Tuesday, June 30, 2009

...The good times? The...times?

Current location: Twin Falls, Idaho, United States of America

Current emotion: Bland (Lauren's brother: "Oh, I love bland.")

Current work: I'm back at DownEast Basics. They have a new computer system, so I was trained on most of that today. Um. I got a raise. a $0.25 one. Plus a shnazzy new job title: Shift Leader. I'll be one of three people with keys to the store. Oh yeah. We're opening a store in two weeks. So no more kiosk-ing. Hoo-ray. It'll be very awesome, on so many levels.

Current ward: Twin Falls College 2nd Ward. Should be great fun. Seriously. Not quite as awesome as traveling around to different wards in England with my "family," but all good things must come to an end, and I suppose I actually have to have some constancy in my life eventually. Like right now. I was really worried about church on Sunday because Lindsey's still up at school in Rexburg, but there were lots of people that I knew there--a lot more than I realized were here in Twin and going to that ward, including some I hadn't seen for years since before missions or just in a really, really long time.

Current home: I get home for the summer and it seems like everything is different than when I just visit. You would think that since at Christmas I wish break would last for 2 months, that I'd be perfectly fine living at home for 2 months during the summer. Hopefully that'll be the case, but for some reason it's very hard for me when I live at home now. In the past week, I've already had moments that have reminded me of last summer. And no one, I repeat NO ONE, wants to repeat last summer. We'll see how it goes. Also, I hopefully won't miss England (or mostly the people there, who are no longer there) too much.

Current regrets: That I'm not carrying around my journal 24/7 anymore. That I haven't gotten the oil changed in Emerson yet, when I should have months ago.

Current excitements: Um. I got home and had a letter from Elder Dodds, a letter from Elder Davis, 2 letters from Elder S. Savage, and in the days since I've been home I got a very long letter from Elder Mason and a letter from Elder Allan. And I'm expecting in the next few days a very long letter from Elder G. Savage, hopefully. Also, I start piano lessons in the morning. I have the house to myself, just me and my dad, for an entire week. And I get to see Lindsey, my best mate, for the first time since March tomorrow.

Current book: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. British version. I love reading the British version because I know many of the words and phrases now that were changed for the American version, and if I don't...well, I know the American version well enough to figure it out. Any suggestions for when I've made my way through to the end?

Current destination: Bed.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Mixed Feelings

I haven't posted in 8 days. So much has happened.

Monday: Class, Courtauld Gallery (yay impressionism! and playing in fountains with Christine!), piano concert at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, National Portrait Gallery, Winter's Tale (which was fantastically acted--Ethan Hawke was Autolycus and Mr. Thornton's mother from North and South was Paulina--and put on, with the exception of a "balloon dance" in the middle)

Tuesday: The Temple (as in, law and bar stuff, Knight's Templar, not the LDS temple), Imperial War Museum, Shakespeare lecture with David Bevington at the BYU London Center, Les Mis (which we missed the first 5 minutes of because of a tube accident involving a body on the tracks, which delayed us 45 minutes).

Wednesday: writing of final synthesis essay in Holland Park, Houses of Parliament tour (where I had a security picture that should have gotten me stopped at security), Tate Britain (LOVE. Esp. JMW Turner), finishing with Romeo and Juliet at the Globe (where Benvolio was attractive...)

Thursday: left London, coached to some random place and did one last hike through the country to Canterbury, wandered with Lauren (which led to reading romance novel titles/back of books), Evensong, "man walk," random filming of 30 second versions of David Copperfield and Jane Eyre in hostel entrance

Friday: Sissinghurst Gardens and baptisms at London Temple, saying goodbye to people. :(

Saturday: waking up really early, taxing to Gatwick, meeting Mom, Portobello Road, Wicked

Sunday: random tourings, Tower of London, brief stop in National Gallery, Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace.

Today: sleeping in, shopping (I finally found shoes and dresses that I like--two dresses and heals for under 80 pounds!), British Museum, Regent's Park and dinner and Much Ado About Nothing in the open air theater.

