Friday, July 30, 2010


Warning: This post is not for the squeamish or the faint of heart. Seriously. If you don't like bug stories and/or have arachnophobia, you should not read this post. You have now been warned.

I don't think that I've mentioned the bugs here. But they're everywhere. I'm always finding them crawling on my skin, in my hair . . . it's really gross, actually. But you just can't get rid of them.

The worst are the spiders. I've seen some of the biggest spiders in my life here. They like to hide out in the bathroom. I get goosebumps just thinking about them. *Shiver*

Well, this afternoon, a daughter of Shelob decided to camp out on my bedroom ceiling. It scared me to see it up there, but I couldn't do anything about it, because I had to run to class.

When I got back to my apartment this evening, it was still there. Except it had moved to a different part of the ceiling. I was actually a bit relieved that it was still there. I know that sounds weird, but I was glad that I could see it, instead of being scared half-to-death that it was hiding out in my sheets.

So I decided to be brave and kill it. Except my version of bravery means throwing an old, empty contact solution case (which I had meant to throw out yesterday) at the spider on the wall, in hopes that it would move down just a bit so I could stand on a chair and then smash it with a cardboard cereal box.

Brilliant plan, I know.

But my aim's not very good. And when the case did hit close to the spider, the spider didn't even move. Or at least, so slightly that it didn't look as though it had moved at all. I threw the contact case at the spider at least a dozen times. And then, the spider fell down the wall and onto the floor.

I did what you'd expect me to do--I freaked out and tried smashing it with the heel of one of my pumps. Except the spider liked to hide in the corners of the baseboards, and I couldn't reach it. So I kept trying to scare it with my shoe so that it would move out into the open, and then smash it with something flat and heavy.

But the spider would have none of it and dashed off into a corner. I was too chicken to try and get it out, so I went over to Sarah and asked if she had any spider-killing tools. She grabbed two pieces of paper and then went over to the spider's "lair." She was going to get it to move out into the open (brave girl) and I was going to smash it with my flat and heavy object (a converter box).

We freaked out everytime the spider moved, but it was still running along the baseboards. Finally, Sarah prodded it just enough that it moved out onto the carpet. We were freaking out and moving away from it. I still had my pump and was hitting the floor frantically, trying to smash the spider.

And I did. A flood of relief washed over me.

And then Sarah started screaming. I thought it was because I had killed the spider and it looked really ugly on the carpet (it really, truly did. Yuck.). But then she cried, "Open up your sink! Turn on your sink! I need to wash my face!" She started splashing hot water onto her face, and then I realized: When I had smashed the spider, spider guts had splashed onto her!

Now it was my turn to scream. Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!!!!!!!!!! So gross!!!!!!!! I felt so, so, SO bad. Sarah kept saying it was all right, but it's not! It's disgusting! Eww, eww, eww!!!!!

Anyway, there's the story. We killed Aragog. And it was probably the grossest thing that I've ever done in my life.

I'm still shivering all over. I hate spiders. "Why couldn't it be 'follow the butterflies'?"

Food, Glorious Food

I know that I already have a post about food (kind of). But this post will be ALL about the food I eat here, because my Aunt Stephanie asked about it. And I think it's worthy of a blog post.

I usually eat in the King's College Cafeteria. There's been some discussion about the food here. And we've decided that the food that we eat on a regular basis in the cafeteria is different from American food in three main ways:

1. The meat is fattier . . . and usually overcooked.

2. The food is greasier.

3. The food is blander. They just don't use very much seasoning.

That doesn't mean that the food here is bad. However, the Brits really aren't the greatest chefs. I'm not usually impressed with the lunch and dinner selection at King's. And I'll be glad to eat some homecooked American food when I get home.
Don't get me wrong, I have had incredible things to eat whilst here. But those things are usually not in the King's College Cafeteria.

English Foods that I Love to Eat:

- Yogurt (spelled yoghurt here): I love British yogurt. It's not as sweet as American yogurt, but it's creamier and I just like it more than American yogurt. I've also discovered that I like rice pudding. Yum.

