Thursday, January 28, 2010

a day of adventure.

Today was to put it simply, a dream. We woke up at 6:30 to be ready to leave by 7:30. I ate breakfast and made my lunch for the day of a croissant and chicken salad with grapes in it like we always eat on the boat, fruit and a muffin. We got on the coach and were off to Brighton to see the Royal Pavilion. It took us about two hours to get there but a two hour drive has never been more worth it to me. Brighton is most likely my favorite place that I have gone so far. The royal pavilion was a beautiful Indian and Chinese inspired house of George IV. The décor was so extravagant and very expensive. I wouldn’t mind having a house like that to vacation and party in. We also went to the Brighton Pier which was quaint and fun but also fringed and windy.

My lovely ladies an I.
Next stop was Battle Abbey in Hastings. We walked the grounds and had a little photo shoot with all the girls. My favorite part was watching Jenny and Calvin walking in the fields being sheep herders; it was quite a funny site.
Once we were done there we drove about half an hour to a tiny town called Rye, where we stopped for dinner. Audrey, Emma, Caitlin and I walked up the road and found the most adorable bed and breakfast and had a light dinner. I ordered a pot of raspberry tea, a bowl of fantastic pepper and tomato soup with a cheese scone all for six pounds. We all met back up at the coach and started the three hour ride back to London. It was a wonderful day!
I cherish all the memories I am making.

Things I have noticed:
The English are obsessed with black currant.
Everything tastes better with nutella on it.
I prefer wearing leggings over pants.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

i eat and i eat.

I still have a few days to fill you in on and there is so much to tell so bare with me.
Sunday was the second week Emma, Maddie and I went to our new ward. We, again, got lost on the way there and were half an hour late... oops! I got my calling this week… [drum roll]… I am a new YSA Sunday school class teacher. I am quite nervous for this one because there are about four YSA’s in the ward and they have never had this class before. It took us about an hour to get home and just like we have been the last two weeks, were the first home from church around two. I instantly fell asleep for my beloved Sunday nap the second my head hit the pillow. Four hours later I woke up for a delicious dinner of turkey and mash. YUM! Teri is quite the cook. After dinner was homework and bed.

Monday was "sit at home and chill out for once" day. I went and ate waffles with Caitlin after dinner. I had a mouth watering chocolate dipped waffle with a scoop of fresh strawberry ice cream on top. It was just about the greatest thing I have tasted here. Caitlin is obsessed with the Waffle House; I would be too if my butt were not affected by everything I put in my mouth.
Tuesday was mellow as well. I had class, went for a run and then took a shower. I then proceeded to fall asleep in my towel out of the shower and most likely gave some of the roommates a peep show. I then got ready for the night at my leisure, which I love to do. After we ate mexican food for dinner Emma, Audrey, Caitlin, Jenny and I went to go get Ben’s Cookies (mom- you would LOVE this place) and see a play called The Lady in Black or as I like to say the black lady. This was our third and final attempt to see this play and it was good! I hate not knowing what is going to happen and it was pretty jumpy. The plot is about an old man trying to tell this experience he had as a young man to his family. His acting coach helps him and they tell us the tale about a creepy lady haunting a house he has to visit and then appearing back in his life and killing his son and wife (very depressing ending). Audrey screamed and jumped at almost everything remotely jumpy, and I was next to her so naturally I also jumped.
After the play we came home and went to sleep for our big day tomorrow. That's it for now! Cheers!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

a foggy day in LONDONtown.

I was a stranger in the city
Out of town were the people I knew
I had that feeling of self-pity
What to do? What to do? What to do?
The outlook was decidedly blue
But as I walked through the foggy streets alone
It turned out to be the luckiest day I've known

A foggy day in London Town
Had me low and had me down
I viewed the morning with alarm
The British Museum had lost its charm
How long, I wondered, could this thing last?
But the age of miracles hadn't passed,
For, suddenly, I saw you there
And through foggy London Town
The sun was shining everywhere.

Michael Buble had it right when he sang these words. I listen to this song daily and think of how blessed I am to be in such a wonderful place!

Saturday like all Saturdays I slept in because I swear I get no sleep throughout the week. After showering and getting ready we set out for Camden market. The tube stop that is right in the market was closed so we had to get off two stops away in the sketchiest place I have been yet. But after a short walk we were to my new favorite place in London. It’s like Venice Beach mixed with a New York flea market but amazing! I am in love with everything there. Saturdays we are not fed meals… we joke and sing “it’s a hard knock life” and pretend we are on Annie on these days. But Saturdays are when we get to go out to dinner!! We chose Wagamamas to eat at this weekend and it was quite good. Its Asian cuisine and I had chicken and noodles in a vegetable broth. It was flavorful and spicy because of chili oil I put in it. After dinner we came home and just hung out and had a pretty calm night. I live for those nights!

