12 August, 2014

In a Field of Extroverts

At the end of my freshmen year of college, we were asked in my English class to present an autobiography. For a long time, I had always described myself as an introvert in a field of extroverts, but I never paused to consider why. I was sitting in Starbucks one day when I had an epiphany, and I finally understood why I was an introvert comfortable in an extrovert's world. After presenting the following words to my English class, I was begged to begin a blog (and even write a book!), so I went home and created this URL. It is just now that I dig out my old journal and transpose this message.

My story is incomplete, as I am constantly discovering new things. So please, my friends, come and enjoy. I welcome you into this crazy life of mine. Here's a little introduction for you all.

***

Having a childhood swarmed by groups of people sure leaves a person lonely. Thank God I discovered how to be on my own at an early age, and also that people are effervescent while stories are eternal. How I longed to be fictional! How I wished to be alongside Lucy as she discovered winter lands behind a closet door or solve mysteries with the renown Nancy Drew. Perhaps it was fiction I wished to drag into reality. So here I am, composed of books and stories yet lacking an enchanted wardrobe or a penchant for mysteries. An introvert in a field of extroverts, constantly living in a story while waiting to complete my own. But how is this possible? How have I handled people who are more than 26 letters on a page? Has this effected my relationships in any way?

Absolutely.

You see, I've never really had a lasting friendship.While that may sound sad and pathetic, I understand life moves on and the world is constantly feeding me new people. I get it. I don't need to be told yet again. Of course, I have friends but none that have truly lasted. Well, with one or two exceptions...(hey Jack). But even then, Jack and I don't really speak all the time; but when we do, we banter like brother and sister. No matter how long it's been or how far apart we are (currently I'm in Tennessee and he's in Wyoming), we just pick our conversations back up from where we left off. Essentially, we just exist in each other's lives. (Still, you're super rad, Jack. And your cat's chill. Maybe we're such good friends because we love cats. That's probably it, right?)

Okay. So why am I this way? Why is it so hard to maintain friendships? Who is to blame?

Now I don't think the blame goes to anyone. There is no need for blame, because nothing is wrong with me. I am who I am. We are all different, and I think that's wonderful. That's beside the point.

The point is I know what has caused me to be this way.

Books. Books and theatre.

You see, while Lucy was a part of my life, I was never part of hers. Not even for a second. I poured out my emotions, by heart to her--with her--for her, never to have that returned. Same with theatre. I put myself in the shoes of another, thinking and feeling everything for them. It's easy for an introvert to do, because all of that energy comes from within. Books and theatre also makes for a life of affairs. Once the cover of a book is closed, once the curtain falls, POOF! The magic is gone. The story is over. The story that you've been investing in for these past days and weeks can never be experienced in the same way. My mom and I have always agreed it's like a part of you "dies" at the end of every show. It's a constant investment and loss in the lives of hundreds of individuals. These books and scripts have made me a great friend. I am  fantastic at pouring myself out emotionally for another person. I can really feel for what they are saying or doing.

So what's the problem?

The problem is that I have no idea how to accept that love in return. While I am great at being a friend, I am awful at being a friend. All those years of one-sided, 26 letter friends has left me incapable of understanding how to respond to friendship. That's the problem of living in a world that's not my own. My 26 letter friends have lived and died while I remain standing. This leaves me with the one conundrum we all inevitably face...

Where do I go from here?

I don't know. We have this saying in the theatre, "the show must go on." I guess that's the best part, the fat that I can always move forward. My story isn't over yet, so I am still making it. The mystery of the future is terrifying and daunting for some, but I welcome the unknown with open arms.

The words of a childhood friend ring in my ears still to this day. C.S. Lewis wrote in The Last Battle:
"Come further up, come further in!"

That's exactly what I am doing. I am an explorer of the unknown, and this is my story.

06 August, 2014

London Calling

I am hopelessly missing London tonight.

It's nearly midnight here in Tennessee, which means it's nearly 5:00 in London. I'd be just about to wake up on any normal day. The construction workers across the street would be arriving in about two hours. No one else in my flat would be awake, and I would bask in the sweet silence of early morning London. That silence was so comforting. It was a new day; the world was coming alive beneath my feet.

