26 January 2009


So I never thought I'd get a chance to go to Prague. It seems like a cool place to go, but it was never high on my priority list. While I'm in England, I wanted to do some traveling, especially my last week here when I wouldn't have classes. I was thinking Scotland, Ireland, France again maybe, but no. No. I'm going to Prague. And do you know what I'm going to do there? I'm going to run a half marathon. Yes. Awesome. I've started training and I registered today. $50. But even if I can't finish in the 3 hour time limit I'll have at least participated and I get a lot of cool stuff for being a participant. And how awesome is that? "Oh yeah, I ran a half marathon in Prague when I was 20." Yeah. Awesome. I used to run cross country, so I can do this. I'm fully confident. 

For those of you who don't know what a half marathon consists of:

21.097 Km  or 13 miles

And I'll have a chip on so when I'm running you can track my progress. Learn more! 

24 January 2009

Semaine Quatre

So I've been here for nearly a month. I can't believe how quickly that happened. Last night my mom said if she won the lottery I could stay here and finish the pastry course. I wish. I have only 9 weeks left, and that makes me sad. I am completely in love with London. Now, while it could be a bit warmer, I don't want to leave. I feel that I've become pretty well incorporated into the lives of my friends here. And I'm so comfortable living here. I can't imagine having to go back to Provo after all this. All good things must come to an end I suppose. And there is a lot waiting for me back in Provo. And this was a dream come true; but it is only a dream -it's not reality- and it will not last. So here's to London and to knowing that the next two months will be just as amazing as the first. 

Now, my past week's activities. 

I learned the history of London, exploring the Museum of London with Rassin.

I fed the Queens Swans in Kensington Gardens.

I stood inside a tree. 

I got caught in a London rainstorm.

I ate a traditional cheap British meal of Baked Beans on Toast. Very good.

I went grocery shopping and enjoyed it very much.

I learned that I want everything sorted  by "dearest first."

I went bowling and had a waffle. 

I got to spend time with a friend, getting to know him better, and learning a lot about myself.

I went to Madame Tussauds wax museum, for free. Because I'm American, and it was a special Inauguration Day deal. An awesome deal too, because I would not have paid 25 pounds to get in. There I learned about the gruesome history of that museum and took photos with many of my favorite celebrities along side my dear friend Hilary.

I got to see the inauguration from the Brit's perspective. Everyone seems a lot more knowledgeable than we are... And it seems that people here either love Obama or couldn't care less. I for one say, whether or not you voted for him, he's our president, and since you voted you sustain the way our government works, so sustain our leader. Here's to President Obama!

I hung out with friends for the weekly movie night where we watched Back to the Future part III and I ate too many delicious snacks. 

I started running. 7am. At least a mile and a half -awesome. I wouldn't do it unless David ran with me, because I honestly have no personal motivation to do that stuff. I need the competition.

I have sore muscles for the first time since quitting ballet. 

I got lost in Hampstead for over an hour...

I visited Kenwood House. Too bad it took me a few hours to get there and half the house was closed. I'll go again. It was lovely. 

I was on a crowded bus full of school children. It was very fun to listen to their interactions, and accents. 

I ran again. 

I learned all about Chou pastry and made chocolate eclairs and swans.

I shared my delicious creations at Institute where I learned about Paul's missionary journeys and that the Brits call the game "Sharks and Minnows" by the name of "Bulldog." Also, when playing Blind Mans Bluff, instead of calling "Marco/Polo" when they need help, they call "Thunder/Flash." 

I ran again, but this time in the rain. 

I helped Becky with French homework over Skype.

I got a letter and photos from Perry in Spain.

I learned how to properly make a lemon meringue pie. I also learned that I don't like lemon meringue pie - or since our Chef "doesn't make pie!" Tart au Citron. It tastes a bit like vomit to me... I'm not sure why. Probably I threw it up once. 

I gave this tart away. Luckily I had a Chinese New Year party to attend so it was easy - and everyone there really liked it, so Cheers. 

