So, this week I finally started classes. After freaking out this for the past five days trying to teach my self the West Saxon dialect of Old English, I discovered that my classes might not actually be as difficult as I'd anticipated and, barring any unforeseen complications, I'm going to enjoy them immensely. That being said, we must also note that I'm only going to be in classes for about 8 weeks--including examination week. To me, that can't even be considered an entire quarter, much less a complete semester. Looks like I will get to continue exploring England, even with school going on at the same time.
These last couple weeks' adventures have been...well, amazing. First, I visited Buckingham Palace to watch the Changing of the Guard and meet the Queen. Unfortunately, both of those endeavors failed. I'm apparently too short to watch the Changing of the Guard successfully and not important enough for the Queen. I did, however, tour Buckingham Palace and visit the State Rooms where the Queen receives her most important visitors. Never in my life have I seen something so opulently decorated, but still retain an exquisite amount of taste. It avoided all the faux pas of gaudiness and displayed, like the Queen, an elegance befitting of the Royal Crown. Since meeting the Queen fell through, I found another way to achieve my jollies. I watched the London Symphony Orchestra perform the original Return of the King score to a screening of the film in the front row of the stalls section in Royal Albert Hall. To make it even better, I got to meet Howard Shore. Jealous? Just wait. To top it off, I saw the 25th anniversary production of Les Miserables, one of London's most famous and beloved shows, only 10 rows away from the stage. Never fear, it doesn't end there! Lastly, I accomplished a life-long goal--visiting Platform 9 3/4. These experiences were so surreal, yet so very and completely awesome. I'm still kind of freaking out.
(These pictures are not zoomed. I repeat, ARE NOT ZOOMED)
(One of my favorite scenes--the lighting of the Beacons of Amon Dîn )
On top of all that, I've spent the last two Sunday mornings attending church at St. Paul's Cathedral. Yes, that St. Paul's. The big one with the bird lady in Mary Poppins. The Communions that I have shared there have been some of the most meaningful in my life. The grandeur of the Cathedral, despite being man-made, feels completely divine. Its beauty is beyond comprehension. When standing forward to receive Communion you face a beautiful golden, mosaic Christ, risen with arms open, waiting to accept you in His love. In this moment, it is impossible not to be shaken by the love of Jesus and His sacrifice.
It seems that this journey far from home will be profound in many ways and will continue to surprise me with its deeply touching, passionate moments--moments that give the world new color and awaken a sleepy college student into life.