Crowds are not really my thing anymore- though they can provide some very interesting and funny experiences. In fact as much as I love animals, humans still reign supreme in the ‘they are hilarious realm’. Today the crowds on the underground provided vast amusement. You see, despite how comfortable I am getting at navigating this vast network I still get quite turned around at moments. Such was the case today. I rushed in what I thought was the right direction but when I realized I was in fact heading the opposite way that I intended I turned around….right into someone else… who was also rushing. Now that alone would not be all that odd or funny, but this time the swing of my arm combined with the perpetual motion concept, landed me, well my hand, in quite the pickle. You see my hand swung right into a man’s….well… a man’s ‘area’. That’s right my hand nailed some guy in the nuts! Simply put, attempting to navigate the underground station may indeed be dangerous- at least for the male gender and when I happen to be around. Now, I have had many a people run into or brush up against my ‘well endowed’ chest, but I don’t think that is quite the same and whacking some guy in his nether regions. Oh deary dear. I got a good laugh out it for quite a while afterwards though (not sure he can say the same.)
Navigating the underground here, well public transport in general, has comprised my most interesting experiences in London. I actually support walking above ground as much as possible in cities as you see so many amazing and wonderful things that you would miss when you take the underground. You also understand the layout of a city better when walking it, however, due to the cold and the chaos, I have become quiet adept in two/three weeks’ time at taking public transport. The people crack me up. Some are so grumpy and reserved, others trying to make a statement and stand out from the crowd, and most just going about their day. I have learned much about the nature of communication while traveling here. From seeing a girl whose makeup was flawless (a perfect rendition of a 40’s pin up without being trashy- impressive),catching her eye, (she was too far away for vocal communication) I circled my hand around my face then pointed at her, smiled, and gave her the thumbs up sign. She completely understood everything that I was trying to communicate with that motion. She got broad smile and mouthed “thank you”. That was all it took. A hand signal, smile and another hand signal and I told her that she looked great. Amazing right? A simple smile conveys so much information as does a frown , a grunt, or simply ignoring someone. Communication is key and despite different cultures, languages, and people amazing things are communicated and this creates a profound impact, yet communication can be so simple. Which is great as my gift is not the gift of languages. Actually I believe that I tend to understand people, but I am dreadful at responding.
I decided that one of the very best gifts the Lord has given me is the ability to laugh, to find humor in situations that are fairly humorless. Example: Nailing a guy in the groin. Not really funny, but yep, I laughed. I laughed at the announcement at the train station to not feed the pigeons because pigeons carry disease and this is a health hazard. Why might this be funny you ask? Let me tell you. One: in London pigeons are EVERYWHERE!!! In case the bold, italics, and exclamations points didn’t express my point these birds scare the heck out of me when they have the nerve to fly up at your face and scare the crap out of you everywhere you walk. If these birds are a true health hazard risk then every Londoner is in serious trouble and the doctors had better be on call 24-7. Two: Yep, wild animals bring germs. If you didn’t know that, and didn’t know that feeding them will encourage more birds to come (and breed) then you are moron. So yep- don’t feed the pigeons. Of course I was the only person standing there that night that found the announcement even remotely funny and certainly the only one who laughed at it. Therefore one of my gifts I believe is to laugh at life, enjoy it and see the ironies, instead of taking life so seriously all the time.
This leads me to what I was going to talk about, and failed to do because every day I have simply been so blasted tired. I crawl into bed at night thinking there is no way I won’t sleep instantly- yet sadly I tend to have many nights of dreadful sleep. I blame the bed, the heating system, and the tree branch that keeps rubbing against my window and scaring the beegezzes out of me. So yes, I have been very lazy in writing my posts, or doing yoga, or any number of other things I thought I would be able to magically accomplish because I suffered from delusions that coming to Europe somehow meant that there were more than 24 hours in day so I could ‘do it all’.
Now, onto the gift/good things…one day I felt absolutely dreadful. While sitting on the metro I was certain that I was going to pass out and somehow , someone, was going to have to find a way to carry my deadweight body up the escalator to get an ambulance. The thought of my parent’s reactions kept me upright. I made it to the church building where I asked for a blessing form the senior missionary couple that I had met on ‘that’ Monday. This blessing is very special to me and I therefore do not feel it appropriate to share it with the random masses on the internet. However, I will say that it was not what I expected and everything that I needed. I felt sick for the rest of the day and still have no clue what happened for me to feel so dreadful but part of me wonders if I was not sick simply so that I would seek the blessing. I have been on my knees pleading with my Father for help and understanding for quite a while now. And those pleas intensified when I came here and things were not all rose colored glasses (not bad, just not perfect). The Lord answered my prayers in the blessing, letting me know in a beautiful way that He was not only aware of me but had listened to my prayers and was granting my petitions. What a wonderful, beautiful, special and scared gift. I know that the Lord is with me on this trip. I know that He is proud me. Despite the fact that I wondered if I was only here because I wanted to be, and not because the Lord wanted me to be, I know that it can be both. I can want to be here and the Lord can want me to be here too. He can use me anywhere that I go.
Sometimes I feel awkward and out of place. I tend to have an extreme personality. I try sometimes to tone it down but at the end of the day I am who I am. I am learning throughout this (sometimes seemingly long) life that my personality is biggest blessing and curse. People do not always like or respect someone different, or someone who makes them uncomfortable by being different from how they are, and therefore it has been a struggle in my life. However, that difference allows me to talk to random strangers, point out a new thought process in class, help someone else laugh, and have sympathy and empathy for people in a powerful way, a needed way. Because I go against the grain I am able to help lift people out the yuck that they find themselves in. What a wonderful gift. I know that the Lord is excited for me to use those gifts while I am here, as I am really different a true ‘a fish out water’. Not only because of my personality, or because I am Mormon, or an outspoken confident girl, but also now an American who brings another way of life over here, just as they are bringing a different way of life to me by my being here.
I hope and pray that I can find wonderful missionary and simply Christian moments here in Europe. I hope that I will continue to grow and develop to becoming an even better me. A more refined, understanding, kind and compassionate me, so that I can continue to use these gift when I come back to the states.