Wednesday, August 12, 2009


I feel as though I require some sort of finality to this blog. I will not be posting again until I participate in some other worthy adventure in the future.

The airport day was very difficult. I was very tired, as was everyone else. The flight was extremely long. I had to say a final (for now) goodbye to Bobby, and that was really hard. I will miss him so much. Everything is going to be different now. Hopefully, I will have the opportunity to go visit him at his new school. I'm definitely planning on making that a priority.

After I said bye to Bobby, Ben and his dad gave me a ride back to my house in Bowling Green. Cozy was really happy to see me. I really did miss her. After I'd been back about a half hour, I went over to see Whitney, Elizabeth, and Jamie. They had a welcome home party set up for Jamie and me. That was nice and almost made me happy to be back. I'm glad I have them.

I've been just so sad to be back. I don't mean to sound whiny about it, but I miss it so badly. London was great; the people I met were great. I miss everyone a lot. If I'd had all of my things with me, I could have stayed there forever. Hopefully, I'll cheer up a little as time goes on.

All in all, the trip was wonderful. It was such a blessing that everything worked out well. I'm thankful that I got to do it and that I got to meet the people I met. I will always look back on this trip as one of the best times of my life.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Finishing Up

Tonight is my last night in London. I'm going to try to stay up all night since we have to leave at 5:30 am tomorrow. I am very very sad to be leaving London. Words can't even express it.

Yesterday I went to Hampton Court Palace. It was so beautiful! I've always said it's the most beautiful place I've ever been, but yesterday, it was even more beautiful than I remember. Here's a picture:

You see why this is my favorite place in the world? I sat out in the gardens and read a book first. They have a maze in the garden that is really fun, and even though I was scared, I went through it. It didn't take me that long to find my way out. Then I went inside and viewed some of the rooms. Their theme for the summer is the marriage of Henry VIII and Kateryn Parr, so they had actors dressed as Tudor men and women and staged their marriage. It was really elaborate and cool. The day was beautiful. Afterwards, I went to see Adam (a movie with Hugh Dancy) with Jessica at the Odeon in Swiss Cottage. It was so good! It's about a guy with Aspergers Syndrome. If you get the chance, you need to see it.

Today, Rebecca, Ben, and I went to Wagamama for lunch. Then Rebecca and I went to Kensington Gardens and stayed there for the whole day. We came back to meet up again with Ben, and we finished out our pub crawl, so I got a t-shirt. I took my last glimpse of central London, and we got on the tube and came to campus.

I can't wait to see Cozy and all of you all, but I am very melancholy at this moment. I already can't wait to come back.

Love from London.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Birthday Party Day

Okay. Let's start with yesterday.

It was perfect. Truly perfect. First, Bobby and I met up with Kaitlen and saw As You Like It at the Globe. We were groundlings, and it was so exciting! The show was literally (and I am not exagerrating here) the best performance of a Shakespeare show that I've ever seen or will see (I think). I want to go on and on about how amazing it was, but there are really no words to describe it. That cast will always be the definitive As You Like It cast for me. PLUS as if seeing a flawless performance and getting the authentic experience of seeing a show at the Globe weren't enough, the guy who played Orlando was the hottest man I've ever seen. Even hotter than Rob Pattinson. I swear. Here's a picture--not that I took but I stole it off of Google images.

That's Orlando and Rosalind being in love. Anyway, the actors were perfect. They reacted to the audience and even planes flying overhead. The experience was absolutely amazing. You forget you're standing up because it's so good. You really don't even mind it. And as if God were smiling down on us, the forecasted rain held off until we were at dinner.

After the show, we met up with Nick, who couldn't get tickets for the Globe, and we ate at Wagamama in Leicester Square. Then we went to Godot. I've already explained to you how amazing that was last time, so I'll spare you. Just know, that it was just as good this time. We fought the pouring rain to go to the stage door to see Ian McKellan, Patrick Stewart, and Simon Callow. We got a few autographs and saw some of the world's most talented actors face to face. OMG I'll never have another experience like that. Perfect Day.

