Yesterday (Sunday, June 3) was the first of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee events! Some of the girls in our group decided to wake up early and go to the River Thames to get a spot to see the floatilla, but we didn't want to deal with all the madness all day for something we didn't care about THAT much, so we waited til about lunch time to go.
FYI...the floatilla is defined as:
The Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant: This event took place on the Thames and consisted of up to 1,000 boats assembled from across the UK, the Commonwealth and around the world. The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh travelled in the Royal Barge which formed the centrepiece of the flotilla.
We (me, Amanda Mey, Liz, Nora, Beth, Marisa, and Kelly) left about 12 to take the tube to get close to the Thames to try to find a spot. We knew there were going to be big viewing screens set up where we could watch the action, so we were planning on doing that. The tube was crazy, but we made it there fine. We stopped and picked up Pret and kept going towards the river. We ended up finding a spot that wasn't crowded at all and was next to the big bus thing that held up the screen, and it was nice to not be totally surrounded by people and to have a little blockage from the wind.
It was FREEZING outside and rained off and on all day and was pretty miserable weather...but we stuck it out and were thankful for the layers we had even though we were wishing for more!
We saw all the royals arrive on the screens and everyone went WILD and it was so exciting! It was so surreal to be in London, seeing the Queen and Will and Kate and Harry and everyone on the screen knowing that we weren't that far away from them...SO SURREAL. And awesome.
|Will and Kate arriving!|
|view of the river|
|Royal Barge coming in from the right|
We had about three hours before the flotilla would pass by our spot on the river (between the Waterloo Bridge and another smaller bridge), but it was fun to people watch and watch the footage on the screen of the Queen's life.
|so. many. people.|
Most of the group had left to try to find a closer spot, so Kelly and I were on our own to head back. There were TONS of people trying to leave at the same time, but things moved pretty well and we were able to get through pretty easily. The tubes were closed and we didn't even want to attempt them, so we walked all the way back in the cold rain, but it wasn't totally awful.
I'm so glad I ended up going...I had debated not dealing with it since I was worried the crowds and everything would be too much for me and I would have an anxiety attack, but it really wasn't bad at ALL and it was so worth it! It was cool to know I saw the boat where all the royals were, which basically means I saw them!
After we got back, we had about an hour and then Amanda and I were off to church at HILLSONG. Seriously, so unreal. They have church at the Dominion Theatre which is like a five minute walk from Madison House, and we were greeted by girls our age as soon as we walked in, and they talked to us for a while and invited us to sit with them. It was instantly like I was more at home in London, knowing I had a community and a place to worship and find other Christians that live here!
We walked in and it was INCREDIBLE with all the lights and the screens and everything. Worship was completely everything you would expect worship at Hillsong to be- it was so on fire and so energetic and just perfect. It was incredible to be able to just worship freely and know that I was surrounded by other believers at this awesome church I've always heard so much about and grown up worshipping to. So cool.
There was an awesome collaboration of dance and music and the national anthem and God Save The Queen that was SO cool and such an awesome experience. At one part during it, there was a video clip playing of the Queen so boldly proclaiming her faith, and it made me SO excited. I had no idea her faith was as strong as it is, and it was so awesome to hear her talking about Jesus Christ from a national program. Made me so much more in love with her!
After the dance and everything, the church as a whole prayed over the Queen. I honestly was so floored by it- I couldn't get over how the church came together as a whole, whether they like or support the Queen or anything, and prayed over her and her role as a worldwide and national leader. How different could our country look if all of our churches boldly prayed for our President and national leaders in worship? If we prayed for their faith, that they would lead godly lives and lead in a godly way, the Spirit would move so powerfully through that. Awesome job, Hillsong. I am so impressed.
Best day EVER. Jubilee and the Queen and Hillsong. Nothing can top this!
Today, Monday, Amanda and I went to the British Museum to do our self-guided tour since classes are cancelled for the Bank Holidays this week. It was huge and full of awesome stuff, but I wasn't too thrilled about it, and we kind of hit the highlights. We got lunch (that wasn't good at all) at a new little place a street over from the house, stopped for some groceries, bought a collector's edition of The Daily Telegraph that has INCREDIBLE pictures from yesterday in it, and then came back to nap and do homework.
The Jubilee Concert is on tv on BBC now, and most of us have been watching it all night! We're off SUPER early tomorrow to try to get seats by the Buckingham Palace to see the parade go by with all the Royals more close up and personal! I'm so excited. Praying for better weather though!
I'm loving being here to experience London like this during all the hype of this jubilee. So good. Once in a lifetime experience, and I'm not taking any of it for granted!