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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Star Trek? Maybe Lord of the Rings? How about BOTH!

Yes, it is true.  On Wednesday I went to see Waiting for Godot.  The two leads were... wait for it... Ian McKellan and Patrick Steward!!!  And afterwards I saw them both and had them both sign my ticket!  Are you jealous? You should be...:)  

Saturday, May 30, 2009

"Is there any felicity in the world superior to this!"

I stepped into James Harriot's charmed life for just a moment on Thursday.  The tiny towns, the big old churches, the one way streets, the steep hills, the kissing gates... ect.  The English Countryside is magnificent.  Vibrant green with yellow and white flowers dotting the hillsides and meadows.  Winding paths through the woods, 800 year old churches, Roman ruins among other things.  It was marvelous. 

Monday, May 25, 2009


I have heard so many things about Paris.  "It was amazing!"  "It didn't meet my expectations," and a variety of other things.

Well, it is probably the most beautiful city in the world!  I loved Paris.  It is such a magical city!  There are some of the most amazing things to see.  The Louvre, the Mona Lisa, the Eiffel Tower, The Arc du Triomphe are only a few things to do.  My favorite part of it was the wandering around the city some of the hundreds of lovely things to see.  I hope to be able to go back again and again and enjoy French people, food and the other amazing things that France has to offer!  

I love Paris!  

Friday, May 15, 2009

"Practically Perfect in Every Way"

10 fantastic things about London

1)  It is London.  (aka: Pretty much the coolest city ever.) 
2) There is always something to do (touring, shopping, museums, library, theater...ect) 
3) They have the most amazing chocolate!  
4)  The tube goes EVERYWHERE (literally.  Jump on it, and everything is just a few stops away) 
5)  They have gorgeous public parks with lakes, and statues and tons of lovely little walks. And, sometimes people ride horses through the park!  
6)  They have amazing history that is presented in free Museums all over the city.  (Free has become one of my favorite words over here:)  
7)  They like to keep old things and make them work with technology ( you know, the old mixing with the new, and all that...) 
8) So many people dress nicely here!  There is very little 'jeans and a t-shirt' action going on over here!  It is such a source of inspiration (slightly sarcastic and yet not)!   
9) The theater here is really neat and very experimental!  So many amazing productions here!  
10)  Anywhere downtown is filled with cool little streets, amazing sights (old and new).  
11)  The accents;)
It is an INCREDIBLE CITY!!!!  

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Theater, The Theater...

Classes... as usual, except that Professor Fielding let us out of classes 1 hour early so that we could go visit this really brilliant display that was at the Victoria and Albert Museum!  It was a theater display with about 25 costumes worn by many famous people, including Maggie Smith and Vivian Leigh!  They were extremely elaborate and lots of fun to look at!  They also had miniature scenic designs and... (this was really cool)  the original flying harness from Peter Pan!  Overall, a great exhibit!  Unfortunately, because we stayed quite a while at that exhibit, and had a fireside that night, there was little opportunity to go out and do something else, so I did laundry and went grocery shopping.  We had a really amazing Fireside for FHE from the former Stake President about the Blitz during WWII.  He had quite a few memories, and a lot of information about the kinds of things that had gone on.  It was quite remarkable to hear it first hand.  
I went for an amazing run in the morning, through Hyde Park and ran along the lake that is there.  I also ran past the riding coral and saw several people ride by on white horses.  It was incredibly lovely.  
 Later that morning, we went to a really amazing place called Middle Temple Hall.  It is a place where lawyers become lawyers.  It is a place of instruction and eating for barristers.  Anyway, several really cool things about it.  It is a great dining hall where the first performance of Twelfth Night took place.  It also has a priceless picture of Charles II and because Sir Walter Reighley was an honorary member, he brought back his hatch cover and the lantern from his ship The Golden Hind (after Circumnavigating the globe)  and were placed in this hall.  The hatch cover was made into a table and the lantern hangs in the foyer( it is actually a replacement lantern because a bomb hit the road outside of Middle Temple Hall during the war and blew apart much of the foyer of the hall and almost completely destroyed the lantern, except the crown.  So that was pretty amazing:)  
That afternoon, we went to a production of Twelfth Night.  It was a very interesting production.  The production was designed for children, which made it interesting all on its own, because a lot of the script was cut.  In addition, they only had 6 actors, so each actor had at least two roles, several had three.  If you are at all familiar with the story, Viola and Sebastian were played by the same person, and a man.  Very weird.  But well done. The set design was quite amazing and incorporated all the elements (earth, fire, water and fog/wind). 
I also made some bread later that night:)  a little Challah bread.  Unfortunately we don't have measuring cups, so I just did my best to measure correctly.   I also put the bread in the oven to rise without realizing that the oven was on 200 Celsius.  Whoops.  Needless to say, it didn't rise.  It baked, and only on the top, so I had to flip it over and cook the other side... Sort of like the pancake cooking principle.. Except not really.  Oh well.  It did taste pretty good though.  
Adventures all around!  Class in the morning, then 3 friends and I ran off to Kensington Palace.  It was SO cool!  I think I took a LOT of pictures!   Probably around a hundred.  They had an entire Princess Diana display with about 20 of her dresses, then they had a huge and very fun Debutante Display with a ton of fantastic dresses from that and some very interesting commentary from former debutantes. (In this exhibit, we also learned how to curtsy properly:) Then we walked through actual Palace decorated rooms that were so beautiful!  Lots of paintings and murals and tapestries, and beautiful views of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. 
We then had to run off to the National Theater for Time and the Conways.  We first went on a tour of the theater ( it is HUGE).  It has three full sized theaters in it. One that seats over a thousand, on with about 800 seats, and the last one with seats between 200 and 400 depending on the configuration.  It also has facilities to build sets, costumes, props and has rehearsal rooms that are the sizes of the two larger stages.  It was remarkable!  So then we went to the show.  WOW.  All I can say is WOW!  The cast, first of all, was quite incredible.  There are 10 characters 7 of them are mother and siblings.  The mother was played by the weird stepmother in Wives and Daughters (she is also the very rich lady in Cranford), Kay, the focal daughter, was played by Elinor from the newest Sense and Sensibility, and the love interest of one of the other sisters was played by Major Gordon in Cranford. A good way to start, however, it is a very powerful play about time and this family's story, through time.  It begins with the night of Kay's 21st birthday.  Then the second act flashes to when she turns 40 and then the third act has her at 21 again.  The interesting thing is, is that in the third act, you already know what has happened to the other characters and how their lives have played out, so seeing that, many of the lines are much more poignant as they talk about their future.  The staging was amazing!  Incredible use of lights, costume and stage space!  Very compelling actors, and a really incredible message.  I would have to describe it in person, but take it from me, that it was the best production I have ever seen.  
Pretty much, London Rocks!  

