Sunday, 31 January 2010

round two.

a little more birthday love

Remember how I ate too much chocolate cake last night? I felt not so good afterwards, so I didn't blog about everything that I wanted to!

First thing I forgot...After experiencing a new religion yesterday, it made me much more grateful for my religion. I loved learning about the Sikhs and Hindu religion, but nothing hits home quite like my religion does. I love it very much, and it has become who I am.

Second, I'm so grateful for dear family and friends. I have been blessed with the best family in the world, and I missed spending my birthday with them! However, my new friends here made me feel so loved and special:) I have only known them for a few short weeks, but they already have a special place in my heart! I also miss my best friends back home, and I'm thankful for their love and friendship over the many years. I have so many amazing people in my life. How does a girl get so lucky?

Ok... I promise I'm done with all the birthday stuff now.

Today was a great day. I started it off as usual, with banana, yogurt, and the best cereal. Audrey and I rave about the breakfast here...breakfast is possibly the best meal of the day. The yogurt is completely divine, even the fat free kind. I could eat it for dessert (and I probably should). And the cereal. Well, nothing tastes quite like it back home!

I went to my wonderful new ward this morning, and I was so happy to be there with Sarah and Kellen. They are gems. As usual, the primary kids were terrors. They were completely reverent during Sarah's lesson, but then snack time came. We let them loose into the cultural hall, and of course the cute missionaries come in while we're chasing them.

President Chittock came this evening to give a fireside at the centre. He was the cute little british man who said he was a "simple londoner". He spoke about London during war time and what it was like. I can't get over how adorable he is!

I then skyped with my lovely family. I even got to see Sasha and baby Sienna. Have I mentioned that I love my family?

Well, as usual, I have spent much more time blogging than anticipated. Sweet dreams from London.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

two decades

This morning there was snow on the ground, but not a cloud in the sky. It was a birthday miracle.

My first day of being twenty started off with a run with laura. We did the four mile loop and then ran to Pret A Manger for oatmeal, meeting up with Christina and Audrey. We ate my favorite breakfast. Oatmeal! yum yum.

I loved the Indian culture activity today. We had to wrap scarves around our heads and take our shoes off in the temples. There were a lot of similarities to their religion and LDS belief, so it was really interesting to compare the two. I love different, unique cultures, and I really enjoyed today. At the temple of the Sikhs, they give out free meals after you worship. We ate curry there after we bowed in front of the alter and observed.

We visited three Indian temples and walked around the main street there. Some of Bend it like Beckham was filmed there. We also went to this really nice Indian restaurant for my first birthday dinner of the night! haha.

My lovely friend Laura invited me to a second birthday dinner with her parents! (her parents are currently visiting here) She knew that I would miss being away from family for my birthday, and it was so sweet of her. Thank you Neilsons for the dinner!! They even brought dessert with a candle and sang to me.

My birthday ended with two adorable cakes from Marks and Spencer. Everybody sang to me, and I closed my eyes and made a wish. And of course, more birthday kisses from macy, audrey and kellen.
oh and did I mention another Ben's cookie from Audrey? This time it was coconut. I think I'm going to have to ban sweets for the next week after this weekend.

After my second piece of birthday cake, I could not make it up the 65 stairs to my room. Kellen and Calvin piggy-backed me all the way up. Now that is true friendship.

The rest of my pictures won't load right now! more to come tomorrow...

thank you to everyone who made my birthday fabulous. I love you all:)

Friday, 29 January 2010

goodbye have been good to me

i love my life.

first of all, my birthday is tomorrow!

second of all, i have the sweetest friends.

i would be completely content if my birthday ended right now. I got back from the Victorian Albert museum to find a lovely present waiting for me. Laura was in the kitchen and asked me to get a piece of bread out for her. I opened the cupboard to find a box of ben's cookies! She had got me a dark chocolate and a double chocolate cookie. I ate the dark one immediately (mind you, I had already eaten frozen yogurt and chocolate. but who cares? it's birthday week. calories don't count)

Then I came up here to blog. The clock had struck midnight and I hadn't even realized it! Audrey came in singing to me and gave me chocolate covered coffee beans. and macy gave me birthday kisses! (on the cheek) does life get any better?
Thank you dear friends.

