13 June 2007

More pictures from London!

Beautiful Gardens!

High Tea!

Platform 9 3/4

The Discus Thrower

The London Eye

10 June 2007

Cheers from London!

This week has been probably the most low key week I’ve had since I’ve been here. I am getting really great at navigating myself around this city! I am even getting so good at the tube system that I don’t always have to look at the map to know where I want to go. I can just get on and get myself there! I’m even getting the traffic rules figured out. In Paris it was easy as a pedestrian you had one job. Don’t die. If there is a motorized vehicle of any kind coming in your direction MOVE (green light or not and sometimes on the sidewalk even!). Here it is a bit more organized, so it makes it more necessary to figure out the rules. Now that I’m getting it all figured out it’s kind of depressing that I’m going to be leaving so soon.
Wednesday I really just did things around my flat. I came back from class and just ended up staying around here because I was so exhausted from running constantly and it was so cold! The beginning of the week was really freezing and rainy so it was pretty miserable going out and doing things. I got things together on the computer and I took a nap. That’s pretty well all I did.
Thursday I went to the British museum. It is fantastic! I love it and I am most definitely going back because I got kicked out before I finished looking at everything I wanted to look at. I really loved the Egyptian area (you’re all stunned, I know) and the European art area. It was fantastic! Because it closed earlier than I expected but not really early enough for me to go do anything else before I had to meet my class for our show that night, I decided to go find platform 9 ¾ (from Harry Potter) at Kings Cross station. I found the platform without much difficulty, but when I went to go back I took the wrong way out and I ended up walking all the way around the station (which is quite large) and walking through a somewhat dodgy area of town. I was really glad when there was another lady walking my way and asked me for directions. I didn’t know where it was she was going, but we helped each other find our destinations. It was really nice! That night we went to a Midsummer Nights Dream. I was very impressed! I really liked how they cast and costumed it! I would be more than happy to tell anyone who wants to know more about it how it was done, but for the rest of you just know that it was beautifully done!
Friday I had a massive homework date. I had let my big papers build up and I needed to get caught up on those. I felt really accomplished by the end of it though because I got it all done! That night was a blast though. I went to a pub with some of the other girls and we watched the football (American Soccer) game between England and Brazil. It was so amazing! The game itself was really great. Both teams played really well and the crowd was so much fun! Some of them were really drunk, but mostly they were in control of themselves. It was so cool when England scored the first goal! The whole pub burst out in one mass cheer! It was so amazing to be a part of that! It was really intense for the last little bit because Brazil was coming back strongly then in the last minute they scored as well! It was ok though, because it was not one of the in season games. After that we went to a church dance for the young single adults. That was so much fun as well!
Saturday I went to Portobello market. It was fun even though I got myself sort of lost at some points. I went all up and down the street and found that if I went back up the side streets as well it was so much bigger than I though it would be. I tried to get some sun while I was out there, but alas, in London it is nearly impossible to get a tan even on a sunny day. After my shopping adventures, I went back and rested a while before we went to The Merchant of Venice. I think it was performed well, I just don’t really like the show itself. The costumes really didn’t do it for me either. They were not really my thing. I don’t know why though.
Sunday was amazing. We had Stake conference and Elder Eyring and President Hinckley were the featured speakers. They spoke by broadcast to all of the church members in the UK and Ireland. It was amazing because 1) I could understand all of what was being said because it was in English and 2) It was so sweet to hear President Hinckley speak to the British and Irish church members. You could totally tell that he loves them so much! It was very touching. After church a group of us went with the singles ward and had a picnic. Then some of us went on a walk around by Big Ben and Westminster up toward St. Paul’s Cathedral. It was a nice Sunday walk. I left the group early and came back to finish up some things before I went to bed and the crazy thing is that on my way back I think I saw Orlando Bloom. It was strange and it all happened so fast that I’m not totally sure, but it is completely possible. I saw this random guy in my peripheral vision and I smiled just a ‘hi how are you’ smile, then as I was looking at him I realized that I was pretty sure I knew him from somewhere and I saw a Pirates of the Caribbean poster just up the street and looked back at him. By this time I’m pretty sure I was giving him one of the strangest looks ever and as I passed him I just kind of looked back at him in a daze. Not as glamorous as I had hoped that our first meeting would be, but that’s just how life goes I guess.
Monday we had class and I went with a couple of my friends to a pampering session and photo shoot. It was part of a package we bought a while ago and it was way fun! We had our hair and makeup done and then our nails done. After that we had a massive photo shoot! It was way fun getting all dressed up and having people fuss over you. It was a very, very long day though. We were there from 1.30 to 8.30. We got Turkish food on the way home and it was wonderful! On my way home I went grocery shopping. I really needed food, but more importantly I was out of chocolate, so it was necessary to get that taken care of.
Tuesday I went to the British Library and saw the Magna Carta, the original folio of Shakespeare’s plays, various illuminated manuscripts, journals of da Vinci, Darwin, etc, and a Beatles display of original papers that they put their lyrics and such on which was totally cool! I really liked that display because they had things you don’t ever see! A napkin with lyrics sketched out on it, records of theirs, pictures, etc. It was awesome! I spent a couple of hours that afternoon looking for the Fashion and Textiles museum and wandering around aimlessly. It was on a random back road so it was somewhat difficult to find anyway, and it was closed for refurbishing. I was sad, but none the less I asked an older lady with hot pink hair and teal eye shadow for directions to the underground. Crazy enough pink hair got me there too! We went to Cymbeline that night. It was probably my favorite of the Shakespearean plays we have seen on this trip. It was very well performed and it was designed impeccably! It was done in a 1950s style and it was done beautifully!
Well, that’s about all for the week. I am getting ready to come home so I’m getting in all the last minute things I haven’t done yet. It is amazing and I still love it here! I hope that all is well in all of your lives at home. By way of interest, I was asked to do the costume design for Julius Caesar this summer when I get home. I am very excited for it and I will keep you all updated on that as it comes along! I love you all tons and I can’t wait to see you all soon!

