Monday, February 22, 2010

Lots of Walking

Another week has come and gone. My mother reminded me that there are only 5 weeks till her and my father will be in the same country as me once again. I am excited for them to come see the beautiful country I have fallen in love with.

Last week contained a lot of work and a lot of fun as well. I had my first of two presentations for my Seminar Topics class. It went alright, but it showed how challenged I will be in that class, which will be good for me. This is one of my favorite classes because it forces us as students to retain pretty much EVERYTHING we’ve learned thus far in your life and apply it. I’ve met some people that are pretty knowledgeable in several areas of study.

After the class I was having a conversation with a couple people from that class. We were having a conversation about conservation of our planet when the subject quickly switched to Christianity by my professor for that class who suddenly appeared out of no where. Apparently from some of the comments I had made in our class discussion he had an inkling that I was a Christian, and decided to probe around and find out. He is not a Christian, but of course he has his own ideas on things. Needless to say I spent the next couple of hours trying to explain my views on things from a Christian perspective, and was able to explain the Gospel to a couple of people. While it all could have been very frustrating I know God will use all that was said for His glory. However, if you could pray for me, my professor, and for the individuals I talked with that would be greatly appreciated. I know God is already working and preparing a way for me. So many people here have so much “earthly” knowledge that it hinders them from knowing and accepting God’s truth.

Friday I got to play my favorite sport…Volleyball!! They have a club here that meets a few times a week and has matches on the weekends. I am for sure joining this club. There are a few other girls that are international students who are joining as well. We all seem pretty compatible in our experienced so that makes playing fun. After that ended my new friend from Moldova and I went to check out the “Dance Sport” club. It’s pretty much a ball dancing class, which I’ve always wanted to learn. I’m still considering whether I should join this club or not. It was a lot of fun though. I learned how to dance the Quickstep and the Jive. I couldn’t believe I was finally learning some ball dance moves. It’s sort of difficult to participate though because I don’t have the proper shoes. We’ll see what happens ;)

Saturday was a LONG day. Laurine, my friend from France, had never had an “English Breakfast” before so she invited some other international students to join her and then go on a hike after. Of course I wanted to be there to witness this new experience so a few of us met at 11AM at “Lord Beechings” (a restaurant/ pub). The only people who responded were me, Nuria (a girl from Barcelona), and Paulina (a girl from Poland). Only Paulina and Laurine “took an English Breakfast” but we had a lot of fun. It was a huge breakfast consisting of a fried egg, two pieces of toast, one HUGE sausage, two slices of bacon, a hash brown, two mushrooms(Paulina seemed quite appalled at how soaked in grease these were), a load of baked beans (yuck), and half a tomato. It was huge to say the least. I’ve included the picture as proof : ) It still amazes me that they eat baked beans for their breakfast here, but I love their bacon. It’s a larger cut of meat compared to America, and is better prepared.

After their feast Paulina went home to recuperate and Laurine, Nuria, and I set off on our 3.5-4 hour walk. Yeah, it was long. I’ve included some pictures of that as well. I kept Laurine pretty entertained by falling down randomly. It had snowed the past couple days so it was slippery in places. We had a splendid time trekking through sheep pastures trying to find a suitable way home. I had to take an hour nap after we got back around 4:30 or so before I could do anything else.

Then yesterday, of course, I had signed up to go on my first official walk with the walking club on Sunday (not the smartest idea). It went alright, but I’ve determined that I will save more money by doing my walking around here on the weekends, which I already do plenty of. On the drive to where we walked which was called “Elan Valley” I got motion sickness for the first time in a LONG time. Since there are so many hills here the roads just wind all around them. So we just kept moving left and right and back and forth. Not fun. While on the walking trip, however, I think we finally determined why the British drive on the opposite side of the road from the majority of the world. I say majority because Australia is different as well. The theory is that in the medieval times the knights carried their javelins under their right arm to fight their opponents in battle; the same idea with sword fighting. Since the majority of people are right handed it is thought that is easier to protect oneself by keeping to the left side. And of course it can be thought that America did the opposite just to be that much more independent from their mother country. Ha ha... I thought it was pretty fascinating.

I’m slowly becoming better acquainted with the people in my hall. I met a few more people for first time today. There are a total of 16 of us in the hall (8 guys, 8 girls). They are all in their first year so their ages range from 18-20. I’m sure I’ll, as I somehow instinctively do, take a motherly role among them, but not to any extreme ; )

It has been beautiful weather the past couple days. Some how I don’t think it will last for too long once spring arrives so I’m enjoying it as much as I can.

Have a splendid week!


