amyleon

Missing London.

      I miss London incredible amounts. So I took the time to sit and really think about my time there and all of the things I did and experienced. Fortunately the list is long :)

I challenged myself to take classes I would never take like gothic Literature, and I learned from that mistake.

 I did poetry all over London. I won a London slam. I got offered gigs after every performance, and was given pouts when I couldn’t make it. I was invited to join 3 collectives, all which I had to turn down because my time here was short. I was paid for my words. I was accepted by a group of artists who didn’t care who I was, where I’ve been, or where I was going. They wanted me then, in the present, they soaked me all in and did life with me. We breathe alike, and though I’m leaving I don’t think I’ll forget our breathing pattern.

 I was an extra in a film that went to Cannes. At this film shoot I met a guy named David. I didn’t know it then but he was going to alter the rest of my time in London…for the better.

 I was challenged to edit in my creative writing class which has always been hard, and I succeeded in writing about my mothers condition. I was honest.

 I started talking to my birth mother again. Not too often and not too personal, but I’ve been kind. She sent me a card for my 21st birthday, and I read it this time.

I turned 21. 

I got drunk for the first time…in Berlin. What a memory. What can I say I’m in Europe!

I inspired people one at a time to face their fears of performing, and got people who could have never imagined themselves on a stage, under the spotlight. I am proud of them.

That boy David, gave me the best gift I could have ever asked for, his friends. They quickly became family. All of us lived together for two weeks in a townhouse on Edgeware Road. Every 5 minutes I asked myself “How on earth did I find these amazing people?” it was unbelievable. We dealt with each other’s awful laughter, sleeping habits, pain, and joy and expected absolutely nothing in return. They were a group of friends who made a spot for me in their hearts. One of them said to me “You are my greatest disappointment.” I didn’t quite understand until she said “You walked into our lives too late.” This made me cry, with a smile on my face.

I saw my two best friends in the entire world, in England. We never expected to be here, but by the grace of God and the generosity of people we made it. We had sleepovers just like we do in the states, and took adventures none of us expected to have. I learned that in friendship the only thing that changes is location.

I have gotten closer to God in a way only He could understand. I brought my friend to a 3 day Christian women’s conference that I never thought she’d survive. We did it together and she left with her first ever Bible, and my heart has never been happier.

I went to Spain (Cadiz & Seville), Germany (Berlin), Ireland (Dublin & Kilkenny), Scotland (Edinburgh & The Highlands), and France (Paris). I lost my passport, experienced the American Embassy in Ireland and made friends with tons of people. I bumped into a girl in Spain who knew one of my closest middle school friends…what a small world!

I know this is very long, but it is therapeutic. Its helping me realize just how much I did. hmm what else…

I got pet more than 300 times by people all over the world. Clearly they have never seen big hair before.

I didn’t experience racism at all, which made me realize just how much I experience it back home in America. That was eye-opening.

I paid my own phone bill. It wasn’t that bad, if only American phone companies were as cheap -_-

I had full control of my money and budgeted everything…I did a pretty great job with it too and ended up living in London extremely under budget. Believe me that was a shock! 

I had roommates I actually liked for the first time in my college career.

 I volunteered at a soup kitchen and met a beautiful woman named Maria, who reminded me why helping others is the perfect way to live your life.

I met a homeless man named JP who said “I bet you sing beautifully. I haven’t heard you, but I can tell from the kindness in your voice.”

A guy from a London University, who has seen my work on YouTube, recognized me on the street. He stopped me and told me how much he enjoys my work, congratulated me on winning the slam, and said he’d keep an eye out.

I got used to the small shower.

I drank tons of tea. I’ve learned not to hate it.

 I went to Margaret Thatchers funeral and stood in milk-covered streets as people reacted to her death. It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience.

I saw Matilda, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night time, One Man Two Guvnors, and many more.

AH THERES SO MUCH MORE. This made me really happy. I can’t wait to make this summer count in the city! :)

IT HAS BEEN TOO LONG!

