Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Education, A Form Of Repentence

School has taken full swing this week.  Last year we started a new course of study... found at . 

Anyways, last year I wasn't really prepared for what I needed to do, and so now I feel that last year was a "preparation" year.  It was really stressful, and I didn't finish a lot of things, but now starting this year has been exhilarating. I know what to expect, and that's helped a lot. I've taken a deeper interest in my studies than I have done before.

Lately I have viewed my studies as less of a boring, tedious thing to get through so I can graduate and "move on", and more of a learning experience that develops the mind and smooths down the rough edges, an exciting adventure that involves learning about the birth of a country, the progression of politics, etc.  But I didn't come to this on my own.  It took a few years, and most of it is due to my mother's perseverance.  Something else that helped came just a few days ago. Mother read to us an article about education.  The person who wrote it quoted George Grant:

"At the beginning of every academic year I like to remind myself and my students that true education is a form of repentance. It is a humble admission that we've not read all that we need to read, we don't know all that we need to know, and we've not yet become all that we are called to become. Education is that unique form of discipleship that brings us to the place of admitting our inadequacies. It is that remarkable rebuke of autonomy and independence so powerful and so evident that we actually shut up and pay heed for a change."

This changed my view of school a lot. Not only is studying always new and exciting, but it's also humbling.  I realized that hating school, detesting it, and not being willing to put up with it were all rebellious, prideful thoughts.  If you really think about it, it's true.

God has created so much, not just in the natural world, but with history, languages - which eventually turn into grammar and English - art... So many more!  We would be fools to not want to learn about His work, and His plan - as far as it's been revealed, not in our personal lives only but in everything! in history, progression... etc. In everything.

here's the link to the entire article. I haven't read the whole thing, but my mother did and she said it was very good. :)

Correction - I accidentally linked to the lady who quoted George Grant. Here is the link to the article by George Grant.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Inverness and Skye

Thursday night, Nana and I left at 9:00 PM on the Caledonian Sleeper Train bound for Inverness, Scotland.  We arrived around 8 the next morning. Train ride was beautiful. Highlands are ruggedly glorious. The beauty is almost harsh, but beautiful all the same.  Inverness was smaller, and the view more hilly and jagged than I expected, but then again it is the capital of the Highlands. The thing I love about these Scottish towns is that there are so many old stone buildings, churches, etc., that it makes the town seem old and so full of history.  The land isn't marred by huge modern business... boxes... and such, but most of the businesses use these older buildings. Anyways, I liked Inverness. But then when we rented our car (Aunt Paula and Chloe got in on a train a few hours later), we all drove to Skye. And that... was... gorgeous.  It's so isolated - almost my kind of thing - and everybody is so friendly, not only to tourists, but also towards each other. And yes, everybody there has the coolest Scottish accent. And so I fell in love with Skye, and felt heart broken when we had to leave.

This owl was rescued.  You see odd things like this all over High Street (Inverness).  And he was so cute... This picture is for Duncan, who loves owls. :)
Chloe and Ruby at Loch Ness.
The Highlands on the way to Skye.
Eilean Donan Castle.  It was restored in the 18th century... we didn't go inside, but contented ourselves with taking pictures. :)
This horse is a thoroughbred Arabian Stallion. His name is Arabic, and his pasture extended to the front yard of the B&B where we were staying.  I snuck sugar cubes from the breakfast table and fed them to him, and then the owner of the place gave us some carrots to feed to him.  Oh yeah, and from now on, all the pictures are taken on Skye. :)
Taken in the walled gardens of Dunvegan Castle.  These gardens were amazing... They were so extensive, and I wish I could post all the pictures I took of them, but that would take up ever so much space.
Rush hour on Skye.
This picture was not doctored up at all. The sea is really that blue. :)
HAGGIS! Which by the way is EXCESSIVELY EXCELLENT! For those of you who don't know what it is, it's basically ground up sheep organs, (lungs, liver, etc) with ground oats, and herbs served (in this case) with a red wine and onion gravy, and "tatties and neeps" which are mashed potatoes and turnips. It was very very very good. Though this wasn't the traditional Haggis (which even some Scottish people say is quite disgusting) it's made with the same ingredients. :)
More later!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Pictures!!! :)

I got internet today - so here's the best of the last few days. :)

