"The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain."

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Not Friday... SUNDAY!!!

Today was the first Sunday where I recognized all of the songs we sang in Sacrament meeting. True story. We sing the most obscure hymns. (If you are curious, look up hymns 275, 217, & 229). I was sort of singing with the "pick a note, any note strategy." I think the lady picks obscure hymns on purpose though because she will sing the first verse out loud to us before so we know how it goes. Today it was a different lady that liked to pick what I like to refer to as "normal hymns." Just sayin.

Another highlight- I stopped to look at the pictures people were selling on Bayswater on the way home and an old man asked if I was Spanish and when I said no he said, "Greek?" "No" "Italian?" "Nope. American." Wanted to kiss old man. Made my day.

Had a fireside with Dean and Kathy Hughes tonight and it was really great. They were very encouraging and inspiring and they are such kind people.

Also, I love most things about London, but here are some I find odd. Or absolutely hate.

1.EVERYBODY smokes. Seriously. It is disgusting. Having people blow their smoke in my face, not my favorite and it happens at least once a day.
2. The faucets. Don't hate, but definitely don't understand. Instead of having the normal, one place where water comes out deal, they have two spout things. One for hot water to come out, one for cold water to come out. So if you want "warm" water you can't actually have it. So get over it. So pretty much you just choose hot or cold. Don't understand that. It is continuously perplexing to me. I even asked an American Cambridge student her opinion on it and she said it was the dumbest thing ever. But people are used to it here...

I know I will have more to add to this list, but there is a good starting point.
Going to Scotland for the next few days! Don't even worry, I will find an awesome kilt. ("It's not a dress, it's a kilt- Sicko!" Name that movie!)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Hogwarts... or the next best thing

The last few days have been pretty packed, so I will attempt to recollect the highlights.

Wednesday- Cambridge
- took the train from King's Cross Station to Hogwarts... ok, fine, just Cambridge
- snuck into the grounds of Pembroke College and tried to fit in
- went to the Wren library and saw some cool stuff
- punted on the cam, pretty much the coolest thing ever, you get in a little flat-bottomed boat and use a pole thingy to push it, we struggled a bit at the end and got laughed at by the workers. A lot. Punting is a common activity in Cambridge, so we were practically locals.
- Brother and Sister Tanner were there (THE Sister Tanner) and they hung out with us, ok well not me specifically, but they were with our group.
- we visited a really cool chapel deal, but i don't remember the name (as one of my roommates would say, "Another flippin' Cathedral)

Thursday&Friday- Globe Theatre
- went and saw As You Like It at the Globe. Seriously one of THE coolest things of my life. I absolutely loved it.
- returned the next day to do a tour and saw rehearsals for Much Ado About Nothing, which we purchased tickets for! Woot Woot (also, the butler, Jeffrey, from Fresh Prince is in the play!)
- realized that teaching Shakespeare will never be the same for me after seeing it done at the Globe. For real though.
- did two of our walks for class
- visited the bookstores on Charing Cross Road
- Had some Gino's Gelato (the best gelato place EVER) and danced to the music at Trafalgar Square (the best hangout place EVER)
- missed our tube stop by a few stops because we were laughing and got distracted

*I would just like to say that on Friday I spent half of my day on the tube. It was ridiculous but pretty funny, we looked at the tube map at the end of the day and we had ridden almost every line and we rode the entire circle line. Ridiculous.

Saturday- Oxford
- we had a little lecture from Dean Hughes, the author of The Children of the Promise series and many others, he is visiting to research for a new book
- went to Oxford and loved it
- ate at The Eagle and Child Pub where JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis had little meetings about their books they were writing, called themselves "the Inklings" (and naturally we all discussed what we would write about)
- Went to a library that I don't remember how to spell it, but they filmed some Harry Potter stuff there
- climbed to the top of a chapel and saw an awesome view. It was pretty treacherous, but I didn't die.
- sprinted to see the Great Hall and we were a minute late and they wouldn't let us in, but I think the guy realized we were a little distraught so he gave us the encouraging news that it wasn't actually filmed there, just used for inspiration, and he gave us little brochures.
- Fell asleep on the train home and my leg was sort of out in the aisle accidentally and I woke up to a guy with a cart bumping his cart into my foot repeatedly trying to get by. Oopsie.

