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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Giant Outside My Window


Across the street from my apartment they are building a giant new apartment complex. It used to be a big empty field that we would cut through on our way to visit friends. They start banging their tools and such at the crack of dawn every day, and though I am a heavy sleeper and never hear them while I'm asleep, once I'm awake I can't hear anything but the banging and hammering and scraping. It sounds like there is a giant eating cereal outside my window. The scraping and clinking and crunching and banging sounds like it's Honey Bunches of Oats being mashed up inside a giant's mouth, like the crunching you hear in your own head when you're eating cereal but 100 times louder. I like the idea of having a giant outside my window much more than having construction. Giants are cooler.The construction really isn't annoying or anything. Every now and then I hear guys screaming at each other, trying to be heard over the noise of their machines, and their conversations travel all the way to my window. Unfortunately, I haven't heard anything juicy or exciting yet. Mostly just "No! NO! Don't put that there!" or "You have to turn that around!" "I can't turn it around!" or "HOW'S THAT?!?" Not very exciting, I know, but I keep hoping.


(The accompanying picture has nothing to do with this post except that it's of something GIANT. I couldn't help but post it :)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Merry Christmas!!!

The best things about Christmas:

  • Greetings and farewells containing "Merry Christmas!"
  • General goodwill amongst everyone
  • Bright lights on houses, trees, and even around campus
  • Snow
  • Snowmen
  • Snow angels
  • Snowball fights
  • Family parties
  • Santa hats
  • Fluffy slippers
  • Footie pajamas
  • Gift-giving
  • Gift-receiving
  • Siblings flying in for visits
  • Writing the letter to Santa
  • Movies (must watch list includes Muppet Christmas Carol, Elf, The Santa Clause, Christmas Carol with Albert Finney, Miracle of 34th Street (old or new or both!), Meet Me in St. Louis, How the Grinch Stole Christmas (cartoon and live-action), Jingle All the Way, Forgotten Carols, It's A Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie and It's a Wonderful Life - it's a long list, I know, so start now!)
  • Muppet Christmas Carol on Christmas Eve
  • The annual 12 Days of Christmas story book my mom puts together
  • The Hardy Family nativity, including squirmy angels, a zillion picture-snapping parents, my Dad narrating, caroling, and general happy memories
  • The stockings hung along the stairs in the living room
  • The lights at temple square
  • Hot chocolate
  • and last, and most importantly, Christ's birth, without which none of us would be able to return to live with our Heavenly Father.

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Harry Potter, Harry Potter - ooooooh!

Tonight is the night when Muggles and Wizards alike will gather together to witness the first half of the final installment of their hero's tale, HARRY POTTER and the DEATHLY HALLOWS.

I. Am. Pumped.

Already got my costume ready. I may or may not have just worn it around last night just for kicks....I got my midnight ticket. I got a group of awesome people to see the movie with. I am ready. Bring it on, Voldemort!

Please enjoy the following:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EC2tmFVNNE

EPIC.

I am so glad I got to be a part of the Harry Potter generation. So endlessly glad :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Hobbies

I recently discovered that, since I've been in school, my hobbies have kind of disappeared to the back burner. So I decided to record here all the things that I normally do. Then, when people ask what my hobbies are, I can just send them a link with the disclaimer that many of these things I do not do currently, but have had or currently have an interest in pursuing.

A list of my hobbies:

Acting
Drawing (particularly cartoons and anime)
Movie-watching (I still do this one quite a bit)
Writing - stories, screenplays, etc (I get to do this one for school right now, so that's fun)
Knitting
Sewing (I have recently taken this one up again to create my t-shirt quilt)
Video game playing (only when I am on vacation or have a long flight/drive ahead of me)
Making movies (I also get to do this at school :)
Photography
Dancing - ballroom, country swing, and others that I have yet to learn)
Softball
Basketball
Soccer
Rugby
Napping (I do this rather regularly too. I'm very good at it. In fact, I may go do it right now...)
Play watching - I adore plays. I could watch a play every day if time and the world allowed it.
TV watching, but only select shows. Right now I only watch Doctor Who and Bones.
Singing - I used to take voice lessons and I performed in choirs but haven't seriously since high school.

Well...that's it I guess. I guess I have lots of interests. Sometimes I feel so bland, but I guess that's just because when I'm in school, that takes up all of my hobby time.

P.S. What is a hobby horse?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

My life right now in a nutshell

I wake up, usually at 6 or 7 AM depending on how much homework I didn't do the day before.

I eat breakfast. Cheerios or Oatmeal. Healthy.

I shower, do my hair, put on my makeup, and then get dressed. Not to brag, but I almost always have great hair - I finally figured it out.

I am usually running about 15 minutes late by this point, so instead of making a full lunch like a should, I grab a granola bar and plan to pick up a bagel or something later.

I walk to school. I rarely drive because I only live 10 minutes from campus and there is never any good parking open on campus.

I go to my morning class. To be honest, I'm usually bored in either of my morning classes. Neither of them are extremely challenging for me, so I tend to coast through rather than learn all that I can...oops...

Then I go to work. I LOVE MY JOB! Sometimes the material I'm editing is a bit dry, but the people I work with make up for it every day.

After work I go to another class. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays this class is really long but fun. On Tuesdays this class is short but boring. I tend to sleep through my Tuesday afternoon class.

After class I walk home. On every day but Tuesday it takes me about 15-20 minutes. On Tuesdays I have to walk all the way from the Tanner Building to my apartment...that takes 30 minutes. It's getting cold now so that walk is going to become more miserable.

On Fridays I work all day. Sometimes we have donuts.

On the weekends I usually do something fun. I've been helping out on film sets recently, but sometimes I get to go to plays or see movies or just play with friends. Weekends are my favorite. I don't think I'm alone in feeling that way.

On Halloween I was Mario. On Thursday night, the Harry Potter 7 premiere, I will be dressed as Tonks. I adore dressing up.

On Sundays I drive to my parents and I work on my T-Shirt quilt. It's going to be awesome.

Then I repeat the above activities. When people ask me if there's anything new in my life, I usually reply in the negative. There isn't anything new. But that doesn't mean there isn't anything good. There's lots of good. Sometimes I do want to mix things up a bit. It can get a little boring....but I still love it. I am looking for new things to do though. If you have any ideas of hobbies I can take up I would love to hear them :)

Sorry for the lack of cleverness in this post. Normally I am infinitely more clever and excited...just, you know, read some of my funnier stuff.

