Wednesday, May 18th
On Wednesday morning, Shelby, Christina, and I were meeting Vanessa at Canvas to hand out free tea and coffee on campus. We got to Canvas at 8:30 and helped her load up everything before setting out toward campus. I volunteered to push the cart that had two ten gallon jugs of boiling hot water. It's probably a ten minute walk to Canvas and I was doing great until we were about ten yards from where we were going to set up the table. I hit the curb while crossing the last street and both jugs went flying. Thankfully, no one was immediately in front of me because that water was HOT. But I felt absolutely awful. We had about half of a jug left of water between the two after that and it takes a while to boil all that water.
We decided to head back to Canvas and set up a table closer to the house with what water we had while Vanessa went back to boil more water. We still got plenty of traffic since a lot of second year students live near Canvas and were walking toward campus. It started raining a little, but people were still walking. The group on Tuesday probably talked to more students, but it seemed like we had more time to talk to all of the people who stopped by our table. The interesting thing is that Brits aren't as gung-ho about free stuff as Americans, so most people were pretty hesitant. I also learned quite a bit about M.O.T. testing (kind of like emissions testing, but more involved) since we were set up right across from a testing center.
[The streets of Birmingham]
At 10:30, we met up with Connor, JW, and Rachel to walk to this little cafe called The Meeting Place. I was in charge of leading the team devo that morning and I talked about 1 Corinthians 12:15-26 because I have a hard time remembering that God can use me and my gifts, whatever they may be. We talked a little bit about the passage, then I had everyone say one thing that the person to their right does really well. I can't speak for anyone else, but that was a cool reminder that our team had a lot of diversity and so many different things to offer. We had already been together for three full days and after hearing from Connor, Rachel, and Shelby who had gone on Globalscope trips in 2015, that day was when tensions started to run a little high among the group.
[The Meeting Place]
We went back to Canvas for the afternoon to bake cookies and make graduation boxes for the students who were graduating soon. I was helping Vanessa make cookies with Shelby and Christina. I love baking chocolate chip cookies and I used to have the recipe I use memorized, so this was right up my alley. (Oh! I forgot that Connor, Rachel, Shelby, and I had walked to the grocery store to get some ingredients and scope out a birthday cake for Christina since she turned 18 the next day. That was a fun experience.) Anyway, baking in England was cool, but challenging because all the units were different, but the recipe was still more or less the same. I was creaming the butter and sugar--my favorite part--when I moved the bowl from the island to the other counter and it slipped through my fingers. It went EVERYWHERE. I just couldn't believe that I had dropped something else and in front of Shelby, Christina, and Vanessa again. The staff kept saying it was okay, it was just jet lag, but I kept saying, "But I'm not tired!" I didn't realize until I came back to the State the toll jet lag takes on your whole body.
[A park in Bournville Village]
After we finished baking cookies, we helped the rest of the group with the grad boxes and we brainstormed some awesome ideas for Merge with Rachel. That was actually one of my favorite conversations on the trip. Rachel and I were able to dip out for a little while to go work on the Bible study that Merge is doing, but we ended up having great beer and cider and even better conversation.
We had to head back to get ready to go out to dinner with the staff of Canvas. Sadly, no one got any pictures of all of us dressed up. We took a party taxi (like a short bus with a light show inside) to La Plancha for tapas. We got to see a different part of Birmingham and I had actually never had tapas before. It was so much fun getting to hang out with the staff and getting to know them better. After dinner, we decided to walk to a place for gelato, but after a long walk, the place turned out to be closed. We had to figure out how to get back to the area Canvas is in with over a dozen people plus a baby. That was a fun adventure. I ended up riding in the front seat of an Uber, which was quite an experience. Because we didn't have enough seats, I set out with Tom and his wife to find Connor and Abbey who had started walking back. Again, I sat in the front seat and tried to get use to which side everything was on. It totally threw me for a loop.
Tom and Jenna dropped us off at Abbey and Derrik's, where Connor and JW were staying. We hung out for a little while until everyone else came back from the other ice cream place they had gone. I think we called it a night relatively early that day. I had thought Wednesday would be our most relaxed day, but it ended up being the day I walked the most.