Sunday, February 28, 2010

week sevhen. welcome to wales :)


Feb 22nd 2010

Even Mondays in londontown are great. that’s how you know life is beautiful… when Mondays start lookin good ha.

Today I went to class and then I went to the Imperial war museum with Jenny, Rachel, Jake, Brit, Katy, and others… once we got to the museum we kinda split up and got separated with who likes to move faster through museums etc. There is SO much to see in all these museums that I always want to go back.. but I feel like I want to hit all the giant museums at least once before I start making rounds a second time.

Laura and I outside Saint Pauls Cathedral.

There is just not enough time here! Samuel Johnson really knew what was up when he said "When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford." (thanks for sending me that quote a long time ago dad) …. Coming here has really opened Pandoras box. I have realized that I have only SKIMMED the surface of Europe. Its weird cause I miss the states.. but, I am certain I will miss Europe too when I come home. I will forever have my heart in two places now.

At the British Museum Jenny and I went through the holocaust memorial. I think it was the most well done memorial I have ever seen. I actually used up all my time there. I walked through it for over 2 hours before it was time to come back home. (kinda bummy that because of the time it takes to travel on the tube after class and being back by 5 for dinner we don’t have very long in the afternoons) I don’t know why I am so interested in learning about the holocaust. It actually really disturbs me. It is so heart wrenching and so awful that it makes me physically sick! I cried several times walking through the museum. I saw the most disturbing photos…. read the most disturbing facts… I was literally sick. I think I had tears streaming down my face almost the entire time I walked through the museum ha.. needless to say I looked weird….But, I will never in my life understand how an entire human population could rationalize the extermination of other human beings. I don’t know how you could ever rationalize… that someone is “sub human” and un- worthy of life. It just boggles my mind to read about how Hitler took power etc. and this wasn’t even that long ago! It hasn’t even been a hundred years.

Right before I left they had a video playing with interviews of people who had survived and there were 2 questions asked that struck me really hard. The first question asked was “ do you believe in God.” It was so heart wrenching to see almost all of them say yes. The second question or statement that stood out to me had SUCH a huge impact on me. There was this man talking about how he didn’t know of a single Jew from his ENTIRE village or neighborhood… that was helped by a non Jew in there community. He was saying that we will NEVER be safe unless we come together and get to know each other etc. I can’t remember exactly how he described it.. but upon leaving the museum I had such thoughts running through my head of the changes I want to make in my life and the things I want to do to help others.

My days here are whirl winds. I learn so much and have such huge experiences every day that it is hard to keep them straight. I am worried I am missing things already before even writing them down in my journal. I worry I wont be able to make the gap between envisioning what I want and how I want to be and then actually becoming that and changing.

Tonight we had a dance party being so silly running around in underwear with my girls haha. I love it. I have accomplished lots today J my heart is so full and I am going to sleep so happy. The Lord loves me so much. I am so blessed

I feel such zeal and passion for life right now and its beautiful J I hate how I am at my best at 2 in the morning haha.

I am going to sleep.

Xoxoxo

-christina.

Feb 23rd 2010

Today was another busy class day. After classes though I went to the Victoria and Albert museum again for a class outing for my classic civ class. We went and saw Trajens column ( it’s a replica of the one in rome. It’s HUGE! And so cool) and a few other things.

After I got back from the V&A ( which is still one of my favorite museums ) I took a half hour power nap and then went to kitchen crew! We had THE most incredible greek salad tonight. Oh my gosh. I want to get the recipe.. but it had huge chunks of feta and peppers, cucumbers, green olives, the reddish olives, jalepinos, tomatoes etc. it was so so good.

After dinner I worked on homework and facebooked a little while and dishes for kitchen crew.. which always take forever… haha but it really is way fun. I don’t mind it except for the amount of time it takes but we blasted the music again and Caitlin and I were dancing with the pots and pans haha and just being so silly and loving life. I was having so much fun doing dishes. I swear its so easy to influence a room with happiness.. if I just get a little silly … maybe some music and some dancing it turns doing dishes into a PARTY! So fun.

