Thursday, July 23, 2009

Addie's Journey Into the Heart of Austen Country

"Bath is a charming place, sir; there are so many good shops here."
Catherine Morland-- Northanger Abbey

I heartily agree with Catherine!
I just got back a week ago from a 10 day trip to England, and it was honestly one of the most amazing experiences of my life. We stayed in Bath for a week with our host families, and rehearsed and performed our show: "How I Became a Pirate." It was utterly fantastic. Then, Sunday the 12th, we took the train from Bath to London, and spent a couple of days in London sightseeing, and that was completely amazing.
So, pictures!
At the airport!

At the the egg theatre with the British kids
The Green running man exit signs! Instead of "EXIT" signs, they have Green Running Men-they are flat out amazing. :)
The outside of the theatre.

Two pictures of the lovely and awe-inspiring Bath Abbey- (note the American flag. Odd? I thought so too.)

The lovely ancient Roman Baths-where Bath got it's name from! :) Although the waters are supposed to have healing properties, you're not allowed to go in it anymore. Two boys in our group got scolded for touching the water. If you'll note the lovely green color, you'll probably conlude (correctly) that it's not the most sanitary water in the world! :)
My friend and I with an actor portraying an ancient Roman at the Baths. My friend wasn't sure for a second whether it was an actor or not! :D
My feet and the reflection of the Bath buildings in the water.
At the Roman baths-playing 'Titanic' :)

The Pump Room! Made famous by Northanger Abbey, in these rooms Catherine was courted by Mr. Henry Tilney, esq. Now, it is a tea room, and you can taste the Bath waters here-renowned for their healing properties.

P.S. The water tastes like sulpher. Yuuummy. :P :)

In Queen's Square park, with two delightful elderly ladies! I asked them if I could please take a picture with them. They looked so adorable sitting on the park bench, eating their sandwiches. :)

At the Train Station, on the way to London!

our London Hotel-near Hyde Park.

The London Eye-so cool! A giant ferris wheel that never stops, and gives you a fantastic view of the city.
The boys inside the London Eye-they were posing as their 'boy band' characters. :) Did I mention they were incredibly amusing and fun to travel with? We got funny looks from the locals, as well. :)

Street performer along the Thames riverbank. There were quite a few of them. We had a great time walking by them all!

London Traffic! :)

The Angel of Love-if you kiss your true love under this statue at midnight, your love will last forever! Pretty nifty. :)

Trafalgar Square! I could have spent hours there-so beautiful!

The Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. We had a horrible view of the actual ceremony, but seeing the guards was fun. And Buckinham Palace and the gardens that we explored afterwards were sooo beautiful. We also enjoyed the pelicans that were wandering about.

Big Ben!

The Tower Bride

All of us squished into a telephone booth!

A pirate ship belonging to Sir Walter Raleigh. I think that's who it was, at least...

At Shakespeare's Globe Theatre-this is a replica of the original Old Globe-this particular replica was built in 1997. We saw a production of As You Like It there. Fantastic!

Two Pictures of St. Paul's at Night-absolutely gorgeous!

A view of London at night from the Milennium Bridge-lovely!

All in all, it was an absolutely amazing trip. I'm so thankful that God protected us all throughout our journey, kept us safe, and blessed our shows. The very fact that we got this opportunity is a total gift from God, and I'm again, so thankful! Thank you all for your prayers as well, and I hope you enjoyed seeing the pictures!
God bless!
P.S. The first picture in the post is actually the village mead of Norton St. Philip, which is a little village outside Bath where I stayed that week with my host family.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Reflections on Austen's Fellas

Pride & Prejudice:

Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy

Lots of people say they would like to marry Mr. Darcy. Not me. My personality may be similar to that of Elizabeth Bennet's but I'd much prefer a Mr. Bingley. Mr. Darcy seems too serious for me...I need someone who can both make me laugh and who will laugh at my jokes. Perhaps I'm biased. I know several Mr. Darcy's in real life...the guys who seem reserved and even rude, yet once you get them talking you discover they're amazing. And I know I could never be happy with any of them.

