Glimpses of God in the city

The London skyline is graced with historic steeples of cathedrals and churches that have been around for centuries. While the beauty of the architecture is evident, there are subtle proclamations of God’s glory within them.

 

Psalms 67:5 “Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee.” (KJ Cambridge edition) Taken at St. Margaret’s Cathedral.

1 John 4:8 “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (NIV) Taken at Wesley’s Chapel. 

(Posted by Hillary Fisher)

Top 10 Things We are Looking Forward to Back in America

Don’t get me wrong; we love London. I don’t think waking up every morning to Big Ben and English accents could ever get old. However, we’ve realized that a lot of little things are what we miss most about America. Here are just a few things we’re looking forward to once we cross back over the pond.

1) Trash cans: London has very few trash cans. The city is still extremely clean (especially considering the recent influx of visitors), but that’s because instead of having waste cans, London pays trash collectors to walk around the city and make sure the city is spotless. We Americans miss having a designated spot to spit out our gum and throw away our wrappers.

2) Larger portions: The food here is awesome, but the portions are about half of what you get at restaurants in America. Most times it’s still enough to be satisfying, but we sometimes find our tummies still rumbling after dinner.

3) Driving on the right side of the street: As kids, we learned to look both ways before crossing the street, but over here we feel a bit like we’re back in kindergarten. We can never figure out which direction the traffic is moving. It’s made for some close calls.

4) American measuring system: It’s hard to get used to the European measuring systems. We no longer buy gallons of milk. We buy 2-liter containers instead.

5) Coffee creamer: The English have “coffee whitener,” but we’ve yet to find flavored coffee creamer. Every time we make a pot with our awesome French press, we feel like something’s missing.

6) Normal electrical outlets: We knew before we came that European plugs were different than American plugs, but wrangling with adapters and converters has been more difficult than we expected. Our hair straighteners make a disconcerting buzz as we straighten our ends every morning.

7) Eastern time zone: We’ve mostly recovered from the jet lag, but being five hours ahead of the U.S. makes communicating with our family and friends a bit difficult. We have to Skype at odd hours when our free time overlaps.

8) Home-cooked meals: We love English cuisine, but there’s nothing like a home-cooked meal. I’m craving my mom’s cooking.

9) American television: We’ve been so busy pounding the pavement that we haven’t had much time to watch TV, but we were still distraught when we found out Hulu doesn’t stream American television to England.

10) Predictable weather: Umbrellas and raindrops make adorable pictures, but England’s unpredictable weather can be frustrating. Even if we check the weather half an hour beforehand, we can’t be sure what the weather will be like after we leave the house.

(Posted by Cassie Gerhardstein)

Londoner Love

This place and these people are beautiful. Never has this realization been more prevalent than these past few days as our crew hit the streets to get started on our latest projects. We’ve been hard at work on two different feature segments for LEX 18, each having strong ties to the Bluegrass state. Splitting up into two teams, the first team loaded their backpacks with Ale-8 and headed into the city to film British reactions to Kentucky’s favorite soft drink. The second team followed suit and embraced London’s famous landmarks as a backdrop for their segment on the difference between American English and British English. Needless to say, we’ve been enchanted with the friendliness of Londoners and blessed by the awesome footage we’ve been able to capture. 

(Posted by Cassie Gerhardstein)

Soggy Mornings and Super Stars

It was a cloudy muggy morning as we set up our equipment outside of Olympic Village for our interview with Sharrieffa Barksdale. A variety of patriotic flags from countries all over the world hung over hotel balconies in the background as Will began the interview. I think I can speak for everyone when I say that Sharieffa captured all of our hearts before the interview was over with her enthusiastic attitude, inspiring faith, and outgoing personality. The interview reached a new level of excitement when we had the opportunity to meet a track star for Team USA, Tyson Gay. Although he was on his way to practice and didn’t have time for an interview, the Lexington native was extremely humble and gave us an on-camera shout out. We were absolutely, completely, 100 percent star struck. These events combined made for one of the best days yet.

(Posted by Cassie Gerhardstein)

Top 5 Similarities Between London and Wilmore

-In London we walk to the Tube. In Wilmore we walk to the Subway.

-Spontaneous walks to the London version of IGA, “Tesco,” are still a daily occurrence.

-Although London is a huge city, it still has a small town feel similar to Wilmore when it comes to the hospitality of the locals.

-Both the Queen and Sandra Gray charm their people with their sophisticated leadership styles.

-John Wesley has a strong presence in both London and Wilmore.

It was a rainy Sunday in London, so we pulled on our raincoats, popped open our umbrellas, and pointed ourselves toward the city.