I have NO idea why I chose to abandon this tumblr…I still do a poem everyday. Silly me so to make up for all of the lost time I will just put up the poems in writing. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed writing them. i am now in London doing big things with poetry so keep your eye out for some exciting stories :)

AHHH ITS HAPPENING! When I first came here a wonderful woman named Marnie told me that I was here in London to “Make it happen.” And I am! I have been doing poetry slams and open mics all around London and have met some amazing people doing it. The other day after a performance a girl came up to me and asked if I could help her get started. So now I have a student!

Last week I got a message that asked “If you have time would you like to be one of our feature poets?” …would I like to? Do I have time!?  OF COURSE. I am getting a 20 minute slot at an awesome pub to speak life and truth and whatever ideas I feel like sharing into the ears of Londoners! I’m the only American…and the best part is I am getting paid! Isn’t this poster a beauty? I am so pumped. *chubbykidsmile*

I've started reading.

I am currently reading a book called A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller. Excuse me while I dive into cliché about how the book is changing my life. I started reading it a few days ago in a playground in Pennsylvania. I was sitting on a  child swing, despite the fact that there were many children in the park waiting for me to move so their mommies could push them. But I figured I’d give one mom a break and occupy the swing until Elianna and Julian were ready to go home for naptime. I am Elianna and Julian’s unofficial but so very official aunt. Unashamed I sat there pushing myself book in hand. To all the kids who glared at me with their itty bitty faces, freedom comes with self sufficiency :)

Pennsylvania is one of my favorite places in the world. Since the age of 12 I have been coming here to escape the rush of the city. New York City. I am currently on a bus there right now…from Pennsylvania. Goodbyes are always the hardest because children grow faster than the speed of light and seeing the difference in height and intellect whenever I return always makes me feel like I’ve missed something. But my conversations with the children are always so rewarding, that I’m filled with pride by their rapid learning and can never wait to return to see what new words they’ve learned and what new forms of sass they will bring to the table.

Since Pennsylvania holds such a sense of peace for me, I am glad that I finally brought a book along. I can’t even remember the last time I read a book for pleasure…or for educational reasons for that matter. Needless to say, I was excited. This book has been in my possession for nearly a year and I don’t even think the owner knows I have it. I think Ben will be pretty happy when I return it to him on Wednesday. I remember the day I took it out of his hands. We were having a songwriters meeting and someone else, I forget who, was returning it to Ben and thanking him for the recommendation. I asked about it and they said it was a must-read so I said I’d take it and bring it to the next meeting. We had several meetings and I never brought it back. I even forgot I had it until I was packing for my semester abroad in London. I decided to pack it because I knew I had to return it sometime, and returning a book that you haven’t read to a friend is awkward. A whole 4 months in London filled with opportunities to read went to waste as I let the book gather dust on my desk.  Honestly when I packed it for my trip to PA I never intended to actually read it. But I’m glad I’ve started. 

Ok, so what’s the deal with the book huh? Well, its exactly what I need right now. It is about how Miller learned to live a better story. Through his journey and his flat out honesty I have come to the realization that I am not living a story that I am proud of. I go through the motions, I take opportunities and I give them, but none of my experiences are nearly as fulfilling as they seem. Don’t get me wrong I am terribly thankful for my life, for everything I have done and all the people who have gotten me to where I am. But I do not think that I am taking the risks necessary to live the full life I daydream of having.

I daydream a lot, and in reading this book-which I haven’t finished yet- I have come to terms with the fact that I need to start taking those day dreams and living them, and if I’m not gonna live them…well I at least need to stop wasting time having them.

So that is exactly what I am going to do this summer….and hopefully for the rest of my life. I am going to be daring, honest, risky, and have a heart that follows God and believes in whimsy. It will be scary, but fear is a choice, and for the first time in my life I am choosing to not let fear make my decisions.  

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This semester has been one of adventure. I have walked on parts of the earth that I have only dreamed of, places that even when dreaming seemed impossible to reach. These are three of those places. 

Upper left: The top of a mountain! Arthur’s Seat in Scotland.

Upper right: The highlands in Scotland.

Bottom:  Alcazar in Seville, Spain. 