Mr. Darcy is the perfect example of a man who needs love to be complete. Elizabeth's high spirits are the key that unlocks his frozen exterior. As he says, he has always been inclined to pride. His path to maturity involves opening up and humbling himself. Elizabeth's spontenaiety and joy encourage him to open up, and reveal his true kindness and gentleness. By the end of the book, he realizes that he needs to temper his pride with warmness, and he has seen the errors of his prideful ways. Since girls are called to help mold the characters of their friends, brothers, and eventually sons, I think Mr. Darcy appeals to that part that desires to influence the men around her for the better. I think that appeals to me most about Mr. Darcy is he's so good. He always tries to do the right thing. He fails, definitely, but he does try. And I love his relationship with Georgiana!

Mr. Charles Bingley--
Addie's thoughts on Mr. Bingley:
Pros: He's amiable, kind, fun-loving, generous, and a loyal friend. (Oh, and he's cute and rich. Let's be honest here.) :)
Cons: Honestly, his family isn't the best-his sisters are SNOBS. And he's much too easily swayed and influenced by others. He's sort of like Jane, where his optimism, while generally a good trait, can blind his judgement.
P.S.-Good point on the Faith, Ella! If we're talking husbands here, I definitely need a man who is completely grounded in his faith, and knows his own heart and mind.

As I just said, I'd prefer a Bingley to a Darcy. Why? He's sweet, considerate, has a good sense of humor (one of the most important things in my mind), and is optimistic (also important). Although I could see myself with a pessimist only because I would consider it a challenge to get him to see the brighter side, I would much prefer someone with an optimistic nature that matches my own. That way when I do get sad, he'll be able to comfort me. ;) I do agree with Addie though--he doesn't hold to his beliefs very strongly. I can't account for the greater things--i.e.: faith--because Austen doesn't really mention them, but considering the way he was persuaded to think Jane didn't care for him when (I believe) it was clear she'd have to wonder how the other things would hold up.

Northanger Abbey:

Mr. Henry Tilney--

Mr. Tilney's the one for me. :)
He's all that Mr. Bingley is, plus has a strong character and is skilled at witty banter. Of course, the fact that I consider myself akin to Catharine Morland may also play a part in why he's such a favorite. Really though, I can't think of a reason I wouldn't want a Mr. Tilney. He's interested in novels, able to carry on a conversation with just about anyone, knows what he stands for and isn't afraid to say it, can tease without being cruel and will apologize when he knows he's wrong. Plus he'd be able to admonish me when I mess up, which is something I need. :P

I have very mixed feelings about Henry Tilney...He never gave Catherine any encouragment at all, in my opinion. He didn't really declare himself until the very, very end of the book. I just didn't buy it. He seems more like a friend, although I suppose that friendship is a good foundation for marriage...Hmmm...So, in any case, Ella may have Mr. Tilney, and I shall be more than content to remain his very dear friend. ;)
P.S. I saw the movie recently, and I definitely like Henry better in the movie than in the book. I think he's more assertive in the movie...or something...I definitely liked him better.

Sense & Sensibility:

Mr. Edward Ferrars

I like Edward, but he's definitely not your typical Austen hero. He's not eloquent or very skilled with words. He's very kind and good, but he's not very assertive. But why on earth doesn't he just tell her the whole Lucy Steele story at the beginning?!?! That always frustrated me. He doesn't need to tell her particulars, he can just let Elinor know basically what's going on, and tell her that he loves her, but he has this other attachment-or something like that. Maybe he has too great a sense of propriety to state definitively that he loves her, without making her an offer of marriage at the same time. But Elinor would be spared a lot of pain if she knew that Edward returned her feelings, I think.

I've always been a fan of Edward. But I highly suspect it is the movie Edward I liked and not necessarily the book Edward. Sadly it's been far too long since I've read Sense & Sensibility (eight years!), and I know that the movie added scenes that show him in a wonderful light (such as the scene with Margaret and her atlas, where Edward and Elinor cunningly coax her out from under the table). Therefore, my reflections on this particular hero will have to be based on the movie Edward--so my opinion is this...he's a good man, who stands by what he believes is right even when it hurts him to do so (as is seen in his keeping his engagement, when the feelings no longer existed), and he's good with children. Perhaps a bit too awkward or rigid, though. He always seems a bit nervous, I think...