Or, if you really want to laugh, please enjoy the following video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3xd8bXlzeU

My roommate Katelyn and I watched it probably ten times the other night and laughed our heads off. Literally, our heads were rolling on the ground with laughter while our bodies remained on Katelyn's bed, also rolling around with laughter. Then again, it was like 2 in the AM, so that could explain it. Still, a brilliant piece of human observation, this video :) Hope you enjoyed it.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The things I love

My mom - she's everything I want to be.

Popsicles waiting for me at my parents house.

My papa - he teases me for still loving "A Little Princess" but doesn't realize that I love it partially because of him.

Good television. By good, I mean television that makes you laugh, feel, love, and be better in just 45 minutes.

Good movies. By good, I mean they do everything a good TV show does but on a slightly elevated, higher risk way.

My job. I could spend all day (and often do) with the people I work with. They are some of the best friends I will ever have. They could kick Chuck Norris' butt (no offense Mr. Norris - they're just that cool)

Movies that make me cry. I used to abhor movies that made me cry, but I think I have come to understand the cathartic nature of it. Or perhaps it's since I've begun writing that I've realized exactly how hard it is to write something that connects with someone on a deep enough level that they end up crying. I just watched "Stranger Than Fiction" and found myself crying at the climax - it was one of those good movies.

My brothers. I am bits of all of them and I owe them more than I can ever repay, including all of my favorite music.

My sisters in-law for so perfectly matching my brothers and being awesome women, strong and smart and funny and amazing mothers.

My roommates. They not only put up with my down days but love me through them.

My iPhone. Special thanks to my brother Danny who always thinks of others before himself and decided to send me his iPhone without telling me, thus causing the biggest and best surprise in recent memory. Plants vs. Zombies rocks, by the way. And Cut the Rope. If you have an iPhone, get those two games at least.

Gareth, My MacBook Pro. Named in honor of my British summer. Gareth came in and saved me when Sophie, my HP notebook who is awfully ill right now and doesn't seem likely to make it, fell off my bed. Yes, it was my fault Sophie fell. I cannot tell you how guilty I felt over it. She's like a family member - I seriously almost cried. I felt nauseous even thinking about getting a new computer. Gareth made the transition much smoother than I could have expected.

People who have no inhibitions. Today my friend Dustin and I were approached by a woman who wanted our advice. You see, her son had bad acne in high school and took Acutane, which at the time was in its testing period. His skin was cleared up, like a miracle. This woman saw a young man in the BYU bookstore who also had terrible acne. She asked Dustin and me if it would be too invasive to suggest Acutane to him. She proceeded to tell us how they were worried the drug would make her son impotent but he has six kids now so it must be safe. She then commented on how Dustin and I were studying together and how great she thought that was for dating couples. She said she took three classes with her husband when they were at BYU and studying together just proved that what they had was not simply infatuation. So now at least I know I'm not infatuated with Dustin - we could totally get married and be just fine. There's just the whole dating thing we'd have to do first. I love this woman for her uninhibited candor. Priceless.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Letter

Dear Boy,


Here’s the way it is: I like you. I have always liked you. When I say like, I mean I want to date you. I know we’ve always just been friends. I understand that you may never want more than that. I just think you should know that when I met you, I thought you were SO attractive. And funny. And smart. Then I discovered you had a girlfriend, so I decided to forget about liking you. You nearly always have a girlfriend. Between girlfriends I’ve happily played the part of what I’d like to call your “interim” girlfriend until you find a “real” one. True, there’s been no cuddling or hand-holding or any of those things. But I have liked you. I re-realize I like you every time you’re not dating someone – maybe it’s because the possibility of dating is suddenly open and I give myself a chance to hope. But you always get a new girlfriend, and it is never me.


I’m writing you to tell you that perhaps it should be me. Perhaps you should take your eyes off of those young, plastic girls you are always dating – the ones that look really good on the outside and are probably really sweet, but just aren’t quite up to your level – and date someone who fits you better. Someone who understands you and wants you to be happy more than anyone she’s ever known before. Someone who appreciates you as one of the best friends she will ever have. Someone you tell you love every day, and who always says she loves you back – and always will. Me. That girl that you’ve been an amazing friend to for a year and a half now. The girl you should realize is perfect for you.


In response to this letter you will probably give me some crap about how I’m “too good for you” or “out of your league.” That’s crap. It’s flattering crap, but crap nonetheless. I understand if you don’t feel anything for me. I totally get that. But have you ever even thought about it? Thought about us? I think about it. I like the idea of us. But maybe you don’t. I know you love me as a friend and you always will. That is wonderful and I would never want to lose that. But is there perhaps a chance that you might add to that a little bit of romance? Just a little? I promise you, I’d be one hell of a girlfriend (See that? I just swore for you, and I don’t swear). That’s all I wanted to say. I think we could have a wonderful time together. I think we should just try it out. If it doesn’t work, at least we’ll know. And don’t worry – you will always be my friend.


I find I’m just a bit hung up on you. In a good way.


Love,


Jenny


(I composed this letter as part of my creative writing journal)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dreams, Vampires, and Crossing Delancey

Lately I've been having the strangest dreams, many of them quite violent. I blame it on my recent consumption of several Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes, but normally that sort of thing doesn't bug me. Then again, I think vampires movies and such are sucking my soul from me. Or maybe that's just the Twilight series....anyway, these dreams have me wondering whether I have a seriously disturbed subconscious or something.

Dream #1: I had a dream that a ninja-like man was throwing knives at me. I was dodging them, then I caught one and threw it back at him, successfully hitting him in the stomach and killing him. I'm not sure if I've ever killed someone in a dream before.

Dream #2: I was on a boat with some people and a girl slipped and her head went down into the water where the propellers are and she came back up without a head...it was gross and rather bloody.

Dream #3: I was on a plane, but there were no seats - just a swimming pool. A really deep one. They announced over the PA that everyone had to swim for the entire flight. We were all in the pool, swimming around, when people started disappearing. There was a whale in the tank with us, and it was eating people. I was swimming all over, trying not to get eaten, but not able to break the rules and get out of the pool.

Odd much? I never have violent dreams like these. After having these dreams I made a decision. No more Buffy. It was kind of a hard decision for me to make. I want to see what happens between her and Angel. I know what happens (I read it on wikipedia) but I want to see it happen, ya know? Oh well. I made a pact with myself. It has now been two weeks since I last watched Buffy, and I have not had a violent dream since. No more vampires for Jenny (excepting, of course, Mr. Vampire, the Hong Kong Kung Fu vampire movie). I had already long ago given up Twilight (I won't rant about what I dislike about the series here, but perhaps someday it will come out). It's kind of a bummer because Buffy is actually a really well-made show. I'll just have to stick to David Boreanaz in Bones then. Not a bad option :).

