Saturday, 25 January 2014

Fashion in London

I am not sure if London is a fashion mecca or not, but I don't think so. I've heard they do have some high-end stores in central London, but certainly not around here. When we first got here I noticed that everybody wore black or dark clothing.  At first I thought maybe it was the new fall color, but then it didn't take long to realize why.  It is a matter of survival. While the air is much cleaner than it was in the 1800's with all the factories and coal burning, there is still a (many) layers of grime everywhere.  If things started as white or tan, they are now black or dark in color. I am pretty sure it is this way in any large city, especially in one as old as London.

I might have fancied myself as a semi-fashionable person many years ago--many, many years ago.  But now, I only dress for comfort and warmth. Today we had an appointment to teach an investigator, I had to laugh as I watched Terry and myself get ready.  You see, it's all about layers.  Multiple layers.  It is easier for Terry, his regular suit and tie, a sweater, long wool over coat, scarf, gloves and ear muffs, umbrella in hand.  He looks handsome no matter what, dapper even.  But it is much more of an ordeal for me.  Remember those fleece tights I talked about earlier?  Let me tell you, they are delicious!  They are so warm and cozy.  Today, however, was a "two pair of tights" day. Coat, scarf, gloves, ear muffs and of course umbrella. There is a system to it all, and everything has to go on in its perfect order or it doesn't work.  It was only sprinkling when we got off the first bus and waited for the second bus, but by the time we got off the second bus and began the 1/2 mile walk to her flat it was pouring.  The heavens just opened and emptied buckets of rain.  The umbrella's helped, but because the wind was blowing the rain in sideways, we were drenched by the time we got there. The appointment was good and we were mostly dry by the time we left, so all is well.

I thought about taking a picture of ourselves all bundled up, but then I thought, I really don't want to be reminded about how ridiculous I looked.  Terry says I looked like one of our grandchildren getting ready to go outside to play in the snow but are so bundled up that they can hardly move.  Sigh.

Staying with the fashion theme, I wanted to share a funny story that happened.  At an appointment one day, the lady we were teaching asked me what she should wear when she came to church with us the following Sunday.  I told her that most women wear a dress or skirt, but if she were more comfortable, she could wear pants.  The young missionary, who is from Yorkshire, England practically jumped out of his seat yelling, "trousers, she means trousers!"   Apparently I have not mastered the language yet.  What we call pants, they call trousers.  What they call pants, we call underwear.  Oops!

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Our first Christmas in England

If it wasn't for my calendar, I might not have even known it was Christmas.  First off, they don't celebrate Thanksgiving here, so there was no "Black Friday".  Then there wasn't the displays and sales in the stores that I am used to.  No Christmas music playing or people arguing about when they should actually start playing it on the radio.  Very few Christmas lights, in fact, I would guess that you might have only seen lights in the windows of every one per 1000 flats.  Eventually, (and not until two-three weeks before Christmas) I did start noticing some tree lots or small artificial trees in the stores.  Terry knows how I love Christmas decorations and was a good sport to make sure we got a tree.  It was a sad little tree compared to what I am used to, but I loved it!  We decided to go with a flocked tree and colored lights hoping we wouldn't have to have decorations on it.  I made a star for the top and all in all, it made me very happy.
But then the Christmas activities began and it was starting to feel more like Christmas to me.  We had a nice ward Christmas party.  A great turn out and good food.  We all had a fun time.

Our Bishop and other ward members at the Christmas party. 
We meet at a Catholic school that is for primary age kids, so the tables are very small.

The Mission brought in all the missionaries to go to the London Temple and put on a nice Christmas dinner.  There are so many of us that they had to do it on four different days.  It was wonderful to be able to get back to the temple.  It was our first time to attend the London Temple since we got here.
Some of the missionaries that were at the Christmas party the Mission gave. 
There is real strength in being with all these young missionaries.  We love it!

We were able to provide a breakfast for the missionaries of our zone a few days before Christmas.  Elder and Sister Hom (another senior missionary couple) and us made French toast, scrambled eggs, "streaky" bacon, hash browns and fruit for all the young missionaries.  They were so excited and so appreciative.  We played games, sang Christmas carols and just enjoyed being with each other.

Sister Hom and I in the kitchen.

All missionaries love to eat,and they were thrilled with this breakfast.

Our District.  We love these missionaries!

Our Zone.  Awesome missionaries, every one of them and a great
example of dedication and Christ like love.

So Christmas wasn't what I was used to, but I realized that the things that took so much of my time and energy are not what Christmas is really about.  It is about a baby.  It's about love.  It's about the greatest gift that only our Father in Heaven and our Savior Jesus Christ could give.  It is about the chance to be with our families forever.  It is about the great Plan of Happiness and the chance to return and live with our Father in Heaven again.  It is about all the things we are trying to share while we are out on our mission.  I'm grateful that I was able to spend Christmas in England, and to be reminded of the true meaning of Christmas.