Sunday, February 28, 2010

Domo Arigato

The tube is closed all over the place this weekend, so we took a kind of roundabout way to church this morning. The girls I go with, Michelle and Sarah, are so fun to talk to on our long train ride. We had choir practice, and it sounded very ...unique. In Sunday school the teacher didn't have a lesson prepared, whoops! I had taken a lot of notes on Matthew 4 and taught from that. Even though I was unprepared and probably seemed really flustered, everyone was really reverent, which is a rarity in a class of 25 youth, and the spirit filled the room. It was amazing! Richie, one of the Young Women has to get bone marrow transplant this week so I'm sad to say that I won't see her again.

We literally ran home from the tube after church and barely made it in time for dinner. Ate really fast and went to the YSA fireside at the Hyde Park Stake center. Elder Ford from the Quorum of the Seventy and his wife gave talks about goal setting and... you guessed it, MARRIAGE! It was really sweet, and I could tell they are still so in love after being married 30 years. Christina and I have discussed that when we are married and old, we hope that our husbands still will flirt with us. We've decided it's criteria for marriage- my man's gotta flirt when we're old.

This will be a busy week, so I've got to get to bed early tonight! I LOVE YOU ALL!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Soaking up London

Rachel, Christina and I visited a Baptist church this morning. It was old looking on the outside and really modern on the inside. Now that I think about it, that's how I want to be when I'm an old woman. We sat in there taking notes for a while and then we went to Portabello Road where we ate at Gourmet Burger Kitchen. It was YUMMY! We then purchased Top 100 Club Hits. A purchase we will not regret. Coming soon: Dance parties up the wazoo.

I went running in my favorite park today and I had a moment! What kind of moment, you may ask? I was running alongside the lake and I had reached an insane runner's high when suddenly, the sun peaked out for a few seconds, glittering across the lake, and a huge flock of pretty white birds started flying with me... next to me... at my pace! People were watching and pointing at what was happening because it was so unreal. It was a beautiful time. Then the sun went back behind the clouds, where it belongs in London. It started raining and I ran home with the biggest smile on my face. I don't think I'll ever forget the way that felt.

Tonight we went to China Town and got really nasty Chinese food, pretended to enjoy it, and then admitted to each other that we were all really grossed out. We HAD to clean our pallets... With frozen yogurt. And some Hob Nobs. Gosh, I love London, and BYU center girls love keeping Frog in business.

I talked to my parents tonight. They are the best and I miss them! Always full of good advice, very funny people, and they just want what's best for their kids. Love you guys!

My mood ring (guaranteed 99.9% accurate) from Wales is telling me that I'm feeling "romantic and at ease" right now. Maybe it's because I'm listening to Van Morrison "Crazy Love." And Green Eyes by Coldplay. I love love. I miss men.

I just realized I forgot to do laundry today. Yikesabee! Feet, prepare for a sockless week.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Wales is cool. Whales are cruel.

Did you hear about the killer whale that recently killed his trainer?! Gruesome and so sad. On a lighter note:

Wales in a flash!

Lots of fast food, really long drives on the coach, and two days with great people in an amazing part of the UK. DOES IT GET ANY BETTER?!


Tintern Abbey- The dissolution of monasteries forced the roof off this abbey, but that made it even more beautiful.


At the Big Pit Coal Mine- we wore headlamps and went into the dark and damp underground. Just like in October Sky! and it was freeeeezing cold


Next we went to the Museum of Wales Life. This is me living life in a garden in Wales.

Then if you can believe it- we went HERE!




The Caerphilly Castle.

After the castle we started a church history tour in Wales and it was so incredible to learn about how much really did happen here. Our first stop was to the Bembow Farm where Wilford Woodruff stayed for some time. Many miracles took place here. This is by the pond where many were baptized. If I was cold, I can't imagined how freezing they must have been to go into the cold water for baptism! These people had lots of faith.


This is on Herefordshire Beacon where the first Mormon missionaries in Wales held a meeting. The wind was blowing so hard, we had to be careful not to get blown away! We had an amazing tour-guide who gave us so much information about the first mission in Wales. I took a bazillion notes.


