Friday, December 24, 2010

O Come All Ye Faithful

Christmastime has been a little different for me since I've started college. The joy and excitement of Christmas is too often swallowed up in the drudgery of finals. Not only that, but as I've grown older, it's easier for me to understand why Christmas is a hard time of the year for some people. Through tragedies in my own life and in the lives of those close to me, I have learned that truly, "hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth, good will to men."

But, like in Longfellow's poem, I have also realized that "God is not dead nor doth He sleep." God is aware of our needs; our days are known, and our "years shall not be numbered less."  

One of the things that has brought me to this realization is the spirit of Christmas carols. 

Christmas carols bring me closer to Christ. This year, when I haven't been feeling as "Christmas-y" as I would like, I go to the piano and sing Christmas hymns. Almost instantly, my focus shifted from the hustle and confusion of this world to the stillness of the manger, the faith of the wise men, or the glory of the night sky in Bethlehem, ablaze with angels. Singing Christmas carols enables me to focus on the wonder of God's love, and how it has changed me . . . it is incredible to me how His love has the supernal power to change mankind for the better.  

It is hard for me to choose a favorite Christmas carol . . . every year it changes based on my experiences of the year. I have perennial favorites, such as Silent Night (especially in the original German), and O Come, All Ye Faithful. But this year I have been drawn to more obscure Christmas carols. One less-sung Christmas carol that I've loved for a while is Once in Royal David's City. I get chills every time I sing the last verse: 
"And our eyes at last shall see him, 
Through His own redeeming love; 
For that child, so dear and gentle
Is our Lord in heav'n above.
And He leads His children on
To the place where He is gone." 
Ah. Love it. 

I've also been re-introduced to the last verse of the First Noel. I forgot how beautiful and powerful it is: 

"Now let us all with one accord
Sing praises to our heavenly Lord
That hath made heaven and earth of naught
And with His blood mankind has bought.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel--
Born is the King of Israel!" 

Another hymn I've discovered this year is Angels From the Realms of Glory. It was written by James Montgomery, a British poet and editor. Montgomery also penned A Poor, Wayfaring Man of Grief and Prayer is the Soul's Sincere Desire. It impresses me how faithful Montgomery was, despite all the trials and heartache he went through, including imprisonment. 

Here are some verses of his Christmas hymn that really touched my heart: 
"Angels from the realms of glory, 
Wing your flight o'er all the earth; 
Ye who sang creation's story, 
Now proclaim Messiah's birth . . . 

Sages, leave your contemplations,
Brighter visions beam afar; 
Seek the great desire of nations, 
Ye have seen His natal star . . . .

Saints before the altar bending, 
Watching long in hope and fear, 
Suddenly the Lord descending, 
In His temple shall appear:
Come and worship, come and worship, 
Worship Christ, the newborn King!" 

I especially love that last verse.

One last song: One of my absolute favorite Christmas songs is a German Christmas carol called O Du Froehliche, or, in English, "O How Joyfully." It's a beautiful song that exudes the light and joy that we should be feeling at Christmastime. I found an English poetry translation that does a pretty good job of capturing the German meaning (and it makes a lot more sense than the literal translation): 

"Oh how joyfully, oh how blessedly, 
Comes the glory of Christmastime!
To a world so lost in sin, 
Christ the Saviour enters in:
Praise Him, praise Him Christians, evermore!

Oh how joyfully, oh how blessedly, 
Comes the glory of Christmastime!
Jesus, born in a lowly stall, 
With His grace redeems us all:
Praise Him, praise Him Christians, evermore!

Oh how joyfully, oh how blessedly, 
Comes the glory of Christmastime!
Hosts of angels from on high, 
Sing, rejoicing in the sky: 
Praise him, praise Him Christians, evermore!" 

Singing Christmas carols gives me a way to express my testimony in a way that mere words alone cannot possibly do. No language in the world is perfect; each has its corruptions and we nobody can express themselves in the way they'd like to. I feel like music is often the closest thing we have to expressing ourselves the way we were meant to; the way we yearn to. 

