Monday, July 28, 2014

"Pfft... [eye roll] Tourists!"

Growing up and going to Hawaii on family vacations, being spotted out as a tourist was my absolute worst nightmare.

Not sharks, not riptides, not being haunted by my poor choices in beach attire for many years to come. Exhibit A:

But really, I would probably buy that gold suit all over again if the Universe presented it.
No, I was most concerned that someone would spot me out as a landlocked haole. Not that it was difficult to guess that the family pulling up to the beach in the Hertz-rental minivan with matching Costco towels and Old Navy flip flops, reeking of Banana Boat, would be anything but island natives.

I would just die when someone would pronounce "Haleiwa" as "Hall--ee--ay--va" instead of "Hall--ay--ee--va." Or pretend that I needed absolutely no sunscreen and walk straight into the ocean, dusting some dirt off my shoulders, like I did it every day of my life.

Now, living in the most popular tourist destination in the world (can I get a big woot woot?) I still do everything I can to trick people into thinking I am a born and bred Londoner. I only look at tube maps with my peripheral vision so that people think I have every route on the London Underground completely committed to memory. I say "pardon" rather than "excuse me" when I'm trying to get around an extra large Primark bag on the left side of the escalator, and "cheers" when they actually do move to right where all stationary objects belong. I forego the free newspapers because I know the juicy stories about B-list royal family members are not worth the black fingerprints that I'm going to get all over my face because of it. And of course I always give a drawn-out exasperated sigh when someone can't figure out how they are supposed to use their Oyster card to get the horse-corral gates of the tube open.

So I guess what I am trying to say is that my desire to fit in has really just turned me into an impatient brat. And that's probably true. But! there is a reason why people who spend every day commuting, grocery shopping, and living real lives in big cities tend to be stereotyped as not-so-nice people. And it all comes down to having to deal with thousands of insufferable tourists.

Like tonight, Jason and I were coming home from a relaxing night of dinner in Jubilee park at Canary Wharf while watching a free production of Merry Wives of Windsor. And since we stayed late enough, we were lucky to get a pretty empty train to haul back all our picnics stuffs.

But just when we were starting to relax, our train stopped at Oxford Circus, and instead of seeing a smattering of tired commuters on the platform, there was a sea of foreign children in matching hats and lanyards, supervised by 3 or 4 of the most exasperated-looking adult chaperones I have ever seen in my life.

These kids--who I am sure had been told that if they didn't get on the train within two seconds of the doors opening that they would be transported to another dimension that had no snapchat and would be ruled by Voldemort--were wild-eyed and practically foaming at the mouth to get into the train.

Both Jason and I said "ohhh no" simultaneously as the train came to a stop. We had only moments before the floodgates opened and the field-tripping pre-teens descended like a plague of locusts.

As soon as the doors opened, the mob shoved their way through and frantically moved around into every and any space that could be occupied on the train. But instead of solemnly packing themselves into a corner where they could avoid eye contact and hopefully keep their nose out of someone's armpit like all the commuters do on my train every morning, they never stopped moving! It was like a cloud of electrons of the stinkiest, loudest, most-acne ridden molecule you could ever imagine.

And all the while, their chaperone is shouting in Italian to them to try to contain them. "Bippity boppity! No!! Maria! Bippity bippity boppity!!" And Jason and I sit with our elbows tucked as close into our bodies as possible, trying not to breathe or think about how close that twerking party is to our faces.

Then, just as soon as they descended, they get off at Bond Street and leave us picked down to nothing but our bare bones.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Trials of Faith, Ordain Women, and Some Pictures of London

As I'm sure is true for a lot of you, my Facebook feed has been absolutely dominated by Ordain Women ish. News articles with the bare-bones-facts slanted in both directions, blog posts that solve all the world's problems and are shared with a cursory "amen," statuses that overly-simplify the issue, and vitriolic comments from both sides of the fence that dehumanize the other. 

Scrolling through my feed is an emotional roller coaster, y'all.  And as much as I don't want to add to the redundancy, I feel like I need to shed a little more light on what these events have felt like for someone who is on my side of the fence. 

Since I belong to a "very small minority of LDS women," who are constantly reminded how statistically insignificant we are, I am the butt of the joke for the majority of people on my Facebook. Here are just a few of the recent excerpts from the OW Facebook page:





And these are just a fraction of the people from the last 24 hours. Who doesn't need a morning dose of people referring to me as Korihor? This shouldn't bother me, right? I'm a grown woman! I mean, I read YouTube comments! I know people on the internet are batshiz crazy. 

But I think the madness on social media surrounding OW is more than just a product of staring too long into a laptop's screen in the middle of the night when you are running on nothing but Red Bull and self-righteousness. I think that most people just can't wrap their heads around the idea that this is an issue that causes real people real pain.

