The Queen, Harrods, and Nick Reminders

The past two days in London have been A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! Yesterday we got up and headed to the Queen's birthday party... we actually got close enough to see the Queen and Prince William! AHHHHHH, all of us were dying. The parade was awesome, and we stuck around long enough to see the queen come by twice :)

Look we were so close! This is from my camera :) After seeing the queen, we headed back to our flat to shower and get ready for dinner out and a pub to watch the US v England World Cup game. We had a time trying to find somewhere to do both, so we ate at Gourmet Burger Kitchen again and then looked around for a place to watch the game. Poor Mia lost her shoe under the Tube, so we had to wait for her to retrieve it. Unfortunately, I started feeling pretty bad and headed home to watch the game (slash click back and forth between that and Runaway Bride haha) and relax. Lib and a few of the girls came home shortly after and we watched the game end in a tie! RIDICULOUS!

Today was the best day in London thus far, I think. We got up early this morning and headed to Harrods for tea :). We had a GREAT time. Harrods is absolutely amazing and so HUGE. We could have spent days in there I think. We all got pain au chocolat and different kinds of tea, and they were all delicious. We spent almost two hours just sipping tea and talking :)

We spent an hour just walking around Harrods, and Cait and I even bought dresses! Unfortunately they weren't in the designer area, but they were adorable. I will probably wear mine to Nat's graduation party on Friday :) We also found these bears down by the Harrods gift shop that we HAD to take pictures by. I think they are so cute!

We then went to dinner at a delicious (and cheap) Italian restaurant, because we were all starving. I even tried Ravioli, although it was spinach with a butter sauce, instead of cheese and a red sauce, but it was yummy. After that, we went on the search of our lives, for the PARENT TRAP HOUSE! We finally found it, and were really sketch and took a ton of pictures in front of it. Here Cait and I are... you can see the #23, but they changed the number for the movie to seven for privacy issues. Too bad we found it ;)

I have been seeing little reminders of Nick everywhere lately, and they always make me smile. I've seen a Nicholas Lane that was lined in red, and now this Nic(h)olas shop which has a red sign. I know that when these things catch my eye, it's just Nick wanting me to see them and think of him and know he's okay. I don't think I've mentioned him on my blog, but I have been thinking about him everyday, and saying lots of prayers for his family. He had and will continue to have such a big impact on my life, and he was such a special little boy. Love and miss you buddy.

Peace and Blessings, see you in 4 days!


The Week of Plays and Musicals

This week, after our trip to Bath, has been taken over by plays and musicals! Tuesday night we went to see a play called After the Dance. It was great! It is set in the late 1930's and deals with relationship dynamics and the tendancy to become self-absorbed. After reading a synopsis, I was sure I was going to hate it, but in fact, I loved it! That in itself was shocking, because the ending is not happy, and there is a really blatant suicide... two things that I hate in movies or plays. Wednesday, we got a tour of the National Theater, and actually got to go on the set of After the Dance, which was really awesome. The tour was an hour and a half long, and we really got to see some of the inner workings, including their own design studio and prop making system. It was AMAZING!

After the workshop, some of the girls set out on a mission. Our plan? To find the 1st European Chipotle! After wandering Leicester Square for a while, and stopping a woman with google on her iPhone, we finally found it. Let me just say, I was THRILLED. I got my usual chicken tacos, with chips and guac to take home and eat for dinner ;). It tasted just like home, and I couldn't have been happier. We even introduced Meagan and Felicia to Chipotle, and now I'm sure both of them will be hunting them out in the states :).

Wednesday night we had tickets to see The War Horse. That show is the hottest ticket in town right now, and for good reason. It was fantastic. The play is based off of a children's book, but it becomes so much more than that. During our tour of the National Theater they told us how they made the horses, and it took them years. It's quite hard to describe, but basically the horses are made of aluminum and other materials strong enough to hold someone when they need to sit on it. Three people operate the horses, but you forget they are there almost instantly. The set was one of the most interesting I have ever seen, but every set I have seen this trip has been really awesome in it's own way. Basically, I am hunting down this book because the show was so great, I am dying to read how it all started :). It will be in London through fall 2011, and then it is heading to Broadway, which I may have to get tickets to when it does. So, if you are in London, I would HIGHLY recommend seeing it. It is such a sweet story, but beware, there are some graphic scenes.

Oh, and we might have seen Emma Watson... no big deal. We also might have almost gotten kicked out for taking pictures of her in the theater ;). She was kind of a snot, actually. But oh well, haha.