I had another odd dream last night though...I had just finished watching Baby Mama with my mom. And in the past week I've watched both Look Who's Talking and Look Who's Talking Too. Maybe that's why last night I dreamed that I was pregnant. It was so odd. I didn't feel any different than I do now - I just had a rather large baby bump. And then I went into labor, but there was no pain. I was just chilling in a hospital room, waiting for the doctor to come deliver my baby. But there were no contractions and I was totally calm. There was no father of my baby. I didn't see or think about one the entire time. It was definitely weird.

New topic of conversation: what is it with guys and their cars? I mean seriously. I can understand being fond of your car - naming it, talking to it, these are things that I do. I name nearly all of my inanimate objects (Tom the iPod, Sophie the laptop, Harold the Printer, etc). But guys seem to have a deeper connection with their car. It like it's their girlfriend. Some guys treat their cars better than their actual girlfriends. They pour hundreds of dollars into it to make it bigger or faster or better. I have yet to meet a girl who does the same with her car. I'm just happy that my truck runs and has air conditioning. Boys like to take apart their cars and put them back together again. They're always looking for the next best thing for their car - bigger tires, a bigger subwoofer, a more powerful engine, more speed, a DVD player, a GPS - the list goes on and on. I do understand why they do it I guess. Their car is a big toy for them that they can show off to all the other boys. It makes me laugh though because I don't know many girls who are severely impressed by a majorly pimped out car. It's kind of like how a guy isn't really impressed by a girls' clothing. Sure, they like girls to look nice (and girls appreciate it when a guy has a nice car) but when it comes to the nitty gritty details boys could care less about what a girl wears. It's all about showing off for the other boys or the other girls. Sure, as in everything, there are exceptions. I'm sure there are girls that are way into cars, and perhaps that makes them more attractive to guys. There are guys that are way into clothes too - I'm not sure if that trait makes a guy more attractive though. But sometimes I look at the cars some people drive and the clothes some people wear (including myself) and think, "wow, you could feed an entire family in Africa with the money you poured into that." It's all about moderation, isn't it? Taking care of yourself and taking car of others in the best way you possibly can.

Summer is time for movie discovery, and this summer I have found several new favorites. In theaters, I fell in love with Toy Story 3 and Knight and Day. I loved them both for very different reasons because they're obviously very different movies. Toy Story 3 made me cry - and that's not an easy thing to do! I sobbed towards the end. That is one powerful piece of work. The Toy Story movies have been especially fun for me because they have been released for the most part in tandem with events in my life. The first one came out when I was little, Andy's age, and Andy's world with his toys was very much similar to mine. I went through Toy Story 2 in the following years when it was released. Then, as Andy leaves for college and has to leave his toys behind, I find myself away at college too. It's been fun to experience that, much like how the Harry Potter books and movies have been released at appropriate ages for me. I still remember being at Quickwater girls camp in the summer when HP 6 (the book) came out. Harry received his OWL results and I received my AP test results. We were both 16. It was awesome. I guess Toy Story is just another essential aspect of my childhood, like my good friend Harry Potter. Now, Knight and Day was an entirely different movie. No, it wasn't perfect. But I had so much fun watching it that it didn't matter. There were moments when they hit their target dead on. I love Tom Cruise as an action hero, especially when it's a bit tongue-in-cheek.

However, the biggest summer movie discovery made I owe all to Netflix. They recommended it, and at first I wasn't interested. Their little one sentence blurb did not do it justice. I decided to watch it, still going through my 80s phase, and I will forever be grateful. The film was Crossing Delancey. Now, this movie got me emotionally involved in a way that I haven't been in a long time. I dunno, maybe it's because I was watching it at 3 AM after a long night of editing. However, I watched it again the next day...and the next...and the next, and I think I have watched it a total of 6 or 7 times in the past two weeks - it has never gotten old. I could still watch it again. And I probably will.

What is so great about Crossing Delancey? Let me 'xplain. Firstly, it was once a play. That usually means that the dialogue is awesome, and it holds true in Crossing Delancey. I find myself thinking in its quotes all the time. The characters are vivid and lovable, even if they're infuriating or despicable. That is good writing right there - if you can make the villain delightfully horrible, then you know you've got it good. I call him the villain, but really he's not that - he's just a slime ball. Now, good dialogue falls flat if you don't have a superb cast to deliver it. Crossing Delancey's biggest strength is the performance of its actors. Amy Irving is wonderful as Izzy (I call that name, by the way - from henceforth none of my siblings can name their children Izzy or any delineation thereof), and I found myself identifying with her and at the same time finding her infuriating - does that say something about me? The supporting cast is marvelous, but my favorite part of the film and perhaps the biggest reason I can keep watching it is Peter Riegert's performance. He plays Sam, the man Izzy should choose to be with. His performance is spot on - I watch scenes just to see his facial expressions. He is charming and unassuming. And since I have been on a bit of a Peter Riegert streak (surprise surpise). I have since watched him in Local Hero, which was also a very good performance, bits of Oscar with Sylvester Stallone, and in the role probably most people I know would recognize him in, the police lieutenant in The Mask with Jim Carrey. I just love him as an actor. I discovered that he is in a version of Gypsy with Bette Midler and I have been trying to find a copy of it but I can't seem to get my hands on it. He plays Rose's boyfriend and even sings in it - I can't wait to see it. I'm just going to have to wait until Netflix provides it for me I guess. His performance in Crossing Delancey is what sold the movie to me. I'm pretty sure that I would marry his character in a second, that is if he converted to Mormonism :)

Now, I know most of you who read my blog are probably friends and family who read to hear about my life, not my movie obsessions. Since it is summer, though, my movie obsessions are much of me. Ask my roommate Bonnie - she's witnessed this whole 80s/Crossing Delancey phase first hand. She even watched Crossing Delancey with me. The movies I like say something about who I am. I think that's true of everyone. When you identify with something, the way I identify with Crossing Delancey, there's some truth in that movie that resonates in your life too. People who enjoy romantic comedies like them because they want that sort of romance to happen to them, or they have a romance that they see elements of in the movie. I dunno, maybe I like Crossing Delancey because I secretly want to be Jewish (culturally, not religiously. I definitely am a Mormon and will never be anything else). Or maybe I just think Peter Riegert is really cute in the movie. I do think that, but I think it's something more. I think that I am at a point in my life where I am having to come to terms with my imaginations of who I should be with - the romantic writer who says all the right things and has the right lifestyle - and the reality of who I should be with - the down-to-earth, real guy. I am not in a relationship right now, but I think this has been a common issue with me and who I date. I often like the guys that would never go for me and ignore the good ones that are interested. And sometimes I wish I could hire a marriage broker, as Izzy's Bubby tries to do in the movie. It's like it's said in the third Twilight movie - the advice that Bella stupidly ignores and the reason I don't like the books or movies - "You have to learn to love what's good for you." I think we all go through periods of our lives where we have to learn this lesson.

