In the afternoon, we headed off for Jessica Sloan's surprise birthday party! Sam and Gill got TONS of cake and ice cream, and 57 was decorated with balloons (shaped like crinkle fries!), streamers and posters. We quietly snuck out, and Jessica headed over later thinking she was meeting her cohort to work on their group project. The surprise was flawless and awesome.
Such a great party. The camaraderie was just fantastic. I remember looking around the party as we ate our Tesco cake and ice cream, thinking "I can't believe that a month ago I barely knew or cared about these girls. Now I know most of them very well, and I am good friends will all of them." We had inside jokes, great memories, positive influence and feelings of protection over one another.
One of the biggest things I learned from this study abroad was that I don't really know anything. I would say 80% of these girls wouldn't have received more than a passing glance, maybe a polite, friendly smile for me if we had passed on campus or had a class together. Even if they had been in my ward or my roommates, I would not have really tried to get to know them or develop a relationship with them. I make friends easily, so I tend to not seek them out. I don't exert myself to get to know people, especially if I make instantaneous judgments about their personality or character (which I do. All the time).
And you know what? Where have those prejudices got me? Sure, I've never really had any adverse consequences, but how much have I been missing out on? I'll never know. These girls are awesome. At least one element of personality, character or just plain coolness in each individual girl stood out to me. Usually more, but at least one thing, and I really feel I learned from all of those "one things." I lived and loved more in that two months than I did the entire year leading up to the trip. It's something I'm still learning from. I'm trying hard to be more open and loving, more accepting of other people and more friendly.
After the party we came back and worked on our crap, had dinner and hung out. Around 9:30 Anders came and picked us up to play "smurf"at 57. "Smurf" is a game where you choose one person to be "it." They leave the room and then everyone picks a verb to replace with "smurf." The "it" person comes back and asks questions about "smurfing" to determine what verb is behind "smurf." For example if you chose "brushing your teeth" for "smurf," the person could ask questions like "Do you smurf by yourself?" "Do you smurf every day?" etc, until they have a good idea of what it could be. The ensuing conversations are hilarious.
We played until about 12 and then Anders brought us home to get ready for our London trip!!!!! I could barely sleep I was so excited. Great day.