Wednesday, January 11, 2017

We Met at Size 8: My adventures in Europe, Part VIII

I'm not sure what I expected when I went on a tour of the Tower of London. I had heard this was a piece of London's history I surely couldn't miss. While I agree it is an integral part of London's history, it was one stop I could have done without. I am quite squeamish, and didn't expect that the beefeater who lead our tour to share the brutal history so completely. It seemed that this man was going overboard. When I shared this on Facebook, one man (originally from England), responded that the beefeaters do this for our (American's) benefit. We found out later that the bloody history of the Tower of London wasn't as dramatic as it was presented. There were times that it seemed I could actually smell the carnage...the atmosphere really lent itself to spur my over-active imagination.

That same day we visited Westminster Abbey. I remember vividly the feeling upon entering the Abbey. Now, if I can only put those feelings it into words: profound peace, a vast, palpable presence...these descriptions don't do the Abbey justice. My emotions strangled my voice...I am not religious, so this reaction stunned me.  I believe that we are not alone, but my beliefs do not necessarily line up with organized religion. During our visit, there was a mass being given by one of their priests. It was breathtaking. To be honest, many churches leave me with a feeling of discomfort. Not the Westminster Abbey. I was at utter peace. We visited another cathedral which was beautiful, but there truly was no comparison.

Our tour of London ended with the musical, "The Book of Mormon". I typically avoid musicals, but THAT had to be the best production I have seen bar none. At the end, when the entire audience was giving the actors a standing ovation, I had bent down to grab my purse and felt drips on my hands. I stood up and looked at the ceiling thinking there may have been a leak. It was then that I realized I was crying. If you have read this far, you know how emotional I become when experiencing something profound. Well this play has been added to my list of one of my best experiences ever. If this production ever comes to a theater near me, I am taking my husband!

Afterwards, I had asked an usher where the stage exit was...I wanted to meet the actors. My sister, her colleague and I waited at the exit for the actors and crew to come out. I was able to meet one of the lead actors. He was simply delightful. We talked about the call he received when he got the part. He was a relatively new professional actor, and to get a call for the lead was a dream come true for him. The most interested person I met, however, was this tiny woman. I couldn't place her in the cast, but when I asked what her role in the production was, she said she was the costumer! (!!!) Her work was stunning. She had been doing this for more than 20 years, and this was to be her last show before retirement. She shared that I was the only person in her 20+ years that had ever stopped her to congratulate her on a job well done. Really?! For all my costuming friends at my community theater (Stagecoach Players in DeKalb, IL), I hope that you have received the kudos you deserve.

Again, I don't remember specifics about the sites, the names of places, actors names...but I do know that our day in London was one I will never forget. The following day, my sister and I were flying to Spain...sleeping that night proved to be a bit difficult. Anticipating the travel and the travel itself wear me out. Until next time.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

My New Year's Dream Becoming a Reality

For those of you who follow my blog, you know that I am passionate about all things yoga. About 10 years ago, I decided to try yoga to combat my chronic pain (since I was 12). I was desperate, depressed, and needed to try anything that would offer some relief.

A friend and co-worker of mine gifted me with a year subscription to Yoga Journal. That's all it took, and I started my yoga journey. For about five years or so, my dream has been to complete my 200-hour yoga teacher training program so that I can work with people who have dealt or are dealing with chronic pain. Chronic pain affects more than just our body. It affects our minds, our spirits, our connection with people and the world.

I have 11 more years before I retire from teaching. I would love to have a new career when that happens; but, I continually put off going through a program because the cost is exorbitant. So I've decided to stop the excuses and try a different route. I've set up a GoFundMe page to help defer the cost of the program. So far I have received five donations in three days! Please visit my page, and if this campaign resonates with you, I would so appreciate your help.

I hope each and every one of you are feeling blessed in your neck-of-the-woods.