Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I just reread a bunch of my old journal entries in my hardcopy journal (aka not this blog).

You know, this trip has been full of drama and not fun times, but there have been SO many cool things. All the crud with relationships and friendships, I think, in the end, strengthened all of those relationships. I made legitimate new friends that I really believe I will remain close to. I discovered what being independent in a foreign country is like. I figured out multiple transportation systems and learned what walking a long distance actually looks like. I learned how to find cheap healthy food. I learned how I am when I do NOT self-care.

I learned how to really forgive
And to get over crap that is not important.

And most of all, I learned that I need to seek after God.

I have big plans for the future, but I can't even imagine what it will look like. I feel secure in God's plans for me whatever they are. I am who I am for a reason. And that is ok.

I am thankful for this trip.
I am thankful for all the experiences I will take back with me.
I am thankful for my friends here, at Whitworth, and in Texas who see the good in me when I don't

I am exceedingly thankful for my family.
They will always love and support me.
I am so lucky that three of the best people in the world are my family

I am so blessed.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Well, the entire Literary England course...oops

Hey all. (aka mom and dad!)

It's been awhile and for that I apologize. This has been...interesting. I wish that I enjoyed it more, though there were sections I found more interesting than others.

We began in Manchester. It actually seemed like a super cool city, very bustling and lots of cool architecture. We studied Elizabeth Gaskell's North & South which Calli has called a poor man's Pride and Prejudice. Our hostel was relatively nice and right on a canal. Internet was exorbitant. That's really all I remember. Oh! Except we saw a spinning demonstration for how loud and gross the mills were and they showed the shuttle going back and forth super fast. It made me think of Wanted and how stressed I was during that particular part of the movie.

Then we went to Grasmere, which is in the Lake District. If I could recommend one part of England to anyone, it would be the Lake District. Maybe because it was in the fall or whatever, but it was absolutely gorgeous and perfect. We went hiking, learned about Wordsworth, played Ultimate in this horrendously muddy field, had time alone, ate copious amounts of the world-famous Grasmere gingerbread, and just plain enjoyed being in nature. It was wonderful.

Next was Stratford-upon-Avon where Shakespeare was born.
That's really all that happened there.

Now we are back in London and here comes the exciting part.
1. Dani King came to visit
2. While Dani King was visiting we stumbled upon the premiere of 'Che' in Leicester (Lester) Square that Benicio Del Toro was attending along with Steven Soderbergh (director of Crash)
3. This inspired us to go to the premiere of Easy Virture starring Jessica Biel, Colin Firth, and Ben Barnes. We waited for two hours in the hail. But Oh my goodness, I met Colin Firth and he touched me by accident. Coolest thing ever. Also, Jessica Biel was super nice and really funny. Count me a fan.
4. On the way home from said premiere, Calli and I get on the Tube and I see this (cute) guy who looks familiar. Oh right, he's familiar because he's William FREAKING Moseley! (Peter from Narnia) Also, I have a huge crush on him. It was the coolest Tube ride ever. We didn't approach him or anything because he just looked like he was trying to get home. But oh man. So freaking cool!
5. Went to the Quantum of Solace premiere in Leicester Square. Got there early, got into the gardens. Saw Daniel Craig, the two Bond girls, Judi Dench, the cool FBI agent from Casino Royale, the new villain, Elle Macpherson, Jack White, and Prince William and Prince Harry.
6. Am starred out.

Today I got to see Drew which was fun. I was definitely feeling a bit of homesickness so it was great to talk with him and hear about his crazy military life.

Tomorrow is our final day as a group together. Then Calli, Matt, and I head off to Vienna, Prague and Budapest! Then Whitworth, then home! Can't wait for all of it.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Dublin, Galway, Belfast

So a bit of time may have passed since my last update. Sorry! I heard from multiple people that they just read the updates from the facebook group, so I lost a bit of motivation to keep this one up.

Dublin was...underwhelming. Maybe it was our hostel right above the Temple Bar (literally a party every night) or the craziness of our time there, or the hour and 45 minute walk that Calli and I took while trying to find Kilmainham Jail. I did learn a lot, but most of the things that I loved about Dublin the first time we didn't have time to see or enjoy.