Anyways, that was probably more than any of you wanted to know....but that's my life, so deal with it :)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Summer Reading

TimelineTimeline by Michael Crichton




Some very strong language and graphic violence made this book less enjoyable for me, but overall it was a creative, fun adventure. I kind of could tell where it was going the entire time, but then again I have seen the movie. It was a better constructed story than the film, and I really enjoyed it. I love the way Michael Crichton makes impossible things sound scientifically viable.

View all my reviews >>

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What cadavers and Jane Fonda have in common

So I'm back at work at BYU Independent study. I've been back in Utah now for about a month. I spent the first week at the Saratoga Springs house hanging out with my parents, trying to watch all the movies I was craving in Britain and catching up on most of the movies that came out while I was gone. I watched a lot of Jane Austen and BBC. A lot. :)

Right now I'm editing cadaver videos for a PDBIO anatomy course...its cool, but at the same time I'm pretty sure I have a bit of a grimace on my face the entire time I'm editing. It's kinda gross. The cadavers are juicy, and the way the TAs throw bits of the bodies around is rather disturbing. I just watched one completely flip the rib cage inside out. Okay, so really it's very very cool, and I've learned a lot just by editing the footage, but I guess I've always just imagined the inside of my body to be like a cartoon or something - happy little smiling blood cells flowing around like they're on a roller coaster, yelling hello to other passing blood cells. I didn't see myself as goopy or slimy or anything like I've seen on the cadavers. Of course, they are dead and are being preserved to make sure they stay goopy long enough to look at them. But, I dunno, I guess I just thought we humans looked slightly....um...cleaner or something on the inside.
I espeically did not enjoy that part of the video that I had to edit that featured a dead penis. Yeah...that was awkward. I'm hoping to get to edit the video on the female reproductive system before any of the guys have to. I would like to spare them the awkwardness of that situation.

Two Fridays ago on July 16, 2010, at approximately 8 PM, I received my first speeding ticket. I think it's safe to say that it was the most traumatizing experience I've had in a long time. And the thing that made it worse was that I totally and completely deserved it. I didn't know what the speed limit was in the area - it was in Lehi where the speed limits change so often they might as well be underwear. And it was a road that probably should have had a higher speed limit. But it didn't, and I should have been looking out better. I came around a corner, saw the police car, and immediately knew I would be pulled over. I never speed on purpose. I always go the speed limit when I know it. But I was caught. I wanted to cry when the cop came to my window. I was shaking so badly. I should have cried, just to make him feel bad. I thought about it. I should have. But anyways, I decided to look at this as an adventure - one that I never plan on repeating, but am almost glad I experienced so that I can write about it or something. If nothing else, it's good blog material.

I now am the proud owner of a Netflix account. I never needed one before because our library access was always so great. Now, I'm stuck with just the Provo library (Saratoga Springs doesn't have one and the Lehi library charges for non-Lehi residents) and, let's be honest, it's a pretty disappointing library. And I lost my library card....oops...So, all of those things combined necessitated that I find another way to watch all the movies I would like to. My friend showed me his Netflix queue and I was very impressed, but still hesitant. The thing that totally sold it to me was the presence of all the seasons of DuckTales, Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers, and Mr. Vampire (the best Hong Kong Kung Fu vampire movie you will ever see - perhaps one of the greatest movies ever made). After I saw these, I was hooked. I later learned you can stream the instant watch stuff on your Wii, so I set that up at my parents' house and I'm pretty sure my dad uses the account more than I do! There's so much awesome stuff on Netflix! I love it. I may never go back. $10 per month is totally worth it for the amount of stuff you have access to.

I have come to realize I am going through a major phase right now in my life - I call this phase "I love the 80s." At work I listen to 70s and 80s rock - John Mellencamp, Pat Benatar, Journey, etc. I watch 80s TV shows like Remington Steele (which is still awesome!) and 21 Jump Street (which is terrible, by the way - the only good part is watching Johnny Depp). I work out with Jane Fonda three times a week, where I have 20 new friends in brightly colored, high-cut leotards and sporting poofy hair with large bows. And boy, do they look like they're having fun! My mom and I also saw The Wedding Singer (The Musical) at Hale Centre Theatre, and I absolutely adored it. I already knew the music and the story, but the performers made it rock. I must admit it caused me to develop yet another celebrity crush. I love the 80s. I am so grateful that there is so much pop culture from this era that I can access. What priceless gems!

Things I want to do this summer (or at least start):

learn Spanish
read novels
get tan
write a novel
practice the piano
eat popsicles

School starts in about a month...blargh...not ready....

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Re-Americanization

June 20-24, 2010

My process of re-Americanization after my European adventures officially began in DC. On Sunday we had cake celebrating both Father's day for Mike and my birthday. Mike and Alexis gave me my very own copy of Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey Jr! They were so great to me. We spent most of my time here seeing the DC sites. Unfortunately Mike had to work - that's what you get for being responsible and stuff :) Poor guy. But I had marvelous company in Ryder and Alexis. Ryder is so big now! He can already swing a baseball bat and dribble a soccer ball! It's insane, but not surprising considering who his parents are. We walked along the Mall on the first day. We saw the WWII, Vietnam, and Lincoln memorials and the reflecting pool of course. There was a random concert going on at the WWII memorial - the LAPD band and some My favorite was definitely the Lincoln Memorial. I kept thinking of that part in Night at the Museum 2 when they're talking to Abe - "blah blah blah - I never lie!"
It reminded me a lot of my brother Josh too, mostly because he can quote that part of the movie perfectly. It was also really neat to read Lincoln's speeches, which are carved into the walls. He was such an amazing leader, definitely one of my favorite inspirational hero people. We also got to walk past the back of the White House. I waved to Obama...I'm not sure if he saw :) It was so cool to be so close to the White House. It's amazing.