It's not about being right.**

It's not about being "progressive."**

It's not about sticking-it-to-the-man.**

It's not even about being a feminist.**

It's about addressing a concern that has caused me to feel inadequate

I can't help the fact that I feel like my church values me only for my biological ability to make and take care of children. And since my biological abilities in that arena are about zilch, it's easy to feel like a waste of space. 

I can't help the fact that the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, and church handbooks have an infinitesimal amount of material that focuses on women and makes me feel cosmically insignificant. Even our Relief Society lessons are tailored around the lives of male prophets. If motherhood is so important, why don't men learn about it in Elders' Quorum like we learn about the priesthood offices in Relief Society? 

I can't help the fact that Eve's role in the creation makes me feel like Adam's plus one. Try as I may, I can't imagine an eternity where I am a mute helpmeet. 

I can't help the fact that it makes me feel pretty useless to know that all of sacrament meeting could go on without a hitch if there was not one woman in the entire building, but we would be at a standstill without any men. There is no avoiding the fact that men are invaluable both in church and in the home. 

I can't help the fact that even the idea of teaching my children that men are to preside in the home makes me feel yucky. Much less actually implementing the practice. 

I know what some of you are thinking. "You can help it! Millions of women don't feel the same way as you do. Therefore, you should just flip the switch and stop feeling pain."

And you know what? I wish that I could just take up my bed and walk and not have all these conflicting feelings. I really, really do. For years now--literal years--I have been praying, studying, going to the temple, taking the sacrament, and doing every other thing I can to remove this cup, but still it remains. 

Just like other trials, I can't just pray this one away. I know I have these feelings for a reason, and I know my Heavenly Parents have designed an existence that is supposed to shape me into this really awesome eternal being with luscious locks fit for a shampoo ad and ears that don't have to be tucked in when I wear a baseball hat. 

There are definitely some things about my church that cause me pain. But I don't pack up my things and leave (like so many people on twitter say I should) because I know temple ordinances are real. 

As much as people tell me that I must not be listening in conference to have the opinions I have, I know I feel the Spirit when church leaders speak. 

Despite the fact that it doesn't shed any light into the lives of Mrs. Nephi, Mrs. Moroni, or Mrs. Alma, I know the Book of Mormon is inspired by God. 

And even though I sometimes feel really crappy about the way my eternal role is depicted right now, I know I have Heavenly Parents who want what is best for me and a Savior who died for me.

So can we please all remember that people--even people on the internet--are real people with real problems? I wouldn't go to a support group for people who suffer from depression and say "Hey, I'm a person and I have never been depressed, so you should just get over it. Have you ever tried just being happy? You probably aren't praying enough. If you were more righteous your depression would go away."

*Censored not because I think my blog is popular enough for these people to find out I used their stuff, but because law school has made me stupidly risk-averse
**Even though these are all things I coincidentally love.

And just in case there is one lonely soul who is still reading this post--I have pictures of London!!! It has been my best thing to be in my best city with my best person. 

No better backdrop for Buckingham than stereotypical rain clouds.

Miles of turkish delight at Borough. 

Hampstead Heath, you saucy minx.

I didn't know that shade of green existed.

Oh Camden.

Must you be so... Camden?

If you don't take this picture, you were never really in London.

Proof that it does get sunny here.

Romeo and Juliet is definitely best done in leotards. 

So excited to have the ENTIRE car to ourselves.

But literally one. stop. later this happened.

When I was here six years ago Mexican food was no more than a spicy unicorn. Now it is EVERYWHERE. They even have Chipotle!!!

The only thing at Harrods that was even slightly within my price range.

Those terra cotta bricks slay me. SLAY me.

Can't I just have it? A bargain at $1,000 per square foot!

Brick Lane has the store from the movie Chocolat. Even though I didn't see French women in capes.

Frisbee in Hyde park is pretty dreamy.

Probably the most beautiful building I will ever work in.

But sometimes reading on a blanket is better than Frisbee.

But reading is hard when you only want to nuzzle.

A lot.

Just eating fish and chips in a place that is 200 yrs older than the Western discovery of our continent. NBD.

We missed the pagan celebration at Stonehenge by thaaaat much.

This picture proves that bike gear is goofy and passed out hippies are poor photographers.

The countryside was way better than stonehenge. 

If I were really artsy and had a camera that wasn't my phone stored in the elastic of my leggings (TMI?) you would be swooning.


But the brickwork with the timber!!

I actually cried while I was biking on this road. Real tears.

Just at the beauty of it all.

Even the hedges were just too much.

Oh yeah, we have castles tucked behind perfectly distressed gates too.

And churches that have been around for centuries.

I am a sucker for old cemeteries. I don't even care how creepy that makes me sound.

Is it too dramatic to say that I will never be happy again until I keep up with my correspondence gazing out from that window?

Oh you know, just William Penn's house. Of PENNsylvania.

And cathedrals, man. 

What do I have to do to spend the rest of my life in one of those? (Don't say celibacy)

Jason's first and favorite fish 'n chips.

Having Portobello just a jog away really is the tits.

Even when you have to share it with the masses.