Today was also really great. Even though I'm aware (as I'm sure you're all aware) that my birthday isn't until Tuesday, I wanted to do a little celebration here since, I mean, I am in London after all. I was planning a low key get together, and my friends really made it awesome. Ben, Rebecca, Shraddha, Cat, Miranda, and Mia met me at Harrods, where we got some fancy desserts. It was like Heaven in there. Desserts as far as the eye could see, and you can choose whatever you want! And they just give it to you (after you pay of course)! Like you're the queen or something! So we took our desserts to Green Park (Rebecca bought mine as a gift---awwww) and sat under a tree and ate them and talked and laughed and bonded and all that. Then we went to Adam's Rib for dinner where I, of course, got chicken nachos. Without my knowing, they had all gone in together and gotten me a really cute, fancy cake at Harrods and gave it to the Adam's Rib waitresses to bring to us when we were done eating. They even sang me Happy Birthday! And it had a candle on it! I was so surprised because I haven't been friends with these people that long, but they made a bigger deal about my birthday than anyone has in the past few years (except my wonderful family of course), even people I consider really close or even best friends. It was so sweet. I had such a great time, and I'm really thankful for it.

I'm going to try my best to post pictures of my birthday party tomorrow.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Another Day

I haven't really done much that would interest you guys since my last post. On Sunday, I went to Fortnum and Mason and bought some tea to bring back to the States with me. Then I went to Eat. (a really good restaurant that just has take-away sandwiches and stuff that Dr. Flynn introduced us to last time) and went and ate it in Kensington Gardens. While I was walking there, I found a really cute used bookstore and bought an illustrated copy of At the Back of the North Wind from the 20's.

On Monday I just mostly rested. I finished a paper for class, went to class, and then Monday night we watched Jane Austen movies as a class--Emma (with Gwenyth Paltrow) and Clueless. On Tuesday, the class went to Syon House. Just like Kenwood House, it meant nothing really to Jane Austen, and I have no idea why we went there. Bobby was happy though, because they shot some of Gosford Park there. Afterward, we (me, Bobby, Shraddha, and Jessica) went to Westfield Mall, which is the biggest mall in Europe. I bought some pink leather gloves at Marks and Spencer that look like they came off the set of Shopaholic. I can't wait to wear them! After that, Shraddha and I went to see Coco before Chanel, which was a biographical movie about Coco Chanel in French with English subtitles. It was so amazing! It's definitely one of my favorite movies now.

Yesterday I went to class again, and Professor Rutledge said he absolutely loved my paper. I was shocked because I felt like that paper stunk, but he's not the type to give out false praise, and he did read it aloud in class, so he must have meant it. Dinner on campus was gross, so we went to Pizza Express for dinner instead, and then Ben, Rebecca, Shraddha, Cat, and I went on a pub crawl. It was a little bit of fun, but not that much. Plus we didn't even get a shirt because we didn't make it to all five. We are planning on finishing it this weekend, so hopefully I'll get a shirt then.

Today is going to be great! We're going to see As You Like It at the Globe and then Godot later this evening. PLUS Kaitlen's going to be with us!!!! I'm very excited. I'll be telling you all about it later, hopefully with some pictures.


Saturday, August 1, 2009

I am so tired!

Really.....SO tired.
Okay, where did I leave off. Thursday we went to Bath as a class. It was pretty boring actually. We went on a walking tour in which they took us to every obscure Jane Austen place in the town. It was difficult to care about. It was more fun when we were able to break off and do our own thing. Bobby, Jessica, and I went to the Roman Baths (including the Pump Room), and then just Bobby and I went to the crescent houses and then book shopping before getting back on the train to London. We went to sleep early because we had to meet up at 4am for the Paris trip. Here are some pics from Bath.

Me going into the Pump Room--just like Catherine Morland

Me at the crescent houses--like Catherine and Anne

And finally, a hilarious picture of Bobby proposing to the Regency statue at the Jane Austen museum. She clearly was not interested.