We went to a few museums during my stay, including the Air and Space Museum where we saw the Lunar Lander (awesome!) and Amelia Earhart's plane, the Natural History Museum where we saw tons of dinosaurs and a giant shark jaw bone, and the American History Museum where I saw the ruby slippers and Kermit the Frog and Fonzie's jacket and Michealangelo (the ninja turtle)!
It was amazing. I went to one of the art museums by myself and saw some awesome Monet, Degas, Van Gogh, and Picasso - all my favorites. That was really neat. We hiked to Great Falls one of the days too - It was gorgeous! So fun and green and HOT. I think one of my favorite moments of the week was when I saw the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I couldn't help but wonder if there just might be a map on the back of one of them, but I was mostly impressed by the importance of these documents - it was so neat to see the actual documents, hand-written, with real signatures of people that I've read about and studied - Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, John Hancock, etc. I was such a neat experience, and it reminded me of how much I really do love the USA. It made me re-appreciate it. I was feeling a bit more British than I thought, but I am back to almost fully embracing my American-ness. I do love America, but I have a special place in my heart for Britain. I think I always will. However, I think my absolute favorite part about this week was just chilling with Mike, Lex, and Ryder. They're so awesome, and they treated me so well. I love them so much, and I am so glad I decided to stop by and visit them. They are simply the best. And Ryder is so darn cute!!! I loved this week. I am glad to be back in Utah though. It's nice to just sit for a little while and hang with my parents. I move back to Provo soon, and I start work in Provo next week, so complete laziness doesn't last terribly long. But long enough :)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Three Countries in One Day - daaaaaaang

Saturday, June 19, 2010

This morning we caught a cab at 5 to take us to the train station for the Chunnel. Our taxi driver couldn’t really speak English, but he was really nice. He made some comment about football, to which we replied “no” – that seems to be the safest thing to say when you don’t understand a question. I once, while working at Best Buy, had a guy ask me if I was married and I didn’t understand what he said so I said yes. Oops. It got him to go away though (he was weird), so I guess that’s good. Anyways, we got on the chunnel and rode back to London and spent the afternoon picking up chocolate on Queensway, the street near the Centre. It was weird being back there and being familiar with the roads and shops. It felt like home. But not as home as the States feels – don’t worry Mom, I’m still coming home J

I was really anxious to get to the airport just in case anything went wrong and it’s a good thing I did because we didn’t know which terminal the flight was leaving from so we had to ride a couple of different trains and then the security was super tight so they searched my bag and got mad at me because I forgot I had a can of hair mousse in my carry-on that was too big and such. Needless to say, it took a long time to get to our terminal. But we did! (the pic is of Tiffany and me waiting to board) And the flight didn’t seem that long to me. They had an awesome selection of movies and TV shows on the Delta entertainment thingy, including an episode of Doctor Who! So, first I watched that (it was “Midnight,” a really good episode) and then I watched Young Victoria (which I LOVED!), then When In Rome (which was not very good but kind of enjoyable), and then Leap Year (which also is very predictable but I enjoyed immensely because of Matthew Goode). I read my new leisure book, Michael Crichton’s Timeline, for a while and before I knew it I was in the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport! I bid Tiffany farewell because she was continuing on to SLC and I found my way towards my next terminal. I pulled out my cell phone for the first time in almost 2 months and I called my mommy! Yay! It was awesome. I am proud to say that I didn’t really miss having the phone. I mean, it’s super nice and I need one, but it was also nice to have a bit of a break. I texted some people – woohoo – and then I got on my flight to Washington D.C. My brother Mike picked me up at the airport – yay!!! I’m so excited to be here. And it’s good to be somewhere surrounded by Americans. What better place to begin my re-Americanization than the nation’s capitol? It’s so good to see Mike and Lex and Ryder, their little boy. He is so big! But now I am exhausted. Three countries in one day, totaling to about 17 hours of travel time, is extremely exhausting. But hopefully, since it’s the perfect time to sleep here in DC I will be just fine and avoid as much jet lag as possible. Goodnight friends! It’s good to be back in the states. Just watch out for my word vomit about Europe. Everything reminds me of something in London or Paris – everything. It’s like I’m a returned missionary ready to spew mission stories. But it’s all because I loved it over there, so just deal with the annoyingness please J Thanks in advance.

Brother Young quotes from English class not to be forgotten: “There are six snipers in the corners of this room. If you don’t answer my question now, they’ll blow your heads off……….You’re all dead.”

Natalie asked him to repeat the question. He condescendingly mimicked her in response.

“Well, we could read that poem. In fact, we should, but we’re not going to because….I don’t like it.” (pretty much sums up the entire class)

The Final Day in Paris

Friday, June 18, 2010

We got Whit off safe and sound this morning at 4:30. She’s headed back to the states. We slept for a little while after walking her to the taxi station and then we got up to go back to the Eiffel Tower, this time to ride to the top. Unfortunately, it was a bit foggy in Paris this morning, so the view from the top was not as grand as I had hoped, but it was still awesome. We took many pictures.

And then we descended and headed off to Montmartre, the artist district, to see the Sacre Couer, a church on the top of a hill. This is the area where Picasso lived during his Rose Period. We arrived at the base of the hill and were accosted by men about whom I had fortunately been forewarned. They slip string around your finger and weave you a friendship ring before you can say no, and then they charge you for it. I almost got caught, but I pulled free and kept climbing the hill. It was kinda a scary experience – they were really pushy. But I’m fine. We went up to the Sacre Couer and went inside – it’s absolutely gorgeous. It still baffles me that all of these churches and temples are open to the public to just come in whenever. And most of them are still functioning churches – they have services and everything, right along with the tourists. That’s totally a foreign concept to me, since LDS temples are definitely open to the general public and require an ecclesiastical recommend to get inside. It’s very interesting.

After the Sacre Couer we went back towards Notre Dame to grab a Panini from our Panini friend (he gave us free crepes again – yay!) and meet up with a free walking tour group. We walked all over Paris with them and got bits of history along the way. It was really fun – our tour guide was a riot. She had far too much energy ha ha but that’s a good thing for a tour guide I think (see picture at left). After the tour we hunted for souvenirs and dinner. I bought a French beret – a real French beret! Woo! Unfortunately, by the time we had found a place for dinner and rushed over the the Musee d’Orsay it was closed. This was the museum I was most looking forward to – it’s full of impressionist art, like Van Gogh, Monet, Degas, etc. – all my favorites. Bummer!

But since it was closed we went to the Louvre. It’s kind of amazing when you can just pop on over to the Louvre. Amazing! So we visited Mona Lisa again. She’s doing well. A little bored, but good J We returned to the hotel and I tried to rearrange my clothes and stuff so they were under the weight limit. We’ll see if it worked tomorrow. It probably didn’t.

Paris holds the key to your heart

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Today we slept in! Not completely in, but enough to feel rested. We decided to take a train out to Versailles to see the palace – it was absolutely amazing! One of my favorite places I’ve been this summer so far. It was huge and beautiful and ornate. The Hall of Mirrors was probably my favorite part of the actual palace.