Yesterday, we went to class and then went ticket hunting :). This is our free long weekend, and some people in our group headed to Paris, Amsterdam, and Dublin. As much fun as travelling would have been, I still have more of London to see! We went looking for tickets for Wicked, and got twenty pound ones for Tuesday night. Billy Elliot happened to be showing nearby and Mary was insistent that we go see if we could get tickets. So we did, and ended up with cheap tickets for last nights show. It was the first show for a new Billy, and he was wonderful :). I enjoyed the musical, although it's not something I'd let my children see! It has a lot of profanity, and the children are a big part of it, which bothered me a bit, honestly. Despite that, the story is really neat, and the music was done by Elton John, so of course, I lovvveedd it! It was a great night out with the girls, and I can't wait to see Wicked with them :).

Today, we were planning on going to Kensington Garden, but as it is raining again, I'm not sure what we are going to do. The Tower of London possibly, and some shopping. I don't know. Tomorrow is sure to be a busy day with going to the Queen's Birthday early in the morning, and the England v. US football (soccer) game tomorrow night. We are planning on going to a pub down on the Thames and watching it, so fun!

I need to go shopping to find something to wear for someone's graduation party/graduation day... perhaps that will get done today. ;)

Home in 6 days! Although it seems like I have a lot to do before then :)


Sunday, Desperate Bathwives and Real American Food

Sunday was pretty eventless around here. Lib and i mosied around for a while, finally getting in the shower and hopping on the tube to go to the Victoria and Albert Museum. We were really hoping to see the Grace Kelly Exhibit (the only thing you had to pay for, lame) but it was sold out for the day. Still, we found some cracks and peeked in. I think its something I'd go back and pay the six pounds for if i got the chance. The rest of the museum was nice, and we both loved the fashion exhibit, which showed fashion evolving from several different countries over the years. It was really crowded though, so we didn't get to see as much as we'd hoped to. We also found a really cool glass exhibit that caught our eye, and some huge stone sculptures that made us look like Jack does compared to the Giant in the beanstalk, haha. After that, we came back to the flat and just hung around.

Cait finally got home around eight, with alot of crazy stories from her day, and our flat along with some of the other girls decided to go see a movie, The Killer Inside Me. Completely not what I was expecting, and something that I never, ever want to see again. I suppose from an artistic standpoint, it was done quite well. That being said, some of the scenes were so graphic I plugged my ears and covered my eyes. There is an especially horrible scene where Casey Affleck beats the living snot out of Jessica Alba. It's absolutely terrible. Needless to say, we all had to talk about something else before we went to sleep that night.

Yesterday we all got up bright and early to catch our coach (charter bus) to Bath. I absolutely loved Bath, as it is much more my scene than London is. Bath is a smaller town, discovered by the Romans because of it's natural hot spring, and thought to have healing properties. It was known in Europe as a "holiday town." The architecture was so beautiful, and if we hadn't been pushed around by a group of old people, I think I really would have enjoyed our tour of the Roman Baths. If you sneak a toe into the water, you can feel that it really is warm! We then grabbed lunch from a local bakery, and headed on a two hour walking tour of Bath. Our tour guide was nice, and very knowledgeable, but because we only had five hours in Bath, we didn't get to stop and explore nearly as much as we would have liked. I would love to go back to Bath someday and spend time there. It felt like a safe little tourist town, complete with great shopping and culture :) The only downside was the two and a half hour coach ride there and back. I fell asleep a bit, but the emergency door on top was open and we were all freezing so much that it was hard to get comfortable.

When we finally got back into Londontown, we just decided to relax and spend the night in. It had been a long day, and we knew that we had class this morning. Class this morning did get pushed back to ten, which was awesome... we got to sleep an hour later! It was a short class, and Elizabeth and I headed to exchange her tube pass that she has been a having a problem with. Two tube stops and three customer service people later, we got the job done. Exhausted from that maneuvering, we found the perfect pick-me-up... TGI FRIDAYS! Lib and I are both picky eaters, and although we have been surviving, we were both in dire need of some "normal food." I even had a Coors Light on draft, and there is NO light beer here anyway. That along with some moz sticks to share, chicken tenders for lib, and a fresh salad with delicious barbeque chicken for me, made for the best lunch we've had :) Ahhhhh... this afternoon, it is pouring outside so we are just relaxing and getting a few things done before we go to see a play, "After the Dance," tonight at 7.

