Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Jude Law in Hamlet!

On Saturday, we got up at 6 in the morning to go stand in line at Leister Square to get Hamlet tickets.  We waited until 10 am-- it wasn’t too bad.  It was totally worth standing in line because the play was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen.  Seriously, Jude Law was an amazing actor and was very captivating.  I can’t even begin to describe how well he played crazy Hamlet.

Here we are before the play...

 We also got box seat tickets and were the best seats in the whole room.  We were so close to the stage that we could have reached out and touch his head if we really wanted to.  I don’t know how we got them for only 25 pounds.  Me and Anna felt like VIP when one of the ushers led us to our box like we were somebody important haha.  It was so much fun. 

Here is Katie and Jordan.  We had three bow seats with 2 girls in each.

 Hamlet for some reason has always been my favorite Shakespeare play.  I guess I had a good teacher in high school who taught it.  I normally do not not plays that much but this was like watching a movie!  Not only was Jude Law eye candy, but he was an incredible actor and so was the rest of the cast.  

After the show we headed outside and waited at the stage door to get Jude Law’s autograph.  I felt like an N'sync fan again, but I didn’t care.  I ended up getting his autograph and got some pics with him.  





I was so happy and I couldn’t stop thinking about how amazing everything was.  I love life!!!  Why am I having all of these cool experiences??? I‘m a little confused, that’s all.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Week 4 in England

Before you continue reading please note the following:
A) I am still alive 
B) I was smart and cautious even though it may not sound it, and
C) It was the funnest night that I had in London by far!

So week 4 in London was kind of lame.  This includes: major toothe aches, dentist appointments, and people were starting to really get on my nerves.  It all started when I came back from Paris and I guess Paris really spoiled me.  Last night was so perfect and definitely revived my spirits.  So there is this girl, Megan, who is getting married four days after London and we threw her a bachelorette party.  16 of us decided to dress up and go out for dinner at Hard Rock café.  

On our way to the tube stop was hilarious because we stood out a lot because all of the girls are so beautiful and and all you hear are heals walking down the street.  There was this guy who passed by who was on the phone and said, “Do you hear that?  I think I just walked through heaven.”  It was so funny!  Next we show up at hard rock café which is the funnest restaurant and there is another bachelorette party waiting outside and they were so hilarious.  Apparently bachelorettes are called hens here in Britain.  They were so drunk and so funny and so nice and we were all having the best time laughing.  They found out that Meagn was 19 and they flipped out, since most of them were probably in their 30s.  I’ll have to try to upload a video sometime.  They were wearing all neon and crazy clothes and they even gave Megan one of their gag gifts.  Dinner was so great and so crowded and we walked in to our table with the “hen” group and people were taking pictures of us left and right. Oh man, were they a hoot! 

The "Hen" party

Anyway dinner was great and afterwards we were just walking down the street trying to figure out what we wanted to do and then out of no where this group of Hollister models come up to us (including one that looked like Edward cullen with his buffant hair)  and said that we looked very lovely and dressed up and invited us to get int his club for free.  I don’t know why we just all willingly followed them but we did and I don’t know what we were thinking but it was so worth it!  I literally felt like I was in a movie that night.  This club was called Vendome and there was the longest line wrapped around the corner and the models took us right in and the bouncers let us in. 

We felt like celebrities and I couldn't help but to think that I was in a movie or something, but of course me and my friends kept going over some worst case scenarios and what we would do in certain situations because hello this kind of stuff never happens!  So we walk in and it is this legit club and I guess it cost lots of money normally to get in and we got In for free. And our friends got us this vip lounge with some water and some cranberry juice since they knew we didn’t drink. 

Just when you think this couldn’t get any more like a movie, it does.  The second that I walk in I completely fall down a step and totally biffed it in da club hahahaha it was so dark and I'm pretty sure no one saw it cause it was kinda early and not many people were there.  It hurt pretty bad, but I hopped right back up and didn't even care.  Anyways, that night was so much fun and I noticed that people don’t dance so bad here and I was so shocked. We were all having so much fun.  There was a spinning dj thing, a bloody nosed girl in the bathroom, and a fight that I witnessed outside of the club afterwards and it all added to the excitement of the night and the unrealness of what I just experienced.  Yeah this all may sound so ridiculous and immature but it was really one of the funnest nights in my life and I cant believe how great every thing turned out.  Who am I??? You probably think that I am like that that stupid girl in the movie "Taken," but don't worry because I am still alive!

Scotland Week 5

Day 1 Monday

On the first day we stop at a couple of places in England including Fountains Abbey.  