Then Laura and I went to see a movie! There was a group of us and we were all going to go see valentines day ( the movie I missed the night before because I was doing homework ha) but it was sold out… so Laura and I stayed and we saw “ the lovely bones ” It is this movie about a 14 yr old girl who gets murdered by her neighbor and then her ghost kinda goes through and narrates the story. It is a really good book apparently. But… I don’t know what’s wrong with me cause I can’t watch movies like that anymore. The older I get the more and more I turn into my mom I swear haha. I used to be able to watch movies like that… and obvi I still can.. but it has such a different effect on me now. I cried…. At least 4 different times in the movie haha. ( laura prolly thought I was a freak) and then it just made me sick… like I felt so sick watching her get murdered… and him luring her in… and everything. I had such an awful feeling. I kept thinking what if that was my own children etc. etc. etc. I really don’t know what my problem is! Haha I mean the movie was REALLY good for what it was. Really suspenseful.. entertaining.. had me on the edge of my seat the WHOLE time and it was really really creative. But I just.. ugh.. I didn’t leave feeling super happy ha. I left all superstitious… well not super stitious… just a little stitious haha jk jk jk ( the office) And I was so paranoid that any man looking at me on the way home was going to kill me haha. it was funny how me and laura kinda went on a little date though ha. I loved it. I love her.

So funny.. after the movie.. I had some chocolate covered hobnobs (digestives) but better and they are soooooo good.. anyways I held them up and then pointed to the basement haha and we both ran downstairs. We sat on the counter top and just ate and talked and laughed forever. As you can guess I am getting to bed really late again. I bought a whole bunch of peas the other day at a market too so we ate chocolate and peas haha. it was really fun.But I am going to sleep! Gotta be up early!

Feb 24th 2010.

Sometimes writing in my journal gets old haha. its such a chore. and and this no sleep thing is killing me. Anyways today I woke up for kitchen crew and then went back to bed after. I was so tired I was going to die. I got confused about my class schedule and thank goodness for Laura she ran upstairs after 25 min of class to ask me if I was coming ha. Oops… surprisingly I didn’t miss a single thing. Im not being silly at all when I say I feel like when your living right everything works out for you cause I didn’t miss the quiz or the roll.. howdoes that even work? Ha.

After class Laura, Jenny and I went to the Tate Modern. It is a museum with modern art in it. I had a lot of really mixed feelings about it. I think the most interesting thing was the people haha. I love people watching… and there were a lot of art students there you could tell… and they were all so creative and different and .. gosh I just want to be European so badly haha. I am also determined to have better style upon my return to the states. But A LOT of the stuff at the Tate modern was just disturbing. Videos with this lady pouring blood on her naked body and then rolling in feathers?.... self mutilation videos… a lot of violent naked pictures…. Weird abstract shapes or objects just randomly put together in a room. I have little appreciation for most modern art. It seems talentless. Like I could do half the stuff in there. And the other stuff is just ugly… like depressing and dark and ugly. To me art and music are in the same category of being creative and having the ability to have such an impact on ones soul… but with so much negativity and ugliness in the world already why would you ever want to create more? .. ya know? I have an appreciation for sad art… like art the evokes an emotion.. for sure I love it. But bloody naked self mutilation?... that’s just gross.

After dinner the whole center went to twelfth night. Its one of the plays we read in our Shakespeare class so it did make me appreciate it more. I was really really tired and it was SUPER hot in the theater.. but I was surprised how much I loved it! I laughed out loud several times… and got like… giddy at the end when the main characters kissed.. I said in my head “ what the… im getting giddy about a Shakespeare romance ?” haha. it was really really good.

And now im here. Writing in my journal at a quarter to 2 and we get up at five to leave for Wales tomorrow…. I am a stupid idiot with time ha. But I will be alright.

Some quick thoughts before I go to sleep are…

1. I love love love that I am looking more European haha. I don’t stand out like a tourist. I got a pretty good style going on. AND people even ask me for directions! Haha and even better I know where they are too! Its incredible! I am like a local! I can give directions… and work the tube system like a pro. I love it.

2. I love that the stairs in the tube are a free for all haha. in blessed America we go up right and down left. But there are so many cultures here that so many people get confused and it is just a free for all haha.

3. I am going to modge podge my wall with tube maps and make it like a giant cork board wall with art and photos and posters etc. and it will be an accent wall with the tube map. Kinda like andy Warhol themed…. SOOOOOO COOL! Im so excited on that idea haha. that is if I can convince my mom to let me haha. My creative energy here is booming.

I am going to sleep though. xoxo night!

I’m so excited for Wales!!!!

Febuary 25th 2010

Holy cow I went to bed soooo late. And then got up at 5:15 to leave for Wales! I didn’t even know this week was our Wales trip it took me completely by surprise. I am particularly excited though because it is more of my history… If I remember correctly I have English, Welsh and Danish blood in my boneeeeeees. In my “ lovely bones” …. Get it?... the movie?... lovely bones?.... haha

Our first stop was Tintern Abby. It is where the famouse poem by William Wordsworth takes place called “ Tintern Abby” …. Imagine that ha. It was soooo beautiful and I had so many crazy deep thoughts and I loved it.