Nine more days till I grace the US with my presence :) But only nine more days to see everything there is to see in London :(


Reasons Why MacBeth Rocks, and Why I Can't Be Away From My People For More Than Two Weeks

That was probably the longest blog title ever, but whatever... this is my blog and I do what I wannntt! Yesterday the roomies and I headed out to our nearest shopping establishment. We have yet to discover what they call them here, but we know for sure that they are not called "malls." Lib got some great stuff at gap, and I was IN LOVE with this one skirt there, but they only had it in a size too big, and two sizes too small. Needless to say, I was bummed (although happy that with all the chocolate and bread and butter I've been eating, that I could still fit in my regular size, haha), but we truged on. We found this store that had some adorable clothes, and was like a semi-more expensive H&M. Caitlin and I actually ended up finding a skirt for me and a dress for her out of the same pattern! We fully expect to be wearing these outfits to football games to match :)

After that, we came back to the flat, grabbed dinner and headed to the Globe for a showing of MacBeth. After being told we were in the standing gallery, and that we were going to have to pop our heads out of these black sheets to appear as floating heads, I was not looking forward to going. Fortunately, there was room beyond the black sheets to stand as a normal human, and I took full advantage of that. I have read MacBeth several times, and have seen a few different versions, but this was definitely the best. The three witches hung out in the standing gallery before the show, and freaked poor Felicia out so much! The acting was amazing, and for someone like me, who doesn't really enjoy the "thea-tah" beyond a musical, I was throughly entertained. It helped that Malcolm was absolutely gorgeous, haha. But everything was so realistic, which is amazing considering the constraints the Globe puts on, as it wants to be as true to Shakespeare's day as possible. We were all exhausted after standing for three hours, so we came home, sat around a bit, and headed to bed.

I knew I was becoming a grown up when I woke up at eight this morning, on one of my free days, to head to a market! I am becoming more and more like my mother everyday, haha. No mom, I didn't say it was a bad thing. After getting ready, Lib, Cait, Jenna and I headed to Camden Market for some shopping. It was awesome, and I could have spent all day there. There were a ton of clothing options, so much jewelry, and food galore! I even found something that I.AM.IN.LOVE.WITH. for a certain someone, that I am not entirely sure I can part with enough to give to him ;). We had a great time at the market, although we picked the hottest day in London to go (it hit around 80 here, so hot, haha). After that, we headed to London Bridge to grab a meal and ended up at a Gourmet Burger Kitchen. The burgers were good, as we all were lacking on protein, but they charged us two dollars a glass for tap water... RIDICULOUS. Needless to say, our waitress didn't get much of a tip (but that isn't a big deal, here they don't tip near the amount we do). After that, we headed to the Tate Modern Museum to see some art, that we were a little freaked out by, honestly. Some of the pieces were nice, but there were some human torture exhibitions that were definitely not my scene. They had a neat gift shop though, and I got a few cool souvenirs. We headed back to the flat shortly after that, and I fell asleep for a bit to Ice Age II, haha. The tv here is definitely interesting :)

Tonight was a bittersweet night for me though. Everyone else is out right now, doing all kinds of crazy things, and I'm here. But I am here gladly because I got to see my sister before she headed off to her senior prom. My best friend, Heather, skyped her for me so I got to see about thirty minutes of all of the events, including her finishing up getting ready, getting her corsage, and starting to take pictures. I may or may not have gotten a little teary at one point because almost everyone I love (minus Stuart) was in one room together, gathered around her and there for her as she got ready (Mama, Daddy, Hev and Lance). I know they were there for her though, so that made me feel better. She looked ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS and I am so glad I got to see her off to her senior prom. Man, I am so old! I remember going to my own prom not so long ago, and those same people in that room, were there with me haha.

Tomorrow Miss Mecklenburg herself, Miss Emily Smith, along with my love Lindsay will be making their way into London town from ole Parie. I CANNOT WAIT to see them! I have been missing all that delta love I have become accustomed to. I have no idea what we will do, but it is sure to be an adventure :)

P.S. A special thanks to my best friend, Miss Heather Kane. You were the best surrogate sister Nat could have asked for, and I am so grateful that you were able to be there for her and stand in when I couldn't. You are an amazing friend and I am so lucky to have you. LOVE YOUUUU :)

Peace and Blessings, only eleven and a half more days til I'm back in the 757, Peace and Blessings



Why Is London Full of Smokers?

Yesterday was a good day, nice and relaxing. We got up and took the hour trek to class (fortunately class got pushed back half an hour so we got a little more sleep!) and discussed our plans for this weekend with the group. Then we headed to the British Museum. I'd like to say that it was interesting and I was so intrigued... except that would be a "story." The guy leading us through the exhibit was really soft spoken and long-winded so we just stood for an hour listening to him talk about ancient Roman establishment. I believe Nicole said it best when she just started singing "Killing Me Softly," haha.

