Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Harry Potter shenanigans and the late, great Shirley Temple

Me and Rupert!
I can't think of what could be better than sitting in my cozy room on this rainy afternoon in London, drinking some tea, listening to Shirley Temple songs, and writing about what I've been up to lately.

To be honest, I can't even begin to think of what I have been doing in the past week or two. Time is flying by so quickly that everything seems to mush together and it all becomes a big blur. People often ask me how my weekend was and I struggle to remember how I spent it. That leads to a lot of awkward encounters with people who assume I can't remember because I drank too much, hah!

Let's go back to two Saturdays ago.

I had been spending a lot of time in my room and I was itching to get out and do something, so I decided I'd meet up with Anna after she saw MOJO that night. We had talked about it briefly the day before but when I tried to reach her to confirm that day, she wasn't responding. It got pretty late and I figured she might have left her phone in her room, so I decided to go and see if I could find her. Thankfully, I got there right as the play was letting out and I found Anna standing right out front, near the corner. She was really happy to see me and told me that her phone had died earlier in the day. We talked for a bit while the crowd dissipated, and then we heard a few screams near the stage door.

I told Anna to go see if Rupert Grint had come out and I stayed and watched the front door for her. She went over and waved to me to join her. Rupert and Colin Morgan (BBC's Merlin) were signing autographs and Anna was trying to get up to them. I decided to wait back at the front of the theatre because I had already met Rupert and I don't really care for big crowds. Anna walked back over to me and said she had gotten really close but they went back inside. I suggested that we grab drinks at the pub and I could tell she was still anxious to see if Rupert would come back out. We stood in front of the pub for a few minutes while she looked around and a guy in a suit asked, "Who are you waiting for?" I said, "Well, we were kind of waiting to see if Rupert Grint would come out but it's no big deal." He said "I think he's coming in tonight." So Anna and I looked at each other and she asked him who he was. "I'm the manager of this place," he said. We were so surprised because he was so young and antsy. He told us that he had spoken to Rupert's driver and that he was coming into the pub soon.

I decided to grab us drinks so we went inside and I ordered a cider and a red wine for Anna. When I got back over to her she pulled me towards the side door and said that Rupert was outside. The manager came in and saw us and said "He's outside if you want to go say hello."

We walked out and Anna went up to him. I honestly couldn't tell you the whole conversation because it's been two weeks now and I really should have blogged about it sooner so I wouldn't forget.

I'm pretty sure Anna told him that she had been sitting in the way back for the performance but she enjoyed it and he laughed and thanked her. She also asked him what he was up to after the show closed (Feb. 8th) and he said he was taking a break and then filming something. He said that he really loved being in MOJO and that it was a great experience.

I awkwardly said, "It must be a lot after so many performances. You look so tired all of the time... I mean, you must be tired." (Or something like that).
Butterbeer is too good!

He laughed and said that he was pretty exhausted and that he was losing his voice. I noticed that the first time he spoke that night and I was thinking how strange it was that he was basically chain smoking outside of the pub in 45 degree weather after two performances.

Regardless of those bad decisions on his part, he was still adorable and very sweet to us. We both got pictures and I told him that I really hope his voice gets better soon. He thanked me and said, "See you soon!"

I wish!

That was one of the more exciting things that happened since I last blogged. I can't believe that I met him twice. I mean, once is pretty unbelievable but twice just killed me. I feel so lucky! Especially because I met him in a relaxed environment both times. I didn't have to fight a crowd or just snap a quick selfie. I got to talk to him and take my time. It was such a laid-back meeting that I nearly forgot how famous he is. Of course that all set in when I was getting on the tube to come home. I clutched my phone for dear life so that I would safely get it back to my room to post the pictures.

The model of Hogwarts was much bigger than I thought! 

Anyway, I'm sorry for all of the Rupert stories. I'm sure that'll be it for me. The show is over so unless I randomly see him on the streets, I doubt we'll ever cross paths again.

But in other Harry Potter-related news, I went to the Harry Potter Studio Tour with Liz and her friend from Oxford, Ashely this past weekend. It was such a great place and I was in heaven the whole time we were there. It was so hard not to buy everything in the gift store!

My favorite parts were the exterior set pieces (the Knight Bus, Privet Drive, the chess pieces, etc.), trying butterbeer (which was absolutely delicious), the huge model of Hogwarts, and Diagon Alley.

I posted so many photos on Facebook in my "Slug Club" album so be sure to check them out if we're friends. I'll include a few of my favorites on here as well.

I would definitely recommend the tour to anyone who has the chance to go. It was so worth the money. It took about 3 hours, give or take, for us to walk through the whole place and every time I thought that it was coming to an end, there was more to see! It begins with a short movie introduction from Daniel, Rupert, and Emma and then the screen raises and the doors to the Great Hall are behind it. You enter into the Great Hall and then from there it's rooms filled with props, costumes, set pieces, short films to watch, and basically anything else you could think of. They had everything from the Sorcerer's Stone to the Daily Prophet and it was amazing to see the amount of hard work and exquisite detail that went into the making of each film.

