Becky Fact 6: I grew up reading Harry Potter, Peter Pan, the Chronicles of Narnia, and Alice in Wonderland and knew that if anything wonderful and magical ever happened to me it would begin -as all those stories do - in England.
In my teenage years I began reading non-magical British literature, like Pride and Prejudice, the poetry of Keats, Wordsworth, and Lord Alfred Tennyson, and cookbooks by Jamie Oliver (totally counts as British Lit, thank you very much). And my conviction that England was more awesome than America grew.
I dreamt of how much happier I'd be if I'd been raised in England, constantly practiced my British accent, and tried to think of ways of making an Englishman fall in love with me and then bring me home with him.
I actually studied maps of London until I knew how to get from Kensington Gardens to Buckingham Palace, to Westminster Abbey, to anywhere famous at all.
College was the first time that I had a chance to do anything about my love for distant England, and I applied for the London study abroad my sophomore year. It is the most popular study abroad and less than half the people who apply get accepted.
But despite my poor grades, I was able to talk myself into being accepted (and I wrote a pretty awesome essay about how obsessed I was with England).
I was leaving in a few short months, and what's more - two of my roommates were going with me.
It was to be the best time of my life.
I had begun praying about whether or not I should go before I even put in my application, and I prayed pretty earnestly. I didn't want to be in England if I should be here.
But the days grew closer, and I had no answer, which to me meant "You can make this decision yourself."
I had my flight plan. I had started packing my bags. Christmas was looming, and I was to go home for Christmas and then fly out from home before the end of the month.
One evening I was at work at the MTC, scooping mashed potatoes for missionaries. My fellow food-scoopers and I were singing Christmas carols, and suddenly - I got my answer.
I knew, just as we sang the words "Fall on your knees, Oh hear the angels' voices," and I completely collapsed.
I wasn't supposed to go to England.
I was supposed to stay here. IN PROVO.
I knew it and it broke my heart. I did fall to my knees and I started crying.
It was like watching someone I loved die. I had been planning this my entire life. And it was being taken from me.
I was SO MAD. Couldn't God have let me in on this a few weeks earlier?
My best friend Lana was at work with me. When she asked what was wrong, and I gasped "I'm not supposed to go to England,"she went white, and quickly hustled me away to a freezer to stand in and sob, and then went and told our boss that I needed to go home early.
She knew that a serious meltdown was on it's way.
Yeah, falling to the ground and sobbing was just the tip of the meltdown iceberg.
It might seem silly to you that one minute I was planning on going to England and the next minute I felt that "God had spoken" and wanted me to stay home. But I've been praying and listening for answers my entire life, and I know what it feels like when God finally responds.
I felt that burning, that clarity of mind, and almost like a voice telling me, I heard clearly "You can't go on the study abroad."
So I didn't go.
I stayed home.
And, yes, one fateful day - less than a week after the new semester had started here in Provo - I met a tall, skinny young man named Travis Pitcher.
(And 10 months and 2 days later we got married.)
And I felt a bit better about the whole "missing out on England and letting my dream shrivel up and die - so that I could stay home and meet the man of my dreams" thing.
Except that I didn't really let my dream shrivel up and die.
I continued to nurse my dream for England.
And a few months after we were married, Travis and I went to England.
No, it wasn't for four months.
It wasn't even for four days. It was technically an extended layover on our way home from Africa. But we had enough time to go find fish and chips (with mushy peas, of course) in a dive of a pub and eat them in Kensington Gardens (where I spent some time crying at the Peter Pan statue).
And we had enough time to eat at Jamie Oliver's Italian Restaurant (which Travis still uses as the measure of whether or not Italian food is delicious [think: "Wow, this is almost as good as the pasta I had at Jamie's"])
We had lunch at the Eagle and the Child, where Tolkien and C.S. Lewis used to meet to write and talk about literature.
And yes. Apparently most of the things we did in England had to do with food.
We went to Christ's Church Cathedral, where they filmed Harry Potter and I spent a long time speaking only in lines from the movie. We went on Addison's Walk, where C.S. Lewis finally decided that there was a God after all, and rested and read a little from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. We went to Alice's Sheep Shop, where I bought a teacup.
It was perfect.
I mean, London was okay. But if you go to England, go to Oxford. It's one of my favorite places in the world.
And Travis and I have plans in the works for another trip to the United Kingdom. We're thinking of spending our three-year anniversary in Scotland (since Travis's sister and brother in law are moving to Scotland.)
And another trip to Oxford is an absolute must.
So if you don't have a Friday Fact to share, may I suggest a topic? What's your dream? What have you always wanted, thought about, planned for?
And did you get it? Will you get it?
Happy Friday, people.
And don't you dare tell me anything about the HP movie that came out last night. I have tickets for tomorrow afternoon (the first movie I'll go to in the theaters since the last HP movie - during which I was highly pregnant.)
I read Harry Potter for the first time when I was 9 years old (and probably 15 times since then) and this feels like the end of an era.
All you 12 year-olds in the theater last night, pretending that you're fans.... you didn't wait in line for the books at midnight. You don't know what this movie means to all the twenty-somethings that have been waiting for this movie since they were preteens.
And you probably don't even celebrate July 31st with a party every year (Harry's birthday, you guys.)
Write one. OR ELSE.
* * *
Fact: it is Friday.
Fact: it is Friday.
I think you should do it too.
And here are your instructions (not really rules...):
1. Write a fact about yourself.
3. It can be long or short, detailed or not.
4. Don't write about your kids. (Unless you want to. Because, I mean... it's your blog. I can't stop you from writing about your kids.)
5. Link up to this blog, so we can all read some facts, and not feel bad that we dropped out of school to be stay-at-home moms. (Since if we're reading facts, then we are still learning.)
6. You're not a dropout like me? Or a stay at home mom? No biggie. You can still play.
Can't think of what to write? Start like this:
Fact: When I was a kid I was really good at...
Fact: My biggest pet peeve is...
Fact: I have a third nipple.
Fact: I would love it if you voted for me by clicking below: