Thursday, June 11, 2009

It's hard to say goodbye, my love.

Well the day has come.
I just finished my final day in London.
I just can't believe it. These 6 weeks have been a complete whirlwind of theatre, friendships, laughter, buses, tubes, church, spiritual experiences, living, school, nature, beauty, and happiness.
I think back to the first day and how alone and nervous and unsure I was here and I now I feel like I'm home. I truly have found such amazing friends here. There was such a sense of unity and camaraderie here among us that is rarely experienced and I feel so blessed. I have had the chance to be with and do things with so many different little groups and get to know so many different, wonderful people. I hate saying goodbye. I hate leaving situations like the one that I'm in, I really struggle with it. But I know I will always have these memories to look back on and smile about. I will have classes with and be able to see these people again through BYU and through the gospel, and I know that I will continue to have wonderful experiences like this one throughout my life.

Today was a relaxed day of packing and getting ready to leave. I was home most of the day just being with people. McKell, Symantha, and I went to the Hairspray Matinee and had a wonderful time. I'm so glad to leave London on a happy note with one of my favorite, favorite, shows. We had a blast, Edna and Wilbur made the show, and we had a dance party in the aisles after curtain call. Does it get any better than that? Then it was onto more packing, and a walk up to Tesco through Kensington Gardens for the last time, and High Street Kensington at dusk.
I am in love with this city.
I will always look back on this time of my life and remember the utter joy London gave me.
Dreams do come true, and sometimes they're even better than you can imagine.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I. love. you. baby...

This is our street sign. I'm totally going to miss it.

So I'm officially DONE with my theatre course!
I can't believe it.

Yesterday was just a nice relaxed day. I went to class and then we went to the Kensington Creperie which was amazing. I'm kind of sad we didn't discover it sooner...but maybe that's actually a good thing. I might has spent too much money on crepes.

Then I came home and finished up my Research Project and worked on the take home section of the final. It felt good to get those things done since they've been hanging over my head since the beginning.
Then it was time for Jersey Boys. I've always wanted to see it because I love all of the songs, but I wasn't planning on seeing it here. I know it's one of the shows I can see at home and I had all these excuses, but girls were talking about it and we watch videos on you tube and so I just decided to go.
I'm so glad. We had a blast at that show. It was really well done theatrically and the performances were top notch. It was the most fun I've had in a theatre in so long. We were clapping and dancing and singing along. We had great seats (we were in the front row of the balcony and then moved down to the second row at intermission) and it was really just a fantastic night. We had a blast together walking and talking and I'm just really glad I decided to go.

At the moment I'm getting ready to go see Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, which I have been looking forward to for months. From what I've heard it's going to be a really cool production. We just finished playing a few rounds of Uno, watching Tony performances on You Tube, and rocking out to Frankie Valli. We each got £40 refunded from the program today which was really exciting and I'm going to see a brand new play at a way cool fringe theatre tonight.
These last days are flying by and I'm just enjoying the ride, enjoying the friendships, and trying not to think about how much I'm going to miss it here.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Few Foggy Days in London Town.

What a crazy few days I've had.
I just can't believe that this program is quickly coming to an end. In some ways it has flown by, and in others I feel as if I've been here forever. I really feel like I'm in this dream land, worlds away from reality and home and real life...I'm not sure what I'll do with myself when I get back. It's only been six weeks but I feel that I've experienced and learned so much about life, and especially about myself.
Here's a little recap of the past few days!

We left the comforts of our lovely Bed and Breakfast at about 9am and were headed to see a few more Shakespeare sites in the countryside of Stratford and then onto Oxford for a few hours before arriving back in London. It really was a fun day. I had such a good time talking with Anna, Ronnie, and Kristy on the bus about pretty much anything and everything. We're all theatre ed majors so it was fun to talk about classes, and teaching ideas, and theatre, and then also just talk about our lives and share experiences with each other. I really think that was my favorite part of the day. Oxford was also a really neat place, a very collegiate town, obviously!
The highlight was going to Christ's College, where they have filmed lots of the scenes for the Harry Potter movies.

