TheRealSharon's Blog

Part 1 left off after arriving at the old YMCA building that we stayed at. After setting up my stuff in my room that I would spend the almost 2 weeks in, I also learned that our bathroom had two shower stalls with just a curtain in front. So we were told to take showers at the same time as another girl so we wouldn’t hog the bathroom too much. Well, I ended up taking one AFTER everyone or at a time when no one wanted to take one just so I could avoid this. I didn’t want to change in front of people so I certainly wasn’t going to be showering with someone else in the room either!

From here on out in my post, I’ll be jumping back and forth between things because my remembrance for the exact timeline is a little lost on me now.

I would say it was probably a day or so after we arrived in Wales that I started having headaches pretty much consistently. I KNEW there was a chance of it being because I had drank caffeine so I just kept popping Ibuprofen and went on with the trip. The first day was extremely hard because we were all dealing with jet lag and we couldn’t give in to it. We HAD to keep ourselves awake until night time so we could be on a better schedule. Needless to say, about the time you got used to the new time schedule was when you were back in the US and had to get used to a new one!

There were a lot of fun experiences that I remember. It definitely wasn’t all bad. We got to see some beautiful castles and we got to shop some which was absolutely wonderful as I’m a woman who loves shopping! I didn’t just buy for myself either. I bought a diamond pendant that said “Mum” on it for my mom as her birthday was the day we would return. I bought a beautiful white “Christening” dress for one of my best friends who just had a baby girl. It was just to give her a pretty little church dress, not for an actual Christening. I bought a Mom, dad and baby bear figurine that were dressed in London type clothes to give to my mom but she told me to keep it as I have a huge thing for teddy bears. I also got a stuffed teddy that has a sweater with the Welsh flag on it and a lovespoon with a treble clef on it since I love music.

We visited this old Welsh village and saw some old fashioned homes and got to try some good old homemade bread. I remember the doors of the houses being so small…I could fit in them easy because I’m short but a lot of people had to duck. Apparently the Welsh are traditionally short or at least used to be? We did Vacation Bible School at this one church and I actually taught a class or co-taught. It made me rather nervous but I actually got through it. I’ve always loved little children and it was so much fun working with them. I remember this one little boy that was riding a bike when we were handing out tracks and he wanted to help hand some out. It was so cute!

I saw some not so great things though. I noticed a lot of dogs ran loose around the streets and was actually told that some of the dogs had killed young kids and nothing had really been done about it. This really broke my heart. I also learned that the legal age for drinking in pubs there was 15 and as most stores closed as early as 5 in the afternoon, there wasn’t much for kids to do around there and they turned to alcohol and ended up in trouble. All of this broke my heart to hear.

I was also under the misconception that there wasn’t really that much of a difference between the English and the Welsh but quickly found out that they don’t typically get along with each other. The Welsh actually have their own language that is very confusing if you ask me. But one huge difference is their demeanor. From the little bit of time I was in London to the time I was in Wales…all over Wales…I noticed the Welsh seemed much more laid back and nice. Not to offend my British friends reading my blog, but I met some very sweet Welsh people that really touched my heart. I have a deep love for Wales ever since that trip and would so love to go back one day.

I would love to tour England too and give it another chance as well, though.

The food was interesting for me…..We in the US like to put pickles on everything and in England and Wales, they love their cucumbers. I have never ate so many cucumber sandwiches in my life! And did I mention I hate cucumbers? UGH! Oh, but the fish and chips! They were awesome! I could have just lived off of that if given the opportunity! I obviously experienced many new things with food….I tried hot tea. It wasn’t really a surprise that I detested it because I’ve never cared for iced tea either. It tasted like a worse version of something I already hate. I got to try “squash” too….I believe that’s how they spell it….here, squash is a veggie and ONLY that. There, ‘Squash” is what they kool-aid. I wasn’t much of a fan of that either because it didn’t seem sweet enough. I guess us Americans are used to sweetening things so much that we don’t like our drinks dulled down. Pepsi was my mainstay whenever I could find it. Thank God for Pepsi! UK brought my love for Pepsi back from the dead. When I got home, I could never look at Sprite the same way again. I always thought I would take a sip and it would have changed on me and betrayed me like its British counterpart.

One morning we had breakfast at a restaurant nearby instead of our basic cereal meal at the YMCA. I ended up ordering some sausage and eggs with toast, I believe, although I’m sure I had to ask for a translation as to what that was exactly on the menu. We were offered something called “Black Pudding”, to which I grimaced and said no thanks. If I don’t know what something is, I’m not about to try it! Most everyone else had some and seemed to like it but later, when we found out WHAT it was, I was glad I stuck to my convictions. Apparently, Black Pudding is Pig’s Blood. Uh……yea, no thanks!

I did end up getting fooled at a different time on the trip, though. We went to a special church event at the park and had hamburgers. Of course, this was during the mad cow disease epidemic so beef was out of the question, but I was not thinking straight and I was hungry. I dug into my hamburger and thoroughly enjoyed it. Then I was told I ate sheep meat and I was not very happy. Sheep look too adorable to me to ever eat….: ( I felt like a murderer!

We had lovely weather for most of our 2 weeks. I believe it rained maybe two days that we were there. The temperature hit 80 and all of the sudden, it was like everywhere I looked, we were in Miami, Florida instead of Wales. Girls with basically just a bra and shorts on everywhere! I was utterly stunned….I mean, 80 is a nice temperature, yes, but cause for beach wear? I think not!

Before I close this Part 2 with promises of a Part 3 tomorrow detailing negatives that made the trip not quite as good, I will end here with an experience that occurred after the rain. Me and Kimberly left the YMCA to go look at the little shops around there and the rain had just stopped but the ground had puddles everywhere. As we turned a corner, I was a little too close to the curb and a big bus turns the corner, hitting an enormous puddle of water and totally raining on me AND my parade. So soaking wet, I continued on my walk to the shops, a little infuriated at the bus but also laughing at myself and the situation. We looked in a Woolworth’s which I had never been in before and a few other stores. Pretty much the only store experience that really sticks out for me is this store with baby clothes. I had gone in there, of course, to get something for my best friend’s baby and while I didn’t end up buying anything THERE, Me and Kimberly did have fun with the ladies of the shop. They absolutely loved my Texas accent and I told them I adored their Welsh accent. They were very kind ladies and even soaking wet, we returned later from our shopping excursion in a good mood and with leftover fish and chips! YUM!

et cetera
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