I was in a car accident. Everything is ok, but the jerk who hit us didn't want to admit he'd done anything. It was weird and made us an hour and a half late to Niall's party! 

I tried to get Blyk free cell phone service and worked on my phone for hours, even using tech support, but my phone doesn't like Blyk. Now I need a different phone to use it. This is proper rubbish. 

I did laundary. 

I missed my friends back home. 

I caught you all up on my activities.

19 January 2009


This was too funny that I couldn't wait until the end of the week to post. 

Yes, I think I'd like my options sorted by "dearest first" please.

18 January 2009

Week 3

Monday: I was supposed to meet Hilary and a group of her friends from the BYU study abroad program at the Westminster Station, but it didn't work out... Instead I listened to my perfect London mix: Belle & Sebastian, Iron & Wine, The Darjeeling Limited Soundtrack, and a collection of my favorite Beatles songs. It was a beautiful drizzly day and the music was just perfect. I took these next photos while Claire de Lune played in my head.
Tuesday: I went to Kensington Gardens. It was the most beautiful park I have ever been to. The sun was shining that day and the grounds were just magical. I was beside myself with glee at the prospect of being there. I only wish that my friends could have been there with me to appreciate it as much as I did.
The air was cold and the smell of wet earth clung to my nose. There was a hushed awe over the grounds. There was something dense and overwhelming about being in the presence of the trees.  

And then there was Peter Pan. I almost couldn't take it. Being there was magical.

The animals were so friendly. It was like a movie. The squirrels were surrounding me, and one crawled up into my lap and hung out there for a bit. A crowd of people stood and stared and called some over to feed them. 

And then the sun shone brightly and it started to rain. My fingers were stiff and cold, but I loved every second of being there. I left when the sun started to set. 
Hilary and her friend Janna met me at the Oxford Circus Station and the three of us went to Angus' house to watch movies and hang out. There was tons of food and good company. We watched Casino Royale and it was so nice to finally hang out with Hilary! 
Cute school children in adorable uniforms. I love everything about London.
Wednesday: I walked around the V&A, I had a demonstration on flour, I watched a movie and talked to my dear friends online. Today was a fairly nothing day. 

Thursday: I had class all day and we made Creme Brulee and Creme Caramel. It was pretty easy and tons of fun. At 7p I left for Institute, which was super fun. The lesson was good and it was really great to hang out with people afterward. I just love this Church and all the things I get to do because of it! Plus, there are many amiable men in my ward. :) I hope that something will progress...

Friday: Class again, all day. We decorated our baked custards. Look how awesome they are! 

Yeah, I did those... I'm so proud of myself! I'm learning so many wonderful and awesome things! Le Cordon Bleu is so wonderful and I'm so grateful that I have this opportunity to be here! 

After class I met my former french teacher James Mayo for dinner. It was really fun. We went to Chinatown and had dinner at the Friendly Inn. We had a lot to talk about and I really enjoyed hanging out with him while he's in London for a few days.
Here I am in Chinatown!

Saturday: I was supposed to go to the zoo with a bunch of people from my ward, but the 12 pounds wasn't worth it. Instead, my friend David took me to Osterly Park. We walked around the grounds and took many super beautiful photos. I really like David, and it was nice to hang out with him and talk. He's an Oxford graduate and very proper, after talking to him though, I've found that his real personality is quite surprising. I was laughing a lot. I hope to see him again. He took me through Notting Hill and dropped me off at the BYU centre where Hilary, her friends and I went to Indian food. I was thinking of going to Camden Market with them earlier but went to the estate with David instead. 
I can't handle how beautiful everything is here. 
Isn't this idyllic? I felt so Jane Austen, touring an estate.
The stables. 
These trees reminded me of umbrellas. 
England seems to have the most beautiful trees. 
Inside the stables.
View of Osterly Park from across the lake.

After dinner Hilary came back to my place and we hung out for a couple hours. I'm just loving being able to spend time with her now! I've missed that! 

