Sunday, May 25, 2008

Looking in Awe and Lacking Grace in London

Hello everyone!!!


Another week has flown by!! I have reached (sadly) the mid-point of the study abroad. I have three more weeks to go and am still so excited to be here and can hardly believe all of the things I've been learning here these past three weeks. Life long lessons, like the lesson I talk about below about grocery shopping at Sainsbury's and the importance of thicker bags. I have learned the lesson of never working the temperature taps while in the shower of an older building. Or how about the life lesson about the discipline about always keeping camera in an water resisting container. Camera meets water...death soon shall follow.


The moral of that story is really "HOORAY FOR FATHER!!!"

Thank you dad so much for mailing me your old Camera!! I can now just have my old camera fixed back in SLC and save much much pounds! The camera arrived last friday and I now will be taking ridiculously annoying "rub it in your face" type photo's again!!

Okay---Time for the week's recap!

MONDAY: I got some things organized, I went Grocery shopping and realized the thickness or lack there of with the bags. That night our group went to a platform (basically a lecture/discussion) with Michael Frayn. THAT'S RIGHT MICHAEL FRAYN! Most of you would probably recognized the name, he was the playwright of many farce plays including 'NOISES OFF'. He told some really funny stories, mostly referring to his new book he wrote. Katherine and I pretended to laugh at his intelligent sophisticated comments we knew nothing about. But in truth we really enjoyed ourselves. For those of you who were impressed with the Michael Frayn bit, our program director knew Neil LaButte (fantastic playwright, author of Fat Pig and The Shape of Things)in his day and convinced him to come and talk to us @ our Contemporary Plays class, so that should occur soon...jealous much?

TUESDAY: In class we discussed Merchant of Venice. We're seeing Merchant of Venice and Taming of the Shrew in Stratford-upon-avon this week. Afterwards I went to the National History Museum with Katy Wroble and others. We giggled and acted less than our age in the 'Human Biology' exhibit, where we found out where babies came from and what happens to each of us as we mature. I loved 'the vault' where I saw some precious gems throughout history, including...shoot I forget the name now..'Cape of Africa', 'Heart of Africa' something like that. I also saw a Amethyst gem, said to be cursed: "Much grief, tears, and blood is slashed across the history of the stone"

That was a quote from the bestower of the gem to the museum...huh..sounds like a great wedding present. Through the museum I remembered how much I hate monkeys, how much more recycling we as a people could do in our gardens, AND why my memory is so weird at remembering pointless information, and not my times tables.

WEDNESDAY: For those of you who didn't hate me enough for seeing Dame Judi Dench...um...Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson were at the National Theatre filming a part in their new movie. So yeah...they were there! HA HA!

THURSDAY: Class! We talked about Taming of the Shrew. Man I love that play. I love Katherine. I love the discussions we have as well, I am so pumped for my Shakespeare class this coming fall. Petruchio sounds really sexy too, I want one. Thursday night, though I must share that we went to the 'Maple Leaf Bar'. Which was a total Canadian tribute bar!! Of course I didn't drink, but I tutored my friends on the blessed ambrosia that is Poutine (french fries, cheese and gravy) and delighted at the title of 'Kraft Dinner' for the Mac and cheese! Was disappointed however that they didn't give me a discount, but at least I found a place I could wait tables. NOT ONE OF THEM was Canadian! There was one guy who sheepishly stated..."I lived there for a year..."
Barf.

FRIDAY: This was a packed day! We met with Tim early that morning for our tour of Westminster Abbey! SO BEAUTIFUL! We saw the casket/tomb of so many influential figures. I also learned a lot about the symbols...like what it means if the "kneelers" are holding a skull or not, what it means if legs are crossed, or not that kind of thing. So many important people! Edward I (Longshanks, who actually requested at his death to have the lid of his casket be easy to open, so that if ever England went to war again with Scotland, his bones could be carried on to fight!) Among him was many! Elizabeth I, along with her sister Mary. The bones & ashes of the murdered princes buried under the stairs at the Tower of London. Bloody Mary across from her, entombed slightly higher (ha ha). William the Conqueror, Williamforce, Rudyard Kipling, D.H. Lawrence, Charles Dickens, actress Dame Sybil Thorndike, Ann Bracegirldle, Aphra Behn, Richard II, Henry VII his wife Elizabeth, Issac Newton, memorials to the unknown soldier, Winston Churchill, Oscar Wilde, T.S. Elliott, Shakespeare, Bronte' sisters and Jane Austen. 3300 bodies!! I loved that visit.
We were blessed with the opportunity to have a BACKSTAGE TOUR of the National Theatre!! It was incredible. The National Theatre itself awes me at the best of times. So specific in it's design: three theaters (one thrust arena, one proscenium arch (your standard, traditional theatre), and one studio (black-box) theatre. And then the backstage rooms, there was a huge room for carpentry, huge room for properties, huge room for painting; I mean they had enough room to actually hang a backdrop, like a gigantic backdrop and just paint--they didn't have to fold at all! What really impressed me (and always continues to impress me with the NT) is that instead of focusing so much on theme, like when they're picking that years plays, they instead focus on the playwright range. "What new playwrights and text plays can we introduce to our audience?"
"What would they want to see, what's NEW that they would want to see?"
The National Theatre has been known to do a traditional play or Musical (for instance they're currently doing Major Barbara by Shaw) but they really push the development and trial of new works which I really like. And they always have a new show in, so many shows are taking place. You got Never So Good, Fram (which just closed) so in comes The Revenger's Tragedy, Pitman's Painters, Harper Regan which we're going to see, and also Year of Magical Thinking with Vanessa Redgrave. That night we went to another National Theatre production called 'Never so Good'. It was a production that I still have to ponder about and decide how I feel about it. It centered around old U.K. Prime Minister
Harold MacMillan. About how he came to power and the polictic's of his day....his decisions in comparison to Eisenhower. I liked it, it's overall message to me was how...It was how Harold MacMillan kind of came in, cleaned things up and did great things for the U.K., but when his mess to clean up was finnished, like when the 60's came in and a new range of thinking came on in, he was kind of...asked to lea
ve. Let's have a knew leader for this. It kind of focused on how, to really get a head (especially in politic's) you have to be cut-throat...and the playwright asked the question 'why?'