We stayed at a Harry Potter Castle in Durham.  It was great but it was a little anti climatic when we found out we were sleeping in the haunted part of the castle, the rooms were a little creepy, and we had to walk up a billion sairs to get up there.  When my room mate was is the shower I was all alone in my “dungeon” and quickly called my mom and told her how freaked out I was.  She told me that Emily was pregnant and then I became happy : )  

The next morning we had a harry potter breakfast and I went to the morning services at the cathedral next door.

Second Day in Scotland

We arrive in Abbotsford, Scotland and visited Sir Walter Scott’s House.  Scotland is beautiful, green, hilly, and very rainy.  The rain is soft.  Scott’s house was very fascinating.  He contributed so much to the history of Scotland.  I thought it was funny how proud our tour guide was to be Scottish.  

We arrived at this pretty nice hostel that night in Edinburg and went out for dinner at the Filling Station and then went to Chocolate Soup for some hot chocolate.  We then went on a haunted 18+ tour that takes you down to these vaults.  This was one of the the scariest nights of my life.  The last 10 minutes were unbearable.  I’m glad I did it thought.  For the most part is was fun and interesting to do it in “the most haunted cities in the world.”  The tour told us about the witch trials that took place in the citiy and some of the torure methods they used.  In the vaults, they showed us a haunted wiken church and some other very scary vaults.  I had the eeriest feelings.  Some of the girls felt fingers across the back of the neck.  

 Day 3 Edinburgh

I love Scotland! It is gorgeous, raw, and historic.  The people I think are friendlier than Londoners and more down to earth and funny.  We actually just got back from a pub with live music.  This singer guy was so awesome and entertaining.  He asked us where we were from on his microphone.  Abby yelled Utah.  He asked if we like the Osmonds.  We said no.  Every one started laughing.  He ended up playing a Scottish song for us and all of the scots were singing along.  

Earlier today we went to the national gallery, Edinburgh castle, the history museum, the elephant cake (where J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter on napkins), did some shopping, went to an organ recital at St. Giles Cathedral for the best organist in the world (still boring), ate dinner at this Mexican restaurant, went to chocolate soup again for a cupcake, and went to a pub for some fun.  


There was a funeral going on for a firefighter who lost his life.  The streets were very quiet and lined with people.  It was so interesting and touching.

And I thought Paris had a lot of make outers in public, but I guess Edinburgh is as well.

Chocolate Soup... so divine!

I bought my first souvenir since I’ve been on study abroad.  I got a Scotland sweater that I fell in love with.  About 7 other girls went out and bought the same exact sweatshirt.  I thought that was funny.  All in all I absolutely love Scotland! It is amazing and I don’t want to leave yet!  The hostel smells disgusting...

Here is the bus that we practically spent half of our time during the whole week.  Let's just say it gets pretty interesting on that bus...

 Day 4 Thursday

Today we left Scotland. On the way back to England, the drive was breathtaking. We stopped at the Wordsworth Museum in which I was not required to go because I am not in the English class (hallelujah).  Instead, me and Becky explored the town called Grasmere Village in the Lake District.  it was such a charming little town.  We good some original ginger bread, English ice cream, tomato soup, Cornish pie, and some truffles.  I have been eating so much.  

We then headed to our hostel in Windermere in the lake district.  We took a boat out to Bowness and looked in cute shops and I bought a canvas with paints (yay!).   We took the boat back to our hostel which is right on the shore of the beautiful lake.  Very picturesque.  For some reason the scenery here reminded me o f Jurassic Park.  It was that gorgeous.  We had a tasteless dinner at the hostel.  We then played scum with a bunch of students in the lobby of the hostel including professor Hawkins and his kids. It was fun.  Me and Nathan (his son) had a “Oh no you din’t fight” and his dad told him to shut up. Haha I felt like an awkward turtle.   

Day 5 Friday

We went to the Preston Temple and church history sites that day.  Joseph Fielding came to England and there were about 1000 converts in the first couple of years, which is a lot.  10 or so years later  there were about 20,000 members.  Today we owe a lot to our membership to our English ancestors who joined the church in those days.  That really hit me hard and touched me with the spirit  Something else that impacted me was when we went to the house that Heber C. Kimball live and had a vision of hundreds of demon like people coming towards him.  It was such an intense vision that he fainted.  When Joseph Smith heard of his vision he actually got excited because  he knew satan was trying so hard from stopping the church from developing in England.  He knew how much would come about from having so many converts in England.  This was a good reminder to me to know how true the church is.  The Kimball house has actually been up for sale for the past 13 years and there was an article on the window and people now think that it I haunted.  

