today we went to southall, which is a huge middle eastern city. we visited for our london culture class and got to visit two sikh temples and a hindu temple. i have mixed emotions about the whole experience, but i really do think it was good for me to experience other religions and cultures.
we first visited this place, gurdwara, which is one of the largest and oldest sikh temples in the world. dave, our cultures teacher, has befriended one of the leaders there, and he gave us a personal tour of the place. we had to take off our shoes and cover our heads in scarves, and then we all went upstairs to their worship room, sat on the floor for a while, and then one by one went up to worship. we knelt on the ground and touched our foreheads and then the ground. we then sat for a little while longer, and exited and had this cute little man tell us about the sikh religion. it was so hard to understand him through his thick accent and how softly he spoke, but i tried my hardest. i did notice that he said "...we believe in almighty God, and since no man has met almighty God and no man knows God..."
and it made me awfully grateful to have the knowledge that man has in fact met with God, and that i can and do have a relationship with God. i love my religion. i love the miracles that have occurred in my life through it. the opportunity to see how others worship is so eye-opening to me. i would never criticize how another person has found their religion, but experiencing the different has made me so incredibly grateful for what i know to be true.
anyway, after our little discussion, we then were served lunch...
fun fact: the gurdwara serves over 5,000 people per day, 365 days a year, for free. i have to say, indian food isn't my favorite, but it was neat to be able to try it. after a couple bits of my naan bread, we visited a hindu temple, another sikh temple, and then were free to walk around the markets for three hours until we were to meet again for dinner. i felt a like i was in the middle of slumdog millionaire, and i don't know what our program directors were thinking when they decided to let a bunch of byu blonde girls go running wild in that down town area, because i felt hugely uncomfortable. i did not like the looks i was getting from those men, and i especially did not like what they were yelling out after i had walked by. i don't know if it's a place i would visit again, but seeing a culture completely different from my own was interesting.
we stopped at this little beauty shop and got henna tattoos for only 2 pounds! this dark color peeled off and now the design is a burnt orange on my skin.
after tattoos and walking around for a bit, we were feeling uncomfortable and tired and anxious to get back to the familiar, so we ventured to mcdonalds. and we weren't surprised to find another group of our girls sitting there and then before we left, another set came. there is something very comforting about those golden arches. a little piece of home, i suppose.
we then went to dinner at this indian place, which had great food but it was terribly spicy. i don't enjoy food that is so spicy that it's painful. the naan bread was great though, and the service was excellent and the program paid for it so it was good to have a meal out together as a program. i've eaten a lot of international food in london, and i can officially say that indian food is not for me. thai food is delicious, sushi has always been a personal fave, but indian food...not so much.
after dinner we hurried and caught our train, went to a station so audrey and macy could get ben's cookies, and then we went to the waffle house for a treat. we always end up going to the waffle house, and i will never complain about it. caitlin and i are obsessed. nutella and strawberry waffles. yum. i am always incredibly satisfied after.
anyway, i am back in my dorm right now, figuring out classes for spring and contemplating showering or not for tomorrow. i don't know what it is, but i have such a love-hate relationship with the shower. when i am showering, i love it, but when i am out of the shower, i hate it. please tell me why it is so hard for me to just shower regularly? is there something wrong with me?