Monday, May 10, 2010

My London Adventure: Day 18

Into the abyss
I dive, headfirst
Reeling at the speed of light
Can't control it
I fall forever into the black hole that sucks
Me in
Matter, black matter
Closes in around me, surrounds me
Suffocating, I push and reel
And jerk, gasp for breath
And inhale
Smoke; matter.
I don't understand where I'm going
What's happening
I can't see anything
I'm dying in the awful pit
Suspended in a corner of the universe
Unseen by man
How will I survive this?
Maybe I won't.
Desperately I grope
And reach
A wall
I feel it, cold beneath my soft hands
Struggle, push, it does not budge
Somewhere I know there has to be a door
With a light behind its panes
There has to be.
Matter, black matter
Closes in around me, surrounds me
I don't understand what's happening
But somewhere I know
There has to be a door...

I just haven't found it yet.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

My London Adventure: Days 16 & 17

Yesterday Sarah & I went to St. Paul's Cathedral, and it was absolutely spectacular. We were going to go earlier, but we missed our alarms & didn't get out till a few hours later than we anticipated. But it worked out extraordinarily well. We walked in right as a wedding was about to start! And of course, hopeless romantics that we are, Sarah & I had to stay & watch the whole thing. It was absolutely magical. We, random creepers (and when I say that I mean not only me and Sarah, but all of the rest of the crowd that was gathered) watched the bride walk in with her father & they went into the temple area which was roped off to the tourists. And Sarah & I kind of wandered off during the long speeches that we couldn't hear & we admired the splendid architecture, but we made sure we were back for the ring ceremony & vows & kiss. (:
It really was something out of a movie. Except it wasn't. It was real. And it made me so happy, you don't even know!
And I asked the stewardess how often people got married there & she replied that it was extremely rare. You have to be like noble blood or something to get that opportunity.
And after the magic dissipated, sarah & I climbed up to the very top of the dome & got great pictures of London. (:
That was yesterday's excitement.

And today I went with about 4 other people to the London North Branch for church. It took us two hours to get there, but the building was a super tiny phase 1 with cute rolling pews in the cultural hall. And I was enlisted to help with nursery for the upcoming weeks--I'm so excited! (:
But for this week I got to go to Sunday School & that was good. Even better though was Relief Society. (: For the first little bit I got distracted by this adorable little baby girl whose mother was sitting right behind me. And I played with her a little & she seemed fascinated by the little flashlight I got from Kew Gardens. I kept flicking it on & off, hoping she would see how to do it, but she never quite caught on. She was itty-bitty. (:
And then I started paying attention to the lesson, and it was brilliant! On the Holy Ghost. And this woman from South Africa bore her testimony of her conversion story & how she was from a Muslim family who completely disowned her after she decided to be baptized. But her faith and strength was so strong. She said, "I knew it was truth, so I left, and never looked back."
She really has a faith and patience & understanding that so many desire, but can't seem to grasp. It was beautiful, and I'm really not doing her justice. But take my word. She is beautiful. I love the little units. The people in them are so diverse and strong. Their faith is astounding and I feel their sincerity so profoundly when I'm with them, it's such a great example to me.

Friday, May 7, 2010

My London Adventure: Day 15

Kew Gardens today! (:
I Absolutely loved it in there! (: (: (:
It Almost rivals Central Park as my favorite place in the world. But Not quite. Actually there's a bit of a gap. But it's still wonderful, and there are greenhouses & fun trees & ponds & a cottage & two towers! (an asian looking one & Rapunzel's tower) & there were benches all over the place & in glades & little tree-gazebo things.
So pretty. And there were fish & all sorts of birds! (we profiled everyone we knew by them, until both of our camera batteries died & we couldn't take anymore pics. You'll see.)
And we ran into Sarah's brother Seth while we were there! Look at Sarah's pics when she gets them up, and you'll see what I'm talking about there as well.

