Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Cheerio London!

Well I'm home! And I'm homesick. For London. What an amazing place it was, and I fell so in love with it. I loved everything about it! I loved exploring and finding new things and having "London Moments" as my teacher, Jane England would say. 
My last few nights in London I just walked. That's all I did. One day I walked around Kensington and Nottinghill. Sometimes I had no idea where I was, but I just kept walking. 
You know you could live places when people (tourists and locals) ask you if you know where somewhere is or which bus to take or how to get to this line of the underground, and you can answer all of them. That happened to me eleven times my last week in London. 

My favorite place to walk in London is across the Hungerford bridge. You can see the national and St. Paul's and the ferry boats and there's always this saxaphonist with a pink sax playing jazzy tunes while you walk across. There's always a slight breeze that picks up and people walking across, talking about everything and anything. Every time I walk across the Hungerford bridge, I feel like I'm having a Sabrina moment. You know, in the movie, Sabrina, (the one with Harrison Ford) where Julia Ormond is seen walking around Paris, discovering herself, and talking about it in her mind? That's what I feel like. I
Sometimes life IS made of movie moments.

The view from Hungerford Bridge. The blue building is the National Theater. St. Paul's is almost all the way to the left.

Now that I'm home, People keep asking me how my trip was.
They keep asking if I had a good time.
I had the time of my life.
They ask if I had a good experience.
Like none I've ever had before.
They What I learned. 
I learned that Professional Theater outside of NYC is a lot more accessible than we think.
And they ask what's next on my plate.
I. Don't. Know.

It feels good to be home, of course. Coco and I have been playing a lot. We go on walks every morning.
I came home to my Flower Garden Completely run over with weeds. So my first day back I tore that all out, and replanted beautiful new flowers. I'll be sure to take pics. I got my hair cut, saw my sister's new house, took Kaniela to the park, and am now working on helping my mom get the garden in the backyard put in. I've been trying to decide what kinds of flowers to plant in my garden, and I've decided I'm going to plant a Shakespeare Garden complete with a fairy section for Midsummer Night's Dream. I'm actually really excited to work on it with my mom. 
I will keep posting on my summer projects, because I have PLENTY coming up!
Goodbye London!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Whimsical and Enchanting

Took a walk with some friends in the park. And found a carousel. Now, I am obsessed with all things whimsical and enchanting! I love the idea of the carnival rides. So bright! So fast! So fun! 
When I found this carousel at Kensington Gardens, you'd think I had won the lottery, I was so excited.
 So of course I grabbed my camera and went to town. And here's my favorites. I know there's a lot, but I just love carousels and this was one of the prettiest I'd ever seen!

 And of course I had to take a ride on it! I mean, come on! What's the point of having a carousel if you're not going to ride it!?

 And of course I had to ride it in my amazing fascinator by Sabrina Said at Her Curious Nature. I think it's my favorite thing I bought in London.

And if carousels aren't your thing, how bout this cute puppy that followed me everywhere, dragging that poor little girl behind him around?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Queen's Birthday

Saturday morning we woke up and made our way to Buckingham palace for the Trooping the Colours.
Here is a Wikipedia explanation for this event.
Trooping the Colour is a ceremony performed by regiments of the British and the Commonwealth armies. It has been a tradition of British infantry regiments since the 17th century, although the roots go back much earlier. On battlefields, a regiment's colours, or flags, were used as rallying points. Consequently, regiments would have their ensigns slowly march with their colours between the soldiers' ranks to enable soldiers to recognise their regiments' colours.
Since 1748 Trooping the Colour has also marked the official birthday of the British Sovereign.[1] It is held in London annually on the second Saturday in June[2] on Horse Guards Parade by St. James's Park, and coincides with the publication of the Birthday Honours List. Among the audience are the Royal Family, invited guests, ticketholders and the general public. The colourful ceremony, also known as "The Queen's Birthday Parade", is broadcast live by the BBC.
The Queen travels down the Mall from Buckingham Palace in a Royal Procession with a Sovereign's Escort of Household Cavalry (also known as "Mounted Troops" or "Horse Guards"). After receiving a Royal Salute, she inspects her troops of theHousehold Division, both Foot Guards and Horse Guards. The King's Troop are also in attendance. Each year, one of the Foot Guards regiments is selected to troop their colour through the ranks of guards. Then the entire assembly of Household Divisionconducts a March Past around the Parade past the Queen, who receives their salute from the Saluting Base. (The Mounted Troops perform a Walk March and a Trot Past, and the King's Troop rank by with their guns, which are their colour.)