But the best part overall was Marie Antoinette’s hamlet, situated in a park a little ways from the palace. Oh my goodness, I could have died from how cute it was! I loved it so much! Thanks to Mama C who recommended we go. It was like a fairytale village, straight out of a story book. And while we were there it began to rain a bit, making it somehow more picturesque. I could hardly believe it. I can totally see why Marie Antoinette would prefer it to the palace.

After our journey home we ventured out to have some dinner. We decided we needed to have at least one legit French meal while we were here, even though the legit food is like 3 times more expensive than the American or store food. So we found a little cafĂ© and we ate there – the most expensive meal I’ve ever had, but boy was the salmon amazing! It was probably the most amazing food I’ve ever had, so I guess that’s what you pay for, right? It was fun to have a real Parisian dinner.

After dinner we hopped on the metro to find the Arc de Triumph, and on our way we encountered some accordion players who actually weren't terribly talented but were actually quite entertaining. One of them put some moves on Whitney (see picture). Apparently that sort of thing happens to her a lot.

Then a whole bunch of supporters of the Algerian football team hopped on the train with us and were celebrating and singing – they had just tied England in the world cup. It was really fun and crazy. There were also some Mexican supporters – Mexico beat France in football that night too. They were all heading to the Arc de Triumph to celebrate. It was crazy fun. We took some pictures and headed home real fast because Whitney is leaving for the airport via taxi at 4:30 tomorrow morning. These past two days have been amazing! I’ll be honest though, I’m burning myself out…I don’t know how much more my body and mind will let me take. It’s so cool to be here in Paris though – it’s really such a beautiful city. I'm now going to sleep....in Paris!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Paris, here we come!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

4:30 AM – woke up, stripped my bed, and left the Centre. Sadness…I’m really going to miss this place. It is so amazing here. I think I’ll miss the people most of all. It’ll be fun to run into them on campus and play with them in Provo. We’ve been talking about having tea parties (BYOC – bring your own cup) and London shirt days and such. I love all these people.

6:00 AM – arrived at the Eurostar station to take a train to PARIS!!!!! Woohoo! The train ride wasn’t long, only a couple of hours. I am spending three days in Paris with Whitney and Tiffany from our group. We only got about an hour of sleep last night…yikes…and a couple of hours napping on the train isn’t quite enough – I’m absolutely exhausted. We found our way to our hotel pretty easily. It was weird walking through the Metro and seeing signs in a foreign language, and not hearing English as the main language. And, while looking for the Metro train we needed to take, we ran into a gypsy – a real, live gypsy! We didn’t realize she was a gypsy at the time, but we later learned that she was one. She asked us for money. It was a rather unique exciting experience. We weren’t at our hotel very long, we took off immediately to find Notre Dame. And we did! I saw it! We stopped for lunch at a nice little Panini shop where the guy gave us free crepes and taught us how to count in French. He was so nice! He showed us how to get to Notre Dame and even took the time to walk us to the street corner and point us in the right direction.

Notre Dame is absolutely gorgeous. It’s so much lighter in color than I expected for some reason. Not so dark and gothic as I thought. And the inside it wonderful! I loved it. I couldn’t help but sing “God Help the Outcasts” as I walked through the cathedral.

We went up to the top of it and imitated some gargoyles and got our first real view of the Eiffel Tower! Woo! We kept adding the phrase “in Paris” to everything we said, like – “I just ate a panini…in Paris!” or “I just went to the bathroom…in Paris!” It never got boring either. After Notre Dame we went to find the Louvre, but not before buying another adapter for my laptop chord. So now I have two on the end, because you can’t convert American chords directly to European without spending 30 euros, so I had to convert it to British and then to European. It was rather entertaining.

We found the Louvre after a bit of searching – I really had no idea where it was. But we found it! And it is GINORMOUS! You could spend years in that place. We went through and saw much of the key exhibits, including the Venus de Milo, Winged Victory, Hammurabi’s Code, and, of course, the Mona Lisa. I could hardly believe it – I was able to see all these statues and art pieces that I have only read about. It was so cool! We were so tired though that we ended up collapsing on some chairs and staring at the backside of a naked angel statue. Not on purpose. It was just there and we had no energy to move ha ha.

After exploring the Louvre we headed to the Eiffel Tower to rendezvous (a real French rendezvous!) with two of the guys from our study abroad group but we couldn’t find them. We had gotten there a bit late…a little too carried away in the Louvre I guess. But we found a little Chinese place, ate dinner, and then next door had the best ice cream I think I have ever had. Then we went back to the Eiffel Tower, which was lit up by this point. Every hour, on the hour, the tower twinkles! It’s so pretty and fun! I loved it and took many a picture. We then headed back to our hotel to collapse on our beds and get the first full night’s sleep I have had in over a week. I am exhausted…in Paris!

A Very British Birthday

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Firstly…I AM 21 YEARS OLD!!!! Woo! Another year gone. Another amazing birthday! I received so many messages from people wishing me a happy birthday. I felt very loved – thank you to those who wished me well in some form or another today.

Today was bitter sweet. Last day in London. We woke up early to take pictures down at Big Ben. They turned out really well, I think. They were rather embarrassing to take – lots of honking from passing cars happened. Brits like to play “spot the annoying tourist and embarrass them a lot” ha ha but we got some sweet pictures out of it so it’s totally worth it. We hustled back for our last breakfast in the Centre. We then headed for one last Primark visit, and then a trip to Harrod’s. Now, if you don’t know what Harrod’s is, let me sum up what I know. It’s basically a place where only super rich people can shop. Everything is expensive and fancy and name brand. The designer chocolate looked amazing – they had high heels made out of chocolate! I couldn’t believe it. And all their chocolates were so pretty.

We went to the toy section where they had every amazing toy ever – there was a huge Buzz Lightyear made out of legos and remote control helicopters were flying everywhere. It was awesome. And a nice man there made me a birthday card whilst demonstrating this paint set thing. It was so fun! Then we went to the pet section where they had the most expensive cats and dogs I have ever seen – the kittens were so adorable! They were like $2000 each! Wow…They have this really cool Egyptian escalator at Harrod’s too. It’s kinda hard to describe, so you just need to see pictures. It was way fun. We went to Nando’s for dinner – a Brazilian chicken place. It was really good.

Then we hurried off to ride the London Eye! About half of our group went to ride it. It was so much fun. We rode it at sunset, and we got to see everything in London. It was beautiful and wonderful – an awesome way to spend a birthday.