Something that is a little strange... I met Elizabeth Smart at the BYU centre. She is so beautiful and seems so sweet. But I can't help but pity her. If you think about it, and if you are nerdy enough to see the comparison, she is the Mormon Harry Potter. She is famous for something that she's not proud of and that caused her pain. Every time she is introduced a hushed whisper follows her and people crane their necks to see if it really is her. Everyone is intrigued by her presence and you know what they think of instantly. You know everyone is dying to ask, but would never dare. I tried to be as normal as I possibly could and pretended to not even recognize that she was "Elizabeth Smart." It was so strange though. "Do you really have... the scar?" Poor thing. But she did crack a joke, which is probably insane and silly of me to care. But you can't help but hope that she's doing alright! She was all over the news, crazy rumors flying about... Honestly, it's the real version of Harry Potter, except that she has no formidable enemy lying in wait to kill her...

It stormed like mad last night. It was so beautiful. I miss the good old Redding storms that knock down trees and power lines. You just don't get any of that in Utah.

Speaking of Utah. I don't want to go back, but I do miss my friends dearly. Lauren, keep your chin up as Trevor said. BYU is not a bad place to be stuck for a few years. You'll find your niche. And if you don't, well I wont hate you for leaving. I'll just miss you too much to love you.

Sunday: Beautiful peaceful morning. Church. Munch and Mingle. (Hilary showed up by surprise!) And the President Monson fireside. I've never felt the spirit so strongly during a fireside. I know that he is a Prophet of God, and I love this Church that affords me that type of comfort. Then I waited for a bus in the cold and dark. Another brilliant week gone. 

A quarter of my holiday here has also passed. What will I do when it's over? 

Isn't this beautiful? I love the construction of the photo with the man running across.

12 January 2009

Week 2

First, I love London, if possible, even more than last week. I feel very comfortable here and yet I'm star struck. I can't believe I'm really living and getting on here. It's just fabulous.

Sunday: Church for the first time. It was great! I can't get enough of anything here. I met many more people and really had a good time. Alana, who is the girl who lives at the flat I'm staying in, came with me. She hadn't wanted to come to Singles Ward because she didn't have anyone to come with. Happy to help. 

Monday: Orientation for Le Cordon Bleu. Nothing really exciting happened. We had a tour of the school and had to sit and listen to so much information. I was there all day. But I was so excited that it was starting. I was also a bit nervous because I hadn't actually taken a class yet and I wasn't sure how to gauge how difficult it would end up being. I also found out that I had a million more things to buy and prepare before class actually started on Thursday. I was so exhausted that I fell asleep at 6pm! And then woke up at 9pm, and couldn't go back to sleep until 2am...

Tuesday: I had to be at Le Cordon Bleu all day for Health and Safety training. It was so dull, and absolutely freezing in the room. During my break I ran to the shoe store and bought proper shoes and was starving so I popped into this pub for a Steak and Onion Pastie. It was so delicious, and super hot, which was good because it was just beyond cold outside. During the second half of my class I took to drawing the people around me to help me stay awake. Some of them turned out alright. I think I'm the youngest in my class, which is kinda cool.  Today I also met the cute young Australian couple who share the room next to mine. They seem very nice. 

Wednesday: Today I hung out with Angus all day. We met at the Oxford Circus station around 11 and hopped on a bus to Camden Town. Camden Market is so cool! It was Diagon Alley, for real.
 (The Leaky Cauldron?) You wouldn't have been able to find it unless you knew where it was, and it was this crooked, winding cobble-stoned street behind all these storefronts. And it was decked on both sides with innumerable little shops with every crazy retro/indie/insane item that you could imagine. I just loved it.
When we were done there we had lunch at Nandos, pretty good. Then we got a bus back to his house and played around on the guitar and watched silly shows for a few hours. My favorite was The Mighty Boosh, it's a cult British show similar to Flight of the Conchords, and I thought it was hilarious. After a while we made our way to Leicester square (not without getting lost first) and met his friend (from Utah) for the movie Waltz with Bashir. We snuck pizza into the theatre. Their Pizza Hut is fine dining! I'm not even joking. It was ridiculous! Our Pizza Hut is rubbish! The movie was really interesting, and I loved the animation, but I was so beyond tired from walking around all day that I fell asleep before the end and I have no idea what happened. I woke up to Lebanese women screaming and crying... 