Music is certainly a way that God has shown His love for me. And I'm grateful for Christmas hymns that lift my spirit, allow me to refocus, and teach me the true meaning of Christmas: 

"Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be unto all people. 
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."  (Luke 2:10-14)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Cookie Palooza(s)

Our apartment likes cookies.

As one of my roommates says, some people have 72-hour kits. We have 72-cookies kits. 

You'd be surprised by the amount of comfort and sanity a cookie can bring. 

The past few weeks before Christmas break, our apartment literally went on a baking spree. We made real gingerbread to make gingerbread houses during the First Presidency Christmas Devotional. We also made sugar cookies while watching Elf, and there were cake balls and candy to boot, making Finals Week a lot more bearable (and tastier). 

Here are some pictures from our Cookie Paloozas: 

Making Gingerbread Houses: 

Cute roommate shot

Silly roommate shot

Did you know that you can create stained-glass windows for your gingerbread houses? First, cut out a "window" in your gingerbread. Then, crush some Jolly Ranchers. 

Next, fill your "window" with the crushed Jolly Ranchers. Melt the Jolly Ranchers by baking the gingerbread. 

Ta-da! The finished product!

It's a Gingerbread Tanner Building! 

Close-up of the Tanner Building. Pretty good, eh? 

Making my gingerbread house

Making a Gingerbread Guggenheim

The finished product! Isn't it lovely? 

A fallen gingerbread teepee, and two gingerbread houses. 

The Gingerbread Teepee

What kind of insurance should these gingerbread structures have?
Fire? No. Flood? Nein. Earthquake? Nope.
Answer: Cookie Monster Insurance!

No, not this one. 

                      THIS one. So innocent looking. Those poor cookies never knew what hit them. 

Sugar Cookie Night: 

We also made and frosted sugar cookies one night. I love sugar cookies . . . although I think I like the dough more than the actual cookies! Still, making and frosting sugar cookies brings back fond memories of listening to Mannheim Steamroller, watching the Christmas tree lights dance on the ceiling, and preparing a plate of homemade, frosting-sticky cookies for Santa. 

You know it's beginning to smell a lot like Christmas when you have gingerbread and sugar cookies baking in the oven. :) 

Playing Dress-Up

Last night my mom asked me to put together Christmas goodie plates for our neighbors. I got cocoa powder on my face, and, since I was feeling a bit silly, I smeared the cocoa powder from my fingers onto my face.

And, since I'm the oldest and my siblings follow my example, two of my siblings smeared cocoa powder on their faces, too.

Needless to say, frivolity, laughter, and many, many pictures followed as we became warriors, waifs, and were just plain silly. I also dressed up as a rather-convincing Eponine (but my sister has those pictures . . . I don't have them at the moment).

We knew that since it is Christmas time, someone would most likely come to the door bearing gifts. So, being in the silly mood that we were, my sister, brother and I decided we wanted to greet whoever came to the door. When the doorbell finally rang we rushed upstairs . . .

And were greeted by the bishop.

I think that's the last time my mom will have me prepare the Christmas plates.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Last Fifteen Minutes

. . . before I left for the library epitomized the wonderful spontaneity that is my apartment this year.

TRISH*: Do you think that we could talk to each other through the vents?
BLYTHE: Let's try it. I'll be inside the bathroom and you try to hear my voice in the living room.

(Various NOISES** ensue as they try to hear each other.)

CLARA: I had a weird dream last night. I think I had a baby.
CHRISTINE: Oh really? Who was the father?
CLARA: I don't remember. I think  . . . (screams as BLYTHE hits her from behind with a SNOWBALL)

(Laughter. BLYTHE, CLARA, and CHRISTINE start hitting each other with SNOWBALLS with SNOW that BLYTHE brought in from OUTSIDE.)

TRISH: Hit my computer and you will die.

(SNOWBALL FIGHT in the KITCHEN. SNOW flies around the KITCHEN until it's all melted.)

BLYTHE (to TRISH): You know that was fun.

General chit-chat as I prepare to go to the library. As I leave the apartment one of my roommates says, as she's laying on the living room floor in front of her computer:

"Sometimes I feel like a beached whale . . ."

That, my friends, is the spontaneity of our apartment. But part of the wonder of it all is, that it doesn't feel spontaneous. It feels normal, like home. My apartment has literally been a home away from home this semester. And I love it.

