Day 162: Loving London, Part 1

So here is the post about my time in London! I didn’t take too many pictures on this day, because I was a bit too busy just walking around and taking things in. But I still hope you enjoy!

Day 162: Monday, 2/16/2015

I woke up once again to the blinds being opened at about 7:30am. Ugh. I was able to fall back asleep for a little bit, fortunately, and woke up again at around 9am. I got ready and headed out for my day of nostalgia! Yep, I was going to visit all of my favorite spots from when I was here with Cal Poly! But first, I had to run some “errands.”

Ever since I first heard about it, I wanted to see the show “The Book of Mormon.” I’m sure you’ve all heard about it (if you haven’t, you should look it up immediately), so I won’t go into details. But anyway, it was totally something I knew I’d like, and I hadn’t had the chance to see it. Well, until this trip, that is. The first thing I did when I woke up was head straight to Piccadilly Circus, like I’d done so many times before to see shows for my musical theater class I took. The theater was in my line of sight, so I walked into the box office and asked if they had discounts for buying last minute, student, etc. They didn’t, but they did have a raffle every night where they gave away 20 tickets for just 20 pounds each. Such a deal! I asked how much a ticket would cost otherwise, and it seemed a bit out of my price range. So I kept my fingers crossed for winning the raffle.

I then headed over to the theater where “Les Miserables,” my favorite show, was playing. The tickets for that show were a bit more manageable, so I figured that I would keep it in mind if I didn’t win the raffle for The Book of Mormon.

Where I was looking, I have no idea. Perhaps I was checking to make sure no one was staring at the girl trying to take a picture with a street sign…
My old street! Where I was looking, I have no idea. Perhaps I was checking to make sure no one was staring at the girl trying to take a picture with a street sign…

Afterwards, I hopped back on the tube (I bought an unlimited pass for the day) and headed to South Kensington station. Ah, my old home! Some new things had popped up: a Starbucks, a Pret-a-Manger, etc. But mostly, things had stayed the same. I was happy to see our favorite shwarma place, Beirut Express, was still alive and kicking! I didn’t get any, because I felt I’d had enough shwarma in the past 5 months… I headed around the corner and saw my old building on Manson Place! I took a quick (horrible) picture next to the street sign.

Afterwards, for a bit more nostalgia, I decided to walk from my old apartment to school! I remembered exactly how to go without using a map. I felt very impressed with myself. I tried to snap a picture, but there were students coming in and out, so I felt very awkward. I thought back to the memories and friendships I’d made that summer, and I smiled. Hope I didn’t look too weird.

I had passed another Nando’s Chicken on the way to school (how I didn’t eat there every day that summer, I have no idea) and stopped in for lunch…again. But I ordered something different this time, I swear! I walked around more familiar places and neighborhoods before heading back to my hostel. It had started to rain, and I wanted to get some blogging in before I had to go back for the Book of Mormon lottery.

Well, the time had come! I went to the theater, threw in my ballot, and crossed my fingers! And…I didn’t win. When they finished drawing names, I ran straight into the box office to ask what seats they had available for the performance that evening. Unfortunately, they only had 1 ticket for 150 pounds. No thanks… I ended up splurging (not THAT much, but a solid amount) for a ticket for the next night. I knew that it would be worth it (also my mom said I should see it no matter what, and I’ve learned that my mom is usually right). I then raced over to Les Mis to see what tickets they had available for that night. They had sold all the seats, but were offering standing tickets for just 12.50 pounds. Since it’s my favorite show, I decided to do it. The guy at the box office gave me a spot in the back with something to lean against. Great.

I now had about an hour to kill before the show started. The theater was right next to Chinatown, and I realized I hadn’t had Chinese food since I arrived in Israel (I’d heard bad things about it, so I stayed away). I went into a random restaurant and ordered some cashew chicken. The manager kept coming to check if I was okay. I guess not too many young, solo female patrons come in. But he was very kind and funny. The food was okay, in case you were wondering. I paid my bill and headed to the theater.

So as I’ve mentioned, Les Mis is my favorite show. But this time, I knew that seeing it was going to be extra special. The girl playing Eponine happens to be a famous YouTube personality named Carrie Hope Fletcher (YouTube name “ItsWayPastMyBedtime”). I was really hoping that I’d get to meet her at stage door, because she is really inspiring. However, I had absolutely no idea where the stage door was. When I found my spot to stand in the back of the theater, I saw two girls looking for their seats. One of them seemed worried, because she is a huge fan of the 25th anniversary performance of the show, but had never seen it performed live. They seemed friendly, so I struck up a conversation with them. I said that I’m sure it would be great, especially since Carrie was performing. It turned out that they were big fans of her too! And they knew where the stage door was! I made sure to stick close to them. Their names were Chelsea and Jade, and they were absolutely delightful!

Obligatory Les Mis selfie. Duh
Obligatory Les Mis selfie. Duh

As more and more people piled into the theater, I stood getting more excited by the minute!

Another girl walked up and stood next to me for the show. I guess she also bought her ticket last minute! Her name was Amanda, and she was from Ontario, Canada, but she had been working in London as an au pair for the past few months. She was very sweet, and she too had never seen the show live! I was really anxious to hear her and Jade’s reactions at the intermission. The lights went down and the show began…

I’m not going to regale you with the entirety of the show, but I seriously got the chills and cried…more than a few times! It was absolutely unbelievable, and Carrie’s performance went beyond my expectations! The best Eponine I’ve ever seen! When the show ended, Chelsea, Jade, and I rushed to the stage door in order to meet Carrie. We were all so anxious!

L to R: Jade, me, and Chelsea
L to R: Jade, me, and Chelsea

Unfortunately, after waiting 20 minutes, someone else standing by the door read Carrie’s Twitter, which said that she was too exhausted to come to the stage door tonight, as she had just been traveling that day. Such a bummer. I guess there’s always next time. Before we said goodbye, though, we obviously had to take a (cutoff) “Hopeful” (that’s what Carrie’s fans are called) selfie.

We parted ways on the tube and I headed off to sleep, after a really wonderful day!

I’m really liking traveling alone! I’ve met some wonderful people along the way, and I’m sure I’ll meet many more. Here’s to a great rest of my time! Stay tuned for part 2, and make sure you keep checking out my photos! I try to post them as soon as possible! CLICK HERE to see them!

-Girl in the UK 🙂

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