Then I found a post office & sent postcards to Alice Lillywhite and my missionary in the Netherlands. (:
(finding post offices is much harder here than in America. They're not marked clearly & there are a lot fewer of them)

then Sarah & I came back & Youtubed "She's the Man" --Yet Another rendition of "Twelfth Night"
and then we went to a YSA dance here at the Hyde Park Chapel & we danced with cute British boys & it was way fun! (:

Well g'night all. ♥

Thursday, May 6, 2010

My London Adventure: Day 14

Today we went to Buckingham Palace & saw the changing of the guard! Chaos and befuddlement surrounded us as we snaked in through the crowd of cut-throat hyenas fighting for the last leg of meat--er I mean a picture of the red-breasted guys with foofy heads.
Anticipation mounted as we waited for the moment of the change. None of us knew what would happen, we just pressed and weaved, hoping to be in the right place at the right time. Idk what to say for the others, but that didn't happen for me. Somehow in the midst of the commotion I became separated from my group and left to fend for myself among the wild beasts! I thought of looking for my friends, but soon gave up that idea when I realized how impossible it would be to find them in the mess around me.
The actual change seemed to me just two parades of wicked awesome guard marching band madness. Seriously, the sound of their band was Superb! And they played not only the national anthem (Britain's), alma mater, and Entry of the Gladiators (jk on that last one), but a whole bunch of other really good music (memorized of course). and they played it all quite masterfully--except the lead trumpet cracked a few times, lol. They had a rockin' brass choir, but I especially loved when the woodwinds were featured! The piccolo was great too. (:
Halfway through i gave up on pictures and just let myself enjoy the music.

Then we made our way to the Tricycle theatre to see the most bizarre rendition of Twelfth Night I've ever heard of. They sent pizza out through the audience & had us throw velcro balls at their heads & at one point my Professor jumped from the second-level balcony and started dancing with them on stage! & Viola had this ridiculous fetish with this pair of socks she shoved in her pants& grabbed them frequently & they rocked out to random music (the actors not the socks) very auspiciously (i don't actually know what that word means, but felt like it sounded good there--and just told me that's an incorrect use of that word, but I feel inclined to let it stay.)
Anyway, that wasn't even the half of it. the rest i think was that company's attempt at "theatre of cruelty," which attempt was embodied solely in the character of Malvolio. During his ridiculous speech he ripped off his shirt to reveal a very attractive beer gut and started headbanging raucously. That was disturbing enough, let me tell you. Let's see if you can imagine our response when he decided that ripping his shirt off wasn't enough and he went for his PANTS!
(No, darling, we don't wear pants in here. [that's what leggings are for!])
Thus he remained for the duration of the show--clad in yellow booty shorts and thigh-high golden socks.

After that smashing rendition of the show, Sarah & I found ourselves on Kilburn High Toad *cough* I mean Road--lol! And realized we were standing in the middle of one of London's many shopping districts! We found tons of cute stuff for way cheap, but vowed that we could look, but we wouldn't buy anything we weren't absolutely in Love with. Thus, Sarah walked away with nothing, and I walked away wearing a flowy green cardigan thing and Lime Green High Heels. YES! (:
And on the way out I found a way cute dress that was more expensive than I'd have liked it to be--but it wasn't outrageous And it matched my already acquired items so impeccably well that I simply couldn't leave without it!
(ps. I look lovely in green--and to think, I never even knew!)

So yes, Sarah and I came home quite pleased and we found a more traditional version of Twelfth Night on Youtube and decided to watch it together. And i tell you, that film was So well done! They played on So many intricate subtleties, and added details and symbolism--and the way they portrayed it really helped us understand even more thoroughly All that was going on. (it's the version where Bellatrix plays Olivia) So yeah, that was basically amazing. And the fool was soo cool in that one (:

Oh! And Falafel is The BEST stuff ever.

Yes. Another great day in London.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My London Adventure: Days 12 & 13

Why is life so splendidly delightful? And Heavenly Father so dear and wonderful?

Yesterday (Day 12: 4-5-10) was filled with anxiety over my paper, but nonetheless good. We saw the London Museum and the Banqueting House and both were fascinating and beautiful, in their own respects.

Today (Day 13: 5-5-10) my group performed the scene from All My Sons we've been working on, and I feel that it went very well! I enjoyed the script-arranging process immensely and I had a wonderful group to work with. It was good to perform too--even something as simple as that! It's been so long since I've performed for an audience & I'm missing it ridiculously a lot.

And after class I found that my charger had come in the mail, so I didn't have to barricade myself in the computer lab to write my paper after all! And I got that done & went to an organ recital especially for the Hyde Park LDS Relief Society (&friends) in London's Temple Church. The recital was brilliant--pipe organs and their music absolutely fascinate me. I don't know much about how they work or anything, but I love all the different sounds that they make! I realized as the organist was talking about the organ's history that the phrase "pulling out all the stops" probably came from organs. It makes sense at least.