- Chocolate: Galaxy, Cadbury, Thornton's . . . mmm. A lot better than American chocolate. It's creamier and richer. Hershey's doesn't even compare. Dove is probably the closest thing to European chocolate in the states.

- Pizza: We went to Pizza Express one night and got individual pizzas. They were about the size of a medium pizza in the States (about 10 pieces), and I ate almost all of it in one sitting. But I didn't feel sick or even too full afterwards. The pizza here is not nearly as thick, greasy, or as cheesy as in the States.

- Sainsbury's Yogurt and Raspberry Crisp Cereal: Heaven in a box. It's incredibly delicious and addicting.

Very "British" foods that I've eaten:
-Meat Pies: Remember when I went to Oxford and we went to that "Pieminister's" place? Those were really good. They had this mashed pea stuff on top of the pie. I was skeptical of it at first, but it actually ended up tasting pretty good. Not as good as the pie, but pretty good!

Silly picture of me eating the meat pie

- Fish-n-Chips: I just posted about eating fish-n-chips earlier this week. They were yummy. But make sure to ask the locals about which fish-n-chips shop is good, as not all fish-n-chips shops are created equal.

Another silly picture of me. But I'm eating fish-n-chips this time.
One more thing: Some budding entrepreneur should open a Sno-Cone shack in Cambridge. I have a feeling it would do well. Just sayin'.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

On Top of the World

I've been on top of the King's College Chapel Roof.

How cool is that?! Not very many people can say that . . . not even if they go to Cambridge as an undergraduate!

The Programme Assistants for PKP are given permission to take students on roof tours. Usually only fellows can go up to the roof, but the PAs were given permission by a fellow. So we are able to take place in a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity while we're participating in a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity. Pretty awesome.

View from the roof

Me on the roof

It was scary being on top of the roof. I'm not a fan of heights, and my shoes were slippery. (They're good walking shoes, especially for two pounds, but not good for walking on lead roofs.) So I didn't do a ton of actual walking on the roof. I did a bit of standing, but every time I tried to take a step, I started slipping. So I preferred just sitting, or shakily standing.

Sitting on the roof

Almost sliding down the roof. (I didn't do it . . . I mean, I would have been fine, but the roof was very hot and I almost had a heart attack from feeling the roof slip away from my feet, even if it was just for a moment.)
It was really neat to be up there, though. The view was incredible, and it was so neat to be on top of the city and the colleges of Cambridge. It made me think about how often, it is by facing our fears and climbing to the top of our mountain (or rooftop) that we can really gain the perspective we need. Being on top of King's College Chapel made me view the world of Cambridge that I've been living in for the past four weeks in a different way. I could see out: I was able to see the panoramic view of my world--of Cambridge. And seeing the whole picture gave me a better sense of the remarkable place where I'm living and the experiences that I'm having.
These last few weeks at Cambridge have been incredible for me. They've been exhilarating, terrifying, fun, humbling, and exciting. I've definitely felt growing pains. But through these experiences, I'm learning more about myself. I'm learning about how to handle situations better. I'm learning how to listen. I'm gaining courage.
These experiences might just be bits and pieces at the moment; snatches of memories, remembered quotations, thoughts forming into ideas. But at the end of my adventure, I'll metaphorically climb the roof of King's once more, and I'll be able to see the whole picture. I have a feeling that the panorama of my experiences here will be a beautiful sight to see.

Monday, July 26, 2010

By the Beautiful Sea

Sorry it's been awhile. I've been busy with finals and final papers . . . I'm still working on my paper, but I think my final went well (hurray!). I have new classes now, too. I know I have some catch-up to do, and a requested blog post, and I will get those done ASAP. But I'll start with Saturday's adventures:

I headed out to Norwich and Cromer with some friends on Saturday. Norwich is in Norfolk, which is in northeast Great Britain. It’s about an hour train ride away from Cambridge.

We arrived in Norwich, and headed to the cathedral, which was beautiful. All of the people in our group who had just taken the Gothic Architecture class were analyzing the arches, and it was fun to listen to them discuss that. The cathedral was beautiful. There was an outdoor labyrinth area where you could “meditate, pray, or just have fun,” and we decided to follow the last suggestion. We took lots of pictures, and Jen and Christina had a “labyrinth race.” One started from the center and the other from the outside of the maze, and they raced to see who could get to the other side first. Jen won, I believe (and she was on the outside of the maze).