Monday, February 15, 2010

"Knifoons" among other things

Hello again to all my faithful readers. Much has happened, of course, since I blogged last. : ) I was unable to attend the walk that I told you about that Sunday, because I became sick the night before. My throat started hurting a few days before Sunday and just grew steadily worse. Saturday the 6th Laurine and I successfully made it up the hill to Pen Dinas where the Duke of Wellington’s monument was standing proud and strong. According to Wikipedia the 1st Duke of Wellington was Arthur Wellesley, who was a leading military and political figure of the nineteenth century for the British Army. So pretty much he’s a big deal. They name their rubber work boot after him by calling the “wellies” or something of that nature. Ha ha! On our way down from the hill I was able to have my closest encounter yet with some sheep. They made no response when I “baaaa”ed at them but then I made kissing noise at them and several of them looked intently in my direction. It was quite funny and interesting.

That evening a few of my fellow Americans and I decided to experience our first BIG rugby match in a pub. I still don’t quite understand the sport but I like it because there were NO, zip, zero, commercials throughout the entire 1.5 hr match! The game was quite dramatic though because it was England vs. Wales. There was a fair mix of both in the pub we were in. I had a friend telling me earlier that he noticed that whenever there was an individual blatantly sporting a jersey for England they were in groups. As if they would be mobbed or something if they were walking alone.

After the rugby match, whom England won 30-17, I could really tell I was starting to get sick. Unfortunately I wasn’t being all that careful about where I was placing my head, and had been laying on my friend’s pillow. Wouldn’t you know she ended up getting sick a few days later, as did my other friend. Though he thought it would be funny to make a facebook group out of it, because he just does that sort of thing. So there is currently a group on facebook called “Kelli Kuehnert is an illness spreading machine”. There are four current members including me. Only one of them has yet to catch the virus. :S What can I say? They are still talking to me so they must not hate me all that much.

Second week of classes were swell. God has really helped me keep my focus and overcome the cold quickly. I am enjoying the majority of my classes. Two of my lectures are taught by the same Professor who is, unfortunately, rather slow speaking and slightly monotone. One aspect of this school that I am particularly fond of is the time of socializing in between classes. There is a lounge area filled with both Professors and students sipping on tea and coffee and munching on biscuits and cakes (not stereotypical at all ;)). I just LOVE the atmosphere of being able to converse with the Professors in such an informal manner. It is how a University should be.

Now for my section of new interesting words and phrases that I have learned. There is an interesting eating utensil that they have here than can not be found in America. You are familiar with the “spork” I assume, which is a spoon and a fork combined. Well here they have chosen to combine and a spoon and a knife, which I like to call a “knifoon” : )…It’s not the most effective tool I’ve used to say the least. I’ve used it on several occasions to eat cereal, and have found it to be quite challenging. The spoon portion of the knifoon isn’t very wide so you have to scoop the food very carefully so it makes it to the mouth. LOL! It’s quite a task.

I was in a conversation with a girl in one of my classes and she was telling how she dated a “Yankee” once. It caught my interest so I asked her why she specifically called him a “Yankee” and not a “Confederate” ;). She went on to explain that it is pretty much like how Americans call British people “Brits”. I can’t say I have ever used the term, but have heard it none the less. In the same class my professor made a rather clever comment that everyone but me seemed to laugh at. That was basically for the fact that he said it really fast, but he mentioned something about “posh girls”, which I did catch. Apparently it’s another term for girls who are in the middle class. His phrase was a long the lines of “horses are an unnecessary entertainment for posh girls”. It would make a lot more sense if you had been in the discussion and knew the context.

Later on that week Laurine (my friend from France) and I had quite an entertaining conversation with her trying to teach me how to properly count in French. I’m having the most trouble with the number four which is quarte. To pronounce it properly it has a strange throat clearing noise that you have to make at just the right moment which sounds ridiculous when I say it. I asked her what her favorite word in French was. Surprisingly it didn’t take her long to mutter “pamplemousse”, which is “grapefruit”. That word I seem to do ok at pronouncing.

Valentine’s Day was just another day for the most part. However, that evening I did a little bit of rock skipping and enjoyed a group dinner with several international students. We had people from Czech Republic, Moldova, England, India, Pittsburgh, Montana, Alabama, and Indiana! It was an excellent meal for a group of college students, and had wonderful conversations. Probably one of the most memorable Valentine’s days I’ve ever had.

Today I moved from my residence of Panycelyn to Penbryn, which is just up the hill. There are several reasons which I won’t go into, but I think I will like it up here. My hall mates are very friendly and much noisier than I care for but you can’t get everything you want. With moving a change of address is in need. So please refrain from using the old one please you intend to send me anything, though I hope you won’t spend the money on me.

Room 318
Block 3
Rendel Hall
Aberystwyth Wales
SY23 3UU

Till next time have a wonderful day!