You have no idea how wonderful this semester has been with all of my roommates. They are all such fun, sweet, independent, wonderful women and I've enjoyed sharing an apartment with them, having deep discussions late into the night, baking cookies, singing songs, and laughing. I am truly blessed to have lived, grown, and learned along with them this semester.

There are more posts to come about the fun times with roommates this semester . . . I just have to get through finals. Two more to go!

*Names have been changed . . . :)
** I don't know what I decided to capitalize and block all of the nouns. You'd think I was studying for my German final or something.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Maeser Building . . .

There are many odd and funny things about BYU--the Police Beat, BYU culture, BYU 100-Hour Board . . . perhaps later I'll write a real post about things about BYU that I think are funny. 

But for the moment, here's something that my roommate and I found in the Widtsoe Building. We thought it was pretty funny. 

The plaque says, "John A. Widtsoe: 1872-1952." 

I don't know where the bust is. Or maybe there's supposed to be a plant there. It is the Life Sciences Building, after all. 

Brag Post

Just because I'm super excited . . .

I've been working on a paper for my Literary Criticism class, and I had my writing conference with my professor this morning. 

I got an A! This is from the professor who told me at my first writing conference with him that he "doesn't believe in giving out As." 

Sweet, sweet success. 

He also told me today that I will do well in the rest of my English career and that my future professors will enjoy reading my papers. 


Megan = very, very happy. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Run Like the Wind

Don't you love it when you wake up five minutes before you have a German oral exam on campus?

Yeah. I love that, too.

I didn't even hear my alarm go off this morning, so when my roommate woke me up, asking when my exam was, my heart sunk. It was 8:58 and my test was at 9:05. I've never jumped out of bed so quickly in my life.

I didn't even put on a new shirt. I just kept my pajama shirt on, pulled on some jeans, threw on my coat, tied my shoes, and then flew out the door.

Oh boy, did I run. Sometimes if I'm late to an appointment I'll run in spurts/speedwalk so that I don't attract too much attention to myself. But I didn't care this morning. I just ran. I ran until I was halfway up the hill and was panting so much that I had to stop and catch my breath. And then, when I got to the crosswalk at the top of the hill, I started running again.

My appointment was on the 3rd floor of the JFSB, but I did not want to take the stairs--I was pretty sure I would collapse. So, I waited for the elevator, standing next to a girl who looked at me with a mixture of pity and amusement. I thought about asking her for the time, but then the elevator opened and I was too concerned with pressing the "3" button.

We rode the elevator in relative silence, except for the sounds of my panting. Wheeze, out. Wheeze, out.

The girl got off at level 2. As she left she said, "Have a nice day." Yup. Pretty sure she was pitying me.

I ran through the carpeted halls of the JFSB to my professor's office. I made it there at 9:07--just two minutes after my assigned time. I felt really proud of myself. And really exhausted.

There are many things that I'm grateful for from this experience:

1. Roommates who look out for me.
2. That the crosswalks were free of cars or bikes when I ran across them.
3. Elevators.
4. Kind Professors.
5. That I have a healthy body--healthy enough that I can run from my apartment to the JFSB in about five minutes.

I think I'll do it in heels next time.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Live in Thanksgiving Daily

I was reading in the Book of Mormon this morning and came across Alma 34, verse 38:

". . . and that ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you."

How perfect for today. And every day, really.

I truly am grateful for the many blessings God has given to me: my family, my friends, a healthy body, the gift of music, the extraordinary opportunities I've had to learn and grow and experience life, and the Gospel. His mercies abound, and I am reminded constantly of them--especially in the small and simple ways--from the beauty of a sunset to the touch of a child's hand; from finding a cell phone charger to finding peace in this world. He is truly mindful of us, and there is great reason to be thankful.

I'm also grateful for Thanksgiving. Of course it is a wonderful time to see family and friends and eat delicious turkey and scrumptious pies (mmm), but it also helps me to remember. It helps me remember how I've been blessed, how my family has been blessed, and how, I believe, this country has been blessed. And I want to live my life so I can bless others, as well . . . so they can have something (or someone) to be grateful for. "Because I have been given much, I too must give."

