Friday, June 6, 2014

A Visit from Flat Stanley

Dear Andrew and the rest of the Class at Dickenson Elementary,

Thanks so much for letting Flat Stanley come and stay with me in London. As you can tell, we had such a fun time that I had trouble convincing him to go back home to America! He is on his way back, and should arrive sometime next week along with the information sheet. But I thought I'd share some of the pictures he took here on my website while he's on his way!

Flat Stanley showed up and immediately needed to go shopping for some warm winter clothes. Our winter is probably a little colder than yours in Florida-- not as bad as winter up north in Wisconsin or Minnesota, but still cold with lots of wind and rain. We wear wooly jumpers (thick sweaters), and lots of coats and scarves here. But the last few weeks have been warmer, so he's been able to take off some of those layers.

These are some of the first pictures we took when he arrived. One of my favourite things about living in London is that I get to meet so many people from all over the world. These are some of my friends- one is from England, the other from Germany (and one of the children's Dad's is from Scotland).

These friends are from Mongolia....

... and Isabela is from Brazil!

Then I took Flat Stanley out with me. We went to Trafalgar Square, where you can see Nelsons Column, and, way in the background, Big Ben. Its also the home of the National Portrait Gallery, where you can see lots of famous paintings by people like Vincent Van Gogh, and Edgar Degas.


For some reason, there's also a very large blue chicken at Trafalgar Square. Its some kind of art that I think is rather silly, but Flat Stanley insisted on getting a picture with it!

Then I took Flat Stanley to church with me. He tried to get up and preach, but I told him that is my pastor's job!

I took Flat Stanley to Covent Garden.... it used to be an old market, famous for its shops and some of the street performers (See if Ms Duncan knows about Punch & Judy- some old fashioned puppets that came from Covent Garden)!

This is Westminster Abbey- one of the most famous churches in the world! Do you know Prince William and Princess Kate (Middleton)? Their wedding was in this church! Its SOOOO big and beautiful!

And of course, Stanley wanted to get a picture with one of London's double decker busses. We rode these lots while he was here! My favourite way to get around London is to get in the front seat of one of these! You see above the cars, look down at the people on the sidewalk, and get to watch everything go by as you bus past London's busy streets! There's always SO much going on in London, sometimes its just nice to sit back and watch. Do you know the phrase "people-watching"? It's really fun! I told Flat Stanley about a game I play, where I see someone, and I make up a story about them... guessing where they come from, where they are going, why they are in London, and trying to figure out as much as I can about them just by looking! Its a fun game (though people are always full of surprises!) You should try it sometime- even just the next time you're at the mall!

Then, since my family was visiting, Flat Stanley came with us on a quick trip to Paris! We can take the train (the Eurostar) through England, through the English Channel- in something called the Chunnel (the Channel Tunnel), and through France to Paris. The trip only takes about 2 hours! That's quicker than you could drive to Miami! Can you believe it?! Flat Stanley loved Paris- though there are always LOTS of tourists!

This is the Notre Dame- a famous Catholic Cathedral. There's a Disney movie called The Hunchback of Notre Dame that is set here. I don't think its a true story- but it's cool to think about the people who have lived near this church for such a long time!

And this is the Louvre Museum. Do you know the painting called Mona Lisa (its the lady with black hair and a funny smile)? That painting lives in this museum! We didn't go in, as its quite expensive and very crowded, but we can say we saw it! (Flat Stanley is in the picture with my sister-in-law, Emily, who came to visit recently!)

And of course, we had to see the Eiffel Tower while we were in Paris! Its SO pretty when they light it up at night. In an earlier blog post, I took a video of it sparkling at night, but we couldn't take a night picture or else you wouldn't see Flat Stanley! But it was so fun to walk around and look up at it. The Eiffel Tower was originally built for the World Fair in 1889 (over 100 years ago). It was only supposed to be up for the fair and then taken down, but they realised it would help with radio signal- which had just been invented, so they left it up! (Remember, back then, electricity and telephones were still new, there was no television, and definitely no computers or internet!)

Of course, then we had to take one more picture back in London- with the famous Big Ben! Its kind of far away, making Flat Stanley look like a giant, but you can look through some of my older pictures to see more of London!

Stanley had so much fun looking around, he forgot to take pictures everywhere we went! But he travelled a ton, and said he'd love to come back to visit! Maybe some of you can come visit me someday too- I'd love that!

Well, I hope you have a great rest of the year at school- you're almost done, aren't you?! Kids here in England have longer Christmas and Spring Breaks, but they have school all the way through July and only get August off for summer break. Crazy, right?! But you get done in just a couple weeks, so Flat Stanley knew he had to get back. Thanks for letting him come visit me! We had a great time!