Friends from Home and the End of Term
Oh my goodness. It’s been more than four weeks since I posted. For my dear family and friends in the States whom I’ve bribed into reading this blog and any possible future IFSA students whom I’ve entertained enough to still be following this, I deeply apologize for my absence. To reward you for (hopefully) your continued patience, I’ll update more of my adventures early next week with a video! Until then, I hope you’ll enjoy my enthralling comments on the end of my epic month of March.
When I last left you, dear reader, we were on the verge of St. Patrick’s Day and the arrival of my roommate from Hopkins, Sarah. Sarah arrived completely jet lagged and, as a best friend should, I then preceded to drag her to Borough Market (a delightful outdoor market with anything edible you could possibly want), the local pub during the last of the Six Nations rugby games to be surrounded by drunken St. Patty’s Day celebrators, and to a house party with some musical theatre friends (which is honestly the norm for her as I drag her to all my theatre projects). I barely let her sleep in the next day before we spent six hours in increasingly cold, cloudy weather at the St. Patty’s Day festival in Trafalgar Square. Of course, being the kind, caring friend I am, I decided the best way to warm up after a great day of Irish music was with authentic, spicy Cantonese Chinese food from Chinatown. Yeah, I clearly had her best interests at heart.
Monday, the third day of her visit, Sarah and I visited Abbey Road. A devoted (understatement) Beatles fan, Sarah was the perfect person to experience the historic site with me; she even came prepared to sign the wall outside the studios. After an ill-fated attempt to visit the Zoo (we were not paying 20 quid to see penguins), we walked around the massive area that is Regent’s Park and ate ice cream. Because ice cream must feature in every Sarah/Kristina adventure.
Tuesday was a whirlwind day. Not only did we welcome the third Musketeer, our friend Carolyn, to London, we visited the Sherlock Holmes Museum, the Beatles store, Platform 9 3/4 and made it to afternoon tea before Sarah and I went to see Les Mis while Carolyn visited another friend currently studying in London. Firstly, as huge fans of Sherlock Holmes, our trio had an amazing time at 221b Baker Street for the six pounds we paid to enter. The two pictures below tell a very small portion of the whole story of fun in the solid half hour we spent inside the small house. With the Beatles store also on Baker Street, Carolyn and I could not pass up the opportunity to see Sarah in her natural habitat, especially since her natural indecisive nature made her want to buy the entire store. A few (understatement, again) pounds lighter, our band of merry university students then crossed London to indulge in our love of Harry Potter at Platform 9 3/4 in the newly refurbished, beautiful King’s Cross station. With Sarah’s (rare) great picture-taking skills, we caught one of the best pictures of my time abroad thus far.
Tuesday night was the first of our musical adventures, with an nearly ethereal experience with Les Miserables. With one of our favorite singers, Ramin Karimloo, as Jean Valjean, Sarah and I were literally on an adrenaline rush for the entire performance. I cannot put what I was feeling into words and that is theatre at its finest. Wednesday night found Sarah and I (after a slight ticket mishap on my part) in the audience for Matilda, an absolutely delightful, funny, enjoyable musical with the most talented children I have ever seen. We laughed often (in complete contrast to our tears during Les Mis) and I am elated we had a chance to see this amazing production before it opens on Broadway next spring. Wednesday also found the Hopkins trio on the London Eye, which I was glad to do with my best friends for my first time.
For our last weekend together, we changed scenery with a trip to Cardiff for the first time for all three of us. We explored the beautiful immensity of Cardiff Castle on Friday, which included walking through a World War II bomb shelter within the castle. My history nerd squealed like a teenager at Elvis in the 1950s. We also made it to Cardiff Bay, evoking a certain nostalgia for the Baltimore Inner Harbor and Hopkins, but indulgence in fresh, hot Welshcakes from Mermaid Quay quickly dispelled the homesickness. As Doctor Who fans (who then attended the convention on Saturday), Carolyn and I took pictures all around the Roald Dahl Plass, with the Millennium Centre and water tower landmarks. (Sarah finally got her revenge from our cackles at her Beatles store geek out.)
After sadly saying goodbye to my other two Musketeers and best friends until June, I threw my focus wholeheartedly into the next musical production of Hot Mikado (based on the Gilbert and Sullivan production, which I researched for my undergraduate thesis at Hopkins last year) and finishing the next set of essays due. I drank a lot of caffeine that week. But, as always with the productions I join, it came together in a fantastic three night performance week with essays that were actually pretty good. Well, I thought they were pretty good; my professors have yet to tell me if they agree.
I hope you enjoy the pictures from the adventures of the Hopkins trio in the UK. See you early next week with a video about my amazing time in Berlin. Cheers!