Trafalgar Square


The column of Nelson's Monument in Trafalgar Square is 183 feet tall.  The statue on top is 18 feet... that's pretty tall. (btw, isn't the sky amazing?!)
The Supreme Court.
The famous Westminster Abbey. Just as beautiful and magnificent as everybody says.
Big Ben from the perspective of Parliament Square, where we sat under a tree and ate chocolate while said bell chimed four in the afternoon. :)
 The Banqueting Hall
We went on a little tour with my aunt's students and tour-guide around Westminster and Parliament Square and such... But he also showed us inside the Banqueting Hall, built in 1619 by James I.  Masques, balls, feasts - all sorts of things were held in here - and it's still used.  I forget whether a fire in London (1629) destroyed portions of it or not... I seem to forget that part. :P  But anyways, Charles I was beheaded in this place as well.
The throne type thing for the sovereign.
The ceiling of the banquet house.
Splish splash splosh in red polka-dot rain-boots.
Down By The Thames
The London Eye, London Bridges, River Thames. 
Another London Bridge.
This is the place where knights used to joust. At least, that's what I'm told.... :)
Lord Nelson, again. I liked this one because of the gray sky.

These are Aunt Paula's students. Let's see if I can get this right... from L to R, Scott, Bryan, Mary, Lindsay, Mary, Jen, Griffin, Jen, Collin, Tinea, Jack, and the tour guide Patrick.
A hotel... Yeah.  
Shopping and Miscellaneous
Chloe and me.
This is sort of what the place where we're staying looks like. Only this square is one block down from street. 
This was a mirror shop. 
The Tower Of London

Chloe seems to have found a knight in shining armor... :D

Spiral staircases were quite common in the Tower. But that's obvious... it was the fashion then. :P

I just thought this picture was cool.  I loved the three huge cranes against the stormy sky.

This was funny... A prisoner, named Henry, etched his name into the stone in one of the rooms. There was glass over it, and Chloe was staring while I was taking a picture. Didn't realize that the image would come out with Chloe's reflection over the name...

This, we thought, was funny....

Whitehall... I'm not sure what the significance of this building was but it's currently a museum for all of King Henry VIII's armor.  Quite an amazing place, really.

"Quoth the Raven, 'Nevermore.'"

Chloe and I sitting on a... thing... by Tower Hill Monument.

Shopping on Portebello....

On Sunday we went to Portebello Street where traffic is blocked off every weekend, and it is lined with stalls for hats, scarves, jewelery, antiques, food, produce, toys - ANYTHING you can imagine - yes, even chandeliers. :P So we went and shopped around a bit.

This necklace was a Christian D'ior necklace that Chloe tried on... those are emeralds and rhinestones. It was priced at £450.... which is... really... really... expensive... :P But it looked great on her all the same! :P

All the weather vanes had these little ships on top... they were so cool!
(Below) This is what most of the houses on Portebello Street looked like... They were so cute - all different colors and everything. :)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Tower Of London and Mozart's Requiem

So yesterday we went to Tower of London. Mainly to see the memorial of Lady Jane Grey, which we found is non existent. :P They asked us why they would have a memorial for a traitor. ??? She wasn't a traitor hello! Became queen against her will, was dethroned by Mary I, and thrown into the Tower. Her life was to be spared, but an uprising in her favor caused by Sir Thomas Wyatt and her father caused Mary to think she was a threat to her crown. And that's why Jane and her husband Guilford were beheaded.

How hard is that?

Oh well.

Last night we went to see Mozart's Requiem performed at St. Martin-in-the-Fields.  The church is between 3/4 - 1 mile down the road.  So we walked... and Chloe and I survived, even though we wore heels. Typical girls.  But anyway, the Requiem was So amazing. It was really astounding. And I didn't know when it started whether to sob, or keel over and die, or just gape.  The music - the voices were overpowering. When the soloists started, Chloe and I were about ready to faint. Sorry for such a dramatic summary, but really... it was amazing.  Oh yeah, the soloists... There was a soprano, a metzo-soprano, a tenor, and a bass.  Chloe and I especially liked the tenor's voice.  It was so full of emotion, and so nice to listen to.  The soprano's voice was like a trill whenever she sang - it was lovely.

My favorite part about the requiem was when the choir would stand up, and even though the strings were playing piano, you would know that something big was going to happen, because you could see the choir on their feet, and the horns were all getting ready, and then suddenly there would be a huge tsunami of strings, horns, and voices, all playing fff!  It was gorgeous. And then my other favorite part was when the choir would sing... the basses would start, so deep you wondered if the church would fall apart, and then the tenor's would come in, and then the altos, and then the sopranos - all singing untranslatable Latin about judgment day... All singing different tunes, and yet blending perfectly...

It was really glorious.

Again, I am on the wrong computer. But I get internet on my computer on Monday, so I'll be able to upload pictures of the Tower then. :)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Chloe seems fine, but really she's just psyched and hasn't slept for thirty six hours. That's all.