Being in London with Mom has been fun, although my body is about to give out after 2 months of going non-stop. Yesterday I felt really sick the later half of the day and today I was just kind of frustrated with shopping for a bit because I couldn't find what I wanted. And I also miss all my study abroad "family." SO MUCH. I checked my email tonight and there was an email from Karla, talking about what her and John and Chris have been doing and that they love and miss us. I almost started crying. I'm such a baby. But I miss being able to go back to a hostel and tell everyone about my exploits or run around the city being a goofball and joking. I miss talking in Chris Bennion voices and hearing about the "Great Moth Hunt of (18)65" and Bentley's clap dances and discussing plays with Lauren and saying "If [insert name of famous real person here] were a real person" and just talking about everything with Christine and tackling Emma and buying scarves with the girls and showing people souveniers and just talking and dancing and joking and eating biscuts and laughing. Sigh. But I am having fun with Mom. And I get to see Sarah, my roommate, tomorrow night, which is excited. And I'm excited to go home and see the rest of my family and Lindsey. So it's mixed emotions. Very mixed. I miss my "family." But I'll see them soon, perhaps just not as soon as I would wish. I might be going down to Utah a couple days after I get back though, so we'll see what happens. Maybe I'll get to party with some of them down there then.

Sigh. England just isn't the same without the people I've experienced the past 2 months with.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Yesterday ended up being crazy. I loved 39 Steps. Hysterical. It was nice to just laugh and not really think deeply about anything. Then I met up with the group I was seeing War Horse with, but it was sold out, so we didn't get to see it. We are all really bummed, because we won't be able to see it now and it was one of the shows that we had all heard was wonderful and that we should see. :(

Anyway, we decided that we'd try to go see Les Mis instead because we still had an hour and a half before it started and then we could maybe try to do War Horse again on Tuesday--which was when we were originally planning on seeing Les Mis. They were all sold out too, and said that they had been all sold out (and therefore hadn't had student concession tickets) for the past 2 weeks and it probably would continue that way for the next 5. So a couple of us bought tickets to go see it then, for more than we were expecting/wanting to pay, but still reasonable. I'm very excited. I know, I know. I've already seen Les Mis. But it's been 6 or 7 years, and it's one of my favorite shows in the entire universe and I came here saying that I was going to see it. I had it all worked out that I'd get to see it, plus all the new shows I wanted to see, but dumb being sold out. :( But I do get to see it and we actually have fairly good seats. :D

Um, afterwards Syd, Sammy, Matt, Janet and I went to Pizza Hut. We wanted the unlimited softserve for £3. And their machine was broken. Dumb. It just wasn't working out for us last night. But we did have fun, even if we did have to cut out a show and dish out more £s for tickets than we wanted to. And afterward dinner I headed over to the Tate Modern for a little bit, since I didn't get to spend any time there before and I really wanted to. Modern art has definately grown on me a lot in the past year and I could have spent much much longer than the hour I spent there. That's alright though. It just gives me an excuse to come back one day.

Church this morning was over in a building just a couple blocks south of Kensington Gardens and Royal Albert Hall, across from the Science Museum. I love walking to church, with the bus in the middle. Katie P. described it as like when you're in the airport and step onto those moving walkways and keep walking. You move twice as fast. You walk to the bus, hop on, hop off, and suddenly you're down the street. lol. Others waited until later in the afternoon and went to the Spanish Branch that we're putting the fireside on for tonight, but considering I don't speak any Spanish, I figured I should go to the English ward, which actually had quite a lot of Americans. I don't really like listening to Americans talk now. It's really weird. I don't mind the group's voices because I talk to them all the time, but I just expect to hear a British voice when others talk and when it's not it's very jarring.