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Weekend Frivolities!

So, the Tate Museums are brilliant! (note:  this is not a word I typically use, however it was the most British adjective I could think of.) Mostly just the Tate Britain, but I am biased because I like realist art more than modern art. Some people do not feel this way.  For instance, while walking through the Tate Modern, I walked passed a massive blue painting with some red splootches on the bottom and a yellow jagged piece at the top.  Totally meaningless, right?  Or so I thought.  This man and his wife were staring at it and he was getting SO excited.  More excited than anyone really ought to get over a large primary colored painting, in my lame, artistically challenged opinion.  So I hear him talking to his wife, growing more and more exhilarated by the minute as he describes how the other artistic modern paintings in the room were so dreary and yet this painting, this painting was full of life and color!  I think I missed something... hmm... Maybe next time the primary colors will speak to me... Not likely ( sorry Merrick;).  

Also, Camden Market is just about the craziest place I have ever been to!  One of the guys on our trip had been telling me about how Gothic it was.  I ought to have taken him more literally.  As we neared the Camden Tube Stop, black leather and studs became more and more common as did piercings in every part of the face imaginable ( including the cheeks, which is something I have never seen before... ew)  and ripped fishnets...  Some of the shops and stalls had really neat things in them, but mostly they were filled with weird t-shirts, and combat boots... Not so much my style.  However, it was a really exciting place:)  

Harrods.  Wow.  Need I say more?  Well, I will anyway.  You walk up the street and a building that looks like it belongs in St. Petersburg, Russia rises out of nowhere.  Huge, gold and AMAZING!  Yes, it is Harrods.  Pass the fur protesters and enter a shoppers paradise.  Walk through the perfume, watch, jewel and purse sections.  You reach the food court with amazing looking bakeries, gelato, Jelly beans and other fun.  Continue on and get a little lost in the shoe section where you can find every kind you could possibly want from Chloe, to Dior.  Next, wander aimlessly through the INCREDIBLE evening gown and wedding dress section where practically everything has a six digit numbered tag on it (yes, that is in pounds...).  You continue on into a Mac heaven, then an antique section, an entire book store, a furniture and home decorating section that stretches as far as you can see, and to finish it off, you ride the escalators down past a life opera singer, singing "Time to Say Goodbye."  Sound like fun?  Oh it was:)  And I was only in there for an hour!  

Do I like London?  Um, a resounding YES!!! 

Friday, May 8, 2009

A Foggy Day in London Town

I have been asked several times about starting a blog, so, to appease the masses, here it is!  

Yes, I am in London right now!  

Yesterday, I spend an hour or so at the House of Parliament... you know, just wandering around in a building that is several hundred years old... :) Prepare to be jealous.  I got to hear Big Ben chime and then we headed off to St. Paul's singing "Feed the Birds."  Yes, it was amazing!  

And coolest (and perhaps silliest) of all, I saw the back of Taylor Swift's head outside of a restaurant by St. Paul's Cathedral!  (yes, that is lame... but it was very exciting)

Lastly, a jaunt to the famous London Musical "Blood Brothers"  (not my favorite, and certainly NOT as good as Wicked!)  to complete a fantastic day in London!