Sunday, January 31, 2010

Great day, sad night.

I already miss my parents. We had a quick goodbye tonight after a fireside and I was so sad afterward that I just ate chocolate for about an hour. Pitiful right?? I just loved having them here so much that I got attached.

Besides my little pity party, today was wonderful! We went to Hyde Park ward sacrament meeting and dipped out after to spend our last day doing memorable things.

1. Victoria and Albert museum had fashion from the 1700's-today and that was my favorite part. My dad rocks for putting up with me and Mom wanting to look at that stuff the most. There were also really cool mosaics and tapestries.
2. We walked through Hyde Park to Harrod's! Ate lunch at a really yummy cafe there, got some chocolate, and looked at all kinds of jewelry and cool stuff. Biggest department store in the world.
3. Got delicious Indian food at Mahal around the corner from my flat for dinner. They gave us hot towels and chocolates when we were done with our food- such a good restaurant.

After our fireside from Brother Chittock I was sad to see my parents go. But now I'm happy because we played with a fake mouse and scared people into thinking there were mice upstairs. Now I'm reading for classes and going to sleep!

Friday, January 29, 2010

F is for friends who do stuff together

Breakfast- the Hilton on Bayswater

Portobello Road- Dad bought me a really cute blue dress!

St. Paul's- went all the way to the top!

British Museum- Lots of mummies, including Cleopatra

Poundland=dollar store- candy and laundry detergent all up in my grill

Covent Gardens- Ben's Cookies

London Eye- 30 minutes of bliss.

Dinner- Delectable kabobs. Who doesn't love fatty mystery meat?

Dessert/every 10 minutes throughout the day- CHOCOLATE

We did so much- my dad is a planning genius. He takes tons of pictures but isn't in many. This is him with stuff that reminds him of his childhood in Thailand. He's the best. I love my parents!

My stomach is filled with food and my heart is filled with turmoil- WHY must my parents only be here for the weekend?! And how is it possible to gain approximately 28 pounds in a day? I don't know, but I love it.

Tomorrow is the wonderful and beautiful Jenny's birthday! We're going to Southhall and eating Indian food. Sounds like a lovely birthday to me!

Carpe Diem.

Jenny's birthday

Hyde Park was a scene from a movie this morning. Crystal clear blue skies as the sun was rising, running with the birthday girl! We stopped at Pret A Manger and ate oatmeal with Audrey and Christina.

I saw this today. Running and art utensils = Ruth.

We went to Southhall and visited a 3 temples: 2 Sikh and 1 Hindu. We wore scarves over our heads(which kept me so warm!), washed our hands a million times, and ate the sacrament they offered us- wheat, butter and sugar that formed gooey balls of dough. My feet still feel dirty after taking off my shoes so many times. It was an eye opening experience because I had never been inside a temple and I was surprised to learn that Sikhs share very similar beliefs with Mormons.

We shopped along the streets in Southhall. Rachel and I got some really cool Indian shoes! Mine are red. Christina bought a Bollywood CD for the ultimate dance party and Jenny got two scarves. Vendors were selling hot corn all over the city and it smelled so good, but I saved my appetite for our Indian dinner we ate as a huge group at Gifto's. It was really hot inside, but it felt good because it was cold outside. At least the sun was shining all day!

Mom and Dad took me and a few others out to Zizzi's and we had fun talking about our trip so far and we got to sing happy birthday to Jenny!

After some cake and drinking lots of water (I'm so dehydrated here!) I'm going to get some shut eye!


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Here comes the sun!

Parents. Here. HAPPY DAY!

Went on a pitiful run this morning. The Indian food from last night slowed me down times 200. After classes I waited by the window like a puppy for my parents to come. I almost barreled my mom over when they got to the door.

It was beautiful outside today! Ben's Cookies was our first stop. It would be a lie if I said I ate less than 3 cookies myself. 7 cookies consumed between the 3 of us. Don't look up the nutrition facts.

We went into an old house with the most privately owned art collected by one family. It had some of Rembrandt's work. It also had amazing armor and beautifully painted plates. This painting was my absolute favorite!! It just... spoke to me. So sweetly.

We tubed it to Piccadilly Circus where we went into Fortnum and Mason, an awesome department store. A colorful crowd was chanting Hare Krishna in the center of the circle before they were out-shined by dancing cross-dressers. Long story short, I was ready to get out of there and dad couldn't get enough- snapping as many pictures as he could.