Anyway, the church was beautiful, and the Temple Master's little talk on the history of the Knights Templar and the church was fascinating. I'm not sure if he's just like that, or if it was because he was in front of an LDS audience or what, but he seemed ridiculously nervous as he was talking up in front of us. But he was clever & funny & his presentation was very well done.

On the way home I took so many pictures of the quaint archways and rustic courtyards and architecture i passed. I had a strong desire to become a photographer & have a really good camera & know how to capture the images just right. But even though my camera was lame & some images turned out blurry I still had a good time! And it made the ones that turned out really well, even more special.

I wrote in my journal on the Tube-ride home, and at my stop decided I wasn't ready to go home yet, so I stayed on the Circle Line and looped around again just writing & thinking & pondering and people watching. It was quite pleasant. I love how life always works out. No matter what small inconveniences pop up, or hardships come our way, it always works out in the end. Heavenly Father takes care of us.
We have to beware of getting all wrapped up in those little inconveniences like chargers melting and papers looming and wallets getting stolen (my friend's did the first day here) etc, because, really none of it matters. And if we let it matter then we miss out on all sorts of delightful experiences & happy expressions.

Monday, May 3, 2010

My London Adventure: Day 11

Class. (really good--we discussed Macbeth & 12th Night, and in Roger's Andrea spoke to us on acting, Christian on directing, and a couple others talked on the language of design and dramaturgy--Loved it!)
And then I worked for a couple hours with my performing group for Roger's class. I think our thing will be pretty rockin' (:
Then Sarah & I explored around Hyde Park while trying to speak in British accents. It was pretty great.
And we went to Picadily Circus, which is basically like NYC's Times Square. It's pretty amazing. And we had dinner in a little cafe and I left her to study and went with a couple other friends to see 39 Steps--and it was "So Good." That's all we could say about it because it was simply that. Sooooo good.
The actors were amazing--four cast members played zillions of parts, it was quaint and just all-around entertaining. And not dumb humor either. Very witty, very clever--every single aspect about it.
And the three of us went to this little foreign sort of food place--i want to say Tai, but it definitely wasn't that--and I got a pastry while they got a small dish.
And it was just an all-around pleasant day! (:
And I do Not want to write my paper tomorrow. Lol, but what's new?
later gators.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

My London Adventure: Day 10: Hyde Park Chapel Ward

Today we went to church and the kind people of the ward at Hyde Park Chapel accommodated both study abroad groups in their small chapel building. We probably tripled their usual attendance. It was a nice sacrament meeting, and then, for Sunday School the stake president came and talked to us about our study abroad experience and making the most of it from a spiritual perspective.
In Relief Society we were welcomed in and had a lesson on "The Blessings of the Temple" by a the RS president (who is German!). It was a good lesson, and then the testimonies afterwards were wonderful. There are a lot of strong members here, even the relatively new ones have to be strong. It's such a diverse place--there are so many different backgrounds and people to learn from!

Later in the evening we were fortunate enough to attend a YSA devotional with some area 70 members there. Sister Donaldson gave a really good talk on the Spirit and her husband (they both were from Liverpool and had British accents!) gave us a strong warning on the evils of pornography to our generation. He said some really good things which I wrote down on a blank page of my Shakespeare Comedy book (because i didn't bring my notebook).
A few quotes I wrote down:
"Perilous times Have come."
"Disciples of Jesus Christ have discipline."
"You need to learn the disciplines of morality now, on your side of marriage, so you can learn to be considerate of your companion once you get to my side of marriage."
"When you love somebody, there's no place for lust."
Elder and Sister Snow also gave a couple good talks.

As these people spoke to us and told us of their experiences today I felt a great outpouring of the spirit. In RS one woman told of her experiences in Kenya with people who, even if they saved up their whole lives, would never have enough money to attend the temple which was thousands of miles away. And in S.S. the stake president talked about the Filipino members/mothers who work menial jobs and send their money back to their children in the Philippines so they can get an education and have a better future. Like New York their were many converts from at least a dozen nationalities, but one thing we shared in common--our testimony of Jesus Christ and His restored gospel.