Monday, January 25, 2010

catching up.

I am in big trouble… I know just two entries ago I said that I would not miss another day and of course it got to the weekend and I got busy and here I am almost a week later with no entries for this week… so I am going to do a few now to make up for my lack of entertainment for my parents.

Friday we woke up early to rain, rain and more rain. But despite the rain we were off to see Westminster Abbey! It was absolutely overwhelming, dark but beautiful, and full of dead people. We saw tombs of so many nobles, kings and queens. We also saw the coronation chair where all of the kings and queens have sat in to be crowned, it looked like the kings and queens had all carved their initials into the chair, a kind of medieval graffiti. We walked through the transept where writers and poets are buried and I did a little tap dance on Charles Dickens face.
As we were walking out of the Abbey we saw a whole bunch of young boys going from class to class right next to the church. I just thought to myself how sweet it would be to go to school next to such an amazing building that we read about in our textbooks. Those boys are sure lucky. After leaving we walked down past Parliament and Big Ben to Trafalgar Square where we sat in the rain for about a half an hour listening to a brief history about Napoleon and we all went out separate ways for lunch and site seeing. For lunch we went to Borough Market and I ate an ostrich burger with cranberry sauce and German mustard on an amazing roll! It was so good! I also bought the best hummus, mushroom pâté, pitas, Turkish delight, and heavenly chocolate covered cinnamon dusted hazelnuts that literally make me melt! Friday night was mellow; we stayed in and watched Young Victoria, which was so adorable! I can not describe how much fun I am having and what amazing relationships I am creating! I have the greatest friends in the world here and I couldn't imagine this trip with out each and ever one of them! Love you girls!
The 5 of us!

this is where i belong.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

here comes the sun... do do de do.

Today has been fantastic! I woke up and as always, ate the usual breakfast, took a shower and had class. After most of my classes I went for a walk with my friends Laura and Jake. We walked through Kensington Gardens and went to a lovely pond and watched/played with the various ducks, geese, pigeons and other birds. Today’s weather was the best so far, I didn’t need a jacket most of the time and the sun was out and shining! Sitting in class when it is sunny out is going to be hard when it starts warming up.
After my walk we all had our last class of the day, London Walks. We learned about the stages of culture, distribution of ethnicities and culture shock. It was interesting! Then it was dinner time which consisted of some of the best soup I have had in a long time. And then… WICKED! Yes, I went and saw wicked for the 5th time but in LONDON this time!! It was hilarious to see it with their accents… which were a little annoying at first but I loved it! Their acting was hilarious and almost better than some of the ones that I have seen in San Francisco. This is a quick entry because I am getting off to go see the National Gallery and Westminster Abbey!
Me and Emma seeing Wicked!
Caitlin and I in front of the theater!

“You could flush a whole bucket of po…. GOLF BALLS down these toilets!”

the countryside where i wish to reside.

Dear future husband,
Just so you know I will only marry you if we eventually move to the English countryside. I want a quaint little house with an adorable garden and chimney that billows smoke in the winter months. These are my requirements upon accepting your proposal!
Your future wife!

Today we spent the day driving around in the “coach”, not bus, to three of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. I am in love with England! Sorry California, you may have everything bigger but everything is older here and in my opinion a little better. Well everything but the weather!
This morning I woke up at 6:30 ate breakfast and was off by 7:30! Our first stop was Stonehenge. I was thinking it would be this massive sight on the edge of some cliffs overlooking water but to my surprise it’s in the middle of a field and not that big. But it is extremely old! My bishop warned me of this, he said it was something I’ll look at and say, “I could have done that.” None the less, it was a beautiful sight and I was amazed to be in a place where I have seen so many pictures and read about in textbooks.
Stonehenge! Me and Jake.Next stop was Salisbury Cathedral. We walked through some gorgeous houses and then BOOM it was right in front of us. I love seeing all the cathedrals, abbeys, and churches here. We got to see one of the last four copies of the Magna Carta and various tombs in the cathedral. Our tour guide was lovely as well.
Us girls at Salisbury.
Then was my favorite stop, Bath! I love it there, everything about it. We first drove by the royal crescent where many notable people have lived over the years. Then got off the coach and walked around the Roman Baths, got some amazing Fudge and went to see the upper assembly rooms that Jane Austen spent time and wrote about is her book Northanger Abbey.
The girls and our role model... SUSAN!
Me at the Roman Baths!
Tomorrow is classes and then Friday is Westminster Abbey! Cheers!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

first and last time i am getting behind on this.