Tomorrow should be pretty sweet too because we are going to the Indian community for the whole day (it's apart of our culture class).

The rest of today was pretty great too. I went to Camden market this morning and bought some sweet button earrings. There was also left over curry from dinner last night, and it's the best homemade curry I've ever had. Life is all about food here!
A few of us went to the Victorian Albert Museum for the evening, and there was this awesome masquerade ball going on. We just happened to go on night of the ball- we had no idea what was going on for the first few minutes. Everyone was dressed up in fabulous costumes with great masks. There was all kinds of music and performing groups.

I also received a tender mercy from my Heavenly Father today. I know He is watching out for me and is aware of me, even in the seas of people here. He answers prayers through others, and I was the grateful recipient tonight.

goodnight world


Thursday, 28 January 2010

Brighton, Battle Abbey, and Rye

Yesterday was our second day trip. I keep falling in love with every new place that we see here! We left bright and early and took a two hour drive down to Brighton...and guess what's at Brighton? If you haven't noticed yet, it's the beach!! Well, not exactly a beach, but the ocean. The beach only consisted of rocks mostly (like the ones from the previous post). We stopped and saw the Royal Pavilion before hitting the pier. Once we got to the pier, it was freezing! There was a ton of wind from the ocean. I have already decided that when I go back to London, I will have to go in the summer so I can see Brighton then. There were also all these rides at the end of the pier, but they aren't open in the cold.

can you tell that my hair was just loving the wind?

Then we made our way to Battle Abbey. I didn't really know what it was, so I wasn't too excited about it. It's this really famous battle ground where England lost to the Normans. By the end, I was so happy that we had taken the time out to go there.

This field is the field where the battle was fought. We probably should have been more reverent, but we couldn't resist. Audrey, Calvin, and I skipped along in the grass.

Then I took a hike around the entire battle ground. I felt like I was in a Jane Austen movie out on a little walk. It was so green everywhere! And there were a ton of lambs in the fields. I tried to pet one, but none of them would let me. As always, it was a little gloomy and rainy. There was a ton of mud everywhere, and my boots barely survived yesterday.

Laura and me

this scenery could have come straight from Pride and Prejudice. gorgeous.

We got back on the bus and headed to our last destination. Rye! It had already been a really long day, so none of us were quite sure why we even went there. It was a cute little town, but nothing too cool. We finally made it home around 8 pm, and I was starving. They gave us 5 pounds again since we were too late for dinner at the centre. I went to Khans, a popular Indian restaurant right by our flat. It was my first time getting Indian food here, and it was so yummy. Not quite as good as thai, but right up there. Wednesdays are easily becoming my favorite day of the week. We get to see awesome sights, and they give us money to go out to eat haha. It was also the longest day of being here so far.

It's starting to hit me that I'm not going home anytime soon. It's a strange feeling since I've never been away like this.

I'm currently missing

cafe rio
the mountains
my mom

But my dad will be here in a week! He's coming for business, and he's also bringing me a suitcase of things I forgot:)

Monday, 25 January 2010


Let's just say this cake has been one of the best moments of my week so far. Laura, Audrey, Emma and I took two extra pieces of cake on Sunday and hide them at the bottom of the fridge. We were going to save it for this Saturday for my birthday cake. However, I should have known that we couldn't last that long..we only made it one day. Big surprise there! So we pigged out on this chocolate cake, and it was definitely worth it.

On Monday, I also had another little adventure. I decided to venture off to Harrods by myself to pick up some make-up I had run out of. It was my first time going anywhere by myself since arriving here (we are ALWAYS with other people). I must have looked like a native because two people asked me how to get around while on the tube. I accidentally got on the wrong train home, but! I eventually made my way home safely.

