29 March 2009

I woke up today and felt a bit better. I have a good life that I'm thankful for, whether or not that includes London. :) It's a bright sunshiny day in Redding, and very soon I'll be back with all my friends who love me in Provo, where it had better be bright and sunshiny also!

28 March 2009

I've made a huge mistake

I left London! That seems foolish.

I think coming back was wrong. I miss London too much. I felt completely at ease and happy there, why did I ruin it? For some Mexican food? As delicious as it is, it's not worth it. 

London, I want to come back, will you have me? 

I was never so comfortable as when I walked your grey streets. I've never been so happy with a ward or with a city. I'm so tempted to say 'Screw you BYU, Kingston here I come!' 

If only...

26 March 2009

The End is Not Near, It's Here

Well, I'm 'home.' If you can call it home. I mean, it's home, but I don't feel 'at home.' 

The day before I left I had my graduation. Katherine came with me.

 The luncheon was held at the 'Landmark' Hotel. The Hotel was amazing. I had never been inside a place so opulent, besides Versailles. 

Katherine and I exchanged looks, jaws dropped and we started to whisper. 

It felt too expensive to speak loudly. I was beyond mystified. This place was unbelievable.

 I honestly could not believe that someplace like that existed, and people stay there! 

We went into the ballroom for canapes and champagne (sparkling water for me), and enjoyed the splendor and spoke to Lauren and her family. Liza Minnelli showed up. ;)

After a bit they ushered us into the other ballroom outfitted with tables and such. 

We felt glamorous. Everything was pristine, and there was real silver utensils. When each course was served a man would subtly walk to the table and raise his hand slightly, then an entourage of waiters would march from the kitchen and circle the table as the man subtly walked away. 

In an instant he raised his other hands and everyone was served their plate at once. We enjoyed the three course meal of Duo of Duck, (one in pate form with crystalized sugar on top...)

Halibut with ginger foam and sweet potato puree,

 and five spice spring roll with coconut panna cotta. 

Not all of it was delicious, but it sure looked amazing. The panna cotta, however, was glorious. 

Luckily for me, two of our table guests left early and I got extra. :)

I spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out with the Ostlers and we had an impromptu going away party. Since we didn't have a lot of time only a few people could show up, including: Angus, Trey, Daniel, Kevin, Lauren, Michelle, The Ostlers (of course) and Hilary! We played spoons and hung out and talked, and then for the last time, I pulled out a guitar and Hilary and I sung to everyone in our native tongue: Bluegrass. It was lovely and I am pretty sure everyone enjoyed it. They joined in as they could and a good time was had by all. Everyone was out by 11p, and as I took my last tube ride home it started to rain. 

I woke up to sun on my last morning. I got everything together and hopped a bus, then a train (where my heart broke as I realized that I was leaving this land that I dearly loved),

 then a plane, to the states. I had a bit of a row in customs (well not really, but I would have liked to yell at that woman) I understand that they're just doing their job, but in this world of bureaucracies, the human element is lost. A very nice receptionist helped me reorganize my things so I wouldn't have to pay extra, but the mean woman at customs threw away my HP, marmite, golden syrup, and black treacle. As if I can make a bomb with MARMITE! Come on! Everything was sealed up tight too, so there weren't any explosives. I was annoyed. But I got to the states alright. I had only 20 minutes between my flights in Cincinnati, and my flight into San Francisco was nearly an hour early!

 Perry's dad picked me up from the airport and we had a very nice ride home. We stopped for Mexican food in Vallejo, and I was on my doorstep by 11p, exactly 24 hours after I had awoken in London. 

I can't believe I'm home. Today I felt more at home, unpacking my things and sharing it all. Jared looked really sharp in his new clothes from Uni Qlo. I tried to run today, but I didn't realize how much of a difference the elevation really makes! I had a lot of trouble, so I'll have to work twice as hard to get back to the point where I can run in SLC in a few weeks. I got my hair cut FINALLY and I had a nice time making a black forest cake for my mum. Redding is beautiful, green and warm. But London still has my heart. 

24 March 2009

Magical Mystery Tour

So this is my last day in London. Yesterday I spent my time in the lovely city of Oxford. 

Angus picked me up from the train station around 10.30 and we proceeded to walk around the lovely town in the patchy sunshine. Our first stop? Christ Church Cathedral...

Better known as HOGWARTS!
Perhaps not better known as such, but my goodness. I had no idea! I was beside myself with glee.
Remember this place? I know you do!
'You won't make a fool of yourself. It's in your blood!'
"That's not real, the ceiling, it's just enchanted to look like the night sky. I read about it in Hogwarts, A History."
"Not Slytherin, Not Slytherin..."
"You'll soon find out that some wizarding families are better than others. You don't want to go making friends with the wrong sort. I can help you there."
"Quidditch is simple enough to understand... You'd make a fair beater, Potter... Oh you like that ball now, but it's wicked fast and damn near impossible to see."

I could barely contain myself. I didn't know that so much of the movie was filmed here!
Lunch with Angus at this secret cafe, they served delicious food, and only played Beatles' songs!
We climbed the tower to see the panorama of Oxford. It was a lovely day, though I should have brought my jacket. I regretted not having it once the wind blew in the clouds. 

Then it was off to the University Museum. It was, in one word, awesome. I really like challenging myself and seeing if I can remember all my biology knowledge. 
Raptor from Utah.
I was so excited I felt like the kid who found the severed hand. 
This is the old train station in Didcot. I posted this for you Jaime, you can show Gavin, this is the original train station that either inspired the train station for Thomas the Tank, or it was the one that they used, I'm not really sure. But it was cool. Did you know that Ringo Starr was the original narrator for the show? 

