So So Far South

so so far south

I woke up this morning to a sound I couldn’t quite identify.  It sounded familiar, though… Wait a minute. 

Rain. 

Oh my… I love the rain so so so much.  It took everything in me to not run outside immediately and just stand in the gloriousness of it all.  It so rarely rains in LA that it almost feels like a treat.  It’s all beautiful and cloudy, and I’m so glad we went to Simon’s Town yesterday for lunch and to see across the bays.  Oh, and there were wild penguins.  For reals.

My favorite part of yesterday was in our drive… We were looking out over the Indian Ocean – all gorgeous and expansive.  And then the road curved away from the ocean and we went up over a hill.  Two minutes later, the ocean appeared again – stretching out again as far as you could see.

Except this was the Atlantic Ocean.

Holy crap, I am really really really far south.  

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Oh Yeah, That’s Right. This is Africa…

this is africa

Cape Town is beautiful… 

In a lot of ways, it feels like LA.  It’s incredibly diverse.

The coffee’s wonderful, and the food?  *Swoon* Alli and I went to a mall just outside of Cape Town yesterday and had cappuccinos and milk tarts – this custard pie that’s really popular here in SA.  We just watched everyone walk by – listening to all different languages and just catching up on life.  And in that moment, everything felt so modern, so urban, so normal.  But at the same time, everything is SO different.  The people.  The food.  The accents.  The way people think and act and the way they see themselves in the world. The sense of community here is just… amazing… There’s a whole blog coming on that one later.

We drove along the edge of the ocean, through Fish Hoek, for quite a while.  The sand is so white – and the sea itself is this deep jewel blue and greens.  But it’s not until you start seeing signs warning for baboons and these broccoli-looking trees that you really remember oh yeah, that’s right.  I’m in Africa.  I’ve met amazing people so far – some who have these horrific stories of broken lives and broken bodies, some who are just like Alli and V – these people who have come into the darkest place of the world to bring light.

Honestly, it’s a so overwhelming. 

The back and forth and the home/townships/home/flats/home of it all is so jarring.  There aren’t even words.

Inadequate. 

All I can do is smile and hug people.  I’m here to love and support Alli – and she’s the one who actually has the words for all of this.  She’s the one who knows what to say and how to react to everything.  She’s spent years developing strong relationships with everyone here. We drive down the street near the flats and the Yellow House with the windows open, and everyone waves.  “Hi Alli.  Hi Alli.”  (With their awesome accents, it actually ends sounding closer to ‘Hi Ellie, Hi Ellie.”)  She’s vital to this community, and all of BabySafe has just gone in and said –

There is hope.  You are not alone.

And there’s nothing in the world that can beat that.

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South Africa – Day 2

IMG_3168

It’s hard.  I’m not going to lie.

But the world is so much bigger here. So much brighter.  So much more beautiful. And these people, even in the middle of these really dark places, there is joy.  God is so evident here, and people are actually open to him in little bits and pieces.  It’s so amazing to see Alli and the relationships she’s built here.  People trust her and love her.  She’s so straightforward with them, and BabySafe has this amazing way of just telling people the way that it is – but with grace.

I feel like I have so much to learn. 

I feel like I have nothing real to give.  Like I’m this crazy Hollywood girl with absolutely no concept of how the world works.  I just keep walking with Alli and meeting everyone and praying I don’t say or do something stupid.

But I feel like I’m drinking from a firehose.  I haven’t even processed anything yet.  I feel like I’m just filing things away under “I’ll think about this later.”

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South Africa – Day 1

day 1

It’s so dark and so quiet here at night.

There’s almost no traffic noise here, at least at Alli & V’s flat.  All you can hear at night is the wind, blowing every which way. And after so long in LA, I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be somewhere that’s completely absent of light.  Even at home, in the middle of the night, the lights in our courtyard and pool still flood into our apartment.  And I’m so used to it that I don’t even give it a second thought.  But I turned off my light last night, and even five minutes later, after my eyes had adjusted, I still couldn’t see my hand in front of my face.  The wind whipped around the house, and as I laid there praying I could finally go to sleep – thank you jet lag – I think I finally realized it.

I’m in Africa. 

I am so happy. I landed about 11am Wednesday morning, and once I got through immigration and customs, Alli was there waiting for me!  Alli & V live a little outside the city, so we just started driving.  It was amazing.  I felt like I was in absorb-everything, total-input mode.  There was so much to see.  Everything was different.  Enormous.  Vibrant.  Beautiful.  (I feel like I’m going to be using those words a lot this trip.)  There’s just no way to completely capture what it feels like to step off the plane in an entirely new city and country.  At least in the places I’ve been, it’s not anything big that gives it away right up front.  You walk off the plane with the same people you’ve been sitting with for 11 hours.  There’s little cafes and signs for baggage claims.  You’re in an airport.  You’ve done this before.