This must be what it's like to be homesick.

Now that I've been home for a little over a week, I'm back into the swing of American life. I've been to work (and survived tax-free weekend. Thanks, Tennessee), seen some friends, driven my car, and eaten some massively disappointing take-out. It's still strange to think I lived those three weeks never once stepping foot into a car or having to calculate for the tax prior to a purchase. Those things seemed completely normal while I was in London, while they're unusual to consider in America.

Since I'm feeling especially nostalgic tonight, I've compiled [yet another] list. These are ten things I've been missing most this past week:

1. The Underground. Seriously, nothing beats London's public transportation. I miss my Oyster Card, bus stops, moving sidewalks...heck, I even miss Waterloo Station (and anyone who knew me knew I didn't fancy that station).

2.Walking. Sure, I can walk here where I live. I mean, for goodness sake, I live in the mountains. I could go on a day hike and walk until my heart's content. BUT IT'S NOT THE SAME! I walked EVERYWHERE in London; I had no choice. I could actually walk from Point A to Point B in that city. Here in Knoxville, not so much. I have to get in my car and drive twenty minutes before I reach anywhere I want to be. Phooey.

3. The Food. Ugh, British food!!! Less grease, more flavour, different options. I especially miss that first part. British chips (American - Fries) are so superior to the American alternative. Plus, there was malt vinegar at every table. Perfection! I miss savoury pies and the Borough Market and Tesco and Pret...oh man. I really miss those little grocery shops and cafes. I could go on and on about the food. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. I better stop myself before I go crazy.

4. The coffee. Closely related to the last one, I suppose. I don't know what it is, but Brits sure know how to make a proper cup of joe. It's so strong, so hot, and so good. Even the 99p coffee from Pret was great. Also, Europeans sure know a thing or two about foam. Not many baristas appreciate foam like the Brits do, and I sure am glad they do, because honey, I love foam. Kaffeine was definitely one of the greatest places I've ever visited. (Google it.)

5. The weather. Sure, it was really hot while I was in London, but not like it is in Tennessee right now. I do miss the foggy mornings and the rain showers I experienced as well. Also, I miss the nearly constant breeze that ran through the streets. And no allergies. I guess I'm trying to say...I miss the atmosphere?

6. No mosquitoes. Need I explain further?

7. My dorm. Okay, this one's a little cheesy, but I really do miss my little dorm room with it's bed and desk and tiny water closet. I even miss the smelly community kitchen where I could look out the window and see the Shard down the street. We were so spoiled at Manna Ash.

8. The Museums. I could spend weeks in the museums and still not see everything they had to offer. London is so rich with history, and peeking into the past was a delicacy.

9. The people. I met quite a few people in London, and they were all spectacular. The people I met in queues for shows were some of the most interesting people I've come across. It was a joy to talk with people who shared the same love for theatre as I do! The people who worked at the Pret on the corner knew me by the end of the first week. I loved visiting them every morning. Really, London has some fascinating and friendly people, and I am glad I got to meet them.

10. The Theatre. Uff da, this is a big one. I miss Leicester Square and The Cut and all of the little theatre pockets throughout the city. I miss having seemingly endless possibilities of shows I could see on any given night. I miss being in a city that takes theatre seriously. I miss the people who adore theatre and are willing to get up early and queue for the special tickets or put their name in a raffle and hope to be drawn for tonight's show. I miss the buzz all around the theatres each night when the shows would close. Theatre was one of the best parts about London for me, and it was a difficult part to leave behind.


Even though it was absolutely exhausting, I miss London. Having this taste of travel and experience has increased my wanderlust and given me more of a heart for travel than I had before. I'm looking forward to wherever I get to travel next, even if it's somewhere in the United States. I do truly hope that I will be back in London someday, if just for a visit. My heart is happiest when on the move, and it's ready to leap. Here's to new experiences and always keeping an eye on the road ahead. I'm ready to go.

24 July, 2014

Etiquette

I don't like to waste my time with anger, so I don't. While I can be annoyed, rarely am I angry. Few things trigger anger within me, and one of these things is disrespect in the theatre.

