And so it begins, my multi-step journey home. For reasons of immigration (my Polish visa was about to expire so I needed a stamp in my passport) I had to take a short trip to London.
Our last day or school was Thursday (a half day) and I left around dinner time, which was a comfortable time to leave, as I was able to go home, deposit any leftover school stuff, eat lunch and then head to the airport. I went early, because I was bored at home and ran into my mom, Laura and Scott as well as Maggie and Caroline. They were all still at the airport, waiting for their flight to Warsaw (Mom, Laura and Scott were heading to Zurich and Maggie and Caroline back to Canada).
The flight to London was uneventful and I got to the place I was staying fine. It was out in the Seven Sisters area, so it was nearly 11:15pm when I finally arrived but it’s not like I had to get up early or anything.
For my one full day in London I spent the morning wandering the streets of the city centre – enjoying the time before most tourists were out (I was still on school time, so was wide away pretty early). I got back around 10:30am with a bit of a headache so I laid around and watched some tv before having lunch. Originally I was intending to go out again before lunch but I really didn’t feel like it. Lying on a comfortable bed, wrapped in a fluffy duvet, surrounded by a plethora of pillows and watching tv (all things I had not had in a very long time) I was torn between wasting my only day in London with a nap and being lazy, or dragging myself out of bed and going on a forced walkabout somewhere. I decided to go with the former, which doesn’t normally happen in London.
It has been a long and tiring week. The last week of school is by far the hardest. The kids are climbing the walls, nobody wants to be there and it’s just mentally exhausting. Plus the stress of packing my classroom and packing my apartment (my family being godsends in that department), cancelling my bank account and internet and this unexpected trip to London. I was a giant stress ball. But lying there, I was completely relaxed for the first time in weeks. So I figured, why not give myself a break? And had a nap.
When I woke up in the late afternoon I actually felt quite recharged. I had something to eat and then headed out to wander through Kensington Gardens for about an hour. This is one of my favourite places in London. It was a beautiful day, but I prefer it when it’s overcast, or even raining – there’s less people. Still, the Gardens are big enough that it doesn’t get too crowded, even on a clear, sunny day.
And finally I made my way to the Harold Pinter theatre to see a play (if I was being forced to come to London, of course I was going to see a show while I was here). It was the first straight play (i.e. non-musical) I have ever seen on the West End and it was The Importance of Being Earnest. I chose this play for two reasons: 1) it’s one of my favourite straight plays of all time. I played Gwendolyn Fairfax in university and would love to do it again and; 2) the tickets were super cheap because the show was still in previews (on Broadway most shows do their two weeks of previews in Boston before moving to NYC. In London, most big shows – like musicals – do their previews out of town as well, but many of the straight plays don’t).
In fact, it was opening night of previews, which is cool because I’ve never been to a show in previews before and I’ve never been to any kind of professional opening night either. The show was quite good, funny – Wilde, how could it not be – and the set was beautiful. The Harold Pinter, which I had never been in before is designed like an opera house (each level directly on top of each other) making it tall and narrow, something you wouldn’t guess from the outside. I felt I was looking into the Montcreif/Worthington household from the seat of God.
And just a quick note about the actors, of course I took a quick glance at who was in the show (it’s a small cast) and didn’t recognize any names. But I did recognize one of the actors as soon as he walked on stage. I’m not surprised I didn’t recognize his name (Nigel Havers) but he was definitely in a recent season of Coronation Street (yes, I’m secretly a British grandmother). So that was cool. Oh, and I walked right passed Andy Mientus (currently playing Marius in Les Miserables on Broadway) standing outside the Book of Mormon stage door (The Harold Pinter is directly behind the Prince of Wales, so I had to go by the SD to get there).
And now, surprise London trip behind me, stamp in my passport and slightly less stress, I’m headed to Switzerland …
Sleep now little buddy
Put your cares away
Nappy with a happy face
Tomorrow’s a latter day
– I am Here for You (The Book of Mormon)