But it’s there.  Gently whispering in the air – new.  different.

Welcome to somewhere you’ve never, ever been before. 

This time, it was the accents.  These beautiful paper flowers that decorated part of a wall.  The beautiful austerity to their airport that is so unlike every other airport I’ve been to before.  And when you look out the window, you can see for miles. 

Welcome to Cape Town, South Africa. 

Alli, V and I spent yesterday afternoon and evening at their super cute flat, just hanging out and catching up.  There is so much to say and so many stories to hear.  We watched all of the election coverage on the news (oh yeah – the US presidential election is massive international news) and I just listened while Alli & V caught me up with everything.

My favorite part of the day was realizing that it feels completely normal to be here.  Sometimes, after you don’t see friends for a long time, you have to take a little bit of time to get reacquainted and figure out how to really talk again.  You have the slightly awkward conversations about the weather and new movies before you get down to the real stuff.  But from the second I stepped off the plane, it was like no time had passed at all.  It was just Alli & Lynn, jumping in a car together and going for a drive.

We had dinner at one of Alli & V’s favorite places close by – a restaurant called The Toad.  We stopped off at the video store and rented The Debt (the parts I saw were great!  Hahaha – jet lag definitely arrived and I wasout.)

And so ended Day 1 of my Africa trip.

The adventure continues…. 

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My Crazy Trip – Day 1 (The London Part)

I’m here. Cape Town is beautiful.

I left my house at 3:30 in the afternoon on Monday.  Luke took me to the airport after stopping for coffee, and I left US soil at 7 that night.

First stop… London! 

big ben underground

I landed in London 11 hours later on a very long layover – and I couldn’t wait to get out of the airport and straight into London.   I took the Heathrow Express (the world’s most expensive train ride – haha!) but I was standing in Paddington Station 20 minutes later.  And it was cold.

Somewhere along the way, I totally forgot to check London weather. 

And yes – I can hear everyone’s thoughts now.  November in London!  I know, I know.  Those thoughts sound remarkably like the voices that said London in December??? when Luke and I got married.   Public service announcement – if you’re in London anywhere in the fall/winter – it’s cold.  Consider yourself warned, and dress appropriately.  You’re welcome.  J

It had been 90+ in LA this whole time, and I knew Cape Town was going to be 75-80 while I was here.  Thankfully, I had a little light jacket tucked into my carryon suitcase, so I whipped that out in the middle of a Costa Coffee (hello, free wi-fi) and off I went.  I found an art store and bought a set of colored pencils because what adventure is really complete without the ability to draw whatever you’re seeing?   And then I went back to Paddington, got on the tube (after a slight misadventure reloading my Oyster card) and set off for Charing Cross.

And is it weird that I kept hoping David Tennant was just randomly going to be sitting on the tube next to me?  Does the Doctor take the Underground?  Inquiring minds want to know.

Charing Cross. 

Earlier this year, I wrote a feature script set in London – GLIMPSE. It’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever written, actually.  (Love!  Danger! Guns! Biological warfare!  An Aston Martin explodes! And did I mention London???)  The last time I was in London was 2006, so I was writing the entire thing from memory and an occasional Google Maps street view.  Trafalgar Square plays a huge part in the story – and so despite the fact that the voice in my head was screaming NOOO!!!! You’re going to miss your flight to Cape Town!!!  I made a run for it.  I popped up out of the tube station, and there – so close I could touch it – was Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery and Nelson’s Column.   My story came to life in front of me, and I spent almost an hour walking through the Square, taking pictures, meeting people and walking through nearby streets.

I live for moments like that.

And I forgot that if you stand on the National Gallery steps and look towards Nelson’s Column, you can see Big Ben.

So I was off again.

Wesminster and Big Ben

 That’s quite a long walk, actually.  But you can see the Eye on one side, and the city was just full and beautiful and bustling around me.  I took some great pictures (including one angle of Big Ben and an Underground sign together that I’d found a photo of a couple years ago.  I painted it, and it’s been hanging in our living room ever since).   The people walking all around me on the streets are this vibrant mix of everyone.  There were businessmen just exiting their offices for the day – pondering what they were going to do with their Tuesday evening.  There were friends out, heading for the pubs together.  Soccer and rugby matches were on several of the screens as I walked by.  There were girls out shopping.  Tourists out taking a gazillion photos – speaking so many different languages I couldn’t even keep up.  There’s just this spark in the city, this totally beautiful LIFE feeling there, and I can never get enough of it.

 London.

I made it back to Paddington on a different line, and I ran for the train back to Heathrow.  I knew if I missed this train, I could easily catch the next one and make it back with plenty of time, but it just seemed like so much more fun to sprint through the station.  J  So that’s exactly what I did.