I really felt like I was walking around Hogwarts, and it totally took me back to my 6th grade Harry Potter nerdiness and made me remember how I still wish I could go to Hogwarts and be friends with Harry and Ron and have a wand and all that jazz. Good times. We got back and walked down to McDonald's for a snack and then through Hyde Park. I realized that night that I really will miss London so much. The simple things here, just being here, is so amazing. Honestly, I don't know how to express how much I love this place.

Paige, Allison, Cat and I arose 'early' and headed to the Donmar West End theatre in hopes of getting tickets to see Jude Law in 'Hamlet.' We got there about an hour and half before they start selling day tickets and there were already tons of people in line. We waited but didn't get tickets and decided to come back earlier on Saturday. From there we took the tube to Oxford Circus (a big shopping street) and I did some shopping. It was really nice to just walk the streets and look in the shops by myself. I've found that alone time here is really exhilarating and nice. From there I came home and then our little group was off to Westminster Abbey for evensong and to see Big Ben once more.

Big Ben is truly majestic to me. It's still surreal every time I see it. It's totally the icon of London and helps remind me that I'm really here. Westminster was also beautiful and the choir that sang was amazing.

I was sitting there just in awe of the buildings in Europe. We just don't have the grand, old, architecture they have here. I'll miss it. Paige and I were then headed to see 'Company' and we made it this time! It was in this literal hole-in-the-wall theatre that just had the best atmosphere. You could tell the people just LOVED theatre and that made me love them. It's so different from the big, grand, expensive theatres in the West End. I love them...but I love these little theatres more. The show was great with lots of talent and we just had a really fun night...cake for dinner and all!

I got up at 5:50am to be ready to go get in line for Hamlet tickets once more.

We got to the theatre right before 7 and there were already 7 people in line! Craziness. We camped out in a little doorway in front of the theatre in the chilly, rainy, foggy, morning, and there we sat for 4 hours until we finally emerged triumphantly from the box office with 10th Row Center tickets to see Jude Law's beautiful face perform Shakespeare. It was so worth it. We were just a little bit excited. Paige and I ran home, took showers, and were off to see Billy Elliot. We got to the theatre and tickets were just more than we wanted to pay for not so great seats so we got back on the tube and ran to try for Oliver (again for me.) We got there and I got in the return ticket line while Paige tried for Lion King across the street, which sadly had already started. We both ended up getting into Oliver. I got a ticket to sit in the stalls about the 7th row and I was in heaven. This production of Oliver is just amazing, I'm SO glad I saw it again. It makes me so happy. I was a little fan girl and went to the stage door and got a picture with Jodi Prenger who plays Nancy.

Her performance is stunning, and I just love her story. She reminds me of myself in a lot of ways and it was really cool to meet her and see how humble and happy she is. Paige and I were then off again to grab some food and head to 'Hamlet'.

Let's just say....Jude Law is a legit actor. He made Shakespeare come so alive and feel so natural. I was very impressed, and really enjoyed the entire production. I almost got his autograph after the show, and I got pretty close to him, but there were some very obnoxious drunk men outside the theatre that we being very rude, so Jude didn't stay out very long.

Oh well. Paige and I decided we've experienced the full spectrum of theatre experiences here, and we'll always remember the performance, so the autograph isn't really necessary.

Today has been another wonderful Sunday with the people of London. We had Stake Conference this morning where 5 of the general authorities of the church spoke. There was such a strong peaceful spirit in the building, and the messages the general authorities shared with us were amazing. I have such a testimony of Jesus Christ and I know he lives and loves each and every person on this earth. Christ's love is really exemplified in President Uchtdorf. He just emits happiness, kindness, and love. The members in the Hyde Park Stake were just so excited to see him and it was beautiful to watch them take part in this conference. As we were leaving President Uchtdof's car pulled out and he had his window down waving at the people. As he turned the corner, Anna called his name and he looked over at our little group of 4 and his face lit up with a huge smile and he looked and waved right at us. It really made my day. I know with all my heart that he is an Apostle of Jesus Christ, and I'm so thankful for the Gospel in my life. Tonight we have a Young Single Adult fireside and I'm just working on homework.

