Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Weekend Update!

Sunday was a truly neat experience. Never have I spent more time traveling to church than I have actually attending church. Oh the sacrifices! I had a huge reality check! I live 2 minutes from my church building and it is still common for me to walk in late. ouch. There are 3 girls from the program and one professor and his family that go to the Catford Ward with me.I'm assigned to work in the Primary...what age group I'm unsure. The kids are darling. I love hearing them speak! Almost the entire ward is African American. It's very touching to hear them share their love of the gospel. Clearly, I just know the few people in my program so it was neat to meet other members, they are all very welcoming and excited to have us! We traveled back to the Centre, had lunch, I got caught up on a few things. We had a special fireside that night with the ccouple missionaries and Stake President and his wife (whom I adore, she it Scotish and so dang cute!)I thoroughly enjoyed their words and testimonies. I'm looking forward to more Sundays in the Catford Ward.

Saturday I slept in until 10:30 and then a few of us took the Tube to Wimbledown to see if we could continue our luck and get tickets. After much bribing...no luck. There is a huge line for ground tickets that we contemplated waiting in...but decided we wouldn't get in until late. Too bad, Andy Roddick was playing at Centre Court. We are heading back on Thursday to wait in the line and get tickets! We walked through the Wimbledon area and I have to say thus far it is my favorite place in London. It's a beautiful area with fun shops and cute houses. Much more residential than I was expecting. We went to a pub where we ate and watched the match on tv. We met this guy from Germany and chatted with him for a bit. He is taking a year off of school to travel the world. 15 flights. One back pack. One year. How fun. What I would give to be in shoes! We talked to him briefly about our school and the Church and see was absolutely dumbfounded by some of our standards. He was very interesting to talk too...I really enjoy learning more about the people we met here. So different than Mesa/Provo. But that is why I'm here...to see the differences! That night we came home, I did some homework and laundry and then went to bed for early church.

Friday was a crazy day indeed! I woke up and went on a little run through Hyde Park. Kensington Gardens is absolutely beautiful, it beats running at Mountainside or on canals anyday! There are so many people out going to work, running, walking dogs, etc. It's definitely fun to see the English in action. After breakfast we all headed down to the Tower of London. This was one of my favorite things I have done so far. I loved learning about Henry VIII and all of the history there. Some of the highlights were the Henry VIII: Dressed to Kill Exhibit (Armor), Crown Jewels, Bloody Tower (where the two famous princes, Edward V and Richard, were killed) and Beauchamp Tower (where they kept prisoners). I also saw Tower Hill where King Henry VIII had multiple people beheaded including his second wife, Anne Boleyn. We watched a skit that actors performed in the court yard. Henry VIII definitely had one wandering eye! He truly facinates me...his life was one big scandal after another!
The Tower of London

So this is where Henry VIII would do his business...there is an open hole and everything would just slide down the Tower walls...sick nasty.

Traitor's Gate - Where Queen Anne came through just before her execution.

Eating these yummy nuts on the Tower Bridge.

My dad had been informing me for weeks about the Hard Rock Calling Music Festival at Hyde Park this weekend featuring his favorite Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. I swear I think Douglas travels with the band. He's been to multiple states just to see the show...which I hear is pretty unreal. I looked at the schedule and saw that The Kooks (an English based band) and The Killers were playing on Friday. Big bummer that Dave Matthews Band and the Boss were on Sunday :( Needless to say we took a little stroll in Hyde Park Sunday evening. Anyways, after dinner a couple of girls and I headed over to see if we could just buy tickets from scalpers. We saw a group of people wearing Killers T-shirts and they lead us to the concert. The only man in the group had an extra ticket and gave it to us for free! And then he helped us check the validity of the scalper tickets. We all ended up paying £25 for the show! Dang good, I dont know how it all worked out...the show was amazing. We made our way within 30 yards of the stage in a crowd of over 45,000 people. Insane. And they sounded just like the CD. Pretty cool...the lead singer is a great entertainer and doesn't look bad in tight pants. We all had a great time!


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Day 2 - Centre, V&A, Pubs

Day 2- Thursday, June 25th
Here are a few pics of the BYU London Centre...so the parentals can see the living conditions.

Today we started classes. It was a struggle. I still feel like the exhaustion sets in if I sit down for long periods of time...so I try to avoid that as much as possible. It was so hard to be in a classroom when there is so much to do and so much fun to be had. That afternnon we headed to the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A). My favorite museum thus far. My favorite exhibits were the fashion/textiles and the jewelry gallery. No pics were allowed in the jewelry room...but I went crazy in the fashion exhibit and spent over an hour. They highlighted the changes in fashion over the past 300-400 years...so fun. My favorite was the shoes!
This dress is made out of 20 bras...naughty.

One of Princess Di's Dresses

The Classic Double Decker Bus

Then we walked to Harrod's and just looked around in the food court. Unbelievable. Not your average Chick-fil-a and Panda Express. They have room after room of yummy food places. Their sweet room is the winner by far. Considering the Harrod's summer sale starts this weekend, they have not seen the last of me. We took the Tube back to the Centre and had dinner, fajitas! I got my Mexican food fix.