And we got magnums after, which made it even better! We then went home and proceeded to shove all of our belongings into suitcases. I have way too much stuff to take home…I’m kinda worried it won’t all fit…we’ll see J At about 10:30 pm we had a special musical number thing by Chelsea Wilson, one of the girls in our group who is studying musical theater at University of Michigan. She did a medley of a few of the songs from musicals we saw whilst in London, including a version of popular where she sang to Professor Macfarlane – it was the best. So funny! And then she and Staley, another girl in our group, sang “For Good.” It was beautiful. And so sad. I can’t believe it’s all over. I said goodbye to Professors Macfarlane and Cooper. Both gave me hugs. It’s in interesting thing, to get to know your professors so well. I will miss them, for sure. You can really tell they love us.

Finals? She DONE!

Monday, June 14, 2010

FINALS ARE DONE!!!!! Woohoo!!!! I am all done with school – best feeling in the world, let me tell you J And I think I did pretty well. I’ve learned a lot this semester. My favorite class was British History and Politics by far. I learned so much. Maybe it’s because it’s all new history to me, but I was fascinated by every single minute of it. And Professor Cooper was really awesome. And I was in London while I learned it – that might have a little to do with it.

After we finished finals we had a pizza party. It was sooooooo good. They were these massive New York style pieces – you know, super thin and huge. I loved it. They bought us Ben’s Cookies too. They’re the best cookies you’ll ever have. I’ll miss them. We then went on a final walk through Kensington Gardens to see Peter Pan. My friend Stephanie has a specific smile she uses when taking pictures, so we all tried to imitate it, which was fun. A couple of the girls re-enacted a scene from the Mary Kate and Ashley movie Winning London. We mostly just goofed off, fancy-free and free for anything fancy. Many much clamourosity happened.

We then went and got our last waffles…sadness…I got one with milk chocolate and white chocolate chips – holy cow, so good! I highly recommend it. I then went home to finish my final history assignment, which I stayed up far too late doing and now I’m off to bed so I can wake up in four hours to go take pictures at Big Ben with my friend Aubrie. We want to go early to get some nice, not busy pictures. Goodnight, faithful readers J

The Last Sunday

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Today was our last day in our ward. I spoke in sacrament meeting on temples. It went well I think, though they did not get some of the jokes or movie quotes I dropped, but that’s okay. The bishop kept saying how grateful he was for us – how wonderful we are and how much we help. I don’t really feel like I’ve helped all that much. I did what I could and what was asked of me, so hopefully that was good enough. Our bishop gave us thank you cards and pens. It was rather cute. We took our final bus ride through the city to get home. I’m really going to miss this place.

After church we headed out to St. Paul’s Cathedral for Evensong. I’ve never been to any meeting of any sort for any other religion, so it was really interesting to me. St. Paul’s is a choir’s dream singing location – the acoustics are insane! I loved it. The sermon was interesting. I did not agree with everything he said. He was claiming that the gospel is unknowable and that you have to dig it out. I believe that the Gospel is plain and precious – it’s simple enough for a child to understand all the precepts. It was a really neat experience to go. How many times can you say you attended a service at St. Paul’s Cathedral? Maybe once in a lifetime J

I spent the rest of the afternoon napping, preparing for the long night of finals studying ahead of me. After dinner we had a testimony fireside – it was so powerful. I never really feel like sharing my testimony at these kinds of things, but I did tonight. It was a amazing meeting. Every person in the group is an incredible individual. I can hardly believe my luck in getting to be in this amazing place with them.

Pomp, Circumstance, and Science Fiction

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Today we began the day early in order to get over to Buckingham Palace and the Mall to get a good spot for the Trooping of the Colors ceremony in celebration of the Queen’s birthday! We all wore matching preppy sweaters that we got a Primark. I’m not sure why…but we did. Jess and I found a pretty good spot and we had some fun neighbors. The couple on our left asked about our sweaters and if they were from our school – I said no, Jess said yes. So then we had to explain the discrepancy in our answers, which was a funny and most embarrassing situation. Most people tend to think it’s weird when a big group matches clothing for really no reason. I began reviewing for our history final, and the couple on our right asked what we were studying for and we told them about our class and where we’re from and such. Both couples were really nice. When the actual marching and ceremony stuff started, we whipped out our cameras and took a whole lot of pictures. There was a long procession of guards, all of which were slightly different but I had no idea what each one was called or what they did. Some fancy cars with people with big hats on inside drove by.

Then the royal guard marched by, followed by some carriages. I zoomed in with my camera, not knowing that I would soon be seeing PRINCE WILLIAM in real life and taking a real picture of him!!! Woo! It was so cool! He was riding with his step-mother Camilla. Apparently Prince Charles was on a horse somewhere near them, but I didn’t see him. The carriage behind theirs was Prince Charles’ brother and family. Then the Queen’s personal guard started marching by – these guys were decked out in awesome gold armor and they had swords and everything.

And then…..we saw QUEEN ELIZABETH II!!!! We saw her in person! It was so fun! She’s such a cute lady. And then it was over. So we waited for like 2 hours to see people for 2 minutes. But it was so cool! I’m so glad we went. We were freaking out.

I left to spend the rest of the afternoon on my own. I would have liked company, but I was going to places that other people had already been or thought was weird, so I ventured on by myself. I went to the National Gallery – finally! I saw so many amazing paintings – Raphael, Michaelangelo, Picasso, Seurat, Degas, Van Gogh, Monet, Renoir – in real life! Like, I stood feet away from them. It was really neat. After the Gallery I exited the building and saw a street performer doing the most amazing tricks with a glass ball, just like David Bowie in Labyrinth but way cooler (if that’s possible) J It was so cool.

I then took rather complicated trip to a store called Forbidden Planet – it’s a science fiction store where they have all sorts of collectibles and comics and action figures and stuff. It was actually quite ghetto. The reason I went was that they had Doctor Who toys! Yay! I couldn’t leave Britain without buying myself some Doctor merchandise. They only have it online back home. So I bought some little collectibles – a TARDIS and a Dalek. I also bought some pins to put on my bags and stuff and I browsed the book section for quite a while. I’ve never felt so nerdy in my entire life, but I absolutely loved it. And the Dalek has actual wheels – it rolls and everything! I have yet to witness my mini TARDIS travel in time, though. On the way home I bought the rest of the souvenirs that I’ve wanted – silly things like a mini Big Ben (my favorite London site) and t-shirts and such. I still need one more thing – a gift for someone. But I don’t know what to get! I’ll think more in depth…

We ate Pizza Hut and then spent the rest of our evening studying for our finals. There’s so much material to cover for our history one, I think my brain might explode. Luckily the class is curved, so perhaps I’ll be fine. I still have a lot of memorizing to do for English though…blargh…School has been killing everyone here. Everyone’s getting sick and not sleeping, a bad combination. I’m not sick, but I’m afraid I’ll have the usual after finals melt down and get sick and have to spend all my time in Paris sniveling and in my hotel room instead of at the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre. Pray for our entire program – we need it big time!