 Heathrow’s all decorated for Christmas – opening scene from Love Actually, anyone? – and it’s gorgeous, of course.

 But here’s the thing about London.  I adore that city.  Luke and I have talked so many times about moving there – short term, of course – but the thought of living in that beautiful crazy city for even a few months just fills my heart with joy.  We’ve been praying for years that one of us would end up on a project in London and the other person would just get to come along.  So maybe one day… just putting it out into the world – Team Maxcy is available for any and all London-based projects!

That was the first 20 hours of my trip. 

 And then, at 9 that evening, my flight took off for Cape Town, South Africa….

 And the adventure continues….

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London! Halfway there…

A quick stop to send a few emails and a few photos.

my costa coffee

The overwhelmingness of being in London is crazy.  Luke and I came here for our honeymoon six years ago.  We got married in December, so everything was decorated for Christmas.  And now, everything is decorated once more.  There’s snowflakes on the windows and a chill in the air and everything is peppermint and caramel and chocolate.

Cars drive the wrong way here.  But it’s amazing how easy it is to slip back into UK-isms.  I asked for soya milk without even thinking about it.  I will admit I looked the wrong way before running across the street, but I caught myself before causing massive damage.  I got to the trains and through Paddington Station in the blink of an eye.  But just when I thought I’d stepped away from LA for a few weeks…

You can take the girl out of LA, but you can’t take LA out of the girl…”

At customs in Heathrow, the guard noticed I had ‘television’ in my job description.  He asked if I worked on a show.  I told him I work on ALPHAS, and the guard from the other side of the cubicle came jumped over.  ”OH MY GOODNESS!!!!!  I love love love that show.  That David Strathairn is something else!  I can’t believe you work on that show. It just started here again, and I’m so excited.”  She shook my hand, wished me well, and I went on my way.  As I walked away, this lovely lady turned back to my original border guard.  ”You’ve got to watch it.  It’s brilliant.”  I laughed so hard, and I love that I made a new friend in London.

But back to London…

I long to live in the UK, even for a short amount of time.  I love it here.  My heart is so full right now.

The city, the atmosphere, the art, the creativity here.  I love it.  South Africa is just a few hours away, and I am beyond excited.

Love you all!  More updates coming at some point… I’m off to find an art store before I leave London.

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One More Step…

cape town

“If I take one more step, it will be the farthest away from home I’ve ever been.”

– Samwise Gamgee, The Lord of the Rings

I’m getting on a plane and leaving for Cape Town, South Africa next week.

« insert appropriate freak-out and crazy joy here»

I am SO SO SO excited for everything that’s coming.  I’m going to work with my amazingly wonderful friends Alli & V.  (This was their wedding!)  I don’t remember meeting Alli.  She’s just always been there in my life – though the first picture I have of us together is when we were four years old.  And if I get really brave, maybe I’ll find it and post it.  Haha!  Maybe.

Anyway – everything has suddenly aligned perfectly and it’s time for me to GO!

And I realized, for the first time in years – I have no frame of reference. 

I’m going somewhere I’ve never ever been before – not just in the wonderful “I’ve never been to Africa” sort of way, but in the way of the grand firsts of life kind of way.  The first time I had a crush on a boy and realized he liked me back.  The first day of high school when you realize you’ve suddenly become one of those girls your 7-year-old self had idolized. The first time I drove my own car, free to drive anywhere I wanted.  The first time I left the country and realized that the United States was still going on, existing somewhere else and I wasn’t there to see it.  The first time I sang in front of people.  My first day of college when I had to stop and ask someone directions to my campus from my Metro station.  The first time I sat in my own room in Lauren’s condo and realized “Holy hell.  I live on my own now.”

I’m walking into this great unknown – and I could NOT be more thrilled.

Adventure lies before us, and it is ready when we are. 

I’m going to see Alli and spend two solid weeks with her.  This will probably be the first time since high school that we’ve seen each other this many days in a row. I’m going to work with Baby Safe. I’m going to see a new continent (3 down, 4 to go!) I’m going to make new friends and love on new people and serve them to the best that I can.  I’m going to cuddle little babies who have a new chance at life. I am unplugging from my phone and the craziness of LA. I’m going to dream.  I’m going to bake and clean and enjoy life with my friends.  I’m going to be present in every moment.  I’m going to try new things and take risks and LIVE!

Honestly, I’m not sure what I can do. I’m an LA girl and I have no idea what on earth I can really contribute as I go.  I hope I can figure that out as I get there…  I have no idea if I’ll update my blog while I’m gone, but I’ll have plenty of stories when I get back.

Alli & V, I’m headed for you!

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Alphas – Season 2 Finale! Tonight 8/7c!

Friends!  

After so many months and so many episodes – our Season 2 Finale is here!   Check it out – 

It has been a fantastic season, and we’re so proud of what we’ve created.  Love you all! 

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