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Monday, May 10, 2010

The Last Few Days

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I saw Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Globe Theatre! At the Globe! Where Shakespeare was! Well…technically it’s not the same theatre…the real one burned down…but still! And they filmed Doctor Who there! It was such a fun play, though quite a bit more inappropriate and suggestive than I would’ve liked. They had a cast of seven who played all the different roles in the play, so each played three or four parts. In this play the women were not played by men, but I’ve been told in some other productions they do that. Not only was every single actor fabulous, but they could all sing too! We were “groundlings,” meaning we stood the entire time on the ground level, just like commoners in Shakespeare’s time. It was such a great experience. We get to see Macbeth there later in the program, so I’m excited for that. I can’t believe I just watched a Shakespeare play in the Globe Theatre! AHHH!

So, I just realized I forgot to tell you guys about my living situation here. The Centre is made up of two combined townhouses just off of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. There are five dorms – I’m in #1 on the ground floor. There are 8 girls in our room, 4 bunk beds. I have the top bunk. My bunkmate’s name is Natalie. Our room rocks. We live in the same building as our professors and our families, which is a fun experience. I’m going to sound like a nerd here, but it really does feel like Hogwarts a bit. Each person takes turn being on the kitchen crew for a week – this week is my week. The food is far too amazing – I’m getting fatter, I’m sure. The Schulers are the directors who live in the basement area of the Centre. They take care of all our needs and are absolutely wonderful people. Our professors are great. Classes are stressful – it feels like there’s no way we’re going to be able to squeeze in everything they want us to in these few weeks, but we’re certainly going to try. We attend class in a room on the second floor of the Centre. We go on many fieldtrips and such as part of our classes, but they don’t feel like homework. Most of the time, anyways…J I really do love it here. There’s so much I still need to do! I keep thinking I need to do it right away, forgetting that I’m here for 5 more weeks. It’s rather insane that I’m going to be here for that long. This is such an amazing opportunity – I can hardly believe I’m here. I’m one of the most fortunate people in the world!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Today we visited Westminster Abbey and the Cabinet War Rooms. Westminster Abbey is absolutely gorgeous. The Lady Chapel has the most gorgeous ceiling I have ever seen - it looks like lace, but it's carved out of stone. It's insanely intricate and beautiful. And we saw the graves/memorials for many famous dead individuals, including monarchs and the actual grave of Charles Dickens! There was also a memorial to William Wilberforce (whom we know as the hero of ending the slave trade in Britain - see Amazing Grace) which I really loved.

The Cabinet War Rooms are sooooo cool - definitely one of my favorite places I've been so far. They are the rooms in this World War II bunker where Winston Churchill worked and strategized with his cabinet. They are preserved exactly how they were left at the end of the war, down to Churchill's cigars left on his nightstand - no joke, so cool. And the Winston Churchill Museum (within the Cabinet War Rooms) is the coolest museum I have ever seen - high tech and interactive and so informative. Churchill has to be one of my favorite leaders now. He has such personality, spunk, and natural leadership abilities. His ability to work with even his enemies is amazing. I loved learning about him and being inside the War Rooms where history actually happened. It felt so near and tangible. I loved it. I love WWII history in general, so this museum was perfect for me.

At night we went to a multi-stake dance. We will not be going back. Ha ha It was really fun - I love the girls in my group, but it took about an hour to get going and it consisted mostly of BYU study abroad kids (there are like 4 different groups here in London). And they only played techno. It was an experience needed, but not needed to be repeated. So, unfortunately, I have not yet found my future British husband, unless you count the Earl of Pembrook, who is actually engaged but that is only a minor problem :)

Saturday May 8, 2010

Today we went on our Harry Potter tour around London – it was self constructed, so it only included key places. We went to Platform 9 ¾, of course, and then the millennial bridge which gets destroyed by death eaters in the 6th book, and then we looked for Diagon Alley but couldn’t find it, then we went to Tottenham Court Road where in the 7th book Harry, Ron, and Hermione apparate and get followed by death eaters. We ate a little pub, my first pub experience! I love pubs. We had lamb pie and chips - so good. Pub food is the best, and they have such a fun atmosphere. I wish we had pubs in Utah like the pubs here.

