I’m in SOUTH AFRICA!! We arrived in Cape Town safely on Thursday around 8 am (2 am Chicago time) after our long and exhausting day in LONDON! Our eight-hour London flight was pretty good! After arriving at the Heathrow airport we met up with our tour guide who took us on a personal tour through Westminster and London with a few stops along the way. I don’t even know where to begin with London because it was quite a day. London may have some of the best-dressed people I have ever seen, way more than Chicago. Granted we caught everyone during their lunchtime so they were swarming the streets, but everyone looked so stylish.
As we were sitting in our tour van, I caught myself looking more at the people walking the streets than the beautiful buildings and scenery. We drove past your basics: Westminster Abbey, Tower of London, and Big Ben. Each of them looked just like their pictures but better! We were able to stop at the Tower of London and see the Crown Jewels. I couldn’t believe the insane number of people lining outside to get a look at the royal jewelry. It was pretty impressive I have to say. Our last stop on our tour was the London Eye – the largest Ferris wheel that I have ever seen that is right on the river. We were able to ride the Eye and get a fantastic view of 25 miles of London on all sides. I saw the Buckingham Palace, Westminster, Big Ben, and the Tower Bridge from a great view. It was definitely one of the highlights of the day.
However, traffic in London is ridiculously terrifying! Not only do they drive on the “proper” side of the street (according to our guide), but also you have to have initiative or you’ll get into a massive accident… if you’re an American driver. One of the neat things about the traffic in London, are the stoplights! Yes, they’re the basic red, yellow, green, but they go in opposite order! When drivers are sitting at a red light waiting for the green, the light turns yellow for a quick second, letting the drivers know that they can slowly speed up. It just makes sense! Also, European cars are so much cooler than the cars you see in the US. I didn’t see a pickup truck or a suburban once! The taxis are old school and give you a really nice “old time, classic London” feel, as do the iconic Double Decker buses. The buildings, sculpture, and the whole ambiance of London is breathtaking. I would love to spend more time in such a great city.
As I think about some of the emotions I have been experiencing these past couple of days, anxious, nervous, excited, home-sick, and over-whelmed are a few that I have crossed paths with in one way or another. I was anxious and nervous about leaving my family at the airport, and I feel excited when I look around and see the beautiful country that I am fortunate enough to be in. Every once in a while I feel homesick when I think about the fact that I will be away from home for almost 4 months, and overwhelmed when I think about all that I will experience during this time period. This trip is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I am so looking forward to see how God will use me while in South Africa.