:)

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Singing some James Blake at the top of the Franzosischer Dom in Berlin!

James Blake is one of my favorite artists. I have been lucky enough to see him 3 times while here in London and I have met him twice. Me and him have a great budding friendship that I hope unfolds into a collaboration one day. So of course when I was in this beautiful church I had to sing one of his songs :)

Nomad.

I’ve never known a home

Or what typical feels like

I’ve never owned a thing in my life

Everything material

Has no value

Every person

Carries too much

I’ve never been a light packer

But I’m tired of the weight

The wait

It’s daunting

Like the arms of our estranged father

And the ghost of our relationship

I find it humorous

That you never knew about the care

Or the distance

That you thought I was better off

But who am I to assume I wasn’t?

Not all homes are kind.

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Key-holders.

I was asked to write a piece for NYU New Yorks “Cup of Hope” event that is going on today! So I wrote this for all survivors of sexual abuse. May we realize that we are the key-holders to our freedom and that hope is born in the marrow of new beginnings :)

Performed live in London. After I performed this a London poet came up to me (which was really exciting because she was EXTREMELY talented and i have never met her before) and she said “The only way I can thank you is by giving you two of my poems” then she gave me two fantastic poems that I will hold very close to my heart. 

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I CLIMBED A MOUNTAIN!

When I was in Scotland I climbed Arthurs Seat which was one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had. Lord knows it took all of the Hero’s in me to get me to the top, so it seemed fitting to sing a bit of Mariah Carey when I got up there haha :)

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Somewhere Over the Rainbow. 

Never stop dreaming, we’ll all get over it someday :)

Thank You London.

Listening to Coldplay as you pack your bags to leave London is never a good idea. I decided to leave packing for the last minute (which I do not suggest) and instead of listening to upbeat music to make packing fun I put on Coldplay. What on earth was I thinking? With every memory I put in my suitcase along every single dirty item of clothing (Guilford machines are always broken or full -_- )I felt like I was packing away my experience. My time here has been too short.

 Often times when I finish a semester I am the happiest person in the world. I tend to run through the streets screaming with friends, and sometimes we even have notebook ripping parties, where we rip and throw away every piece of paper from the year…but not here. I have been waiting for the end of the semester with bated breath. A month ago I knew it was all going to end, and I tried not to think about it.

But endings are inevitable, as are new beginnings. 

I am excited to go home and see my friends and family again. I am excited to go attack the NYC poetry scene with the unbelievable confidence London has given me. I am excited to make music all summer, and work with the HEOP incoming freshmen. I am excited to know that even while I am doing all of that, London will be waiting for me to return.

When I arrived at Heathrow airport, a kind woman named Marnie said “Make it happen!” and to my surprise, I can honestly say I did.

 Thank you London.

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I have no idea how I haven’t written about spring break!

For spring break my lovely friend Stephan and I decided to tackle Europe. We went to Paris, Berlin, Scotland and Ireland. My favorite of the four was definitely Berlin.

Berlin is currently my favorite place in the world. When we landed we were immediately greeted with kindness and acceptance. It is a city filled with history and a constantly developing culture.

We stayed in a wonderful hostel that made everything better,I highly recommend PLUS hostel…it’s perfect. It was right across the street from the club where we spent our nights and feet away from the Berlin wall where we spent our days. The entire week I was there was amazing. If you’re thinking of places to go make sure Berlin is one of them. Germany is not a place to miss :)

While there make sure to:

- Stay at PLUS hostel. (Under 10 euro a night)

- Go to the abandoned Ice Factory. ( Eisfabrik in Berlin-Mitte google the address!)

- take the free walking tour. (hostel gives you info about it)

- Have a pretzel…or more than one.

- Go to the Jewish Memorial.

- Drink beer, meet people, go clubbing- Matrix is awesome!

- Go to this store called Chaos, it has some of the coolest Berlin fashions.

- Obviously visit the Berlin wall, try to see the older version and the East Side Gallery.

 

:)

Why I Forget to Write.

