Tuesday, March 06, 2007

I just got back from...England?

England? What was i doing there? There was no mention of this on my blog! Oops! Once again i prove how bad i am at blogging. I forgot to tell you that for the last few months most of the youth from my corps have been practicing dances and dramas and songs and all sorts of beautiful stuff for a working vacation to England. It was beautiful. We all left on thursday and just got back yesterday (Monday). And of course i came back with long beautiful blond hairs all over my clothes. Which may lead some of you speculate that i enjoyed this trip a little too much. But you'll find out why i came back covered in beautiful long blond hairs if you read until the end of this post. So anyway, get ready for the story of my trip to england! We landed at Stansted airport at 12:40, England time, and after taking forever to get through customs (Me and my dad take forever as Americans, proving that i should hurry up and marry an Estonian) We got out and rented a mini bus and hit the road. This mini-bus was great, 16 seats and all the room we could ever wish for. There were 11 of us so we had quite a bit of space to spread out. And on the way back to the airport on sunday we had so much room that i was able to stretch out and get some sleep done. Well, about 10 minutes anyway. Next we went to Tesco and bought some candy (CANDY!!) and then next on the schedule was "Travel to Croyden citadel corps. Sightseeing on the way." Now normally this would be fun. Sightseeing, traveling, getting lost...Wait! Getting lost isn't fun! And it wasn't on the schedule either! So thanks to Major Tyrrell's wonderful driving we got lost for about an hour. I gave a wonderful sightseeing tour from the back seat. "Now if you will kindly look to the right you will see a pillar that we are passing for the third time in the last 10 minutes..." Then when we finally did make it to the Croyden corps we sat dowen for a wonderful dinner and just by chance i ended up sitting with the women i was billeting with that night. Which was quite nice. So after some powerpoint presentations, and after we sang several songs, which all met with great success from the people at Croyden we got to go home and go to bed. Which was just what i needed.

It was especially cool because my billet partner was Eero, because he's my cool, quick witted, Estonian buddy. And he let me speak to him all in Estonian, which was quite nice because it meant we had a wonderful little code language to speak so that no Brits could understand. Not that we said anything offensive of course...Anyway, after a nice nights sleep we had an adventure with the shower. Quite an exciting adventure really. We woke up and both decided we wanted to smell very nice that day and so i went and tentatively approached the shower. I didn't know how to make it work. There was a strange scary looking white box, covered in buttons and knobs, which was the apparent control center of the hygiene facility. Now becuase i have a horrid fear of pressing a button and blowing up a house (wouldn't that be awesome!?) I decided that rather than start pressing buttons i should just ask if Eero knew how to work it. He didn't, so one of our billet people walked out of their room to see two 17 year old guys standing together in the bathroom, staring at a white box on the wall, making confused gestures and speaking quite annoyedly in Estonian. Now of course he thought this was quite funny so came and told me and Eero to just press the biggest button (DUH!) so Eero went back to the room and i grabbed my towel and pressed the button, and rather like a monkey with a new toy i found great joy in the working of this mysterious way of turning on a shower. Now the only problem was that a few minutes later i was feeling very clean and happy but the stupid button wouldn't work. I pressed it. Water kept coming. I pressed it again. Water kept coming. I saw no off switch and considered smashing the demonic box to see if the would shut off the water but remembered that Eero still needed a shower, so i just left the water running and ran into our room and told Eero to hurry and get in the shower because i didn't know how to turn off the water. So a few minutes later as i was wrestling with my tie Eero walked in with water dripping off his hair and informed me that he couldn't make the shower turn off either, so again like two monkeys we went back in and tried to make it turn off, and no matter how many times we pressed the button we couldn't make that thing turn off! So we ran to our host and he came and he turned it off for us. He found the entire situation quite comical, and we did too.

