Wednesday, March 31, 2010

lake district.

This is going to be a quickie because it is 11:30 and I am sleepy, but I thought I would fill you in on my week thus far. Monday we left for our coach trip to the North of England. The first night we spent in York. TONS of rain. Tuesday was filled with cathedrals. We spent the night at Durham Castle, I swear it was haunted. Today was the lake district. It is gorgeous here and I would die happy if I someday owned a cottage here. Tomorrow we hike up to Beatrix Potter's Hilltop Farm.
[I will go into more detail on everywhere we are exploring when I am back in London]

This place is BEAUTIFUL.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

today was a fairytale.

This weekend so far has been fantastic. Yesterday started off by catching a train with the group to Hampton Court, King Henry VIII’s palace. I walked around with Sarah and Calvin looking at the many rooms and gardens.
Christina, Laura, Jenny, Rachel, Sarah and I in front of Hampton Court.

Calvin and I

Me and "King Henry VIII"

[sometimes I think I am funny... and sometimes Henry thinks he's packin]

The lovely Sarah Shepherd and myself

We then went back into London and straight to Borough Market. We went straight for the exotic meat stand and I ordered a kangaroo burger. It was delicious with gobs of cranberry sauce, mustard and salad on it.

We then walked around and tasted the many cheeses, breads, curries, fruits, candies and all kinds of organic fresh food. I bought a few English apples that look like pears and taste fantastic and an extremely healthy smoothie to supposedly get all of the toxins out of me. When we got home is was still a few hours until dinner and I wasn’t in the mood for a nap, which is odd, so I went on a walk all by myself through Hyde Park. I made a “songs that make me happy” mix and walked with my iPod for two hours smiling at every person I passed. I am sure I looked like an idiot because NO ONE smiles in England, especially at strangers but I surprisingly got a few return smiles. My walk was bliss and I haven’t been that happy in a while. The sun was out and there was a light misty rain for about half an hour. I needed to be happy so badly, especially because of how I have been feeling lately; overwhelmed, stressed and tired. I made it a goal on my walk to take in every moment left of being here because before I know it I will be home and wishing I could be walking through Hyde Park again.
I took a few pictures on my walk. Here is the Peter Pan Statue.

The most adorable house in the middle of the park.
When I got home I talked to my mom and little sister for a bit on skype who made me even more happy, watched New Moon with a few of the girls and did homework. I feel so much better; it’s funny to me how my moods change because of the weather.

Today I slept through my alarm and Audrey and I woke up around 10:30. We got ready quickly and Audrey, Britin, Caitlin and I went to Buckingham Palace and watched the changing of the guard.
Me at Buckingham Palace.




We then went to the museum of Fashion and Textiles, it was such a joke. After leaving the museum we got lost for about an hour and walked through some pretty sketch parts of town. But with help from a very nice lady at a bus stop we found our way to Borough Market, yes two days in a row. I again had a kangaroo burger, when in Rome right? I figure I will not have many more chances to eat kangaroo so I might as well take advantage of being so close to markets that have such wonderful food. I also had another smoothie because I don’t think those toxins are coming out easily. Audrey and I then went to Anthropologie. The sales were fantastic and I got a few things for really cheap!
[Father and Mother who I love so dearly: I will make these little spending ventures up to you when I have a job this summer and back in Idaho away from any malls. Also remember that one day you will be very old and I will then be taking care of you and paying you back.]
On my bunk the girls that have been here before have written all kinds of things to see and quotes they love. My favorite is, “it’s easier to ask for forgiveness that to ask for permission”, this was my motto today. Today marks three more weeks. I cannot believe that in twenty one days I will be on a plane headed for the states. It seems so close and I have to pack each day left here with things I still want to do. I am now at home and dirty from the rain. Shower time!
Cheers.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

vent.

I want this right now.
At the moment I am feeling just a tad depressed. It is raining. I have no motivation for homework. I have been living in a flat with 12 girls and no privacy. I am emotional. I miss my family. I miss my friends. I eat my feelings and it is catching up to my body. I am constantly cooped in a corner [my bed]. I have not had substantial male interaction in about three months. I have no idea what I am doing with my life. I am tired. I have blisters and bruises on my feet. I live in sweat pants and leggings. I need someone to tell me everything is going to be alright. I need my home. I need a long drive in my car. I need a sushi date with my Abs. I need a big hug from my daddy. I need a sweet smile from Ky. I need a fun afternoon with my momma. I need my huge bed at home. I need sunshine.
Sorry I had to vent.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

24 days left.

