Monday, June 4, 2012

A note from Ben

Hello everyone, it's Ben here.

So I've been a little lax on this blog lately--I've really only been posting some of the more interesting and universal parts of my journal here for everyone to see.  But I think I will repost part of a message I sent to my family here because it gives a better idea of the way things are going here in London generally.  I promise that I'll be preparing some more posts in the near future that will have a greater sense of direction and clarity than the last few have been.

So thanks for still listening, and I hope you enjoy this letter (it was originally written to my Mom with my family in mind as well):

I guess I'll give you a quick update now that I'm already writing you. So this past week has been quite good, and it feels like time is really starting to fly now. Can you believe I've already been gone for three and a half weeks? If I was at the ranch I would be coming home Wednesday! 

I have a pretty good routine now, but I'm working to spend more time on homework and my project during the mornings and afternoons so I don't have to work on things in the evenings (like I am today). I go to church at rhe Whitechapel family ward on Sundays of course, then Monday evenings Richard (my roommate who served his mission here and now is going to University at Imperial College, which is a very good school, studying Biology) and I go to Family Home Evening either at one of the group FHE's that are put on by leaders in the YSA ward or ward FHEs at the chapel (it switches between the two every week). Tuesdays are my free day for getting work done, and it's the best day for going and seeing a play or something because I have the evening open. On Wednesday I go to Institute at the Wandsworth chapel in South London. It's actually with another stake but Richard goes that day because he sings in his university choir on Thursday nights, which is when the local YSA ward has Institute. For that reason I have been going on Wednesdays for the last couple of weeks, and I've really loved the group that goes there. The pre-mission young men are really friendly and I've actually been spending more time in the mission prep class with them rather than the normal Institute class so they have more ppl in the class. Plus I just love talking about missionary work :) Afterwards ppl always stay and play either indoor soccer (football) or volleyball :) :)  So Thursdays have been somewhat free for the past few weeks, and I went and saw "Antigone" last week (Greek play, really cool, had the actor for Dean Thomas in it) and War Horse the week before that because we got free tickets from a married couple who are serving as missionaries. That play was also really cool, so I guess I'll have to see the movie now :)  This week I did make it out to the local YSA ward's Institute on Thursday, so that was fun, and because my roommate Richard has his hands in everything in the church around here (he's also ward mission leader and meets with several companionships on a weekly basis), I'm now helping out with the choir and a small six person male choir that will be singing Be Still My Soul on the 27th for the Hyde Park Chapel open house, since the building just got renovated to act as both a chapel and visiter's center (the chapel is right across the street from the London Science Museum, and the Natural History Museum is on the same road just a little further down). So yeah, having Richard as a roommate has been a really amazing blessing. I feel very involved! 

Oh yes, and Thursday mornings we also have our weekly meeting as a field study group, so thats always fun because whoever is in charge can choose a place to meet and an activity to do for a couple hours or so before we get food and talk about how our weeks and our projects are doing. We've been to Westminster Abbey, the Borough Market (really good food and loads of free samples), the London Museum, and Trafalgar Square/Picadilly Circus. I've really seen our group grow close together over the last couple weeks as well, which is really neat :)

On Fridays there have been a couple of YSA activities that I have gone to, including the May Ball (formal dance) which was last Friday, and yesterday I went to a dance/fiesta put on by members of the Spanish branch that I was invited to. Haha, luckily there were a group of brazilians who were there (I felt quite at home with them) and two people who spoke only English, haha, so between the three languages of Spanish, Portugues, and English, it was the craziest night ever. One of the activities was to play act a fairy tale, and our group got chosen to put on Snow White. Just try to imagine a Mirror that spoke only Spanish, a Dwarf that spoke only English, a snow white that spoke only Portuguese, and the rest of us switching between the three languages depending on which version of the movie we had watched growing up....haha, it was quite a mad spectacle, but really fun :) And man, I wish I could Latin dance better. 

So that's pretty much it. My Saturdays have been pretty quiet, and like today I have tended to use them to catch up on school work for the week. This next week should be quieter with Richard on a family vacation until next Sunday, although that means he put me in charge of teaching the investigator class at the YSA ward tomorrow, so that should be fun :)

So that's pretty much it. 
Life couldn't seem any less exciting, that's for sure.


  1. Ben, I am completely amazed by your ability to do so many things. You've done a great job maximizing your time here and getting involved in what real London life is like, as if you were going to be here for forever, while still taking advantage of the things (like plays and whatnot) that you clearly won't be here forever to see. Well done amigo/amigo/friend (that's the extent of my Portuguese/Spanish/English for you)!

  2. I'm impressed. I struggling with getting out of bed, let alone the door. I thought that was typical, yet here you are, getting out almost every night with actual people! Inspiring:) You really seem to be enjoying London and life in general. After reading this post, I certainly realized I need to be better about getting out and about London. Maybe your intense planning you talked about at the group meeting is worth a shot...I'll give it a go and see how it goes.

    1. Hey, I totally feel you Ariana. My roommate has been out of town, so it's been pretty lonely this week...but I started budgeting hours of work on homework now, so hopefully that will motivate me. I'm inspired by Kayla's weekly deadlines project has been going so slow!!

  3. You've definitely managed to adapt a regimented missionary schedule to real life :) it's a feat I was never quite able to pull off. I'll have to stick to my haphazard sticky-notes and lists, and hope that I can still get something done. But good news: I've started writing!