I went to London a few weekends ago with the French man, and being in territory that spoke my language hurt my head. I was so excited to be able to explain myself without having to search for words every two phrases. I tried speaking to everyone, meaning from the taxi drivers (most were actually quite, surprisingly nice compared to French taxi drivers), our hotel hostess and the barmen. But it took time to readjust to my own language. It was somewhat of a culture shock to be able to read everything and not have to ask about certain words or look them up in the dictionary (or google translate). I can’t deny that I was excited to hear the English accent as well.
I wanted to see everything and did not even know where to begin the second I got off of the train. We arrived at St. Pancreas, not far from Kings Crossing (and if you are a Harry Potter fan, well… obviously you know where I am going with this). We had taken the Eurostar, and I was definitely nervous for the trip (mostly nervous that within the 25 minutes that we were underwater, something terrible would happen). I had never been happier to see the time of day when we exited the tunnel, even though I tried to mentally tell myself I take the Parisian metro everyday and it’s not that different. When we exited the station, we tried crossing the street over to Kings Crossing but instead of looking towards are right, like we should in London and everywhere that drives on the left side of the road, we looked towards are left and almost got ran over (yay traveling and adapting our senses!). When we were safely on the other side, we went directly to platform 9 and 3/4 at Kings Crossing. We waited in line to take our pictures, and I was amazed at the amount of different languages I was listening to. It is surprising and amazing how one story can influence and touch many different corners of the world. There were two women, one who would take the official photo for us and another that would put on our scarf (we got to choose the house) and make it look like it was blowing in the wind.
Afterwards, we went to our hotel, which was located near Archbishop’s Park. We dropped off our bags and went directly to Shakespeare’s Globe, which has been a dream of mine to see since I can remember learning about Shakespeare. We were lucky to be able to take a tour around the place, for that day they were not sure about doing their afternoon tours due to a show that was showing. If it went overtime, they would not be able to do the tour. We did have to wait an hour though, so we strolled the grounds and the museum that talks about acting and showcasing in Shakespeare’s time. All of it took me back to high school, reading Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth, and even one of my favorite teachers of all time, my drama teacher from my freshman-junior years of high school. I remember him speaking about being in Shakespeare’s Globe, and about how it had affected him as an actor and learning how storytelling has evolved overtime. Standing near that stage, that was all I could think about, and I took that moment in as a storyteller. Thank you, Bob, for teaching me to appreciate the art of storytelling.
It was perfect for our trip to begin with that adventure, because afterwards, I was surprised with tickets to see the Broadway musical, The Book of Mormon. I had been dying to see that show since I had heard about it. I dined on that night, taking in everything. From the second I walked into that theater, I had an out of body experience. I felt overjoyed and alive. I breathed in every note those actors sang, laughed until I cried (because their jokes were always on perfect cue) tapped my feet to those beats, watched those lights work their magic and smiled as I looked at the musicians having a blast in the pit, reminding me of the days I had done that. I walked out of there with my face hurting from the amount of smiling and laughing I had experienced. It was definitely a night to remember, and one that I am very grateful for. For me, being in a theater is being home. It is where people unite, to tell stories, passions and talent. I have always felt that I am always closer to my true self when I am sitting in a theater. It puts my mind at ease.
On day two, we strolled around Big Ben and went to the Churchill War Rooms, where Churchill practically lived during the days of World War II and decided on war tactics. It was intensifying to see and imagine living in those small bunkers, barely seeing the light of day. Afterwards, we walked through St. James Park and went towards Buckingham Palace, where we watched a few guards stand. They moved a few times, but I was disappointed because I really wanted to reenact a scene from I Love Lucy in which she tries to make one of the palace guards laugh. They were set apart from us by the gates, but I understand the kind of commotion that can bring if they were within the crowd. We finished the trip by doing some souvenir shopping and hitting up some bars to see the nightlife.
London was an amazing trip, and definitely a fun weekend away. I was exhausted by the end of it because London is a big, bustling city with so much to do. I did not even get to do half of what was on my list in the two days that we were there. I would definitely recommend at least going three days (and that is still somewhat pushing it).
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