July 11, 2013

the first few days | england, personal

Traveling, in general, is such an amazing thing. The fact that I can use transportation to go somewhere completely different (and sometimes on the other side of the world) from my home astounds me. Going to a place where no one knows my name, and introductions happen on a daily basis. Introductions with people, places, foods. It excites me. 

I am in England for the next month. I Can. Not. Believe. It. When I look out my window and see the countryside with its hills, and cows, and foggy tops, I smile. This is my life right now. I am so grateful. I have only been here since Tuesday afternoon, but already, I have so many stories to tell. 


(notice the sign, whoops ;))

(I don't have a picture for this story, but it's worth telling.) I love to stargaze. Laying down on a trampoline, or a rooftop, or a blanket on the grass, and staring up into the sky, squinting to count the stars, it is an amazing experience. Stars are like the ocean, they give you perspective. They calm you. I flew overnight to England, so while we were flying over the Atlantic Ocean, it was pitch black outside. And, I know we use that phrase a lot, "pitch black," but it really was. I wrote down in my journal, "I look down and there is a singular light, shining in the literal sea of darkness. Suddenly, the dark black stops, right about where the wing light is, and a quilt of starry sky begins. I wish I could lay on the wing + stargaze because it would be perfect. I've never seen so many stars." And it's true. The sky was filled, FILLED, with shiny dots, making shapes, and shining brightly. I saw the Milky Way. It was phenomenal. Thank goodness for window seats. :) 

Taking off + landing are my favorite parts of flying. When you first take off, and you are just high enough off the ground, it looks like the world below is a "play world." There is a moment where you realize how small we are as humans in comparison to the world around us. 

When I was landing in Manchester, the countryside below was like a patchwork quilt, spread out over the hills. It went on for miles. 

This next picture, means so much to me. 

When I got on the plane, I slid into my window seat and waited for the other people to sit down. A very sweet elderly lady sat down in the aisle seat. We chatted initially, hoping that no one would sit in the center seat because that would give us extra leg room. :) It turned out that no one sat there, which was an amazing blessing. 

We talked during the flight, and when we landed, we walked off together to the baggage claim. We were going to part ways, but in her beautiful English accent, she asked if I was going to the train. I was! And she was too. So we walked along the long, open corridor to the train station + chatted the whole way. 

She went to her platform and I went inside the waiting room. She came back a few minutes later and said that she had missed her train! So she was going to take my train. I honestly thought that she was an angel from heaven. Every time we said goodbye, she showed up again because she was going to get her luggage too! Or she was taking the train! Or she could take my train because her stop was before mine! It was incredible. And totally from the Lord. 

Almost 70 year olds have a lot of wisdom.
"Life is for living. This is not a trial run. I don't believe in sitting around." 
"When you're young, grab the opportunities. Because when you get married and have kids, your life goes on hold, ya know? If you're a good mum."

I probably won't see her again. But she was my best friend for 15 hours.

The train ride was absolutely beautiful. Right across the aisle from me, five physicists were chatting away about previous colleagues and teaching at schools. I put my headphones in and listened to music as the hills rolled by. It seemed like a better soundtrack. ;) 

This is my cute little bedroom. I love it. That chair by the window? My favorite spot. The window is always open and a cool breeze flows through it. It has a beautiful view. 

The day I got here, I got out my camera + taught 4 year old Anna how to use it. Preeeettty good. ;) 

So far, it has been fantastic. I've been using my phone more to take pictures because it is so quick + easy, but I love getting out my Canon as well. I give the first few days, five stars. Two thumbs up. (Anyone catch the reference? ;))



Anna Gray said...

Oh my goodness gracious, this is such a sweet post. Personally, I sometimes prefer talking to elderly folks rather than...ya know..."modern day folks". Older men and women have SO much wisdom and I feel like I can truly connect with them and they really pay attention to what you say and their words actually mean something. They are living history and I adore chatting with them and getting to know them.

Love these photographs too. So beautiful! Hope you're having a wonderful time in England!

Madison said...

Travel. My heart. I want to travel again. I haven't been on a plane since I was 9. That was 9 years ago. :)

I like how you said that the stars are like the ocean, giving us perspective. So true. I LOVE stargazing too. Windowseats! yes! the best.