I received another witness today of how precious the children of God are in all nations, lands and tongues. From a young age I have been blessed with a strong testimony of my Savior. I have been so blessed with many opportunities to learn and grow, and I want to be an instrument in helping them to grow as well. I want to share with them the joy I know. I want them to be strong. I want them to hold on to the gospel amidst trial and persecution. I love them. Even though I don't even know them, I love them, because I know they are my brothers and sisters. We are all children of God. We're all working together to build His kingdom, and we will succeed!

Hope. There is hope and purpose for us in this world.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

My London Adventure: Days 8 & 9

Day 8: Friday 4-30-10: Little Sleep

So the night before yesterday I pulled an all-nighter trying to get my reading done and crashed around 5:30 and was woken up around 9 by Sarah, just in time for class, through which I completely was falling asleep the entire time. I came back and slept until 5 when Sarah & I went & bought PB&J makings and ran back to pack a dinner, and then ran to the tube to get to the show 11&12. It was good, but lack of sleep and other factors made the show hard for me to follow.

I slept very well last night however, and woke up around 10 on

Day 9: 5-1-10: Macbeth.

We left soon after that for our Shakespeare Walk. That was fun! We saw St. Paul's Cathedral and London Bridge and all sorts of things!
Then we had some time at Borough Market for lunch before Macbeth in Shakespeare's Globe!
It was an incredible performance!
Very bloody, Lady Macbeth & her husband's relationship was very sexual, lol (but not too explicit, so that was good). And the way the actress played her sort of disappointed me. She made her very human--weak. I guess I prefer the ruthless, authoritative, seductive, I'm-gonna-rip-your-guts-out-if-you don't-do-this, steal-the-stage kind of actress for her part. Which is exactly what this girl wasn't. But it's okay. It was still a brilliant performance. And all the murders and fights looked so real--and I love how they utilized all the space around them!
And sooo much Blood! It was everywhere, and looked extremely real.
Oh and probably my favorite bit--I and most of my friends watched this show as groundlings which means we got to stand in "the yard" for the entire duration of the show. But this was the BEST production of All productions to be a groundling for because we got to go to Hell!
Seriously! And not just any Hell, but the Lowest circle of Hell.
If you know anything about Dante's Inferno, you know that that is the bit where there are people completely frozen, except for their heads sticking out. And that's what we were in this show. There was this black membrane and we stood under it and poked our heads through to watch the epically amazing production of Macbeth.
Even more epic--it started raining and hailing during the final stand-off between Macbeth and Macduff! It was the perfect timing! and we all got drenched (this is like the Only theatre that that could even happen!) but it was so Worth it!
All epic scenes happen in the rain, and this was no exception. And as Macduff came up the stairs triumphantly calling out "Hail! Hail!" There was an added irony, because we all were at that moment being pelted and it was Grrrrr-eat!
And Malcolm gave his final victory speech in the pouring rain and his arms were outstretched and it was sooo fulfilling!
And the porter was hilarious. And the witches freaking creepy. They kept crawling in and out and around all of us who were in the Yard. I loved it! (But I admit I was paranoid! They stole some guy's wallet & pulled it out onstage and pointed at him & laughed evilly.)
Oh! & sarah got splashed with the porter's urine! he singled her out because she hid & he messed with her for a bit! That was great.

I really felt a connection with the actors in this production. We always talk about the actors and audience working together to create a mutual experience, but that's a rare success. But in this show I felt it! Between the actors constantly coming through the yard and the rest of the theatre, and the "hell membrane" and our "inside joke" and mutual experience we had with the rain and hail, and all of it, I really felt a part of the show rather than just a spectator.
I'm not sure if I would have felt that way if I'd been in the seats, but this really was the best theatre experience I've ever had as a spectator! It was insanely amazing.
And we were able to go to a talk-back session with Lady Macbeth and the Porter, which was cool. She was alright and some of the stuff she said was interesting, but I really loved the Porter! it was good to see him not ridiculously disgusting.

Anyway yes. That was my day. And soaking wet, Sarah & I found a Starbucks & got hot chocolate & cake! then, still being pelted on with rain & hail we made our way to the tube (in the process discovering that in London a subway is Not a train, but literally a "way" underneath a street. A sub-way. And so we finally found an Underground station and rode back home. And a couple of Brits asked us how to get to a certain stop. And we laughed.
Two Brits asked to American girls who've been in London a total of 4 days how to use Their Metro system.
And we actually were able to help them out! They would have gotten lost without us, lol.
That's right, we rock London, baby!

over and out.