Wednesday, September 30, 2009

DAY TWO: Fountains Abbey, York, and the Lake District

“The very essence of romance is uncertainty.” –Algy (from The Importance of Being Earnest)

Things seem to be slowing down here, and yet going more quickly too. Time is slowing down in the sense that I’m not doing something brand new everyday—although I do have a few firsts—but racing by in the sense that I’ve been here a month on Friday. A month.

Dad—I went to Haagen Dazs with Jackie today. Sometimes there are things I see here—or do here, or eat here—and I just get so homesick wishing you were here (rather than wishing I was there—implying that my family is my home, which I hope is flattering!). This is a silly thing to get homesick over, but this Haagen Dazs was just blissful. 1 scoop of Cookies and Cream, and 1 of Vanilla Caramel Brownie, but everything look amazing and I just thought—they don’t have this at home. Although, maybe next time we go to Disneyland we should check out that Haagen Dazs by Downtown Disney, who knows, maybe it’s worth a try. It was extremely expensive—but SO worth it.

I bought my first piece of clothing in London today, as well. I was with Caitlin Markham and we were on our way to the Hotel Chocolat—for the express purpose of buying chocolate. We were walking towards Hotel Chocolat and we passed a GAP. We both looked in the windows at the ‘up to 50% off’ signs, and then passed it and we both said something like, ‘I love Gap.’ Caitlin turned to me and said, ‘Do you want to go in?’ We had both turned around and the word, ‘Yes’ escaped my lips before I realized what was happening. I left with a 6.99 Oatmeal-Brown Long-sleeve thermal shirt. I know it’s from Gap and not some obscure London shop, but I don’t care. (Prepare for a tangent.) I’m sick of people not wanting to buy or do American things, (or see American movies) simply because they can buy, do, (or see movies) in America. Seeing movies is something I do—I see movies, and I love it. London can’t change that, and never will. Not to mention, I don’t want it to. Seeing movies is a part of who I am and you cannot be a true movie connoisseur if you refuse to see movies while you travel simply because “that can be done in America.” What snobs. (Prepare to be diverted back to original topic.)

The other ‘first’—I spent 7.50 on chocolates from Hotel Chocolat with the intention of it being my first and last time doing so, and with the intention of sending most of it home. I refuse to experience good European chocolate (assuming its good, that is—I haven’t tried each of them yet) alone. I could experience good chocolate with my roommates, but I’d prefer to know what my favorite people think of it. So—once the postal strike is over (yes, postal strike) prepare for some expensive chocolate. Expensive chocolate. (Just wanted to make sure you got that. P.S. Are Rachel and Caitlin reading this, because they sure as heck don’t speak to me over skype or anything, so I’d like to know that they’ve got a clue of what I’m doing out here on this island in the middle of nowhere.)

(Prepare for another tangent.) I need Television. I’m extremely ashamed, I never thought I’d EVER say that. But I was searching for Glee for 4 hours yesterday on the internet and finally gave up because its an American television show that doesn’t stream in the UK. Then today I decided that maybe I could find Robin Hood on the internet since I’m IN the UK, and, alas, the UK doesn’t provide me any free entertainment. IN ADDITION, I can’t get to my ‘Big Wolf on Campus’ store meaning that when I need a ½ hour to 45 minute break, I am reduced to wasting my time TRYING to get facebook to work, which it never does, or TRYING to read my emails, which I never do, or TRYING to post a blog entry, which takes about 3 hours to complete. (Enough of this, tangent—now to my REAL post.)

22 September 2009

[Taken from my green and brown plaid ‘writing’ journal while on the premises of Fountains Abbey.] “I’m not sure where I am in the abbey—an included room Henry VIII’s men forgot to demolish. I thank God for that. Although I do not know how men could be greedy enough to destroy this place, it is more beautiful because of it. The flapping of pigeon’s wings and their cooing gives it the necessary haunt, the wind gives it its loneliness, the green, growing everywhere gives it its submit back to nature, a mystery that intact Cathedrals simply have not had.

“It’s exactly like you can picture in your mind—better than you can imagine, actually. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anything more beautiful. I missed the group photo to be alone in this place—how worth it it was. The missing windows, the high archways, the forgotten tiles, the worn-away steps, and men, running through, tearing away at it all.

“Most of the windows are completely destroyed, but there is one, missing its panes of glass, yes, but almost intact. I moved to sit on the top of a fallen wall so I could look out at the destroyed Abbey longer. The darkness at once is inviting and I can’t help thinking that I could worship God here—in a way I can’t in a still standing Cathedral. You can see where the windows once sectioned, now broken in. I don’t know what to do here—you wish you could keep it in your pocket.

“ ‘You can’t absorb it, can you?’ Sister Paxman asks—the answer in ‘No.’ I’d have to come here five more times to take it in. My mind just blocks it, almost as if to protect itself, and I frantically try to tear downt he wall—because I want to absorb it so badly—let it in to every moment and fiber. The difference is, I believe it now, whereas when I was at St. Paul’s, I didn’t yet. I believe it’s real, which makes it worse that I can’t have it forever. There are places, I suppose you will always look back to—its everyone’s favorite place so far, and for good reason. Dad, you just have to come here if you haven’t been already. Everyday I spend in the countryside is everyday I’m SURE we have to make it here as a family. Even if I have to wait until I’m 82. (You’ll be 114 when I’m 82, so I suggest we do it before then.) If I could, I’d like to addict you to ruined castles and churches the way you wish to visit the California missions.”

Being at the Abbey made me want to write. Write everything—important and unimportant, vast and detailed. It made me want to see a piece of history, and I feel I’m losing a pice of myself here where everyone seems to love everything more than I do, where everyone is so talented, even at the things they don’t consider their “talent,” where everyone has experienced a world of things and I am hardly beginning. Everyone knows more than I do about all the things I’ve ever loved.

But enough. Enjoy these pictures of York and Fountains Abbey. Imagine walking across the stones, up the stairs, crawling over the broken walls, and over the over-grown bridges. Well, go on. Imagine away.

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