Scotland treated us well!
On Thursday afternoon we arrived in Edinburgh, a city I wish I could’ve spent more time exploring. It was already dark out by the time we checked into our hostel, so we went down to the main shopping area and found our favorite UK store: Primark. Everything is cheap and British, so it’s pretty dangerous for me…especially now that the Christmas line is out. Because Scotland was so cold, it gave me an excuse to buy a ridiculous, furry hat! That’s a good reason, right? I made another pretty great investment at Primark, what I’m calling my “sleep robe” aka, the best invention. It’s pretty much a fuzzy, warm, cheetah-print dress that I never want to take off. Our group for Thursday was me, Rachel, Savannah, Michaela, Luke, Alex, and Matt. Thursday night was a serious bonding night; shout out to Matt for keeping us up till 2 AM with laughs, stories, and makin’ memories. Community was definitely happening, and I’m thankful for every bit of it. Friday morning we walked up and saw the Edinburgh Castle, then walked the Royal Mile. The city itself is really interesting because it’s such a perfect mixture of old and new. The Scottish are so, so nice. That’s honestly the best way to describe it. They were fun, understanding, and the best part was that we were still in Great Britain! The GB is the best place to be! In 1707, Great Britain was formed when Scotland and England joined. The United Kingdom was formed in 1800, when Ireland officially joined. Today, basically after everything with Northern Ireland and the Republic, it’s all known as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. At least, that’s what my history notes tell me.
On Friday afternoon, after eating some Scottish hog for lunch, we headed to Glasgow to meet Zach, Evan, and Braden. The boys went to a soccer game that night, so after walking around all together for a little while, we split up and had a girl’s night (GNO in Glasgow…I love a good rhyme). We realized, after 3 months of travelling together, it was the last night just the 5 of us would be in a hostel together. We went to a pub and ending up staying for three hours because we were having so much fun, then went back to our creepy hostel. It was more like a big, old Scottish mansion that was made into a run-down hotel. For example, there was only a lift to our floor (no stairs), but the lift only held 2 people. It was weird, like most things these days. After some serious girl talk, Savannah, Rachel, and I fell asleep snuggled together in one big bed. Pretty good way to remember our last travel night together, I’d say. Especially since I had my sleep robe on.
Saturday morning, our group split up again but added some more faces. Rachel, Michaela, Braden, Zach, Evan, and I headed to the Lake District (in England), where we met Andrew, Sarah, MK, and Allie. The town of Windermere was pretty picturesque, a typical English town with a big lake. We went on a 90-minute boat ride, which was freezing and amazing. The fuzzy hat made another appearance. The leaves changing, the sun setting as we were nearing the end and it was just…man. God is an artist. We’re usually in big cities, so being out in nature just fed my soul. I love the air of the outdoors, the wind (although freezing) all around, and the smell of trees all around. It ending up being a long way back to Bath. One of our connecting trains hit a sheep (HOW did that happen?) and everything gets complicated when you hit a sheep. Long story short, I spend a lot of time on trains.
Yesterday MK, Sarah, Allie, Rachel, Michaela, and I went to London and lived Rachel’s dream: Abbey Road. We’ve been wanting to go since August but haven’t made the time. It’s also really hard to find if you don’t know where you’re going: luckily, we like to do research. You would think that the Abbey Road tube stop would lead you right there…nope. St John’s Wood. It was a really cool experience for me because my brother loves the Beatles and I felt connected to him. Outside of Abbey Road Studios, there’s a wall that visitors sign, and we stumbled upon Natalie and Emily’s signatures from a few weeks ago; seriously, what were the chances of that happening? My whole day was made by seeing their handwriting.
After that, we went to Hillsong’s Central London location. It was already amazing just to be at Hillsong, but on top of that, Matt Redman was leading worship. 2 straight hours of worship! We were front row in the balcony, a perfect view of everyone worshipping and of the band. Matt Redman had some really great things to say. His idea of worship is not only singing in adoration, but preaching to ourselves during our praise. He introduced “10,000 Reasons” by saying to the audience, “We can count our blessings one by one, or ten thousands by ten thousands” and that really hit me. For the last 3 months, my life has been fuller than ever. It was an amazing experience, and I was so happy to share it with Michaela. We have walked together through it all, for the past 6 years. We’ve worshipped under the arches in Moab, with the children of Rio San Juan, in the Refuge, at Hy-Lake, at Cedar Lake…this was another incredible connection between us. The best relationships, I believe, are ones built on Christ and that is something Michaela and I will always be connected by.
“In age and feebleness extreme, who shall a helpless worm redeem? Jesus, my only hope Thou art, strength of my failing flesh and heart. O could I catch a smile from Thee and drop into eternity?”