Happy Thanksgiving!

P.S. There was a really interesting article in the Wall Street Journal about how gratitude is good for your well-being. I believe it. Another reason for why we should "live in thanksgiving daily".

I think you would enjoy reading it:

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Severe Weather Warning

Today I got about half-a-dozen with that message--"Severe Weather Warning"--from texts, phone calls, and e-mails telling me that a severe blizzard is coming our way.

It's about at the Point of the Mountain right now. And I'm kind of excited.

The best part? I got a partial snow day! Because BYU campus closed at 3, I didn't have to go to my last class. Instead, I'm at home, safe and sound, awaiting this "blizzard to end all blizzards." It's supposed to be the biggest storm since 2001. And I hope that people drive safely tonight. In fact, I hope most people that traveled today are already home.

I've never had a snow day before. I've lived in Utah for about twelve years, but I've never had a snow day. I've always wanted one, to go play outside in the snow and make snowmen and go sledding in our backyard and come inside for hot chocolate. It's fun to play in the snow any day, but it just sounds so much better to do on a school day.

Now I finally get a snow day! . . . well, a partial snow day, but I'll take it.

I'm breaking out the hot chocolate tonight.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Grace Period Has Ended

I think I'm a pretty good TA, for the most part. I'm friendly, and I enjoy helping students out during my office hours or after class. And I think, for the most part, my students like me. I like to think so, anyway.

But I think a few of them probably hate me right now, and will immortalize me as "that blankety-blank TA."

My students got their papers back today. The papers that I graded. I think I did a decent job; I graded as fairly as I could and I felt good with the scores I gave them. But that doesn't mean everyone will be happy with the grades they got.

I could feel the tension in the room as I handed their papers back. Some of them were holding their breath (I know I do it, too, when I'm waiting for a graded paper), and they would either let out sighs of satisfaction and/or relief; or their breath would suck in quickly, as they were dealt the blow of a low grade.

I've been on that end before. It's not fun to get a score you don't want.

And I know what ensues. Curse the class. Curse the TA. Curse the TA's dog. I am probably the subject of many dorm-room rants right now.

The Era of Good Feelings has ended.

But I have other things to worry more about than freshmen cursing my name and my posterity.
I'm studying for a German test right now and I have a Gulliver's Travels presentation and an English 295 research paper on Mildred Pierce, and a History test to study for, too. Too much to do and too much to enjoy than to worry about irate freshmen (although it might be rather funny to listen to their rants, I think . . .).

Time for Deutsch lernen.

Monday, November 15, 2010

In the Spirit of Thanksgiving

This is one of my favorite poems. Thank you, Gerard Manley Hopkins for your beautiful words:

Pied Beauty

GLORY be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tear Down This Wall!

This November 9th marked the 21st anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall!

What an extraordinary day. I truly believe that it was a miracle. This story of freedom still stirs my heart and brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it or watch videos like the one below. (Which my friend, Jen, used on her blog. So thank you, Jen!)

By a chunk of the Berlin Wall at the Duxford Airfield

I am so grateful for freedom.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