Please pass the mashed peas: 10 things we have learned about London cuisine

1. If you order an iced coffee, you will get a frappuccino, as Amy discovered.

2. There is such a thing as a tea bag with strings on both ends. When you pull the strings, the bag crinkles up and all of the water squeezes out. Courtney and I were mesmerized by this invention.

3. Amy found out that “lemonade” is soda. 

4. There is no such thing as black coffee. Jane asked for a regular coffee and got a latte.

5. Sweet tea does not exist. Will tried to order it at a McDonalds, and got hot tea instead.

6. At dinner one night we encountered the phenomenon which is “salad cream,” a close relative of mayonnaise.

7. There is no regular mustard—only French and English mustard, neither of which taste like regular American mustard.

8. You don’t get a free refill with your drink at restaurants.

9. Coffee creamer is not sold in grocery stores—only “coffee whitener.”

10. Mashed peas are lime green and may come as a side, like coleslaw, with your fish and chips.

(Photo by Courtney LeMay, Post by Becca Price)

Opening Ceremonies

After spending the majority of the morning vivaciously editing footage, I was eager to get out of the house. By mid-afternoon we were en route to the London Media Center, where Jane and I were able to pick up our press passes. Putting my press pass, strewn with Olympic pins, around my neck was exciting to say the least.

Around 7 p.m. we took the Tube down to Trafalgar Square to experience the hype surrounding the count down clock. With opening ceremonies only two hours away, a large crowd had gathered to watch the clock and celebrate. 

Jane and I struck up a conversation with two darling British ladies, even convincing them to show us their best attempt at an American accent. 

As rain began to fall and the crowds began to seek shelter, we caught a glimpse of a group of Americans, perched on a statue. The group held an American flag while echoes of their proud chants filled the square. 

(Post by Amy Patterson)

Day two: The tube and two torchbearers

(Photo by Jane Brannen)

It was our first full day in London. We decided to split into two teams to cover more ground: Professor Wheeler, Jane, Courtney, Amy and I in one, and Will, Hillary, Cassie and Cameron in the other. Our group of five left our adorable townhouse in Leytonstone and rode the tube for 45 minutes in order to get to Kensington Street, where the torchbearer would be running through.

We set up our hefty tripod and Panasonic 200 camera and joined the throng in the middle of the street where excited spectators were already waiting for the parade. Our goal was to shoot some B-roll footage to use for an interview we will do on Aug. 3 on Taylor Amerman, the torchbearer from Kentucky who ran through Nottingham earlier this summer.

Traffic had been stopped both ways, and there were so many people overflowing onto the road that police had to keep pushing the crowd back behind the median. Finally the parade came through, featuring several double-decker buses, booming music and a fake torchbearer, who started running down the street holding a torch and wearing a white jumpsuit.

People started cheering before they realized he wasn’t the actual torchbearer. A policeman on a bicycle immediately chased him down the road and out of sight. We can only assume that the illegitimate torchbearer was brought to justice.

The actual torchbearer then ran through, surrounded by policemen and raising the torch jubilantly above her head. The temperature that day was an unusual 80 degrees Fahrenheit, balmy for London, and while we were tired from standing out in the sun, the energy of the crowd was so contagious that we were cheering just as loudly as everyone else.

After stopping back at the house to pick up more equipment, we boarded the tube again for King’s College, where we were to interview Keli Nace and Amelia Orwick, two Kentucky students studying abroad in London.

Amy and I thoroughly enjoyed the comical ways that everyone drifted off to sleep during the ride: Jane with her mouth slightly open and grasping the large tripod for dear life, Courtney with her head tilted to one side and Professor Wheeler with his head in his hands and smiling slightly to himself.

King’s College was beautiful, complete with an unruly herb garden and an old Grecian building which served as a home for lonely pigeons. We met with five Kentucky students, including Amelia and Keli, and shot some footage of them talking, walking around campus and doing the Kentucky Wildcat “three-goggles” pose.

After an interview with Keli and Amelia, we said goodbye to our fellow Kentuckians. We downed a more American meal of burgers and chips and then boarded the tube one final time. It became so crowded in our car that all I could do was laugh. People were pressed into us from all sides and everyone was breathing the same air.

Courtney was next to a small child, who began to scream about halfway through the ride. We were still suffering from jet lag, which made us deliriously happy. Everyone stared at us while we cracked up, and we felt incredibly loud and American.

We finally arrived back at the house at 11 p.m. to find the other team waiting for us. We collapsed onto the couches, opened our laptops and caught each other up on our eventful day exploring London.

(Posted by Becca Price)

When you hear “Kentucky,” what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Team members Will, Hillary, Cassie, and Cameron search for answers in Westminster, and the responses they receive may surprise you!