Monday was an extremely low key day. We had class that started at seven thirty because we had to get to a violin concert by one. Honestly I could have gone without the concert and lived my life just fine, she was wonderful but classical music other than when I study doesn’t interest me. After the concert me and the girls did a little retail therapy and I bought a few things for Abs. I came home by myself and took a nap until dinner. I honestly can’t remember what I did after dinner so I am sure it included homework and chatting with my parents on skype.

Tuesday was classes again but at their normal time. I went to lunch at Nandos with Emma, Audrey and Caitlin and then I came home to do homework and chill out for a little while. After we had dinner Caitlin, Audrey and I went to see Billy Elliot. It was fantastic, one of the best shows I have seen here mind the cussing. The boy who played Billy was the most talented 14 year old I have ever seen and then woman who played his dance instructor looked like my mom, she was beautiful. I LOVED it.
This was my favorite song.
[I cried the whole song]

Dear Billy,
I must seem a distant memory
Which is probably a good thing
And it will have been a long, long time
And I will have missed you growing
And I'll have missed you crying
And I'll have missed you laugh
Missed your stamping and your shouting
I have missed telling you off
But please, Billy, know that I was always there
I was with you through everything
And please, Billy, know that I will always be
Proud to have known you
Proud that you were mine
Proud in everything
And you must promise me this, Billy
In everthing you do
Always be yourself, Billy
And you always will be true
Love you forever
Love you forever
Mam


Yesterday, Wednesday was our last day trip. We first went to St.Albans where we saw a cathedral and a small museum. I am about 95% sure that we went there for Roger to see all we saw because it was kind of a joke. Then we drove, while listening to our obnoxious bus driver Tony tell us about random things while we were trying to make up for our lack of sleep, to the American Cemetery and Memorial in Cambridge. I had the most peaceful feeling while there; the cemeteries dedicated to men and women that have died in war have such a different feeling than any other cemeteries.

My grandpa was on my mind the entire time we were there. He served in World War II as an Army Air Core fighter pilot and a few years ago before he died I had the opportunity to interview him about his experiences. I know this will make this post long but I am going to attach my paper from that interview. Don’t mind the poor writing, I was a sophomore in high school when I wrote it.

On December 7, 1941 the Japanese attached the United States at Pearl Harbor. When my grandpa was twenty-four years old, he, along with two of his brothers and his nephew, enlisted in the service. Men and women, in the United States, took no time in waiting to sign up to help in the war effort when the attack on Pearl Harbor came. My grandpa was not different and enlisted within a few days of the attack. He enlisted into the Army Air Core as a fighter pilot. His brothers enlisted into the Coast Guard and Medical Core and his nephew enlisted into the Coast Guard as well. As soon as they all received their calls, they packed up their bags and set out for training. Because my grandpa already had his pilot’s license, he only had to go through eight months of Army Air Core training to become a fighter pilot.
When training was finished my grandpa set out for Libya. He was stationed there for nine months and was then ranked a second lieutenant in his squadron. He would later become a first lieutenant. Libya was hot and humid; there were scorpions everywhere, and they would especially crawl into small places such as shoes. The soldiers stayed in small tents and didn’t have that great of living conditions. They also didn’t have much contact with their families back at home in the United States. While he was stationed in Libya he flew P-38’s, twin engine fighter planes with four machine guns in the front and a 20mm cannon. He was in combat as a fighter pilot and also flew as an escort for the bomber planes which flew over North Africa. He told me that when he was escorting the bombers the flights would sometimes be up to eight hours, and when a pilot in a fighter plane had to use the restroom he would just go. Sometimes it was so cold up in the cockpit that their pants would freeze where they had relieved themselves.
Many times my grandpa had to bail out of planes. In those days, pilots would have to open the hatch of the cockpit, climb out onto the wing and jump while trying to stay clear of the tail so their parachute would not get caught. The first time he had to bail out of a plane was over the Mediterranean Sea. He was in the water for seven hours before being rescued by a submarine. The second time my grandpa had to bail out of a plane was when he was flying over a desert in North Africa. After serving in Libya for nine months, my grandpa was sent back to the states where he continued to serve his country while stationed in California, Oregon and Arizona. While there he trained new pilots to fly all different kinds of planes.
After coming back from overseas he had to bail out of a plane one more time. He was flying over Oregon near Three Sisters while testing a plane and mid-flight the engine failed. He was in the mountains and there was no place to land the plane, so he had no choice but to bail out. Once he bailed out, his parachute became caught in a tree and he hung there for several hours. He had no coat on in the freezing weather and no one was around. One of the branches of the tree he was stuck in had torn into his hip and he had several other injuries. Luckily, three loggers were taking a last run up the mountain before closing the logging camp for the winter. When my grandpa saw them, he started shouting at the top of his lungs. He said that, “they could have heard him all the way to California.” The loggers went back to their camp, got their climbing equipment, got my grandpa out of the tree, and rushed him to the nearest hospital as fast as they could. Our family has always believed that it was a miracle that those loggers took that last drive up the mountain that day and found my grandpa in the tree.
My grandpa, like many people, lost many friends in the fighting that took place while he was in North Africa. He and his squadron were some of the first to go overseas to fight the enemy. His mission was top secret, so his family didn’t know exactly where he was when he was overseas. The mood of the country was solemn and many people were becoming tired of the war. So many families had lost husbands, brothers, uncles, cousins and good friends to the war.
I love my country and I am so grateful for the men and women who continue to fight for our freedom.