Norwich Cathedral

We also saw the chapel and the cloisters. They were beautiful. I especially liked the stained glass windows, and some original paintings from before the Reformation. I also really liked the bosses (which is a ceiling decoration . . . a knob on a vaulted ceiling where the ribs meet). The bosses were decorated to show different Bible stories. It seemed like they had everything. They had the Creation, Noah’s Ark, the life of Christ, and also scenes from the Book of Revelation.

Inside the Cathedral

We also saw (and smelled) the herb garden. It was lovely. I kind of matched the garden because I was wearing my purple-flower cardigan and the garden was covered in lavender. Hehe.

I blend right in

We saw Norwich Castle after that. It was a museum—a very interactive museum, which was fun. We got to play dress-ups and turn waterwheels and ride a horse . . . it was fun. But the museum didn’t just have castle artifacts. It had almost everything you could imagine: jewelry from Ancient Egypt, an exhibit on Boudica and the Romans, a wildlife area . . . it was pretty cool. The museum just kept going and going and going . . . but it was nice, because you could never really get bored.

Playing dress-ups. I'm the oppressed peasant.

Norwich is also known for its antiques. There’s a street called Elm Hill that is beautifully quaint. There was a used bookshop there that we visited. I didn’t get anything at the bookshop, but I fell in love with it. There’s something comforting and charming about the smell and feel of old books. There’s almost a reverent feeling walking into an old bookstore.

We also got a chance to go to the sea! We rode the train to Cromer (about an hour out of Norwich) and got to dip our toes in the sea. It was beautiful—the sun was shining, but it wasn’t too hot; the wind was blowing, the air was ripe with the scent of the salty sea breeze; the water wasn’t too cold. We took lots of pictures, which was fun. And we ate ice cream while walking in the sand. It was a glorious afternoon.

Beautiful ladies by the beautiful sea

I also had my first fish-and-chips! I do like seafood, but I was a little nervous because I had heard that fish-and-chips shops were either great or terrible. Fortunately, this one was great. The cod was deliciously greasy, and the chips were moist. We were all expecting to feel sick afterwards, but I don’t think anyone did. They were just really good fish-and-chips.


We got back late . . . when we got back to Norwich, the bus we needed to catch had just left and we had to wait until 10:45 to get the next one. So we sat in a pub/inn, ordered some brownies, and just talked. It was fun; the whole day was just a good day. Being surrounded by friends and laughter cheers the heart.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Child Within Me

You know how I really have the heart of a seven-year-old?

Yeah, it's still there. And it's still beating as young as ever.

I was walking through the market today, looking for cheap postcards, and stumbled upon an antique shop. I would have kept walking on, but I saw that they had vintage Winnie-the-Pooh books. So of course I had to get them. It wasn't even a question that I was getting them. They're in my room now, on my fireplace mantle. It makes my room feel a lot less empty; a lot more home-y. A lot more me.

Aren't they cute?

I love books. Especially children's books. And you know what? I think a lot of people do. Children's books transcend cultures. They transcend time periods. They touch the hearts of both children and parents who read them, and they can influence a child for years to come.
They've influenced me.
They've activated my imagination, they've given me hope, they've made me happy. Because of children's books, I want to be an author myself. I want to create. I want to be able to change people's lives through my words. I want my words--my thoughts--to give people hope, to make them think, and to change their lives.
Give me Winnie-the-Pooh to make me smile, give me Narnia to remind me of my inner strength, give me Harry Potter so I'll always have adventure, give me fairy tales to keep my sense of wonder.
I think it's a marvelous thing to be surrounded by books. :)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I Love to See the Temple

First things first: I know there are a few of my non-LDS friends and family members who read this blog. Because this blog post is mostly about the temple, I'd just like to explain a few things about temples and why Mormons build temples. (I'll be brief, but hopefully helpful.)
We believe that temples are literally houses of God. We build temples to worship Him and to make sacred covenants with Him that we cannot do anywhere else on earth. These covenants bring us closer to God, and we promise to serve Him. The temple is also where families are sealed together forever. We really do believe that family ties can, will, and do exist beyond death and into the eternities, and the temple is where a family can be sealed to each other not just for life, but for eternity. The temple truly is a place of love and beauty, peace, comfort, and strength.