I'm a 90s kid for sure!

So I read this and it made me laugh through nearly the whole thing, so I'm putting it up here and hoping that other people get a kick out of it as well. It's not a regular blog, but I liked it so here it is.

You're a 90's kid if:

You can finish this [ice ice _ _ _ _ ]

You remember watching:
-Ren & Stimpy
-Pinky and the Brain
-AAAAAAAH Real Monsters!
-Rockos modern Life.

You've ever ended a sentence with the word "PSYCHE!"

You just cant resist finishing this . . . "Iiiiiiin west philidelphia born and raised . . ."

You remember:
-Step by Step
-Family Matters
-Boy Meets World
-Sabrina The Teenage Witch

You remember when it was actually worth getting up early
on a Saturday to watch cartoons.

You got super excited when it was Oregon Trail day in computer class at school.

You remember reading "Goosebumps"

You took plastic cartoon lunch boxes to school.

You still get the urge to say "NOT" after (almost) every sentence . . . not

when everything was settled by:
-rock paper scissors or
-bubble gum bubble gum in a dish or
-inky pinky ponky daddy had a donkey
- ennie meanie miney moe.

when cops and robbers was a daily activity.

when we played Hide and go seek until our legs grew numb.

when we used to obey our parents

You used to listen to the radio all day long just to record your FAVORITE song of ALL time.

"Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?" was both a game and a TV game show.

Captain Planet. He's a Hero.

You knew that Kimberly, the pink ranger, and Tommy, the green ranger, were meant to be together. ♥

You remember when Super Nintendos and Sega Genisis became popular.

You always wanted to send in a tape to America's Funniest Home Videos . . . but never taped anything funny.

You remember watching Home Alone 1, 2 , and 3 . . . and tried to pull the pranks on "intruders"

You remember watching:
-The Magic School Bus
-Reading Rainbow on PBS.

You remember when Yo-Yos were cool.

You remember those Where's Waldo books.

You remember eating Warheads.

You remember watching:
-the 1st Batman
-Ninja Turtles
-3 Ninjas movies.

You remember Ring Pops.

You remember drinking Surge, and Tang.

If you remember when every thing was "da BOMB!"

When they made the new lunchables so that you could make pizza AND tacos.

You remember boom boxes vs. cd players.

Making those little paper fortune cookie things, and then predicting your life with them.

You played and/or collected "Pogs" :)

You had at least one Tamagotchi, GigaPet, or Nano and brought it everywhere.

. . . Furbies.

You haven't always had a computer, and it was cool to have the internet.

And Windows 95 was the best.

