Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Catch Up

Ok, so we're still in re-cap mode. Where did I leave off? Ah yes...after Ireland, we came back and resumed classes. It was great to finish off these classes... cause I'm telling you, waking up to walk downstairs and listen to lectures for hours has not been the highlight of my experience here. Tuesday, we were able to go to the London Temple to do baptisms for the dead and it was a fabulous experience. I felt so happy and at peace, and for the first time I was able to escape the stress of the Centre and finals. I loved it... even if I did trip in front of the Temple and scrape up my knees.

Wednesday, we were able to tour through the houses of Parliament. I had already been able to sit in a session of the house of Commons with my family when we were in London, so this was my second time going and I really enjoyed it because it was more in depth and I was able to see what specific rooms are used for what, and what paintings and furniture have particular significance, etc. Our tour guide was a man named Andy (you'd think he was American with a name like that), and the entire time Daniel Cooper was running around making a ruckus, but then again, what else is new?

Friday, we woke up and went on a boat tour across the Thames. It was fun, and it made me kind of sad that I was going to be leaving London (little did I know, I would be staying here for another week). We ended up in Greenwich and the weather was absolutely beautiful... it was the first day that I was able to wear short sleeves and a skirt! We went to an outdoor market where I got an adorable pillow case set for my bed in my new apartment and then we went to the Queen's house there. After, we went up to see the Meridian Line that separates the Western and Eastern hemispheres and when we got there there was a MASSIVE line. Now, if there's anything that my momma taught me, it's that there is always a way around a line. Since Emma was just as anti-queue as I was, we both decided to skip out on the line and instead sneak behind the mass that people were taking pictures in front of and snap a shot there. It was great... I got a fabulous picture and I got to skip out on the 30 minute wait!

So, since Emma and I skipped out on the line, we went to go look around in the Astronomy exhibit while the rest of our party (Cailtin, Britin, and Katie) waited in the line. Unfortunately, this resulted in our friends losing us and abandoning us in Greenwich. So, it was Emma and I for the rest of the day, and we made the best of it by going to Borough Market! We got Bratwurst and they were delicious! I love that place, if you hadn't guessed by now.

on the boat

That night, I moved into the library to start studying for finals. It was the beginning of a very very long week.... In time, Emma, Britin, and Kellen moved into the library, and together, in our slow, mental degradation, we formed what we now refer to as The Home. In the Home, no one showered, no one changed their clothes, and no one averaged more than three hours of sleep a night. Red bulls were always present for Emma, Candy bars reigned over Kellen, and I drank at least 2 liters of Diet Coke a day. Excedrin may or may not have always been present as well. In the Home, the library window seat doubled as a great bed and we never left our chairs for reasons other than Nutella sandwiches or the toilet. Despite all the madness, we bonded together as a great family and everyone left us in peace.

Saturday, however, I took a break from studying and went and had lunch in Hyde Park. Turns out the Hyde Park police charge you a pound fifty to sit in their chairs--so I highly recommend that if ever in Hyde Park, you avoid the temptation of the lush green and white lawn chairs unless you want a creepy man to bombard you and your friends during lunch.
After lunch, Caitlin and I went to Platform 9 3/4 because we were sick of staying at the BYU London Centre. We figured Hogwarts would be a better place for us amidst all of the madness resultant from finals. So, we took the tube to King's Cross Station, where I asked a man working there where I might find Platform 9 3/4. He pointed me in the right direction and I got through easily (I'm a witch, obviously). Unfortunately, Roger called us that night and told us we'd fail our classes and have no future if we didnt come back to London. So, we did and it was sad. But at least I got to get away for a few hours.
I went through the first time^^but then I forgot my jacket, so I had to go through again...waving goodbye to the muggle world around me...
Back in the Home, we were able to get hours and hours of studying done, and before we knew it, it was Wednesday--the first day of Finals. At 11AM we had our religion final until 1PM, then from 2-4 I had my PoliSci final, and then there was Engl300 from 7-9pm. When I finished this final, I was kind of shocked that my fingers were still attached to my hand--I had written soo much that day, it was ridiculous. That night, some of the students got ice cream and we were all supposed to eat it at 9pm. However, they started eating it before 9pm, and since Emma and I were the last ones taking the English final, we didn't get any ice cream. Left out and forgotten--then again, what else is new? Absolutely absurd, I tell you. That night was torture since I hadn't studied for my Shakespeare final since I had been so preoccupied with my other finals. Thursday came though, and at 2pm I took the Shakespeare final. At 4:30 I finished off Finals with a ridiculous Culture final. Our culture teacher, Dave, seems to think that his 1-credit Culture class is equally important as all of the other 3-credit classes and that his final needed to be just as hard. So dumb. After our finals, Roger sang us a lovely song (see below) and we celebrated and had pizza and Ben's Cookies!
the Home, in a very very clean state might I add
^this is what you look like when you get no sleep and suffer from unbridled stress