Tintern Abby

After Tintern Abby we went to the Big Pit Coal Mine! This was one of the most humbling experiences I’ve had here. In London we live in THE ritziest area and my whole life has been so abundantly blessed. So while I was here I was reflecting and wondering if any of my ancestors had worked in coal mines or at this particular coal mine.. it was extremely humbling. Our tour guide was the CUTEST little Welsh man. He was so short and had such a pot belly haha. It was fun we got head lamps and belts and everything and went 200 ft down into the earth into this old coal mine. I love that we get to do all this stuff… If I was here on my own I would never think to come check out my heritage and do things that my ancestors probably did. Our tour guide has been working in a coal mine since he was 15 years old. Can you imagine that?..he is aleast…. 70?... now giving tours in the coal mine. I am frequently reminded of how easy I have it. I should be slapped every time I think life is hard or I complain about school…. I am so lucky to even be able go to school. My struggles are nothing compared to others. I don’t’ know what my ancestors did but I was thinking a lot about what kind of lifestyle they had etc while I was in Wales. Drastically different from mine I am sure.

p.s…. good thing I had my helmet on… I totally am the idiot that smacked there head soooooooooo hard in the mine hahah. Almost fell over. It didn’t hurt at all but if I hadn’t had my helmet… can you spell concussion? Haha.

we are legit

After the mine we went to the Museum Of Welsh Life. It really is fun to learn about and see the different cultures.. even though Wales and England are very similar. P.s. did you know Wales has there own language?... they speak English too.. but they have their own completely different Language.. I had no idea.

Love these girls

I was walking around with Rachel and Laura and Jake and others and we were giving fake tours of course haha even Docta Mac F ( Dr. Macfarlane) will say “Christina would you like to tell us about this place? “.. haha I swear I’m running out of creative material but every time I manage to come up with something comical ha. We went into typical homes that went through the centuries and tried traditional Welsh fudge and looked at these BEAUTIFUl gardens that were by the Welsh palace there etc. It was just another beautiful amazing day in the UK… nbd.

video interview with a native welsh.... haha.

my fudge was in the shape of a white rat... riddle me this... how thats appealing? hahah.

p.s. they had a dress up box at the museum... can you spell..... instant happiness?!

rachel made us hold her hand cause laura and I kept pinching her hahaha.

We stayed at this hotel in Cardiff Wales. It was super nice… I had my own queen size bed to myself… kinda bugged that they didn’t put 4 girls in a room.. it would have been cheaper and more fun but I had THE BEST sleep ever haha. probably because I haven’t slept at all this week but I went to bed at like 9 haha and then woke up at 7 thirty and it felt sooooo good. We were going to watch the olympics on tv after dinner but everyone got eachothers room numbers all confused and nothing was really going on and I was just too tired ha. So I went to sleep

sad to be leaving our hotel.

p.s on our way home from Mcdonalds.. we got lost. We were legit walking in between this like highway thing trying to get back to our hotel. I thought we were gonna die hahah. Walking on this tiny barrier strip thing that divided the freeway. It was ridiculous hahah. I yelled the quote out “ if you can dodge traffic you can dodge a ball” from dodgeball hahah it was sooooo funny cause it was so applicable haha. we sprinted across this highway and down like.. the side of the highways field thing and crossed this fence and then made it to our hotel from this ghetto back side haha. it was ridiculous. But I loved it

I love my life.

Xoxo

Night.

Febuary 26th 2010

It is ridiculous that it is already feb 26th… I wrote that date down and could have sworn It was valentines day yesterday. I hate how fast time is flying. Anyways… today was the more religion part tour of our Wales trip. Our first stop was Caerphilly Castle. This was by far the coolest castle I’ve seen since being here. It is your textbook fortress castle with a moat and innerwalls and drawbridges etc. I just imagined alligators in the moat and all these epic battles going on outside it haha. I loved it. It’s been restored and there were models all around of what the entire thing looks like from the air and its ridiculous. I don’t know how anyone would ever take over it. Maybe that’s why nobody ever did take over Caerphilly Castle haha. I heard Wales is where you go to see castles.. that they have the best ones. It was cool. Pictures galore of course… in 2 days this weekend… I somehow managed to have over… 400 pictures… I am a freak. I am never going to do anything with over 3/4ths of them I’m sure hahah but I have fun doing what I do haha.

looks like we are stuck in a time warp haha.