Anyway, There were thousands of people there, but it was amazing to see. I climbed to the top of a wall to try to get some pics, which the above came from. I saw the queen, who looked adorable and then I saw Camilla and Kate middleton. They were quite far away, but it was so much fun to go to and cool that I got to see the queen. The weather was on and off, but parades are just so much fun. It made me SO EXCITED for fourth of July, which is my favorite holiday. 

Portobello Road. Street where the riches of ages are stowed.

Portobello road, Portobello road
Street where the riches of ages are stowed.
Anything and everything a chap can unload
Is sold off the barrow in Portobello road.
You’ll find what you want in the Portobello road.

Rare alabaster? Genuine plaster!
A filigreed samovar owned by the czars.
A pen used by Shelley? A new Boticelli?
The snipper that clipped old King Edward’s cigars?

Waterford Crystals? Napoleon’s pistols?
Society heirlooms with genuine gems!
Rembrandts! El Greco’s! Toulouse-Letrec’os!
Painted last week on the banks of the Thames!

Bedknob and Broomsticks anyone?!

Yeah, so Portobello road is pretty magical. Tons of vendors selling tons of stuff! There's foods of all kind! Jewelery! Lace! Clocks! Silver! Old Vinyls! Purses! Shoes! Leather work! Furs! The song wasn't kidding! The sights and sounds and colors and the hundreds of people! 
Eating red velvet cupcakes from Hummingbird Bakery

There are treasures and antiques everywhere! It's quite amazing really! They have something for everyone! 
Looking Down Portobello Road with the crowd

Seriously. They have everything.

Iris and I spent tons of time sifting through racks of hats and scarves and skirts Oh my.

I bought veggies from the market and went home an cooked a great veggie pasta dinner!

The food vendors have tons of people lined up to feed. I got a giant Bratwurst with sauerkraut and mustard. The best I've had since I lived in Germany. 

Strange model for such an outfit, but to each his own.

Such a magical colorful place it is!

 Cute cat.  Candace, I took this pic for you. :)
Portobello road is one place I really am going to miss when I leave. The whole neighborhood of Notting Hill is great and magical. Little shops and interesting people! 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Matt comes to Visit!

I admit, after Stratford, I felt like it was time to pack up and come home. It seemed like the climax of the trip. But we still had 3 plays to see, a few weeks of class, and I was expecting a visitor! Matt and I met at Snow College doing Ascension, which was a show choir. Matt has been doing a internship with an international business in Brussels and decided to come up to London for 2 days and hang out with me. 

I met Matt at 6 am at Victoria Coach Station and brought him back to my flat where I made us a glorious breakfast of steak & eggs and he provided Belgian Waffles with Speculoos. It was quite the feast.
We joined my school group for a tour of the national gallery.
Matt And I in Trafalgar Square in front of the National Gallery

We of course had to climb on the lions, which I kept calling Aslan.

 We had a little trouble getting little Mary up there. She's so short!
Us Girls with Aslan

 After That, a bunch of us took Matt to Burrough Market for Lunch! After that Matt and I left the group and made our way over to the globe to see if we could get tickets for whatever production was playing that night. We couldn't, BUT while Matt was in the bathroom, I ran into, and then introduced myself to Stanley Tucci. Which was amazing. No I don't have a picture, I don't like to be intrusive, and he was there with his family. But I told him what a great artist I thought he was and he shook my hand.

Since we couldn't get tickets to the Globe, we went and got tickets to Woman in black. It was my second time seeing it and Matt's first. I LOVE THAT SHOW and I want SOOOO BAD to direct it at heritage theater. Maybe someday? I hope. Anyway.
Had to get a pic of this, for my brother Russell who is very great.

Sunday, after attending church, we went to 221 B Baker Street to see the Sherlock Holmes Museum which was kinda cool. I bought Russell a Sherlock holmes hat (Russell collects hats from other countries and I felt that a detective hat was appropriate for his hat from England.)

Oh there's that divine Speculoos! MMMMMmmmmmmmmmm!

We got Fish & Chips from Poppy's at Spitalfield Market. Best F&C I've gotten while I've been here. Their cod is incredible! It's so good, because it's run and cooked by fishermen.