It is awful really- I was so excited to become one of those people who “blogs.” Who keeps up with it all the time and by the end of the year has a collection of gorgeous thoughts and pictures etc. But I always forget to write. I am so busy doing things…and I guess that is a good thing-but I also have a terrible memory so I should and MUST start writing it down. Being abroad in London has made me realize how important memories are. I wake up everyday and forget that I am actually here, that I am living out one of my childhood dreams. It has also made me realize how easy it is to fall into patterns that lead to no productivity. SO here is to writing things down, experiencing London to the most of my potential and making it all count. Here I go- may the blogging craze commence!! :)

Today I met ALLEN STONE. 

He is a fantastic singer, and an insane performer. If you don’t know who he is…look him up! I’ve never had so much fun at a concert, and I’m proud to say he set the bar extremely high. I was front row and center so I got to hold hands, grind with him when he hopped off stage for a spontaneous dance party, and sing my little tooshie off. So afterwards when I got to meet him he said "You got a voice on you girl. Thanks for singing with me." So of course I just about died…and then we proceeded to take silly pictures. This is my favorite of the ones we took! 

I cannot wait to get out and see more live music! London knows whats up! :D

                                                                        Live at Dingwalls. 19/2/13 <3

Childhood Friends.

When I got accepted into the NYU London program the first thing I did was obviously throw myself to the floor in excitement. The second was tell all of my closest friends that I was going to be in London for 5 months. That I Amy Leon was going to live life like Amanda Bynes did- I was going to get everything a girl wants, meet the Queen and fall in love with a beautiful British boy. Have I done either of those things yet? No. But the point is, when I told 2 of my best friends about my acceptance-instead of being happy for me they were happy for all of us. Turns out all THREE of us applied to UK programs for the same semester without previously notifying one another. WHAT HAPPENED? WE ALL GOT ACCEPTED. 

It was a childhood dream come true. When you’re a tween-especially in New York City, you always dream of what the rest of the world looks like outside of the New Yorks dirty (yet beautifully cultural) streets and when day dreaming about the rest of the planet you always see your best friends standing right next to you. Here I am living the dream- me and my two best friends.

Let me just say, I didn’t really feel like I was in london until my friend Nicole and I (friends since middle school) met up to go shopping. I started having outer body experiences and screaming “NICOLE. WE ARE WALKING THE STREETS OF LONDON. WHAT IS LIFE” and I also screamed as we shopped, as we ate, as we hugged, basically the entire time. I just couldn’t grasp the fact that Nicole has seen me through my most ridiculous of life stages and now here in London-she gets to see me play dress up. It’s surreal. I can’t wait until next weekend when my best friend of 12 years comes to visit. Thats going to be something else. I feel so blessed :)

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We’re gonna have to go back and get one of all 3 of us! 

Breakdowns happen slowly
In the middle of time

The wishes of the dandelions we blew on, were broken.

Time wasted waiting for brokenness
To become the wholeness
That our lackluster lives needed
Missing out on the journey
In attempts to make the future better.
You’ll always regret it.
As will I.

I wonder who orchestrated this tragedy
I’d like to write em a thank you card
Because one day
When all is said and done
The perfection that we’ve earned
Will taste better than that we’ve won
And all will be right with the world.

Until then, let’s cruise this imperfection
With tears in our eyes
And smiles on our faces
Never knowing whether
To laugh or cry
Forgetting to ask why
Because we never really want to know the answers.

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My last weekend in London is being spent doing what I love most. I have been trying to write and complete a song forever and today I finally did it! Made it with a NYC friend and a London one! Can’t wait to perform all over the city this summer :)

This is Circular Motion :)

Your soul is weary

You’re filled with fury

Heart on fire

Let go

Let go

Oooh oooooh

Im tired im so tired

Oooooh

We’re runnin in

Circular motion

swimming round

spherical oceans

When will it end

Oooooh ooohhh

Ive got the weight

Of the world

On my shoulders

You keep bringing me down (down)

Come on baby

We’ll only get older

The time is now

Ooooh ooh

We’re runnin in

Circular motion

swimming round

spherical oceans

When will it end

All of these moments 

Play over and over

The good I see slower

The bad I fast forward

I will never let you down