Saturday, October 11, 2014

Getting the most out of London (while I still can): NEWS ALERT

This has been an interesting week, if by "interesting" you mean "phone calls that can change your life." A month from today I will be in a new community, back on the other side of the pond. In Beantown, to be precise. My year abroad will have been, instead, a half-year abroad--still not a bad deal, as far as I'm concerned! I will be assigned to the Digital Publishing division of Pauline Books and Media, doing the geeky things I've always done, but this time with deadlines. I will also continue to assist the sisters in the UK with the current website project (thank goodness for Skype!); it has been very important for that project that I have been working on it on location, so that is a grace.

Meanwhile, it is time for our Pauline prayer "the Pact," in which we ask the Lord to "multiply the fruits of our spiritual work, of our study, of our apostolate and of our poverty," so that every effort yields surprising, supernatural results. I can't wait to show you the work we've been doing--but that will have to wait until some technical snafus get straightened out (Our Lady, Undoer of Knots, pray for us!).

While I am still here, I have the chance on the weekends to see as many of the local wonders as possible. And so today, even though I only had a few hours of free time, I made it to the justly famous Tower Bridge (you might think of it as "London Bridge," because it is the bridge you always see in depictions of the city, but in actual fact, London Bridge is the next one to the west, a nondescript modern thing dedicated in 1973 whose only current merit is that it offers amazing views of the River Thames and the Tower Bridge). To get to my destination, I decided to take the bus, which is significantly cheaper than the (faster) Underground. The traffic was so dense my bus trip became something of a bus crawl of London. This was especially brought home to me when we hit Piccadilly Circus. I had no idea. Piccadilly Circus is the Times Square of London, complete with giant video screens. If I had more time (and more spending money!!!!) I would make a special trip there, but as it is... other things are on my list.

Anyway, I went all the way to the end of that bus line (basically, Leicester Square) and then transferred to a river line bus which would take me to Tower Gate. Halfway there, about 3:00, I was feeling pretty hungry. (Aside from a caramel latte, I had not had any lunch--so eager was I to get out and see the sights.) I recognized where we were: Southwark's Borough Market! I rang the bell and descended into the throng of foodies, spotting new and interesting things as I went. A salami named Jesus? (Yes, because it looks like the Christ-Child wrapped in swaddling clothes.) I bought an amazing sandwich for lunch (pork belly with a crispy rind), stopped again in Southwark Cathedral where the choir was practicing Evensong, and then continued on my way on foot, crossing London Bridge and taking the river walk to the Tower of London.

In honor of the fallen of World War I, the Tower's moats are being filled with ceramic poppies. I'm sorry I don't have the time to tour the Tower (or see the Crown Jewels) again (I saw them in 2000 when I was here on another website project), but I am so glad I took the time to walk around two sides of the complex to see the poppy installation. Gorgeous. Continuing on, I found the path to actually cross the Tower Bridge, which I did (taking pictures every few steps). That brought me back again to the south side of the Thames just when I needed to begin working my way to the Kensington convent. Easier said than done. The roads do not simply go "east" or "west." (I needed to go west, then north.) Instead, they seemed to go only northeast or southwest, leading me farther and farther from my destination. Eventually I got to a street with promising transportation. Ah, but the promises were broken! I got on a bus that announced "to Royal Albert Hall" (not far from the convent).  I didn't know where to go when it stopped short of Sloan Square with the declaration that this was the end of the line. I started walking again, but, you know: northeast or southwest--when I needed to go northwest (but more north than west). I had already notified the sisters that I was running late; thankfully, they were not worried when I tromped in 25 minutes late for supper (and the pasta was still hot!).

Tomorrow I might take in a gallery--or maybe the Imperial War Museum (right across the street from the Catholic Cathedral of Southwark, where I went to Mass last week). This week two different people recommended the IWM, so I put it on the "must see" list. I will let you know if it happens!

Prayers, please, during this new and unexpected transition, for me and for the sisters who will be most affected by it. Thanks.


Gemma said...

Sr Anne, your posts are inspiring & beautiful. I feel like a fellow traveller enjoying sights & sounds you describe. Thanks a ton, Sr Anne! Praying for you, your Community, your projects, assignments ..... God Bless!

Sr Anne Flanagan said...

Thank you, Gemma! I'm going to have to find some equally interesting things in Boston to write about!

Gemma said...

You will, indeed, Sr Anne! Even the seemingly insignificant activity is brought alive by you! May Almighty God bless all Pauline endeavours & St Paul be ever your Guide! Amen

Gemma said...

You will, indeed, Sr Anne! Even the seemingly insignificant activity is brought alive by you! May Almighty God bless all Pauline endeavours & St Paul be ever your Guide! Amen

Anonymous said...

Blessed are the flexible for they shall not be bent out of shape. Good luck in Beantown.