Monday, November 19, 2012

Hello, I'm signing on from London, UK. It feels incredibly more surreal to be here than China. I have been submersing myself in the history of this culture since I was young, thanks to parents who were avid readers and a dad who had majored in English lit. and is a huge fan of C.S. Lewis. When I was about ten, I read "The Hobbit" about three or four times over a period of a couple years. When I was in college, my parents bought me all the James Herriott books and I proceeded to read them over and over through my adulthood. I also read all the C.S. Lewis books along with many other books by British authors, but it wasn't until I was well into my 30's that I tackled Pride and Prejudice. A few years later I discovered Charlotte Bronte, who I believe ranks second in my favorite authors to James Herriott. My favorite movie of all time is "Little Women" (also one of my favorite books). Hey wait, that's based in America. Well, yes, but part of the story takes place in Europe, and in the movie Laurie says to Jo, "Can't you just see us bashing around London?" That line has literally been going through my head on automatic repeat since we planned this trip. Also, I've become somewhat of an addict to BBC mini series, not so much comedies and sitcoms though. I'm more into the historical. There's the more popular Downton Abbey of late, but I've also watched many other older ones, including Lady Jane (I think that might have been a movie, not a series). It was amazing seeing a huge painting yesterday at the National Gallery of Jane blindfolded right before she was beheaded. As I said, I'm more into the depictions of history and truth be told, I was a little taken aback watching the Opening and Closing ceremonies of the London games. The state of the culture today doesn't appeal to me although the people are very friendly and well, chatty, as you might expect. Well so much background...of course the best part about being here is seeing Bryan, no question there. But it's also amazing to see things I've only read or seen vicariously on the screen (even in their modern setting). In Scotland, it was a little more "true" to the original heritage. I got such a kick out of the taxi drivers. They rambled on and on about little things from everyday life and I felt like I was having a pint with them somewhere. There was a lot of sheep too! I mean a lot of sheep. None crossing the road and making us wait, though, which might have been fun to experience. In addition, I counted ten(ish) men in kilts, only one of which was playing bagpipes. Bryan tells me kilts are a rare style of formal wear in Scotland. The thing I wish I could have seen given warmer weather and more time was the Scottish highlands. I've read books describing how beautiful they are, oh well, maybe next time? Yesterday we took a walk around the Westminster area of the city. Because it was Sunday, not everything was open so maybe we'll go back and see the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace and see the inside of Westminster Abbey. I better sign off so we can get to our day.