Monday, September 28, 2009

Road Tripin'

I love England!!!!! Seiroulsy it is the most beautiful place I have ever been.  This week we want on this big roadtrip all across Northern England into York and the Lake District.  The hills were so beautiful.  It is better then what you see in the movies because the green is sooo green.  It is almost neon, I have never seen that color in the states.  There are sheep and cattle everywhere and these walls called dry stone walls that make the hills look like pieces of a puzzle. The walls are all made by staking flat rocks right on top of each other without any mortar.  When I wasn't car sick or sleeping I was in complete and utter bliss just sitting on the coach listening to my Pride and Prejudice soundtrack looking out the window.  The whole trip was a blast.  It was  really fun and I feel like I am a lot closer to all of the girls here.  Each night we stayed in these hostels and had different roommates every night. We did so much I am going to divide it up into days...

Day 1
We drove a couple hours and stopped at the Bronte Parsonage where the Bronte Sisters lived and wrote their novels. Then we drove a littel farther and went into York to see the York Minster.  It is this beautiful cathedral that we went on a tour through and then climbed to the top of the tower that had this stunning view.  We stopped for dinner at McDonald's and got Happy Meals. We eat there all the time becasue it is so cheap and you can get a whole meal ad a drink all for 2 pounds! (that is like $3.50). We wanted to take a picture so we asked this guy to take it for us.  He was all decked out in a suit and he was all tan and had earings and he jsut jumped into one of pictures and we were just like laughing about it... but the next day we were in Tesco we saw his face all over these magazines and he is some famous singer DJ guy and we had no idea! It was way funny.  When I get the picture I will post it! We got to our first hostel and there was this big TV room so we all just congregated and watched a movie and put dreadlocks into one of the girls hair... too funny.

My roommates in the first hostel...
York Minster...
Day 2
This was my favorite day since I have been here if not my favorite day of my whole life... ok that is an exageration, but it was really fabulous.  We went to this place called Fountains Abbey. It is this old rune of an Abbey.  It is set down in this little valley with all of this foliage and and a little creek running the length of the valley and ended in these beautiful water gardens.  We were there for a couple hours just talking picture and walking around.  It sounds boring but it was so unbelievably beautiful that I could of stayed all day. After fountains abbey we headed over to Lake Windermere, checked into our hostel and then had the rest of the day to explore. We stayed up on this hill and the lake was beautiful and we had the most amazing view of it from our bedroom window.

The View...
Fountains Abbey...

Day 3
We got up ate the same breakfast we had every morning (a full english breakfast of eggs, sausage, hasbrowns, cooked tomatoes, bacon, toast, and some black pudding something).  First off we headed to William Wordsworth home where he wrote all of his poems.  He was so inspired by the beauty of the land and you can really feel it in his poems.  We took a little scenic drive around some more of the lakes and then we kind of split up. I went with a group of girls and took a ferry across the lake to go to Beatrix Potter's Hill Top Cottage where she wrote all of her Peter Rabbit tales. We checked into our other hostel and it was right on the water and we had some fun hanging out in the town and sketching the sailboats sitting in the lake.

Day 4 
This was another great day.  We went to Preston and went on a guided tour of all of the church sites.  We saw the platform in the middle of the square where the first missionaries in England preached from and again years later where President Hinkley taught from. We saw where the first baptism were and the palaces where these early missionaries lived.  We started heading towards Liverpool and stopped in two more little towns significant to the church and at the Preston Temple in Chorley.  Then we headed on to Liverpool and checked into our hostel.  For diner we were in our own so we found this outdoor mall thing and I seriously felt like I was back in America.  There were all these American stores and we found this mexican food place that was just like Chipotle so we all got burritos and chips and salsa... it was soo good.  Mexican is the one type of food they don't have here and I crave it! There was this movie theater right there and the tickets were realively cheap so we decided to go see this real English movie, Dorian Gray, that isn't in America yet and we were so excited.  Lets just say that the theater empltied by about 20 girls about 20 minutes into the show. Littel did we know that the rating "15" here means "R" in the states.  They were really cool about it and gave us our money back so it was all good.

