Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.

11.30.2010

Mikaela Meets the Queen of England

I am in London.

With my "Mum."

Preparing to attend the World and Royal Premiere of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader tonight in the presence of Liam Neeson and all the rest of the movie's stars. In the presence of Her Majest the Queen of England and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh. At the Odeon and Empire Cinemas in Leicester Square, London. That's England's London.

It all started five weeks ago when I stumbled across an email from Focus on the Family proclaiming their exciting new contest--write an essay on your favorite character from The Chronicles of Narnia and why you would like to attend the London premiere, and you might get a chance to do just that! After procrastinating all week, I finally sat down and wrote the 200 word essay in less than one hour, sent it off:

"Edmund: traitorous, narcissistic wretch. I despised Edmund when I read through the Chronicles of Narnia while still under four feet tall. Reading through the books again, however, with an increased stature and propensity for introspection, I found myself in Edmund: hopeless sinner and selfish brute, indebted to another for a second chance. “Aslan” gave both Edmund and I undeserved mercy and forgiveness, and because Edmund made me face my egotism, realize the enormity of my sin, and glimpse the pricelessness of my rebirth, he is my favorite character from Narnia.


"From my halting recitations of the series, to my still-fascinated perusal amid papers and finals, Narnia has always been magical to me. And so I sit here, dreaming of traveling to a place otherwise unfeasible, of experiencing an evening I never dared to imagine—the London premiere of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I am back in the position Edmund and I know so well—undeserving and helpless. Yet I hope. For to go to the premier would be the most extraordinary experience of my life, and the chance to immerse myself in the world of a redeemed Edmund once again would be the most magical thing of all."


And then Lauren came into my room just one and a half short weeks ago to have me listen to a voicemail from Focus on the Family--my essay was chosen as one of the 24 finalists! On the improbable probability that I might win, Mama and I spent the next two days frantically gathering our passport documents and traveling to Seattle to get our passports expedited (if I won, I would be allowed to take one guest, and I invited Mama to come along).

After that, all there was to do was pray. This I did earnestly, as I pleaded with God: "Please, Father, I want to glorify You. If my winning will bring glory to You, then I pray that I will win, and that I will not take the glory for myself. But if my losing will bring the most glory to You, then I pray that I will be content and satisfied with that. I do so want to win--but I want Your glory more. Help me to rest in You." My siblings even fasted and prayed for me! It was on our travels home from the beach trip on Sunday, November 21 that Mama called to give me the news that I had won--the six girls in the car instantly commenced screams, squeals, and laughter. I never settled down that night. I jumped, danced, laughed, screamed, hugged, talked, thanked and praised God, and just wondered at the absolute impossibility of it all. Out of over 8,000 entries, mine was chosen.

I don't even want to know what that particular bathroom fixture on the left is.

Focus on the Family gave me a movie poster, collection of their audio dramatization of The Chronicles of Narnia, $30 gift card to see the movie in the States (it comes out on December 10, everyone, so go see it!), airfare to and from England, hotel accomodations at the luxurious Grosvenor House (where all the movie crew and cast are staying) for three nights, VIP passes to the World and Royal Premiere of The Voyage of The Dawn Treader, and a stipend for food and transportation while we're here.






We arrived in Heathrow fully intending to make use of the all-important "Tube," only to discover that the Tube was on strike. Thankfully, that was for yesterday only, so it should be fully functioning today. We walked around Hyde Park in the dark yesterday, enjoying the "Winter Wonderland Carnival" that had set up shop there (why can't American carnivals be so charming?) and risking life and limb to cross the three lanes of traffic on Park Lane, gratefully finding on the way back that they have "Pedestrian Subways" here--underground crossings that safely take you to the other side of the road.


That's me in front of a Veteran's Memorial.

On asking directions to our hotel, we received astonished responses. "That is a very expensive hotel!" The bus worker informed us. "Very few people in England or all of Europe can afford that!" When we arrived at the Grosvenor House, we discovered that in addition to our room, we were provided with a 120 pound credit in the hotel every day we stay. So we dined in style last night, enjoying artistic salads, wild mushrooms, new potatoes, and lobster.

