Friday, March 26, 2010

"Huh-erbs"

This week, we ventured off to two locations: Cambridge and Hampton Court.

WEDNESDAY: CAMBRIDGE
I absolutely loved it here. Maybe even more than Oxford. We arrived via coach and went to the chapel at King's College, and then Macy, Emma, Caitlin and I went punting! It was so relaxing and we were sprawled out on our boat while Greg, our punter, rowed us along the river that bordered all of the various colleges in Cambridge. The weather was beautiful and I was truly at peace. It was so lovely.

After punting, and having some of the locals make fun of our accents (we got into an "erbs" vs. "HERBS" pronunciation battle), we went off to this little Market where we got lunch. I got a baked potato and an acai smoothie and they were delicious. We walked around and looked at all of the shops and then went back to the bus.

We made a couple stops on the way to Cambridge, of course, that I can't forget to mention. First, we went to the Cathedral at St. Albans and the museum of Roman Life??? Yeah, dont ask me why we went there. I'm still puzzled by it. Fortunately, the experience got a little more exciting when Emma, Macy, and I were walking back from the Cathedral and ducks ran out of the pond and LITERALLY started going at it right in front of us... and yes, you know what I mean by "going at it." It was so funny, especially when Macy tried to protect the female duck because she thought that she was getting raped. I fed some swans, who were VERY hungry, got mud all over my Uggs, and went straight back to sleep when I got on the bus.


After, we went to the American Memorial Cemetery. I really liked this place... it brought me back to America, if just for an hour. I love London with all my heart... but there really is nothing quite like being an American. I love my country so much and I am so grateful for all of the people there that have risked and are currently risking their lives so that I can enjoy the freedoms and privileges that I have in my life. God bless the USA.

(picture taken from the wall of missing)

FRIDAY: HAMPTON COURT
Today, Friday, I woke up at 7:30AM and got ready to go to Hampton Court, where Henry VIII lived. Initially, the weather was pretty nice, but that definitely changed as the day went on. First, we explored through Henry's kitchens and then went to go to one of the central courts to take part in the celebrations for King Henry and Catherine Parr's wedding that was "taking place that day." Everyone was dressed up and I even got to see King Henry VIII himself! Can you imagine!?

After watching a mock-argument between our host--Catherine's sister--and King Henry, we walked around the grounds, saw the world's oldest grape vine (wow!) and lots of pretty daffodils (spring is here!), and Britin and I went through the maze there! It was so much fun. We ran to catch the train back to London, however Katie and Emma didnt make it and got separated from us, so from thereon it was just Britin, Caitlin and I. Once back in London, us three went to Borough Market where I tried a very delicious "cheese toastie" and where I re-stocked my usual stash of chocolate covered cinnamon dusted hazelnuts and almonds.

(Britin and I holding the Triwizard Cup)
mmm cheese toastie!

After Borough, we went to Carnaby Street, which is the center of Soho in London. It was such a cute area and I loved it! We walked around and took a few pictures and then we went to Anthropologie. Now, before arriving at BYU I had honestly never heard of this store. Apparently, its really popular for girls my age...anyways, this was my first experience entering the store. It was a big deal. I didn't buy anything today, but I will probably very likely be returning there sometime soon to make a few purchases.

After Carnaby and Regent Street, we came back home and I wasnt hungry for dinner so I took a nice long nap. I've just been so tired this week, so it was very much needed. I woke up and caught up on journaling and Grey's Anatomy, and now here I am listening to music down in the library. It's so nice to get personal space every so often.

Today was a great day and I hate thinking that my London experience is coming to a close.
But hey, as they say...

the best is yet to come.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

FRUSTRATION.

I am very very frustrated right now.

1. I lost my tube pass today. I hate wasting money, especially when its a gift from my parents. I dont take my parent's money for granted and I try to value every dollar that I have. Therefore, the loss of my tube pass really made me upset, simply because I cant believe how incredibly stupid of me it was to accidentally drop it.

2. School. The classes here seem so much harder than they normally are at BYU. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that I can never find any quiet space and that I'm in one of the most exciting cities in the world. Regardless, I'm used to being at the top of my game and here I feel like I just dont have as much control over my academics as I would like. I'm not going to end up getting the GPA I had planned to get for this semester, and that stresses me out.

3. Sleep. I dont get any. End of story.

4. The girls. Everyone here is getting very nasty with each other--recently in the past few days I have received a LOT of attitude from individual girls and sassy rude comments. A lot of the girls here are extremely insecure and feel like they need to prove themselves and compete with individuals--they want to be the smartest, or the prettiest, or the funniest, etc. and it just causes a lot of unneeded tension. Also, I get comments from a lot of girls telling me what I can and can not say, and I do not appreciate self-righteous and hypocritical people trying to tell me how to live my life.