* You all might be wondering about the Cambridge versus Oxford, which is better debate... I must say I preferred Oxford. Just my opinion!

Now a bunch of us Centre girls are crowded in the classroom watching North and South. Perfect end to the week, but I do still need to plan a Sunday School lesson...

I feel that I should include a randomly funny encounters segment, cuz I had a few this week:
1. Heard man humming "In the Jungle" while walking across the Tower Bridge and so, naturally, sang along- then I was afraid the man would start following us
2. After Les Miserables there was a guy playing some drums and it was pretty catchy, so I started dancing and a bunch of Middle Eastern men all followed me onto the dance floor (don't worry Mother, I was in a group and perfectly safe and smart and stuff)
3. At the Globe there was a rather dashing young man leaning up against the stage and pretty much all of the girls in our section noticed him, so I got elected to go and try to talk to him, I was pretty dang sneaky, pretended I wanted a picture of the stage (one of my better moments) and then when he didn't have an accent, I had the perfect opportunity to ask where he was from. The girls in the group recorded from afar.
4. Some guy at The Eagle and Child was at the table next to us and had me record him giving a little spiel about the pub. Interesting. We later saw him at the train station.
5. I think I might be missing one, but it eludes me at the moment.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Billowing Robes

So apparently I am most apt to blog when I am avoiding some other assignment. Last time it was a sunday school lesson, this time it is a paper. Oopsie. But just to give an update of the last few days, in typical fashion of course:
- Taught Sunday School and it went pretty well, we had fun (or at least I did)
- Saw Les Miserables (!!!!!!!!!!). It was incredible, though I will admit, wasn't too impressed with Fantine
- Went to Hampton Court. Super cool and they hand out robes for people to wear whilst they are wandering the court and they weren't going to let us have them because we were in such a big group, but I snuck one. I chose Tudor Green. At one point, they billowed behind me as I walked in the courtyard. Truly one of the most exciting moments of my life.
- Visited the stuffed animal collection of Darwin- and not the "stuffed" you would want to cuddle with. Like science experiment stuffed. Yummy. But really cool to see Down House, because for our class we just read a book about Charles and Emma.
- Sketched at the Courtauld Gallery, wasn't my favorite musuem, but still cool.
- Sketched at the National Gallery, and no, all of this sketching isn't making my skill any better, I am still just as bad as I ever was, still get a good chuckle out of my sketches though- always good for a laugh (name that movie!)
- Watched the new "Emma" and I am never watching the Gwnyeth version again. This one was seriously so much better, and Mr. Knightley was a winner (girls- Emma party when I get back? Yes? k, cool!)
- Still wishing I had my billowy green robe to wear around

You probably have noticed, but I have just sort of given up on the whole picture thing, so.. yeah... over and out.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Skinny dippin in Bath

Just know that as I post this blog, I really should be writing my sunday school lesson for tomorrow. But I will give you the highlight tour of our recent "vacation." If you hate bulleted (or I guess dashed, as the case may be) lists, I apologize, but they just make life so much easier. And no, we didn't really skinnydip in Bath.

