Sunday, October 22, 2006

I'm not sorry I met you; I'm not sorry it's over; I'm not sorry there's nothing to save

I just saw Evita in London. Allow me to give you a brief selection:
"I don't expect my love affairs to last for long--
Never fooled myself that my dreams would come true.
Being used to trouble, I anticipate it
But all the same I hate it. Wouldn't you?
Time and time again I said that I don't care...
That I'm immune to gloom, that I'm hard through and through.
But every time it matters all my words desert me
So anyone can hurt me, and they do.
Call in three months time and I'll be fine, I know.
Well, maybe not that fine, but I'll survive anyhow.
I won't recall the names and places of each sad occasion,
But that's no consolation here and now.
So what happens now? Where am I going to?"

I've never been so sad that I've had four nosebleeds in a day. This is a first.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

In a Nutshell

My day?
  • Groveling email
  • Strike at the Barcelona Airport
  • Flight delay (unrelated)
  • Watched 13-year-olds makeout two rows up
  • Minor switch at Victoria instead of Liverpool Street
  • Dinner with a Lord
  • Kissing some foreigners

Hallelujah for Europe, and I'll be home tomorrow.

Monday, October 16, 2006

From Barcelona

OK, the latest and greatest from your traveling Rachel. Made it to Barcelona about 9 this morning, and already have done tons-- saw the beautiful cathedral (Sagrada Familia is tomorrow), parambulated down the Rambla, and went to a chocolate museum. Wild, huh? Our only little mishap has been the girl we were supposed to stay with-- she couldn´t get a bus out of Madrid last night, so Phal and I are at a hostel. We´re sharing a room with 8 other people, but we haven´t met them yet. Sokphal is sleeping right now, so I thought I´d take the opportunity to respond to all my adoring fans... or something like it. Mostly I thought I´d get out of the bedroom because the detergent they use on the sheets is pretty strong. Picture yourself in an Ivory Soap factory and you might get an idea. But at least the place is clean, right? It really isn´t bad at all.
Anyway, Spain is quite nice. It´s really growing on me quite a bit. I´ve got some funny pictures to post in the next few days, so watch for them.
I did want to say one thing about this morning-- it´s kind of sad. I went into the Barcelona Cathedral and it was GORGEOUS. Now, I´ve gone to enough cathedrals in my day that sometimes they all start to look the same. But this one really was lovely. The disappointing thing? They had this one chapel that was set aside especially for people praying, instead of just tourists. And you know what? No one was in there. It was a little disheartening, but it gave me a good opportunity. Anyway, I just think it´s a little sad that people go to these places only to take pictures or check them off their lists, but forget what the buildings are all about. I mean, you can pray anywhere, but still.
OK, my time is probably up here, but hope everyone at home is happy and healthy. I´m having the time of my life, but I´m looking forward to getting back later this week.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The rain in Spain...

... is non-existent, right now. It´s actually hot here. I don´t mind, though.
So, yes, I´m en Espana. It´s good to have a new stamp in the passport, and the country, so far, is very beautiful. I really liked Santiago de Compustela yesterday. I´m learning that smaller towns are more my thing than big cities. I wouldn´t have guessed it when I was younger, but that´s the way it´s turned out.
Spain is a little frustrating, but in a way that´s different from England. In London, everyone rushes everywhere-- it´s like you are in a race for your life (my calves seem permanently flexed these days). In Spain, people meander, and you wonder how anyone gets anything done. I´m not trying to be picky, I´m just saying that´s how it is. I love London, of course, because I basically know my way around and of course, I speak the language. Plus, there are TONS of Polish people there. I´ve been able to speak more Polish in the last few days than I have since I left Lublin. I´m rusty, but it´s wonderful. But Spain is certainly not all bad. Sure, it freaks me out that people stay up ALL NIGHT LONG (not that I haven´t been staying up all night long nearly every night-- but they do it by choice) but at least they have trashcans everywhere. In London, there´s never a convenient rubbish bin.
I would also like to say that so far, I haven´t had to pay to use the toilet. Quite an accomplishment for six days, eh?
My friends are going out clubbing tonight, but I´m going to stay home. I REALLY wanted to go see some Flamenco (in honor of Ashley, as well as the local culture) but that´s not going to work out. Oh well. At least I got to speak to a Polish boy on the way over to this apartment we´re staying at tonight (Sokphal, her friend Laura and I are staying with Phal´s friend David, who is charming).
Hmm... what else. Like I said, I´ve been suffering from major lack of sleep. Not insomnia, exactly, but lack of opportunity. Of course, when the opportunity arises, it is rather difficult to fall asleep. It´s frustrating, but that´s why I´m staying in tonight. I don´t want to come home completely falling apart (that´s kind of the stage I was at the night before last).
And did I mention I got to see Ëvita¨as well while I was in London? It was very good. ¨Wicked¨was better, but you´ve got to love that Andrew Lloyd Webber, right?
OK, it feels like I have so much more I need to say, but I´m drawing a bit of a blank. I do want to say I think traveling makes one a better person. Not that it turns you into Wonder Woman or anything, but I really am grateful I´ve had all these opportunities. I mean, you go out there and see the world, right? And it´s great, and it´s fun, but the best thing is it reminds you of who you really are. It makes you question your beliefs and motivations and actions. Sometimes you see you need a course-correction, and sometimes that clarity of a larger world vision helps you know what you are is pretty spot-on great. It´s always a little of both.
Oh, and it gives you some raging fashion ideas, though I promise you I´ll never embrace ankle boots or the skinny jean... I´d look terrible, and I´ll spare the world. Dresses over pants, though-- that´s something I´ve always loved and I´m glad to see the world is catching up.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Defying Gravity

