Life is always a little better with chocolate.
Let’s see here. It got real busy real quick here. My apologies for making you anxiously wait at your computer screen all week, which I know you’ve been doing.
Last Saturday was an adventure in itself. I woke up later than I had wanted to by one of my roommates double checking that I was still planning on going to play soccer at Hyde Park. So I was up and ready in seconds and we were on our way to play the world’s greatest sport! There were only seven of us, the field we chose was huge, it was wet and muddy from the night before. It was PERFECT. There were lots of pot holes and ditches, so falling was inevitable. Covered in mud, demonic bug bites that bled and itched and hurt ever since, and beautifully tired and sore, we trekked back to clean ourselves up.
After food and a well-deserved, and needed, shower, we headed off to the Portobello Market just a few blocks away, looking at all the shops, buying a pastry here and there, and, my personal favorite, just watching the people and listening to the various conversations and accents.
On our walk back, I got to see, in person and up close, what was once my dream car.
Well, too bad the internet sucks all the time, otherwise right here would be a picture of it.
We then did some homework and went on a ‘London walk’ around Big Ben, the London Eye, Westminster Abbey, the River Thames, some good stuff.
Pretend there are more pictures here!
We went to Oxford Street for dinner and then Tinseltown (a nearby diner) for milkshakes! It’s become our go-to place for them. We’ve made it a tradition to go to Tinseltown on ‘Temple Tuesdays’, after we do something related to temple work. I know, how adorable are we.
Sunday was Stake Conference, so I have yet to actually attend my own ward. It was wonderful and we were able to hear from the Stake President, a couple who work in the London temple who are from Ireland, and a local member of the Seventy and his wife from Scotland. Needless to say, I was definitely paying attention to THIS Stake Conference. Some other students were saying how they were falling asleep! I soaked in as much of those accents (and the messages in the talks, of course) as I possibly could. It was wonderful and I can attest that the church is very strong here. The members are spectacular.
Monday, we made our way through another London walk. This time we made it to the British Museum and British Library, passing other museums, gorgeous parks, and well-known churches along the way.More pictures that you can't see!
Did I mention I saw the original Gutenburg Bible, part of Handel’s Messiah, pieces of work by Browning, Chaucer, and Wordsworth, the Magna Carta, the Rosetta Stone, and parts of the Parthenon? Oh…I didn’t mention that? Well, I saw them. It was SO COOL.
Okay, Tuesday, not much happened. Well, classes happened of course, which have been going wonderfully. Although the actual assignment part isn’t that wonderful, but apparently that’s important? Right.
Wednesday, we went to an Opera!
Here would be a picture of the English Opera House. But there's not.
It was a very modern take of Julius Caesar, all in English as opposed to Italian. It was…well the orchestral music and singing was very beautiful and I love that I can say I’ve been to an opera in London! But there was dancing involved…to try and explain the dancing, besides that it was along the lines of interpretive dance and seizures, I’ll compare the feeling of watching it to a scene in a movie it reminded me of.
Have you ever seen the movie She’s All That, released in 1999? With Freddie Prinze Jr. and Rachael Leigh Cook? Well the main character, Zack Siler, is invited by the other main character, Laney Boggs, to a performance she is in at a local café (or bar, I can’t really remember what). The performance she’s in is super weird, just a group of teens dressed up in full body skin tight suits, as they move around chanting over and over, “Be silent, be still, be silent, be still” and you’re not sure if you should feel awkward watching it or supportive of Laney. Either way, that’s the feeling I got while watching this Opera.
Thursday was long, with a full day of classes. All three of them. We met with our religion teacher for the first time and I was made the liaison from him to the rest of the students because my birthday is closest to his. He said if he’s not there for class, which is at the Hyde Park Stake Center just on the other side of the park, then I get to teach the class. We only meet with him three more times so I doubt that will happen. I believe he is the President of Institute over here so he’s the teacher on Thursday nights as well. He’s awesome and I’m really excited to meet for his class again.
So one of my professors, the one whose wife and two daughters came along, has with his family an annual tradition of having a Fall Ball. They’ve been doing it for years, just their family. The story behind it was that their oldest daughter was distraught when her parents weren’t attending a Gold and Green Ball for their Stake because she wanted to attend but wasn’t allowed to go. So instead, on the night of the real ball, they had their own in their house. They dressed up, decorated the house, played music, and danced.
We looked really cute, you just can't tell because there isn't a picture here.
So, that night, we as a study abroad group, had our own Fall Ball. We dressed up, somewhat nice and somewhat silly, and danced in the front room to oldies music. It was so much fun—plus, who else gets to see their university professors wear a plastic gold crown, shiny gold bowtie, and their daughters tulle tutu around their waist while they dance to swing music?
Today was a party, continued from last night. We woke up early and piled onto a tour bus, marking us even more as tourists, and by ten thirty we were at Stonehenge. STONEHENGE. It rocked.
It was overcast and cold, rainy and wet, windy and misty—the perfect weather. It was so cool, I can’t even articulate anything that sounds remotely intelligent because it was so cool.
Then we got back on the bus and went to Stourhead. For those of you, like myself, who did not know the significance of Stourhead, I can enlighten you to the extent of my knowledge. It is over two thousand acres of land, handed down through generations of a family that died out during WWII that is now owned by the National Trust. A more well-known fact about it is that the scene in the Kiera Knightly version of Pride and Prejudice where Mr. Darcy proposes to Elizabeth the first time in the pavilion, in the rain, of course, is filmed in those gardens. For those of you who have no background on Pride and Prejudice, they get married in the end, like most other Jane Austen novels. I had to be the one to ruin it for you, sorry. Anyway, I walked around in that same pavilion.
There would be a bunch of really awesome and way cool pictures.
This property is breathtaking. Have I mentioned I love autumn? That it’s my favorite? Well, today has just reaffirmed that, in case you were wondering. You probably weren’t, but you’re reading my blog SO that sucks. The colors of all the trees, and there were a lot, varied in shades of oranges, reds, greens, blues, greys, yellows, and browns, each tree individual in its turning. There were leaves covering the ground, layered in with the pebbles and mud. The lake in the middle of the pathways was very still for how windy it was, scattered with a few geese and swans here and there.
More cool absence of pictures.
The house was really cool too, but it was really the gardens that impressed me. It was basically a hike/walk through awesome. It was still cold, wet, and slightly gusty, but worth any annoyances of what those inconveniences brought. I loved it.
So, again, sorry about the lack of pictures...
On the cigarette packets here, there is usually a label that says something along the lines of "Smoking Kills".
There ya go.