 Peter the tour guide then took us in the park where he showed us a plant that the early aints planted to symbolize/represent all of the baptisms.  We then went down by the river  where they would get baptized.   The temple is about 10 mile south of preston.  It is called the preston temple because President HInkley had inspiration.  After that we stopped at a really boring cotton mill for 2.5 hours.  We only had 30 minutes at the temple.  I was so confused.


The Preston, England Temple

The River where they would baptized the members.

Heber C. Kimball's House where  he had the vision.

Peter the tour guide telling us about the early missionaries in England and also President Hinckley's experiences when he served a mission here.

Crystal Palace Ward

Sunday July 26

Tonight we had a fireside and it was so amazing.  One of the bishops gave a talk and was really good.  He was raised in Jamaica and is the bishop at only 28 years old.  The story that really stuck out to me was a sister from Chile.  Her life story is incredible.  She was born in chile and I guess her father was one of the president’s leaders and he had to flee.  So her father went into hiding for about a year and then the rest of the family fled the country when they found that people wanted to kill them.  So they went to Scotland and she told of when they met their father for the first time in a long time.  They were on train cars and her father reached out his hand to pick up every child to cross over and then finally her mother.  Her father was caught and was locked up and was tortured for two years.  They released him and the family was then reunited.  She was saying how much her father loved his family and would do anything to protect them.  A couple years later missionaries knocked on their door and foerver changed their lives.  They baptized her father first even though he usually is really hard to get to since he is a politician.   That in and of itself was a miracle.  One by one each one of the children got baptized.  The dad tried so hard to convert the mom.  She was raised catholic but he finally got to her and was able to baptize her.   He loved his family and he loved the church.  

The sister from Chile knew at a young age that she had a testimony.  Unfortunatly her father left the church for an unknown reason and said he would tell her one day why he left the church.  To this day, she is still so grateful for her parents that joined the church and were such a good example.  Later on in life she had 4 kids and was not having a good relationahip with her husband and he basically  left her and she was all alone with her children.  She went on a drive and was crying and praying to ther heavenly father to help her and her kids so they would be able to have a better life than she did and have the things that she did not have.  This thing was the gospel.  She got out of her car and was just walking with her head down crying trying to find an answer from God and then looked up and write in front of her were 15 missionaries all with white shirts on.  She found her answer and from that day on she never left the church.  She literally ran to the missionaries and she was crying and so happy to see them.  They comforted her and made a circle around her and said a prayer with her.  This was such a spiritual moment for me and gave me a reassurance that the knowledge that Heavenly father answers our prayers is real and He loves us so much.  She remarried  and now has 5 children and they all have the gospel in their lives.  Her son is about to go a mission.  She knows that they are going to be valiant leaders of the church.  I was crying the whole time.  I thought of all of the experiences like that all through out the world and I can see the common denominator in each one of their happiness—it is the gospel.  It brings joy to our lives and eternal happiness if we abide by its principles.  Her new husband then bore his testimony in Spanish as someone translated.  He said that he loves his wife and Jesus Christ.  He told us how our number one calling in this life is to be good fathers and mothers.  I could just tell how amazing of parents they are.  They had a miracle baby together.  The doctors said that the baby was dead inside her stomach and there was no way it would survive.  The father then place his hands on his wife’s belly and gave her a blessing.  Her belly literally expanded and the baby was alive and well inside.  Every one was amazed and even the doctor.  The doctor said that their was a second physician and that was Jesus Christ.  This was  such a great miracle and testimony builder.  The lord is there.  I know I keep saying this, but there is no way that this church can not be true.  It is incredible to hear these stories and there are so many others that I haven’t even heard, but I am so grateful for them.  I love this church.  I am so blessed to have these experiences while I am in England.  I am getting so much out of everything and there is not one day that I take it for granted.


Earlier today at church I gave a lesson in Relief society and oh man was it an experience.  The lesson was on the conference talk by Robert D Hales entitled "Being Provident Providers both spiritually and temporally."  I was a little nervous to teach it since I don’t have a family yet and I knew these women have had so many experiences.  I started out by telling the story of the hurricane and how we were prepared spiritually.  We took on president hinkley’s challenge that year to reread the book of mormon and because of that and abiding by other principles of the church, we were blessed tremendously and many miracles were brought about.  The women loved this story and I didn’t mean for it to take as long as it did but they were aksing me questions about it and were enthralled.  I then opened it up for discussion and asked a couple of questions.  Let just say that the women have a lot to say.  Out of like 10 quotes that I had for us to read, we only got to about two of them.  Hands were being raised left and right and I tried controlling it.  It was hard and yet so entertaining.  One women was telling me about when she was living in Zimbabwe and the prophet told them to have food storage and sure enough I guess every thing got wiped out of there and so she lived on her food storage for two years with her husband.  There was one point where women started fighting because one African sister was saying some off the wall stuff and I could not understand a word she was saying and every one else did and started correcting her and I did not know what to do so finally I said for someone to read their quote. 