And then there are the comments about gaining weight. Every day, I hear the same girls complain about their weight over and over again. "I'm not exercising enough!" "I'm not eating healthy enough!" "I've gained weight!" "I'M FAT!" It's ridiculous and it's VERY annoying. I'm sick of hearing girls complaining about their insecurities. Oh, and then there's the comments about homesickness... Honestly, to all of you who are saying these comments--you knew you were coming to a country where there would be European food. You knew you would be taken out of your regular lifestyle and that there was a good chance you would be gaining weight. So, if you can't handle what you knew would inevitably happen, WHY DID YOU COME?? And even more so, if you're going to sit in your spot of privilege in London and just complain about wanting to be back home, why are you still here? And why did you apply in the first place? Your complaining is doing nothing but ruin other peoples experiences. Tons of people would die to be able to be given the opportunity that you have been given, and instead of making the most of this time, you are complaining. I'm sorry, but to all of you insecure, ungrateful twits--shut up.

Luckily, I have been blessed to have gotten close with a GREAT group of friends who are comfortable with themselves and who make my experience in London here better every single day. I love them and they bless my life more than they will ever realize.

To the original dorm 4 divas--I love you all.


Sorry, for the negativity, but my anxiety is mounting up and the best way for me to release it sometimes is through complaining. Tomorrow I'll be more upbeat.... pinky promise! Also, I talked to this girl today:

no one on this planet can make me laugh harder than Brittney. She is the funniest person I know and when I was talking to her today everyone kept on asking me what I was laughing at. I can seriously always count on her to make my day better.

And with that, I'd like to conclude this post on one final note:

video

"Gotta blast!"

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Dancing Feet and Scrumptious Treats

Oh today, what a day. This morning started off not-so great, with classes being stressful and teachers being self-righteous. However, everything improved once we were let out of the centre, and I had a great day.

I started off with a delicious lunch from here:

I stumbled upon some of these down on Portabello Road:

I looked at shoes and fashion through the ages here:

(victoria and albert museum)

And I completely fell in love with this musical:
I laughed, I cried, and I had an amazing night. Since I danced for over 12 years, Billy Elliot really brought me back to my childhood and really made me miss tap dancing. Ahh it was so good, I loved it! I want to see it again and again and again. Definitely one of my top picks.

Life is amazing here, and I decided today that I am not ready to go back to the states. Especially after what Obama is doing back over there. So, in these last few weeks I am going to do everything to live each moment to the fullest and enjoy every last second I have left before I return to the mundaneness of Provo and the regularity of life as a typical college student.

But let's focus on the present, shall we?
Conclusion of the night:
I love my life :)

Friday, March 19, 2010

La BAGUETTE

Normally, BYU students are the few students across the nation who are deprived of a spring break. Fortunately, however, study abroad students get special treatment and DO get a spring break! Well, sorta. This past week everyone in the BYU Centre was able to travel to Paris! We did so much and I'm still exhausted from the trip. My feet are definitely still throbbing...

Lets start with Monday. I went to bed at approximately 4AM after staying up late packing and figuring out arrangements for my apartment for next semester. Bad thing is that we had to wake up at 6AM to leave for Paris, so to say that I was a little tired is definitely an understatement. After traveling to St. Pancras (St. Pancreas) station we hopped on the Eurostar, and I headed back to Paris for my second time. Once we arrived, we hopped on a coach to Chartres to go see the Cathedral there. On our way to the Cathedral, we stopped and got some crepes, and got hit on by a creepy man who wanted to keep in touch with us via facebook. We said no thanks--shocker. We got to the Cathedral and went on a tour, however it was absolutely freezing inside and so it was a little difficult to pay attention. I got some good journaling in though. After the cathedral, we went back to Paris---all in all we were on a coach for about four hours there and back when we spent only about 2 hours in Chartres. It seemed like a waste of time to me. When we got back in Paris, we checked into our hotel and then a group of us went to dinner at a little Italian restaurant and then went to the Eiffel Tower. We took some pictures, did a little can-can, met some more French men, went on a carousel, and then came back home and called it a night.
Tuesday, we woke up really early, had breakfast in the hotel, and then left for Versailles. We got to tour the whole palace (which was massive), and I got to see the hall of mirrors which was really cool. After, we went to this street called the Rue de Mouffetard, which was this really cute little street that had tons of little shops along the way. We got chocolate from a store called Nicolsen's, which was the best chocolate I've ever had in my life, and ice cream from this store called Amorino. The ice cream there was the best stuff ever--not only was it absolutely delicious, but they shaped your ice cream into a flower! It was so cute! I got chocolate and amarena (cherry). I loved it. After the Mouffetard, we went to the Champs-Elysees and we walked up the Arc du Triomphe. It was an absolutely gorgeous view. After, we went and ate at George V, which was the restaurant I had eaten at with my family in Paris, and then we went back home. It was a really really fun day. I loved it! Oh, and the weather was absolutely beautiful... so much more pleasant than my first experience in Paris.
hall of mirrors
Wednesday, I woke up very unexpectedly.... because, I actually didn't wake up. Macy and I slept in until 9 o clock. Unfortunately, our group was leaving the hotel at 9 oclock, so we got left behind. Luckily, Macy and I both had our laptops, and Emma had her blackberry, so we were able to email her and figure out where everyone was and what was going on. Eventually, we made it to Notre Dame and found Emma who was so kind as to wait up for us. We climbed to the top where I found my inner gargoyle (and Quasimodo), and then after we went off to Montmarte.

