First Weekend in England
My first weekend in England has been one of the most memorable spent with my host family the Booth’s. I literally have to remind myself to slow down because it seems strange to be having this much fun all at once. But hey, I don’t mind it in the least!!!
FRIDAY SEPT. 17TH:
On Friday, I got to spend some remarkable quality time relaxing with my host family and friends of theirs the Chamberlin’s. Nick and Amanda Booth, and their nine year old daughter Lucy are the amazingly sweet host family of which I’m so fortunate to stay with while I’m here in Kingston. They are the most welcoming of people and have been so kind as to open their home to me. They live literally across the street from part of the Kingston University campus on Penrhyn Road, ironically the bit of campus that I will attend all of my classes at. I’m very excited that all I have to do is a hop, skip, & a jump across the street to get to my classes each day!
Anywho, on Friday afternoon after Lucy returned home from school, friends of their family, as I stated before the Chamberlin’s came over for a visit. Mrs. Chamberlin (Samantha) brought her four children over to play and I was very happy I got to meet them. The most adorable of kids I was introduced to nearly 11 yr. old Maya, 9 yr. old Ella (fellow classmate & BFF to Lucy), nearly 6 yr. old Noah, and 2 1/2 yr. old Ethan. A beautiful family indeed, I got to spend the afternoon in the Booth’s garden playing football, rugby, basketball, and the game “hot potato” with the kids. I had such an enjoyable time having them ask me questions about my country and my hometown; they were so curious to know every detail of my family and our American culture. I had brought along a gift for the Booth’s when I arrived here in England, a picture book of New York State, so I sat down with the kids and showed them the pictures of the state of which I’m from and described some of the historical places and major cities. Along with that, I brought my computer down and showed them pictures of my family, friends, and pets. They absolutely loved seeing pictures of my dogs and cats!
After a tiring playtime with five energetic kids, Manda (Mrs. Booth), made us all pizza for dinner and I got to sit around the table enjoying the company of what felt like my family from back home. It was nice to experience being at a large table with the chaos of multiple voices chattering all at once; it made me feel like I was right at home as the kids raved over my afro! Once dessert was finished, the kids all ran upstairs into my room and were fascinated by my iPod, cellphone, and MacBook as I showed them how to work all the electronics.
I had such an amazing time hanging with all the kids on Friday. They pop over often at the Booth’s house so I hope to see much more of them because they truly are hysterical little ones! I really enjoyed their company and learning about all the places they visited and their hobbies here in England.
SAT. SEPT. 18TH/SUN. SEPT. 19TH:
On Saturday I got invited to go to Brighton with the Booth’s. I was obliged to be offered to come along for the ride because I have always wanted to see Brighton Pier and visit the sea We stopped off and walked along the pier before driving over to visit a liter of Cockapoo puppies that Lucy has been eyeing at for weeks. Lucy is very eager and excited about eventually getting a Cockapoo puppy, however, hasn’t yet found the perfect one yet.
Brighton Pier was absolutely gorgeous!!! It was so lively in the area, I’m sure mostly in part to it attracting so many tourists…however, there was so much to experience. When we first drove through the town of Brighton, there was a chili festival taking place and you could see all the students that attend University in the area walking about enjoying the beautiful day! Once we reached the pier we walked along and there was different types of music playing and they have carnival like rides and games on the pier. Looking out onto the beach you could see families walking along and tucked away there was a group of men fishing off the wall. Nick and Manda showed me the old Brighton Pier off in the distance that burned down a few years ago and also pointed out the hotel along the coastline which had intentionally been set on fire years ago as an assassination attempt toward Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher while she was staying there.
Although only there for a short time, it was quite nice to learn about a little bit of history while exploring the pier. We then ventured off to go visit the puppies at this woman’s home not to far from Brighton. Along the way we passed a very posh and well known all girls boarding school in Roedean. The school itself is built on a hill overlooking the sea and is utterly amazing.
On Sunday, after breakfast, the Booth’s and I walked down by the Thames River in Kingston and took a ferry down to the Hampton Court Palace. They took me inside the Hampton Court grounds and we walked around and looked at some of the beautiful gardens and I got to see the palace from the outside. It was astonishingly beautiful witnessing some of the old architecture and to see the historical value of the palace. Although we did not go inside the palace, just witnessing some of the gardens and learning about how the royal family and Queen Elizabeth come and stay at this estate was enough to make the visit memorable.
Afterward, we walked along a trailway next to the river and past the outskirts of the Hampton Court. Along the river I got to see the beautiful privately owned homes, watch as the ferries passed by, and even had a local fisherman tell me how much he liked my hair! Upon returning into Kingston, the Booth’s took me to a pub and we sat outside on a picnic table and I got to experience sampling my very first half-pints of 3 different types of beer (my favorite was the cider, it was the sweetest!) It may seem silly, but I was super excited to experience drinking a beer in a real pint glass in Europe…its way cooler than going to a bar in America!
All in all my weekend was splendid and I had such an amazing time with the Booth’s and having them show me around certain areas of England. They may even put up with my overly tourist ways of taking pictures of everything I come across and take me into Central London one of these days! However, until then “cheers!!!”