October Days

October is my favorite month. And as it's slipping away, I thought I'd do a shout-out of the top 20 things I love about October . . . even though there are most definitely more than 20 things I love about this month. But here they are, in no particular order:
20. Pumpkins. I love pumpkins: carving pumpkins, roasted pumpkin seeds, pumpkin cake from Kneaders, pumpkin bread, pumpkin spice smell . . . it's such a wonderfully versatile gourd.
19. Halloween candy.
18. Halloween. To be honest, I'm really not a big fan of Halloween, but I still do enjoy it. I love seeing little kids dressed up as firefighters and ballerinas, and it's pretty fun to see big kids dressed up in really creative costumes, too. Like my roommate, Michelle, was the "Flaming Mustache" from the MOA exhibition last year. She was pretty much awesome. I didn't dress up this year (lame, I know), but I thought of all of these great costume ideas AFTER Halloween. Like Ms. Pacman. Or a blade of grass on campus ("Please Don't Walk on Me, I'm Trying Hard to Grow!"). *Sigh* There's always next year . . .
17. Creating Ward Musical Numbers with my Roommates. Okay, I don't do this EVERY October, but we certainly did it this one. It will be a pretty rocking musical number. It will be a horn-flute-piano-voice arrangement and we'll be performing "Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me." I'm excited.
16. BYU Homecoming.
15. Apples. Especially caramel ones.
14. First snow.
13. Friends' birthdays. I know so many people who have birthdays in October. We kind of form this solidarity knowing that we all have birthdays in the best month of the year (not that I'm biased or anything).
12. Clouds. I don't know why, but the cloud formations this October have been absolutely stunning. I especially love it when the sun cuts through the clouds.
11. Rainstorms. There have been some wonderful rainstorms this October, too! They add a bit of crispness to the air, which is heavenly. I love just standing outside in the rain, letting the wind, water, and smell engulf me.
10. Roommate Movie Nights.
9. Start of BYU Basketball Season. Oh yeah, baby.
8. Looking at the mountains. From looking at the changing colors on Y-mountain, to gazing at the majesty of Timpanogos's snowcapped peaks, I am always in awe of the grandeur of God's creations.
7. The smell of fall. I am pretty sure that heaven will smell like fall.
6. The air. I love the crispness in the air, and I like being a little bit cold. I know that probably sounds weird, but it makes me feel alive.
5. Sweaters. :)

4. BYU Football Season! I love the atmosphere of the BYU football games, and I especially love it when we win. By the way, did you know that I was on the page? Yep, I'm practically famous. Here's the picture.

3. General Conference.
2. The LEAVES. There's a maple tree that I pass every day on the way to campus. The top is gorgeously red, the middle is a blend of yellow and red, and the bottom is still yellow-green. I love that tree. It takes my breath away every time I see it. I also love to look up at the mountains. The brilliant reds, oranges, and yellows look like an odd patchwork quilt ad fill my soul with happiness. I also love to crunch the leaves on the sidewalks. :)
1. My birthday! I turned 20 this year (that's the reason why I listed 20 wonderful things about October). I had such a wonderful day. I enjoyed seeing my family and friends . . . and my roommates threw a surprise birthday party for me! I've never had one before, and it was so fun. I seriously have the best friends in the world. I'm so blessed.
October is about as close to perfection as you can get.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Sandman Strikes Again . . .

Dear BYU PKP-ers,

You know how I tend to have strange, unsettling--although funny--dreams? (Remember that one with conveyor belts and pineapples? Yeah, I do too.)

Anyway, I thought some of you might be interested to know that I had another one.

This time we were all a part of The Oregon Trail; we were acting out the computer game.

And I think we got attacked by a bear.

Don't ask me what I was eating before I went to bed. I couldn't tell you.

But, just for the record, you all looked really sharp in your 1840s get-up. We would have been good-looking pioneers.



Sunday, October 17, 2010

Three Reasons Why This Weekend Was So Great

1) Service Project at Temple Square. Our stake dug out summer flowers and planted bulbs for the spring. I'm excited to see Temple Square in bloom come April General Conference. "Look, look! I planted those tulips!"

2) Mozart's The Magic Flute, playing at the BYU de Jong Concert Hall. I went to the dress rehearsal, so I was a little nervous that they'd have a problem and have to stop. But they didn't have to stop once; I was able to see it uninterrupted. It was a beautiful production, and it's such an interesting opera. I really enjoyed watching it.

3) Cambridge get-together! Need I say more? I love hanging out with them; it makes me so happy to see them and find out how their lives are going. I love these people. You couldn't ask for a better bunch.

Life is good.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Muffin Mondays OR How Salmonella is Going to Kill Me

Muffin Mondays. The name itself is self-explanatory. How more deliciously awesome can you get?
Every Monday our apartment—you guessed it—makes muffins! We have a book of 100 muffin recipes, and it’s our goal to make every muffin in the book this year (excepting the ones with brandy or liquor in them, of course). Melissa, Michelle, Sharisa and I discussed doing it last year, but we weren’t sure if it would happen. (You know, you and a friend say, “Let’s do something sometime!” And you both have every good intention to do so, but it never happens.) We thought that Muffin Mondays would be stillborn as well.
But they weren’t.
Proof: For the first Muffin Monday of the year, we made Jelly Doughnut Muffins. They were so good.

