Saturday, May 21, 2011

Tranquil Restoration

You guys, I love it here in England.  A lot.  I have so many things I want to tell you about, but I have to narrow my focus so this blog post isn't miles and miles long.  Bummer.  So, I'm just going to tell you about what I did last week.

Last week we went as a group to....well, lots of places.  But my favorite place that we went was Tintern Abbey.

Tintern Abbey is, to gloss over lots of history, this gorgeous twelfth century abbey in Wales that used to be a big deal but then religious tension and political issues and other factors caused it to become abandoned.  So now, it's just this huge, beautiful ruin.  There's grass where there used to be stone floors.  There are flowers growing between cracks in the walls.  The juxtaposition is just awesome.  It looks like fairies live there or something.

This is the place that inspired William Wordsworth, the famous English Romantic poet, to write his poem "Lines Written a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey On Revisiting the Banks of the Wye During a Tour." That poem is what inspired me to be an English major.

Seriously, I love it.  In "Tintern Abbey", Wordsworth talks about how he visited the abbey when he was young.  And he loved it and thought he understood everything that was so great about Tintern Abbey.  He felt like he experienced the sublime.

A few years later, he went back to Tintern Abbey and realized that he had no idea what he was talking about the first time around.  His life experience had changed him so much that he had a totally different experience hiking at Tintern Abbey the second time.  I get the feeling that he lost his naivety.

Then, he's sitting at his desk writing about all of this and realizes how awesome that is.  How much he loves being able to reflect back on his experience at Tintern Abbey from his youth.  He decides that the change he experienced between his first and second visit to Tintern Abbey wasn't a bad thing.  He says,

Though absent long,

These forms of beauty have not been to me, 

As is a landscape to a blind man's eye: 

But oft, in lonely rooms, and mid the din 

Of towns and cities, I have owed to them, 

In hours of weariness, sensations sweet, 

Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart, 

And passing even into my purer mind 

With tranquil restoration

Isn't that beautiful?  I guess what I'm trying to get at with all of this is that even though I'm growing up, and getting married, and doing lots of other new things, I'm still going to be the same person.  And I don't think it's sad when change happens and things become different, it's wonderful.

It's thoughts like that that have made adjusting to being here in London, alone and away from people I love, much easier.

It's thoughts like that that help me prepare to embrace the totally new lifestyle I'm going to be living in just two short months--new city, new school, new (and first) husband, new everything. 

It's going to be great.  And while I'm in that phase of my life, I can reflect back on the singular experience I had visiting Tintern Abbey, and feel restored.  And when Robby and I have kids and everything changes again, I can reflect back on my time as a newlywed, and feel restored again.  And when my children grow up, I can remember what it was like when they were all young, and feel restored again.  

It's a beautiful cycle, don't you think?  So, my take-away from Tintern Abbey is this....the best is yet to come.  It's going to be grand.  

(Sorry that this post ended up being a mile long anyway...oops.)   

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Being British Means Never Saying You're Sorry (Just Kidding)

So, I'm finishing up my third week in London and I haven't blogged so far.  I know, I'm sorry.  I think I haven't been blogging mostly because I don't know how I can even communicate what I'm experiencing.  My days are so full and I'm seeing so many amazing things I've almost hit maximum capacity.

But, I'm going to try better to keep everyone updated about what I'm doing.  Here are the highlights so far:

1.  I got really into the Royal Wedding.  How could you not?  I was up early to join the massive throng and it was a blast.  The day included lots of cheering, fish and chips, actual British tea parties in Hyde Park, and (on my part), a little bit of crying.  "Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire?"  "Every wedding is royal?"  Too sweet.  It was a happy day.

I found this outside of a tube stop.  It rocked. 

That is Kate!  It really is!  We found a side street that she would be driving past on her way to Westminster Abbey and got to see her really close.  Surreal.

2.  One of my favorite things about London is the hilarious street signs.  People just talk differently here, and it is mostly manifested through the signs.  A few of my favorites...

Not "Electrical Hazard" like in the US.  This is way funnier. 

Always "Shut", never "Closed"

This means "For Sale" or "For Rent", but it's fancier.  Took me a while to realize this wasn't a bathroom sign.  (P.S. They call the bathroom the toilet here and not the loo.  Kind of disappointing.)

An Exit sign, but better. 

3.  I've learned that although British food stinks, 

(This is British Breakfast.  I am fed it all the time.  It's as gross as it looks.)

...British candy is THE BOMB.  Take a look. 

This is the European equivalent to a Twix Bar, except for it's waaaaaaay more delicious.  It's full of caramel and "biscuit" and covered in superior European chocolate. 

The Kit-Kats here are out of control.  Imagine what a Kit Kat would taste like if it was covered in high-quality chocolate.  Now imagine that there are nineteen more layers of crunchy wafer goodness.  Now die of joy.  That's a chunky Kit Kat. 

And the bon-bons.  Oh, the bon-bons.  They don't have anything like bon-bons in the United States.  Bon-bons are this perfect mixture between a marshmallow and a lemon drop and crack-cocaine.

Now that I've tried literally every type of candy here, I'm calling it quits.  No more candy after every meal for me.  It's a sad day, but I decided I will get just as much pleasure out of bringing all of this candy home for everyone else to try. 