Yes, it is already Tuesday… and yes, I know I haven’t written since Thursday. This will be the last time that happens. This weekend was the craziest time here so far. Friday consisted of diamonds, lots of food and massive ravens. Saturday was sleeping in, sushi and Harrods!
Sunday was getting lost, hungry and quaint. Monday was classes, classes and the globe. Today was classes, classes and the British museum!

So… Friday! I woke up for breakfast and get ready to go and see the Tower of London. We left separately from the group and didn’t know exactly where we were going but found it pretty easily. We had to wait for our tickets and took pictures in the mean time. We then went inside and headed straight for the crown jewels… the Brits sure love their diamonds. I have never seen so many carats in my life. 535 to be exact and just a thin sheet of glass keeping it from me… luckily I am not a greedy person like the British who have in their history looted many places, but I say more power to them!
Our adorable group in front of the Tower of London!
Jake and I by the Tower Bridge.
Darling Darling Caitlin and I doing the pose.
Susan! Henry thought a lot of himself!
This one is for you daddy. The Ravens were HUGE!
The whole time we were at the Tower there was a certain someone I was looking for, right at we were leaving I found her! My parent’s favorite beefeater! I don’t exactly get the name of them but I would guess none of them are vegetarians.

After leaving that great plot of historical marvel we walked across the very cold and windy London Bridge to a slice of heaven I like to call the Borough Market. It’s like a farmers market mixed with Costco that you would find in Beverly Hills. Amazing!! I got a sandwich that consisted of lots of bread a thin slice of cured ham… and being a fat American it did not fill me to the brim. So naturally I opted for the ostrich burger next (dad, you would have loved it) with cranberry sauce and lettuce smothered all over it, proceeded by many, many bites of all kinds of treats. I got some heavenly chocolate covered cinnamon dusted hazelnuts and a divine cup of hot pear-apple cider. Can you tell just how passionate I am about my food, I take after my father! Needless to say we will be going back to that glorious place many times.
After traveling on the tube home I took a shower and got ready for a night out on the town. Me and the girls had gotten tickets to see Chicago and it was wonderful besides the chubby chorus guy in a fishnet top with his gut dancing over the top of his pants to a different tune than he was! We ended our night by walking by a club full of boys… wondering why there were no women there we soon realized that sadly it was a gay bar. The men kissing in front kind of gave it away!
Ready to see Chicago! Since we had such a late night, I slept in on Saturday. Probably more that I should have but I am pretty sure I am still trying to make up for jet lag or at least that is my excuse until it wears out. Once all of us girls were up we went to Primark, Harrods and Sushi for dinner. The place we ate was amazing, the food way great and I had some delicious chicken. I cannot say so much for the service. Audrey, Caitlin and I had a little baby of a waiter who gave us a calculator to split our own check. I understand that being a waiter in the UK is much different than in the US but it does not give them the right to not do anything.
It was my first Sunday in my new ward, which happens to be the Catford ward. It took Emma, Maddy and I two hours my underground, train, bus and walking to get there. It is in the quaint suburb of Blackheath and the majority of my ward is African. I feel awful because I know everyone here is speaking English… but it is so different from “American” English that I find myself unable to understand most of the people. My bishop in my new ward is extremely caring and helpful; he is also 6’6” and twenty-seven years old! Haha! One thing I know is that the church is true wherever you go, sure they might do things a little different here but it is still true!
Monday came too soon as it always does and I sadly slept through breakfast which set off my whole day! I had Shakespeare today and after class we went on a little field trip over to the Globe Theater. I have the funniest tour guide who had many insights to Shakespeare and the globe. We walked across the Millennial Bridge which is in the sixth Harry Potter movie. It is a sweet bridge! Dinner was the most amazing chicken enchiladas I have ever had, sorry mom you have been out done. Then we went to see a flick in the theater. We saw Nine and it was good but a little weird, I hadn’t read anything about it or seen any previews so I didn’t know what to expect. I was exhausted after the movie and I proceeded to fall asleep in my clothes at 8:00. I think that is a record time of falling asleep for me since I was six!