I got to see Julius Caesar at the Globe Theatre. I would have really enjoyed it, had it not been for the people sitting around me. There was a rowdy group of French teenagers who were completely disrespectful the entire first act. I couldn't hear a single word of what the actors were saying. Three people in our section told the young adults to shut up, but to no avail. Thankfully, the group thought intermission was the end of the show, so they didn't come back.

For those of you who don't frequent a cinema or theatre, or even those who do, I've compiled a list of things you should NEVER do during show time:

(Might I add, the majority of these happened today.)


  • Have your cell phone out. Ever. The bright light is distracting and I'm sure the "Bae 😍😘❤️" you're texting can wait two hours.
  • Have your cell phone volume on. Nothing ruins a beautiful moment in a show more than someone's phone ringing. It's a distraction to everyone, especially at live performances, as the actors can hear it too.
  • Talk. Seriously, shut up.
  • PDA. No one wants to see that.
  • Kick the seat in front of you. Yes, leg room is limited. It especially sucks for tall people such as myself. But kicking the seat of the person in front of you is a jerk move.
  • Eat loud food. Take the chips/apples/crunchy food elsewhere. Like a BBQ. I want to hear the show, not your mastication.
  • Chew with your mouth open/smack your jaw. My biggest pet peeve. Learn some manners. If you can't eat without sounding like a cow, eat at home, please. Same goes with slurping your drink.
  • Crinkle food wrappers, drink bottles, or things of the like. If I wanted to hear that noise, I'd unplug my cable box at home.
  • Leave a mess. People have to clean up everything you leave behind, and odds are they hate you if you leave things behind. Be respectful and clean up after yourself.
  • Take pictures during the performance. Not only is that against code for performance rights, but it's distracting. Just watch the show. Having your camera filming part of the production causes you to not only miss the live action, but hinders others from seeing it.
  • Do other "errands." Seriously, during the show today a girl was counting her change...OUT LOUD! If these things are so important, you probably shouldn't be in the theatre.
  • Get up in the middle of a show if you're in the middle. Unless it's an absolute emergency, don't try to crawl out of your row. For those with smaller bladders, I recommend the isle.



I could probably go on, but this list is pretty sufficient. What are the things that bother you most in the theatre/cinema/place of gathering? Comment below or post to my Facebook, I'd love to hear from you.









18 July, 2014

Homesick

First of all, forgive me for being absent. There is so much going on that oftentimes, by the end of the day, I am simply too exhausted to write. Either that, or I don't know what to say.

Don't be mislead by this title. I'm not homesick. Actually, I feel quite at home here, but then again, I feel most at home when I'm doing what I love. Many of my friends here are homesick for Tennessee. This is because they have wonderful families, a special significant other, or any other combination of reasons. Granted, I have a wonderful life back in the states, and I do miss it, but there is something refreshing about being somewhere new. I've always been a vagabond, a wandering heart. A bird in a cage cooped up so long, aching to stretch my wings and test my limits. Now, I'm free. I'm out of my cage. I've grown up and worked for my first test flight, and here I am, soaring at new heights. How can I be homesick when I feel so alive?

So to those of you who have wondered if I'm homesick, the answer is no. Of course I miss my friends, I miss my cat, and quite frequently this week I've missed my air conditioning. Seriously, London. What is up with all of this hot weather? My heart is all for adventure, and that's where I'm living right now.

14 July, 2014

Tourists

My friends and I have all agreed, London is not what we expected. And of course, nothing is ever as expected. Duh. What we discovered is that London is far more of a melting pot and tourist hub than what we originally thought. It's like going to any big city in America and hearing different languages, except this time we're part of that outside culture.

While we may be outside of the immediate culture of England, we still speak English. It is astonishing how many languages I hear in London, and even in Windsor. There's everything from Korean and Japanese, to French, German, and Polish, and even some languages I have no idea how to identify. As a matter of fact, I think I've heard more foreign accents than English accents. (Sorry, ladies. Lots of males here don't have that accent you're looking for.)

Basically, it's really weird to think that most of these people are tourists, too. It was pretty funny when a Polish family asked us for directions on the tube yesterday. I guess we're not fitting the American tourist stereotype, which I have no problem with. As a matter of fact, not many people have pegged us as tourists. We are obviously American, but they don't seem to mind. They like our accents. It's weird to be on that side of the fence for once. I kind of like it.