OK... not much time to write because it's 1 a.m. I mean, it's like 6 p.m. NM time, but I need to get some sleep for a full day tomorrow. I do want to say that "Wicked" was wicked-awesome. Sorry, Summy, I wasn't able to get Idina's auto, but she was fantastic. I got chills.I made my pilgrimage to the Diana and Dodi shrine at Harrods as well this morning. In the Christmas section of the store, they were selling these Christmas Crackers for 1000 pounds. I'm not even joking. Who are the people who really shop in this store?!?!And S and I had dinner with my parents' friend Clem this evening. He was just lovely. The Irish are the best, aren't they?So I'm still in one piece and loving life. I miss you all, though.Cheers.PS. I promise not to come home with a fake British accent.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Panic on the streets of London

Hi folks. You'll all be happy to know I arrived safely in London early this morning--very early by my normal time schedule standard. Right now it's about 5:30 NM time. Sokphal has let me nap on her floor for a spell, but I'm anxious to get this party started.... I have many European men to kiss, and time's a wastin!I imagine I'll write more later-- not too much to report yet. The flight was good, though I didn't sleep much. Got through customs just fine, and got myself on the tube out to Manor House without too many problems, though I told Sokphal I'd forgotten how American and European senses of personal space are quite different. On the way out here, I was uncomfortably close to a lot of people. I tried to remain calm, though normally I don't like anyone touching me at all (with a notable exception or two). Then after I got to Manor House, I took a wrong turn trying to meet Sokphal and ended up walking for ages and ages, lugging the 44 lb. suitcase (and heaven-knows how heavy the backpack and purse were). But it's nice to be here, it's nice to have a home base, and it's nice that we have plans. Today we're going to see Sharon Osborn, and then we're having dinner with S's friend who looks like Morrissey from the Smiths. I'm stoked. I'm going to try to motor on, and hope that I sleep well tonight. I need my energy tomorrow-- I've got a lot of shopping to do!

Sunday, October 1, 2006

Who DID shoot JR anyway?

I was in Dallas this weekend. Well, specifically, I went to Canton, Texas, and its infamous "First Monday Trade Days," but I got a little Dallas time in as well. I love Texans. I love the women and their big hair and flashy jewelry. I love the way everyone is anxious to help ya—from the moment we got off the plane in the Big D to the minute we boarded our flight home, folks were so nice. It's heartbreaking to think someone shot Gustavo, our Thrifty Car Rental Shuttle Driver. The man at the Thrifty counter told us all about it after we told him how helpful Gustavo had been. Then the couple at our hotel in Terrell—recent immigrants from India—went above and beyond the call of duty. I think they actually came to our room three times the night we checked in, bringing a rollaway bed (I'm not one to sleep in the same bed as anyone else, even my momma), then extra blankets, then an extra pillow. It was unsolicited, but appreciated.

I made friends with the man who checked me in at the airport this morning, as well as one of the security officers. People in Canton couldn't believe we'd come all the way from Albuquerque for a shopping trip, but seemed honored to have us. If I weren't a New Mexican, I think I'd elect to be a Texan.

In other news, I still am on an upper… big time. Not to get overly-religious on anyone, but I will say that God delivers on His promises—in a major way. I could list all the reasons I feel so blessed, but then maybe things would be really sappy and y'all wouldn't read my blog anymore because you'd think I'm little Miss Braggy Pants. Just know that I'm especially grateful these days for a LOT of things.

The well is finally in at my house, by the way! Something is done! This weekend I picked up some cool things for the house—fabric to reupholster what will become my dining room chairs (garage sale treasures courtesy Aunt Sylvia) and pillow cases from Pottery Barn (marked down to $7.99 each-- originally $53 each, thank you very much), but it's going to be a mighty while before I actually get to use the stuff. Still, it's all good. The only thing making me a little jealous is there is a house going in across from my parents' place, and it zooming. The whole thing was framed up in about a week, so it looks like a house. But mine will be up before I know it. Living at home is really good, and I can't believe how busy I am. It all works out.

But life is fantastic all the way around. It's autumn, and I'm happy. In just over a week, I'll be on my way to visit Sokphal in London (HURRAH! That's not to be confused with hooray, by the way), and stepping foot in Wales and Espana for the first time. Should be a good adventure. And I love this time of year—the crisp air, raking leaves, the hayrides, the start to the holidays. Could life get any better?