Then we picked up our church tour guide who was AMAZING and went to Benbow farm. I have been reading all about the apostolistic misisons to Britain and all about the contributors and people and it made it soooooo much cooler. I honestly loved it. When we were at Benbow farm I had the WEIRDEST sense of déjà vu. As awful as this sounds I think that is the ONLY place I have a distinct memory of when I went to Europe with my family. I am still going to use the I was 11 excuse… but its weird how much I remembered from Benbow farm. It looked the exact same… I remember taking a picture by the plaque with james and paul… I can’t wait to go home and compare my pictures haha.

the pond outside the Benbow farm.

It was really cool to learn that the lady who owns the farm now isn’t a member but she actually appoints the vicor for the local Baptist church there. However she is VERY gracious to all who come to see the sight. She even made a trip out to utah once and sang with the mo-tab choir and met pres Hinckley etc. pretty interesting. There are a lot of good people in this world

Not only was John and Jane Benbow really wealthy but John Benbow was a member of the “ united brethren” ( likely the nonconformist Baptist church back then) church and was a very influential person. One of the reasons the success in that area was so huge was because of all those who traveled to hear Wilford Woodruff preach because of Benbow and a man named Thomas Kington( a former united brehren preacher who was baptized) they wanted to see what was up with all these influential people becoming Mormons!

I have to copy down some of these stories… there so great….k here goes …this ones about Elder woodruff and his preaching in Herefordshire and surrounding towns ( including where the Benbow farm is located.. which is where a lot of his sermons actually took place)

“ by that time word was spreading regarding the new missionary, and the local parish rector sent a police constable to the last Sunday sermon with instructions to arrest the Mornon elder for preaching to the people. Wilford responded that he had a license to preach as valid as that of the rector’s but I if the constable would take a chair, Wilford would speak with im after the service. The sermon was delivered in peace. At the conclusion of the meeting, the constable ( along with six others, including four preachers) asked for baptism and reported later to the rector that if he wanted Elder Woodruff arrested, he would have to do so himself, as he ( the constable) had heard the only true gospel sermon he had listened to in his life.

In desperation, the rector then send two clerks of the Church of England to spy upon the subsequent Mormon meetings and to report back their findings. Both stayed, listened attentively to the message, and were baptized and confirmed members of the Church. Needless to report, the rector stopped sending anyone to the meetings of the missionaries.”

Hahah I love that story. I have heard so many incredible spiritual stories this week its crazy. I have been thinking and pondering upon the thousands of converts and how all of there stories are unique to them and how awesome this gospel really is and how there really is a plan for everyone. God has all these intricate designs and plans and it is just SOOOOOO evident by learning about all the miracles that happened during this time…. And even now.. I kept thinking about Sarah’s conversion story and I told her story on the bus to everyone in the back that was sitting by me. I will talk more about this later though… getting out of order here haha.

After the church we went to Herefordshire Beacon. Its basically this like mountain/hill thing in Hereforshire. It is said that Woodruff would frequently hike to the top to get away from everything and ponder the perplexities of life. It was SOOOOOO beautiful on top. The sun was starting to dip down and it was lighting the hole mountain in this bright gold light. It was sooooo windy and it felt so good to just be hiking and giggling and loving life every second. I loved thinking that I was where the apostles actually were. All this incredible history! We read some of Woodruffs journal on top and it was really really neat. Maybe all this journal writing isn’t in vain haha. but Brigham young and Wilford Woodruff and Willard Richards all met atop this mountain and discussed the future of the church and we just listened to all these stories and learned more about what was going on at that time.

just embracing each other on top of the mountain haha. gosh I love her.

One of the journal entries of Woodruff discussed about how he was sitting atop the mountain thinking about continuum of life… you can see EVERYTHING on top of this mountain. The entire city and it is SO beautiful. Woodruff discusses his thoughts on how big and beautiful this earth and world is and if there was a creator who made this world then who made the creator etc etc etc. I love thinking all this stuff. I love hearing that the apostles ponder things like this too. they star gaze and watch sunsets and marvel just like me … it makes it more real for me.

it was sooooo windy !!!!!! i swear its wind up my coat haha but laura and I thought this was stinkin funny......