Kelli Kuehnert

Saturday, February 6, 2010

To all my Fans! ;)

I’m finally settled in my new room (I’ll include my address below). It is lovely and small, to put it in British terms. There are already certain words that I say that are slightly British. My favorite so far is “Cheers”. They use this term to mostly mean “Thanks”. It’s so much fun to say especially in a British accent. Ha ha!

I’m having such a splendid time here. This past Sunday I attended a Baptist church in town, approximately 15 minute walk. Aberystwyth, like any other city in the world, have several churches available in Welsh or English each one with their unique wonderful architecture. While this Baptist church was much more traditional than what I’m used to I’m really glad that I went, because I was able to meet a couple of other girls from America. One of them was unfortunately leaving that next day for America, but the other is a girl named Winnie from Kenya who has already been a blessing from God. While she is from Kenya she’s been in the states for several years now in Wisconsin. I also made a new British friend Nicola from England, at the church, that I spent the rest of my Sunday with. We went and ate a “bacon roll” for lunch, which is pretty much really excellent ham on really tasty bread. It was a decent size sandwich for 2 pounds. To drink I had a drink called “squash” that was flavored black current. I could have had it in black current or orange so I took a chance and it was GREAT! Instead of grape flavor or grape jelly they have black current, another sort of berry. I do much prefer it which is good since I have to have my “peanut butter and black current sandwiches” to live off of now. He he. After the delicious lunch Nicola went exploring with me on a walk to find the fastest walking route to my campus far away. It turns out that it only takes about 20 minutes to get there. So that is the route I’ve been taking. Unfortunately on the route I have to overcome the “Cardiac Hill” which has a 25% slant. I’m not sure why they put it in percents, but all I know is that it means it is STEEP!! I wish there was a way to put pictures on my blog because I would show you a picture but that couldn’t do it justice. Today was the first time I attempted to go up the hill. Thankfully I didn’t have a cardiac arrest! It’s so steep, however, that it seems easier to run it until I get tired, since I’m still out of shape, but I’m not even sure my amazing running sister could run all the way up that hill without stopping ; ) I was quite proud of my self for taking the trek twice today.

Back to church though. From the people there I found out about the Christian organization they have here called the “Christian Union”. They had a meeting tonight (Friday), and I think I will enjoy it. There are a lot of really cool people in the organization. They have a very large following of about 80 to 100 students. I praise God for guiding me to the right people. I have already made some good friendships and I am excited to see how I can challenge them in their walk with Christ and vice versa.

One of the friendships that I’ve made that I’m most excited about is with a girl from France named Laurine. She is a lovely girl who is my age but is a post graduate already. I met her through the international orientation last week. We have a couple classes (modules they call them here) together so we’ve had a chance to get to know one another. She is still improving here English so it is HILARIOUS some of the conversations we have. Today for example she asked if I had any “shwegum”. It wasn’t till after the third time of repeating the word that she just chopped her teeth to demonstrate “CHEWING GUM!!” HA HA! It was a good laugh. She seems grateful for me since I’m patient with her and talk slowly for her when she needs it. Tomorrow we have already planned a walking adventure so I am quite excited for that. There is the most random tower, that looks quite ancient, on top of one of the hills here. I’m quite anxious to see it up close and find out the story behind it.

Sunday I will also be getting my exercise with the Walking Club that I joined on Thursday. We will be traveling about a half hour away to the location where we will be going. We leave at 9:30 AM and wont return till 5PM or so. Ya, I was pretty surprised. So if I’m not too exhausted I will try and make it to an evening church service. Apparently there are three different groups for the walking club the easy, medium, and hard groups. I’m still debating which I should start out in. I don’t want to over do it right off the bat.

Tonight it is pretty quite in my hall. There are four other girls in my hall and they have all gone off for the weekend to celebrate one of the girl’s birthdays. They are all “first years” or “freshman”, all at the age of 18 or 19. I will also mention that the drinking age here is 18 so you can imagine it getting a little exciting around here. I can’t complain they did warn me before I moved in that they get loud. Thankfully it has never been when I need to go to sleep. It really hasn’t been that bad. They are all sweet sweet girls and I am anxious to get to know them all better. Last night they were all getting dressed for a party at the Union. They looked pretty hilarious and matched quite well might I add. They came and knocked on the door asking if they were being too loud, then they all came into my room to see what I had done with it since I had moved in. They all ended up meeting my mother who was chatting with me on skype at the time. It was quite an event, and I enjoyed it immensely.

My modules seem to be alright. All the professors are very approachable and nice. They actually seem to prefer you to call them by their first name which is still very awkward for me to do.

Well I gave you a lot of information on this Blog. I hope I didn’t ramble too much. Feel free to comment and ask any questions. I would love to read them.


Kelli Kuehnert