The temple...
The Docks...
The Beatles Museum...
Day 5
We got up and headed straight over to  Albert Dock which is where all of the early saints left to head to Utah.  It was a really tender experience. We sang a verse of "Come, Come Ye Saints" and these tears just welled up in my eyes thinking about the sacrifices they went through so that I could be where I am. After that we went to the Beatles museum, to pay our respects since they did start in Loverpool. And then we headed on our way back to London.  We stopped one last time at this manor house called Chatsworth. It is the current home if the Duke and Dutchess of York but it is also in the movie Pride and Prejudice as Mr. Darcey's home (Pemberly).  It was beautiful. 

Mr. Darcy from the Movie...

It was good to get back home.  It is funny being away for so long becasue now this really does feel like my home away from home. Sunday was good too.  There was only in my class so I we just went outside and I talked to him about the articles of faith. Now i'm just sitting in class writing this blog. Good times here in England! 

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Times Flyin' By

Well they say time flys when you are having fun I definitely can tell you it is true. Friday was an adventure! We had a group excursion and went to an area of London called Southall. Lets just say I was in India for a day! What a great day! I feel like in my life I haven’t had the opportunity to really immerse myself in other cultures. Of course there is the occasional vacation outside of the country but I don’t really think that counts.  When we first arrived we got off of the train and walked to a Sikh Temple called the Gurdwara.   When we first walked in the temple we had to take out shoes off and cover our hair with our scarves.  Then we proceeded up the stairs and walked into this big room where their book of scripture sits and we meditated for a little bit. When we left the big room there was  little lady sitting on the floor who handed us a lump of this warm gooey stuff which was made out of butter, flour, and sugar which was just a thank you for coming to worship. I had to try it but after one taste I had to toss it… it was the consistence of soggy bread. Then we headed to the kitchen to try some Indian food. The food is free and is always there for anyone that wishes to come and eat.   I thought it was amazing how many similarities there were between out religion and theirs when the cultural differences are so big.  We both pay tithing, we both take or shoes off in our temples to show respect, we both focus on a personal conversion to God, both acknowledge the power of mothers and their part in teaching and nurturing children, and many other things.  After that we were able to go and sit in 2 more muslim temples. They worship many Gods and they are represented by these big ornate dolls set up all along their temples. They were all about the sparkle and the lights. It almost felt like we were in Disneyland and not a real place of worship.   After those temples we had a couple hours of free time to just explore the town.  We bought bangles and got henna.  We ended our excursion at this Pakistani Restaurant for dinner.  It was really great.  It was my first time having indian food and I really enjoyed trying everything.  Then we rushed back to see Peter Pan in the Park… yes I did go again. I just loved it so much! 

On Saturday we wen to Portabello Road and walked along it.  It is just a this busy road in Notting Hill (about a five minute walk from our flat) where there are vendors selling everything from antiques, to clothes, to fresh fruits and veggies.  We had a crepe, oh how I love them, and decieded we liked the Nutella and coconut the best (we also tried strawberries and powdered sugar, and Nutella and bananas).  We got back that afternoon and some girls were going to find some mexican food so I jumped in their group and we headed off down the tube.  We got there and it was closed so me and my cute Bunkmate Jackie decided we wanted fish and chips so we found this great pub on the side of the road and walked in.  It was another one of my favorite things that I have done.  Their pubs aren't like bars in the states. They are more just social drinking and not getting drunk.  There was lots of people just sitting around talking and laughing and the food was great.  I was so fun.

Sunday we had church again and it was still great! I have to play the piano for the primary program now, it should be pretty interesting.  

Monday we had class and then we went to the Globe Theater!  We saw “As You Like It” and it was fabulous! I have only seen two other Shakespeare and some times I get a little lost but it was great.  It was fun being in the Globe and the show was great.

Tuesday was my first official rainy day! It has sprinkled a couple times… kind of like an Arizona storm… but this was a solid down poor for a good 8 hours.  We all went to Primark (this incredible store where everything is under 5 pounds) Then when we got back we all we just cuddled in our room and pulled down the mattresses from our bed and watched a movie. Then we all fell asleep. I got up and was looking out the window and I just wanted to go on a walk so I borrowed some rain boots, but on my rain jacket, put in some instrumental  music on my iPod and set out to Kensington Gardens.  It was probably one of my favorite things that I have done. I don’t know why but the rain just pouring down while I was walking the the most beautiful park I have ever seen just made me so happy and grateful for my life and my opportunities! 

Wednesday a group of girls wanted to go to Buckingham Palace so I went again with them because I could go free.  It was still amazing.  That night we got tickets to see Momma Mia.  It was so fun.  We had perfect seats and a fun group of girls and we had a blast.  