Today has been a very long day. I woke up at 5:30, this never happens. I think it was because I 1 fell asleep so dang early and 2 I was paranoid about missing breakfast again because I woke up with food on my mind. More class and then we were off to the British museum, or as Dr. Macfarlane would say the “museum of loot”. When we first got on the tube to get there we were delayed because of goodness knows what and had to get off and take a bus. I have no idea why we haven’t taken the busses before because you can see everything. I love those double deckers! There are so many things at the British Museum that I have looked at in textbooks for countless history classes, I was overwhelmed! We came back just in time for dinner which was hamburgers. Helloooooo home! Or at least that’s what it reminded me of. After dinner I came upstairs wrote a paper, opened the book I am reading for Shakespeare and instantly was put to sleep by the calming words of that great playwright. I swear I am a zombie! Tomorrow is Stonehenge and Bath! Should be a wonderful day if the weather permits it!

"study abroad my aaaaaa, this is fat camp"
"Macy enjoys a good ram every once in a while."
"maybe those cookies do really work"
"I am a sick person."

Thursday, January 14, 2010

tube tube tube.

I feel like I have no much to write and it has only been two days since I have last written. I have been keeping a journal and a blog and it’s getting too hard to do both so for the sake of my parents and probably one other person reading this I am going to just stick to the blog for now on. I literally NEVER want to leave where I am and who I am with. I am in LOVE with everything about it! The people, the sights, the shows, the food (especially random little pups)! I could not be more content to stay in the city my entire life.
Yesterday I was a zombie, my reasoning was the snow. I had breakfast, went back to sleep for a bit and then went on the most beautiful run I have ever been on in my life. Snow in Hyde Park is so much better than snow in Rexburg… sorry but I think anyone would agree with me. I was so excited with I stumbled upon the peter pan statue that I have seen in the movie. I felt awkward running because I had a smile plastered (or frozen) on my face the whole time and people would look at me funny but I didn’t care! After my run I came back to my flat and took a shower then proceeded to jump back in bed for a four hour nap… what am I thinking? It was well needed though. I woke up in time to prepare a devotional and head down to dinner. After dinner we decided we would try and see if Ben’s Cookies (which I hear are fantastic) was open but of course with our luck it was closed five minutes before we arrived! We then went home to work on homework and read. I have so so so much reading to do for all of my classes! This morning I, as I always do, ate breakfast and then had Dr. Macfarlane’s class. Then it was religion, and now I have a break because I switched from Poli. Sci. 170 to Shakespeare mainly because I love Dr. Howe (Susan… she wants’ us to call her that so she feels young!) Then I had Eng. 300 and a little break before my last class. We went to a little pub called the Phoenix for lunch and I had the New York chicken (I never saw chicken like that when I was in NY). After lunch Emma, Caitlin and I went to H&M… story: we have an awful washer and dryer that decided it was hungry and took a few bites out of my favorite shirts! Hence the shopping… sorry daddy I had to but don’t worry everything was on sale! We came back at 3:30 p.m. just in time for our London Walks class which is every Thursday. Then it was dinner and off to whatever adventure we could find which happened to be going to a free concert at this adorable pup called the Elgin. What we didn’t anticipate was getting lost for an hour but we made it in time to hear a beautiful British boy serenade us. I think this is going to be my new favorite place on Thursdays, GREAT eye candy! But this was not the end of our night… oh no! HA! Getting back was an adventure all in its own. Personally I feel a little sheltered for this but, yes I saw my first transvestite; the tube has such treasures on it. For once I was happy to not be with my mother because I knew she would have not stopped staring because I found my eyes always wandering back to the same “it”! It was the funniest thing I have ever had the privilege of sitting awkwardly through. Never a dull moment. Cheers!

Quotes from today:
Cameron- “I don’t know about you but I have a ghetto booty!”
Dr. Howe- “Call me Susan! It makes me feel young!”

Note to self... Start taking more and more pictures.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

helloooooooo BIG ben.

I am in love with my city! There are literally no words to describe how happy I am to be here. I am so grateful for this amazing opportunity I have to be here! Today was my Friday day of classes and I think i am going to surprisingly enjoy all of them. I woke up at 7:30 and went down to breakfast and had my usual two bananas and two amazing yogurts! I love the yogurt here.. it's so different then the US's. (I have a feeling I will be blogging a lot about food... as eating is my favorite activity!) Then at 8:45 I had my first class which was classic civ. Dr.Macfarlane was in Naples receiving an award so we were assigned to go look at two beautiful churches that are each about a block away and compare them. I think they are both fantastic!