Hilary got in today, and I couldn't wait to see her. 

Something I really like about London: the atmosphere of the Singles Ward. I think it's because everyone is an RM that age doesn't really matter. We all hang out together and no one is bothered by the fact that I'm 19 or someone else is 24 or even 27. No one seems to be labeled by their age and we can all be friends or date without any weird sort of feelings or pressure. I feel that the playing field is even and I really, really like that. In Provo I would feel way too uncomfortable hanging out with someone even 3 years older than myself, but a lot of the people I'm hanging out with are at least 4 years older than me. It has been super fun for me and so different from what I'm used to experiencing in a Singles Ward.   Plus, I'm so shocked and happy that I've made friends who invite me to hang out so quickly. I've been here for 2 weeks now and I have so many different friends. I love it! Angus says I have a very "Let's be friends, I'm cool" sort of aura, but I think it's the fact that I'm trying to be so involved in Church. It's wonderful how this Church is set up and I can go anywhere and have an instant base and community and connections. 

Thursday: First day of real school.
I had to be at school before 9, which means that I had to leave here by 8, and so I was planning to get up at 7. My alarm didn't go off. I woke up at 7.40! Luckily the buses were quick and I made it on time. 
The recipe for our first day was fruit salad and a simple syrup. In the demonstration, our chef showed us how to properly cut all the fruit, and then she showed us really fancy fruit cuts.
I was so excited. I had a lot to worry about though, with little errands I had to run and letters to write to missionaries. I also had forgotten two of the most important knives, so during my 3 hour break between demonstration and practical, I ran home, ate lunch, grabbed my knives, wrote and mailed a letter, and ran back to school. I was really nervous carrying my knives in my purse. Apparently London has a lot of problems with knives... The practical wasn't scary at all. It was super fun! I like everyone in my class and I really had a good time with it. My fruit salad ended up really great and we got to take it all home! The only criticism Chef had for my salad was that the mango pieces were too small compared to the others. Ha! I was so happy when that was done, and I had a delicious fruit salad for my consumption. We also played a bit with sugar.

Friday: Class again. Today we had Chef Christophe doing the demonstration. He muttered to himself in French or sang in French during half of the demonstration. I could hardly contain myself. He was mental and it was so funny. He showed us how to do 3 different kinds of meringues and 3 different types of cremes using a Creme Patissiere as a base. There was a lot of hand whisking involved. I only had an hour and a half before the practical, so my friend Krystin from Texas and I walked around Marylebone ln looking at all the cute boutiques. The practical was great fun. Nothing has been too difficult yet. And, thankfully, my grade wasn't hurt by the fact that I did not want to add rum for flavoring to my creme. My meringues were pretty good. 
 We were practicing a lot of piping with them and with some whipped cream. I had to hand whisk a lot! My arms were quite tired after that. We had to choose only one of the three cremes to make and I made Creme Diplomate, which is Creme Patissiere folded into Creme Chantilly (which is a very delicious whipped cream). The result was tres magnifique! I had a lot to carry home after class that day. I wanted to take all my extra uniforms home because there just wasn't enough space in my locker. 

I went to Angus' for French movie night. It took a while to find it on my own, but I did! My friend Krystin was supposed to come as well, but I'm pretty sure she fell asleep. I should not have eaten dinner before I came because there was a mound of British snacks to eat, and they were all delicious. I ate so much today. Because as well as dinner, Carol had leftover pizza that she gave me... and then I ate all the snacks at Angus'. I brought my leftover fruit salad and my creme diplomate, which when mixed together are amazing! Everyone thought so! :) We watched two cheap french movies and I fell asleep during the second. It was after midnight when we were all going to head out. A very nice guy named Dave had a car and decided to drive me home! Luckily for me, he lives super close to my flat. I also met a guy named Niall from Ireland. It was super fun! Plus, everyone there was speaking french and that made me happy. 

