Thursday, May 6, 2010

clearly i am a passerby, but i'll find a place to stay

The plan Thursday morning was to go to the British Museum. I could leave my luggage in the breakfast room at the hotel until 2pm, and after that there was a £5 charge. The breakfast room wasn’t very secure, so I brought my laptop with me.

Oh, I do like riding London busses! Especially on the top, in the front row. By this time I felt like an old hand at it, especially with my oyster card.

At the British Museum I saw the mummies and the rosetta stone and lots and lots of really ancient things.

One of the coolest things was a table where they had several objects that you were allowed to touch. The greatest difficulty was in getting the museum lady to tell you about all of the objects and not talk for twenty minutes about one of them, while not letting you look at the papers that told about the others. But I got to hold a piece of stone that was inscribed in Nebuchadnezzar’s time! Just think! Daniel might have touched it!

Toward of the end of my time at the museum, I saw a couple that I had seen at the Tower of London because they were on the same Yeoman tour – a tiny little woman in a wheelchair, all wrapped up in brightly colored clothing, and her tall, grey-bearded, kind-eyed husband, wheeling her about. (He’s so strong that when they were at the tower, he would just carry her wheelchair right up the steps!)

“Hey!” I exclaimed, “I know you! Hello!” They turned around in surprise.

“I saw you at the Tower of London! You probably don’t remember me, but I was on the same Yeoman of the Guard tour. I was almost always standing at the front.”

“Oh!” she said. “I remember. Nice to see you!” And we talked about where we were from and what we were doing, and they are just the loveliest people in the world. They’re from Arizona, and they met at the Grand Canyon, and she’d never kissed anyone else, and told me that was the way to go, and was very pleased when I told her that I’d never kissed anyone and didn’t plan to until I knew they were who I was going to marry. For some reason we got on to the topic of writing, and I told them that they’d be in my blog. She asked for the address, and I gave it to her.

“Ransomed – ransomed what?”

“Handmaiden.”

“Oh, okay. Ransomed handmaiden.”

“Ransomed?” questioned her husband, with half a smile. “Who ransomed you?”

“My Savior,” I said, my face echoing his half smile.

Well, they both lit up like lightbulbs at that.

“That settles it; I’m giving you my last card,” she said, and dug through her purse to find it, so I would have her contact information. If I ever go to Arizona, I’m to look them up, and stay, and bring friends. And she tells me – without me having brought the subject up – that the right boy is waiting for me, and to wait for him, and that true love is the greatest thing in the world. And looking at the two of them, I well believe it. It was such a beautifully encouraging encounter – not just regarding relationships, but knowing that there are such wonderful people in the world, so full of joy, so full of God, so full of love. Just talking to them made me feel so loved and special. I want to be like that. I want people who randomly encounter me to feel loved and special.

I got back to the hotel just in time to get my stuff – but I wasn’t going to be able to meet up with Jan and Jack until about six o’clock, and the thought of carting all my things around for four hours was really dreadful. After some agonized pondering sitting on the floor of the breakfast room, I finally decided that it was worth the £5 to be able to wander the Kensington Gardens for four hours without my stuff. I almost left my laptop there, but ended up turning around and coming back for it. It was just too much of a risk – not so much for the laptop itself, as it’s fairly decrepit in laptop years, but for all the writing and pictures on it.

I walked into the park, and found a little ice cream stand, and bought the most lovely ice lolly I think I’ve ever had. It was strawberry ice, with vanilla creamy ice over two-thirds of it, and then chocolate coating with sprinkles over the top third. And it was really, really good.

I walked the whole length of the park to get to the Princess Diana Memorial Playground, which I had read was Peter Pan themed, and so of course I had to see it.

There was a gate there that was locked, and you had to push the button to go in, but then someone was coming out, not an official person but just a lady who was there, and then as I went in I looked at her and she looked at me, and she asked if I was meeting a child, and I shook my head. And my blood sugar was seriously low because it was nearly three o’clock and I hadn’t eaten lunch and I’d been walking around all morning, and she kept asking me questions and saying things, about how you weren’t supposed to go in without a child, and was I there for research, and why was I there then, and etc. And when my blood sugar is low I have a very hard time forming clear thoughts and then getting them into coherent sentences – I can do it, but it takes a long time. And it’s even harder when the answers to the questions involve things that aren’t easy to put into words at the best of times. And every time that I would get an answer formed to what she had just said, and start to open my mouth to say it – sometimes I’d get part of the first word out – she would say something else or ask another question, and I’d have to reprocess that and make an answer to it, and then the same thing would happen. This happened about six or even seven times before she finally went out of the gate and I walked away into the playground.

I just wandered all through the playground, and saw the pirate ship and the teepees and things. It was nice, though it would have been nicer if I’d had a little kid to play with.

I bought a sandwich at the little cafĂ© outside the playground, and then stuck it in my bag and went to find a loo. There was one at the Kensington Palace, so I went there, and I looked around the shop, too. Someday I’d like to go visit the Palace because it looks really cool – they’ve got it all set up to be like a storybook. It was more money than I was willing to spend that day, though.

After that, I finally got to do what I’d been planning to do all day: sit under a tree and eat my lunch and read Little Women. It was exceedingly pleasant, although interrupted once by a young man who wanted to sit by me. I shrugged and told him I was just reading, implying that I wouldn’t be talking to him. He tried to make small talk, but since his English was very limited and he’d never heard of Michigan, it didn’t go very well. And the drop of womanizer in his personality was too much for me to really be enthused about making an effort.

Why can’t a boy I’m actually interested in come up to me in the Kensington Gardens and ask me if he can sit by me?

Anyway, after I’d finished my sandwich, I went and walked along the Flower Walk, and to the Serpentine, and sent another note to Peter Pan. I also found a fairy ring, so I left a purple shell from John O’Groats there for the fairies.

Then I went back to the hotel, and found Jack there, and got my stuff out of the breakfast room and went to the car. It was so nice to see Jan.

We drove to our hotel, and had tea there. My room is kitty-korner from Jan and Jack’s, and quite nice, with a double bed and a sofa. No free wireless, though.

The restaurant food was quite good – I had a Chinese dish with noodles and peanut sauce. I told about London, and Jan told about Greece, and we commented on the election news playing on the television.

Then we went up and went to bed, all very tired.

6 comments:

lois said...

I am glad you meet such nice people. (It makes up for the other annoying ones.)
:)

Shan said...

How cool about the couple from AZ. :D

My kids would probably LOVE the Peter Pan playground. :)

Amy said...

I will forever have the image burned in my mind of the dear man who is so strong and loving that he carries his wife in her wheelchair up a flight of steps. What a beautiful, beautiful picture of love. Oh my...thanks for sharing that.

Anonymous said...

Loved the couple from AZ and the way God used them to validate your intentions and encourage your heart. Good reminder that even fleeting moments like Yeoman tours and passing people in museums can hold special, important interactions that might easily be missed due to schedules and fear. Jen

PapaJoel said...

I loved the post, though at this point I am trusting your title proves prophetic since we've known since a bit after midnight they canceled your flight. I rest knowing your Abba loves you infinitely more than I and will move heaven and earth to care for you. Would still be nice to know where you are. Love, Papa

Alcazal said...

They canceled your flight? Are you still in England? Are you out yet? I'm anxious to know because I've heard about the ash affecting flights to Europe but I didn't think it was disrupting flights to the States.

btw, thanks for the post. I love reading yours, though I don't as often as I ought to.