The picture of you and the elderly lady made me want to cry. I think it's incredible and also sad how we sometimes get to meet someone, he/she is a part of our lives for a little while...and then we more than likely never get to see that person again. I love how God knits people's stories together if even for a little bit...a few minutes...or hours. It's pretty awesome.

Your room! Oh my, so pretty and homey. I love the uniqueness of it and the architecture.

I can't wait to hear more about your trip!

Blessings, friend!


sarah b said...

I love that story about the elderly lady on the plane. made my day. :) miss you and I'd take britain over driver's ed in a heartbeat... haha. love that picture that anna took of you! haha! keep having lots of fun! :D

Unknown said...

Oh, it sounds like a wonderful trip so far! I would love to someday travel to England or France. I really like the three photos of the plane's wing in the sky. The colors of the sky are marvelous.

natalie said...

looks like an amazing adventure :)) have so much fun.

Catherine Grace said...

cannot put into words how much this makes me heart happy

your photos are beautiful as always with a certain charm only the uk can offer

love these


Morgan said...

whoop whoop!! so happy for you ellie! looking forward to upcoming posts. i hope you are having a good time babysitting :) You must be a VERY VERY patient person, i can't stay around kids TOO long or i start getting annoyed ;);)

Jocee said...

you know what to do if you meet tom or jack or finn or benedict or david or matt, or anybody who's pretty, right? okay. good. ;)

have fun. bring me back a leaf!

Hannah Nicole said...

Ellie, these are WONDERFUL.

Hannah Nicole said...

My heart is happy hearing about this.

Hannah Nicole said...

Love you.

Jenn Noelle said...

I was in Europe last year (mostly France, but also London) for a month, and ahhh this makes me miss the adventure! so so excited for you to have this opportunity. and it's super cool to hear your little stories...because in the end, it's interactions like that, the people you may never see again, that really make a trip. and people who haven't travelled don't always get that, but I love hearing it. :) so anyway, lovely post. hope that English sun keeps holdin' out for ya!
ps--where in England are you? my brother is in Manchester for the summer!

Rachel Greene said...

Oh, Ellie, praise the Lord for this time and these memories He's blessing you with :D :D. Thank you for sharing and I can't wait to hear and see more of your lovely trip! :) :)

Emma said...

Oh my Lord, these photos. LOVE. You're in England, my favorite place ever! I really hope to go back there some day -- and that story about the woman: beautiful. Heart-warming. Made me smile.
Basically, this post rocks! Hope you are having a ball.

Alexxus K. Farmer said...

ELLIEEEEE!!! ahhh so excited for you (and a taaaad bit jealous ;) ). can't wait to hear more about this little adventure of yours. :)

Elisha said...

England looks SO beautiful! Elie, these are wonderful!

Eve Victorie said...

I love this!!! Looks like you're having such an adventure! Can't wait to hear more/see more of the beautiful English countryside & your lovely cousins!
Oh, & make sure you come home with a British accent, kay? ;)

Oriana said...

Ellie, I can't believe you're in England! That's so exciting. Take lots of pictures (duh) and have a blast! (;

carlotta cisternas said...

oh miss ellie be, these are some of my favorites shots. and the stories are even better! keep on livin' that dream life, love you bunches.

Kiley Marissa said...

love these all. europe will be one of the greatest times of your life. i can't even imagine how wonderful it is, and i can't wait to go there myself someday!

love the story of the older lady. she's so cute! :)

Unknown said...

ugggg. i really really want to just book a flight and go to london now. :) these photos are so lovely and inspiring! i want to see more!
have a wonderful time in england, ellie :)

rebekah j. said...

well this is just fantastic :)

that looks like a gorgeous area and i hope this month is beyond everything ever for you.

Sarah said...

Hi Ellie!! I know of you through Kristen :) I just about squealed out loud when I saw you just got back from England b/c a precious friend-on-the-internet of mine who's the best friend of soooooomebody famous just got back from being in London for a month, studying abroad!! Her name is Ainsley Britain and she's an incredible singer/songwriter-- check her out on itunes-- you won't be disappointed! :) Anyhow when I saw your pictures I was like, "Ainsley was there!- and there!!- and there!!!" ;)
PS your photography is amazing!!! :)