Life is most definitely GOOD.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?

Some days are just really awesome.
Today was one.
Here are some reasons why.

1. Shakespeare Sites

2. Renting a Boat on the Avon

3. Way cool theatre space

4. Fun Friends

5. Cafe Pasta

6. Stratford-upon-Avon

I pretty much love this place.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

War Horse.

This video doesn't really do it justice, but can give you and idea of what we saw.
Beautiful. Stunning. Brilliant.

checking things off

My Monday was quite eventful.
After class Paige, McKell, Sarah, and I headed to the Tower of London.

I had seen it one of the first nights I was here, but I still hadn't actually been to it. It was so much fun, and so much bigger than I had expected. We had a really great time we went on a tour and saw the crown jewels and just explored around for a little while. We then hoped on a boat down the Thames to the Tate Modern museum.

We looked in the really cool shop and headed up to see Monet's "Water Lillies" painting. As we were looking through that first gallery the museum we didn't see much, but I liked what we did see. It's the first museum that I've actually it's a little sad we didn't get to stay longer, but that's okay.
We then headed back across the river on the way cool Millennium Bridge and were off the the New London Theatre to see "War Horse."

That's all I can say about the show. It is about a boy and his horse during WWI and they have these brilliant and fascinating life like horse puppets. It sounds cheesy and weird but it is innovative and dramatic and beautiful and moving. I'm still processing it and trying to understand what I saw and why it affected me so deeply. I'm pretty sure it's going to be the next big thing in the theatre world. It's already taking London by storm and I can see why. I'm so glad we got to see it, and I had a fantastic seat which made it even better.

Today was also very eventful. We boarded the coach at 6:45 this morning and were off to Coventry Cathedral. It was a really beautiful place, I was pleasantly surprised. We were then off to the castle ruins at Kentleworth

and then another castle at Warwick. The castle at Warwick has been restored and turned into a sort of Medieval family fun centre.

We had about 4 hours there and spent it exploring the beautiful grounds and just having fun being together. It was a really nice day, with perfect weather and I just had a blast sitting in the shade and taking everything in.
From Kentleworth we were on to Stratford-Upon-Avon. Since I've been in love with Shakespeare I've wanted to come here. I'm so excited to finally be here in this adorable little town where everything is named after something Shakespeare. It's such a cute, quaint little town and the Bed and Breakfast we are staying in is so fun.

We got here, dropped out stuff off and headed to "The Windmill" pub (suggested by our hosts) for dinner before the show tonight.
It was so good. The building was apparently built in the late 1500's which is awesome in and of itself, and the food was fantastic. I had some really yummy 'Hunter's Chicken' with new potatoes and lemonade that tastes like sprite and I was pretty much in heaven.

I think it has been my favorite meal in England so far. After that we headed to the grocery store to pick up some chocolate, and were onto the Royal Shakespeare Co. to see "The Winter's Tale."

Its definitely not my favorite Shakespeare show, and although this production had some really cool design elements, and I loved the theatre space itself, I was bored out of my mind and I could not wait for it to be over. You will some, you lose some I suppose.
Now I'm back home, after walking through this beautiful town in perfect weather, and I just can't wait to see what tomorrow holds.
Yay for England!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

London North

I l-o-v-e the London North Ward. I have just had a wonderful experience being with these amazing people (especially the primary) each week. I only got to serve with them for 5 Sundays but they truly changed my life and the way I see the Gospel. The people in the London North ward will always hold a special place in my heart.