It was so fun to go out to dinner with my parents! We ate at a really tasty Chinese place. They brought me all kinds of goodies from home. It was a great day. My parents are amazing and I love them.

Tomorrow will be just as wonderful I'm sure!

Goodnight world. Love you all.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Hastings Day

We went to Brighton this morning. I didn't want to forget this day, so I bought a cute little tea-cup and mini plate set thing from the shop in the Royal Pavilion. We went on a tour of the pavilion where tons of royalty stayed and it was interesting and beautiful. The walls were all painted bright yellows and blues and the carpets were all floral and cheerful. We walked out onto the Brighton Pier and, even though it was bitterly cold, I couldn't have been happier. The wind was blowing so hard and the water was so blue that I couldn't help but smile my head off.

Then to Battle Abbey and the battlefields where the Battle of Hastings took place. I felt like I was in Braveheart or a dream. We got to try on helmets that warriors would have worn in battle and it fit was too big for Christina, too small for me, and just right on Rachel. We are the 3 little bears. We wandered the abbey and took lots of pictures, but sadly my camera died.

Last stop- Rye. I will live there some day. Either there or in the White House. It was just so quaint!

After riding on the bus for over 5 hours I was starving and it was more than a treat to indulge on some Indian food around the corner from the BYU center. Some people got food that was too spicy... but mine was just right! Then who can resist a few spoonfuls of Nutella from the cabinet? Bread and nutella are the staple foods that the center is constantly stocked with. Carbs and chocolate are, but shouldn't be, a girl's best friend.

I talked to Lisa and Anna tonight, and it brightened my day even MORE! The parentals arrive in the morning!!

I love every moment.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Beep. Beep. Beep.

The eardrum-bursting sound I woke up to at 2 AM...

There is an old senile woman who lives in the BYU center. She's been living here for a long time, but she's really losing it and we can't kick her out. Last night she turned her oven on high, opened it, and went to bed. Hence the alarm that went off this morning. We all piled down the steps in our PJs and waited until the alarm stopped. We crawled back up the 83 steps and into our beds. Then the alarm went off again. All the professors in their jammies. Funny.

After classes Christina and I went to lunch at Zizzi's, where we ate really spicy pizza, on the way to the Tate Britain. We walk into the art museum and, in literally under a minute, the fire alarm starts wailing. WHAT THE HECK. Fire alarms are haunting us!

Evacuating the museum.

The Tate was fantastic. There were lots of pieces by Turner focusing on line and color. I drew this at the museum. Just for fun! Unfortunately it was the only thing I could legally photograph there.

Sunset on the way home

We raced back to the center in time for dinner and then went running. Then we danced and laughed for about an hour. My abs hurt. Tomorrow we are going to Battle Abbey. mmmmmmmm. It's a happy day.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Mice in the servery...

I've personally spotted 2 and others have seen some, too! Even though they are kind of gross little rodents, they have already provided so much entertainment. This afternoon (after an amazing run) we set sticky paper traps and tonight Rachel, Jake and I turned out the lights in the servery and laid on the tables waiting to see mice come out and get trapped. We waited and waited in silence. Nothing. Then we realized that we had wasted 20 minutes laying on the kitchen table in the dark... but not in vain! We will catch those mice!

Not long before this adventure, I made a pig of myself over leftover cake from last night's dinner with Jenny, Emma and Audrey. In celebration of Jenny's upcoming 20th birthday of course! It's a week long birthday. It starts today.

I am so grateful for these people:

My parents are coming here Thursday and I couldn't be more excited. We're going to do so much in the few days they are visiting. And it will be AWESOME. I miss them.

I am now going to write things.

I really like devotionals that we have every night before dinner. I am in charge on Monday nights and I always get really excited and go 5 minutes early. I'm a nerd.
Slip-on shoes are the bomb diggity.
I wish I could paint and draw. I should take a class some day.
Who says conference can't last all year?! I like reading and listening to conference talks.
I have very few regrets in life. One: quitting piano. Mom was right.
My grandparents are incredible and I am so lucky to have all four so prominently in my life.
When I was little my favorite foods were peas and baloney. I still love peas.
Shower caps save 7 minutes in the shower.
Clothes fresh from the dryer are treasures.
I used to wish air was made of cool whip. But wait... Instant suffocation. I was such a dumb kid!
Feeding birds in the park is not my thing, but it will be by the end of April.
Shakespeare was a weirdo, but Twelfth Night was entertaining nonetheless.
Chocolate consumes my life. I need to consume less of it.
Reading really isn't that bad after all.
I think about my roommates in Provo a lot.
Sometimes I accidentally fall asleep while I'm praying and wake up with my glasses pressed up against my face. How are they still not broken?
My Great-Grandma Henrie is the most talented writer and my other Great-Grandma Irvin would own HGTV if she were alive today. Amazing women.
I have a crush on Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver.
I never want to leave this side of the Atlantic. But when I do, I will be so happy to see those whom I love and miss!