Later that night, a few of us decided to go to the pub. We ended up getting into one and the only seats that were open were right next to the live band. We went to the front, sat down, and just looked happy to be there. If we didn't stand out enough, a couple people wanted to order smoothies at the bar...however it was closed. We must have just screamed...'GO COUGS'. We toped off the night with a run to Tesco for some chocolate...so far my favorites are GALAXY BARS. In Love. I love getting to know this group of people better. A couple of them know people I do and we have found lots of things in common. It's funny what a small world it is...how grateful I am to have this experience.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Day 1 - Fish & Chips, British Museum, Gelato

I know this is a couple days ago but for journaling purposes I would really love to have a record of what I do with my days here in London. So, I hope to complete a recap of each day on the blog. Here are a couple of pictures from the big traveling day!

They have the cutest boutiques with the most fun hats!

Our trip thourgh Hyde Park :)

Okay, so funny story...we heard some music and chanting while in the park and decided to follow it. Turns out it was the Iranians protesting at their embassy. They are angry about the leader that was suppossedly 'voted' into office. Anyway, I saw this news station van and got really excited, seeing as how I haven't had to report on a story in almost 2 months. I chatted with the camera man and he gave us the low down as to what was going on. I asked him if I could get a picture with him and he said, 'Sure!' and handed me a mic. Haha I wasn't expecting that. Oh yeah, turns out they're with the friggin BBC! Who would have thought?!

Wednesday, June 24th To start off, we woke up, ate breakfast, and got ready for the day. I dont remember the last time I was this exhausted, so bing in a different bed, a bunk bed for that matter, didn't even phase. I slept great! Then, we had an orientation during the morning just prefacing what to expect for our classes, group adventures, etc.
After our time in the Centre, four of us, Caitlin, Jordan, Lexi and I, went to get a few things on Queensway and then set out on mission to find some real English fish & chips. I was looking at one of our maps when an older man whom we could barely understand asked if we were lost. I asked him if he knew of the best fish & chips place close by. He said he did and tried giving us directions. We all must have looked confused, because he finally said he would take us there. At first we were all a little hesitant. However, there were four of us, it was the middle of the day, and this guy had to be at least 65+. So, here are four young American girls, following this elderly Indain man to find yummy food. Personally, I wondered if he was all there, but realized it must be part of the culture, because we made it safe and sound and hungry! I'm not the biggest fish fan so I said, 'I'll probably just get a hamburger.' All of the girls said, 'No Kylee, our first real meal in London and you want the classic American meal?' I gave in and got the fish & chips. I then proceeded to ask if the chips were baked or just plain chips. Caitlin looked at me with a funny face and replied, 'Wow. They are french fries.' Here I am trying to decide if I want the less greasy baked Lays or the Chedder Doritos. Dang. I am out of my comfort zone. Haha all in all, our meal was delish and I am the newest English Fish & Chips fan!

Then we got on our first Tube ride of the trip to the British Museum. Unreal. All of the museums are free here...so you can see everything you want, when you want, how convienent. I had been there once before with the family when we visited London for Christmas of 2004, but this time I was able to stay longer and look at more exhibits. Some of my favorites were the Rosetta Stone, the Egypt room, and this one particular piece that showed all of the pills one individual will roughly take in their lifetime. It was put together by a few artists and demonstrates the increase of medicine in the human life. Very interesting.

Then we headed back to the Centre and ate dinner. We had this yummy chicken and rice dish. The Centre directors, Dave and Terry Shuler, live here full time at the Centre and Terry makes all of our breakfasts and dinners minus Saturday. She is one amazing woman to feed 40 hungry students and 4 Professors plus their families. Bless her heart, she is a saint! Later that night, a couple of girls and I went to get some gelato! It was yummy...a great end to a wonderful first day in the city. Right away, I feel extremely comfortable and welcomed by this group of people. I can't wait to get to know them better throughout the summer!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Arrival, Jetlagged, and Internet Issues

Well, this week has finally come! At first I couldn't believe it, and now I can't get enough of it. I did arrive safely with about nine other kids from my program that were on the same flight from JFK to Heathrow. So nice to travel in a big group. The flight was not to bad, however they were playing movies, but the volume in my particular was down :( So... I watched 'He's Just Not That Into You' with no volume multiple times. I actually sat by this nice older fellow who was traveling to see Wimbledon this week. It helped the time go by!

We made it to the Centre, got our bedding, room assignments, and got settled. Caitlin Porter in my bunk mate...it's great to spend time with her and get to know her better. She is one amazing girl! We organized our individual closets, drawer, and bed shelf. My favorite! I looovvve organizing, so it took my mind off of my exhaustion and fatigue. I am in a room with 7 other girls, we share 2 showers and 2 sinks. And...they are all quite clean! Another PLUS! The Centre is beautiful I will try to post pictures soon. Seems as if my computer will allow me to connect to the internet, but it's ridiculously SLOW...and usually never opens Internet Explorer. I have one of my tech-savvy professors working on this predicament as we speak! So I have alot of journaling to catch up on! I know pictures are what I like to look at the most....so hopefully soon!

After that we decided to complete our First London Walk Tour to familiarize us with our new neighborhood. Haha first of all, we keep looking the wrong direction when we cross the street, because they drive on the opposite sides of the road. We have had some close calls! Needless to say, we are not local yet! This city is so much fun! I am in LOVE! The people I have interacted with thus far have all been extremely friendly and helpful. How grateful I am for the cross cultural experience to learn and grow on so many levels. I will take FULL advantage of it, no doubt.
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