SATURDAY: Well...this is kind of a funny (more sad really) story. I was attacked. Harassed more....by our shower. When I awoke on Saturday I got in the shower. Now...I might need to explain to you our shower..it is a rather old building and being that way, the pipes are a bit 'finiky'. Our shower has a full curtain, but near the faucets and shower head there is a plastic separator divide thingie. It's actually quite inconvenient because to turn on the shower and find the right temperature (because trust me, it's hard to find the right temperature...its either freezing or scalding, WE'RE TALKING BOILING, hot) so you need to get in the shower, kneel, and work the taps. We have a extendable shower head, so usually I just lay it face down as I work the pipes. Well, I was in the process of showering (I wasn't even completely finished!) when it suddenly became cold! Now, this has all happened to us but my story becomes much worse. I recoiling from the freezing tides, scurried into the corner near the shower head to try and work the temperature taps, BIG MISTAKE. It suddenly became too hot. LIKE SO HOT, I've never felt this hot water, probably because to feel that hot water temperature I would have to plunge it into boiling water. I would have been safe in my little corner, had not the shower head fallen, blasting the burning water everywhere!! It was a complete 'psycho'-esque moment. In my panic, I fell!, receiving more burns as I try, on my back, to find the shower head and make it stop!!

Well...as harmful as this sounds, I laugh about it now. But currently I have two big red burns on my left forearm and my left knee.

After re-cooperating from that I set off to console myself with a delicacy from Borough Market. I had a delicious long sandwich which was like pork, some kind of stuffing and an apple sauce, it was so good. I finished it off with a pistachio gelato, which the wind blew my hair into. So much for showering. I took the tube south, to an out-skirt district of London to Balham and the Clapham area. I went to see the memorial at the "newly" constructed Balham tube station. During WWII during the London bombings, locals were put into this underground tube station for cover. On October 14th, 1941 sadly a bomb hit nearby this station, destroying the water and gas lines that ran near and over above. The tube station was filled with water and 64-69 people were killed in that event. For those of you who saw the movie 'Atonement' that even is mentioned. I walked around and loved taking pictures of the old 1940's/1950's/1960's architecture of all the buildings. Lot less money went into that area, and I liked seeing the difference. I then took the tube from Clapham Commons to Lancaster Gate across my home so I could walk through Hyde Park. I love everything about that park. Wish I could be there on a picnic with my family or my friends. Walk through it with my dog Keemo. He would love it there.

SUNDAY: (TODAY) Went and checked out St. Paul's Cathedral this morning, and couldn't get the song "Feed the Birds" from

Mary Poppin's out of my stinkin' head! But I loved it! It was so beautiful! I couldn't get over the size of the place. I attended the catholic service there and enjoyed standing, then sitting, and then standing again. Hearing the choir singing, there voices echoing off the high domed ceiling at the center. These cute little choir boys, HOW THEY COULD stand still that entire time I cannot fathom. My ansy-ness has only seemed to intensify with my getting older. After that I hurried back over to my area, where I attended the student ward OF LONDON, the Brittania ward. It was interesting for me to be able to compare the two services and compare the differences that they held for me. And then came here.

I am very excited for the proceedings that will be going on shortly. Tomorrow morning we are to meet at Gloscester Tube station @ 7:45am (MIDNIGHT YOUR TIME, tonight..ha ha that's so weird) and head off for Stratford-upon-Avon! Birthplace of Shakespeare, some theatre, and sticky toffee pudding! We'll be there until Wednesday, so I'll have a bunch of pictures to upload.

Love you all

Honestly missing you all, so much

-ellesse

P.S. WRITE ME LETTERS

P.P.S.How was Indiana Jones? Anyone? Anyone?

It's 7-9 pounds here, and that's like...14-18$ to go see a movie, and even though it is Indiana...I need to conserve!!


P.P.P.S. Those of you who do not have a 'Facebook' can always let me know, and I'll be sure to send you my families' "ofoto.com" link, as I will start to upload pictures there. Or I can try and send them to you another way, as I only put a few on here, I put them all up on Facebook.

1 comment:

BigAL said...

glad to hear you finally got to church ya heathen. so how was the brittania ward? any cuties? just finished reading your blog with gma lil and donna and your facebook pics... love you and miss you too.