It was a lovely day in Oxford, finishing with a visit to Didcot in Oxfordshire and then dinner at the Dicks house. I'll miss this lovely country. I think I'll come back soon.

22 March 2009

Here Comes the Sun

So to preface, this was my last full week in London. I did some math and realized that even with the cost of moving my flight up a week, I would be saving a lot of money if I went home early. So next Wednesday I fly back to the States, after a wonderful 12 weeks in England. In honor of my wonderful time here, and leaving my teens, London threw a week long celebration of Sunshine in my honor. I was outside as much as possible. 

Monday I went for a run, and then walked around London for a bit. I walked to Great Ormond Street to see the Hospital For Sick Children -this place owns Peter Pan courtesy of Sir J. M. Barrie. 
I bought an ice lolly from the ice lolly man, and it was amazing, "Cornish Vanilla" or something like that. I decided from there to walk to the British museum, and while just meandering through the sunny streets and mews, I saw this:

I think that's a place for me, where you're only required to be 'good enough.' I eventually found the British Museum.
I was hesitant to actually spend my afternoon there because it was so gorgeous outside. The interior of this place was beautiful too though.
In the museum I saw a group of Jehovah's Witnesses having a Bible study, and a mummy:

On Tuesday it was St. Patrick's Day. I ran 6 miles, and did pilates. I took the bus to Tottenham Court Road, bought a muffin from Sainsbury's and posed with it on the Drury Lane sign. Pictured here:
I think I may have seen Dustin Hoffman today, crossing Charing Cross Road. There's no way to be sure though. I also visited Foyles 'UK's No. 1 Bookseller' and was there for a very long time before deciding upon 'The Jungle Books' and 'Mansfield Park.'

Wednesday was another amazingly beautiful spring-like day. I went for a run past Buckingham Palace and the day was so glorious that I turned around, went home, got ready for the day and went back to enjoy the sunshine and read. 
I walked through Green Park to enjoy the Daffodils before finding the perfect sunny reading spot.

Right in front of the Palace. 
I sat here reading until I had to go to my last Le Cordon Bleu class. We did chocolate truffles. It was easy and fun. 

Thursday I had no motivation to run. I planned to run the 5 miles to Abbey Road, but I walked nearly half of it just enjoying the sunshine. Abbey Road was cool, it was completely covered in graffiti by fans of The Beatles. I didn't have a pen or I would have added to it. 

Again, Awesome. 

Today I was mental about going home and figured out my flight situation. I was a bit sad about giving up on Prague after all my training, but I found a half marathon in Salt Lake on April 18th, that I will most definitely run, and my training will not have been in vain. 

Friday was my first birthday, and to kick it off I had my grade deliberation. I went early so I didn't have to wait around to get my day started. It went really well. I did remarkably well in the course, not perfect by any means, but passing is 50%, and I got an 87.5% on the practical final alone. A few parts of it Chef told me were 'perfect.' I was super happy. I skipped to Sainsbury's bought stuff for Zucchini Bread and other things that I want to take home and then it was off to Kensington Palace with my friend Katherine. 

I took the bus and I could see Katherine walking in Kensington Gardens from a quarter mile off. It's her glorious mane of red curls, she could never go incognito.

We walked through the palace spending most of our time in the "Last Debutantes" exhibition which was so charming! I loved it! I also learned how to tie a bow tie, 

and that typing on a type writer is SO much fun! 
I was planning on buying a gift for a friend's birthday, but instead I bought myself a nightgown. It was lovely, inexpensive, and I totally needed a new one. I think mine is about 8 years old...

Saturday morning I woke up early. Once I realized that I was officially no longer a teenager, I couldn't sleep. You know how on your birthday everyone asks 'Do you feel different? Older?' well my usual response is 'No, not really." And while today, no one asked me, I totally feel different! I felt myself change while on the tube today. My heart fluttered and suddenly I was grown up. I couldn't think of a better place to lay my childhood to rest than in London.

 I'm 20, and while that is still young, I'm a grown up. Children see me as a grown up, and after this, I'm just aging...

But I'm not bitter about it. To celebrate the first day of Spring I went up to Willesden Green to help my ward do a clean up service project. It took me 2 hours to get up there because of the rubbish tubes. The worst part about it, is that Willesden Green is probably only 7 miles from my flat at the most.

Though we did get free t-shirts -actually I dont know if we were supposed to return them or not... I didn't. I was sad that Angus didn't join us, he just got back from Italy last night, but Seb and Jake were there, and I love them nearly as much. 
Seb made me a birthday card, and they all signed it, accompanied by chocolate (and later Jake bought me Wine Gums -MY FAVORITE!) I hung out with them for a few hours and headed home. Hilary surprised me with a phone call saying she'd be in London by the evening and that we should go to dinner together! I was so happy. We planned to meet at Hard Rock Cafe around 8.

In honor of my birthday, London gave me another present: the most beautiful red sunset I have seen in ages. 

Half the tube lines were down so I had to hop random buses to get to Hard Rock where Hilary was waiting with, what else, the birthday boa. Here I am pictured on the hog outside. 

We had a bit of a wait outside before we went in. It was great to see Hilary and catch up. I haven't seen her since Edinburgh! We talked and talked, and it was so loud inside that we were both hoarse by the end. I had a very delicious burger and chips (fries) and I was sung to by all of Hard Rock -as were 5 other girls! It is a good day to be born! The boys did have some cheesecake left over that I was planning on having, but after ward I was so tired that I just went home, where my darling friend Lauren was there to greet me on Skype. 

It was a very good, simple day. I felt happy and at peace. I love London and I can't believe I've been able to LIVE here for a few months. I have 3 full days to soak up as much as I can before I fly back to the states. Thank you for all the birthday wishes from everyone. I'll see you all so very soon! 
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