Last Days in USA 2011

I’m currently sitting in the airport, hooked up to free wi-fi. I’m on my way home at last! On the plane I was considering my path of travel – going North by car to Seattle, then south by plane to San Francisco, and then going north again from there to Dubai. Air travel is rarely logical… but it works, and I’ll be home soon.

A few pictures from early summer:

{Street fair!}

{We went to lake Tapps a couple times. I learned how to row, and we played frisbee and ate and enjoyed the sun}

{Pike Place}

{Motion study}

{Rebelution Conference and great fellowship with good friends in Oregon}

{Family celebrations}

After the cruise, we went to see Les Miserables at 5th Avenue. I’d been waiting for tickets to go on sale for a good month after Aunt Krissy told me it’d be coming, and checking the website every few minutes the day they went on sale. It was such an incredible and surprising blessing to be able to go! Daddy had taken Cait and I to see it before we moved 5 years ago, and I didn’t remember it well. Nate and Candace just know the 10th anniversary DVD, which means they’ve heard the people who are basically the best cast ever, but they hadn’t seen the stage and acting. Some of my thoughts on the evening:

Some parts were changed, but the changes made things clearer and closer to the book, and I agreed with almost all of the changes – except it was a little disconcerting to hear different words or orchestration sometimes. It was a LOT more emotional that I remember it being, and the acting was phenomenal. The only thing I didn’t really like were numerous sections of sing-speak (and all the stuff we always skip at home). The costumes and sets were AMAZING. Sometimes they had too much going on at once, like in the Confrontation and the oboe solo after the battle – it was distracting from the words (in confrontation) and lessened the effect of the post-battle barricade in the oboe solo (which the oboist did a superb job on).
A quick character run-down:
– Valjean – I was unsure at first, but in the end I liked him, though you can never beat Colm Wilkinson. I was amazed especially at Valjean’s gentleness, and the change from his rough beginning to the gentleness at the end. Also the contrast between his reliance on God and Thenardier’s mockery of Him was powerful.
– Javert – He was really good! Javert’s character always saddens me – he meant well at least at first, but let finding Valjean become an obsession and an idol. Hugo develops that so well in the book.

– Bishop – So gentle and so solid. And I always love that really low note at the end of his solo.
– Fantine – at first she wasn’t that strong and I wasn’t really sure what I thought of her, but she was ok by the end. Not as strong a voice as Ruthie Henshall, but there was more brokenness in her character.
– Gavroche – my favorite impish and lively character, as always. So much like the book, ruling Paris, little gamin… his voice was a bit too raw and American for my liking (just drop a few h’s and it’d have been great!), even though his personality was perfect.
– Eponine – good voice, and her jealousy and family relations came out well, but her voice was a bit too pop-y, though it was good.
– Cosette – young, sweet, and lovely. Not as trained as Judy Kuhn, but much more her age and Cosette-ish.
– Marius – Probably my favorite in our cast. He handled the emotions well, and the change from passionate schoolboy to grieved husband was powerful. (Cosette and Marius I’d say were better than on the 10th anniversary, more for the way they portrayed the characters than their voices, though).
– Enjolras – Fire and passion and leadership and power. Wow! Enjolras is another of my favorite characters, mostly for his leadership during the battle – especially when he sends the women (and fathers/husbands, in the book) from the barricade.
– Grantaire – I’ve never appreciated his unhelpful actions and comments, but his solo in “Drink With Me” is a long-time favorite. The contrast between his usual gaiety and crude personality and his words when he’s confronted with death was another powerful moment.
And I’ve finally decided on a favorite song – the epilogue.
“God on high – hear my prayer! Take me now, to Thy care. Where You are, let me be…
“To love another person is to see the face of God.”
“They will live again in freedom in the garden of the Lord, they will walk behind the plowshare, they will put away the sword, their chains will be broken and all men shall have their reward!”

I could go on for a long time, especially about the book; I have pages and pages of quotes.

After Les Miserables we packed up most of our stuff, daddy left, and the next week was spent seeing people, playing Frisbee, packing more, and running last minute errands. Mommy, Nate, and Candace left, and I was still here for 2 weeks.
Before they left, we picked apples and made applesauce.

‎2 buckets of apples + gramma and me + 3 hours = 7 quarts of applesauce. YUM. If we average one quart a meal (which is easy) we’ll finish them in about 2 days.