Christina plus 20 lbs. Christina plus 30 lbs. haha.

video

All this talk about the direction of the church and the emigration that followed all the baptisms etc.. it made me once again marvel at my history. What have I been asked to give up? People like Benbow and Kington liquidated everything. They sold all there land all there cattle, sheep, barrels of cider, ap-ple orchards, animals, etc etc etc… and what they couldn’t sell they just flat out left. They gave EVERYTHING for the church. I have been listening to story after story of the sacrifices my ancestors made to be apart of this gospel. I am so grateful for all of them. I felt so blessed all day. And loved. I am so glad that I am aware of all these sacrifices that were made for me. I can’t wait to thank every single on of them in heaven some day. I feel so foolish. I haven’t been asked to do any such thing… and I still struggle with the stupidest things.

We ended the tour by going to the first Mormon church meeting house in all of Europe. It is even argued that it is the first mormon meeting house in the world.. because the Nauvoo temple was a temple…. So depending on your definition ha, I just went to the first meeting house the gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints ever had!…. Pretty neat stuff.

first Lds meeting house.

So funny.. this building because not as many church visitors make it all the way out there had a lock on it with the code posted on the wall with a bunch of mormon trivia questions… like if you got all the questions right then you would know the code and you could just come inside. These were the questions.

1. Apostle Heber Kimballs Middle initial?

2. How many chapters in the book of Enos?

3. At what age are members of the church baptized.

4. How many degrees of glory

5. How many books are in the book of Mormon after the book of Moroni

6. First letter of brighams surname

I have a confession… I didn’t know 2 hahah. It was a really embarrassing moment for me haha.

I went outside to walk around and get back on the bus and there was THE most beautiful sunset. It was this purple pink yellowish sun dipping over all the trees and farms and land. It was so beautiful. Beauty of the Earth strengthens my testimony so much. How can you not believe in a creator when you see such incredible things. I felt so much love and such a stronger spirit when I was walking around the outside of the church looking at the sunset than I did inside… its funny how the spirit speaks different to all of us in that way. I love it though. I love that we are all different and individual beings to God… and so he speaks to us individually. I was once again feeling very very blessed. I am so grateful for my ancestors. I am so grateful for my history. Life is beautiful to me.

so so so beautiful.

On the bus home… I talked about Sarah’s conversion story. Everyone loved it and her and wants to meet her. I heard it’s a sign of love when you find the need to talk about them. It evolved into talking about ghost stories haha kinda a jump… but then we started to talk about weegie boards and evil spirit stories etc.… which I hear your not supposed to talk about and I was starting to feel … like really freaked out.. sick inside… ha. We stopped talking about it but not before THE funnies thing happened. Terry our bus driver… for some odd reason… decided to pick up the mic and say “ is anyone awake” or something like that in this really creepy whisper voice… and it wasn’t even what he said it was just that he said it at the most PRIME time… like 7 of us screeeeeeeeeamed in the back of the coach haha. He had no idea… we were all the way in the back its not that he knew we were talking about ghosts and stuff haha. but it was so funny. We woke up everyone on the bus and we were laughing so hard after hahah. It was great.

I loaded pictures onto my computer and dinked around with laura etc for a while and finally went to bed at 3… why do I love staying up late so much… it’s a terrible habit. I am going to write a goal list for this week though which is going to include going to bed before midnight and NO later than 12:30. No more of this ridiculous 3 am crap when I have class.

I love my life. I love how blessed I am. I love that it feels so good to be “ home” haha when I’m back in London.

Feb 27th 2010.

Today I have just been kind of takin it easy. We have had such a big busy week and trips etc.. I am just plumb tuckered out. I woke up and Rachel and Laura and I went and did another church visit for my religions class ( went to a Baptist church) and then we walked around Portobello road for a bit. I love Portobello market. It is soooooo cool. So much stuff there. My mom really has to come and see. 1. Portobello market. 2. Camden market. 3 bourough market.

Tonight Laura and Rachel and I went to Chinatown for dinner. We were going to go to Trafalger square to take night pictures but it was raining and I swear 2309439048 lines of the tube was closed. We took busses all over the city and it took forever.

Dinner was pretty expensive and actually kinda gross haha. my chicken was luke warm and it was just another funny cultural experience haha. but we loved it we finished up the night with some frog frozen yogurt. Rachel’s friend who was here last semester sent a letter with the best quote I’ve heard yet..she said “You can lose all the weight you've gained, you can earn back all the money you've spent but you can't ever recreate your experiences, so live it up."

It is my new motto for the week haha. I am going to go to sleep though J finally caught up on this journal of mine J I love my family. I love my friends. I love my life and I am the luckiest girl on the planet pretty sure…. Yup… im sure.

Xoxoxo

Christina jane.