I need to go semi-pack my suitcase. it's been exploded for far too long and I need to find a way to get everything to fit in my little bag until Mom comes with my bigger one. Plus we have our fireside soon, plus plays every night from now until Wednesday night and we leave Thursday morning, so...yeah. Crazy. I can't believe the program ends on Saturday. Less than a week left with these wonderful people. This was my last Sunday going to church in England. I'll still be here next week, but I don't think Mom and I will be going to church. AH. I am kind of getting ready to go home though. I know if I had a regular bed and hadn't been living out of a suitcase for two months and had more than 5 real shirts (read: non-hiking shirts, and one of them is long-sleeved and another is really just for church), I'd feel differently, but it's time to re-expand my wardrobe again. And not pay for internet.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Street Where the Riches of Ages are Stowed...

This morning, I headed off through Holland Park and then down to Portobello Road. Insert the Disney song from Bedknobs and Broomsticks here. :) I loved it. Spent way too much money (but also got lots of stuff that was for a good price) and had lots of fun. One of my favorite parts of today so far though has been when I bought a huge glass of lemonade for 50p from 3 cute little girls off the sidewalk on the way to Portobello Road. They were so adorable and reminded me of me and Lindsey and our lemonade stand escapades, so what was I supposed to do? Pass them by? :)

Yesterday whirl-winded by. Dickens Museum (Yay Charlie Dickens. Carpe Agnes!). Soane's Museum (to see the Hogarth paintings...woot!). British Museum (which I'm going back to spend much much more time in with my mommy). Platform 9 3/4 (yes, some of us are Harry Potter obsessed and had way too much fun taking this detour to King's Cross). And I ended the day with a journey with Janet over to Trafalgar Square and the London Colliseum to see the English National Opera perform Madame Butterfly. My only complaint is that it was an English Translation, not in Italian, but other than that it was fabulous. Visually gorgeous and Cio-Cio-Shan was fantastic.

Other Productions I've seen since I last posted: All's Well that Ends Well and Billy Elliot.
On the Agenda for today: the 39 Steps and War Horse

Anyway, I know I haven't told you nearly anything of what's happened, but I'd much rather be making memories than telling you about them and I only have 2 minutes left on this computer, so...cheers!

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Just a quick note, because I don't have much time:

Love London.

And milk. I haven't had much on the trip, so tonight we made a Tesco stop and I bought 2 pints of milk and it's all gone now. Sigh. So good.

Anyway, we survived the tube strike. It was interesting yesterday seeing everyone either walking or trying to crowd onto the busses. Today we went out to Hampton Court and so we rode trains most of the way, but getting to shows tonight was interesting. Because of the tube strike, it took us a very long time to get to St. Paul's yesterday and we had to cancel going to the symphony tonight because of a 5-hour round trip estimated travel time. But we're all good now, because tomorrow they'll be up and running again.

More updates on the past couple days later. Love and Cheers!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I Believe in Fairies. IN LONDON!

It has been a most eventfull 2-ish days since I last posted. WOW. I AM IN LONDON!!!! I love love love love love love love it. :D And everything between now and when we left Bath has been wonderful.

Yesterday morning (which seems like ages ago), we hung out in Bath wandering for a couple hours and then drove to Stratford. Since we had already seen basically everything there, we hung out, wrote our thought papers that were due that day (can you believe we actually did homework? I can't...), Christine and I ate dinner at a cute cafe called the Food of Love, and then we went to see the RSC perform As You Like It.

So great. So fun. That is Shakespeare. LOVED Jacques. And Orlando and Oliver. And Touchstone. And the entire company, basically. They were both brilliant and attractive. I loved the winter changing to spring pastoral. And Rosalind really looked like a man. Or Orlando Bloom--if he looks like a man. lol. Anyway. We were all thoroughly enjoying it and then at the very end of the last scene, when the brother of Orlando and Oliver comes in to announce the Duke's conversion, an alarm starts going off and the whole Courtyard theater has to evacuate into the drizzle outside. Actually quite fun, and we were right by the cast. I wanted them to sign my programme, but some girl got to the attractive men first and then they went back inside. :( But we got a picture with them! (Kind of). As die-hards, we went back in for the last couple minutes, which was definately the right choice. 1) It's the RSC. 2) Rosalind improved her own Epilogue for us, a once in a lifetime thing (which Katy A. magically recorded on her iPod), about how we were evacuated. So great. So fun. We all left just dancing and singing and giddy and happy. AHHHHH.