Classes? She DONE!

Friday, June 11, 2010

LAST DAY OF CLASSES!!!!

She done! I love not having class. I still have finals….boo…but that’s better than more class.

Today after classes finished we rode the train out to Kew Gardens, which was absolutely gorgeous. We walked around for a while and saw some wonderful things – there was a treetop walkway and a greenhouse with plants I’ve never heard of and a really beautiful pond with lots of ducks, but we were all exhausted from all the homework and school stuff that we didn’t last very long. And we didn’t have any food, which is always bad…so we stayed for a few hours and then left. We picked up snacks at Tesco and then hopped on the train back. I tried catching up on history reading and didn’t succeed. But I watched some Doctor Who, so that was nice. In the afternoon I got food and then walked around some shops for a while. Didn’t buy anything. I’m all worn out with shopping. I’ve never shopped more in my life than I have while I’ve been here. My mom would be proud. I feel very frivolous and careless with my money, even though I’m not. At least I don’t think I am frivolous and careless…uh oh…maybe I am! Naw…

Dress in drag and do the hula?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

School here is an interesting experience. It’s so much more work than I thought it would be. Apparently, during winter semester, all the students did really horribly in their classes. They put a huge work load on us, more than what I’ve heard from other programs. Even one of our professors admitted that they are pushing us even harder than winter semester. It’s been hard, but I’ve actually not been terribly stressed about it. I figure that I’ll do what I can and that’ll be good enough. We just found out today, though, that the classes in summer semester aren’t going to require any outside of class homework – the directors of their program want them to enjoy London. It’s not fair. Not at all. We’ve had to sacrifice sleep and London activities in order to do all the work. It’s pretty frustrating. I mean, this really has been the best 7 weeks of my life. It just would’ve been much more enjoyable had the classes been a little bit more flexible – no out-of-class homework would have been heaven. I am so excited to not have homework, I can’t even tell you. I wouldn’t have traded my experience here for anything, though. Not a thing.

And tonight I saw………LION KING! It was really fun. It really made me want to watch the movie. Let’s face it – everything here makes me want to watch a movie. I have an extensive list of things to watch when I get home. Anyways, Lion King. It was really good. Little Simba and Nala were adorable and the music is super fun, as I expected. I thought the new songs they gave the hyenas were so stupid though. Chow down? I mean, come on. They’re the comic relief – they don’t need a song like that. The song I loved though was He Lives In You. It was so wonderful – I love the sound and feel of it, and I love the reprise of it in the second half. However, I was not terribly impressed with the first half of the play. It seemed all spectacle and no real dramatic tension, even though a lot of dramatic things happened. The more I think about it though, the more I like the first half. The second half of the play was absolutely wonderful – I loved it. I’m so glad I got to see it finally. It was a good one to end on.

And one of the best parts about today? I didn’t do any homework J Now I just get to stay up all night reading Mrs. Dalloway….blargh…

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sir Thomas is a big fat flirt

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Today we took a train to Hampton Court. I was up late last night and all museum-ed and palace-d out, so I was not excited. In fact, I was once again thinking about finding a Primark or something instead. But as we picked up our audio guides, we could also put on a cloak! Like an almost Harry Potter-type cloak. That got me excited – I’ve never been to a place that gives you dress-up stuff before! We went out into the courtyards of the palace and found a fountain with awkward statues on it, so naturally we took pictures. We wandered around for a bit until 11 when we found some actor/character type people who were helping prepare for Henry VIII’s wedding to his sixth wife Katherine Parr. They invited us to come along. All the people in the cloaks (me included) were considered nobility. They taught us how to bow/curtsy and told us the rules of being in the presence of the king.

Then, in Henry’s apartments, we met first Katherine Parr and then we actually met Henry VIII! He came in and we all bowed and curtsied. He told us to rise and we presented him with a gift. And then, the woman that had been teaching all the rules, presented him with a gift that he found extremely offensive and he yelled at her and sent her away. It was awesome! My first thought was that it’s like British History Disneyland! It was so fun. We explored the rest of the palace, not all of it but most. There was this section on Young Henry VIII when he first became king, and they had a video playing – the guy playing Henry was reeeeeeally good-looking. Then my friend Jess said, “I suddenly have a very big interest in Henry’s early years.” Ha ha it was great. It’s amazing how attractive people make museums and such more fun J On the way out, though, we heard a creepy child’s voice whispering over and over “divorced – beheaded – died – divorced – beheaded – survived.” It’s the little saying kids use to remember what happened to Henry’s wives…So creepy…

We later ran across Henry’s friend Sir Thomas in a courtyard, telling a group of people how he had noticed Katherine Parr staring lustfully at his calf, so therefore she must love him and he was going to propose to her before she married Henry and whisk her away to some far off place. We didn’t get to see him actually talk to Katherine – I wanted to stay but my friends wanted to go see something else – but I know that he was obviously not successful because we know from history that Katherine married Henry. That would have been an epic romance, though, if she had run away with Sir Thomas – I would have preferred that. We did get to help Katherine pick out her wedding dress, though.

The entire palace, gardens and all, was so beautiful. There was also a maze – supposedly the most famous maze in the world – which we wandered through until we found the center. We also reenacted a bit of Harry Potter, of course. And then we headed back through the palace to get out. On our way to the exit we ran into Henry VIII again, walking with Sir Thomas. The guard walking in front of Henry told us to lower our eyes so we curtsied, and then Henry told us we could rise. He proceeded to compliment our beauty, and Sir Thomas started hitting on us. He was like a foot away from me. The following dialogue followed:

Sir Thomas: (distracted by us) very beautiful…

Henry: Sir Thomas, you attend me.

Sir Thomas: (catching himself) Right, your majesty. Right.

Henry: (to us) It is nice to have beauty surrounding us. And you have beauty in abundance.

Sir Thomas: They have beauty in their what? Oh, in abundance…oh…

Ha ha it was the best. I loved it. Totally made my day – a guy who’s been dead for hundreds of years hit on me today – it’s not every day you can say that!

I then had a magnum gold for lunch – nothing better than ice cream for lunch. And we rode the train back to London. On the way home we stopped at Primark and bought a few things – I got a shirt, a blazer, and some shoes. I love Primark. And after dinner, we went to see Oliver! with the entire group. It was so fun – I’ve never seen it live, but I know all the songs. It was really great to see it live.