If you're interested, here are two videos that explain why Mormons build temples and the importance of temples:

I hope the links work. If not, you can check out or Mormon Messages, and learn more about temples and other doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. And if you have any questions, please e-mail me/talk to me. I'm more than happy to answer any questions.

And now without further ado, the rest of my blog post:

Yesterday I had the opportunity to go to the London Temple. Ever since I knew I was going to Cambridge, going to the London Temple was on my high-priority checklist. So when the Cambridge Relief Society said they were planning a temple trip, I decided to jump at the chance.

There were only four BYU girls who went--Beth, Jen, Natalie, and myself. However, the Relief Society only heard word that Beth was going, so the Relief Society first counselor showed up with a very small car (I wish I knew what kind it was, but I didn't check). All I know is that it was built to comfortably hold four people, and there were already two women in the front seat and four of us.
So we crammed ourselves into the back seat: Jen by the right window seat, then me, then Beth . . . and then Natalie laying on Beth's lap in a fetal position. It was quite the ride. Luckily, we only had to drive for about 15-20 minutes to get to the Relief Society President's home, where she had a bigger minivan to transport all of us. Still, it was quite the way to start our temple trip! (Oh, and it was just marvelous to listen to the English sisters' conversations. They were hilarious.)

The trip from Cambridge to the London Temple took about 2-and-a-half hours. Because the temple is about 20 miles out of London, there was A LOT of traffic we had to deal with. It made me so grateful that I live so close to a temple. To multiple temples! Last year at BYU, it took me about 10 minutes to walk to the Provo Temple. And at home, it takes me about 15 minutes to drive to the Mount Timpanogos Temple. It made me extremely grateful for the proximity I have to the temples, and I know that I mustn't take that for granted. And I'm also grateful that I was able to sacrifice my Saturday to be able to be at the London Temple.

When we got to the temple, I was struck by its beauty. Then again, I'm always struck by the beauty and magnificance of temples. I am constantly aware of how I am standing on holy ground; it's awe-inspiring. I was also thinking about how "English" the London Temple is. It just fits England. It's elegant, simple, beautiful, and magnificent, all rolled into one. And that's how I feel England is.

London Temple

We had a picnic on the grounds, which are extensive and very, very beautiful. We enjoyed wandering around the grounds and taking pictures. The grounds felt very Alice in Wonderland-esque . . . there was even a rabbit that appeared now and again. And just being on the grounds of the temple was so peaceful. I could feel peace comfort me, strengthen me, and lift my spirits. Picnic
We split up after our picnic lunch. Jen and Beth went with the Relief Society sisters (they had a temple session to go to), so Natalie and I wandered the grounds for a bit. But we decided that we really wanted to at least see the baptismal font. We had brought our temple recommends, so we went to the main desk and asked if we could go down to the baptistry. The temple workers were so kind (they always are), and they showed us to the baptistry. (Side note: In our Church, we do baptisms for the dead in the temple. See 1st Corinthians 15:29. They're proxy baptisms--so we perform the baptism for the dead person by standing in for them, so to speak. But, we also believe that the dead have a choice. They don't have to accept the work we do for them; there's always that agency.)
When we got to the baptistry, the temple workers there seemed like they didn't want to let us go do baptisms, or even see the font. But, they asked us where we were from and when we said BYU, they were a lot more willing to let us do the baptisms. And so we were able to do it. I was so glad we were. Apparently, we shouldn't have been able to do baptisms at all. They don't usually take walk-ins, and it's really hard to even get an appointment at the London Temple baptistry. I feel extremely blessed that Natalie and I were able to perform those baptisms, and that the Lord provided a way for us to do it.
After that, we started walking around the temple grounds again, and we ran into two of the guys from BYU: Jason and Tanner. Dr. Kerry's wife was also with them. It was fun to see them. We talked for awhile, and Sister Kerry said that we take pictures by the "Marriage Bridge." Just for fun. You know how the Salt Lake Temple has its "Wedding Pedestal"? Well, the London Temple has its Marriage Bridge. And when you've got two guys and two girls at the London Temple, you just have to take a picture on it. I mean, come on. Perfect photo-op.
Look at the happy couples! ;)

We walked around the grounds after that. Again. You never get tired of walking around them. They are SO gorgeous.

