? Not really, but I know enough Polish and they know enough English that we can communicate decently well.
What has been your favorite experience so far? Playing volleyball with the ‘women of the house’ (as i like to call my host-mom, host-sister and I) in our family’s back yard. It was fun, energizing, didn’t require to much language and a great bonding moment.
What are you most looking forward to while in Poland? Sports day? Or dancing lessons? Succesfully navigating some part of Lodz would also be quite an accomplishment for me, so I also look forward to that.
What is your favorite Polish phrase to say and why? “Przeprasham” [excuse me/I’m sorry], because I say it when I [accidentally] run into people and they can’t tell I’m not Polish. :)
Up to this point, what has been your favorite Polish food
? Kluseczki (potatoey noodles that you put sauce over – because I know how to say it and it’s delicious) and ice cream.
What is one thing you’d love to bring home from Poland but can’t
? I would bring home the atmosphere of walking everywhere and using public transport because those are two of my favorite things here that we don’t really have back in the U.S. and it would also help my community be more ‘green.’
What will you miss most about Poland? “The people…and the ice cream…and the public transit…and the trees…and especially the people.”
What is your favorite (English) word? Frothy, because it you say it with a British accent, it sounds the cooliest.
What is your dream career? Pacifist ninja
If you had a theme song, what would it be? Bach’s Cello Suite Number One in G Major. it’s probably my favorite instrumental song. It’s intense, eloquent, complex-ish, and beautiful: all qualities I admire. it also gets me thoroughly pumped up and enlivened.