I noticed a difference in the different nationalities.  I noticed that the English women talk more about the news, and facts, and straight forward things,  whereas the African/Jamaican women talk about life experiences and love to tell stories.  They are usually some amazing stories but a lot of the times I am so confused why they say some of the things that they say because they have nothing to do with the lesson.  Hahaha Oh what a wonderful experience.  I felt like I was on a mission or something because I had never done anything like this.  It was so fun teaching them (even though I didn’t really get to teach much) and so funny when it turned into a discussion on the economy and financial stuff. 


Today in church I also gave an opening prayer and a sister that I just love came up and gave me the biggest hug.  It was so sweet.  The first counselor also got up today in the middle of the meeting and got a pillow for a pregnant lady in the ward.  I thought that was really sweet.  I noticed that the people her are very straight forward, blunt, and just say what they want to say. I could tell that the youth are so good here because the leaders are so good with them and are hard on them.  I like that.  The young men I could tell are going to be such great leaders one day.  I also got confused little Bradley’s name as Wesley, but he was still all smiles.  I love that kid.

This is me and Bradley, the bishop's son.  He is one of the sweetest kids you will ever meet.

Taking the train home from church with my ipod.

This is the building we meet at for church, an elementary school.  This is Coral and some of the primary kids after church.

This is where we have sacrament meeting...  The guy on the far left is getting baptized this week.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Week Two in England!!!

Week two in London equals pure wonderfulness.  Why may you ask?  Well let me tell you...  
It all started on monday  when we went to go see "As You like It" at the globe theater.  It was pretty amazing even though I sat right in from of a column, thus having to rotate my view every few seconds.  This place was so cool.  Afterwards we took a scenic walk home.  I can't even explain how amazing London is at night time.  We tried taking a picture in a red phone booth, but it kinda smelled like pee.  Here is a pic of a group of us before the play started.  Where's waldo?

London at night on the Thames River, just outside the Globe Theater.

On tuesday, me and a few of some of my friends (which I am making some amazing friends here btw) went out for fish and chip for lunch between classes and I absolutely loved it.  I will definitely be having some again.  

Wednesday.  Ooooh wednesday.  This was a fun adventure.  We went out on a really nice bus, first stopping at Stonehenge.  This place was really cool and I never thought I would like this kind of stuff much, but every thing is so much for fantastic in person.  However, Stonehenge was a lot smaller than I thought it would be. Whatev... it was cool.


Me and miss Rubie.

Next on our list was Bath, while watching "Pride and Prejudice" on the bus, since this is where Jane Austen lived-- I think this was my favorite stop of the day.  It is a GORGEOUS city.  The architecture was amazing  and I felt like I was walking the streets of Rome for a bit.  We got to see the Roman Baths which were amazazing.  A lot of the girls were excited over the Jane Austen Museum, where they bought I heart Darcy pins and what not.  A kind man reminded one of them that Mr. Darcy was not real...


After we explored Bath (I wanted more time here), we headed on over to Stourhead which was my version of paradise.  I kept joking that this was what heaven was going to be like, but really I secretly meant it.  Stourhead is this huge garden, but that is kept to look like nature in its ideal beauty.  We all went sort of crazy in this place, especially since this is where they filmed a few scenes of Pride and Prejudice... Let's see if you recognize any...



I guess this is the Elizabeth Bennett pose after Mr. Darcy confessed his love for her in the movie haha

Just when you thought it couldn't get any better, it does.  On Thursday, a group of us went to see the musical, Wicked-- I LOVED IT!  I didn't know if I wold like musicals but this one was so good.  The music and the acting was incredible, and who knew you would fall in love with the wicked witch from the west!  This night was so magical and we all were so giddy after the play and so we wandered around london at night all dressed up and all.  Again, nights in London are incredible.  This was the most magical night.  We went to see Big Ben and the London eye and just walked around and enjoyed a private little concert by this lady singing in the street with her guitar.  She had an incredible voice, kind of similar to my sister Amy's voice and Norah Jones.  This was my favorite night!