In fact, we’ve never had a bad muffin. Some are better than others, to be sure, but each Muffin Monday is a success.
Yesterday we made Frosted Cream Cheese Muffins.

Sharisa being all domestic.

Me being all domestic.
And how are Muffin Mondays going to kill me? Because I can’t stop myself from licking the batter. Every. Single. Time. Yep. I’m going to get salmonella and die. But does the risk stop me? Ohhhhhh, no.

And . . . the finished product!

Consensus: Success! Frosted Cream Cheese Muffins are delectable!

Another Muffin Monday, another delicacy.

Muffin Love.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

This is Just to Say

I don't really know what to say besides things are busy. And I wanted to post because 1) I know people read my blog and dead blogs are no fun to read, and 2) I really do enjoy posting. Life is just crazy.

But we all know that.

There's lots that I was planning on posting on from the last two weeks, but I think that I'll just say that I love General Conference. And President Uchtdorf's talk was my favorite. I'm really going to try to slow down, and refocus on the things that really matter: faith, family, and friends. And even though my life is hectic right now, that doesn't mean that I can't stop to enjoy the changing colors of a chestnut leaf, or look up at the Y lit for Homecoming.

In fact, being busy means that I SHOULD take the time to slow down and enjoy the simple miracles of life. Otherwise I will drown in a sea of overwhelming schedules and appointments.

So that's what I'm going to do, despite the craziness of college life.

By the way, I'm reading for fun again (which feels so wonderful). I'm reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It's an amazing book. I recommend it to anyone and everyone.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Last night I went to the German Club's Technofest, per the invitation of a friend. I wasn't sure what to expect (I don't listen to techno music, let alone know anyone who does) but I had a really fun time. Got down to some Techno Musik, wore some glow-stick bracelets and headbands . . . ja, es war toll.

Leaving the RB, I wanted to embrace the world. The early fall night air was invigorating, the moon was a luminous pearl above the mountains, which seemed so close, it was like they sat on my lap. The velvet sky was studded with diamonds, the SWKT loomed over me like Rapunzel's Tower. The Y was a shadow of a ghost upon the mountain.

The night was a song--the breeze providing the melody, crickets chirping a chorus, the hollow echo of footsteps walking away from me.

Alone, and feeling bold, I smiled at the challenge the RB stairs presented.

I took a deep breath, and then ran up the stairs--two at a time--a blur of neon on the south side of campus.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Happy Autumn!

It is officially autumn! I am very excited; autumn is my favorite season by far. The leaves changing colors, the crisp in the air, the return of sweaters and jackets, the leaves (again), pumpkins, and the smell of fall.

I'm not the only one who thinks that fall has a distinct smell, right? Because it does to me. It's hard to describe, but it is both fresh and musky . . . wet leaves mixed with the crisp autumn air and cold earth. Mmm.

"Summer move forward and stitch me the fabric of fall . . ."

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Bananagrams and Brownies

On Thursday night after a frozen yogurt adventure with Camille, which was fun times-ten-thousand, I went back to my apartment, expecting the ordinary: the homework doldrums.

After trying for a while to focus on my homework, I decided that it just wasn't going to happen. Luckily for me, all of my roommates were getting "homework fever", too.

The symptoms of homework fever include an insatiable desire to move about, outbursts of singing and dancing, a craving for something sweet, the desire to throw your textbooks across the room, and spontaneous giggling. In fact, homework fever resembles "cabin fever" from "Muppet Treasure Island." *Cue Music*

"We've got [homework] fever! We're all going mad!"

You get the picture.

The remedy?

An impromptu roomie night, of course!

To cure our homework fever, my roommates and I made brownies and played about a dozen rounds of Bananagrams, which is a game similar to Scrabble, only without the board.

Zoobie! Because that's what we are . . .

Yep, a roomie night was most definitely needed.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Going, going . . .

Today I finished the last of my English chocolate that I brought home.


On the bright side . . .

No. There isn't a bright side in this case.

But I do have a new blog name. I quite like it. :) Props to my roommate for her cleverness.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Tying Up Loose Ends . . . Finally

Hello everyone!