Then we drove to London and got there at about 1 a.m. and had to cram 20 girls into one room. It actually wasn't as bad as it sounds.

Today we ate breakfast and had class, but were all really anxious to get out of the hostel here in Holland Park and into the city, since we all were asleep last night when we got here and it was way too late to go out and do anything. Our first stop was High Street Kensington. AKA the tubes. I think I've got them all figured out. All you need is your pass and a destination. :) Unfortunately, a tube strike started tonight so we'll be taking the bus for a few days, but soon we'll be back underground. Anyway, we went to Westminster Abbey first. When we walked out of the underground and saw Big Ben rising up above us we all got really giddy. Well, I did. :) I kept having to look back at it to make sure that it was still there and that I really was/am in London. The Abbey was beautiful too. I really enjoyed it. Not so much the building, like the other cathedrals/abbeys/churches we've been too, but for the history and the people. Queen Elizabeth I's tomb. And Poet's Corner. Loved Poet's Corner. Sigh. It was like stumbling upon a graveyard/memorial to friends. And finding random musicians' graves. Like Handel. I sang the Messiah (well, in my head, at least) standing on George Frederic Handel's grave. And Henry Purcell. And Clementi is even buried in the cloisters.

After that we walked to Trafalgar Square and ate lunch there. Some guy got mad at us for feeding the pigeons when we weren't at all. WE LIKE FOOD. Why would we give it to the stupid birds? Other people were eating lunch too...

Then we went to the National Gallery, which I loved. But I'm running out of time, so I can't talk much.

Tonight about 9 of us went to see Peter Pan. In a Pavillion. In Kensington Gardens. PHENOMENAL. I loved every second of it. 360-degree panoramic projected scenes. Awesome stage. Brilliant actors and the music and the flying and the choreography in the air...it was beautiful. And it's just a great story anyway.

At the play, we ran into a bunch of girls from the London Center. They were asking us about all our good times, and we were thinking, "You think you've had fun...well...our trip rocks the socks off yours." :D

Sunday, June 7, 2009

On to London, To Write Personal Essays!

Current city: Bath
Cities (or places, since most have been anything but cities) I've been in the past week: Tintagel, Boscastle, Danywenallt (in Wales)

In 27 hours I'll be in London. Which means that there are only 2 weeks (to the day from yesterday) left. I'm not ready to go back home. This week has made me more ready to go back to the states though. I've been kind of homesick. Not much, but since we haven't had internet at all all week and then one of my best friends ever got married yesterday and I was halfway across the world and a bunch of other things, I just feel like I should have been home this past week. But that has passed now. I just love England so much. Anyway. I have internet now here in Bath, so I'll give you a little summary of the week.

The first few days we spent in Tintagel, legendary birthplace of King Arthur. It's one of my favorite places. The town was tiny. But the hostel was situated on a bluff right by the ocean. As in, you walk 5 feet out the front door and you're on a cliff overlooking out where we'd eat dinner and watch the sunset and then it was like a 10 minute walk to the ruined Castle/Merlin's Cave. I actually got to stay in a B&B, which was nice beacuse I got to hang out with the peeps at the hostel and then get a nice bed and shower and a really really good breakfast. The castle was a ton of fun to explore and then we played on the beach at Merlin's Cave--a couple of us even made an excursion later that night (because we were lame and weren't prepared earlier in the day) and sat under the waterfall and climbed clear through the cave during low tide and all this great stuff. Loved Tintagel.

We walked along the shore for about 6 miles to Boscastle, having class on the way. I love it when we have class outside. This shady coastal scene was beautiful. And our classes are always so great. Boscastle's hostel was really nice. The town flooded in 2004 and the hostel was basically destroyed then, so it's all brand new, basically. Big rooms, and the town was small and cute. Jon S., Kylie, Christine and I had fun talking and exploring.