That night, I attempted to give my blog a make-over. It didn't turn out that well since I'm still a novice at this whole blogging thing. It is kind of hard! The format got all messed up, and I got discouraged! I sorted all of it out tonight, and I am confident that I will be better now at blogging daily. That's my new goal:)

I also have finally figured out a good schedule for me. The days are flying by so quickly, and I"m already worried about getting through everything I want to do. That is why I have to...
1) go running in the mornings
2) study in the evenings (in the library so I actually get stuff done)
3) see the city in the afternoons

Yesterday, I saw the Tate Britain museum. It is one of the most famous art museums in the world. It was an amazing art gallery! Hopefully I will be able to make it back there. And guess what else happened? The fire alarm went off while we were there.

But it gets even crazier than that. The night before (Monday night), we all awoke at 2:30 am to the London centre fire alarm. It was like some terrible nightmare. There is this little old lady who lives at the bottom of the centre, and she turned on her oven to heat up her flat. She forgot to turn it off and almost started the building on fire. Luckily we were ok and quickly hoped back in bed.

Anyways, back to Tuesday. I saw another show... The Lady in Black. It was our third attempt to see the show (we had been late and then tickets were sold out on other days). It was supposed to be really scary, but it was kind of a dud.

We were also informed yesterday that the terrorism level in the UK was raised to severe. That is the highest it has been in the past few years, and the prime minister will address the UK this weekend. Sounds a little sketchy huh? But we don't really have anything to worry about. The directors just told us to avoid protests and such! (like we would attend those anyways)

This week has also been my last week of being a teenager! I can hardly believe it. My birthday is on Saturday, but we are having birthday week basically because we will have a class trip on that Saturday. What can get better than birthday week?! haha I'm really excited for my birthday this weekend. Tomorrow night we're going to see Phantom of the Opera to start out the festivities. I feel like I need to do something crazy before I officially leave my teenage years...I guess being in London will have to be enough!

Today was our second day trip. I have to get up early to run, but I will blog about it all tomorrow! Here is a sneak peak....

I stole these rocks from the side of the ocean in Brighton (yes, this is place where Lydia runs away with
Wickham in P&P)

Sunday, 24 January 2010


My first primary lesson ever is over!! It went alright haha. The kids were terrors. And it didn't help that nursery, junior and senior primary kids were all combined into one big clump for me to teach. There were two baby girls running around during the lesson and three wild boys climbing all over the room. I taught about the fall of Adam and Eve, and I told them how Adam and Eve were commanded to multiply and replenish the earth after leaving the garden. One of the boys asked, "If there were only two of them, how did all of these thousands of people get on the earth today?" haha I avoided the question and ended my lesson right there. I asked one of the girls if she liked my lesson after, and she said "Nope, but I like my new dress!". I guess you have to have a good sense of humor to teach primary:) I know I will learn to love the kids though.

Today was the perfect sunday. It included three of my favorite things
1) Turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy. oh and chocolate cake!
2) Sunday nap
3) Skyping my family

I love skyping my family on Sundays! I'm already looking forward to my parents visit at the end of my semester here. I'm very grateful for all of their love and support. I am who I am because of them. Thanks mom and dad for letting me be here! I love you and miss you!

No pictures today:( sorry! hopefully tomorrow.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

positive eating+positive living

I did some positive eating tonight! We went to this place called Wagamama for dinner. The restaurants theme was "positive eating+positive living" haha. We have been doing a lot of positive eating here! The restaurant was this cool noodle/chinese food place. People in Europe don't tip, and I was originally really excited about that. Then I found out that most waitors are mean, don't split your checks, and never refill your drinks. I miss the good old service in the states! But they do have great food here. I got some yummy chicken curry tonight.

Me, Audrey, and Caitlin at the restaurant

We also discovered the Waffle house tonight. And it's only a two minute walk from our flat! We don't even have to take the tube.

I had another first today... I did my laundry somewhere other than at my parents house. There has been horror stories about clothes ripping in the dryers here, but my clothes thankfully made it safely through! Laura also took me and Christina on her special run through Hyde park this morning. I've been really grateful because my hip hasn't been hurting after running!! knock on wood.

And tomorrow I'm teaching primary for the first time, so wish me luck!

