Thursday, November 10, 2011

Remembrance Day vs. Veteran's Day

I'm not trying to be un-Patriotic... I'm grateful for our American war veterans... but I am a big fan of celebrating Remembrance Day European style.  Here's a little piece of my journal entry from last year on my study abroad in London:

"Today was a great day to be in London.  Ben, Andrew and I went to the memorial service at the cenotaph on Whitehall that the royal family attends.  There was a parade of veterans and the queen laid a wreath of poppies.  I didn't see her (too short) but I did see Prince Harry :) I loved the 2 minutes moment of silence.  It was so crazy to be in such a busy part of one of the most bustling parts of the world and to have it go so quiet that you can't even hear cars-- just birds chirping.  I also loved saying the Lord's Prayer in unison w/thousands of people and also hearing the Brit's sing "God Save the Queen" with her in attendance."

This entry is nothing eloquent or wordy... it's pretty simple actually.  I know that unless you were there or have been there to experience something like a 2 min moment of silence this probably doesn't mean much to you.  I have never experienced anything quite like the way the British honor their traditions and especially their war heroes.  After visiting a number of memorials, graves, and taking a class on the Great War I barely got to scratch the surface of how deep national pride runs in that beautiful country.  I miss it every day and while I celebrate our veterans in America this year I will also be wearing my poppy and reading Wilfred Owens poems. 

God Save the Queen. 
Cenotaph on Whitehall

Friday, August 19, 2011

Washington DC and the status of my move to England

In our tour of the Capitol. Hannah taught us that initially they wanted Washington to be buried under this central point of the building and have a flame eternally burning above it. The humble Washington declined and is buried at his home Mt. Vernon.

One of the two statues our state has in the Capitol. Had to get my pic with my man B. Young!!

Capitol Bikeshare, Sara and I rode bikes from Georgetown to the WWII and Lincoln Monuments

It was so hot and humid ALL the time. Here's me at the Lincoln M.
I have put off writing about the status of my move to England for two reasons. Numero uno is the fact that I've been visiting our nations fine capitol for the last week and haven't had the time or energy to sit down and explain it all.  Segundo... I just don't want to have to explain it over and over and have people bugging me about it once they hear.  Well, here you go:

Today I was supposed to be traveling into the London/Heathrow airport from DC. That did not happen. Instead I'm back in Utah sitting in my kitchen. Yes, I am still going. No, I don't know when. Yes, it is frustrating.  I found out the SAME morning I was leaving (talk about major packing changes).  To make a very long story short, I don't have a Visa yet. It is being handled by two very nice immigration lawyers as we speak. We're hoping that it doesn't take more than a few weeks.  It wasn't my fault, it wasn't my boss Andy's fault... it just is what it is. I am positive that I will be happier in the long run having my Visa fully backing me up over there.  I don't want to say anything else about the matter and I am not going to explain it again.  But I would like to say that I appreciate everyone's concern and help through all of this.  And now that I'm exhausted from my week in DC I am actually kind of happy I get to come home and regroup a bit.  Speaking of DC.............................


Ok, seriously a blast.  I mainly went to see Hannah and Sara who are out there for work and school, but ended up hanging out with a whole group of friends that also live there (ie, Steve and Jessie and Scott). 
This blog post will be a novel if I go into a ton of details so I'm just going to highlight via pictures.
At Eastern Market on Saturday morning

In front of the National Archives. Got to see the Constitution, Dec. of Ind. and Bill of Rights

Me and Hannah in front of Washington monument

It took us a while to find this tunnel... but when we did it led to the Pentagon and the Pentagon 911 memorial lit up

Nationals game. I'm a fan. Scott let me borrow his hat for the pic since Sara decided she didn't want to buy them.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Post and Pre London life

Hello family and friends.
I am writing because @ben_wagner (as I refer to all of my friends by their Twitter account name these days) is a motivational speaker and suggested that in my fit of anxious, post college graduation life, I should be writing something... anything... to help me get through the next few months of summer in Provo.
It is a shame that I stopped writing in this blog at the end of October.  So many wonderful experiences happened in the second half of my study abroad.  One experience in particular was Thanksgiving with Ben, Andrew, and Sarah in Edinburgh.  We stayed at a hostel, hiked Arthur's Seat, went to the National Gallery, and saw fireworks at the winter festival going on in the town square.  I've never felt more thankful on a Thanksgiving in my life. 