Day One:
- We were supposed to leave the Centre at 8:00, so of course, we didnt actually leave until about 8:45
- By 9:03 we were all terribly sick of the bus. Just kidding (kind of).
-After this, time all ran together, so I will have only time approximations, nothing specific
Sometime after 12:00 we visited Stonehenge, and just in case you were wondering- "henge" means hanging, so Stonehenge means "Hanging stones." Aren't you glad you now know that?
- After Stonehenge we went to this truly idyllic little place called Avebury Circle. I had a little run in with some stinging nettle but it was worth it.
- We have a professor that loves locks, so we saw the Caen Hill Locks
- Then after a lot more driving we finally arrived at the Bristol Youth Hostel. We all laughed because at the hostel we actually had showers that offered a little privacy (the showers at the Centre are see-through)
- walked around Bristol a little, LOVE Bristol.
- saw that the musical "Jekyll and Hyde" was playing. Got super pumped up because I have never seen it and love the music, and it just happened to be playing while we were there. What are the chances???
- giggled with Amy, Shelisa, and Kaylee in our bunkbeds at the hostel before bed

Day Two:
- you bored yet? yeah, sorry...
- We left first thing in the morning to Bath, loved the drive, so pretty.
- Checked out the Roman Baths- laughed that they tell us NOT to even touch the water under ANY circumstances, and then give us all a drink at the end. Yummy.
- Had a Cornish pastie- Harry Potter style, fed it mostly to crows who seriously got into a fight over it until a seagull came along and scared them away
- Went and checked out the Royal Crescent and the Circus, clapped three times on and looked like fools (Rick told us to)
- Checked out the Assembly Halls, pretended to have a dance
- Went to Thomas Gainsborough's house
- Went to the Jane Austen Centre and where she lived, took a picture with a dude dressed up in period dress and he wanted to do a "Charlie's Angels" pose with me. Chuckled over that.
- Went to an Abbey and the lady asked me if I was italian. Nicest thing ever.
- Returned to Bristol and went to get tickets for "Jekyll and Hyde"
- went and saw Jekyll and Hyde, was NOT what I was expecting, at all
- Very, very scandalous, the girl sitting next to me probably got bruises from me squeezing her leg.
- Really good music though, I must say.
- I wish I could express how truly funny this experience was, but I would prefer not to go into detail, and you prefer that too, just trust me. Good times.
- Went home, still laughing, laughed some more.
- One of the bunkmates made some remark about "another flippin' cathedral." Bahaha.
-Giggled some more

Day three:
- left late again, struggled with the count-off again (some people just could NOT remember their numbers!)
- Beautiful drive to Wales
- TINTERN ABBEY, that's what I'm talking about!!! Or as they say in Welsh, Abaty Tyndryn.
- Relished reading Wordsworth's poem inspired by the Abbey, got in trouble for climbing on the rocks- oopsie (now i feel really bad, bad llama)
- Got back on the bus, was really sad to do it
- went to Chipping Camden and the Cotswolds
- went on a lovely hike, Blockley to Batsfield, had another run-in with some stinging nettle
- got back on the bus and went back to Bristol, very pumped to be back in Bristol. Love me some Bristol

Day Four:
- got up (not very happily, just sayin), and found some Banksy located around Bristol. Saw two, went back to the hostel to finish up some last-minute packing
- Got on the bus, yay.
- Went to Wells Cathedral (another "flippin' Cathedral"), tap-danced on some dead people (picture documentation to prove it)
- William Penn once gave a little sermon there or something, don't remember the specifics, oopsie
- everybody was late getting back on the bus, once again
- drove to Durdle Door Beach
- hiked up a mountain and down the side, it was worth it.
- Read some "Dover Beach" at Durdle Door Beach, not quite the same beach, but same idea
- made an offering to our new bff Sulis Minerva, who we learned all about at the Roman Baths
- hiked back up
- suffered some serious BGA (big group anxiety) as people were seriously late (!)
-Finally got back to the Centre just before ten, very glad to be back

It was a super cool trip, sorry if you got bored with the details!

Monday, May 9, 2011

There is a song from the broadway version of The Little Mermaid where Ariels sings, "If only you could know, the things I long to say. If only I could tell you what I wish I could convey." That is totally how I am feeling. The Little Mermaid has a great soundtrack too, just fyi. But I sit down all the time (Ok, ok, maybe not "all the time" but sometimes) to write something and I just can never do it.