I then had my international relations class which I am least excited for but none the less... still excited. Then my favorite class, great works of British literature in their cultural context. I don't know if it's the class I like or my professor. Dr. Susan Howe is just about the funniest lady I have ever met. In class she gave us a history lesson/timeline of the different periods of writing with a bunch of information on the royalty. While she was talking about King James I she said and I quote, " He was kind of a pompous ass". I knew from that second she was going to be my favorite!

After class we went and picked up a few things we needed. I bought a straightener because sadly my all time favorite one blew up, literally, the first day we were here, sad story! I also bought a new Nike running jacket because it has been freezing and my BYU Idaho sweatshirt isn't quite cutting it.
We then had devotional and I found out that I am going to be in the Catford ward across the "river Thames" haha not the Thames river. Dinner tonight was amazing! We had cordon blue and it was the best I have ever tasted! I could really get used to having someone cook for me.
After dinner we took the tube to get to the play, The lady in Black, but we were two minutes too late so we walked around and had some gelato and was very good! It was still pretty early so a few of us decided that we would go see Big Ben and Parliament! We exited the tube and it was literally right in front of us!
After seeing it I now feel like I am actually here! I'm in London! I have been waiting so long to say that and I still have four lovely months to say it! I never want to leave.

Me, Audrey, Jen and Emma at Big Ben!

Monday, January 11, 2010

mind the gap.

I still cannot believe that I am in London… I am actually here. It is so unreal and I love it.
This is my adorable flat!
We went to the London Museum today… it was the most boring thing I have ever been to, no joke and I usually enjoy history. It was hilarious to me though that because of the renovations going on in the building that London’s history ends in the 1500’s.
After the boring hour at the museum I have my real taste of British food… FISH & CHIPS! It was the most fantastic fish and chips I have ever had the pleasure of tasting; they sure know their stuff here in London.
Then we walked over to St. Paul’s Cathedral. It is overwhelming and I enjoyed every minute of it, even the quiz we took about it… and that’s saying a lot. I cannot believe how amazingly large it is, and how old it is, and how detailed it is! I think the crypt was my favorite part. It is interesting to me how many people are buried there and all the things that represent them. Some have tombs, some plaques, some statues or busts.
After leaving St. Paul’s, Audrey, Jenny, Emma and I had tea and pastries at PAUL! My mom loves this place. It was fantastic and delicious!
We then came back to our flat and get ready for dinner, ate and they had a group meeting on “rules”. I completely fell asleep… woops! After I sat on my butt with my friend Jake and looked at fail blog and other things for way too long, but it was nice to relax and pretty much do nothing. Me, Jenny and Audrey then went to McDonalds for the best mcflurry I have ever had, walked around and then came home. I am tired so I am going to go to sleep but I will write more tomorrow! Cheerio!

Quotes from today:
“a lass… we have binocs!”
“I feel awkward standing around a bunch of dead people.”
“oh my gosh… something blew up in here!”

Sunday, January 10, 2010

my new hobby.

Jogging in Hyde park is my new obsession. The first time I told my parents I was going to go at lease 4-5 times a week they couldn't help but laugh, but the next morning I woke up and went for a beautiful 35 min. jog. It was quite windy around the lake and very crispy air but beautiful none the less. I love it!
Laura, Me and Jenny after our jog!

peter in the pan.

Our first play in London was Peter Pan! We luckily looked it up and found out that this weekend was the last it was playing. It was fantastic. The theater was a circular tent with projectors around the whole theater. It made us feel like we were flying. We went to dinner before the show to a really good Portuguese restaurant called Nandos. I ate half a chicken (1 leg, 1 wing) and "chips". SO good!

Tori, Jake, Christina, Laura, Jen, Emma, Me and Audrey at dinner!

Friday, January 8, 2010

finally here.

I found myself exhausted in my flat sprawled out on my bed. I am having quite the case if jet lag and no excitement to write on here right now... but I told myself that I would start to write in here everyday so today is the start of it. I know no one but my family is going to read this but I don't care. I am in love with London! It is the most fantastic place to be. I love the people, I love going for jogs in Hyde park, I love the tube, I love everything about it. Tonight we went to see Peter Pan and Jonathan Hyde was in it from Titanic! It was amazing. My roommate Laura had a drunk guy pass out on her in the tube. HILARIOUS scene! I'm all settled into my flat and it is gorgeous, and very old. I am very much in love with all of the Brits, they are funny and entertaining to listen to.
Me Laura Jen and Audrey.My Flat! Isn't it adorable!Quotes from today:
"you have very nice teeth"
"damn tourists"
"peter and the pan... you know like peter flying around in a pan"