So it's been almost three weeks since I've returned back to the states. And I've meant to post some pictures of some of my last adventures over in England. So . . . (take a deep breath as you prepare for a HUUUUUGE post) here goes!

Bath/Stourhead Gardens Trip:

The things I loved most about Bath were the connections to Jane Austen (Persuasion, anyone?) and the Roman Baths. I even tried some of the spring water. It was gross. No wonder Anne Elliot hated going to Bath if people tried to convince her that the Bath water was good for her.
The Bath Crescent

Drinking the Bath water (note the skepticism and revulsion on my face)

After Bath, we took a train to the small, idyllic town of Bruton, England. Bruton is the quintessential English town, with narrow alleyways, gardens spilling over walls, and graveyards steeped in history. It was an especially fun trip because Jen and Derek Bruton were with us. They really wanted to see the town, and the rest of us were so glad we were able to go along with them!

On stepping stones in England

After Bruton, we took cabs to Stourhead Gardens. Going to Stourhead was one of my favorite things that I did whilst in England. It was absolutely GORGEOUS. Every corner you turned, there was a new incredible sight to see. Case in point below:


Stourhead Gardens (specifically the Temple of Apollo) was also where Mr. Darcy proposes to Elizabeth in the Kiera Knightley version of Pride and Prejudice. So of course we had to take pictures up there. Something neat happened when we were there, too: It had been raining all day while we were at Bath, but when we got to Stourhead Gardens, the sun was shining and it was warm enough to take out our jackets. So we were able to enjoy a lovely walk around the grounds. But when we got to the Temple of Apollo, it started raining again . . . which was PERFECT, because it is pouring in the movie when Darcy proposes to Elizabeth. Coincidence? I think not. :)

Waiting for Mr. Darcy

Also . . . Final Formal Hall! It was a masquerade, so I was singing "Masquerade" from Phantom of the Opera all night in my head. I had a great time socializing with my friends, and remembering the great times we've had together. The food was also really good. (They had steak! Happy Megan.)

On my last full day at Cambridge, I got the chance to go punting one last time with some friends. I went in the morning, which I had never done before. The river was quiet, since it was only two boats full of BYU students who were up that early. It was so peaceful to sit in the boat, hear the distant laughter of friends in the other boat, look at the sun glistening upon the water, and gaze at the ancient, majestic buildings that lined the river. It felt so normal . . . and I felt a part of it.

Oh! And I got to punt for a bit! Hurray! It would have been a tragedy if I had left Cambridge without actually punting.

After punting, I went to the Botanical Gardens with some friends. So fun. And so pretty. Some pictures are below:

Me with Newton's Apple Tree

Fountain. I like how the inner circle is chaotic with waves, but the outer circle is calm.

Cool Spider Monkey Tree from Chile. I want one.

Well . . . I'm back. Back at BYU (which I also love) and back to my mountains and family and friends that I never like to be away from for long. I love being home. It's a comforting feeling to know that I always have home and loved ones waiting for me. I know that they will always, always be there. I belong here.

But I also belonged at Cambridge. I miss it, and it's been harder to readjust than I thought it would be. On the plane home, I tried to do a "free thought association" about Cambridge; putting thoughts, quotes, and experiences together in an effort to capture it all before it slipped away, like soil through my fingers. It was impossible. There's just too much. But I'm so grateful that I kept a real journal while I was there, and that I wrote every day. I'm going to cherish that journal later on.

It's amazing to me how normal it all started to feel. Looking up at King's College Chapel was as normal for me as looking up at the "Y" (which I'm doing right now). My Cambridge experience made me realize how easily I adapt to my surroundings, and it helped me to gain confidence. But the best things I gained in Cambridge were the friends I made. I know that I'll cherish those relationships forever.

Cambridge made me want to travel more. I plan to go back to England. It's not even a question in my mind that I will. When? . . . I don't know yet. But I will.

I love Cambridge!

Signing out for now. Thanks for reading! :)

P.S. By the way . . . I'm trying to decide whether or not I should continue blogging while I'm at BYU. Would you be interested in hearing about the musings of an ice cream-loving, sunset watching, mountain climbing, busy BYU student? Let me know.