At the end of the trip, we sang "The Spirit of God" in the Gadfield Elm Chapel where Wilford Woodruff and Brigham Young taught. I really felt the spirit in that small and humble chapel. I cried like a baby. My testimony was strengthened. The church is true.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

London: Day 46



Tate Modern- Some amazing Andy Warhol and Picasso, along with lots of weird and terrifying art. We had a great time. Jenny even took the escalator for a joy ride because she didn't want to leave!


We devoured deep-fried peanuts from a street vendor when we were walking home. They were too good to be true.


Tonight, after dinner and some good old Frog, we saw Twelfth Night in the Duke of York's Theater. It was a really good production, truly speaking to my soul, and the theater was so hot!



Why am I up at 2 AM? Because I'm listening to the Love Songs Gold Album. And I need to shower and pack for Wales... the bus leaves at 6. Holla for sleep deprivation!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Anna Melinda Goode

This girl is truly one of a kind. There are so many things that I appreciate and miss about her, especially today:

She can have the smallest lips in the world,


or the biggest smile you'll ever see.


She's spunky and funky


She's got killer style


She can operate heavy machinery


She ding dong ditches


She can fit her fist into her mouth


She's a hippie


She's an amazing waitress


She enjoys a good nap


She loves hiking and I'm pretty sure she could live in the nature forever


Get out of here you evil thing!


A friend to the trees, a lover of hiking, such a trailblazer.


No one in the world can laugh like her


She is also down with crying


She's my roommate and I love her!

And most importantly Anna is my best friend, and today is her 20TH BIRTHDAY!

We haven't been away from each other for our birthdays since we turned 15. So this is a weird day. But I think the world of her and I am excited to reunite! Happy Birthday Anna!! Hope it's a beginning to another great year.


In closing, I would like to reminisce on a wonderful time of our lives:
If I had wings like Norah's dove
I would fly up the river to the one I love.

Love,
Laura

Halfway.

HOW CAN THIS BE!? As of Friday I'll be halfway through my study abroad. This makes me sad, but also makes me look forward to what's awaiting me at home:

SUMMER! Here's why it sounds so good:
It's been dark and rainy lots lately and will be for the next 10 days.
Familiar places, people and food
Picnics
Mary Kate
Watching airplanes fly 100 feet over my head at Reagan Airport
Wearing either my bathing suit or overalls 24/7
Nannying (favorite job ever)
Fresh veggies and salsa from the garden
Ruth's having her baby
Mom and Dad's cooking/not having to buy my own food
Reston Town Center and sight seeing in D.C.
The temple!


Home will be great, but now I'm realizing how fast the time will fly by and I'm excitedly panicking (does that make sense?) because there's still so much to do here!

Today I was lucky enough to view Boff and Krista's engagement pictures. Those two... so cute and happy! Makes me grin ear to ear.

After classes I planned poorly and went on a long-run route when I only had an hour so it turned out to be more of a sprint. SO sore are my bum and calves. I love fresh air.

Don't read Michael by William Wordsworth. First it seems sweet and happy. Do NOT be fooled. It is SAD and I learned the hard way.

Lovely Bones made my heart pump a lot harder than I knew it had potential to. I saw it with Christina tonight and liked it a LOT. Only drawback: now I'm convinced that every man that looks in my general direction is a murderer. Christina's heart-strings were pulled every two seconds. She's turning into a mom. I am heartless. I didn't shed a tear, but I really enjoyed the movie! I should read the book.

BUT FIRST! I'm going to read Catching Fire tonight. And King Lear. Good night you wonderful people!

Monday, February 22, 2010

TMTH

This morning was bad. I'll spare the details, but I just felt that there was just Too Much To Handle. Completely overwhelmed, I, for the first time since getting to London, just wanted to go home. Bad news bears. THAT was when I realized how irrationally I was thinking. Don't get me wrong, I miss home and there's absolutely no other place like it, but being here is such a blessing and for one second, I took that for granted. That's when I said a prayer and within moments literally everything that was bad turned good. VERY good. It was unreal.

I felt 200 times better and went running, wrote a mythology paper, had dinner (de-lish tacos), got waffles at Whiteleys, Christina, Britin, Jenny and I danced and got a little crazy, I read for classes, studied my scriptures, and now I'm going to bed!

Even in the little things, prayer works. Its power is real and I'd be lost without it.

I have Empire State of Mind stuck in my head so I keep thinking we're going to New York for our trip this week. BUT WE'RE GOING TO WALES!! I'm excited.

