We've begun our European adventure!
Day 1 was a long day of travel, leaving from DC in the morning and arriving at Heathrow late in the evening.
On Day 2 we got a crash course in English history with a tour of Westminster Abbey. We were there long enough for 2 pauses for community prayer, for the people of Norway and for peace, and a Holy Communion service. We passed by the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, and wandered thru the National Gallery.
Day 3 found us in front of Buckingham Palace, watching the changing of the Guards, then shopping in Harrod's.
I personally enjoy traveling just to be somewhere different. Additionally, as a parent, I enjoy watching the kids make a connection to their new experiences. In Westminster Abbey, they recognized the religious items - the depiction of the Last Supper, for example - and the church as the site of the Royal Wedding a few months ago. The differences were obvious, too. Our church at home is only 25 years old and there aren't any dead people buried along the side hallways. The Houses of Parliament made sense to them as being England's capitol building. Apparently, they have paid some attention to their teachers- art, Sunday School, world history, English - because they actually recognized some of the paintings and stories depicted in the art museum. In fact, they even paid attention to the current trip; when we saw a painting of one of the queens, someone asked if she was buried at Westminster Abbey. In front of the. Palace, they compared its size to the White House and wondered who guarded our President.
It's as if you can see the light bulb pop on over their head as they realize "hey! That's Shakespeare's memorial!". Or as they look at a painting and wonder, "What's going on? Who are those people?". The kids had an amusing debate whether a painting was of a woman waiting for her turn at the piñata or to be executed; she did have on a blindfold and a fancy dress, it could be confusing. Today, when they saw the Olympics committee announcing 1 year to the London Olympics, they immediately recognized the stage they watched being built yesterday. There's also those moments of comparison that are eye-opening. "Why is the driver on the wrong side of the car?".
And then there are the universal kid adventures, i.e. there's a water fountain, let's run thru it!
Years from now, they probably won't remember the names of the kings and queens of England or what war memorial is near Hyde Park, but I hope they remember the excitement they felt in wandering thru a new country together.