On Friday, we did a culture trip to Southhall, aka mini India.  I'm not gonna lie, I felt a bit uncomfortable when I walked off the train since we were the only white people around.  But then I reminded myself it was only because I was not used to this.  I wasn't used to being the only white girl, or seeing unfamiliar things and places.   Seriously, I felt like I went to India and back.  Southhall is home to a large Sikh, Hindu, and Muslim community.  We visited a Sikh Gurdwara (a temple) and participated in their ceremony.  Immediately as I walked in I felt so much more comfortable.  The people are very welcoming.  We had to remove our shoes and wear scarves to cover our heads.  As an attendent waves a feather over their holy book, I approached the alter and bowed to it out of respect, since it was custom.  You sit with your feet crossed and you meditate.  The scripture is read all day and they kind of sing it.  It was very different, yet interesting.  As you leave the room, a man gives you an offering of this sweet oily dough and I didn't want to refuse it and be rude.  Yeah... I tried tasting it and I almost threw it up in my mouth so I kept it in my hand until I could discretely discard it.  After that, we were led down to a communal meal, which I'm sorry,  but it was kinda disgusting.  After that we helped with the dishes.  We then explored the town a bit, and visited two more temples.  We also had this amazing Indian dinner at a really nice restaurant and got henna tattoos afterwards.  






Saturday I celebrated the fourth of July by indulging my self in some good ol' american food (Burger King).  Still not as good here. Their burger was tiny and they only give you two packets of ketchup but only if you ask!  haha I asked the guy  if I could have more and he just stared at me like I was an idiot.  Me and a few girls also went to see this thriller play, called "The Woman in Black."  This was supposed to be super scary and good, but I found it kind of boring and barely scary.  I'm glad I saw it though.  The acting was phenomenal for a 2 man play.

Sunday, again, was my favorite day.  It did not take us quite as long to get to church this week.  It was testimony meeting and it was one of the most spiritual ones I have been to.  We sang my two favorite hymns, "I know that my Redeemer Lives" and "I Stand all Amazed."  They have some amazing testimonies and it made me happy when I saw some of the recent converts get up and bear their testimony.  My favorite was the bishop's son who got up to bear his testimony, who is only about 9 years old.  The sweetest testimony I've heard in a while.  The best part was afterwards all of the kids in the back started clapping and I had to stop myself from clapping because it was so good!  hahaha This kid, Bradley, is my favorite-- he always has a huge smile on his face and is going to make a great leader some day.  Another one of my favorites was one of the young women who got up to bear her testimony.  It was amazing to hear her struggles and her ability overcome them and still come to church every sunday.  After the meeting, I found out that I have a calling in Relief Society.  I pretty much think it is my calling in life to be in the relief society because I always get called in it.  I love RS though!  I'm teaching in a few weeks and I'm very excited and a little nervous.  I doubt I should be nervous because the women have some of the best comments and are very encouraging.  My lesson is on the conference talk on provident living, so please if you have any input let me know.  It was awesome when the the teacher on Sunday split us up in groups for the whole time so we can lead our own discussions.  It was so cool and I just found my self wanting to say "aaamen sista" after each comment.  The teacher said she splits them up from time to time, because they all have so much to say that this really is the best way.   The lesson was on love.  My favorite comment was when this African sister with 5 kids says that she tells each one of her children individually that she loves them the most and I said that my mom does that too!  And we all started laughing.  But for reals, all growing up I thought I was mom's favorite ahahahaha  I love you mom! 

The best is when the teacher says that they are going to only sing one verse for the closing song and all of the women get confused and say "why? but it is a beautiful song..." to every song.  So we sing all the verses-- this made me happy and love the hymns even more! After church I met the young men who are such studs.  One of them introduced himself as uncle Julias and he was 15 years old, yet he looked 21 years old with his facial hair.  I love this ward so much!  

Yes.  There is not a day that doesn't go by that I forget how blessed I am to have an opportunity to do this.  I am so happy to be here even though...

1.  I need to see a dentist very badly.  My teeth are constantly throbbing which is causing me to get headaches.  I've been taking lots of advil (it's ok mom)
2. There is no such thing as down time/alone time 
3.  No television (i'm dying that I can't watch the Bachelorette)
4.  lots of naked butts haha and see through showers
5.  sweaty shirts and pants.  I wish I packed more shorts and skirts
6.  I don't know how to do my hair here- it's oily and dry at the same time??? What?
7.  I live in a room with 12 very dominant but fun personalities,
8.  Tons of reading for school.... I guess I am studying abroad
9.  Every thing cost literally twice as much here.
10.  Sucky toilets and no such think as cold drinks still bother me.
I'm going to Paris on Thursday until Saturday and I cannot wait.  I will take lots of pictures I promise.  I love you all! And you are in my prayers every night!