I can't write how happy it makes me to walk out of 27 Palace Court every morning and look at the wonderful London sky as I head for Kensington Gardens, or as I go to the Queensway Tube station. Because that is like a sentence, not exactly blog-worthy.

I can't write about how much I love seeing all the people reading the Standard on the tube, even teenagers. Or all of the dogs, of all shapes and sizes that are always so amusing. Or how much I LOVE Trafalgar Square. That is totally my favorite hang out spot. I mean come on, I got hit on by a drunk guy at that spot, what can beat that?

Or how much I love just being able to pop over to the V&A, or the National Gallery, or make a little Tesco run. Again, not really blog-worthy.

Or how much I ABSOLUTELY adore all of the plaques all around London that indicate various famous dead people that once lived at that location. I still think the best one I ever saw indicated that the "inventor of time travel lived there in 2136" or something like that. I chortled over that. (PS- British author Lewis Carroll invented that word,true the man was a little strange, but I will always honor him for inventing that word).

Today I happened to see one of the many places around London where Charles Dickens lived, the place I saw today was where he wrote The Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby. Cool.

Or how much do I love having a favorite gelato place? Or being able to just decide on a whim to go and see a musical, granted I haven't really done a ton of this yet, but just having the option is wonderful.

In case it was hard to tell, I am loving my London life. We leave to Bath for a few days in the morning and we are going to Tintern Abbey!!! Among other things, but I am very excited for that.

The poem I recommend for this week: William Wordsworth's "Lines composed a few miles above Tintern Abbey." If you are initially bored, just give it a second chance, ok? ok.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Good thing...

Good thing I have the best mother EVER! just sayin!
They don't actually have "Mother's Day" in the UK, so I felt like I missed out on the "seniors giving the mother's day talk deal." But I'll cope, cuz I went to church in London. Suckawhaaa??

Since seven is the most magically powerful number, and my mother is obviously magic, here are the top seven reasons why my mother is wonderful.

1. She is one of the funniest people I know, for sure. Hands down.
2. She dccomplishes everything with style and pinache and I have always admired that.
3. She is always ready to do something fun and makes everything exciting.
4. (I would still like her if she weren't) but I think she is absolutely beautiful and I think she gets prettier every year.
5. She is the best mother bear around. My mom could SOOOO take yours (she can take pretty much anyone).
6. She is the best supporter ever.
7. She puts Mary Poppins to shame.

Love you mother!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

My New Hero

Lest you think that London spring is all fun and games... Just kidding! It really is all fun. We do still have homework and stuff, but it is really quite enjoyable and very rewarding. When I first found out what classes were being offered for my term in London I was amazed at how perfect they were, an English class and an art class. But now that I am here and actually taking them, I realize how truly perfect they really are. But seriously.

The curriculum for both classes is completely designed for being in London and it has been fantastic. For the art class we go to a different museum about every week and we are supposed to pick one piece of art that we just really like and one that we aren't quite as fond of, and then we sketch them and analyze them. Yeah. For reals. I know that I draw a pretty mean turtle, but that is about as far as my artistic abilities extend. I still get a laugh out of that one. Luckily, we aren't graded on the quality of our sketches... just sayin. But I have definitely realized the merit in having us sketch, because it really forces me to look at all the little details, and generally appreciate the artist much, much more.

So I was at the V&A (Victoria and Albert) yesterday and I had found the perfect paintings to sketch, but then when I went back later to sketch that gallery happened to be closed. So I found some new sculptures to sketch and plopped down in front of one of them (just picture it). Then a museum lady comes and brings me like this little stool thing that people use who are probably actually good at sketching. I felt legit though. I made sure she couldn't actually see what I was doing on my little sketch pad because I was worried that if she actually saw she would take my stool away because I wasn't worthy of it.

