Saturday, July 29, 2006

The only difference that I see
Is you are exactly the same as you used to be
The only difference that I see
Is you are exactly the same as you used to be

- "The Difference" The Wallflowers

Friday, July 28, 2006

Ladies and Gentlemen, we apologize for the delay...

Tonight I'm going out with my au pair friends for one of our last times as the original group that was here when I came. Tomorrow I leave wtih the family for a week in Devon with my host mum's family. Next weekend I'll be exploring Cornwall. On Monday I'll spend most of the afternoon and evening in London, being a tourist, before I take the train to Stansted airport to spend the night. Then it's an early flight, landing in Sweden, and I'll catch a ferry over to Denmark for my five day four night tour of Copenhagen, Venice, and Prague. I'll get in late Saturday night, a fortnight from now, spend another night at the airport, and catch an early train back to Southbourne Sunday morning.

So if you don't hear from me in the next few weeks, that's why.


Thursday, July 27, 2006

Josiah has a lot of sayings. He likes to repeat things over and over. I will get asked at least 6 times a day, more if it's just him and me for a couple of hours, "Amy, where your daddy?" even though he knows. A couple of weeks after I came, he found the innate delight in the word "Why." He likes to call his brother and sisters "boobiehead." He's just discovered the concept of matching and told his mum and I the other day that his sister's purple and pink water bottle matched his green top (other times he's better at this one). He tells us his tummy hurts when he's full or when he doesn't want to eat what we have for tea. And then there's a phrase that's still a bit of mystery.

He'll put his hand on his chest and say "My heart's bleeding."
I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty
in the moonlight
overthrew you
She tied you
To a kitchen chair
She broke your throne,
she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Maybe I've been here before
I know this room, I've walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you
I've seen your flag on the marble arch
love is not a victory march
It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

There was a time you'd let me know
What's real and going on below
But now you never show it to me do you?
Remember when I moved in you?
The holy dark was moving too
And every breath we drew was hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Maybe there's a God above
And all I ever learned from love
Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you
It's not a cry you can hear at night
It's not somebody who's seen the light
It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

- "Hallelujah" Rufus Wainwright

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Woohoo, I am such a nerd. Tonight I added Portsmouth to my facebook networks so now I'm in an English network! Hey, it's super hard to meet English people around here.

I've finally figured out how to work the video on my digital camera. Well, more precisely how to get the video from the camera to the computer. Finally, after like, 6 months of having it. I was looking over some footage tonight. I sound like my big sis. Too bad she doesn't get off work until I'm already asleep. Stupid time difference.

This is the first week of the summer holidays. It's been a bit stressful and exhausting, but good as well. I'm looking forward to a relaxing Friday night with the other au pairs in a couple of days. Next week we're going to Devon to be with my host mum's parents and I'll get to see Cornwall and that area. I'm most excited about seeing Restmorel Castle which I used in a story back in my senior year, not knowing that ruins still existed. Then, the week after that, I'm going to Copenhagen, Venice, and Prague. It's going to be a crazy trip, but I'm so excited. Summer here in England is beautiful. It's hot and cloudless. I feel like the past week or so I've really settled even more here. It's a nice feeling.

It's about to storm outside. It's good. We need the rain.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Look at the stars,
Look how they shine for you,
And everything you do,
Yeah, they were all yellow.

I came along,
I wrote a song for you,
And all the things you do,
And it was called yellow.

So then I took my turn,
Oh what a thing to have done,
And it was all yellow.

Your skin
Oh yeah, your skin and bones,
Turn into something beautiful,
You know, you know I love you so,
You know I love you so.

I swam across,
I jumped across for you,
Oh what a thing to do.
Cause you were all yellow,

I drew a line,
I drew a line for you,
Oh what a thing to do,
And it was all yellow.

Your skin,
Oh yeah your skin and bones,
Turn into something beautiful,
And you know
For you I'd bleed myself dry
For you I'd bleed myself dry.

It's true, look how they shine for you,
Look how they shine for you,
Look how they shine for,
Look how they shine for you,
Look how they shine for you,
Look how they shine.
Look at the stars,
Look how they shine for you,
And all the things that you do.

- "Yellow," by Coldplay

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

So I have a screenplay I've been working on, which for now I'll ungraciously dub "The 4:05" just so I can stop referring to it as the screenplay that I actually like. This story has a shape, since I'm a visual person. It's like a plait, and I was stuck there for a little while because I had a couple of unknown plot lines. Well you can't braid unless you have all the strands, and I was having a hard time writing without all my story. I worked on it every day this weekend - pubs are amazing places to write in - and I finally got ahold of those elusive plot lines. It was amazing. I think that's one of the most beautiful moments in writing, when it all falls into place and you're like "Ah ha! This is what the story's about, this is what the characters want to say, and this is how it's going to happen."