Friday, 22 January 2010

Young Victoria

Today we saw Westminster Abby. Many of England's kings and queens are buried at Westminster Abby, so it was really cool to see all of it. Once again, the architecture was so beautiful. Today was also a classic London day...rain. and lots of it! There were huge puddles everywhere. I got to use my sweet zebra umbrella again. Our professors thought it would be a good day to take a long walk through the city from Westminster Abby to Trafalgar square with umbrellas and all. It was quite the outing, need I say more.

So today was also round deux at Borough market. I had my first ostrich burger, and now I will never go back to a normal one. We also walked up Oxford street and ended up at Primemark. Imagine H&M, target, and forever all mixed into one huge store...that's basically primemark. Except it's even better than that. The first time I went in, it felt like black Friday. I asked a British girl if it was always like that, and she said, "yep, all the time". I got two jackets and a shirt for 15 pounds (about 25$). It was unreal.

A bunch of the girls set up mattresses in the classroom tonight, and we watched "The Young Victoria". I completely fell in love with the movie, and if you have never seen it...go watch it! It has the sweetest love story ever. It was cool because the movie took place at the Buckingham and Kensington Palace (Kensington Palace is about a 2 minute walk from here). Westminster Abby was also in the movie, and we had seen it earlier today!

Here are a few shots for the day

Westminster Abby

Trafalgar square

I am happy. The day started off badly with lots of rain and no desire to be with the entire group all morning. But then it turned into a blissful day of ostrich burgers and sales at primark. Nothing spells out happiness quite like those do. There are different ups and downs of being here away from family and living with a bunch of girls, but the city has a way of making everything better. It is magical:)

Thursday, 21 January 2010

A stroll through the park

OK, so I stand corrected. I said that Sunday was the most beautiful day, but it was actually today. I was stuck inside most of the day for class and studying, but I was able to sneak out for about an hour to run and take pictures at Hyde park. My friend Christina accompanied me on this lovely adventure.

The Peter Pan statue

I get to run through this scenery several times a week! The park is completely enormous, and I have taken different routes every time. This park is every runners dream. That's about it for today. As normal, I have been blogging instead of reading Oliver now I am off to read!
We got back on the bus and drove for another half hour until we came to Salisbury. On the way there, we passed many pigs and horses that were wearing coats. It was a little strange. When we got to the cathedral there, I was amazed once again. I can't believe all the great cathedrals that still exist here in London! The Salisbury Cathedral was built in the 1200s, and it's still being used today. There is nothing similar to this in the states, and it's a completely different world. London has such a great history, and I love learning about it. We also saw the original Magna Carta. The real deal! We weren't allowed to take pictures though. Here's the cathedral...

Then we made our way onto Bath! Just imagine a snooty english person saying "Bath" in their british accent. That's the correct way to say it. Professor Howe told us that Jane Austen hated Bath, and she fainted when she found out she had to live there. I was expecting not to like it at all because of this, but I loved it! Austen didn't like the city because poor people would go there to marry their daughters off. We first visited the Roman Baths and then the place where the novel Northanger Abby occurred. Bath was a cute, old-fashioned town with cobble stones. We also passed Nicolas Cage's flat that he has in the middle of Bath.
Here are the baths of Bath...

And here is where Jane Austen was! This place was so fun to go to because I LOVE her and her books/movies. I have watched all of the movies at my grandma's house while growing up, so it was great to be there.

Here are a few last images of the adorable town

oh, and couldn't forget about good old ben's cookies. It was fate last night...we just happened to find them in the little town, and we couldn't resist going in. Before we leave, I will have tried all of them!

So I'm sorry to anyone who might read this blog, but I'm turning this blog into part of my journal! So you will probably get a lot of info you don't really care about. I'm doing it because I forget everything so easily, and I really love blogging now.
so... continuing on with my day, we got back too late to have our normal dinner schedule. They gave us 5 pounds, and we ate at this thai food buffet. It was pretty greasy, so I will probably not be going back. I went with some kids that I haven't spent very much time with yet, so it was fun to get to know them better! I really like all the people here, and I've already made some great new friends.