Thursday, October 8, 2015

Have you ever had one of those days when you just can’t sleep?  I have tried all the tricks in the book, but my brain simply refuses to shut down, so, instead, I am writing to all of you.

This week hasn’t been too busy, but I have still managed to have fun.  On Monday, I saw the Welsh Ballet perform Cinderella.  It was enchanting.  I don’t think I have ever used that word, “enchanting” before, but it is the only one that fits.  The dances were beautiful, the costuming simple, and the story captivating.  It amazes me how stories can be expressed simply through movement.

I have always been told that very little of our understanding of other people comes from the words they say, and that our impressions and communication relies more on the reading of body language than the hearing of sound waves.  I never quite believed that.  Until the ballet.

I am of course familiar with the story of Cinderella, both the Disney version and the original by the Grimm Brothers.  But, I believe that even if this were my first experience with the story, I would have understood what was happening.  It was magical and beautiful and mesmerizing all at the same time.

Unfortunately, however fantastic Monday was, Tuesday was not as much fun.  If you know me, you know that I am, for whatever reason, blessed with allergies to all of nature.  Really, if it is green, produces any sort of pollen or dander, or has fur, I am most likely allergic to it.  As a lifelong allergy sufferer, I thought I was used to them.  Welsh allergens are apparently stronger than Oklahoman allergens, however, or at least more foreign to me.

After a great deal of medicine and quite a bit of tea, the allergies are back under control.  Just in time for my next adventures.  Tomorrow I am going to the Dylan Thomas Museum in Swansea.  For those of you who don’t know, Dylan Thomas is a fantastic poet and a native Welshman.  One of his most recognizable poems contains the lines “Do not go gentle into that good night.”

Dylan Thomas was not only fantastic at description, but also was a master with structured poems.  The quote from above is a line from a villanelle, a terribly tricky kind of poem as the structure is so specific.  As a (learning) poet myself, I have experimented with different forms of poetry, but this one is especially difficult, and I have not yet made a (decent) villanelle, making Dylan Thomas, to me, all the more impressive.

Next week, on Saturday, I will be going to Dorchester to visit Thomas Hardy’s museum!!!  I cannot begin to express how excited I am for this!  I first read Thomas Hardy’s work in the 12th grade, and fell absolutely in love.  My favorite book by him is Return of the Native, in which a native returns to his home (as may be apparent by the title).  At the time, I read the descriptions of the land to which the character returned and thought (wishfully) that it would be fascinating to see just where he was.  Never in a million years did I think I would visit that place in person!

Time and time again, I am reminded of just how wonderful of an opportunity this is, so I must, once again, offer sincere gratitude to all who have allowed me to take on this adventure.  Firstly, I am so incredibly grateful to Governor Henry for giving so generously to allow this opportunity.  I am grateful to NWOSU for choosing me to represent them.  I am thankful for my parents allowing me to go (and helping fund me) on this incredible journey.  And finally, I am thankful for every friend, relative, and professor who has so encouraged me whilst I have been here.  However much I may be enjoying myself, there are, or course, brief moments of homesickness, but thanks to the support I have at home, those moments are brief, and surprisingly sweet, because I know that I can enjoy my time here freely because I have a warm welcome awaiting me at home.

I miss you all dearly!  I will post pictures of my upcoming literary adventures!
I promise I was excited for Cinderella, even if my eyes are REALLY squinty.  ;)

Getting ready for Cinderella.

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