Next stop was Wales. We stopped somewhere on the way, but I can't remember where it was at the moment and I don't have my journal/itinerary on me, and no one is close by to let me know what it was. Terry (our busdriver) drove us wherever we went and then we went to Wales. WAIT! We went to Glastonbury, to the ruined Abbey there where King Arthur is supposedly buried and then to Wells, to look at the Cathedral there, but we didn't get to go inside. THEN we went to Wales. Out in the middle of nowhere. It was beautiful though. We sang Welsh rounds with Katy A. and talked and had fun.

Our main day in Wales was basically on our own. We got to hike around just doing whatever. I wanted to find a waterfall, but it was quite a walk and looked like rain, so I went off by myself and found this really beautiful spot off the main road (but mind you, it's in the middle of nowhere) with a bridge running over this little, rocky ravine that had a tiny waterfall in it. On that bridge I ate lunch and read scriptures and sang hymns and had a really beautiful experience. It was just me and nature and God. It was one of those moments where, although you're not on a mountaintop, nature is a temple.

Speaking of the temple, I'm starting to feel the effects of not having been able to go for a while. I definately miss it, although England has presented me with many experiences like unto the Spirit I feel while there, especially being surrounded by a community which is probably as close to Zion as a group of 30 college students can get. But in a week and 5 days I believe, I'll get to go to the temple in London! Hooray!

Anyway. Yesterday we left Wales, stopping at Tintern Abbey first. It was beautiful. It was lightly raining, and there was a mist over the trees. We read Wordsworth's "Composed a few miles above Tintern Abbey" there, of course. :) I love going to ruined abbeys. Seeing all the trees rise majestically to the sky through the empty windows that once held stained glass make me feel like nature is the stained glass God would put there, the stained glass that he has given us to make us happy in life.

After Tintern Abbey we left Wales (Sorry, I'm repeating myself) and came to Bath. At first being back in a city was weird. We haven't been in a real city since Edinburgh, I don't think. At least, not that I can think of at the moment. So all the hustle and bustle and especially the very crowded Roman Baths was kind of annoying at first. But the baths were fun and very soon we adjusted to the city. We shopped around in stores, watched street performers (including an awesome band, a statue guy, a unicycler 10-feet in the air who was juggling fire and tossed one under his leg, and a saxophonist). Our hostel here in huge. We really enjoy having the extra space, especially since our next stop is London. All 20 of us girls will be in one room, but at least we won't have to pack up and move for 10 days. :)

Bath is a beautiful city, especially at night. Last night Christine and I walked around town for a bit. The creamy limestone buildings were sillouhetted against a dark-periwinkle sky and it was lightly raining so the sidewalks were sparkling in the street lamps. It was so quiet that the sounds of the music festival that ended last night were drifting up to our bench on the hill. Random lights in random windows gave a gold glow to the city as well and the Bath Abbey, the central cathedral in the middle of town, rose up majestically. Then today after church the two of us went on another walk, this time all the way across town to the Circus and the Royal Crescent. Both so cool. One day Christine and I are going to come back and stay in the Royal Crescent. It was pouring rain for about half of our walk, which was 30 minutes each way, plus about 30 minutes of wandering around the park.

Today the ward here had stake conference over an hour away and so we had sacrament on our own outside on the lawn. It was a beautiful meeting, both because it was outside and because the people I'm with have the strongest, most glorious and loving testimonies. THe rest of the day was spent just on our own since we didn't have a fireside. Most of us read. All's Well That Ends Well. Or Mrs. Dalloway, but I've already finished that. Of course, I'm way behind in everything else.

Tomorrow we'll wander Bath for a couple hours after eating crepes and then we'll head to Stratford to see As You Like It, and get into London way late! Then our city adventure begins! I'm very excited! I want to see and do everything!

Anyway, I must go now. My time on Whitney's computer is almost up and there is a long line. I don't think Katy A. would appreciate it much if I went over. :) Cheers!