nocertaintyonlyadventure

She was there. All pink and gold and glittery.

Month: June, 2012

Your journey has molded you for your greater good. And it was exactly what it needed to be. Don’t think that you’ve lost time. It took each and every situation you have encountered to bring you to the now. And now is right on time.

I was going to hold off on writing this update because I wanted to be able to include my adventures with Rafael Nadal, however, fate was not on my side for this one and unfortunately, he was knocked out of Wimbledon last night in the second round by a man no one has heard of.  I don’t want to talk about it.

What I WILL talk about though, is the first week of Wimbledon.  I thought the title for this entry was pretty fitting, seeing as how the Wimbledon experience I was expecting is not the Wimbledon experience I am getting, but it is the one I was meant to have.  As you know, I was hired to run lifts in various areas of the grounds.  I was assigned to the debentures area, which would have meant 16-hour days surrounded by only the wealthiest and most important guests imaginable.  However, that all changed when my supervisor got word from the University of Westminster saying that because I am working on my dissertation, I am still a full-time student and unable to work more than 20 hours a week as per my student visa.  Unfortunately, it is impossible to rotate 20 hours per week into a job where I was meant to work 16 of those house in one day.  So, this meant that my boss needed to find a new position for me.  Turns out, the only position that could easily accommodate 20 hours a week was signing employees in and out. As a volunteer. 

Gone were my days of being surrounded by VIP guests.  Gone were my chances of networking my way to the top.  And gone was the $3,000 dollars I was expecting to have made by the end of the 2 weeks.  However, never one to give up an experience, I took the job.  And how thankful I am to have made that decision.  Although I am not getting paid, I finish work by 10:15am and am then free to use my badge as a ticket for the matches.  The public is not allowed into the grounds until 10:30am.  So I am able to choose which match I’d like to see, grab a seat and wait for the massive crowd to be set loose.  

I applied for a job at Wimbledon because I wanted the experience to be a part of the most prestigious (and arguably most well-known) sporting event ever.  While my comrades are stuck in a 4 x 4 space for 16 hours a day, I am out getting a tan and sitting courtside at some of the most exciting matches Wimbledon has ever seen.  I’ve even sweet talked my way into Centre Court (strictly a ticketed area) so that I could see Roger Federer play on grass.  My plan was to do the same for Rafael Nadal tomorrow, but unfortunately that is the one thing that has not worked according to plan.

We’re halfway through the event and it has been an experience.  I’ve yet to try the famous strawberries and cream, but it is on my list of things to do for the second week of Champs.  

Image

Fernando Verdasco

Image

Feliciano Lopez

Image

Ana Ivanovic

Image

Roger Federer

Image

Obviously none of my adventures would be complete without seeing my future in-laws.  Prince Charles and Camilla were kind enough to visit me at work on Wednesday.

In other news, today I will say good-bye to Tom.  Tomorrow afternoon he heads back to the States to begin a new adventure- the real world.  One that I am able to put off for another 2 months.  I will not tell you how much having him here has meant to me, as that is something shared simply between he and I, and I am sure you can draw your own conclusions.  However, it has brought light to the fact that I have 2 months left to make the most of my remaining time on the other side of the Atlantic.  But don’t worry- I’ve got plenty planned.

Advertisements

I hope that you too will choose to have a journey instead of just a life. Actually, I hope it’s a full-on expedition.

There are certain adventures in life that we would be foolish to let pass by. For me, those adventures are anything involving the royal family (read: my future husband, Harry).

Today was the annual Trooping of the Colour event, which is a parade marking the birthday of Her Majesty. Although June is not her birth month, it is held over the summer in the hopes that Britain will enjoy warmer weather. This year, not so much.