The tour ends in the wand room, which is basically a dark room with walls covered in wand boxes to make you feel as if you're in Olivanders. Each box has the name of a cast or crew member and there are thousands of them. It was really incredible to see how many people worked on bringing the books to life and like Emma Watson says in the intro film, "they're the real wizards" behind Harry Potter.

If there's anything you'd like to hear more about regarding the Harry Potter Studio tour, please let me know. I'd be happy to answer any questions. I could go on about it all day.

After the studio tour, Liz, Ashley, and I went to a pub near the train station and I got fish and chips. It was delicious! We took the train back and Liz stayed with me until Sunday afternoon. It was so nice having her in London for the weekend and I already miss her!

On Sunday morning, right before she left, we went to the Breakfast Club in Soho and waited in line for about an hour. It was so worth the wait because the food was excellent! I got the All American which I felt awkward about ordering, but it was pancakes, sausage,bacon, eggs, and home style potatoes. I also ordered a smoothie which was made of strawberries, banana, honey, youghurt, milk, and oats. They drizzled a little heart on top of it which was really cute! The environment of the place was really welcoming and trendy. They decorated the walls with polaroids and postcards and random other objects and lights. The waiters all dress pretty casually and the music they play is mostly American but Liz and I were dancing around in our seats the whole time. They played songs like "Beautiful Girls" by Sean Kingston and "California" by Phantom Planet.

Just a few days ago I purchased my train tickets to go visit my host family in April. I'm so excited! They seem really nice and our e-mail exchanges have been lovely. I think that will be a really great experience for me because I'll get to see what it's like in a real English home, I'll meet great people, and I'll get outside of my London bubble for a while.

Yesterday, my first assignment was due. I had to write a statistical analysis for my American History class. It was quite boring so I won't go into too much detail but I'm really glad that I got that done. It wasn't very difficult but I was so unmotivated after not having much due for months.

I'm going to Paris in less than two weeks and then Ireland the weekend after. I'm looking forward to traveling but to be honest, it seems quite daunting right now. I have to figure out what I want to bring, make sure all of my paperwork is in order, get to the airports in time and plan out last minute details. I hope that it all goes smoothly because I want to remember these trips fondly when I look back at my time abroad. If you have been to Paris, Ireland, Scotland, or the South of France, let me know if you have any good suggestions of where to go. I could use some help planning!

As far as my state-of-mind goes, I've been doing well. I think that I'm getting over the loneliness and settling into my weekly routine. I worry that I'm getting lazy because I just go to and from class and do my chores and errands without branching out too much. Of course I have trips planned and I still hang out with friends and occasionally do fun things in London, but I'm definitely getting too used to being here. My creative writing lecturer told us not to get too numb to being here because the best part of going to a new place is that buzz you feel and how alive you are to everything around you. I need to remember that when I'm walking home from class and when I'm tempted to hop on the tube instead of the bus. If you let yourself get into a routine, you start to feel as if it's groundhog day and every day becomes a repeat of the last.

I miss home and all of my family and friends but I've been oddly okay with being away. I get little pangs of homesickness where I wish that I could hug my dad, get food from my favorite Chinese place, pet my cat, and even go to class at St. Mike's. That's all normal though and I'm really proud of how well I adjusted to life in a new country.

Yesterday morning, I was checking my phone and I read that Shirley Temple passed away at the age of 85. I know that she was old and it wasn't a sudden, tragic death like we've seen a lot lately in Hollywood, but it still hit home. I grew up watching her movies, like many others, but she always had a really special place in my heart. I sang and danced along with her and mimicked her facial expressions as a kid. I ordered Shirley Temples every time I went out to eat (and I still do) and I had a picture of her hanging on the wall of my room last semester. In ninth grade, I did a research report on her and learned about her fight with breast cancer, her two marriages, and her work for the U.S government. The little, curly haired cherub that I had always admired was so much more than a child star. She blossomed into a beautiful and inspirational woman. I hope that everyone takes some time to read about her life and achievements after her acting career because she was truly a gem worth getting to know more about. I think that the news of her passing made me homesick more than anything else since being here. It seems like just yesterday I was a curly haired little bugger watching her movies in my living room without a care in the world and it's hard not to get nostalgic for those times. But just like Shirley did, I have to grow up and make new memories that I'll be able to look back on one day with pride. I can only hope that one day my children will be able to watch her movies and feel the same way I did as a child.

Write soon
xx Sheila
Check out Shirley Temple's SAG Lifetime Achievement Award tribute from 2006.

I keep seeing rainbows outside of my window and I'm definitely not complaining!
The Mirror of Erised
There were so many things to see at the HP Studio tour. They even had the "moving" portraits and information on how they worked.
It was surreal to walk through Diagon Alley. I saw Olivanders, the Daily Prophet, and Flourish and Blotts to name a few!

Recognize this?
Of course I had to take photos of the Daily Prophets! :)

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed reading your blog and look forward to more of your fabulous photos. Let me know when you run into Hugh, lol! Miss you.