Thankfully we didn’t average that and still have some left.

I went to the University District with Hannah’s family one day and we spent a wonderful afternoon canoeing in Lake Washington, then walked around the UW campus – it’s beautifully landscaped, and the older architecture is gorgeous! I spent a while in the University Bookstore with Uncle Mark and the boys – and if I had a lot of money and two weeks with nothing to do except read I could’ve come out with a mammoth stack of books. We also spent a while at a training climbing wall. I made it to the top of the easiest route after a while. I’m not a great climber but like it as long as I don’t get too high up (because then I have to get back down). 🙂

{Red Square at UW}
It was fascinating being in a university town and on a big campus. I can understand a little bit more (maybe) why folks want to go to college. And I had another idea/dream to add to my 18th birthday list. If I ever live near a university, I think it would be neat to have a room or two for college students to stay in for little or no cost – except that they study, do a few chores, meet a curfew, and join us for family worship and church whenever possible.

I spent a while at my other aunt’s house – lots of games with the kids! Rag toss and peek around the corner were favorites.
The 31st was my driver’s test. It went well. I was so nervous I was the worst chatterbox you’ve ever heard on the way up there and while we were waiting. We watched the people with 9:00 tests do their pre-tests and leave and come back. Then I did the pre-test and then entered traffic. The examiner didn’t give me much notice that I was going to parallel park, so I started a little too far away, but in the end it was fine, much to my surprise (grace!). Then we left the parking lot and turned LEFT, taking a route we’d taken following a driver’s test (again, grace! Familiar territory!).  I backed wide around the corner and didn’t turn my wheels parking on a hill. There were things that I wish I’d done better and was afraid I’d ended up speeding on one of the roads that I didn’t know if it was 30 or 40 and found myself at 35… it was 40 (grace). And then my lane changes were somewhat jerky, but still safe. And the light was green (grace). And there was no rain (grace). And I passed (grace).
I was all smiles when I went inside to tell gramma and get my license and the guy doing the paperwork was the same one that registered me for the test and then the guy taking the pictures was a really bouncy, happy guy and then I had black licorice and riesens to celebrate and a birthday letter from Joseph to read… I was trying not to think “I’ll pass for sure” or “I’ll fail for sure,” but to trust Him to work. And He did, and He chose to let me pass.

Once that was over, I focused on finishing the Aggadah Quintet editing (done!), writing the short version of Mercy Victorious (done!), editing Love Victorious (almost done!) practicing, reading (Ann Judson’s memoirs, Ezekiel, If, The Loveliness of Christ), and running (trying new routes… sometimes I thought they were closer than they were. One day I was gone almost 2 hours, but looked it up on googlemaps and I’d gone almost 7 miles, with stops for taking pictures).
One night I went with Hannah’s family to a church where they make and serve dinner to homeless men. That was a really neat experience. I kept thinking of Valjean at the Bishop’s house.

{Scenes like this are why I took my camera with me while I was running}

I also went on a few hikes. One morning gramma and I took a few hours and went to Mt. Peak and did the trail there. Mt. Peak wasn’t as beautiful as the others, but we were able to take it at a faster pace and it was a more intense hike, which made me happy. I also hiked on Mt. Rainier twice – once with gramma’s hiking group, and once with her and my aunt’s family.

{Mt. Peak}

{A lake on Mt. Rainier}

From September

{Playing in the snow}

{Almost on top of the world}

{Stopping for snow while hiking Deje Peak with gramma’s group. Mt. Rainier’s peak with some gorgeous clouds coming off it!}

And a funny about the earthquake – “It has been confirmed that yesterday’s recent shaking felt in Washington DC was not in fact due to a 5.9 earthquake, but was actually our Founding Fathers all rolling in their graves.” ~ Israel Wayne . Whenever I read it I get an impish grin on my face because I feel like it’s so serious I shouldn’t think it’s funny, or that it’s not something that should be said… on a more serious note, I thought it ironic that the National Cathedral was crumbling some. On the same line as Ezekiel and the rise and fall of nations, it seems to me to be an outward sign of the collapse, especially spiritually, of America. It feels so different being in the middle of it than it does reading about it in another era in a history book.

It’s been a really good, but very long summer. I’m really looking forward to getting home!

Pro Christo,

P.S. – I’ve edited my post on Alaska, “The Last Frontier” to add pictures! The link to the post is in the “recent posts” sidebar.

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