You watched the original cartoons of Rugrats, Power Rangers, and Ninja Turtles.

Michael Jordan was a king.

YIKES pencils and erasers were the stuff!

All your school supplies were "Lisa Frank" brand.

You remember when the new Beanie Babies and Talking Elmo were always sold out

You collected those Beanie Babies.


Gak was the coolest stuff invented.

Lambchop's song never ended.

The old dollar bills.

Silver dollars, which were cool to have.

You remember a time before the WB.

You collected all the Troll dolls

If you even know what an original walkman is.

You remember wanting to sit on the orange Nickelodeon couch.

You've gotten creeped out by "Are You Afraid of the Dark?"

You know the Macarena by heart.

"Talk to the hand" . . . enough said

You always said, "Then why don't you marry it!"

You went to McDonald's to play in the playplace.

You remember playing on merry go rounds at the playground.

Before the MySpace frenzy . . .

Before the Internet & text messaging . . .

Before Sidekicks & iPods . . .

Before MIKE JONES . . .

Before PlayStation2 or X-BOX . . .

Before Spongebob . . .

Back when you put off the 5 hours of homework you had every night.

When light up sneakers were cool.

When you rented VHS tapes, not DVDs.

When gas was $0.95 a gallon & Caller ID was a new thing.

When we recorded stuff on VCRs.

When we called the radio station to request songs to hear off of our walkman.

When checking out drawing books and that one book about the rainbow fish from the library was THE cool thing to do.

You had slap bracelets!

Way back.

Before we realized all this would eventually disappear.

Who would have thought you'd miss the 90's so much!!!!!

05 June 2007

Four weeks down...