I am just very, very grateful that I had this opportunity to attend the London Temple. I know that temples are the house of the Lord, and that we can grow closer to God and to His Son, Jesus Christ as we attend the temple. We have temples to point us to Christ. And I think it's incredible that we live in a time where temples really are dotting the earth. It's amazing to see the "little stone" filling the whole earth.

Friday, July 16, 2010

A Golden Afternoon

Twenty years from now, today will be a day that I'll wish I could relive.

It was just a good day from beginning to end.

I got to start out the day babysitting, actually. I babysat Dr. Kerry's daughter because he had a meeting. I got to push her around in her "push-chair" and we had a splendid time at the playground. We played on the swings, we built "nests" out of leaves and sticks . . . it was a lot of fun. I love playing with little kids, because then I can really act my age. I'm really seven-years-old at heart. And his daughter is so cute! Afterwards, she said she wanted to take me home. *heart melt*

The day just continued to be good after that. I was finally able to play Pooh Sticks on the Cam! For those who do not know about this game, let me enlighten you: Pooh Sticks was started by Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends. The rules of the game are very simple: Each person (or stuffed animal, in Pooh's case) picks a stick, and then on the count of three, everyone throws their stick over one edge of the bridge. The first stick to reach the other side of the bridge wins. It's a great game to play at the Old North Bridge in Concord, MA.
Did I mention that A.A. Milne (who wrote Winnie-the-Pooh) attended Trinity College at Cambridge? Yeah. Pooh Sticks had to be done.

Get ready, get set . . .


The water wasn't moving very fast, so we had to wait awhile for our sticks to emerge from under the bridge. We thought we lost them for a moment (especially because people were punting), but they came through. And mine was ahead! So, I won Pooh Sticks on the Cam. My life is now complete in so many ways.

I win! :)

We then went over to the King's Fellows' Garden and played croquet. I didn't win (that honor falls to Camille, the "Poision Queen"), but it was very fun. There's something so satisfiying about playing croquet in England. And don't let the croquet stereotypes fool you. It isn't always a gentleman's game. It can get quite brutal. But it's always fun.

A group of us also went to see "The Taming of the Shrew." There's a Cambridge Shakespearean Festival going on right now, and they put on the plays in the college gardens. So I sat on the grass.

The play was good . . . a bit risque, but it's Shakespeare, so I expected that. And I'm glad that I didn't live in the sixteenth-century. But the actors did a really good job. They broke the fourth wall a couple of times (i.e., one actor who wasn't speaking came and sat next to us. Some other girls by us gave him strawberries to eat.), so that made it really fun and unique.
I also saw one of the best firework displays I've ever seen. They did a show at the King's College Backs, so we were really, really close to the fireworks. The reaction of the crowd (including my own) was great. We were all remarking how it reminded us of "The Count of Monte Cristo" or "The Lord of the Rings." There were some spectacular fireworks. I certainly enjoyed the show! Apparently it cost twenty-thousand pounds. Um, wow.
After the fireworks, a lot of us wanted something sweet. (Tangent: Some blokes asked one of my guyfriends where he was going to get drinks. He replied, "I'm going to the grocery store." The Englishman promptly replied: "You should really get a drink." We thought it was hilarious.) So, we went to Sainsbury's. And got ice cream. There was a "Buy 1 Get 1 Free" deal for Ben and Jerry's, so we got four of them, and then ate it all. It was heavenly.
I love life.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Excursion to Oxford

Last weekend I went on an unexpected trip to Oxford.

I was sitting on the grass with some BYU students at the BYU party on Friday, and a couple of them were talking about going to Oxford in the morning. Really early in the morning, like at 6. I'm not really a morning person (although I'd like to be, actually. I know that sounds weird, but it's true), and there were some other things I would have liked to do on Saturday, but I made a spur-of-the-moment decision and decided to tag along with my seven other friends who were going.