We all had a good laugh, then went downstairs and ate a yummy breakfast of bacon and eggs with the biggest bread Eero and I had ever seen! The butter was delicious too. I loved it. So we then drove back to Croyden (15 minutes late!) jumped into the mini-van (Major Tyrrell called it our Estonian Tank) and took off into London, to go see the international training college. Where british Salvationists go to get transformed into officers. It was quite a fun tour. And we went up to the highest tower, which was quite a scary experience, despite the wire mesh protecting us from falling to our deaths. And Anneli, Evelin and I came down before everyone else. Not because we were wimps of course, we were just bored! Right? Anyway, we quite enjoyed the tour, even though it wasn't that exciting ("This is a building...uh, were we have classes...umm...") we did get to do one interesting thing. WE got to go to the principle's office, which was quite fun because he wasn't there, so i got to sit in his chair, because as we all know that someday i will have some high scary rank. Hopefully not training principle, but you never know...

Then we were supposed to go to Booth house (some big ARC ["Adult Rehabilitation Center"]) but instead Major Tyrrell got a call from Commisioner Clifton, Wife of General Clifton, saying that she wanted us to be at IHQ (International Headquarters of the Salvation Army) in 20 minutes to sing. Now this wasn't part of the plan. We didn't know this was going to happen. But when Mrs. General says something...It's considered very polite to do it! So we jumped on the train and made it to IHQ just in time and got to be there for their International Women's Day of Prayer meeting, which was quite interesting, with a focus on paraguay. Then after a bunch of fun singing songs and all that our group got to get up to sing. In front of all the international leaders of the Salvation Army! It was quite scary. We did two songs, "O Happy Day" which is our least favorite song, and "I Woke Up This Morning" which was made especially interesting by the fact that Major Tyrrell decided, without telling us of course, that he wanted to change it. So we gave it a grand finale that it had never had before, which sounded quite good despite the fact that we hadn't practiced it and didn't know it was coming. It was all quite fun. I especially liked having the Francises coming up to me and saying "I remember when you were in diapers!" which i get far too often when i'm taveling around and visiting Salvation Army places. Anyway, that was fun.

Next we went on a tour of IHQ, which once again was interesting, but not quite riveting ("This is an office...uh, people work here") and then we went out to Booth and went to the Blind Beggar pub and other such famous Salvation Army sites including William Booth's grave, pictured on the left. We had a really cool tour guide too, he was old enough that he knew someone who knew someone who knew General Booth, which of course made him a very good tour guide for no reason what so ever. But i liked him. Old Salvationists are rather cool. After that and some on the run McDonald's eaten as we walked, you can see it in Siiri's hand in the picture below. You may also notice that in Major Tyrrells hand is an empty pack of cigarretes, that's not because he's a horribly addicted chain smoker, but because Siiri had been sitting on a trash bag if front of the dumpster and looking rather homeless so he decided to join the charade and pick up a cigarette pack. Quite funny really. My dad got a great picture of Major Tyrrell standing in front of a stall full of some quite interesting women's underwear, we all got some good and rather incriminating shot of him doing something or other he wasn't really doing. That was quite fun.

So after our whirlwind of old london we headed to Staines corps, hoping to make it in time to participate in their youth night and meet some beautiful British chicks. But we weren't able to because of course Major Tyrrell got lost. But we did get to have tea at the Staines corps, and because they put out trays of chocolate bars we all did the logical thing when traveling, we stuffed our pockets! So i still have British chocolate left ever. But we did eat most of it to keep us from fainting while traveling. Then we got to meet our billet people and then go home and go to sleep. I quite liked my billet family, they were an old Army family with a gourgeous grandaughter. More about her later though. And no, she had didn't have blond hair, and therefore wasn't the mysterious blond who covered my clothes with hair.

But I'm gonna take a break for now because this post is getting far too long. And because i said by reading to the end of this post you'd find out who covered my clothes in beautiful long blond hairs i will tell you. It was Evelin. But because i want there to be some suspense to make you read my next post about England i will not tell you how her hair got all over my clothes. And i'm sure you are horribly interested in why an 18 year old girl's hair was all over me. You want to know. Trust me. Or don't . Your choice. But for now i'm going to take a break and blog about something else because i'm tired of this. So i'll Cya in my next post!

1 comment:

Ingel said...

Hi Chris,

cool that you had a fun trip to London. I love London :P. Anyways great pictures.

Mhm, it was funny to read that Mj Tyrrell got lost in London couple of times, hehe. I haven't been lost in London so far, but if I do I'll let you know, lol.

take care and God bless, see you soon