So sorry I haven't posted in almost a week. You will be relieved to know I have a very good reason - I have been sick. The flu. I actually have only had it for the last 2 days, but that is the reason I have not posted in the last 2 days... the 4 before that was because I had no pictures to share... but this is gonna be a long post, so let's get started...
Thursday was pretty slow... I don't think I did very much except maybe head down to the library and pick up my NUS card. This card had a very illusive quality to it in that I had never heard of it until I tried to get into the student union for a cocktail party last week. When Phoebe and I got to the door the very nice man relayed to us that we needed an NUS card... but that was pretty much the extent of the information he had. We tried to ask him what it was and he proceeded with the answer, "it's blue." Hm... "What is it?" "It's an NUS card." Well fair enough... "Yes, but why? What is it? What does N.U.S. stand for?" "Um... you need it to get in here... and it's blue." Thank you kind sir, I feel dumber having met you. (I didn't say that last part). But Thursday I got said card and the purpose behind it. See, the Student Union is not directly offiliated with Royal Holloway the University and therefore you need a "Nation Union of Students" to enter into the Student Union and participate in the activities there.
But Thursday evening was a blast!! I went to "Royal Holloway's got Talent"... kind of like star search meets American Idol, but with RH students. My cell group (Small group) went because some people from Regenerate (Christian Union) were participating. It was incredibly long... it didn't even start until 9pm and ended around midnight. There were some REALLY good acts... more mediocre acts... and a few shining moments of sheer crap. Mostly it was singing, but one girl recited a poem she had written... she prefaced it by saying it was about falling in love... but what I heard was NOT love... by the end I felt violated and dirty. I will not be getting those minutes back and for that I grieve. But the winner of the talent show was Carla and he band who sang an original worship/gospel song, written by her! It really was spectacular! Another group, also from Regenerate was in the finals and they sang a medley of acoustic versions of pop-dance songs... Brilliant!! Shawn, I think you would have liked them. The third contestant to round out the finals was a girl who sang this jazz tune that rocked! What a powerhouse of a voice... a little jealous, I must say. The whole evening made me realize that I need an outlet for singing. At home I had my car and singing along at the top of my lungs to musical soundtracks and what-not, but here I have nothing... I have paper thin walls where I can hear the other girls in my hall and they are awful. Speaking of... they performed - like 5 girls from my hall have been singing the SAME song in their rooms for like 2 weeks and finally I knew the reason... they were awful... and the judges tore them apart. The judges were awesome. Some people I saw crying off stage for what the judges had said to them... so sad... so right. (I'm awful aren't I?) All in all it was a top notch night, and sadly enough, I have no pictures to show for it.
I can't remember what I did Friday... so it probably was nothing. But Saturday Phoebe and I went into London to do some sight-seeing and shopping. I have pictures for this... and more (but that's later)... so enjoy.
We started off our journey getting to Waterloo Station, which is the central station in London and the one you need to get to to make it to the underground.
We immediately hopped on the underground to St. Paul's station. Now I know I have been to St. Paul's before, but Phoebe hasn't and she wanted to see it... and I couldn't help but want to see it again too. Still breathtaking... still amazing!
We hiked all the way up to the top again... stretching before of course.
After St Paul's we headed over to Shakespears's globe theater. Phoebe had already been here, but I hadn't so it was a fair trade with St. Paul's. It was really cool.
The theater is complete reconstructed to look exactly like the original globe theater that burned down long ago. They even used construction methods much the same as Shakespeare's time to build it. They have a museum in a neighboring building showing how they put on Shakespeare productions and how they make costumes (all hand-sewn, all hand dyed, etc).
It was fascinating. They even had some theatrical fencing lessons going on that we got to see.
Then we went on a tour of the theater. It was FREEZING outside and with the globe being an open-air theater, the sitting and listening was a little uncomfortable.
But the tour guide was informative. He kept referencing the movie Shakespeare in Love, I'm sure because so many people associate The Globe with that movie, although it must be said that the movie actually took place in The Rose and not The Globe. The Rose is no longer in existence FYI. Our tour guide also shared with us some fun tidbits about theatrical special affects, such as making canon noises by shooting a blank from a canon above the stage - it was this stunt that accidentally burned the original Globe down when some gun powered mixed with the thatched roof. He also enlightened us with some of the most stupid questions he'd ever hear on his tours... 1.) a man was standing on the floor of the theater looking up and asked, "who painted the sky?" remember people this is an open air theater. 2.) one woman asked if the theater was air-conditioned... again, open-air. 3.) my absolute favorite: "Does Shakespeare still come to see his plays here?" Yep, the woman actually thought that Shakespeare was a contemporary writer who wrote in the old style... smart woman.