We found the city pretty easily, and on the way there we had to climb a huge staircase. Well, we were walking up the stairs and this black man is walking next to us and he's on his cell phone. When he gets off the phone, he sees Macy's butt--which is parallel to his eye level since she's walking in front of him up the stairs--and he starts freaking out. Now, keep in mind Macy refuses to wear pants these days so she can always be found wearing a pair of leggings. The black man really liked these leggings and started freaking out and constantly was asking Macy if she was "Africana." He kept on asking me if Macy was African and kept on pointing to the color of his skin, because apparently he thought that Macy had a black woman's butt. It was one of the funniest things I've ever experienced in my life, and that man DEFINITELY got Macy to run up those stairs quickly.

Once we got to the top, we got ham and cheese crepes and some gelato, and then looked around at all of the art work. I loved it all, and I bought a painting for my new apartment, as well as a painting for my mom since my family didnt get to go to Montmarte when we were in Paris and I know they would have loved it. After, we walked down and found the Moulin Rouge and took some pictures in front of it. I loved this part of our little excursion because Moulin Rouge is my favorite movie of all time! It was so cool... even if it was in the red-light district of town. After, we went to the Musee de Orangerie where we saw some massive paintings of Monet's water lillies, and then went over to the Louvre where we ran into Caitlin (our long lost friend), Calvin, Cam, Katie and Brit. We all went to dinner together at an Italian restaurant, and then the guys went one way while the girls went on a night cruise on the Seine. It was really fun, I was exhausted, and even got to finish the night off by getting a donut...or two.
on top of Notre Dame! see what building is pointing out behind Emma's head?
Some call me Quasimodo, you can call me Friend.
Montmarte
crepes at Montmarte
in front of the Sacre Coer/the top of Montmarte---it had am amazing view from up there
oh, by the way, Wednesday was... ST. PATRICKS DAY! The only thing festive about the day was my green skirt... other than that, since we all know that the French think the whole world is French, we didnt really do anything too Irish or celebratory.
the Musee de Orangerie

Thursday, Emma, Caitlin, Macy and I woke up and left at around 8:45 for Disneyland Paris! It was so much fun. We got there right when it opened and we were instantly in the best moods ever. Disney things just always make me so happy. We first went on Space Mountain, and then hit up every other single ride we wanted to go on. And, because we were students and had discounts in our maps of Paris, we got park hopper tickets at a discounted price. So, were also able to go on over to Walt Disney studios after Disneyland and go on the Hollywood Tower of Terror, the Aladdin ride, and the Aerosmith Rocking Rollercoast ride. I loved every second of it. I was with the greatest girls in the greatest place. Thursday was definitely magical.
Disneyland always has great food--especially hot dogs. The buns were heavenly.
My second time in Paris was definitely more enjoyable than my first time. The weather was absolutely beautiful and I found myself carrying my jacket half the time and the people were so nice and helpful. The first time the people were very rude and it was absolutely freezing, so this time around provided a lovely contrast. However, when I was in Paris I found myself missing my family a lot--especially my sisters. When we were walking around Disneyland, past jokes would pop into my head and I'd want to laugh about them until I realized that the twits weren't there in Paris with me. As sad as I am to be going home in the next month, it'll be good to see my family again... especially my cat.

In the time since being in Paris, I've done some shopping, gone out to eat at my new favorite place--the Gourmet Burger Kitchen--went to the Tate Modern (art museum), Camden (I finally found the donut man! my sprinkle donut was delicious--and no I'm not gaining weight here, why do you ask?), and I went and saw Legally Blonde the Musical and loved every second of it! Being here is still so much fun and I'm finding that I'm caring less and less about school every day... which probably isn't a good thing since if I am going to make it into any decent law school I'm going to need to keep my focus. Ahhh if only homework didn't exist. But it does, which means I should probably get to bed so that I can do my English reading in the morning. Good night from London! :)