I can hardly believe that my time here is going so fast. It doesn’t seem like I’ve been here that long, but it’s true. When people start asking me what’s new I’m saying nothing but then I realize that everything is new and I’m just getting used to it! Crazy! So I’m going to start this week off with my Paris trip! What an amazing experience! The weather there was so nice even if Paris itself was a little bit on the insane side with the traffic (we found out that the traffic lights are actually optional as long as they stay a meter away from the pedestrians), the crazy metro system where nothing is really labeled, and the fact that I only know about 7 French words. That last one is entirely my own fault, but none the less, it contributed to the insanity.
Wednesday morning we woke up at 3.50 so that we would have the time to get 12 people and all of their luggage to the train station for our 5.30 train. That was quite the experience. Thankfully by the time our bus came we had everyone, their bags, and passports. Some people only had to run back for things twice! Some of us, to remain unnamed, remembered everything the first time. We didn’t have to wait very long when we got to the station before we boarded the Eurostar, and then we were off! The Chunnel was kind of disappointing. I thought we would at least see the water approaching then go under it or something, but all of a sudden we just went into a tunnel and then after a little while I realized that this must be it. It is just like a regular tunnel and when you come out of it you are in a new country. When we arrived we went and bought our metro passes and went on to start on our fun! We all bought these museum passes so that we could have admission to tons of museums and monuments. It made everything there so much less expensive! We went first to the Arc de’ Triomphe. It is huge! Huge and we climbed all the crazy steps! (Photo #1) You walk up a massive spiral staircase and when you get to the top you realize that your thighs have felt like fire for the last several minutes. The view from the top was amazing though! You could see all of the main attractions and it was so pretty! After that we went to the Louvre. It was one of the coolest places I’ve ever been! We only got through two of the floors that day and we were only able to do that because all of the labels on things were in French so we didn’t stop to read them. The Venus de Milo is so much more beautiful in person. It was almost an emotional experience to see her. (Photo #2) There was also a real mummy, sarcophagi everywhere, and part of a tomb (kind of like in the Met)! That was awesome! The French crown jewels are on display there and let me tell you they are fantastic! I’m sure I could find some occasion to wear them. No problem! We went to dinner at a little Italian place that night and watched football (soccer) on French television! It was so much fun getting into the game with all of the people there! It was kind of like a party! When it started to get dark we got back on the metro and somehow navigated ourselves back to the Eiffel Tower. It is spectacular at night! So cool! It’s all lit up and it sparkles on the hour! (Photos #3 & #4)
Thursday morning we realized that it was rather problematic having 4 of us trying to use the shower and bathroom when that is the only place where there is a mirror so I had a genius moment and went onto the balcony and used the reflection in the window to do my hair! Thursday was Eiffel Tower day! We climbed 700 steps up and 700 back down again! Yeah! Fire thighs! It was really pretty from up there and we took a lot of pictures! We went to Napoleon’s tomb. It’s one thing to write your own epitaph, but he built a huge monument to himself! Hmmm… it was way pretty though! Notre Dame was next on the list and it was fantastic! It is enormous and it has the most beautiful stained glass windows! We climbed to the top of that one too! More spiral staircases. Seriously, I think that every building here has one and I’m pretty sure I climbed them all! We went to a monument for the French citizens who died in concentration camps. It was beautiful! They had a crystal for each French person who had died in a camp during that time. We then went to the Mussee de’ Orsay. It is another art museum that takes up where the Louvre leaves off. The most amazing thing about it is that they don’t care if you take photos. I have photos of original Monet, Picasso, and other fabulous impressionist artists! It was way cool! That night we went and saw the Louvre and the Arc lit up for the night. It was so awesome!
Friday we went to Versailles. I think that was my favorite part of the trip. The palace was very pretty, but the grounds were the real attraction! (Photo #5) The gardens are spectacular and the little peasant village that Marie Antoinette had constructed was so charming! I didn’t know it, but she had her sheep perfumed. Wow, it’s no wonder the people hated her. If I knew she had all of that and perfumed sheep while I was starving to death I’d be pretty ticked off too! (Photo #6) We wandered through the gardens for a while then we decided to have lunch under a tree and rent some bicycles. We rode around the gardens for an hour before we took them back and went up to the palace again. On the way back we fell asleep and nearly missed our stop. The evening was for catching up on museums that we had not finished. First we went back to the Orsay because it closed earlier, then we went back to the Louvre. We went through the Reubens room and we saw the Mona Lisa. She kind of made me sad because she looked just like she does in the books. I thought she would be more magnificent, but I didn’t really think she was. Maybe if she hadn’t been ten feet away and behind glass, who knows? When we finished there we took the train to meet the rest of the group and as we got there we saw our train waiting so we decided to run for it but I slipped/tripped on the last step and went flying into the train. I landed it, but Lisa and everyone else on the train looked at me like I was insane. She was so funny, she said ‘we weren’t in that big of a hurry’ so I told her, ‘I know, I fell.’ It is now what we refer to as the flying leap since that is what it looked like. That was also the night we nearly got lost in the red light district.
Saturday we were all so exhausted from our marathon of Paris that we just tied up loose ends. We went out to the Moulin Rouge that morning (Photo #7) then we went to the Pantheon which is a giant tomb and catacombs for the famous French people who want to be buried there. Victor Hugo is there, Marie and Pierre Curie, Voltaire, and tons of others. It’s pretty amazing! After that we did some shopping and just relaxed for most of the day which was good because I’m pretty sure that all of our feet were dieing! By the time it was time to leave for our train I was really ready to leave. You can only take so much of not being able to speak any of the language and still want to be there. On the train I did my homework and when we got back I checked my email and went to bed.
Sunday was a welcome relief from all of the running around I’d been doing the last few days. I was in the nursery so I just got to play all day. I didn’t have to understand Spanish for that! I also listened to Hunchback of Norte Dame and watched the Da Vinci code after church! I just couldn’t help myself!
Monday was class again. It felt like forever since I had been in class. I met with one of my teachers and then came back to do some letter writing and other things around here. A group of us went to Hamlet (the Kenneth Branagh version) at the BFI and it was amazing! He is a genius! Four hours of Hamlet and Kenneth Brahagh. *Sigh* I went to the grocery store and got a couple of things I had run out of then realized that it was a bank holiday so I couldn’t do anything with my Euros since all of the exchange places were closed!
Tuesday wasn’t that horribly exciting either. I did laundry in the morning and went to the Victoria & Albert museum in the afternoon. They have an amazing fashion gallery showcasing clothing since the 1700s! That night our group went to a play called Big White Fog. It was fairly well done. The American accents were a little bit strange though. I guess that’s what they think when they hear us try to do British accents.
Well that’s really it my friends! I love Paris but I’m excited to be back here. Love you all tons!

Paris Photos

Photo #1

Photo #2

Photo #3

Photo #4

Photo #5

Photo #6

Photo #7

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