Well, there's the update.  I promise to keep blogging more regularly.  I have lots to say!  Stay tuned for my experience at Tintern  Abbey (ahhh!) and at some of the museums here.  Cheers! 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

America's Next Top Knotel

So, I need to preface this blog post.  For my entire life, I have been a daily showerer and hair washer.  Every day, I would take a shower in the morning and subsequently blow dry and straighten my hair.  I thought that this was like a normal hygienic practice, but when I got to high school everyone told me that daily hair washing was bad for my hair follicles and I was damaging my hair and ruining my life by washing my hair every day.  I just thought that they were lazy and continued with my daily grooming habits.

But then, this semester happened.  This is probably going to be my last semester at BYU, so I'm cramming everything in.  I'm working (sort of), taking 17 credits, and trying to plan my entire wedding before I go on a study abroad this spring.  I am stressed every day.  I realized pretty early on that something had to give, and it ended up being my physical appearance.

One morning, I had stayed up really late finishing an assignment and slept through my alarm.  I didn't have enough time to shower if I was going to be on time to my 8 am class.  I figured it was no big deal because I would just come home later and shower....but then I realized I had commitments on campus ALL DAY LONG.  The notion that I would be at school, interacting with people all day, unwashed and smelly and slovenly, was not acceptable to me.

And then, genius struck.  I had been hearing on all the fashion blogs lately that the "top knot" was totally in this season.  A "top knot" is what I would put my chlorine-infested hair in after swim meets so that it wouldn't drip down my back.  I am a pro at styling an effective top knot.  A top knot is also, apparently, high fashion.  Take a gander:

And so that is what my hair looked like all day.  I'm serious.  I hopped in the shower to wash my body, but totally skipped my hair.  It was awesome.  What this means is that every time I feel like sleeping in, I can just assemble my filthy, tangly hair on top of my head, wear a scarf or earrings or glasses or other camouflaging item of clothing, and be totally trendy.  Apparently.

You guys, this is so liberating.  I love it when it's fashionable to look like a homeless person.  Long live the top knot.          

Monday, January 31, 2011


You know what I hate?  When people get mad at me for saying sorry.  Does this ever happen to you guys?  For instance, something bad happens to someone.  I say, "I'm sorry."  They say, in a mean voice, "Why would you apologize?  It's not your fault."

Well, duh, it's not my fault.  But I was just expressing that I feel sorrow for the bad thing that happened to them.  Since when is that not allowed?  How is that anything other than a nice thing to say?

In Spanish, which is taking over my life and which I am very non-proficient at, you say "lo siento" when you're apologizing, which literally means, "I feel for you."

I think that rocks.  I think that people should express compassion and stuff more often.  Who is with me?

Sorry for the rant.  I'm not even referring to a specific event right now.  I think I'm just mad that it is STILL January.  This has been the longest month of my life.  I can't wait for February, because after that comes March, and after that comes April.  And in April comes my study abroad to London and the nuptials of these little cuties.

That's right.  I'm going to be in London for the royal wedding, which makes this semester SO worth it.  My life rocks.

Friday, January 21, 2011

When Stalking Pays Off

You know what's fun?  Remembering where you were exactly one year ago.

 Like, this morning I had a meeting at 8 am.  One year ago, that would have been akin to 5 am for me and there's no way I would have made it on time or probably even have been able to physically wake up at that point.  My dorm sleeping habits were really, really wack.  My parents called me a vampire.  Luckily for me, my circadian rhythm has changed to that extent that, this year, I was able to rejoin the land of the living.

...I still accidentally slept through my meeting though.  It was really embarrassing.  But 8 am on a Friday?  C'mon.

Okay, okay, there's no excuse.

Another thing I was doing (in addition to be nocturnal) one year ago was stalking a boy.  Does that creep you out?  Let me explain.

There was this boy in one of my classes fall semester that I thought was really nice.  He made really smart comments in class about philosophy and other cool things.  I'm pretty we never spoke to each other even once.

Anyway, I saw him on campus one day and he was in a wheelchair.  A wheelchair!  I was pretty sure that he was not in a wheelchair the semester before.

And then a week later, I saw him in the basement of the JFSB on crutches.  I was so confused.

I saw him several more times around campus either in a wheelchair or walking with crutches.  I had to figure out what was up.  So I made mental note of all the places that I saw him and tried to be in the vicinity of those places at the same time every day.  Every time I saw him I would come home and tell Haleigh and we would get really excited.

And now, one year later, I have not only TALKED to the wheelchair/crutch boy, but am actually dating him.  I, like, love him and stuff.

It was Robby.  Isn't that funny?

Monday, January 10, 2011

"It is in vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquillity..."

"...they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it." (Jane Eyre, if you were wondering)

I'm feeling restless and I just have all of these thoughts in my head.  But I really want to go to sleep.  So I'm going to share my thoughts with all of you.  Here they are.

1.  I still love the book Jane Eyre.  I think the reason I love it so much is because of the Masterpiece Theatre movie rendition where this lady is Jane.

Goodness gracious, I love her.  If you are reading this and you haven't read Jane Eyre  yet, stop what you are doing immediately and buy a copy and read it.  After that, watch this movie.  You will feel so much joy.

2. Gobama.  I still love him as well, if you were wondering.  He is a classy guy.   I was reminded of it when I read this Op-Ed he posted in the New York Times.  What a cool person.

3.  Leggings are not, and never will be, an acceptable, appropriate, or attractive alternative to pants.  Never.  They are not pants.  They just aren't.

(not cute, not pants)

4.  On a more serious note,  I am so upset about the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords on Saturday in Tucson.  It is shocking and sad and it just reminds me how much I really, really, really hate guns. 

....anyways.  What are you guys thinking about right now?