>I thought of this title on the flight from Manchester to JFK in New York, little did I know how true that would be even in the next few hours!
The last week at Capernwray was very surreal. We all knew that we would be leaving soon but I don’t think it really hit anyone until the coach was leaving Thursday night (June 9). Mom arrived Tuesday right after lunch, my friend John was able to drive me into town so we could pick her up at the train station in Carnforth. That afternoon I spent showing mom around, introducing her to people and generally trying to keep her awake until bed time. Tuesday night was a special service instead of regular lectures so we had about an hour of worship and then an hour of sharing time.
Wednesday we had regular lectures in the morning, Chris Thomas was speaking about relationships and that day he talked about the relationship between parents and their children, which mom really enjoyed. After lunch we went into Carnforth and I showed my mom around (which didn’t really take much time) and then we went into the second-hand bookshop and spent at least an hour in there. We found a ton of really neat books, but since weight and room for packing to get home was already tight we were only able to pick up a couple books. That afternoon when we got back from town I went for a run and then we got ready for the banquet. The banquet that night was really fun, everyone was dressed up and taking pictures of each other. Plus, the dinner was a longer/fancier event than usual with staff members and some of their kids being waiters and waitresses for the evening. After dinner we also had our graduation where we got our certificates for the program, one of the main reasons mom came to visit was to see this. After the banquet we had a “dance” in the sports hall. The Capernwray definition of a dance is basically everyone crowds up together and bounces around while waving their hands around, pause for the Cha-Cha Slide, continue random dancing, pause for Macarena, continue random dancing. That lasted until lock-up and it was really fun.
Thursday was spent listening to a couple lectures, finishing packing (I only had my day-to-day stuff left to pack, I knocked most of it out of the way before mom came so I wouldn’t have to spend time doing that) and cleaning our rooms. That night was a goodbye service, there was a lot of crying and people saying goodbye. Some people left on the coach that night, I have to admit, I didn’t cry that night and felt bad because almost everyone else was weeping. After the coach left everyone was pretty depressed, so we went into the kitchen and found all the food that people had left behind. The end result was Melissa and a few other people and me ate the remainder of a couple tubs of ice cream, made icing, mixed peanut butter and chex cereal and created some pretty gross leftover soup. It did make us feel a little better to be able to goof off together and just have a good time. There wasn’t a lock-up time that night so we stayed up really late and Melissa and I were able to have tea together one last time. We sat on the windowsill overlooking the courtyard and just talked about things we had learned and how we were feeling about going back home. I finally got in bed around 1:45am and was almost asleep when the fire alarm went off! Of course everyone has to get outside and there are assigned places you are supposed to go so I grabbed a jacket and some shoes. I knew mom wouldn’t know what was going on, so I had to go to the guest rooms to get her and Kate’s mom (who had come in on Wednesday afternoon). We stood in the courtyard until they gave us the all-clear to go back inside.
Friday morning Melissa and Kaity left and that’s when I cried. Thankfully, Josh Melder (one of the other students) made me go roll on the grass as they were leaving (a sort of inside joke we all had) and it sort of cheered me up so I wasn’t depressed all day. That day was so weird. Just sitting around watching as group after group of people left until there was hardly anyone left. At 11:30 me, mom, Kate and her mom all left to go to Carnforth so we could get our train to London. The train ride was about 3 1/2 hours long and went pretty well. When we got to London we took a taxi to the flat where we were staying, the same place Kate and I stayed when we were in London over spring break. We spent Friday getting settled in and showing our moms around the area a little bit.
Saturday we took the tube into central London and saw Westminster, the houses of Parliament, the Eye, the Southbank area (there was a festival going on), the Globe Theatre, the Tate Modern, the Borough Market, Southwark Cathedral and a ton of other stuff. We ate at the Old Thameside Inn and then mom and I went back to the Globe Theatre because we had tickets to see All’s Well That Ends Well! We stood in the yard in the second row from the stage, it was really fun to see how the actors interacted with the audience and it was a really good show.
Sunday we went to Westminster Abbey for the morning service, wandered around for a bit in the Abbey and then tried to find a few of our friends in St. James’ Park. We couldn’t find them and it was raining so we went back to the Caffe Nero by Trafalgar Square and had lunch. After that we went to Hillsong London for the afternoon service. My mom commented on how different the services were, Westminster was very traditional, no real mention of the gospel. Hillsong was alive, they gave a great message, presented the gospel clearly and gave an invitation at the end of the service. We went to Garfunkel’s for dinner, a restaurant that was next to the Dominion Theatre where the Hillsong service had been, and then went back to the flat for the night because it was still raining.