I miss him so much.

Okay on with my day, next was Cambridge. I swear this is the town where they hide all the gorgeous English men. When we first got there our group went through the cathedral at King’s College, one of the college’s of Cambridge. After walking through we went punting! Picture the Phantom of the Opera pushing the boat with a long stick down in the river under the opera house and that is punting. It was so relaxing and we got to see nine of the colleges along the river.

We next went to a small market and I had a wonderful fresh fruit smoothie and a crepe. It had been a while since I have had a smoothie. We walked a little more and then got back on the coach to come home. I absolutely loved Cambridge, it is a beautiful town and one of my favorites here.

Monday, March 22, 2010

euro chic hair cut... check.

It is true... I chopped it all off.
[not that there was all that much to chop off]
my hair is super short and I LOVE IT.
Saturday after we came home from Paris I was super excited because the week prior to going I had made an appointment with a fabulous young man at a salon called Headmasters, just around the corner from my flat, to get my hideous and outgrown roots fixed. It was the greatest day ever. Jenny and I started our morning with breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien where I had fresh squeezed orange juice, yogurt with granola and fruit, a delicious scone with creme and some hot cocoa all for under 10 pounds. Then we walked a short five minute walk to Portobello market where I got a few cutesy little things for the family and then it was "makeover time" for my hair at least. I feel so great now, it's funny how a little thing like a hair cut can do that for you. :)
I haven't really done much in the past few days.
Just recooperating from our trip to Paris with no sleep.
Cheers!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

quick thought.

I would die without skype
and I love these people.
+ Kylie
but I think she might kill me if I put one of the pictures I have of her from skype up :)

the happiest place on earth.

Thursday was our last day and Audrey, Caitlin, Emma and I spent it at one of the happiest places on earth Euro Disney! I literally had a smile slapped on my face the entire day.Main Street USA!
We got there right as the park opened and ran for Space Mountain.
(We were just a little happy waiting to get on the ride) Our day was the filled with Thunder Mountain, Indiana Jones and Haunted Mansion rides with no waits anywhere.
We grabbed a quick lunch of hotdogs, fries and cokes. Next we went to Fantasy Land where we became little girls again as we went on the Snow White and Pinocchio rides and spun as fast as we could on the Tea Cups. It was about two and we had hit everything in Disneyland we walked over to the Walt Disney Studio Park and went on the Tower of Terror, Rock and Roll Rollercoaster and Aladdin carpet ride.
We then squeezed our way back onto the metro because our passes didn’t work in zone five, got our luggage from our hotel and headed to our train back to the UK.
Paris will always have a special place in my heart.
I could not have been happier while I was there!

Paris is always a good idea... day 3.

Wednesday morning because Audrey and I were so exhausted, over slept and missed our alarm. Luckily Audrey woke up at nine or I am sure we both would have slept the day away.
After quickly getting ready we rushed to meet the group at the Notre Dame. Thank goodness for Emma and her trusty blackberry, always helping us when we are lost, because if we hadn’t been able to e-mail her we would have been stuck on our own. Once we were at the Notre Dame we found Emma and climbed to the top, all 400+ stairs, and I though the Arc was rough. At the top we channeled our inner gargoyle and Quasimodo re-enacting the ringing of the bell.

