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.