We've stood in queue lines, educated ourselves on pence and pounds, learned how to dial an English phone number, and laughed with our waiter as we tried to discern his accent ("The potatoes are odd...ODD...H-OH-D." "Oh? Hard? Heart? HOT! Oh! Hot!"), used a lift, and generally "sorted" things out, despite the snow that is falling fast and furious outside. ;-)


Mama and I chose to extend our trip from the three days Focus on the Family is paying for to eight days--we arrived here yesterday (losing an entire day in travel because of the eight hour time difference!) and will leave next Monday. I can't wait to take in all the classic English landmarks I never imagined I'd actually see!


To God alone be the glory!


18 comments:

  1. OH MY.
    Mikaela, I am so Absolutely, Completely Happy and Excited for you! When I started reading this post, I thought, "is she joking??" But having continued and seeing you are most definately serious, I am ecstatic for you--what a dream!!!

    If you run into Reepicheep in the hallway of your elegant hotel, say hi for me. :) Oh, or Her Majesty the Queen.

    Do enjoy England, for all of us who are still only dreaming of her...

    Love,
    Kelsey :o)

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  2. That is so awesome! Congratulations!! Also, the little appliance to the left of the toilet? As far as I know, that is cleaning children. At least, that's what I was told in Germany. I never saw it in use though. :P

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  3. Wow! How cool! Congratulations on winning the competition! I hope you have a great visit, and do take lots of pictures! :)

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  4. That is super exciting! Congratulations!

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  5. WOW! I'm excited and happy for you! You're having fun. Enjoy! God is really really good!

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  6. Ahhhhhh! It's even SNOWING?? How perfect is that!?
    Your room looks incredible, I'm just...speechless with excitement!! :)
    Have an AMAZING time!!

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  7. Oh. My. GOODNESS! I had heard from your "Mum" on FB that you had gotten into the finals, but YOU WON!?!! I am so happy and excited for you! Thank you so much for the pictures! Won't you post more so we can all have a little bit of the experience with you? (Smiling) My little brothers are equally shocked that I personally KNOW the lovely lady who won this great contest (Shocked, mind you. Shocked).
    Have a WONDERFUL time, and have a safe trip home!
    SMILES from home,
    Keilah

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  8. WOW, girl!!!!!!!!! How exciting!!!!!! What a fabulous opportunity!!! Have a BLAST!!!!

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  9. Ohmygoshhh your on my home land! Hope you have an amazing time over here, and you'll have to let us know about all the fabulous things you'll get to witness in London! <3

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  10. I'm so excited for you! Congratulations!

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  11. I must admit I am a bit jealous, but oh, so excited and proud of you! Mikaela, I know God will use this experience for His glory - and for your blessing. : ) Your writing has always been God-honoring and it is cool to see how He can use it - to take you even as far as London. BTW, the essay was excellent, it is no wonder they chose it.
    I have fond memories of my eight hours in London (on a layover to Uganda in Oct. 2006) - Karina and I saw as much as we could in that short time.
    Have a splendid week...and plan on writing a series about your adventure for the blog! :)

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  12. Great meeting you here last night, Mikaela. Here's the clip I shot at the premiere last night!

    http://live.hollywoodjesus.com/?p=6693

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  13. I seriously had to read this post a second time to make sure this was for real and not a joke! Congratulations!!!!!! That is so so so exciting. London is my dream. It is great seeing it through your eyes. :o) Have fun and make memories! ...and say hi to the Queen ;o)

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  14. How fascinating! Congratulations on this once in a lifetime opportunity. I would also like to point out that the thought and articulation that you put into your essay was superb. Enjoy Narnia (figuratively speaking).

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  15. So exciting!!!! Congratulations!!!!

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  16. Hi, I've been a silent reader of your blog for quite some time, but this I had to comment on! We live near to heathrow airport - I can imagine you have a very busy schedule but if you want to come and visit a larger home-schooling family in England you'd be more than welcome!Just email my blog email address, which is: walkingworthy110@gmail.com

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  17. Becsy--How delightful! It's so fun to know you read all the way from England! I hope Mikaela gets to read your comment, but sadly, she is now without internet or phone (Horrible, I know!!) so I don't know if she'll be able to find out before she leaves. But I hope it does somehow work out!

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  18. Congrats on winning! I've been busy lately and missed this post until today. I love London, hope you are having a spectacular time!
    I nearly choked when I saw that you were staying at the Grosvenor, def one of the most beautiful and expensive hotels in London, how awesome!
    Glad you could go!

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