I wasn't disappointed.

The bus ride was long (it took 3 hours to travel 60 miles . . . they have a lot of bus stops in England), and we had some, um, interesting experiences on the bus (like an angry bus driver and a car running into the bus; don't worry, everyone was safe), but we ended up getting to Oxford on time.

Ruth, a former BYU student who currently studies and works at Oxford, gave us a tour of the city. To be honest, I wasn't initally impressed with Oxford. It's darker than Cambridge; it was a bit intimidating. But it warmed up to me as the day went along. Ruth took us to her college (and I wish I could remember what it was called), we went through the gardens, and we admired the Victorian homes in the area.

Lovely Victorian home and English Garden

Ruth's College

She also took us past the Rhodes House, where the Rhodes Scholars stay, and the Pitt Rivers museum (where a stuffed Dodo Bird is on display . . . and this is the same Dodo Bird that inspired Lewis Carroll). In fact, the day we visited Oxford was "Alice's Day," and they were celebrating Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. When we went to the Bodelain Library, there were some really interesting (and rather disturbing) pictures by Salvador Dali about Alice in Wonderland.

The Rhodes House

The Restricted Section (in Harry Potter)

Ruth also took us to the Cathedral of St. Mary's, and showed us C.S. Lewis's inspiration for The Chronicles of Narnia.

We also got to see the Old Library at St. Mary's, which was built in the 1300s! And Ruth got us past the huge line for the Tower, so we were able to go up there as well. It was exhilarating seeing the city of Oxford from such a height. (Although there were very narrow balconies up there . . . we had to squeeze together multiple times to let people get past.)

Up on the Tower

Ruth had a "smattering of appointments" later on in the day, so she turned us loose after our Tower Tour. We decided to get some meat pies at a place called Pieminister's. The pies were delectable. Mmm. So good.

"Minty Lamb" Meat Pie

We also went to Magadlen College, which is where C.S. Lewis taught. It is said to be the most beautiful college at Oxford, and I believe it. I fell in love with it. The gardens were absolutely gorgeous. I just felt at home there, actually. (Haha, and I kept thinking about the Shire from Lord of the Rings. Anywho.) We also walked along Addison's Walk, which is where C.S. Lewis had his ephiphany about Christianity and decided to become a Christian.

Magadlen College

Along Addison's Walk

All in all, Saturday was a very good day. I was glad that I traveled to Oxford, especially so I could compare and contrast Oxford and Cambridge. I'm leaning more towards Cambridge at the moment. Which is good because I'm here for the summer. :)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Party in the UK

(Disclaimer: I started this post Friday afternoon. It's now early Monday morning. I'm not very good at this whole "keeping a blog up-to-date" thing. But I'm trying.)

I'm always up for a party.

Especially when there's root beer.

Last night, the BYU students were invited to an American-style BBQ by the LDS Cambridge YSA (Young Single Adults). It was at Darwin College on Darwin's Island (which I think is the only island on the River Cam . . . correct me if I'm wrong). As I crossed the Mathematical Bridge, I could smell the charcoal. It made me so happy; my insides were skipping with joy. I LOVE barbeques. My dad always grills during the summer, and I was definitely missing burgers and hot dogs, so the barbeque was just what I needed.

Just when I thought I couldn't get any happier, I saw the A&W ROOT BEER. Europeans hate root beer (they think it tastes like cough syrup), but I am a typical American, and I love it. (Especially Brick Oven's root beer, but that's another story.) A number of us headed straight for the root beer. It was so good; I didn't realize how much I missed it until I took a sip. Yum. It's really hard to find root beer in England, so we were all pleasantly surprised. There were also Doritos at the party--another American novelty. We found out later that Brady, the Cambridge YSA Rep, drove out to the military base to get all of these goodies for us. We were all soooo grateful for that.

Mmm . . . Root Beer . . .

