Day 1 ~ Flying, flying, and more flying!

I traveled on three planes to get to Kiev.  On my first flight (about 2 hours total) I felt wonderful and I really enjoyed being able to fly again.  I have only flown 3 or 4 times before.  My favorite part of the flight is when the airplane revs up its motor and we zoom into the air (take off).  😀  It makes me feel all excited.

Flight 1: On my first flight (about 2 hours total) I felt wonderful and I really enjoyed being able to fly again.  I saw a beautiful winding river.  The sunlight was hitting it in just the right way to make it look like a rainbow river. 🙂  I also loved seeing clouds from the top instead of from underneath.  I sat next to a lady who was going to Minnesota to visit with her two sons.  I got to show/teach her the Russian alphabet and we talked the entire trip.  It was my quickest flight because of her companionship.

Flight 2: My second flight was 8 hours long.  It was the trip that took me from Minneapolis, MN to Amsterdam, The Netherlands.  While waiting in the airport I sat next to a Swedish lady named Kajsa.  She was kind (but also very tired, like I was) and we talked about her visit to the US and a little about her homeland, Sweden.  I heard a TON of German being spoken in the waiting room for the airplane.  Then we boarded the plane.  She sat several rows back from me, so we didn’t get to talk again.  I sat in seat 7J.  It was right next to the window in a 2 seat row!  🙂  The rows are set up like this:  2 seats then an aisle, then 5 seats then another aisle, and then 2 more seats.

After I sat down, Francie (I don’t know the correct spelling, sorry!), my airplane neighbor, joined me.  She is from Germany, but lives in the US and works as an ecologist.  She was also very kind, and I greatly enjoyed talking with her on a multitude of subjects.

We flew over Canada, and Ireland, and England!!  I took pictures of England. 🙂  It was a very cloudy flight and I was hoping to be able to see the land, but I could not because of the clouds.  So I prayed about it.  And when we began traveling over England the clouds broke and I could see the beautiful landscapes!!  🙂  England is covered in a patchwork of browns and greens.  It was stunning.  Also, it was cool watching the shadows that the larger clouds made on the land.

For my first airplane meal (‘dinner’) I had:  a chicken, rice, and veggie (quite spicy) dish along with a bun and a piece of cheese.  They also served a small dish of cucumbers, tomatoes, and lettice, but… I didn’t eat it.  I was not very hungry on the trip, and I don’t really like cucumbers or tomatoes plain.  For breakfast (towards the end of the flight) they served a banana, a small cup of orange juice and an egg biscuit sandwhich.  I did not eat any of it, and I was beginning to feel somewhat sick, and my temperature kept switching from hot to cold.

I did not realize that on long over-sea flights they provide a TV/computer for each passenger.  So, I listened to some music and watched the movie Brave.  And after that I did the Berlitz language practice and games for Russian and German.  (numbers, basic phrases, days of the week, months, etc.)  It was really fun!  I was not bored at all.  I tried to sleep, but I was unable to sleep in such a position.

Flight 3: From Amsterdam to Kiev, we boarded a very small (in comparison) plane.  It had a row of 3 seats, an aisle, and another row of 3 seats.  The aisle was very thin, and my carry-on bag barely allowed the overhead compartment to shut (after much shoving, the compartment finally closed).  In the Amsterdam airport, my German friend helped me find the correct gate and she encouraged me because I was feeling sicker at that point.  I found the gate and then sat down on the floor to wait for my friend Lienna and also to rest because they would not check us through customs until a half hour before the flight (so I had to wait one or two hours).  When Lienna walked up I was so happy to see her!!  I felt happier for a few moments.  We decided to go and find a seat (there weren’t any near the gate) because I was not feeling good and she wanted to use her computer.  She even let me use her computer for a few minutes to update my family and FB (Facebook) friends.  I drank a lot of cold water, but none of the food we had sounded good to me at all.  My stomach told me it did not want anything, even though I knew I was lacking sleep and needed energy I could not eat anything.  Lienna offered me some string cheese (one of my favorite foods!) but even then I could not eat.  I ended up eating several bites of banana (the one from my last flight) and one bite of the cheese.  All of the stores in the airport used Euros.