For English we have read a book about Lady Jane Grey (Nine Days a Queen), Treasure Island, and a book about Shackleton (Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World). I have loved all of these for different reasons, and I just finished Shipwreck today and the story is truly remarkable. Shackleton was an inspiration. My favorite quote from him was, "It might have been different if we'd had only ourselves to think about... But if you're a leader, a fellow that other fellows look to, you've got to keep going." Isn't that awesome?! I would totally recommend Shipwreck, and it is a true story (Ah! Dorothy Gish. True story, name that movie!). He is totally my new hero.

Anyway, just a quick highlight tour from the last few days:
- Abbey Road
- Portobello Road
- Soho (saw where William Blake was born, not the actual spot, but you get the idea)
- V&A

Still trying to figure out how to get pictures to download. I tried something new but it will have to wait until tomorrow.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

So Awesome (and attractive)

Just a few "awesome" things from the last few days...
- my new camera arrived (and just in time for my ipod to stop working). Awesome.
- Seeing Cinderella at the Royal Opera House and getting upgraded from 20 pound seats to 90 pound seats. So awesome.
- Greenwich. Awesomely awesome.
- St. Paul's Supertour. Totally awesome (as you might imagine from something with "supertour" in the title)
- Riding along the Thames in a clipper. Awesome.
- Samuel Johnson's House. Awthum.
- Sketching at the National Gallery. Awesomely funny (when you sketch at a public place, people tend to look, you can imagine their surprise as they saw my attempts at sketching).
- SEEING ADMIRAL HORATIO NELSON'S ACTUAL COAT (with authentic battle damage! name that movie!) at the Maritime National Museum. I guess his whole outfit is usually there, but it wasn't there yesterday, but they even have a sock with real BLOOD on it. Not his blood, it was his secretary's blood, still pretty cool though. It literally did have "authentic battle damage" though and supposedly it also even had grease from his pigtail and he refused to wash it because it had "the exertions which I made and the anxiety which I felt" all over that lovely thing. SO INCREDIBLY AWESOME.
- Making the super intelligent comment of "Well... I have a map with like.. things on it..." You might not actually think that is funny, but it really was. Not just another pretty face. Awesome.
- Seeing the Lion King. Seriously Awesome.
- Having really great Professors and their spouses (Crowes and the Millers). SO AWESOME.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


So I actually did a post... just on the wrong blog. It is a really "awesome" blog post too (you will get that joke at a later date). We had to create a blog for our London Walks class, so my professor will hopefully really enjoy that very unrelated post. But I sort of have to finish Treasure Island by early tomorrow am and finish up a paper, so you will just have to wait until tomorrow for it! I did see Lion King tonight and it was incredible. I absolutely loved it.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Can I get an Amen!

We had church today at the Kennington ward and it was awesome. Most of the people were from Ghana or Nigeria and there were a handful originally from England. I am going to be a youth sunday school teacher, sort of. People in the ward love BYU students and we were like celebrity status. We all head to bear our testimonies too which I was grateful for the opportunity.

A few of my favorites:
- two people mentioning the Will and Kate wedding in their testimonies
- taking the tube to church
- a boy named Duke getting very excited about the Illuminati and Free Masons and wanting an "american" perspective
- getting lots of hugs
- a guy quoting a Wordsworth poem (Ode: Intimations of Immortality) in sacrament meeting- I would highly recommend this poem if anyone is looking for a little poetry reading!

I have also discovered that I have London allergies. Super fun. But the sky was beautiful tonight and I was sitting outside 27 Palace Court admiring the view when I thought of the perfect poem for the occasion (because obviously there is a perfect poem for every occasion)! So I ran inside and grabbed it, along with a few other girls, and we read it on the steps. It is called "Nocturnal Reverie" by British poet Anne Finch (and of course her name has an "e" because with an "e" is so much more refined- name that movie?!). Still no pictures, I tried but with no success, my bad...