Colonel Brandon--

What a sad, sad man. I do want him to have a happy ending, I really do...however I can't help but feel that he's too old for Marianne. I always felt bad for Marianne, that she never got the ending she wanted...she seemed resigned to her fate, rather than happy with it. Ya know? Sort of like the way I feel when I try to imagine myself with someone other than the man I hope to end up, okay God, if this is what you want I shall be satisfied...but it's not the dreams I myself had. Anyway, I do think Colonel Brandon is a sweet fellow with a great heart. My only qualm with him is his age. And perhaps he may be a bit too reserved as well--however considering his past I think we can forgive him that.

I basically agree with Ella on Col. Brandon. He's very kind and loving, and I know that he'd be a great husband. But, after his heart has been broken so completely, it would be difficult for him to love completely again.

Mansfield Park:

Mr. Edmund Bertram

Ummm...I haven't read Mansfield Park in forever. *blush* Dear readers? Do you have thoughts on Mr. Bertram?

Oh, this guy. To be honest, he kind of always bothered me. Well, the entire Mansfield Park story does. I'll be fair. Edmund is a good man who tries to do the right thing. However, he is easily blinded... *cough* Mary Crawford *cough* And I never am satisfied with the ending. The fact is, he was passionately in love with Mary for most of the book. Then he (finally) discovers she's not the type of woman he wants to marry, and suddenly it's 'Oh Fanny I love you.' If I were Fanny I'd say 'Prove it.'


Mr. Knightley

I'm not really sure how I feel about Mr. Knightley. While he is a very nice guy and part of me has always wanted the sort of relationship he and Emma have (being really great friends first), I'm not sure he's the type of man I'd want to marry. I'll be honest, I don't take criticism well. Yes, I need someone who will correct me (as I said about Mr. Tilney) but he needs to have tact, too. So, Mr. Knightley would make a great friend but not a good husband for me.

Mr. Knightley is a bit of a snob-e.g., his objections to Emma's friendhip with Harriet. However, the fact that he's so much older than Emma doesn't bug me like it does some people. I liken it to a situation like Dantes from the Count of Monte Cristo falling in love with Haydee, or Mr. Rochester falling in love with Jane. I love how he's her good friend/mentor for most of the book, and then all of a sudden, Emma realizes: "Oh! I love him." :)As an older brother type figure, he's not afraid to reprimand or tease Emma about her faults. He loves her because of her faults. He's not afraid to challenge her to become better, but he takes her the way she is.


Captain Frederick Wentworth

Capt. Wentworth is one of my favorite Austen fellows! One of my favorite scenes in Persuasion is when Anne is struggling to make one of her young nephews behave. The young boy continues to misbehave, so Frederick simply swoops down, takes the boy aside and plays with him. Obviously, loving and playing with children are huge assests in a future husband. Although he succumbs to hurt pride and resentment after Anne breaks off their engagement, he remains constant. He is an extremely impressive character, because he is willing to face the consequences of his mistakes. His behavior towards Louisa, he realizes, has led her to form an unrequited attachment to him. He is ready and willing to do the honorable action and marry her, if that is what she desires, although he knows that it will cause him unhappiness.
He is always filled with kindness towards Anne, despite her rejection of him. If you really think about how awkward that situation would be, his ability to behave with such wonderful composure and charity, even friendliness, is marvelous. So, you can probably tell that I approve most deeply of the honorable, witty, kind, dashing, and romantic Capt. Wentworth! :)

Hehe, I think we know which Austen man Addie would like to marry. ;) As for myself, Persuasion has always bothered me the same way Mansfield Park does. I guess I just don't handle frustrating stories well. I mean, when things are going completely wrong until the very end. Drives me nutty! Anyway...I do agree with Addie. Wentworth is a wonderful guy with many great qualities.