As fate should have it, I was planning on heading into Piccadilly to get some new white jeans. I’m currently so thankful for those jeans because they put me right in the neighborhood of the royals once again. The RAF fly past was scheduled for 1pm and by the time I arrived in Central London I had 45 minutes to go. I decided the jeans could wait and headed off through Trafalgar Square towards The Mall. Unfortunately I missed the actual parade through Horse Guards Parade, so I rerouted myself to Buckingham Palace. After deciding I was fed up with the crowds, I thought I’d just head back to Trafalgar Square and watch the fly past from the steps of the National Gallery. But then I remembered who I am- I am not someone who gives up because of a little crowd. So instead of a right back towards the square, I restarted my mission and headed left through Green Park towards the queen.

In an effort to avoid some crowds, I opted to avoid crossing through the palace gates and instead, remained on the outskirts of the park. I wasn’t surrounded by anyone and I had a perfect, full view of the infamous balcony. At 12:57 the queen opened the doors and stepped out with her beloved Philip. I could see her perfectly with the naked eye, but unfortunately the camera on my iPad could not do much more than pick them up as yellow and red blobs, respectively. Following their entrance on the balcony, the rest of the royals processed out. And there he was in the flesh again- Prince Harry. Admittedly, I am not one of those girls who swoons over a man in uniform, but I was swooning away this afternoon. Maybe it has something to do with a PRINCE in a uniform.

You will hardly be able to make him out in the picture below, but he is the black blob to the right. And the most attractive black blob I’ve ever seen, at that. The second picture from left to right shows: Charles, Camilla, Philip, Her Majesty, William, Kate, Harry, Beatrice and Eugenie. At 1 the fly past began and was as much a spectacle the second time as it was the first. I captured some video again but I will leave the link out of this post, as the planes are mostly hidden behind trees.

Although I wasn’t any closer this time than last, I have now seen the royal family twice. And things happen in threes, so that tells me that the third time I see Harry, I will capture his attention and you will patiently be waiting by the mailbox for your wedding invitation.

20120616-181226.jpg

20120616-181248.jpg

I’ll look back on this and smile because it was life and I decided to live it.

I’ll warn you now, this post has A LOT of pictures and video.  However, it is the most important (and interesting) update I’ve posted thus far, at least in my opinion and I think after you’ve read it, you will agree.

It’s no secret that I’ve got a bit of a fascination with the British royal family.  I’ve got a stack of books that chronicle the life of Princess Diana and a stack of love for Prince Harry that goes even higher.  I woke up at 4am EST last April for the royal wedding, dressed to the nines in my “country club” dress and English hat.  I can still remember waking up equally as early with my mom in 1997 to mourn the loss of Princess Diana on the day of her funeral.  A few years ago, Prince Charles and Camilla were in Philadelphia celebrating…something.  I happened to be in Philadelphia the same day looking at colleges.  (Pure coincidence, I swear.)  But once I found out, I dragged my dad to Olde City so I could catch a glimpse.  Not only did I catch a glimpse, but Prince Charles came right over and said “hello” and “good morning”.

This weekend was another big event for the royals, but this time, they were so fortunate to have me here to celebrate with them.  I’m sure my official invitation to the festivities just got lost somewhere in the post.  It is a very busy time, after all.  This weekend marked the sixtieth year that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth has reigned as monarch.  Saturday was the first of a four-day celebration.  Sunday I planned to head to the river to see the Jubilee pageant on the Thames, however, my partner in crime woke up feeling ill and it was extremely cold and rainy so I decided to sit it out.  I only felt a minor hint of jealousy when I found out some other friends had gone and seen the entire royal family.  But no matter, it only made me more determined to have my own day of glory.

Last night, Monday, was the Jubilee concert at Buckingham Palace.  I was not lucky enough to have scored any tickets from the lottery I entered, but I still went to St. James’s Park (surrounds the palace) with Tom to catch the event on the big screens.  What a cool experience.  Everyone was dancing and waving their Union Jack’s around.  I managed to snap a few pictures of the performances on the big screen, but it still didn’t satisfy my need to see the royals in the flesh.  Nor did the fact that Prince Harry and I watched the same fireworks after the show.  Technically, that means we watched them together.