I was sad to see Matt go back to Brussels, but it felt good to be with someone that really knew me and had known me before this trip. Probably the hardest thing about this trip is being surrounded by people constantly and still feeling a little lonely, because no one really knows you. Don't worry, those moments are very fleeting and i'm over them, but they happen. So I was happy to have Matt for two days!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Morning in Stratford

And wakes the morning, from whose silver breast
The sun ariseth in his majesty;                  
  Who doth the world so gloriously behold,
  That cedar-tops and hills seem burnish'd gold.
William Shakespeare
Venus & Adonis

Our last morning in Stratford, I woke up around 5 am, left my roommates sleeping so soundly, and took a walk along the Avon river, staring at Holy trinity church and made my way over to the bridge by the RSC theater. 
One thing I inherited from my mother was love of that early morning. Not that I like to awake in the morning, but there's something about being outside in the early morning, it's quiet, no one else is up. The world belongs to you. I felt like that morning, Stratford belonged to me. 

I watched the sky turn from a blue dusk to a rosey orange

 I was in love with how the RSC theater looked in the purple sky, reflecting on the almost still river. I felt like I was spending the morning with the theater.

Slowly, the sun started to peek through. Watching the sunrise is such a breathtaking thing. It was one of the only things I liked about doing the paper route, every now and then you'd get to see the sunrise. But it never compared to this. I think one thing that made a huge difference was:
 Location, Location, Location.

And every now and then the photography gods smile on you.

It amazed me to see this city and river so quiet and still. Especially since the day before the park and streets were filled with thousands of people and the river filled with hundreds of ducks, swans, and boats.

 And further more, it was beautiful to watch the ducks wake up as the sun did.

The water was so glassy and beautiful, I was amazed at still a river could be. I'm so used to rivers in the rocky mountains that have rapids and are rushing and filled with runoff. In Utah they tell you to stay out of the rivers till the snow is melted because you could get swept off your feet. But this? This was just so peaceful and beautiful!

I was going to be so sad to leave such a beautiful place, and as amazing as London is...It is nothing to Stratford. I wish I could have given Stratford a big hug and say thank you for the beautiful trip. 

Taken with Holga
Fujifilm Fujicolor Pro 400H Color Negative Film ISO 400, 120mm
From fairest creatures we desire increase,
That thereby beauty's rose might never die,
But as the riper should by time decease,
His tender heir might bear his memory:
But thou, contracted to thine own bright eyes,
Feed'st thy light's flame with self-substantial fuel,
Making a famine where abundance lies,
Thyself thy foe, to thy sweet self too cruel.
Thou that art now the world's fresh ornament
And only herald to the gaudy spring,
Within thine own bud buriest thy content
And, tender churl, makest waste in niggarding.
    Pity the world, or else this glutton be,
    To eat the world's due, by the grave and thee.
-William Shakespeare-
Sonnet 1

Home of the Bard Part Deux!

The next day we woke up and had an amazing full English breakfast made by Lyn and Emmet at the Royalyn Guest house B&B we stayed at. Eggs, Roasted Tomatoes, Baked Beans, Sausage, Ham, Mushrooms, Toast, Hot Chocolate, Marmalade, Marmite, and all we could eat! After rolling ourselves out of the dining rooms we all met the group and took a 20 minute walk through one of the most quaint and beautiful places I've ever been in my life. We ended up at the Hathaway cottage. (The home of Anne Hathaway, Shakespeare's wife.) 

 Doesn't it look like something from Disneyland? It stayed in the family for centuries until the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust bought it to conserve it. It still has original pieces of furniture, flooring, and the grounds are still a gorgeous garden.
My favorite part of course was the gardens, full of statues and tributes to Shakespeare's plays.

I took some time out of our tour and visit to sit in the grounds and read some sonnets.

I'm so grateful to be here with such an amazing group of students that I have become such great friends with. It has been such a great time! this is the one group shot we got. And it's quite epic!

After that we headed back to town, saw Hall's Croft (the house of Shakespeare's daughter and son-in-law Dr. John Hall) Then we were set loose on the town. I found a place to sit on the bridge over the Avon, watching people in the boats and barges, the swans searching for stray pieces of bread, listened to someone playing the spanish guitar, and ate my fish & chips. I love moments like that.

I found my way up in the tower of the RSC theater, where you can see all over Warwickshire County. It is also the home of J.R.R. Tolkien and if you look out into the hills and fields, it looks just like the shire. 

Someday...I'll work here. And get paychecks with that logo on it. 
I then had some Indian food, met up with the group, and saw the most phenomenal production of Macbeth I've ever been privileged to see. I am constantly in awe of the quality of theater I have been blessed to see. I've only seen one production where I was disappointed. 

After the show I made my way outside, Looking over the avon, and was just in awe that I'm here experiencing these things, and said a prayer of thanks. (I find myself doing that a lot lately.) I knew I'd be sad to leave Stratford.