Monday we took a coach to Oxford and spent the day wandering around and exploring. We went to the Eagle and Child for dinner, the pub where Tolkein, Lewis and the rest of the Inklings used to meet and talk about what they were writing. We also saw Christchurch and visited Primark (a department store 🙂 ). When we got back to London we stopped by Buckingham Palace as it was starting to get dark (around 9:45 at that point) and took a bunch of pictures. Then we walked to the houses of Parliament so we could get some nice pictures at night.
Tuesday Kate and her mom went to Hampton Court and mom and I went on a lunch river cruise on the Thames! The lunch cruise took about 2 hours and was really nice. After that we walked to the Theatre district and explored, we had dinner and then went to the Garrick Theatre where we saw Pygmalion. It was a great show! Rupert Everrett played Henry Higgins, Diana Riggs played his mother and Kara Tointon played Eliza Doolittle. After the show we were standing outside the theater when Diana Riggs walked out past us! So we stayed a while longer and Kara Tointon came out! I was able to get her autograph on my ticket and then Rupert Everrett came out and also signed my ticket. It was pretty funny to see how casual they were, she just rode a bike away to have dinner with some friends and he just walked across the street into some random neighborhood.
Wednesday we had to figure out our train tickets to get back to Manchester where we were flying out to get home. After we had that figured out we found a shop called The Forbidden Planet which is full of sci-fi stuff from TV and movies. We got a couple souvenirs there because of the BBC show Dr. Who which we watch. Then we found a new suitcase for me that had wheels (the trunk I brought in September didn’t have wheels…bad idea. But that’s another story for another time) and went back to the flat to pack.
Thursday a taxi took us to the train station and we were off to Manchester! We got to Manchester around 2pm and just chilled there until Friday morning when our flight left at 11am. We got there really early because of the way the train tickets worked out.
Our flight to JFK was uneventful and we got through customs fine and our bags checked through without a problem. We got to our gate and sat there, I went to get Alex something out a shop and then it was time to board at 4pm. We got in line and people started boarding when a storm moved in, they stopped the boarding process because there was lightening and they couldn’t have people walking on the tarmac to get into the plane while there was lightening. Our flight was delayed an hour and then it got canceled! No more than five minutes after being canceled the weather cleared up completely. This is how the nightmare began… when our flight was canceled we immediately tried to get help from some Delta people to get on a different flight so we could get home. We were pretty tired at this point, sleeping in an airport isn’t the most restful way to sleep. Unfortunately, everyone we encountered was rude and unhelpful. We tried getting to be on standby for an 8:30 flight to Charlotte but it got canceled, so we got on standby for a 9:45 flight to Raleigh. When they finished loading there was only one spot left but while mom and I were deliberating about if/who one of us should go the guy gave the spot away! Needless to say we were both pretty upset, especially since we had just decided that I would go on the flight and get picked up by my Aunt who lives there and mom would get on a later flight. We then ran to a gate where a flight to Atlanta was supposed to be leaving in about an hour to try to get on there. After 6 hours of dealing unhelpful and rude people we encountered our first helpful and polite person at the desk for the Atlanta flight. We were confirmed on the flight and finally got put on a connecting flight to Charlotte that would leave Atlanta at 8:30am on Saturday. We agreed to that so we were feeling a little better when dad offered to drive to Atlanta and pick us up (mom had been on the phone with him while I was getting us booked to Atlanta). We were very grateful and accepted his offer, so dad drove 5 hours to Atlanta and picked us up at 3:30am on Saturday and drove us straight back. We got home at 8:00am, I went in and woke Alex up (I jumped on her and she was still happy to see me, I should go away more often!). I slept for a couple hours and when I got up at 11:30 dad had made waffles for breakfast! Needless to say, it’s obvious who the best dad in the world is.
Now to explain the title of this post, if you’re a nerd like me you may have already figured out where I got the title. If you aren’t a nerd, it’s ok because it’s a little obscure. It’s actually the title for one of the tracks on the Chronicles of Narnia soundtrack for when the Pevensies are about to return to their world. While I was at Capernwray a lot of people would joke around and say that we were in Narnia (big manor house in the country, lamp posts, snow, etc) and I joined in the fun. The more I thought about it as it got closer to the time when we would all be going home I realized it’s actually kind of true. There’s a line in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader where Aslan says, “This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.” Each one of us who attended Capernwray were brought there for a short time to learn certain things, about ourselves and God, in a different environment so that we could use those skills when we returned to “our world”.
Leaving Capernwray wasn’t the end of the book for me, it’s the end of one chapter and the beginning of the next. This summer is shaping up to be pretty busy, as is the fall semester and spring semester. I’d appreciate it if you would be praying with me as I apply for an internship program for the spring and continue praying about returning to Capernwray next summer to work on the guest team during their summer holiday programs. I hope you keep reading as God keeps writing my “book” 🙂
P.S. Here’s a link to a video one of the team members who went to Kenya with me made about our time there: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8kwU00ObMQ (note: you can ONLY get to the video by clicking this link)