Galway, however, was awesome. Our hostel was once again on party lane, but Galway is much smaller so it was ok. We found a sweet bar named Taffe's the first night that was packed with people and had live traditional music every night. It was glorious. I also got to try hot whiskey for the first time. It was surprisingly good, but I think I will stick to my beloved pear cider (mmm). As a group we took a day trip to the Cliffs of Moher, which was beautiful. We had a crazy tour guide who kept making horribly inappropriate comments to Patrick and had crazy assumptions about our drinking habits (he kept saying 'I bet you all are all hungover' YEAH RIGHT!) We also went to the Aran Islands for a day and I had one of the most glorious days ever. We drove up to this ancient Celtic fort on these sheer sea cliffs. It was gorgeous and sunny and warm (always a rarity here). The hour and a half walk back was less glorious but still fun.

We are in Belfast currently and it has been fascinating. Anyone who thinks the conflict here is resolved would be sorely mistaken. It is interesting to see how the country is dealing with it and we have been lucky enough to hear stories and viewpoints with people from all sides. We heard from a pastor who has been here for 23 years, interns with PCUSA who have been here for one month, people who work with youth, MLAs (their equivalent of MPs or Senators/Representatives), convicted murderers, and we still have until Sunday to hear more.

That's all for now. Hope this was enjoyable!

Friday, September 26, 2008


Well we are back in London ...again! It's so crazy and hectic, but there are so many things to do. It's nice this time because we have had more planned group events and meals so I actually get to see a lot more of the people in the groups.

We have begun the Politics in Britain and Ireland class that a lot of us were nervous for, but so far it has been great. We toured Parliament and Buckingham Palace, met with US diplomats to the UK, talked with MPs and Whips in the Liberal Democrat party, and that's just in the first week! We also got to tour the Tower of London, though we didn't have near enough time to see everything which was a bummer.

Parliament was really cool as well. Did you know that when the Queen opens Parliament each year she sends a guy called the 'Blackrod' to go bang on the door to the House of Commons. They ignore him twice and then 'reluctantly' follow him to the House of Lords where the Queen opens the session. Also voting is very different, they ring a bell and the MP's have 8 minutes to get on the proper side of the meeting room. Then they are counted and leave. If they are vote.

On Wednesday, How to Lose Friends and Alienate People premiered in London so Allison, Claire, Matt, and Alicia and I went to the premiere to see if anyone famous would show up. Not including Sean Connery, I've never met/seen anyone famous. At the premiere we met Simon Pegg (Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead), Nick Frost (the same), Anna Popplewell (Susan from Narnia), Andy Serkis (Gollum from LOTR), Alfonso Cuaron, and the British 'Jim' from the Office. It was so neat! Nick Frost talked to us and Anna Popplewell signed my journal. It was pretty fun. We are planning to go to the Quantum of Solace premiere in October and are all quite excited at the prospect of meeting Daniel Craig.

Today we went to Midsummer Night's Dream at the Globe which was, as expected, awesome. And cheap! Groundling tickets are only £5. Then I got an awesome dinner of hummus, carrots, yogurt and granola, and pineapple from M&S. The take-out culture here is so much more healthy! These were all in little packs and cost pretty minimally. That's one thing I will miss.

Tomorrow we have a long travel day by train and by ferry to Dublin. We are excited to head to Ireland. I can't wait to be back in Dublin! Then we go to Belfast and then back to England for our last class!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The end of an era

Well Fall Break is almost over and I'm sad to see it go. We've had an absolute blast in Bath. And by blast I mean a mellow time where we got to read and hang out and not deal with drama or anything.

Two days ago we went to Stonehenge through a tour. A lot of people had told me it was really disappointing, but I thought it was actually really neat. There's not a super magical feeling of just being there or anything, but it is beautiful and mysterious. I was very impressed and besides all that, who goes to Britain for four months and doesn't see Stonehenge?!

I have read so much on this break. So far the tally is: The Time Traveler's Wife, The Constant Gardener, Great Expectations, Persuasion (Jane Austen), and a biography of Paula Radcliffe. I miss reading when we are constantly on the move and it was nice to be able to purchase large books and read them while we are here.

Yesterday was intense workout day for me and Calli. To get a one day pass to the gym cost £5 (roughly $10) so we wanted to make it worth it. So we went after breakfast for an hour and a half and after lunch for another hour. Whew we are feeling it today. It was really nice to use weights and machines and all that stuff though. I always feel better physically and emotionally after working out.