Happy Monday. Hope you had FHE.

If ever you need to send me something...

27 Palace Court
London W2 4LP


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Happy Sunday!

Today was wonderful.

Started the day with prayer and reading my scriptures. In church, we BYU girls were asked to bear our testimonies. I was so happy and the spirit was so strong that my heart was racing. It's an amazing ward.

I saw what I'll be getting myself into by observing the youth Sunday school lesson... It will be hard to keep those obnoxious boys under control, but the Young Women there were great.

Some people here have so much faith. I introduced myself to a woman in the third hour, telling her where I'm from, what I like to do and so on. When I asked her to tell me about herself she said "My name is Ruth. The gospel means everything to me. It's my life." That was it. I admire her faith, and hope to show how much I appreciate the gospel in my own life.

I really feel at home in this ward and the people are so welcoming, always smiling, and just happy to be at church. The hymns are sung REALLY slowly and with lots of soul. I kind of love it.

I go to church with Michelle and Sarah. We have lots of fun riding the tube to church and for some reason the sun is always shining on Sundays so we snapped this shot of the sunset by our station!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Ostrich Burgers

Who would guess that they are delicious?! Not me. But mmm mmm mmmmmm they are. Some of the girls got some yesterday and sang their praises, so Christina and I gave them a shot today at Borough Market. So tasty!

This morning I ran in the park with Jenny and Christina. It was glorious. After getting ready for the day, we went on a walk in the park with a new member of the church that's living in London originally from the Czech Republic. She's lonely and Christina's friend baptized her so we met up with her to feed ducks in Kensington Gardens. It was so fun! Very cold though. She is not fluent in English but she seemed to enjoy it and we just want her to be happy and feel loved here in London.

Time to read! In London. It still hasn't completely sunk in that I'm living here.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Westminster Abbey

After an extremely slap-happy morning filled with embarrassing photos being taken, we arrived at Westminster Abbey. It. Was. Gorgeous. I wish I could have taken pictures inside but, low and behold, cameras were a no-no. Every royal person since 1066 has had their coronation there. RIGHT where we were standing!! We even got to see the coronation chair.

Not as pretty as I expected it to be, but it's all about tradition here.

The ceiling was breath-taking. I could not stop looking at it. Builders in 1065 had the gift of patience. It was amazing to be there.

We got lunch across the street in Trafalgar Square at a place called Little Frankie's. Christina and I split a scrumptious pizza.

When we got home I went on my favorite run and did lots of lunges and grapevines in the park. After dinner a few of us went to Primark and I picked up a few treasures. Just now we watched Young Victoria... again. I don't think I'm obsessed with that movie, but it just gets better every time. It's late and I'm getting up early tomorrow. Today was amazing. I am the luckiest girl in the world.

Smooches, Laura

Thursday, January 21, 2010

New Goal:

Get up before breakfast on weekdays to go running. I did it today and I can do it for the rest of the semester.

Today was not too busy, but I did get to go on a walk in the park during a 2 hour break between classes. The birds fear no one. In fact we were freaked out by them!

Me (queen) and Macy (scepter) in front of Kensington Palace where Queen Victoria lived. Macy's hilarious and we laugh a lot.

Tonight we ate scrumptious chicken soup! I am not sick at all anymore and I think it's because of the amazing food we always get and I'm staying really active.

I've been reading Oliver and Shakespeare. And my scriptures a lot.

Karalyn bought the movie "Young Victoria" on DVD. We watched it tonight and OH MY GOSH. I laughed, I cried, I wanted to be the Queen of England, etc. Girls: watch it if you want to create high expectations for men. Men: watch it to learn what girls expect. Holy smokes, great movie.

We never have classes Wednesday or Friday because those are days we go on group trips. Tomorrow we're going to Westminster Abbey!