I also went to the waffle house for the first time - amazing! My friend and I split a cinnamon waffle and a white chocolate covered waffle. It was heaven, let me tell you. We need waffle places like this back home. I'm afraid I've gotten a bit chubbier since I've been I went on a jog too to try to counter the eating I've been doing. I'm so sore now, but I got to jog through Kensington Gardens - how amazing is that? It's so beautiful here, I just love it. Jogging isn't a chore when you're running through a beautiful garden. Well, almost not a chore...I also went to Portobello Road market and bought a pretty ring! Such a good day.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Today I went to my new ward! I am serving in the Wandsworth Common ward. It's a bit south of London but still I guess technically in London. I love that the church is the same everywhere you go. We were afraid that we wouldn't be able to find the building and then we saw the steeple and knew we were home. There are 7 students from our group that will be going to the ward. We all got assigned different things - some are teaching sunday school for the teens, some working in the primary, etc. I have been assigned to help in Relief Society, though I don't know any specifics yet. We ended up spending about 7 hours in church related activities - it takes about an hour to get there and back and we had to stay to talk with the bishop. The ward is amazing - most of the people are converts. They have such strong testimonies and such wonderful spirits. I absolutely love it, and I can't wait to get to know the ward better. Our bishop is really cool - he's from Africa and he's just a really sweet guy.

Also, today was MOTHER'S DAY! Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers! And a special Happy Mother's Day to my mom, Kerry Maureen Hardy, the best mom in the entire world! She is absolutely wonderful and truly my best friend. And I miss her - I wish she was here to geek out with all us girls about Jane Austen and all other things BBC. Mother's Day not only means celebrating mom, but it also mean talking to missionaries! I was assuming that I would just miss my brother Josh's phone call because I don't have a phone here and I was really bummed, but technology stepped in to save the day. I audio skyped with my brother Mike who had a conference call with Josh and all other family members on speaker phone so I could hear. It was so amazing. When I heard Josh's voice I just began to cry. I am so grateful that I got to participate in that phone call. I think that may be the highlight of my London trip. It was such an amazing thing. josh sounds soooo good. Yay for technology!!!

Monday, May 10, 2010

I was up until 2:30 AM last night/this morning trying to finish up my homework for today. I almost made it. I think I did enough to get me by. Classes here are super interesting, and we get to go on the best field trips ever. Today we went to the British Museum - holy cow, it's probably the most amazing museum in the world! They have everything there! And we only saw a small portion of the museum.

We saw the Rosetta Stone! The real Rosetta Stone! (see pic at right) And we saw mummies - I definitely need to go back to explore the Egypt sections more. There are so many amazing museums here in London. I don't know how I'm going to find time to visit all the ones I want to explore. It's so amazing here. I could spend months here and still not see everything I want to. The picture is of me imitating the statue of Augustus - basically it's just me being a clamorous American. I've consistently realized that American young people are extremely noisy and they exaggerate a lot more that British people.

Tonight I had my first Primark experience. For those of you who don't know, Primark is an amazing discount clothing store. It's usually a mad house, but if you go at certain times you can get some great stuff and not be trampled by all the crazy shoppers. Tonight we went and I got a hoodie and some sunglasses for pretty cheap! It was a bargain - my mom would be proud, I think. Mom, I went shopping of my own volition! Yay! Then I went to the local Tesco Express and bought an apple and some cookies (here called biscuits) call Hob Nobs which I am now addicted to. Cookies and candy bars here are far too good and far too cheap - it's causing problems, but I'm quite happy with it ha ha.

Tomorrow we head off on our three day West trip, which I will blog about when I get back. I'm excited to be out of London once again and to see more of the wonderful British countryside! Yay! Well, off to bed. We leave bright and early and get to spend hours on the coach (that's British for "hired bus" :) Talk to ya later!

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