WAFFLES!!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Leotard

I want to wear one all the time, thanks Anna Hayes and Lady Gaga.

We had ward conference at church today. My bishop gave a talk about having a positive outlook on life instead of a bad one. That way... you will have a good life! It really makes lots of sense, doesn't it? I sang a song I had never heard with my ward choir. Oops.

After church we munched and mingled! I talked to a little lady named Hannah who joined the church 4 years ago after moving here from Vietnam. She had a lot to say, therefore, I mingled only with her. For 45 minutes. WOO!

We got home at 5:45, ate yummy Brazilian food for dinner (I LOVE THE FOOD IN THIS HOUSE) and had a fireside from President Phillips of the Hyde Park stake. He delivered the most amazing message, something I really needed to hear.

1. Know Christ
2. Know Heavenly Father
3. Gnothi Seauton

I wrote a million notes, I cried, the spirit was so strong, I didn't want it to end, and I was so happy. I even shook his hand after. I am so grateful for the gospel. It's so true. I know that I am a daughter of God.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Letters of Apology and of LOVE!

Dear

Metabolism,
Please accept the fact that you are only being messed up temporarily. Go back to normal when my life goes back to normal. I promise I'll eat better then! I love you.

Wallet,
I'm sorry I've been using you so much.

Olympics,
I wish I could watch you.

Cell Phone,
I don’t miss you at all. Sorry.

Running Shoes,
I'm so sorry I have neglected you for the past 2 weeks. You've never led me astray, you've been there for me- rain or shine, and you've never talked back to me. Even when I force you into the mud, you just keep on keepin' on. I admire that. I've done you wrong- you've been alone in the closet, stinking up my clothes, and waiting for me to take you outside. I apologize from the bottom of my heart! I hope the 9 mile run made up for it today. I love you.

Grandma and Grandpa,
Thank you for reading my blog. I was so lucky to spend so much time with you over winter break and I wish we didn't have to be so far from each other!

Cheeks,
Sorry if you hurt. I've been smiling too much.

Family,
I hope the snow is melting!

Anna,
Remember that one time we were sitting outside and the guys on roller blades skated and danced around us? I thought of that today and it made me laugh and miss your laugh.

Decemberists, MGMT, Sigur Ros, Jurassic 5, and Jimmy Eat World,
You are the reason I didn't want to stop running today. Thank'y!

Sun,
Thank you for shining so bright the whole day long.

Boff, Krista, Jess, Ben,
I can't wait until your weddings.

Christina,
Thanks for the kicks n giggles. But especially for the dino-hugs.

Provo and the people therein,
I miss you and think of you every day.

Sarah Shepherd,
HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Lent,
I can't give up chocolate for you. Please forgive me.

Love, Laura

P.S. Border Control,
Can I stay in London forever?

I really like it here!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Press Any Key to Continue

Where's the any key?!

Today:
turned in my shakespeare paper, hallelujah to have that out of my hair
went to a mosque, tour by Omar
outrageously drunk guy fell out of chair on the corner on our walk home from dinner
i learned that some of my friends and a friend of a friend all got in very bad car accidents within the past week. LOTS of praying to do.

we ate at khans, which is a lot like Bombay House:


This was a year ago! I miss these girls right now.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

When you are a man

Sometimes you wear stretchy pants in your room. It's for fun.

Currently I'm wearing stretchy pants! They're so comfy, but I'm concerned about something that caught my attention a few minutes ago. The tag on these bad boys reads "keep away from fire". Okay. I would HOPE that in the event of a fire I'd be able to keep my pants on because it would be so unfortunate to be waiting outside for the firetruck in JUST UNDIES! I'd rather be seen by neighbors and firefighters in my stretchy pants.

Today was way super wicked awesome (I miss Provo sometimes and talking like that makes me feel like I'm there). We went to Middle Temple, and let me tell you, it was incredible!


We were toured by a very British, very funny man through the great hall, learning about the Inns of Court, members of the bench, the Master Treasurer, and Honorary Masters of the Inn, yada yada yada. Prince William of Wales is the current Honorary Royal Member of the Inn and... we got to sit in his chair at the grand table. And after all that, we were served a really fancy 3 course lunch on a table that was placed in that great hall in 1572 and has not left the room since. I told you it was way rad!



We walked across the street to the church that had stunning stained glass and where some of the Da Vinci code was filmed.