Hiking Arthur's Seat
Clique at the Castle
Thanksgiving dinner at the cafe JK Rowling wrote in
View from Edinburgh Castle (that is Arthur's seat in the distance)     

Some other noteworthy events were the week of finals and my mom visiting.  Finals week nobody slept or left the flat.  I got sick because I literally got 3 hours of sleep in 3 days.  However, it was one of the best weeks of the program.  Everyone went a little nuts and we all spent more time together (as if that were even possible). 
We stole some icecream from the kitchen and took caffeine pills
We were ballin' gangsta style in our Jazz attire that night.

Coke challenge. Best/worst idea ever?
My mom came for a week and I tried my hardest to get her to all the really great tourist spots as well as the places I loved the most.  It was tiring... but so fun.  I had no idea how I was going to show her everything I loved and experienced in 3 months in 6 short days.  We took a tour to Bath and Stonehenge one day, and the other days we usually went to a cathedral, museum, and a play at night.  I can say with overwhelming assurance that my mother is officially in love with London now too.  She bought too many books and went crazy over the Royal Wedding.
First day we went to Abbey Road

At Windsor Castle

Stonehenge... it was lovely weather this day!

Lots of bridges, I can't remember which one this is.  Man, I miss that LA gear coat. haha

Post London was really rough.  It is hard to go back to Provo, work, classes on  campus, and not being around all of your friends.  The first month was torture and on more than one occasion I cried myself to sleep every night.  I felt like I'd gone through a terrible breakup and my heart was broken.  I still get a little depressed when I think of how sad I was when I got home.  Then school work and graduation plans came up and soon I was really busy.  I graduated in April and it was a major accomplishment for me.   I'm so grateful for the experiences and fine education that BYU afforded me for the last 5 years.  I never realized my school spirit until it was too late.  Lucky for me I got to experience Jimmermania in my last semester of college.
Commencement with good friends! Ryan, Henna, Dean, Me

St. Tate (one of my professors in London) and me! Nothing beat seeing St. Tate taking pics of me from the podium as I accepted my diploma.

False advertising (there's nothing in that diploma cover)

Me and Mike <3

For those of you who don't know, I will be going back to England in August to nanny for the amazing Crockett family and hopefully get some writing done.  My dear old roommate Martha called me a couple of months ago and asked if I had any interest in going back.  My reply was to not even let her finish her sentence and that I was already emailing her brother.  I will be living about an hour out of London in a little village called Odiham (google earth it... it's tiny).  I am very excited to spend a year back in the place I love (and I don't even need to create a new blog!).  More details about that adventure when it actually comes about.  Until then I'm doing my best to not get anxious or sucked into feeling depressed by Provo.  Good thing I have good friends, family, fantasybachelorette, and Twitter. 
Peace to all of you.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pics from Wales and the Halloween bash!

Ben's coat. No explanation necessary for this picture.

Pub in Wales.  We didn't realize until we'd sat down that it was a gay pub.  Hey! That's longest serving gay pub in Wales to you!

K this is from today but it made me so happy I had to add it.  Going from the V&A to the science museum today I saw this girl pass me on the sidewalk.  So naturally I turned around and yelled "hey! Sorry but you have a Hot Dog on a Stick sweatshirt on in England! I need to take a picture with you." She was British but since her sister worked for Hot Dog she seemed to know that it was normal for an employee to do something like this.  It was so weird to see this sweatshirt walking down the street in London.  It was so out of place!  Made my day!  Ps Doggers: this is an original old school sweatshirt, her sister worked for the company 30 years ago or so... she is older than she looks!
The Big Dig in Wales.  300 ft into the earth to look at the coal mine.

Part of the above ground museum at The Big Dig in Wales.  The showers where the miners went after a day at work.  These life size naked decals of dirty men really added to the experience.

Not in Wales... the first ever LDS chapel.  Very cool experience.  We sang hymns and watched a video of President Hinckley... he served his mission in England.

Cookie contest winners!

Pocahontas (I mean Tiger Lily), Napoleon, Nerd/Me

World renowned scholars Dr. Tate and Dr. Seely.  We tricked them into coming to the servery and then got them to participate in a donut eating contest.  Best professors ever.

