25 September 2013

Birthday in Birmingham City Centre

A group of YSA showed me around Brum's City Centre on my first real excursion out. It is quite the eclectic city with architecture ranging from the grand historical stone edifices to the ultra-modern space-age looking buildings. And often times they are right next to each other.

 A beautiful chapel...
...next to the Selfridge building, which is covered in thousands of metal discs...

Now, I obviously prefer the former over the latter, but it was cool to see how Brum is such a unique mix of the two. And it definitely contributes to a sense of a "We've been here awhile, and we're planning on sticking around for a good while longer."

I came across the Aston Villa FC Store... though I need to be careful about who sees me go in there. Apparently being a Villa fan in the heart of Birmingham is a dangerous business.

We had Sushi for lunch, and my mom would be proud of me for having a few pieces, though I will admit they were all vegetarian. It still counts though, right? Then we found some ping pong tables in the middle of the market square... and since a few of the YSA are slightly obsessed with table tennis (and carry around their own paddles), they decided to play for a good long time. At a few points we actually had a crowd gathered to watch, and I realized that this must've been Heavenly Father's way of answering my prayer from that morning... I had asked that we might be able to conduct ourselves in such a way that we might be a light and example to people, and that we would find a way to share the gospel or invite someone that day to Institute. (I had taught FHE the night before about member missionary work and how WE are the ones that need to find people for the missionaries to teach. I gave everyone a mormon.org pass along card and extended the invitation for everyone to take/create just ONE opportunity to give that pass along card away by the end of the week.) Well, after about an hour, a man named Ken came over and started to watch, and then asked if he could play. He ended up being better than any of the YSA, and we had a good time with him. As the game was drawing to a close, I decided we needed to give him a card and invite him to come play table tennis at the church before/after institute. But I didn't know the church address to write it down for him, so I asked Tina if she knew, and she said "I want to give him mine!" So she wrote down all the info on the back of the card, and then as he was getting ready to leave she gave it to him and invited him to come play with the YSA anytime, which he seemed quite pleased about. I don't know if Ken will show up tonight at institute, or if we'll ever see him again. But I was SO grateful that an opportunity presented itself, that we took it, and that we were all there together to witness just how easy it was! That might've been the best part of my entire birthday. :)

After we finished with ping pong, the group walked we to the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, where I have a meeting tomorrow for that art exhibition I'll be participating in. I was grateful they showed me how to get there because I would've been SO LOST trying to get there on my own tomorrow! And since we were there, we went inside for awhile and looked around. I LOVE museums. I LOVE art. It was a great addition to my day.

We then made our way to the new city library, which is a super funky building. For being a GINORMOUS building, it really doesn't have very many books, which I found a bit surprising. It'll be a great place to hang out or study when I need an escape from campus or home, though. And it has some balconies on the 5th and 7th floors with incredible views of the city!

We didn't leave the library til 7pm, so after that we decided to head home. Of course, we decided to make our route include a brief glimpse of the beautiful Birmingham canals to top off the day. :)

Yep... it's good to be me. And every day I'm finding more reasons to be so grateful that the Lord directed me here to Birmingham. Now let's just hope I survive my trip into the city tomorrow when I'm on my own!

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