Thursday, September 9, 2010

London, America, Arizona, Utah.

 "Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!...

And when things start to happen, 
don't worry.  Don't stew.
Just go right along.
You'll start happening too...

Oh! The Places You'll Go!
You'll be on your way up!
You'll be seeing great sights!
You'll join the high fliers who soar to high heights."
 It's been a month since I blogged last.  Things have been happening like crazy, and it seems like I have been all over the place.  (Thank you, Dr. Suess, for the perfectly fitting poem... it's my favorite of his!) 
I don't even know where to start...
(this is going to be a mega-post though... I have a lot to cover!)
I am not in London anymore!
The study abroad program ended far too quickly, in a frantic flurry of finals and goodbyes.  The last week or two basically consisted of staying in and studying, finishing up on homework, and packing.  Too many of the girls left way too early, and the Centre slowly began to feel less and less like home, as it slowly filled with suitcases and eventually emptied.  The last morning there, I woke up and looked down from my bunk, and what I could see of my room was completely empty.  (One girl left a few days before, two left that morning at like 4, and two were left in the room... but they were underneath and to the side of me, on bottom bunks.)
The moral of the story:  
it was really, really, sad.
On a less depressing note, we did have a little fun those last few days...

  One of my favorite days of the whole trip was the day Me, Megan, and Becca went to Brighton!
Brighton is basically the English vacation spot-- a super-fun, adorable beach town. After leaving really late, discovering that my Oyster Card needed to be updated, sprinting through two tube stations, riding 3 tube lines, sprinting through the London Bridge train station (and up a HUGE escalator), trying to print our tickets at a kiosk (only to discover it broken), going to a ticket window, sprinting back through the train station, and finding our train platform, we finally hopped on board and shipped off to the coast.
Needless to say, we were pretty sweaty and gross.
Immediately after we got off the train, we started noticing an unusually high amount of rainbows and men wearing short shorts and hot pink.  We soon figured out that Brighton not only happens to be the San Francisco of England (if you know what I mean), but that it was Pride Day! It was one of the craziest things I've ever been around... people everywhere were completely decked out in rainbows and wearing crazy outfits and running around and blowing whistles and... celebrating.  It was psycho, but made our adventure of a day that much more fun!!

One of the first things we did was find this area called "The Shambles."  It's a huge area with tiny cobblestone paths lined by tall buildings with shops and restaurants... so cute and fun!
in the courtyard...
While walking around, we also got free, super-yummy juice boxes...
and found a fountain filled with bubbles, which we had a fun time playing in!
(both for Pride Week)


Eventually, we made it down to the beach and pier.  After exploring for a little, we decided to go for a swim in the Channel!  Both the air and the water were absolutely freezing, but it was SO fun! We started out in our normal clothes, but quickly changed into more swimming-appropriate clothing.
(One interesting thing about the beach... there was absolutely NO sand! The whole "beach" was rocks.)  

notice the people in the winter coats behind me...


We stayed in the water for a really long time... we may have frozen, but it was totally worth it!  After, we could think of nothing better than some yummy hot chocolate...
and a ride on a police motocycle?!

Next, we went out on the pier, had linner in the restaurant there, played a few carnival games, and rode some fun rides.
(of course, I brought my camera along on the ride.)

One thing we kept seeing everywhere (and had to try) was "mushy peas".  Apparently, they are big in Brighton.  Despite their looking disgusting, they weren't too bad and we ate the whole dish!

the view from the top!

We spent the rest of the evening and night enjoying the incredible sunset and wandering around town and the beach.  
(this is candid, I swear!)
So anyway, we finally got on a train back to London at like 10:30 and arrived back at the center about 12:30. It was definitely one of the funnest days of my life!

A few days later, me and some of the other girls woke up at like 5:30 am to go take "Beatles" pictures on Abbey Road! It ended up being really cold and rainy (just our luck!), but after about a ton of tries and nearly getting hit about 1000 times (Abbey Road is really busy outside the studios), we got a really good picture in the exact spot the Beatles walked! We also signed the wall outside the studios (where tons of Beatles fans write messages and little love notes to the Beatles), and even stumbled upon Waverly Place! (from this show...)

Later that afternoon, the whole program went together to high tea at Kensington Palace.
It was so, so fun! All of the girls dressed up and walked together to the Palace (which was only about 5-10 mins from the Centre), and we had little cucumber sandwiches, scones (which are like biscuits there... and cookies are called biscuits... its a whole new language), little pastries, and my very first herbal tea! Yumm!!


Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera, so the only pictures I have are on other people's cameras.  So, I'll just have to wait until they put them on facebook to get them! 

The last Sunday, when we went to church, we also had a few mishaps:  we got to the station late, the ticket person took probably 10 mins to give us our tickets, and we missed our train.  So, we climbed on the next train on the platform and waited for it to leave! When it left early, we thought it was "divine intervention!", which was helping us to get to church on time.  Little did we know, it was the wrong train.  So, being lost, we didn't know what to do.  While I was up looking at a train map, the group decided to get off at the next station and go back.  I was unaware of this plan.  Therefore, me and one other girl got left on the train, while the rest of the group got off... we literally waved goodbye to them through the glass doors.  So, we stayed on, figured out how to get to church, and made it only about 40 mins late. And, we still beat the other 4, who got off and left us! 
This is us being scared after being left.
and me in a random train station... lost.
The whole group after church...