The barbeque was so much fun. The food was great (hurray for hamburgers!), it was fun to talk with people and get to know them better, and Dr. Kerry brought his wife and children, and it was really fun to play with his kids. I fished for octopus(es?) (i?) with Dr. Kerry's son, and we blew a monster off the bridge. So much fun.

I also got to go punting along the Cam for my first time! I went with Jen & Derek Bruton, Camille, Jared, Natalie, and Christina, so our boat was pretty much awesome. I will admit though (and there were multiple witnesses, so it would be stupid for me to lie), that I was kinda scared when I got on the boat. I was afraid that we'd tip over. Which I wouldn't have been scared if my valuables (i.e., camera, phone) weren't with me. But they were. So I swear I was scared for my valuables' lives, and not my own. (Okay, okay, maybe my own, too.)


I didn't have anything to be afraid of. Derek and Jared (who took turns navigating) did a really fine job of getting us through a very crowded Cam. We had a few mishaps: we bumped against other boats, and we lost the punting pole a few times, but we didn't tip over. Yay. :) It was super fun, though. The Cam is beautiful, and it was so neat to sail past King's College and right by Bodley's Court. So I got to see where I live from the river! We also had fun singing songs. The girls started singing "Kiss the Girl" when we went under a willow tree, and Jared seranaded us in Italian. Awesome.

Kiss the Girl!

Punting down the River Cam
Anywho, there's the story that I should have told days ago. Two morals to the story:
1) BYU students have the most fun.
2) I really need to write blog posts the night they happen.
Post on my unexpected weekend trips to come soon!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Of Hikes and Kilts

I got back from the PKP programme weekend trip to Scotland and the North yesterday. It was a really fun trip, and Scotland is absolutely beautiful. I think I actually like the Scottish countryside a bit better than the English countryside. Both are beautiful, of course, but I love the wild, windswept moors of Scotland. Gorgeous.

Some highlights of the trip included:

Reaching the Scotland-England border. The coach driver stopped at the border so that we could stretch our legs and see the view (which was stunning). The best part, however, was that there was a bagpipe player at the border, playing for us! It was the perfect welcome to Scotland.

Awesome, is it not?

Hiking was another highlight of the trip. We were staying in Pollock Halls at the University of Edinburgh, and Arthur's Seat was right behind us, so I enjoyed hiking that. I also hiked the Trussachs (aka the mini-highlands) on Saturday. It was a wet and muddy hike (and there wasn't much of a trail), but it was fun, and the vistas were incredible.

Hiking the Trussachs

On top of the world!

Also, HARRY POTTER. I wasn't on the bus where BYU students read the 7th Harry Potter book out loud on the way to Scotland, unfortunately, but I did get to hear them read Harry Potter on the way/on the way back from hiking. It was totally awesome. Also, the cafe where J.K. Rowling started writing Harry Potter (on napkins!) is in Edinburgh. It's called The Elephant House, and I got to go there. I really liked it; the atmosphere was inviting and casual. And, I did write on a napkin while I was there. Hehe. :)

Writing on a napkin (cheesy, I know, but it had to be done).

And finally, last but CERTAINLY not least, kilts. 5 of the BYU guys (Jason, Jonathan, Jeff, Tyler, and Drew) bought kilts. And wore them to the Scottish Ceilli dance that we had, and it was awesome. I don't know what it is about kilts, but they give guys more charisma. And it makes them super happy. At least that's how it was for our guys. Also, kilts definitely attract the ladies. Just sayin'.
These guys emit pure awesomeness. They're cool anyway, but with their kilts, it's almost too much to handle.
Three of them (Jason, Jonathan, and Jeff) also wore them to go hiking to Arthur's Seat. It was super windy, and they all had to watch out for "Marilyn Monroes," but seeing them run, pose, and frolick in the hills with their kilts on was pretty much amazing. And super funny. They did a photo shoot up there. I wish I had pictures, but (sigh) I don't. You'll just have to take my word for it.
Anyway, there's my trip in a rather large nutshell. School's starting to get a bit hectic now, so I don't know how many adventures I'll have this coming week. In the meantime, Cambridge is starting to feel more like home, and I'm loving getting to know so many people--both from BYU and elsewhere. It's neat associating with so many bright, brilliant people.