Life is better lived conscientiously and right now—don’t wait for tomorrow on something you could start today.
Well, it’s been a while. Again.
So the twenty-seventh, last Saturday, we were invited by the local stake to participate in preparing a local private school to be re-painted. Quite a few of our program went and we cleaned classrooms, cleaned walls and windows, taped edges and window panes, and started the painting. It was really fun and it felt great to help out in the local community.
The one picture I'm actually able to upload and it's not even a cool one.
Sunday, I finally got to attend my own ward!! It was so exciting! It took about forty minutes to get there via the Tube. The church building is really small, at least compared to most buildings in the States.Here would be a picture of the church building, but, again, the internet is awful.
It really was just a chapel and a hallway that went into classrooms. The ward is so wonderful and I didn’t even get the opportunity to talk with many of the members. Funny story! Well it’s not a haha-funny but oh-what-a-small-world kind of funny. One of the guys there introduced himself when we first arrived and asked who we are, where we’re from, etc. Turns out he’s from Kent, Washington and when I asked him if he knew any Self’s, he said, “Oh Adam and Chris? No, not at all.” I already knew he and I would be friends due to his blatant use of sarcasm. He apparently was in the same ward as them! Crazy.
Monday, we went on a walk for our class, after going to our music class of course. It was the ‘Legal London’ walk. Basically through the area of where law firms and schools are, lots of businesses and offices, lots of attractive men in nice, clean cut suits. It was great!
We stopped at the Guildhall Museum and I saw a statue that I just became obsessed with immediately. It’s called Mignon by E Roscoe Mullins, based off of a character in a Goethe novel, “Willem Meister’s Apprentice”. She was just so life-like, I felt as though she was just going to start talking to me at any moment. She was mesmerizing and I can’t say exactly what it was.You should just Google her. This is where her picture would be.
So, I’ve never seen the movie Phantom of the Opera all the way through. Yet Tuesday night, I went and saw a play/musical performance of it at Her Majesty’s Theatre. It was so indescribably awesome. The singing was angelic; the music in general was just pulsing through the crowd; the entire auditorium was just fabulously decorated and I loved it.
There would be a picture of me at the Theatre here, but there's not.
On Wednesday, Halloween, we went on another walk. Well, at least we got most of it done. It was through the Theater District of London. We didn’t dress up in costumes, I feel as though we were touristy looking enough. It was a chilly day, very blue skies with plenty of wind, and we stopped by Starbucks to get pumpkin spice steamers—it’s kind of our thing right now. It’s just pumpkin spice and steamed milk. It tastes like autumn and warms up the soul.
On one side of a building we walked by had pictures and short biographies of famous and otherwise influential people. It was interesting to see history literally written on the walls of London. In the courtyard of the Somerset House there is the making of an outdoor ice skating rink. How cool is that!
Further along the walk we found Drury Lane but did not see the muffin man. Slightly disappointing but I got over it fairly quickly.
I took a picture with the sign. It's really exciting. And not here.
My favorite part of the walk was the Covent Garden area. The streets around the square had lights and other decorations strung across from building to building, preparing for Christmas. The square itself was lined with shops and had even more shops and stands in the middle of it. It was quite crowded and the air was extremely thick with excitement. In the back of the square was a giant Christmas tree! It was during the day so the lights weren’t on, but it was still gorgeous. And huge.
We finished our day in Trafalgar Square at the National Gallery. We only were able to see a few rooms due to time constraints but it was fantastic nonetheless. We had to be back an hour before dinner so I could fulfill my 10 days of being a part of the kitchen crew! Basically, about six other students and I help set up for dinner and breakfast and do the cleaning up afterwards.
Thursday was full of academia. A mid-term, 19 chapters to read for another class, and going to our religion class to end up conducting the class before turning the time over to our teacher. In between, I was able to go on a run through Hyde Park. I’m sure you’re sick of my repetition of saying this but it was gorgeous. The sky was fairly clear and blue; the trees were all sorts of colors, partially or fully changed, some even completely bare already. I’m convinced that everyone here owns at least one dog and they’re all cute dogs. Even the ‘ugly’ ones are adorable. I’m hoping this trend will overflow to the States.
Today, we took a trip to Dover and Canterbury. In Dover we were just in the castle and it was awesome! It was exciting to be in the town where the poem Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold was based off of, considering I just studied it again in one of the English classes I’m in. We went on a tour of the old wartime tunnels underneath the castle. I couldn’t take any pictures but we learned a lot about what they were used for and the buildup they were a part of leading up to WWII. The castle itself was awesome—my apologies, I’m running out of adjectives due to how I always write these blogs late at night. Problems of a student in London, right? Anyway, my favorite part of the castle was being up in the tower. The view was spectacular and I loved the wind, despite the already cold day.
Google Dover Castle, too. Imagine I'm in every picture that uploads.
Canterbury was just as cool—we went to the Canterbury Cathedral and took a guided tour with a Colin Stevens, an older gentleman with a vast knowledge of the history of the town and cathedral. If you have never read Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, I highly recommend it. It’s lengthy but certain stories are surprisingly, and sometimes scandalously, entertaining. Canterbury is, in short, a place where thousands of pilgrimages are made every year by people from all around the world. They come seeking miracles from visiting the crypt of Archbishop Thomas Beckett, one of the first Archbishops of the church when it was restored in whatever year that it happened. He was greatly revered in life and even still in death. His story was so interesting and I’m glad I got to hear it from someone who knew so much about it.
Google, again. Sorry guys, this isn't working out as nicely as I would've hoped.
I am so lucky to be here and am so grateful for this opportunity and those who’ve helped me to get here. Tomorrow we are going to a football match, Fulham v. Everton. Next week we have our week long trip up north, through parts of Scotland and northern England. The week after that we have classes, the next week is our Thanksgiving break, after that is our last two weeks of classes, and the last week is finals. That is a total of six more weeks here and only three of those weeks are going to have classes. Jealous?
There ya go.