Anyway, writing The 4:05 has been relatively easy, once I will myself sit down to it. I wrote some tonight, unexpectedly. I typically don't like writing in the place I live, especially my room, but I had nothing else to do and I really need to work on this if I want to make a career out of it. So I sat down to write and I was thinking of a scene I wanted to do, when I realized that I had left off in the middle of another scene. And my thoughts on the written scene were "Oh. I don't know if I like this or not. I'm not sure it really fits with the whole story." Often, this would put me at sort of an impasse. But then I thought, "Hey, it's ok. This is the first draft, where I just get the story out. I'll just cut this scene later." So I finished writing it and went on with the other scene I had planned. It's a nice feeling, trampling on the internal editor. And I get twice the writing done. On a story I like.

I did a little college research today. One of the schools really does have a nice program, and I really like the school itself. I'm just afraid to get too excited for it, in case God wants me somewhere else. I have this skewed perception (I hope it's skewed), that God takes away what you want, all the time, every single time. Which sometimes I think He really does, to bring you closer to Him. But sometimes I think He wants you to be happy too. Um, I don't really know. But then again, I don't think it really matters too much either...
Ever close your eyes
ever stop and listen
ever feel alive
an you've nothing missing
you don' tneed a reason
let the day go on and on

Let the rain fall down
everywhere around you
give into it now
let the day surround you
you don't need a reason
let the rain go on and on

What a day
what a day to take to
what a way
what a way
to make it through

- wild child, enya

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

I've stunned even myself. I just booked a trip for Copenhagen-Venice-Prague, 5 days, three weeks from now.

Mary of Bethany by Jill Briscoe. It's sorta strange to sit down and listen to a recording of a lecture; I've never done it before. But I wouldn't recommend it if I didn't think it was completely worth it.

Monday, July 17, 2006

I feel like my whole life can be told in song. Mostly Oasis and Coldplay, with a little LIfehouse and Everclear, Death Cab, and the whole Garden State soundtrack. It one sense, it's beautiful because someone else knows exactly what I feel, and they've already told it much better than I ever could on my own. On the other hand, all it is anymore is me listening to these songs tell my life back to me.
It's hot here. Summer in England is about as far away from the stereotype gray and rain that you can get.

I had an awful dream last night. Actually, I had two nightmares and a nice dream that was really just a taunt. I can't remember what my first nightmare was, but in my second I had planned a huge party for a friend who was going away for a while. And I think it went off alright, except my friend was totally uninterested in talking to me and all they wanted me to do was iron the shirt they needed to wear while they were away.

It's awful ironing in this heat.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Saturday, July 15, 2006

If I could open my arms
and span the length of the isle of Manhattan
I'd bring it to where you are
making a lake of the East River and Hudson

And if I could open my mouth
wide enough for a marching band to march out
they would make your name sing
and bend through alleys and bounce off all the buildings
I wish we could open our eyes
to see in all directions at the same time

Oh what a beautiful view
if you were never aware of what was around you
and it is true what you say
that I live like a hermit in my own head
but when the sun shines again
I'll pull the curtains and blinds to let the light in

Sorrow drips into your heart through a pinhole
just like a faucet that leaks and there is comfort in the sound
but while you debate half empty or half full
it slowly rises your love is gonna drown

-Marching Bands of Manhattan, Death Cab for Cutie
Here in England, Dr. Pepper claims to be a "carbonated fruit flavor soft drink." I'm still trying to figure out what fruit.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Change my name

Slip inside the eye of your mind
Don't you know you might find
A better place to play

You said that you've never been
But all the things that you've seen
They slowly fade away

So I'll start a revolution from my bed
Cause you said the brains I had went to my head
Step outside, summertimes in bloom
Stand up beside the fireplace
Take that look from off your face
You ain't ever gonna burn my heart out

And so, Sally can wait
She knows its too late as we're walking on by
Her soul slides away
But don't look back in anger
I heard you say

Take me to the place where you go
Where nobody knows
If it's night or day

Please don't put your life in the hands
Of a rock and roll band
And throw it all away

I'm gonna start a revolution from my bed
Cause you said the brains I had went to my head
Step outside, cause summertimes in bloom
Stand up beside the fireplace
Take that look from off your face
Cause you ain't ever gonna burn my heart out

And so, Sally can wait
She knows it's too late as she's walking on by
My soul slides away
But don't look back in anger
I heard you say

So, Sally can wait
She knows it's too late as we're walking on by
Her soul slides away
But don't look back in anger
I heard you say

At least not today.