Next we went to Dicken's House where Oliver Twist, among several other novels, were written by the man himself! It was cool to be there, walking the same halls as a literary genius.


That's me at the Dickens House.


This one too! This statue was once above the front door there. Now it's just good for taking pictures with.


Porches on that street are beautiful.

Rachel and I went to Portabello Road, a long street that is lined with antiques for sale. I got some hand-painted knobs for cabinets in my future home some day. I was thinking ahead! I also got a really cute little Cath Kidston wallet and a few little things for friends at home. Rachel's got her eye on all kinds of goodies in there. I like London designers- Very unique stuff.

As if we didn't get fed enough at lunch, the first floor girls and I went to Taza Kabobs and then to frog for Frozen Yogurt. They're really fun girls and as it turns out, Frog is as good as YoZone, if not BETTER! I got Jenny some orange juice at Tesco because she isn't feeling well lately! :( I didn't see much of Christina Jane today besides our amazing lunch, and it was sad. But I still got in a few good and healthy hours of laughter.

Mega props to Rachel today: She has a stress fracture in her foot right now and it creaks every step she takes. We were all over London today, walking very fast and never really taking any rests. Even though she's a fast-walker like me, that's GOT to be painful! Never once did she complain. I admire this girl. Plus... she's been done with her Shakespeare paper for a day. Wish me luck in finishing mine!

This made my laugh out loud by myself.

Hogwarts/Oxford

Both of my parents are muggles, that's true. But today I went to Hogwarts. I went to HOGWARTS!!!!!

It was also the University of Oxford, but mostly it was HOGWARTS!


To begin this unforgettable day out, we traveled by coach to Blenheim Palace, pictured above, which is the home to the 11th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough and the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. The palace had porcelain collections, tapestries and paintings displayed in each room. This is why they had us where our backpacks on our front sides, so as to not knock into anything precious/old. Sarah, Jenny and I had fun with it/became baby mamas.


This Churchill guy... man, was he amazing. We even got to see a lock of his hair, cut when we was 5. For some reason his parents dressed him like a girl until that point. Weirdos. But he really was an amazing man whom I'm very thankful for. Outside the palace were gardens with bushes trimmed into designs and mazes (I think those are SO COOL!) and sweeping lawns with huge trees and the greenest grass I've ever seen. This place was phenomenal inside and out and it made me so dang happy.



Duck bushes? I love this palace!






Side note: I was informed today that no matter where we visit, I say it's my favorite place and that I've never been so happy. Well, today we visited my favorite place and I had never been so happy.


Another thing I learned today (thank goodness!): This is the pose that makes you look skinny. It's all the rage in London, I'm sure it will catch on in America any day now!

We drove a few minutes and wandered the city around the University, munching on sweets from the original Ben's Cookies and Moo Moo's while peaking into a few stores in the Covered Market. The weather this morning was a little ...ewy... but the skies became crystal clear! We got lucky. There was an old bookstore that had lots of interesting books to flip through. I looked for books about shipwrecks to get for Dad, but I figured he's already read the books they had there. I love my dad! We also checked out the library that's shown in Harry Potter. This is it!


There was an art and poster store that we didn't want to leave because it had timeless photos from all over the world. However, we had to run to go enjoy High Tea...

We ate in the Great Hall from Harry Potter movies. I sat at the Slytherin table!! Call me Draco Malfoy! Gosh, it was incredible. I even became a wizard and made things float. Like this knife!


We had hot chocolate, cakes, and little sandwiches and we were just jazzed to be there the entire time. Of course Anna had her comfort blanket, a stick. She carries sticks with her no matter what! And the stick she widdled today came in handy as a wand! Thanks for sharing that Anna.

We were really lucky because we had an awesome LDS tour-guide who is a staff-member at Oxford. He showed us around the grounds and told us all of the juicy secrets about the old place. Oxford's been around since the 1100's. Wacky!


Fun fact: When I used the toilets today, I may have on the same toilet as Hermione Granger. I just had a feeling that I did. It's a great feeling.

I can honestly say that today was a magical day.


To honor the memory of our Harry Potter day, we girls are watching the first movie right now. Shakespeare paper, you can wait until tomorrow night. Tomorrow we have another really fun day! We have to dress up for a fancy lunch in the city and then we're off to the Dickens House. Oo la la! I am very very blessed to be here.

Hugznkissez.
Lora