The crowd in St. James’s Park watching the concert

Elton John performing (very quick because I didn’t want to use all of my camera memory up in one go.  You will have to copy and paste the link, I cannot embed right now for some reason): http://youtu.be/jZQlIZS8dPY

I decided yesterday afternoon while at the park that I could not miss the celebratory parade that happened this afternoon.  So, I woke up at 4:45am (after having gone to bed at 1:00am) and caught the first tube at 5:32am into Central London.  I wasn’t the only one with this idea and when I showed up at the park entrance I thought my chances of getting a glimpse of the family were gone.  After all, there were loads of us waiting at the entrance and the people who spent the night in the park were already inside claiming their positions.  There was no way I was going to get a front row seat.  This is why I have learned to never err on the side of pessimism.  Once they opened the gates and let us in, I calmly walked down the steps (unlike the others) and headed towards The Mall (the road leading straight to Buckingham Palace).  I ended up getting a prime spot- right in front.  I was elated.

At 10:15am, the royals began processing out, heading towards St. Paul’s for a mass of thanksgiving in honour of the Queen.  In the first car was Princess Anne, followed by Prince Charles and Camilla, who were then followed by Will and Kate and finally, Queen Elizabeth. In all of the excitement I realised I had not noticed Prince Harry anywhere and he was my main mission of the day.  The motorcade was a bit difficult anyway because they are all in cars and it is very hard to see inside the windows with the reflections.  All I could do was pray that the weather would hold off so that they didn’t have to use the covered coaches.  Thankfully, it did up until they made their balcony appearance.

This is what security looks like in London.

Here is a video of Queen Elizabeth leaving Buckingham Palace for St. Paul’s: http://youtu.be/uwVpSpsrUXk

At 2:20pm they started the 21 gun salute.  The first shot was so close it scared the crap out of everyone and the poor old lady next to me basically ended up in my arms.  Because of our proximity to the guns, it sounded more like cannon fire.  Next, some of the palace guards processed in on their horses.  Before I could even realise what was really happening, Queen Elizabeth was right in front of me in her coach, accompanied by Prince Charles and Camilla to her left.

The horses were moving at an astounding speed, so I’m thankful I was quick with the camera.  What happened next though, was the moment I’ve been waiting for since I knew Prince Harry existed.  He was directly in front of me, one hundred percent real and in person. Wearing a top hat and a morning coat.  If I wasn’t completely smitten before, I definitely was then.  Just looking at the picture still makes me excited.  I’m confident as they went past I had an ear-to-ear grin on my face.  (I also have so much love and admiration for Kate as well, so the fact that they were together was just icing on the cake.  Will is directly to her left.)

Following the procession was the famous balcony scene, which was the moment I really wanted to see.  I was pretty convinced that I would not stay for that though.  I was so far down The Mall that I was certain I wouldn’t get a good spot.  Again, why I never err on the side of pessimism.  The Metropolitan police informed us that our section would be the first section relieved of the barricades.  This meant we were headed down The Mall first.  We were finally let loose and I was off.  If you have ever been in a crowd with me, you know how I move through people.  It’s a talent, really.  I’m never as quick and as nimble than when I’m surrounded by thousands of other people.  I managed to blow by huge numbers of spectators, even getting interviewed by a television reporter.  Hope he didn’t mind the on-the-go chat, but I brake for no one.  When I got to the top of The Mall, I had the perfect view of the balcony.  Unfortunately (or fortunately) I got even closer though.  So close that the palace gates were too high to take pictures over.  So, in most of the balcony pictures, the royals are blurry because the lens focused on the gates rather than on them.  However, I got lucky with a few.

Will is situated just behind the rung between the Queen and Kate

The whole gang

He’s telling her he’s spotted me in the crowd and that he needs to marry me.

There are no words for how much I adore these two.

If I could BE her, I would.

The whole event was bookmarked by the RAF fly-over, which I also happened to catch a video of.  I apologise for the shakiness in the middle, but I had to turn around to catch the rest of the flight.

http://youtu.be/WEdg1_lhQZQ

And finally, no royal event would be complete without three cheers for Her Majesty:

http://youtu.be/g13OtPndc5U