We did not have the same seats in the plane, and I sat down next to a middle-aged Russian couple who spoke no English.  The lady who sat accross the aisle spoke Russian and English, and she was amazing.  I was so exhausted by this point that as soon as I sat down I laid my head against the seat ahead of mine and closed my eyes (trying to sleep).  I’m not sure if I slept or not… it’s sort of hazy and I definitely wasn’t myself.  The lady next to me was kind enough to save me a sandwhich (‘lunch’) and some water and she gently woke me up 2 or 3 times.  The lady accross the aisle encouraged me to eat close to the end of the trip, when she saw I was feeling sick and tired.  She also informed me that lying hunched over on the next seat is bad for your neck and back, so I stopped doing it because it bothered her.  I felt sick, and sort of coughed once or twice.  After I took a bit of the sandwhich I threw up.  (right after we landed)  We had quite a bumpy landing and I really enjoyed it.  And right after then… well, you know. :p  The people next to me took my sandwhich and cup and helped me leave the plane.  They were very sweet, and the one lady kept telling me it would be all right.  She even (somewhat jokingly) called me a baby, haha, because of how sick I was acting, and unable to be myself.

We went through the Kiev passport check and customs in about 10 minutes total (that is very quick) and then we went outside to find Lienna’s parents.

[Lienna’s computer is almost out of power, so I will write more later.  I am no longer sick, and after I went to the apartment that evening I felt find (only super tired).  Oh, and another funny thing was that all of my gate numbers had 8 in them.  (8, 8, and 18) 😀 ]

The Deadly Dramatic Dress Rehearsal

Yes, I realize this is several week late…  I have some explanations for that (mostly including the topic of this post and the topic of the next post (TeenPact).  Also, the fact that I will be taking my driving test this upcoming week!!  This only makes me slightly nervous.

On top of that, I have been preparing for my SAT and ACT tests which I’ll take later in the spring.  I found a great resource for preparing in advance.  It’s called Hack the SAT: a private SAT tutor spills the secret strategies and sneaky shortcuts that can raise your score hundreds of points by Eliot Schrefer.  I can’t say my scores have been raised, since I have yet to take the test.  I’ve found his tips and tricks to be quite useful in my practice tests, however, so I assume that they will also help me on the real test. 😉

Onto drama. 🙂  Yesterday (March 24th), was our first drama dress-rehearsal at the building where we will be performing.  We still do not have our 2 foot tall (.6 meter) stage.  I hope we will have one by the next rehearsal (in 2 weeks).  Instead of a stage, we had blue tape marking the stairs, stage, curtain, and “ocean” (the part of the floor that will be between the two stages–if you fall off you get eaten by the blue paint-tape fish).

We spent the first 30 of our 360 minute rehearsal putting on our costumes and wigs.  Before I go through more of the play-by-play I’m going to explain a bit about the general overview of the play (from my character(s) perspective(s)).  There are 18 scenes in the play.  Most of them are in France.  The rest are in England.  I am in 1/2 of the scenes (yes, I’m making you do the math 😉 ).  For 2/3 of my scenes I am a peasant.  The other 1/3 of the scenes I am a French aristocrat.  In 1/9th of the scenes I am English.

Starting the rehearsal with the first and last scenes, we slowly got into character.  By the 2nd try of the first scene, I became a poor French peasant and was able to (mostly) portray that fact to the world (well… the parents of the students who had nothing better to do with their evening than watch us make silly mistakes).

My hardest scenes were the trial scenes.  In these 2 scenes (one in England and one in France) I am a part of the court crowd, and I have to respond (with shouts and yells) to the attorney, the accused, etc.  The man being accused (Charles Darnay) does such a convincing job portraying his innocence and helplessness that I have trouble yelling the things I’m supposed to yell (for example: “Kill him!  Down with Evremonde!  To the guillotine!” etc.).  In the other trial I get to be part of the jury on stage, which is a lot of fun. 🙂

Another challenging scene for me, is the 3rd from last scene…  In it, I am in prison awaiting my death the next day (in 14 hours).  I’m still working on that scene, because it is hard to look depressed, while still looking in character and not totally bored.

Right before this scene, my friend J. and my friend H. and I were singing songs from Phantom of the Opera to help warm up our voices.

Afterwords I stayed to help clean up.  We pulled up all the tape, though a friend tried to convince me that we couldn’t pull it up until we had painted something (since it was “paint” tape). 🙂  Putting out the 12 tables and the 100 chairs was fun.  I also helped fold up the costumes and pack them away for our next dress-rehearsal.  I can’t wait!!