Last night Calli and I went out to the pubs in Bath. It was...interesting. There was the prerequisite creeper (though especially creepy and sleepy? I think this time). There was also this huge obnoxious group that Calli thought were Americans. They were dancing on tables (not allowed) and just making a huge commotion. This morning we saw them at breakfast at the Y. They are in fact Americans and they are college students from the states. I felt really embarassed! I guess I understand where a lot of the negative stereotypes come from now. Our group at it's wildest would never ever be so obnoxious!

The other day at breakfast we were also talking about the different priorities that British have over Americans. It's important to them that food be Fairtrade and organic. They really look outside their own country. It is a selling point to have Fairtrade, healthy food. Plus their 'fast food' is yummy sandwiches and salads that you can get at Marks and Spencers (kind of like a Super Target mixed with Macy's) for cheap. They also love McDonald's which are surprisingly nice over here. Not that we have eaten at them. We are not that gross.

There is currently a lot of financial and political turmoil over here as several very large companies have failed (including a travel agency that left thousands stranded in foreign countries) so prayers would be welcome for all the people over here. Silver lining speaking: It will be awesome when we get to sit in on Parliament because exciting stuff will be happening.

Love you!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Fall Break:Bath

Hey so you poor saps that just started school and were laughing at me while I slaved over homework at Starbucks this summer? Start crying, because we are halfway done with our semester! We took our final on Thursday and Fall Break began on Friday.

Calli and I caught a train to Bath (we're big kids now!) and checked into our hostel. It has a party dungeon. Enough said. Bath however, is gorgeous. It reminds a lot of York. Really beautiful and a little quaint. Yesterday we checked into the 'Rap' room on the highest level of the hostel and explored a little. We read in the bookstore for awhile and found some dinner at Wetherspoons which is an English chain. There are actually a ton of these Yates/Edwards/Wetherspoons/Prince of Wales/whatever places. They all have the same menu and everything. Then we watched a horrible adaptation of Merlin on a VHS player at the hostel. It was BAD.

Today we stopped by the Jane Austen Center (yay!) and saw the Royal Crescent (as seen in the movie The Duchess, which we saw today). Then we spent another three hours in the bookstore around here reading and drinking coffee. It's glorious. Tonight we went to dinner at California Kitchen and I bought some French's mustard and had a frankly glorious burger with real mustard. I felt like such a nerd, but it was REALLY tasty! I missed mustard a lot. The stuff here is so horseradish-y that it makes me cry.

We are all getting pretty homesick, both for the people and for the conveniences. Like showering barefoot or sleeping in. Ahhh.. Tomorrow we move to our private room (!!!) at the YMCA and our free gym access. We are going to take a walking tour and book our tour of Stonehenge (only £14!) and then workout. Pretty much we are planning on working out, sleeping in, eating good food, reading good books (I need to finish Great Expectations), reading school books, and exploring the wonderful town of Bath.

Starting Friday there is a Children's Book Festival and the Jane Austen Festival going on here so we should have a busy weekend. It looks like we might get to take dancing lessons! It's going to be awesome. We miss you. We love you. Write us.

Monday, September 8, 2008


We are back in London! Yay! St. Athan's is great now that we have been to the West End and the nasty place in Cardiff. They give us towels, and there are only four of us in a room. A room with a sink in it and that doesn't smell disgusting! Plus we get real eggs for breakfast. Never believe the powdered ones are ok.

The Tube is also wonderful. We still walk a ton, but London is simply too big to just walk around. The Tube makes it wonderful. Yesterday we went to church at a Catholic church (except they had Anglican communion), the service was beautiful and the choir was really awe-inspiring. Then we tried to go to Mamma Mia, but apparently they do not do shows on Sundays. Oops. Tonight we are trying to go to Wicked! Also, the play I was in in high school, 6 Characters in Search of an Author is playing here so I might try to go see that soon.

We are all feeling the stress/wearing-out feeling of travelling. Everyone is pretty much ready for Fall Break. Calli and I are staying at a YMCA in Bath and we get free use of their workout facilities, so we will be working out and working on prep for our Poli-Sci class pretty much the entire time we are there! There's also a Jane Austen festival with a formal ball! It might be expensive, but we still really want to go.

I can't believe I've been here for 5 weeks! By the end of this week we will be half-way through the semester! Mostly I miss Whitworth and home a lot. I really miss people!I can't wait to be at both the places I miss in November. I'm looking forward to hugs, cheesecake chai and Harry Potter a whole lot. Plus RA-ness shirts :)

Love and miss you all.