- Sally Can Wait, Oasis

Monday, July 10, 2006

It's 3:30 in the morning, and I'm awake. I'm having a startling hard time going back to sleep. I think I am more awake now than I will be if I fall asleep and get the other 3 hours of sleep waiting for me. I feel like my body is creaking inside. I'm thinking about things. I'm thinking about When Harry Met Sally. I'm thinking about things to say. I'm thinking about when to come home. I'm thinking about the imminent death of my computer and the urgent need to back everything up before I lose it all for good this time. I even had a fleeting thought about my sister and our childhood, but now that it's gone I can't remember what it was.

It's 10:36 back home, and I'm thinking about how I would rather be there than here.


Norfolk. Don't pronounce the "l". It'll sound like you're cursing, but it's ok with the Englishmen.

I went to county Norfolk this weekend. I had the abrupt opportunity to take Monday off, and by golly I took it. I had a lovely trip planned out for Bath, Cardiff, and Wales. It fell through. Friday, the day before I was supposed to leave, I booked a hostel in Norfolk where I had original thought about going but rejected because I didn't understand where the hostel was or how to get to it. More on that later. Still, I was happy to get away. Because there's not really much to do in Norfolk, especially the area I was going to, I was going with a firm determination to do nothing but read, write, and spend a lot of time thinking about everything. Woke up a little later on Saturday, wrote off a few emails, got ready and packed and I was off.

Let me just say that on Friday night, I had the highest esteem for the British transportation system. By Saturday evening, it had fallen far from my graces. Apparently I need to start taking hiking boots, my map of Britian, and a compass on my relaxed weekend jaunts.

Because the ticket man couldn't find the station that the online itenerary told me existed, my ticket ended up costing me 15 pounds more than expected. Ouch. I had to go through London, which was unlucky, though I did get to see the London Eye and Big Ben briefly from my window. I will admit, I do love the train stations in London. The expense was the only disasterous thing about my train ride. I arrived in King's Lynn at 420, right on schedule (I left at 11). I wandered around King's Lynn for a bit, picked up When Harry Met Sally at a sale at HMV (that is where my weakness lies. I am redeveloping my distaste for shopping, but movies will always get me), and went to the bus station to hop on over to Burnham Deepdale, where my hostel was. No such luck. The only bus from King's Lynn to Burnham Deepdale had left at 420, the exact moment I had arrived in town. I tried to ring the hostel; no luck. Instead, I hopped on a bus to Hunstanton, about 15 miles further toward my goal. 5 minutes into the journey, the bus breaks down. Fortunately, we get a replacement bus speedily. I phone the hostel again, this time getting a person. They suggest that once I get to Hunstanton there may be a bus at 725 or I should be able to get a taxi. The bus runs only in the summer. I think July qualifies as the summer. When we finally arrive at Hunstanton, the view is breathtaking. The sun is about half way down the horizon over the sea. It's beautiful. It's also a bit touristy, there were loads of people about, and I'm stressed about the fact that I'm still 10 miles from my goal and I saw no taxis at the bus station. I go back to the station around 710. No bus comes. I wander around, looking for the taxis that are supposed to be hanging around the station. No luck. Looking back, the reasonable thing to do would have been to go into a hotel and asked if they could ring a taxi for me. At this point, unable to find a taxi and believing they all must have gone home for the night and feeling a little stressed about the amount of money I've had to pay for transportation for this trip, I do the irrational thing. I decide to walk it.

Three hours later...

It was not a fun walk. It was stupid, really. Obviously, the thing to do was to go to a hotel and have them order me a taxi. No person in their right mind walks for three hours to get to their hostel in the middle of nowhere. But still, even though those three hours were at some points really very awful, I don't think I would have done it any differently.

I wanted to go to Norfolk because I read about it in a book. Over the past week or so I've been reading Never Let Me Go because it's been jumping off the shelf at me wherever I go, bookstores, libraries. I thought I would finally give it a try. It's an excellent read. In it, the narrator refers to a joke she and her friends have going on about Norfolk being the "lost corner" of England and how the joke develops into an idea that anything anyone every loses in England somehow ends up in Norfolk. I was walking along the marshlands on Sunday morning and there were quite a few boats moored upon the grass, there for who knows how long, and I almost shivered when I thought that these abandoned boats had once been lost at sea, and those people that they held were still wandering around Norfolk as well. I suppose the strange thing is, though maybe it shouldn't be strange because I came to Norfolk with this purpose, but I did find something I had lost, or at least misplaced.