Saturday: I slept so well. I didn't wake up until after 11.30. I hung around all day doing different little things with no intentions of doing anything. I was supposed to meet Krystin for dinner, but after an hour of searching for each other at Oxford Circus, we both gave up. I had an expensive dinner at Garfunkels. I got a burger and fries and for dessert, bread and butter pudding with custard. It was £15, but so worth it. I went back home and chatted up Becky online until bed. 

Sunday: I woke up early to go to a different ward where Hilary would be going today. It was so good to see her. We didn't have much respect for Sacrament meeting and talked the whole way through it. I left after that and finished knitting my scarf that I started at Thanksgiving.
I have been eating so much lately, and I think it's because I'm so ridiculously happy, and also very cold. Today was not cold though, it was absolutely beautiful. It was a clear, breezy, fabulous day. I went to my ward at 2.30 as well. It was so much fun. I have had the best time here. Everyone was going to a girl named Victoria's house after for a party. Lucky for me Dave was there and willing to give me and a few others a ride. I like to sit shotgun in the "drivers side" of the car. It is so fun to trundle down the wrong side of the road. It was a very long drive to East London, but I loved it because I got to see so much more of the city, which is huge! The party was great. It lasted a few hours and there was tons of food and good company. I got to know Niall from Ireland a bit better, and met a girl from San Diego. I got home around 10 and was asleep before midnight.

I can't say it enough, everything is wonderful and I have never had such a good time in my life. I'm so grateful to have had this time to come to London. I feel that it was most certainly meant to be, and after all the worry about money and getting in, it is very worth it. I wouldn't change a thing about my time here. I hope the next 10 weeks are as great as these past two have been. Thank you to everyone who aided me in getting here. I'm so happy. I'm in love with London.

03 January 2009

Week 1

So I haven’t been here for a full week, but I feel like Saturday night is a good time to wrap things up. Sorry if this ends up being quite long, I have a lot to say. Too much to say really.


Miscellaneous Ideas:

First, wonderful things happen to me everyday that are hilarious and I wish that my friends were here so I could laugh with them about it.

Second, the water here is really hard, and it’s doing strange things to my hair. I’m not sure how to handle that.

Third, I absolutely love it here. I haven’t even started my cooking classes yet, but being here is spectacular. I’m happy everyday.

Fourth, the children here are beyond cute. They have a difficult time pronouncing things British-y I suppose, so they have to scrunch up their faces whenever they say anything. I can’t even handle it.

Last, everything is really, really expensive here…


For the first couple days I was just trying to get adjusted to everything. I spent a lot of time indoors reading. Carol showed me how to get to my school and we picked up my uniform and my knife set. This knife set is really incredible. I’ll never need to buy another knife for the rest of my life. And it includes many wonderful sorts of tools and a knife sharpener. It’s just fantastic.

Wednesday night, New Years Eve, Carol and her daughter Alana (super strange that we have such similar names) fed me a nice dinner and then I went to the Singles Ward activity. I thought that we were going as a large group to watch the fireworks, so I was dressed up warmly. When I arrived, however, I discovered that it was a dance! I was not properly dressed at all! How miserable. But I made friends quickly, and I had a pretty good time. I met Angus, and I kind of latched on to him for the rest of the evening. During the dance he and a group of his friends wanted to pop out and get something to eat, and I joined them. It was so fun. We went to subway, haha. 

 It was really fun meeting many new people who were all really interesting and British. Then we went back to the dance and just before New Years we all went up onto the roof to watch the fireworks over Big Ben. I was with Angus and his friend Sophie from France. We met some boys from Norway who had just flown over for New Years. They had their faces painted crazy.