As I mentioned, we went to Paris on Friday. The group was me, Bobby, Katie, Caley, Ben, Rebecca, and Professor Rutledge. We left campus at 4am. Caley was late of course, and everyone was mad at her. She somehow made it to the train station even though we left her at 10 after. We arrived there around 10 and spent the rest of the day walking around and trying to spend as little money as possible. The group quickly broke up, as we all had different interests to pursue (mine including speaking as little French as possible, though I was the one who knew the most French). The whole group went to a cemetery to see Oscar Wilde's grave (and some other people, including Jim Morrison and Moliere). Following the tradition, I applied my sparkly pink lipstick and kissed the tombstone. Here's a picture.

That lipstick mark is MINE! Here are some more pics from Paris.

Me at Notre Dame

The view from Montmartre (remember this from Amelie)? Apparently a lot of artists used to gather here.

Me at....well you know what that is. Paris was so much fun! We left at about 9pm, so it kind of felt like a dream (as Bobby said). Anyway, it was great, and I'm really glad I got to go even though it was extremely exhausting.
Today, as though we were gluttons for punishment, Bobby and I left campus at 6am (after about 5 hours of sleep) to go to Dover and Canterbury. I wasn't really expecting to have a great time because I was so tired (plus I have killer blisters on my feet from walking this lovely city about 6 times over). However, it was the most fun day trip of them all! Dover was absolutely beautiful. I've been there before, but last time it was rainy and cold, and all we did was go to the castle. Today we saw the white cliffs in all of their splendid glory. I don't think I've ever been that completely pleased with my surroundings. The beach was glistening teal blue and looked like someone had spilled glitter all in it.

Then we hiked (literally hiked. It was severely uphill) to the castle. But we finally made it, and it was worth the effort. They had some of it set up as it would have looked in the 12th century when Henry II would have lived there. Some of it was dedicated to WWII and how it served to keep the Germans out of England (since Dover is the closest point in England to France---it's a short 21 miles away and visible across the Channel). We viewed the War Time Tunnels that were constructed for the Napoleonic Wars and then were later really important in WWII. They had it set up, so we really got the feel of what they would have been like in the 40's. They had projection of soldiers, sounds like voices and air raids and even the smells. After that, we walked out on the pier, so we could get a better view of the white cliffs, and we sat there on a bench for a while, ate a candy bar, drank some water, and watched a canoe race.

After that, we went to Canterbury. We went to the cathedral, but it was raining, so we avoided walking around. We got a train back to London around 6:00. Here are some pics from today. Me in front of the castle

The infamous white cliffs

The infamous me in front of the white cliffs
The VR on this mailbox means it's Victorian, which means I love it. It's the only Victorian one I've seen even though I've had my eye out for one, so I was so happy to see it at the castle.

And here, of course, is Canterbury Cathedral.
Those are my last few days. Now, I can't wait to curl up and go to bed. Plus, I'm not setting my alarm for tomorrow. If it's not too late when I wake up and pretty outside, I may go to Hampton Court Palace tomorrow. Of course, I'll let you know.
Love from London.
Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Since the Moors

I've been resting up since my exhausting trip to the moors. The next day, I just basically slept all day. Also, I did a lot of resting on Monday.

Yesterday was a bit more eventful, though. I went to Leicester Square to get tickets for Oliver. I finally found some that were reasonably priced. Then I went to Buckingham Palace and watched the changing of the guard. That was pretty exciting for a few minutes, but it did get a tad redundant after a while. We are lucky enough to be here during the 8 weeks (the only 8 weeks) out of the year that Buckingham Palace is open for tours, so I stood in line for about an hour for a ticket and went it. I cannot describe how beautiful it was. Unfortunately, I can't show you because the queen doesn't want us to have pictures of her house. Buckingham Palace looks huge, but in reality, it's even huger because most of it is underground. No joke. I walked around like a hillbilly, staring up at the ceiling and even gasping sometimes. As I walked up the staircase, I pretended that I was going there for a party (lol) in a fancy dress and shoes. Anyway, it was more special than all the other random palaces and castles they drag you to over here because in those, they're like "This is where Henry VIII did this blah blah blah." But here, at Buckingham Palace, they were like "This is where the queen holds her ball every year." It just seems more special because it's still in use, and someone we've actually seen on tv uses it instead of some abstract historical figure.