After The Globe, Phoebe and I toyed with the idea of taking a gander at the London Dungeon. We found an attraction called the London Bridge Experience near where the London Dungeon was and figured this must be the attraction. We grabbed a flyer and had lunch. While looking at the flyer boasting that it was the scariest attraction in London... we had our doubts. I looked at some of the pictures and decided I was not in the mood for something like this... the costumes and make up alone were enough to incite my gag reflex, so Phoebe, who was in agreement, and I decided to move right along to the Camden Markets. On the way to the train station we passed the actual London Dungeon and were relieved to see it was must less gory. It was however still gory and we had our hearts set on shopping, so we continued promising to return one day. On the way to the train station, we passed through this alley way...
It was so cool... and creepy. I said to Phoebe, "I feel like Jack the Ripper is gonna jump out and kill me... I feel like a hooker in the 1800s." She proceeded to call me a hooker the rest of the day. But it was a very cool alley way.
So we hopped on the train and made it to Camden Markets as the sun was setting (4:30pm mind you). Camden Market is like China Town in New York-meets a thrift store - meets craft boutiques - meets a swapmeet. Very cool and you seriously could spend an entire day there. Some of the cutest clothes are down there, however none of them are practical for the cold weather we've been having, so I've decided come spring time I'm redoing my entire wardrobe from Camden Markets... awesome idea. Unfortunately with the fast-paced shopping that is induced by the vendors and what-not, I couldn't stop to take any pics. I was however felt-up by this nice vendor while I was trying on one of his jackets. He kept telling me how beautiful I was and offered a "buy one get me free" deal... gross. We quickly moved on our of sheer disgust. We shopped until it was completely dark, and to me that meant that it was pushing 8:30... no Miranda silly... it was only 6pm. OH MY! Phoebe and I had some cool donut from one of the vendors... seriously delicious! we then walked back towards the train station. I had only bought a pair of ear muffs and some leather gloves... but on our way to the station we hit the shopping Jackpot!! H&M!! Okay, so it's not a vendor, it's one of the coolest store around though... beware Phoenix, a couple are opening near you soon!! Anyway, I bought a very cute jacket and a sweater! Back at Waterloo station we set out to find some dinner and low and behold we found a Burger King... okay don't judge me for not embracing London cuisine - Phoebe had never had Burger King, being from Australia, and I was in the mood for a burger and fries... sad news though, no ranch dressing to dip my "chip" (fries) in. This sign was also on the outside of the restaurant
I'm still not done though...
London was all day Saturday and then Sunday came. I went to St John's again which was nice... this time the message was on how God reveals himself through His word. Nice! Then in the afternoon my friend Susie told me she was going to The Journey, another church in the area that I had been wanting to visit. I asked if I could tag along and she said "absolutely!" So we walked down to The Journey for their service at 3:30. The journey is really into the "Jesus Culture" movement and is very free-form and relaxed. I kept think how comfortable Joel Try and Mike Quinn would feel in a place like this. The worship was cool although I knew NONE of the songs (at St John's they sang "Better is One Day" - which made me happy!) Then the pastor got up and his entire message was about... IDENTITY IN CHRIST!!! So cool. Now to be honest, the speaker wasn't super eloquent, but the message was still so very awesome to hear! I was also fading fast during the service... come to find out I was coming down with the flu (more on that in a sec...) But the whole service was very different and somewhat refreshing. They have stations set up for people to paint, or write poetry, or dance if they want to... It kind of didn't feel like a church service at all... more like a College-aged get together. Most of the congregation (minus maybe 4 people) are all uni students at Royal Holloway. I will definitely be going back to visit again... but I still like St John's. I felt bad though because when the service ended, all I could think about was sleeping...
So I had the flu. I started coughing up a lung walking back to the school by myself... and I quickly had dinner and then crawled into bed. I woke up every 15 minutes coughing like a yak and going back and forth between chills and sweats. I didn't go to class yesterday and instead went in and out of consciousness all day watching movies. I did however crawl up to look out my window in the morning time to find students littering the quad building snowmen and having snowball fights... turns out classes were cancelled and it was a snow day! I missed my first snow day because I was having a sick day! I did capture these pics.
If you'd like more exterior shots, check out Phoebe's blog
Today I also didn't go to class... although I am feeling better I am still coughing all the time and I felt I would be a distraction if I went to the lectures... so instead I'm blogging and editing a video.
Okay... NOW what you've all been waiting for!! I hope you have made it this far through my insanely LONG post, because the reward is sweet. To preface this video, you have to know that every time I go into London I have to travel to Waterloo station... therefore the ABBA song "Waterloo" is constantly in my head the ENTIRE rest of the day... this is in homage to that beautiful station and that beautiful band!! Enjoy!