I found my lost faith. Going to Norfolk was one of the most spiritual experiences I've had in a while. And while it was at sometimes wretched and sometimes incredibly painful, I wouldn't trade it for anything. I came to think of that three hour walk as my road to Damascus, probably because it's the only famous walk in the Bible, but also because of the intense experience it turned out to be. It was during this weekend, when I have never felt so alone in my life, when I've never been surrounded by such devestating and bleak beauty in nature before, that God showed me He never leaves. And it was a scary experience when the next day I sat on a little hill surrounded by fields and cried because I felt like He had left me too, but the beauty was when I just told Him I wanted to come home to Him. And then there was on the train back, when reading C. S. Lewis' the Problem of Pain, that my conception of God's love was so altered that I felt like I was plunging into new depths. I went to Norfolk, perhaps a little reluctantly, because I knew the weekend was going to be a lot of pain mixed with healing, but I am so pleased that my plans for Bath and Wales fell through. I don't know. Even looking back now, I wondered if that book kept catching my eye just so I would want to go to Norfolk, just so I could meet with God.

I'm scared. I know the way that spiritual experiences often go. They usually jump start your faith for a while, and then the effects get dimished by the cares in your life. I'm scared that will happen to me again, as it's happened before. I'm afraid that this draining 12-hour day job will sap my enthusiasm, that the struggle I have with the things I've lost but didn't find in Norfolk will make me despair, but I know what my life is right now. I am the seed that's been cast among the weeds, and the cares of life are distracting me. Knowing that alone is going to help. This is something different than your typical post conference or concert or missions trip glow. This experience had some sort of revelation that's unique for me. I want that revelation to be life changing. I need it to be.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Things that they don't have in England that I miss:

- Oreos
- Yellow legal pads
- A realization that England didn't win WWII alone
- Ink pens
- The ability to call whoever I want whenever I want
- America's Next Top Model
- Hot and cold water from one tap
- Drive in movie theatres
- Proper light switches
- Peanut butter/chocolate candy
- My family and friends
Sometimes I feel like I was a horrible person in my past. Then I'm determined that I will never be that way in the future. I almost wished that I had had someone to point out when I was being a jerk, but then I realized that I did. I just wish I hadn't been such a jerk that I didn't listen to them.

Here's to a love-ly future.
And if by "set" I mean "falling apart" and by "Bath and Wales" I really mean "Norfolk," then yes, my last post was absolutely correct.
So my last minute plans are set, and tomorrow I get to go on a long weekend trip to Bath and Wales. Hallelujah.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

I had an awful time putting the children to bed tonight. Like, I mean, really terribly awful. Possibly the worst ever night yet. Why does no one use the word glum anymore? There were some fun times tonight, too, like the arrival of a previous au pair for a visit with us. But I had an awful night with the children, I'm feeling once again that I am too inept to understand anything, and I tried to call my dad for the second time recently and he didn't pick up. It's a minor holiday for us Americans, but I've realized that it does make me a little sad to think that everyone's got a reason to eat some great food with friends and family.

For my Fourth of July celebrations, I'm having a pity party.

On the flip side... I've gotten some good work done on the screenplay that I like. Maybe I should give it a title soon so that I can actually refer to it properly. I got to correct James and Jessica's pronounciation for once. A Bible study held here on Sunday gave me hope that I can find a beginning and a starting point for greater depth in my spiritual life. And in 10 days I'll have been here for 2 months. If we had clouds here in England, and half the time we don't, I'd like to think that I'd be able to find the silver lining.

Monday, July 03, 2006

I haven't been sleeping well these past couple of nights. I'll wake up for any reason, the stifling heat here, my phone calling me because I have a voicemail, I've having a strange dream, my subconscious hopes for too much and wakes me up. I never have problems sleeping. My iPod's broken so I can't even turn to Coldplay to sooth me to back to my dreams. All I can do is brush my laptop with my fingers and dimly recognize through eyes that are still half hallucinating that nothing's changed.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

How does an artist who is called to be holy truly and honestly depict life in an unholy world?
What does trusting God really mean? Does it mean you let go yof your circumstances, become a bystander in your own life, just let things happen to you assuming that they're what God wants to happen? Does it mean trusting your impulses to be the ones that God's giving you, making decisions based on your interpretations of God's word and will, acting the same but being less bothered by the outcome? Or is it some place in the middle? And if it is, how do you know when to act and when to be acted upon?