So anyway, afterwards I met Bobby for dinner and I went to Oliver, and he went to Phantom. Oliver was really good even though they changed the story around a lot.

Today Bobby and I went to the Globe tour, and we bought tickets for As You Like It for £5. Then we went to St. Paul's and back to campus for dinner.

I've got a really eventful weekend coming up. Tomorrow the class is going to Bath. Friday a group of us is going to Paris for the day. Saturday Bobby and I (and maybe some more) are going to Canterbury and Dover. I'll let you know how it goes.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Best Trip Ever

I've just had the most wonderful experience of my life this weekend. I've done things I never thought I would do--seen things I never thought I would see. I'm a different person now because of the experiences I've had this weekend. Let me start with the boring stuff...

We went to Stonehenge. It was okay, but there's not really anything to say about it--we saw it, we walked around it, then we left. It was cold and rainy. Here's a picture of me with it.
Then we went to Salisbury Cathedral. I'm not even going to post any pictures of that. It's beautiful, and it's kind of cool because they have one of the four original copies of the Magna Carta, but other than that, it was no big deal, really.

Professor Rutledge, Bobby, Ben, Rebecca, Shradha, Miranda, and I left the group and got a train to Haworth instead of returning to London. For those of you who don't know, Haworth is the home of the Brontes, and it's literally the ends of the earth. We had to get a train to Leeds, then a train from there to Keighley, then get a taxi to a hostel in Haworth to even get close to the Bronte house. Then we had to walk up cobblestoned hills to see the parsonage where they grew up and lived. They've turned the parsonage into a wonderful museum dedicated to the Brontes; they have the actual couch Emily died on! Needless to say, I was speechless and emotional when I was there. They also had some costumes from the most recent Wuthering Heights adaptation, including the Heathcliff outfit that Tom Hardy wore. They had Charlotte's dresses and gloves, locks of her hair, her shoes....everything really. Here I am in front of it. Now this is where it gets exciting. Our destination was Top Withens, the supposed inspiration for Wuthering Heights. However, they told us it would take more time than we had to walk there, so we opted to stop at Bronte falls and return, so we could catch our train. We somehow got on the wrong footpath to the falls (let me take this opportunity to say that you cannot drive to the falls. Thankfully, they have not developed this area, and the moors are just as lonely and isolated as when Jane Eyre and Catherine Linton wandered on them. When trying to define the moors, I said, "They are the complete and total absense of everything"). This wrong footpath led us to places I never thought I'd go. Through sheep farm after sheep farm, crawling through fencing, climbing over ladders, traipsing through sheep poop, mud, bogs, creeks. It was the most pastoral I've ever been, and ever want to be for that matter. I wasn't miserable though, and in fact, I later asked Bobby if I had been whiny or acted like a diva and he said no, but he had been waiting on when I would start. The trek to the moors made Hazard look like a metropolis, and I got closer to sheep than anyone besides a shepherd should. I had a sheep bah in my face! The hills were beasts, but through some miracle, I kept up with everyone. Here's me (pretending to be) lost on the moors.When we realized the error of our ways, we climbed up to the footpath we were supposed to be on and soon after that, found Bronte Falls. It was beautiful, and I just couldn't believe I was actually there. Where they used to go as children and make up stories. It really is just like the books make it sound--a lonely, scary place but with a certain romantic quality that attracts people. It's always in the back of your mind that if something were to happen to you (like, I don't know, being attacked by sheep) no one would be able to get to you to help you, and even though I was with a group of 7, I somehow felt so alone. I lay in the grass next to the falls, and I was so happy. I didn't need any outside sources to be happy, just me and my surroundings. I really loved it there, and I want to go back. Here are some pictures of the falls.

This is me on what they call Bronte Bridge. Obviously their only claim to fame is the Brontes...

After we walked back, through a much easier way than the one we came on, we took the steam engine to Keighley and from there back to London. It was a long, difficult trip, but totally worth every second. Here's me hanging my head out of the steam train.

Anyway, it was a great weekend. Probably the best I could ever hope to have. Today, I'm just hanging around campus and catching up on some homework and studying.

Love as always.