Mary Kate looks great as a braceface (unfair), my parents are coming to London soon (so freaking excited!!), and I'm loving my life.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Stonehenge, Salisbury Cathedral, and Bath

What a long and amazing day! I feel so blessed to be here. Loving the places we go, the people I'm with, the food we eat (maybe too much?), and just everything about England. For as long as I can remember, I've been saying that I would never want to travel to Europe. My reason: Because I believed it smells bad. How stupid.

We got up this morning at 6:30 to get breakfast and pack a lunch before we left for Stonehenge. In the rain and snow, we rode our coach to the amazing wonder of the world. It was breath-taking. It's the #1 place I've wanted to go since arriving here, so it was a happy moment when we got to go right up to it! The bitter cold didn't even bother me because I was overwhelmed with utter and extreme happiness.

Isn't it beautiful!? Each stone about 18 feet tall and over 23 tons in weight! Unbelievable.

OOOO! I was so excited to finally use my umbrella! photo props to Emma

Next stop: Salisbury.

It was gorgeous inside and out. This cathedral has the tallest surviving pre-1400 spire in the world (ignore the scaffolding and the fact that literally every building we've gone to has been under construction...),

The oldest working clock in the world,

Beautiful architecture and art,

And it even has the bumping stone for choir member initiation. Funny little deal, but in order to sing, the little children have to bump their heads on the back of a stone bench! Cruel and unusual. Tradition never dies.

OH and it has one of the four surviving original copies of the Magna Carta. Pretty amazing place.

After being led around by our tour guide, we had the honor of eating our delicious lunches with THE Susan Howe.

To finish off our amazing day, we stopped in Bath, once home of Jane Austen and current home of Nicolas Cage. Totally random. And call me a dummy, but I had never really known much about this place so I was shocked to learn that it's named Bath because it has natural springs, over the mouth of an extinct volcano, that were used for public bathing.

We got to wear these goofy little cell phone things around our necks that told us information in each section of the museum at the Roman baths. It is incredible that people were so smart to build such a beautiful and lasting place.

I got to talk to this funny man who was "building the rest of the baths" but had to rest on his bench a while. The people here are so dang funny.

We ate delicious pasties on the way out of Bath after visiting the Abbey there AND going to the Jane Austen center. Upon getting home around 8, those in the Shakespeare class finished watching the oh-so-entertaining Henry VI part II on the projector in the classroom. Somehow we always resort to looking at embarrassing pictures of Christina's family on her computer, so we didn't pay the greatest attention, but we had a good laugh.

After drinking some hot chocolate mixed with a spoonful of Nutella, I would conclude that today was a perfect day. The only thing in England that would have made it better would have been a run through Hyde Park. But I refuse to go at night because that's just sketchy.

Mary Kate got braces today. I'm dying to see this.

Not only does Europe smell great, but it is providing me with some of the greatest experiences and memories.

Hugs and kisses, Laura

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

"I'm all hot and bothered"

I don't want to forget how Christina said that when she finished skyping with her e-harmony friend/lover and got sweaty in the pits over it.

I got to talk to my brother tonight! It made me very happy.

Classes, 7 mile run (so good, so happy), laundry and homework, and just now we watched Henry VI part 2 on the projector. Too exciting for words!

Stonehenge early in the morning- time to sleep! <3

Monday, January 18, 2010

Globe Theater

After classes this morning, Sister Howe, my favorite woman in London, took the Shakespeare class to the Globe theater. We took the tube to St. Paul's and walked across the Millennium Bridge from Harry Potter 6!

Our tour guide at the globe theater was a hilarious, tiny, little British guy. We learned all about the architecture of the theater, the ways it was used long ago, and the way it's used today.

It was beautiful and an amazing experience to be there! We also got to go into the exhibit by the theater. This is our little Shakespearean family by the fireplace in the exhibit.

Tonight Emma, Jenny and I needed something sweet after dinner so we hopped on the tube and went to Ben's Cookies!! Finally! I had been waiting for days to go there and I really needed it tonight. The cookie was to die for. Covent Gardens has a little courtyard to sit in, so we each ate our cookie while being serenaded by an amazing string quartet-playing beautiful classical music while dancing and interacting with the people sitting. Amazing.

Our dorm just read Murder in the Cathedral by T.S. Eliot out loud to each other. We're going to Canterbury soon so we are learning the history of Thomas à Becket's martyr.

I hope all is well at home, thinking about you all and love you all!