A few last, random London things:
Gelato Mio is the best place on the planet. 
We had a gelato party there with like 15 girls the last week.  No pictures:[
We found Little Venice! It looks like Venice, kind of.  But in London.

We had the best, coolest, yummiest Sunday dinner ever. 
Traditional Indian food... eaten without a plate, on a banana peel.  
Brother Schuler lived in India for 2 years, and he was a pro cook.
Maryvonne and I saw Les Mis.  Needless to say, it was wonderful
And, Megan and I had a splendid "last night" (it was hers, but not mine) in London-- we walked around for hours and saw everything again.  (And found a Chipotle, which my family and I ate at twice in the next week!)  This is in front of our home, sweeeeeet home-- the London Centre.  I miss it.  
More than you know.

I took a few pictures (actually, a ton of pictures) of the inside of the Centre too.  So, here's a few... this is where I lived for the summer!
The entranceway

The formal dining room (where most of the staff and a few girls ate.  Also, where a lot of homework and just hanging out took place.)
The drawing room... where we met as a group, did homework, and hung out.

The servery... where most of us ate most of our meals and snacks.

(insert 5 flights of stairs here) 
The potty-rooms.  Three toilets, in a row, on a landing.  
(Up one more flight of stairs)
Our sink and shower room
The other half of my room (4B)... 6 super cool girls lived on this side.  
My half of my room... 6 more awesome girls lived on this side.  My bunk is hidden in this picture.
My bed is the one on top here, right next to the window.  Excuse the mess, it was the last night and everyone was packing.
A better view of my room, from the first day.
Once again, my bed is blocked.  But, you get the idea.


So, that's that.  
the end of the BYU Study Abroad London 2010

Luckily, I got to stay another week with my wonderful family.
We did so much, and I don't have too many pictures from that.  
One of my favorites was a POLO lesson with my mom!!
warming the horse up...

It was SOOO fun, but ridiculously hard! I probably missed the ball about 1/3 of the time, hit it under 10 feet 1/2 of the time, and actually got a good hit only 1/6 of the time (and yes, those do add up.)  But, it was awesome!!! Our instructor was a professional from New Zealand, my horse kept trying to take off, and my Poppa came and watched it all... couldn't have been better:]

Other things my family did that were awesome, that I had not done before...
Buckingham Palace and the Royal Mews tours!
Imperial War Museum (its incredible. The Holocaust exhibit was soo good.)
Saw Love Never Dies (The sequel to Phantom of the Opera... it's hard to beat the original, but I still loved it!)
Went to Greenwich (stood on the Prime Meridian, saw the World Clock, visited a few museums.)
Ate at Borough Market.
Saw Evensong at St. Paul's Cathedral.

We also did all of the coolest things in London which I had done and seen before.  
It was an awesome way to wrap up my London summer. 
My real last night in London was spent on the town with Garrett.
Don't worry, we got home at like 2 am (or later?)

So, that's that.  I can't believe it's over.  Or maybe, I can't believe it was real.  I am not sure which.  All I know is that I miss it.  Like crazy.  I never knew that I could love and miss a place so much! Not to be depressing, but I am seriously soo homesick.

Anyway, after I got home from London, I spent 4 days and 6 nights in Arizona  
(mostly recovering from my terrible jet lag.)
While there, I did have a little fun...
Me and some of the girls went to a delicious brunch
(we are covering our cheeks because Miss has chipmunk cheeks from getting her wisdom teeth out!)
 
We also had a little going away dinner for Ang and I at Costa Vida...
I am going to miss all these awesome people like crazzzy!

So then, I packed up (a whole car full), drove up to Utah to Garrett, and moved into my lovely new home.  Honestly, I've been terrible at taking pictures while I've been up here, but I'm having so much fun!
(and studying my butt off...)
For example:
On Labor Day, we went to the Provo River with a big group of people! It was really fun, but really, really, REALLY cold.  Like, wintertime cold.  And, we were in swim suits.  And, it was windy.  And, we were in water.  Yayyyyyy.
(It really was fun though!)
(Love my waterproof camera!)

Randoms:
(friends from home)
(at a soccer game)
Annndd... perhaps my favorite BYU adventure thus far:
mattress sledding!
We went to the boys' hall during visiting hours, met up with some friends, stole one of the guys' mattresses, and took it sledding down the stairs into the basement! It was awesome.

So anyway, I love it here.
And I miss my home and family in Mesa.
(it seems like forever since I've lived there.)
And I miss my friends from home.
(I didn't even get to see everyone while I was there.)
And I miss riding horses.
(a lot.)
PAnd I miss London.
(ridiculously.)
And I miss my family from London.
(despite seeing them all over campus.)
But, I love.love.love it here. 
It seems like lately, life has been throwing me one change after another.
I've embraced it.
So, to finish, more of Dr. Suess's great poem:

"You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know. 
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go."


P.s. Don't worry, this post only took me like a week to write...:]

2 comments:

Brett and Rachel said...

HOORAY for a new post! I was starting to wonder... :)

nicole hatfield said...

taylor! london isn't it fabulous! looks like you had tons of fun!