13 July, 2014

...

I have been working on this post for two days now, and no matter how deeply I search within myself, I cannot find adequate words to describe my experiences on Friday.

Westminster Abbey is one of the most beautiful buildings I've ever had the honour of touring. Every inch, every surface, every angle is covered in history. Tombs of some of the most famous kings and queens are held within. There is preserved damage to the building sustained from wars past. The chapels are marvellous, and to partake in an hourly prayer within the building was truly extraordinary. The architecture alone is enough to leave a person breathless. Westminster Abbey left me more than just breathless, it left me speechless.

The final stop on the self-guided tour is Poets' Corner. I have nothing other to say than wow. To see tombs of the authors I've grown up reading, and stones and statues that pay tribute to many others that I love...it was so surreal. To be able to honour those who have been my eternal friend through every walk of life; whose words shaped me and helped form who I am today...wow. Their published words are too perfect and for me to add any would be wrong, so I'll leave the words to the professionals.

Here's to you, beloved authors and dear friends. Thank you for creating something so beautiful and inviting. Thank you for bringing your words to the public. Thank you for following your heart, and allowing me to open mine.

10 July, 2014

Exhilaration || Exhaustion

Happy first full day in London!

Tube stops and street signs and long queues for the restroom. (Seriously, 20 minutes at McDonald's queue for Josh to get to the men's room!) I don't have anything profound or sappy to say today, so let's just chat.

A bunch of people missed the group tour today at Covent Garden, including me. That left us with an entirely free afternoon. After eating in this super hipster Asian fusion restaurant, two friends and I set out to discover what was in the surrounding area. We stumbled into Piccalilli Circus and explored Leicester Square. I can't explain the joy I have by being surrounded by so much theatre. Not only that, but the people watching here is extravagant.

The hardest thing about this city isn't finding my way on the tube, the currency exchanges, or crossing the street. Actually, navigating the tube is super simple and so are currency exchanges. Crossing the street is simple enough, as long as I look right. The most difficult thing is being constantly alert. Even though I do this every day at work or school or whatever, it's an elevated level of attention I haven't experienced in a while. I'm in a completely new city with (relatively) new friends and we don't know where to go from memory. I have to be aware of streets and bikes and people and pick pockets. Basically I'm always running on 110%. I'm both exhilarated and exhausted. I'm not sure if there's a word somewhere between those two. I'm sure after a couple more days, this will all be second nature, but for now, I'm just going to be tired.

09 July, 2014

If We Have The Courage

Dreams. Everyone has dreams. Some dream of fame, some of travel, others of fortune or family. The realm of possibility for dreams is infinite. A famous quote from Walt Disney reads, "All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them." While widely used and often overlooked, this quote has some vital wisdom behind it.

At first, we look at the quote simply. We are filled with delight in knowing all of our dreams can come true...but we forget that last part. Our dreams can only come true if we work to achieve them. Then and only then are we able to achieve our goals. The fulfillment of dreams comes at the price of hard work.

My whole life, I have dreamed of going to London, and today my dream begins. I heard about this trip a year and a half ago, and from the moment I discovered this possibility, I knew I had to go. I worked countless hours to afford and prepare for this trip. There were many long weeks and a plethora of sleepless nights, not to mention quite a sum of money spent. None of that matters. What matters is that I did it. I am making my dreams come true. I'm not sitting around waiting for someone to grant my wish for me, oh no. I found the courage to pursue what I want.

It is so surreal to me. I am currently sitting in an airplane flying over 32,000 feet above the Atlantic Ocean, typing in the notepad on my iPad and listening to Coldplay while most of the plane is asleep. By the time you read this, I will have already landed in the city. My dream becomes reality. I AM ON MY WAY.

I was encouraged to start a blog by a handful of my classmates last semester. Filled with inspiration and excitement, I went home from school that day and got a URL for myself. That was months ago. I never followed through. It's time to fix that. I hope you join me as I explore London for the next few weeks. Follow me, this introvert in a field of extroverts, as I live how I have imagined since I was a little girl.

London, here I come.