Today is my long day of classes. Class til 4:30 then dinner and 5. Good times are happening and I’m loving it! We are starting to plan our free week trips… I’m thinking Ireland… so fun.  I hope America is doing good! Cheerio!

Thursday, September 10, 2009


So here are a few pics from Dover and Canterbury! Enjoy! Oh and there is a link if you want to see some of our Germany pictures!

Sundays and Roadtrips

Well life is absolutely crazy! Seriously I don't have time to go to the bathroom let alone keep up with school, keep up my journaling, make friends, and enjoy London haha! But it is all great.  Sunday was really fun.  We got our ward assignments and me and 3 other girls were assigned to go to the Wandsworth stake in the Clapham Commons ward.  We have to travel by tube and then by train every week so it takes us about an hour to get there every time. The second I got off of the train I knew I was going to love it.  It is just this small brick train station and right when you walk out of the gates there is this beautiful park.  Just these huge patches of grass and benches and trees everywhere. I wish we lived closer so we could just sit in it. Right when we walked in everyone just started hugging us and loving us. All of them are black and most of them are real brits but a couple of them are here from Africa.  I was so excited because we had this fireside talking about how much the people here need us because they are all converts to the church.  They literally think of us as experts in the church which is kind of an intimidation thought. The bishop wanted to meet with us before church started and gave us out callings. Because I could play the piano I was put in primary.  I'm not gonna lie I was a little disappointed at first.  I really wanted to get into like the young women's or Relief Society so I could get to know the people in the ward but when I got into primary I knew they really needed me.  It was fast Sunday so the bishop asked all of us to bare our testimonies and it was great.  The people hear are just amazing. They had just reorganized the primary presidency and it was a mad house.  Me and another girl from BYU, Mandi Allen, were assigned to be the senior primary teacher and I was assigned to be the primary pianist.  It was so fun. There primary is pretty small they have about 9 kids. The kids were so cute. They all have these little British accents and they are so smart! It was pretty funny though... so we were doing this scripture chase and the scripture was in 3 Nephi and we were all getting to it and the little boy, Zach, sitting next to me said "3 Nephi, I don't have that guy." So I'm excited about church and I can't wait to see how I can help the ward! Monday was the first day of Classes and I was already behind on my reading. But my classes seem really great so I am excited. I'm taking English 300, World Religions, Humanities, Culture, and Biology. The rest of monday was just chill and doing homework and then tuesday I had Biology and it is scheduled for a 4 hour block... but no worries because it is that long because we go on field trips to museums for 3 of the 4 hours. In the mornings I get up and go running in Kensington Gardens and I LOVE it, not so much the running part but I love the park.  It is just big and green and trees and ponds and the peter pan statue and a palace... seriously it is great.  I cannot wait until fall.  Wednesday was a first day trip.  We got on the bus and headed to Dover first.  We drove to along the white  cliffs and ended up on the top of this precipice and there was the Dover Castle.  We just walked around and took a bunch of pictures. We walked all the way to the tippy top of the castle and we could see France across the channel. Then we stopped at the beach just to do some gazing:)  They don’t have sand here just a bunch of rocks which I kind of like because then you don’t get sandy. Then we headed to Canterbury to pay our respects to St. Thomas Becket. It was probably my favorite cathedral that I have seen in Europe. (If you want to hear some more of my thoughts on it I posted them on my Humanities Blog, Lauraslondonblog.  We headed home and went and got some dinner and then we walked down this road by our house called Queensway and got some cookies and chocolate two of the best treats in London.  Today I literally had class all day (minus the 3 hour break where I fell asleep for the whole time) and then we ate dinner and then walked down Queensway again and then I talked to my papa on skype (thank goodness for skype or I would be homesick) and now I am blogging and getting ready to go to bed! London is great great great.  I can’t believe I have only been here for a week and a day… there is still so much to do so good thing I’m here for a lot longer! 

Monday, September 7, 2009

So I lied...

Unfortunately I am not going to post stuff here for my humanities class anymore... I am just going to make another blog... I need to keep my personal and school like separate... ahhaha. My school blog will just be called if you really feel like reading the pathetic little papers I have to write for school:)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Humanities National Gallery Paper

So this is my thoughts on some of the paintings I saw at the National Gallery...