Friday, our supposed last day in London, we woke up and went to Abbey Road to cover the original Beatles photo there. After a very long time and some very unclear directions, we made it to the zebra and after many, many attempts, got a decent picture.
On Abbey road, there is a wall where graffiti is allowed. So, we all signed it!
After Abbey Road, we came home and received the Mother of all bad news--volcano Eyjafjallajoekull was still erupting and had caused all of our flights on Saturday to be cancelled.
Now, everyone has been saying "You're in London and you're complaining? You're stranded in London, honestly, how bad could it really be?" To all of you people who think I'm ridiculous for being upset about having to stay here longer, here are the following reasons why staying here is so far from an ideal situation:

1. I have been in a house for 4 months with 36 teenage girls who all feel the need to compete with each other. I live in a dorm room with 12 other girls. And we have administration here that tries to control our lives. Privacy doesn't exist, and alone time has no meaning here. Go ahead and try to tell me you wouldn't start to go a little crazy.

2. I start Spring semester at BYU on Tuesday, April 27th. I was supposed to fly home April 17th and be able to have 7 days in lovely, sunny California where I would be able to enjoy my home before going back to Provo and moving into my new apartment. Now, I will have at most two days before I have to get back on another plane and start school again. Not exactly what I had in mind.

3. The number of students living here has been matched, if not doubled, by the number of mice.

4. My cat is my life, and I need her. Seriously.

5. I don't have a cell phone here and thus I literally haven't been able to talk to my family or my friends from home in 4 months. Email and Facebook are a means of communcation, yes. But that can only go so far--especially when you're busy 24/7 and can never really keep up with online messages anyways.

6. Not that I don't love eating out all the time--but my body will love me more the sooner that I get back and start eating healthy again. I really love cupcakes, but when it comes down to it, I love feeling good so much more.

7. I need to go to the dentist, dermatologist, and doctor when I get home. And I need to get my hair done. All of these things can not be accomplished in two days.

8. The stereotype that Brits are pale is true--I need to go to the beach and get a nice summer glow before I go back to Utah: a state that borders dry land on all of its sides.

9. Everyone smokes here. Everyone. I miss fresh air. My lungs need a break!

10. I love London and all that it has to offer. But I have been enjoying it for four months. I have seen everything that I've wanted to see, and I feel like I have gained enough fuel and inspiration to last me for this next year. I'm ready to come home and I'm ready for another change of scenery. I'm ready to go back to my normal life now that I've lived my dream. I'm excited to start living in reality again and I'm excited for all that I've got ahead of myself. I'm excited to go back home.

Hopefully this gives you a bit more of an insight to my complaining.

So with that being said, in our despair and homesickness, Friday night we decided to go somewhere very American--Planet Hollywood! It was really fun and we sang our hearts out to tons of American classics as we ate. Sunday, we were going to go see Mamma Mia, but it was closed, so instead we opted for another American favorite--T.G.I. Friday's! There, I got chicken fingers with french fries and felt very close to my motherland. We went to Harrod's and did some retail therapy and then went to see the movie Dear John. It was a terrible movie and I do not recommend it to ANYONE. Monday, we went to Primark where I bought suitcase #3 and then watched Romeo and Juliet. After Romeo and Juliet, we were feeling particularly distraught--especially since my second flight on Tuesday had been cancelled. So, we went to Food and Wine, bought pints of Ben and Jerry's, turned mine and Katie's beds into a couch, and watched 500 Days of Summer---LOVE that movie.

Today, I slept in til 1pm (I'm telling you, I'm catching up on the sleep I've missed throughout the semester, alright?) and then went on a run through Hyde Park. It was refreshing and I really needed those endorphins! Plus, it was a beautiful day. Since its spring and everything is so pretty, I took my camera with me to take pictures of the sights I always see on my runs:
I came back and finished my workout, and then went with Caitlin and Katie to the nail salon! There, I got a manicure and pedicure and it was MUCH needed! I haven't been that relaxed in a long time. We came back for devotional and then went out to dinner at Zizzi's. For dessert we visited our beloved waffle man and then settled back home. I got a really bad headache and so I layed down for a while and then hung out with my roommates and watched Britin sing and dance to Enchanted in her Easter dress. It's been a fun night and I'm so excited that I have a flight set for Friday thanks to my lovely father who was able to get me a flight so soon. I swear, my dad is seriously the best. As of right now, Heathrow airport is open for flights, so lets keep our fingers crossed I'll be getting out of here on Friday! Who knows what I'll do tomorrow, but as for right now I'm going to finish the night off with a little Boston Legal (thanks Brandon). Here's to the longest post in the history of my blog... but hey, at least I'm finally all caught up and from now on all posts will be consistent with the current time and day. So congratulations to me, and good night.