I will briefly recap my first week in the UK for anyone interested. Here goes:
– The Flight. Flew overnight on a flight from Dulles to Heathrow and sat next to a woman from Romania. It took us a while to get talking, but after a two hour conversation about Eastern religions and meditation, sparked by my book Augustine’s “Confessions” and her’s, Hindu teacher Osho’s “Awareness,” I realized I would never forget Helen the seeker. Ask me about it sometime. It could have been one of the first times I was not ashamed to share the gospel as well as one of the first times I’ve seen the gospel defeat the logic of other philosophies. I don’t know if I’ll ever see Helen again, but she gave me enough to think about for nearly a year. If you’re interested in what she believes, read the Osho wikipedia page. If you’re interested in what I think about it, ask me.
– Three Days in London. Since Kim Mascher and her friends were all gone to work by the time by cabbie made it through rainy london am rush hour, I had to meet a friend of her’s named Lucy who would host me for the day. She went out of her way to offer me a shower and a place to keep my bags while she worked (at Herrod’s no less.) I spent all day wondering around and trying to stay awake, met Kim for coffee, and later that night had a 8 mile trek to take my four suitcases through the tube system with Kim’s help. She had a lot of reasons to laugh at me while my bags were stuck in doors and rolling off of sidewalks. Otherwise, for the next two days, I bussed and tubed around London seeing what I wanted to see and trying to conserve the 100 pounds I had left. Some great food in London, and lots of people with crazy hair. I was picked up again from Heathrow and taken to Bryanston school in SW county of Dorset by Marcus the Irish Taxi Driver.
– First Days at Bryanston. I met 100 people right off the bat and am still working to learn all of their names even a week later. The first person I met was Simon, who is the housemaster of Cranborne house, which is a small house just for the incoming D students (13 yrs.) Simon helped me move in then immediately treated me to champagne, roast lamb, veggie mash, and wine with his wife and mother in law. I then walked into my flat, which comes complete with a couch, small kitchen, bathroom, carpet, queen size bed, and a view of the countryside outside of the school. Knowing that God had once again provided for my needs far above what I needed or imagined, I kicked my feet up and took the quentessential bounce on the neatly made bed. With my hands behind my head I knew that this would be a good year.
I spent the next three days (arrived thursday night) going to Drinks parties hosted by the Head and meeting more and more people. The young teacher scene is actually quite good here (about 20 teachers under 28), with a hanful of us coming from abroad to teach. Dan and I are the Americans, then there are other post-college students from Scotland, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Hungary, and Australia. Dan and I soon realized we have shadows to follow and shoes to fill though. There have been some legendary fellows before us whose acts will be tough to beat. The paperwork began on Friday and by Sunday I had about 80 sheets to sort through. Lots of paperwork involved in moving countries. I also had a hard time finding the dining hall, or the dining hall when it was open, during the first three days, which meant I was focusing all my attention on the American peanut butter I brought in my suitcase.
The school is beautiful. Visit my flickr site when it up to see photos, but this looks like a college campus. The main school is late 19th century estate that really does look like Dead Poet’s Society inside. All of the rooms have names of famous writers and philosophers instead of room numbers, and the halls and staircases are all built of rich dark wood and are three stories tall. The library windows open up to an impressive view of the valley of Blandford two miles below, as the school is up on a high hill. There is a fully landscaped fountain garden out of these windows, not to mention the manicured grass tennis courts. Okay, I suppose I’ll just post a photo.