At a first glance it appears the subjects of these two paintings could not be more opposite; one is vain and one is divine.  The first painting being one of Albrecht Durer’s self portraits from 1500.   Durer painted just himself.  He is pictured wearing a fine robe and his cascading over his shoulders. The second being The Virgin and Child With Four Angels by one of Duccio’s followers painted about 1315. The differences in subject are very apparent, one is a self portrait and the other is a religious depiction. Durer seems as if he is trying to glorify himself while The Virgin and Child Is glorifying God.  Despite the stark differences Durer may not have been as vain as his picture may lead on. The way he paints himself suggests that he is painting the God or Jesus Christ.  He has the same frontal sitting position and the same flowing hair.  In reality both of these paintings are dealing with the divine. 

Both of these paintings are aesthetically pleasing for different reasons.  The Durer is full of neutral browns and tans with the occasional white accent which is pleasant to look at. The Virgin and Child, on the other hand, is full of characters and vibrant colors which is very interesting to look at.  Durer in the painting stands out because he is the lightest figure in the painting against a dark background while mary and the baby stand out because they are the darkest figures set against the red cloth held by two of the angels. This technique could also be referred to as framing.  One of the ways a painter draws one into the painting is by using sight lines. The most important part of the Durer painting is his face. His fingers pointing followed by the collar of his coat opening up to his face naturally brings the eye up to his face.  In The Virgin and Child painting all the angels as well as the virgin Mary are looking too the baby Jesus also bringing the observers eye to rest on the infant. One of the things Durer projects better then the Duccio follower is perspective which also is influenced by the time period of the paintings.  The self portrait seems perfectly natural while the Virgin and Child seems out out of proportion. 

Almost a Native

Well time here is just flying by… but even though I have only been hear for like 3 days I feel like I have always been here! Seriously I know how to use the tube and I have to go shopping and and do laundry and tomorrow I get to go to church! So let me catch up on the last couple days. Thursday was general orientation for the center and we just got to know the professors. We just kind of hung around the dorms that afternoon and then we had a fireside that night.  I was so happy because after the fireside I walked downstairs and my mom and Cori were there just to hang out for a bit.  It was weird that I was missing them so much and I had only been away for like 30 hours… I think it was because I knew they were still here but I knew that they were leaving so I just wanted to hang out with them.  Friday we had orientation for classes and we got all of hour books and assignments. I am totally overwhelmed but that is always how it is. I know that once I start with everything it won’t be so bad. For my Humanities class I have to keep a blog of my academic adventures here so I might post some pictures of art and some of the papers I write!  That afternoon we had an assignment to go to the British Museum and the National Gallery.  It was so unbelievable. There were just tons of people everywhere. Shoppers, and tourists, and naked protestors, and street performers.  At the British Museum we were assigned to go to the Anglo-Saxon section of the museum and we got to see the Rosetta stone! For me this was a major milestone in my life. When I was younger I was obsessed with Egypt and if you know anything about Egypt you know about the Rosetta Stone… so if you if you don’t know anything about Egypt, the Rosetta stone is literally this big stone they found that has the same thing written 3 times in a row in 3 languages. On of them was hieroglyphics, hence they had a way to translate all the egyptian writings.  We also wen to the National Gallery and I saw some Van Gogh, Da Vinci, and Monet. It was so beautiful! That night I went to dinner with Cori and my momma and then we went to Kings Cross Station and say platform 9 3/4. Oh man great stuff. Then we just talked for a while in our living room and then I had to say goodbye… I was sad… and I cried. But they were happy tears I mean I am in London. But I am going to miss my family alot alot alot. And I’m going to miss all the planning for the wedding and that is sad to.  So much sadness but like I said I am still happy.  Today me and my friend Lauren got up and went on one of the assigned walks we had to do through the city. It was where the Old City Londinium used to be a.k.a. The part of the city that was destroyed in the big fire. It was also where Cheapside was (Knights Tale anyone?). We walked right along the Thames and saw all the cool bridges. Then we just ran some errands and went  home to do some homework.  There is this girl Mandi in my room and it was her birthday so a bunch of us girls went to dinner at this fun noodle place called Wagamammas. Ha. Now it is 12:03 p.m. And I need to go to bed because I get to go to church in London tomorrow! Woo! Cherrio!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

