Lauren in London

Campus Blog

London gaps and Belgian waffles

March 25th, 2013 | Lauren Simms

Tha-thump, tha-thump, tha-thump. My heart is beating as if I’ve just climbed the stairs from the first to the third floor in Trask Hall. Oh wait, I just did.

It’s 10 a.m. on a Wednesday morning in Forensics, and I look around the room to find only three others in the room. Sitting in the desks beside me are Zach Payne, junior; Erin-Rae Donaldson, junior; and Anna Lester, junior.

My mind flashes back to a week prior when I auditioned and interviewed for the International Forensics Association tournament in Antwerp, Belgium.

I grasp my black Forensics book with my sweaty palms as Anna Lester, my duo partner, steps beside me. In front of Dr. Mark Kelton, Mrs. Nancy Pace-Miller, Donna Copeland and Ms. Melinda Booze, Anna and I present the duo we’ve spent the last 24 hours rehearsing. Of course they are smiling, which eases my nerv—

Dr. Kelton and Ms. Booze enter the classroom, interrupting my flashback, as the four of us exchange curious glances. “You’re probably wondering why there is only four of you here today,” Dr. Kelton says as I silently reply with a “yes.”

“Well, I won’t delay any longer — Ms. Booze, should we tell them? You four are here today because you have been chosen to attend the IFA tournament in Antwerp, Belgium.”

After that was a blur — rehearsing, sleeping, homework, eating, school, repeat — I mean next thing you know, I was sitting on a jumbo jet plane on my way to London, England.

We spent some time in London before we flew to Antwerp, and it was everything you’d imagine it to be: original cobblestone streets, British accents, majestic cathedrals, red double-decker buses and telephone booths.

Someone had told me before I left, “You’ll hear ‘mind the gap’ all the time.” Originally I thought it was referring to jet lag, since there was a seven-hour time difference between London and Springfield; however, it was instead referring to the gap between the pavement and the Tube (transportation system).

Upon finishing rehearsal every morning, we went to sightsee. After seeing the London Tower, Windsor Castle, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, the London Transport Museum, Grote Market, the London Bridge, The Audience (a Broadway play starring Helen Mirren) — and after meeting a portraying prince, the captain of the guards for the Queen and a gatekeeper-slash-tour-guide, it was time to venture to Antwerp.

Reuben’s House, the Museum Aan De Stroom, the Plantin-Moretus Museum, the Diamond and Fashion Districts — it was more than I could form into words, especially the Belgian waffle we had in Belgium (trust me, Eggo has nothing on them).

The IFA tournament went great. After weeks of preparation and rehearsing, we each presented our three pieces in front of other competitors and a group of judges. Antwerp’s Mayor spoke at the IFA award ceremony, which was at Antwerp’s City Hall. When Zach Payne won first place in the Special Topics event, I felt our team become more like a family.

The six of us, made up of students and professors, bonded during this trip. We laughed with each other, confided in each other and cheered for each other. As I reflect, I can’t say anything but “thank you” and “wow.”

I am wowed by the experience, and so thankful for the opportunity — the opportunity to experience different cultures alongside some of the best people at Evangel.

Want more? Learn more about the forensics team here at Evangel.

Lauren Simms

Communication Studies Major | Class of 2013

Lauren, a Communication Studies major, is a commuter student from Springfield, Missouri. She is a work-study for Marketing Enrollment, a member of a START team, and an EU Student Host. She encourages students to study hard, get involved and enjoy every minute.

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