Jess and Nicole.  I love this pic of the servery (all decorated) and my ghost friends.
Saturday night was SO fun! It didn't even feel like we missed out on our American holiday.  I will say this though... apart from here at the centre, Halloween does not mean the same thing here as it does in the states.  Sorry I can't post more pictures!  It takes too long.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Last night we got back from Wales.  On our drive home we stopped at some church history sites.  It was as emotional as it was fun and everyone bonded.  Our professors picked our roommates for the hotel out of a hat (which they'd never been able to do before because everyone gets along so well.)  I seriously love the professors and girls (and boys).
Today everyone is going crazy about our Halloween celebration tonight.  We've gone all out.  It is going to be SO fun!  So far... the costume ideas have been crazy!  I'll have to post some pics!
The following pictures are not from Wales.  But I wanted to post them anyway!

At Brighton


Country walk
"The happiness of London is not to be conceived but by those who have been in it. I will venture to say, there is more learning and science within the circumference of ten miles from where we now sit, than in all the rest of the world." Samuel Johnson

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A little taste of home

One rule: "do not touch the instruments."
 Sarah and I touched Bob's guitar.

Today I went to the first ever Hard Rock Cafe here in London.  Here will be a list of things that made it a keen experience:
1.  American version of customer service.  Friendly. Split checks.
2. All of the memorabilia.  Guitars, coats, papers, etc. from the best musicians in the history of rock.
3.  Tour of the vault.  Our "tour" guide/ random (and pretty cute) kid was hung over and probably stoned as he took us into the vault.  Only rule was not to touch the instruments... Sarah and I decided to be rebellious and touched Bob Dylan's guitar.  Totally worth it.  The harpsichord in back of it is the original from one of the Beatles music videos.
4.  The gift shop has giant photos of different artists.  Is Jason up there?  Why, yes.  Yes he is.  Did I have a meltdown when I saw his wristband that says "Hyde Park" on it?  Yes.
5.  It just felt American.  And it felt good.  As much as I love England... I am not British.
I am American.        And sometimes I just need to act like one.
I'm pretty happy about this.
If you can't tell, his wristband reads "Hyde park" on it. :)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A test of faith

Every week getting to our ward seems to find us some kind of adventure.  Today was probably the biggest adventure yet.  First of all, our normal route is as follows:
District line from Notting Hill Gate to Wimbledon.
Tram from Wimbledon to Mitcham Junction.
Walk "up scale" to church.
Well... about 3 of the weeks we've been here the District line has actually been up and working.  So we find other routes.  Take the Central line to Tottenham Court and transfer to the Northern Line and then take a train to Wimbledon and a tram to Mitcham.  Or, take the Central line to Victoria line and the Victoria line to Victoria station and then a train to the bus stop.
You get it.  There are about 5 more routes I could give you... but I think you get the idea.
Today we took the Central line, transferred at Victoria line, took Victoria line to Vauxhall, and took Vauxhall tram to the Wimbledon tram.  You keeping up?
Well, we got to Wimbledon and unbeknownst to us our tram was "out of service."
So we got on the first available bus to Mitcham.  Next problem: bus stops randomly somewhere in Mitcham because of road closures.  So we did what any good BYU students would do... I cursed and Anne told Satan to "suck it" and we were going to get there anyway.
We eventually got to church.  It was the primary program today (Anne and I are both in primary so it was stressful to be a half hour late and have to walk in in front of everyone).  But it ended up being worth it to see all those crazy little kids sing and run around on the stage.

Yesterday we actually got to participate in the baptismal service of a 9 year old girl who started coming to primary a couple weeks ago.  She loves the BYU sisters.  She wrote me a cute card for my journal asking me to stay in England and not go home.  She participated in the primary program today and even brought her older siblings with her to church.  It's experiences like this that remind me why it is worth the trouble and time to make it out to the Mitcham ward each week.

Some of you know we are doing family history stuff from the British Isles.  As far as I can tell I only have one line that goes back to England and that is James Kenyon in 1669.  I was a little put off about only having one line because some students here had their maps filled with ancestors that came from the UK.
Well... of all the people I could sit by in class the day they were due, I sat by Jenna who found out she is related distantly to the Queen and other fun stuff.  I showed her that I only had one name on my paper from Lancashire and she says "Oh my! I bet we're related.  I have a John Kenyon from the same place in Lancashire who was born some 20 years after your James Kenyon."  So we did our homework and John is James' son!
I am cousins with Jenna!
Of all the people that could be related here I thought I'd be the last to be related to anyone.  It is distant but was still relevant to me.  It made me realize that we are all closer to each other in this small world than we may think.

I have much more to say and pictures to post about our 2 day trips last week.  Let's hope I can keep up!