Caitlin had gone up before us and we could not find her at the bottom after we had come down so it was Me Audrey and Emma for the day. We started by going to Montmartre, where my parents told me I had to visit. It was my favorite place in the city.
Funny story: As we were walking up the stairs we walked next to a very friendly African man. He was on his phone but quickly hung up to try and talk to us. I tried to quickly run up the stairs, mind you there were probably about 200 stairs to climb. He then asked me if I was African. I, having no idea what he meant just kind of ignored him and said no. Audrey was next to him and he again asked her if I was African then motioning to my butt and saying, “Africanaaaaa”. I just about died and I wish I had a video of this man asking me if I was African because of my apparently huge butt. It was quite funny and I am now going on a diet, just kidding, but really.

When we got to the top we all got crepe aux jambon for lunch and sat and ate them. We then walked around, watched artists and I may or may have not purchased something… While there we enjoyed looking at the views and the Sacre Coeur church at the top.
"Paris fast food"
After walking down the hill we wandered around a bit and then went to find the Moulin Rouge. I would call this area the downtown Vegas part of Paris.
Audrey Emma and I then went to the Orangerie Museum and saw Monet’s Water Lilies and a few other impressionist paintings. After resting our feet, because they were literally killing us it was a short walk to the Louvre where we saw the Mona Lisa, Winged Victory of Samothrace, and Venus De Milo among many other amazing works.


The Louvre is so huge it makes me almost want to throw up. I think it would take me about a month to see everything in there so we stuck to the big ones. Randomly while in the Louvre we found Caitlin, Katie, Britin, Calvin and Cam! So we all went to dinner together at a random little Italian place around the corner.

After dinner we split from the boys was went to see the Eiffel Tour again before boarding our evening cruise on the Seine. After seeing the city at night along with many of the bridges I had my favorite crepe citron and it was home to the hotel for some sleep.

paris holds the key to your heart... day 2.

Two words for Tuesday, sore feet.
Audrey and I woke up around eight, got dressed and had breakfast. We then left with our group to catch a train to Versailles.
One word for Versailles, golden.

The ladies and I in front of the gate to (heaven?) Versailles.

Caitlin, Audrey and I behind the palace.
We started off by walking through State Apartments which I think could house a whole country if needed and then barely even stick our toes into the immaculate gardens. I am sure I could spend a week walking through the gardens, they are never ending. We were all starving so we stopped at a convenient little stand just down from the palace and all ordered overpriced paninis.
We then took the metro back into Paris and went to the Mouffetard which is one of the oldest streets in Paris.
Katie and I on the mouffetard.We first stopped at Nicolsen’s for the most amazing chocolate I have ever tasted in my life. Yes, it’s that good.
We then walked along for a little while and then realized where we wanted to go next was the opposite way so we walked back. On the way Caitlin and I stopped and got a snack of chicken legs and potatoes that were cooking on the street, the men there loved us. After a few more minutes of walking we were where we wanted to be, Amorinos for most delicious gelato in Paris that they shape to look like a flower. I had vanilla and nichola.
Yum-o as mom would say. Next was on to the Champs Elysees, my favorite street. One day I will walk into Louis Vuitton and drop a couple thousand euros like it’s no big deal but until then I am content with just looking. Once we had walked one side of the most expensive shopping street (ever?) we walked under the largest round about in the world to the Arc De Triomphe, where we climbed all 300 stairs to the top (that may not seem like a lot but you try it). At sea level I am out of breath... just can’t wait for that altitude in Rexburg. The view was fantastic. We stayed up there for a while to take it all in, and maybe because we were still winded from the stairs.
Now I know why Ky has such a love for this place.
After ascending the stairs was walking down the other side of the Champs Elysees we stopped for dinner at Henry V, a place where Audrey had eaten with her family when they were in Paris. By the time we were done eating all of us girls were just about falling asleep so we headed back to our hotel to turn in for the night.

spring break in... PARiS! (day 1)

Monday morning we woke up around 6:00 a.m. to get ready to go to St. Pancras station to catch a Eurostar train to Paris! I sat next to Michelle and we took a lovely little nap on the way there. When we got into the city we waited about an hour for our coach and then made our way to Chartres. We had about an hour until our tour of Chartres Cathedral so Audrey, Caitlin, Emma, Katie and I stopped at a little shop and got our first French crepes.

For some reason Roger pronounces it "shart".....

We then were given a tour and brief history (well actually no so brief) of the cathedral by Malcolm Miller, who has been giving tours of and seminars about the cathedral for over fifty years. The cathedral had the largest collection of medieval windows. While we were there nine of these windows were taken out to be cleaned so there was a frigid draft inside which made it hard to concentrate to Malcolm. We then drove the two hours back into Paris and checked into our hotel. Audrey and I were roommates this trip! After setting our luggage down we walked down the street to a little café where we ate dinner. I had a margarita pizza, figures I would eat Italian food my first night in France. After dinner Emma, Caitlin, Britin, Katie, Audrey and I went to see the Eiffel Tower!
These are my best friends. and I love them to death.

