Although I have visited several different countries I have never been to England.
My first trip out of the United States was to Israel, where I visited cousins with my family. My trip to Israel opened my eyes to the fact that people live very different lifestyles then I do. My Israeli cousins are Orthodox Jews, and therefore are extremely religious. I did not speak any Hebrew but luckily they took English at school so communicating with them was easier then it was to adjust to their practices. When we saw them I had to wear knee length skirts and shirts that covered most of my arms and they disliked the fact that I played cards with my cousin who was a boy. We were not allowed to do certain things on Saturday (Shabbat) and we were up until 2am participating in their extremely long Passover Sadar. Although their neighborhood was filled with stray cats their community was much more tight knit and exclusive then D.C. or even Capitol Hill.
On my way home from Israel we stopped for a week in France to visit my friend Ella, who had moved there with her family a few years earlier. We stayed with Ella and her family and I have not seen her since. In France, we saw many sites but unlike Israel, it was culturally similar to the States. Ironically when we go to England, Ella will be visiting DC for the first time in about six years.
Last night was the first night we attempted to Skype with the Sunderland kids. It was a bit of a fail but it was nice to kind of get to talk to them. That was not the first time we communicated with them. We are all friends on Facebook and have a huge group chat which sometimes becomes difficult to follow but is fun anyways. Chatting with them has made me even more excited about going. I’m most exited about meeting them and their friends in person, but I am also excited about seeing London and other sites.