We didn’t get to count down for New Years, but once the fireworks started everyone cheered. Anders, Norwegian boy who actually goes to BYU (super small world), grabbed me and kissed me on the mouth, and then grabbed everyone in reaching distance and kissed them on the mouth, including Angus –he looked a bit uncomfortable.

 Afterward, Angus, the Norwegians (we added three more, Claus, Marcel, and Marcel’s girlfriend Rebecca [not really Norwegian, but was in that group]) and I went out for Kabobs. We found this Lebanese restaurant. The Norwegians were mental with New Years Spirit. They were jumping on everything and dancing and cheering. The Lebanese people loved it and played music for them. One of the chefs was Israeli and taught us how to say I love you in Hebrew, it sounds like “Chabi-bi.” Angus and I left around 130 and headed back toward the chapel. He got lambs tongue from the restaurant, and I tried it. It tasted exactly like it sounds, lamb-y and tongue-y. My bus didn’t run that late, but luckily, three LDS girls obligingly gave me a ride all the way back home. Then they taught me all the bad words I’m not allowed to say here. I love Mormons.

Thursday morning I slept in and then took a bus into the centre of everything and went to Trafalgar square. I spent a few hours looking through the Portrait Museum. It was really wonderful. I love being here and being able to do that sort of thing. Most of the Museums are free too, which is really great. I spent the evening in and streamed Benjamin Button online. That was such a fabulous movie. I loved it from start to finish. It was a good day, and the beginning of feeling more comfortable and competent, living in London, catching buses without help, and getting around, doing my own thing. I love this.


Friday morning I caught another bus to the V&A museum. I spent 3 and a half hours on the first floor alone! It was a wonderful art and culture museum. 

 It started to get dark and, consequently, cold I decided to go back to my flat. I stopped by a small café and got an almond croissant (all I could think of was "Je voudrais un croissant") and mint tea, which was just wonderful. I feel so grown up living in this big city and getting myself around. How wonderful that so many elders get the opportunity to really absorb the culture of another country for 2 whole years. I wish I had the time to stay here and absorb it all. Angus invited me to movie night with his friends, and he told me to meet him at Paddington Station. So I had to find the buses to get there, all by myself! We then took the tube from there to West Hampton and walked a bit to his friends’ house. We watched Back to the Future 2. I had a fabulous time. I like everyone I’ve met. One boy who lived there was from Alabama, and that was fun. I just love being a part of the Mormon culture and being able to have connections with all these people immediately. It’s really handy. Plus, I instantly feel included, like I have an “in.” Around 1 we decided it was time to go. Angus walked me to my bus and waited with me until it came, gentlemanly bloke. I got back around 2 and fell asleep pretty fast. It’s not too cold during the day, but man, when the sun goes down it gets bitter. Poor homeless people. I couldn’t imagine having to spend the night outside in all of that.

Today, Saturday. Angus met me at the Science Museum and we went through that and the Natural History museum in a few hours. They were pretty cool. Nothing too special, though I did get to use my geology class skills and identify some rocks. I had a really good time though. I’m very happy to have already made a friend, so quickly. And Angus is super cool. We have much in common, and he’s as close to my age as their going to come. He got back from his mission to New Caledonia just a few months ago. So he speaks French, awesome. We get along very well, and it’s really nice to have someone to hang out with. When we were done with the museums we just spent a couple hours walking around central London. He was supposed to be taking me to Harrods via Notting Hill, but we got lost. 

We took refuge in Whole Foods for a bit, and went for “Traditional Fish & Chips” at this place run by Iranians, with Iranian music playing in the background. It wasn’t bad at all though. I enjoyed it much more than the lambs tongue to say the least. When it was really dark and cold, I caught a bus back to Pimlico.

 It was a good day, and an awesome week. I miss my friends, but I’m having a really fabulous time. I can’t wait for Hilary to get here!

I knew this was going to be really long. A lot happens in one week. Especially when everything is really new, and really awesome!

Tomorrow is my first Sunday in the Singles Ward. Fun stuff. 

Related Posts with Thumbnails