New Home

It is always amazing to me how moving into a new place can feel so different.  I mean I don' t feel uncomfortable so to speak  but just out of my comfort zone a bit.  It makes me a little nervous to think about having to get to know 40 new girls but at the same I love it! I love the awkwardness and the small talk... but I think I can say I love it because I know in a few days we will all be chatting like we are best buddies... if it was always awkwardness and small talk I would go crazy.  Today we just got up and headed over to the BYU center. It is absolutely perfect.  It is along this row of these tall brick buildings with white crown molding and stairs leading up to a wrought iron gate.  I am in room 3, the biggest room in the house, I have 13 roommates! It is up 3 flights of steps but it is all worth it because I have fun girls in my room, a big window overlooking the street, a desk, and a really cool white plaster molding ceiling which I have a good view of from my top bunk.  After I got moved in me and Cori and my mamma went and saw Lion King.  Oh man and was it fabulous! The costumes and the stage are what amazed me the most. I can't believe how talented some people are!  After the show we kind of split our separate ways and I headed to my home and they headed somewhere... I was was sitting on the tube when I said bye and as a passed by my mom and Cori I got kind of sad. I don't know why though because I'm going to see them on friday again.  Tomorrow should be fun, we have out little orientation and I am excited to meet some more people! Cherrio!

London Town

Tuesday  September 1, 2009

Well I am here... HELLO LONDON!  It is just as I imagined it would be. There are shops and people everywhere and old charming buildings lining the streets they walk on.  The poeple really say things like “lovely,” “brilliant,” and “cherrio” all with their fabulous accents.  The weather is perfect.  It is kind of chilly and usually blustery and the sun just comes and goes at it pleases and there usually is a light sprinkling of showers sometime during the day, but like I said, it’s perfect.  Yesterday we hit up Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace.  They were both amazing.  There are countless famous kings and writers buried there and could hours to figure out who they all are.  It was fun to think that this is the place that every king or queen since 1300-something was crowned.  They even use the same chair! Buckingham Palace was even more amazing.  Because the queen is in Scotland this time of year the palace is open to the public.  We were able to see all of the state rooms which include things like the drawing rooms, the dinning rooms, the thrown room, all the places the queen would entertain diplomats.  My favorite part of the tour was see a display of some of the queens dresses that she wore visiting all of the countries under her reign.  I also loved the ballroom.  It was everything a ballroom should be: beautiful, large (still on of the largest rooms in London), and royal! There was also this amazing art gallery with the most amazing paintigs.  It was like walking through my art history class text book.  There were Rembrants, and Van Dycks, and Ruebens, and Loraines, and Giovannis.  Last night we went to see the Broadway musical Hairspray.  It was buy far the funnest musical I have ever seen! The dancing, the music, the costumes, were simply fabulous!  Today we took the train out to Windsor to see Windsor Castle, the Queens summer home.  It was kind of like Buckingham Place but it seemed to have more history.  It was built over a thousand years ago.  Tons of kings have lived there and I thought it was especially interesting that King Henry the VIII was buried here.  There was also some more amazing art by the same artists in Buckingham but this time there was a huge collections of Da Vinci. When we were in Germany we saw all of these amazing castles in ruin and I would wonder what they would have been like in all of there glory; now seeing these buildings I know! On our way back to the train we tried our first English cuisine.  I had some fish and chips and my mom got this thing called a pasty (it sounds gross but it is just this pastry filled with meat, potatoes, and onion) both were absolutely delightful. When we got back into London  we didn’t know what to do for a night time activity so we walked into Kensington Gardens because Peter Pan was playing.  I thought it was just going to be some fun little show, but it was truly amazing.  It was in this big white tent and it was a show in the round (for all you non-play/musical people that means it was a round stage and all of the seats are in a circle around the stage).  The amazing part is that since they couldn’t have back drops they used the tent as the back drop and projected the scenery onto it.  It would change and move as they flew through the air you could see the rooftops of London and clouds or when they were in Neverland it was a jungle with palm trees blowing in the breeze and a running waterfall.  It was like a movie, it reminded me a little of the ride at California Adventures called Soarin’ Over California.  It was an all adult cast which I thought would be weird but it was perfect.  They were all relly amazing actors and all had amazing Bios.  Our Captain hook was actually …… Hyde.  He is in movies like Titanic, Jumanji, The Mummy… he was great. Tomorrow I move into my home of the next 3 1/2 months and I am excited to meet some new people and make some more memories!