Audrey Me and Emma.
It is beautiful and about three times bigger than I pictured it to be. We walked around, took loads of pictures, talked to a few locals, and then crossed the street to get a snack and ride the carousel. I had a crepe citron which is a crepe with sugar and lemon juice. That crepe alone was worth the whole trip, I am in love.

I love when it twinkles :)
video

Paris is beautiful.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

pendant que j'emballe

My life the past few days has been completely boring. Hence why I have barely written anything for a little while. We have had two test this weekend and I have been cooped up inside my flat for about three days straight besides the occasional gelato with Emma. But now I have finished my tests and I am packing for what is going to be, I hope, my favorite week.
PARIS!!
I can not wait to go to a place that my older sister calls a second home. I absolutely love our french friends Roger and Liliane Gondelmann and their children and families so I am hoping to meet some french people who are just as wonderful. But honestly I doubt they get any better. Sadly we have to be back to London for classes on Friday or I would be traveling out to Valenciennes to visit with them.
Cheers or should I say Au Revoir!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

didn't spend a pence.

I am so proud of myself right now. I went an entire day without spending a thing without just sitting in my flat! I woke up and had breakfast of the usual yogurt with cheerios and juice. Then I worked on homework until 11:30 when it was time for class and to finally give my presentation with Jake that we have been working on. It went great, although I really don’t think anyone but Susan cared what we were saying. After classes I was exhausted… so I took a nap. I planned on it being a thirty minute but my body had other plans and three hours I was nicely woken up by Audrey telling me it was time for dinner and to get ready for the night.
After dinner I finally got out of my sweats and Audrey, Caitlin, Emma and I headed to Piccadilly Circus to go see Les Miserables. While we were waiting in line a sweet young woman came up to me and asked me if I wanted a free ticket because one of her friends wasn’t able to make it to the performance. I happily took the extra ticket off her hands and thanked her because these were no cheap seats. The show was fantastic and not only because I was seeing it for free. I had never seen Les Mis and the only song I knew was the one that Susan Boyle sang in her audition that because famous. Other than picturing her in my head a few times it was a great show. It was a good day to not spend any money.
I am dead tired now so I am going to bed.
(sorry no pictures today)
Cheers!

anticipated post?

My day all alone turned out to be wonderful. After taking a much needed nap at home I woke up and one of my roommates that stayed home told me that I should go see “39 Steps” so I did. It was hilarious! The show was an Alfred Hitchcock spoof where four actors play over fifty characters and they were fantastic. My seat was literally right in the middle of a huge class of fourteen your old boys, talk about just wonderful timing to be alone (kidding). During the intermission one of the boys said in his adorable English accent, “Are you all alone?” The next few minutes of the intermission were a little awkward. After the show I got on the tube to go home and I looked over to see that Britin and Caitlin were on the same car on the tube as I was. I have never been more excited to see them! When we got off the tube everyone else was waiting for the lift and we were reunited. I know I was only separated from my friends for a few hours but I missed them so much. After dinner Audrey, Caitlin, Emma, Katie and I went to see Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. It was fantastic and I loved the story line he created along with the Alice story.
I realized I do not like to do things alone; I am a people person at least when it comes to doing things that are usually done with people.

Wednesday morning was extremely stressful as it was time for me to register for spring classes. Of course my school’s website was on the verge of crashing and after waiting ten minutes for on page to load it was time for us to be on the coach and off for our day. It was a day trip completely dedicated to Jane Austen. We went to Stourhead, where parts of the movie Pride and Prejudice were filmed, Chawton, to see Jane’s house, and Winchester, where she is buried.
The fab 5 at Stourhead
We walked all around at Stourhead, it was BEAUTIFUL!
It was a beautiful day and the sun was shining the whole time we were out. When we got back I ran off the coach and up the six flights of stairs to my lap top which was just where I left it… still loading. I was scared the whole day that they wouldn’t be openings left in a few of my classes but to my surprise I got into every class that I wanted to. I am extremely happy with my spring schedule. I am taking a floral arrangement class, three communications classes and an American foundations class. Best part is I gave myself Fridays off so I will be having extra long weekends! The rest of my night was spent in the attic working on a comparison presentation with Jake. I love it here but I am honestly excited to go home. Feeling a little homesick maybe? Cheers.