After that, I kind of took time to myself. I went for a nice, long run. A desperately needed one, since it had been almost two weeks. The only problem is, we are in the city, and everyone is constantly outside smoking. So when I run, I get a nice dose of second hand smoke... not good for anyone, none the less someone who is trying to exercise their lungs! Other than that, it felt great, and since I was in my flat alone and I wasn't worried about using all the hot water, I took a realllllyyy long hot refreshing shower :)

We had a total girls night last night, and it was a blast! One of the girls in our group, Meagan, had some friends at a pub just a short cab ride away, so we sat around just talking and taking pictures before grabbing a few cabs and heading that way. To say the night was interesting, would be an understatement. We met a guy who referred to himself as "flaming" andreferenced Sarah Jessica Parker while asking us what he should do on his third date with a guy that he was "totally in love with." And that was just the beginning! We met a guy (and a few of his friends) named Adrian who was British but was actually on vacation from his job in the states! All sorts of shenanigans ensued, including a marriage proposal, sugar cubes, and lots of beer tasting. Needless to say, it was one of our most exciting nights yet.

Today, a quick run, shower, and some shopppiiinnnnggg! I didn't bring nearly enough dressy stuff, due to the stupid girl in cargo shorts that said we wouldn't require any cute clothes. Thats the last time I listen to a girl who wore three tee shirts the entire trip and fit everything she needed in her cargo shorts... seriously.


Peace and Blessings, Peace and Blessings


Dats Da Best Advice Dat I Could Take, Shirley.

Today has been a fun day :) We got to sleep in (til NINE... what has happened with my life these days?). Jenna, Cait, Lib and I headed early to the Globe for an acting "lesson" and stumbled into Starbucks for a little treat before hand. The acting lesson wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be and we actually had a great time. Lib, Felicia, Nicole and I were all in a group and we just laughed throughout all the exercises. Before that, we headed into the actual theater and watched a technical rehearsal for Henry IV, which was definitely interesting!

After our Globe adventure, we hopped the tube for a little shopping, but I didn't stay long. Oxford Circle, where we were, is a lot like Times Square and I got overwhelmed. I hopped the tube home, and I even got a little lost, but I figured everything out on my own. Apparently I am becoming and adult. I even bought extra internet so I can Skype Nat this weekend while she gets ready for prom and even used a little to Skype Stuart a bit when I got home, which was nice.

We headed to see "The Real Thing" tonight by Tom Stoppard at The Old Vic. I wasn't impressed, but then again, I don't get British humo(u)r, and I have a hard time understanding accents occasionally. The general synopsis was a play within a play, but the story line was hard to follow. I understood the general point though. The biggest problem was the tiny seats that didn't even allow you room to cross your legs! Ridiculous! I know we will see a few more plays while I am here, and I'm hoping they will be better :) We see MacBeth on Friday at the Globe in the standing galley, which should be an experience for sure.

Cait, Lib and I have been up looking at conspiracy theories for some reason, so right now I am trying to distract myself before bed. Tomorrow we just have class in the morning, and then we are free until Friday night at 7:30 to see MacBeth, so who knows what shenanigans we might get into! I know, I know, pictures are cominnngggg.


London, Day Three, and Still Too Lazy for Pictures

Today was quite the busy day here in London. We had to leave our flat around eight to be to class at nine. RIDICULOUS. It should not take an hour and two trains to get to class twice a week, but I guess I only have four more left, so it shouldn't be too bad. Lib, Cait and I actually got there early, but ended up in the wrong building and were late for class, haha, our baaadddd. Today we got divided up into our individual groups (I have K Graham this week, a professor I've had before for Children's lit and love), although we never actually divided up. We talked about our adventures yesterday as a whole, and then a "bobby" from Scotland Yard came and talked to us about safety in London. It's really no different than the states, except pepper spray is illegal. Ridiculous, right?
We learned a little more about Ability Towers and the Anglo-American program as well, and the woman kept making these little side comments about how the UK doesn't charge for health care like "you Americans" do, and how the British aren't expected to tip. It really ticked me off, and I wanted to say something along the lines of, "we may have privatized health care, and prefer to appreciate good service by tipping and helping our waiters/waitresses, but at least we don't have to pay to go to the TOILET when we need to." I didn't though, haha. Other than that, class was fine.
I've really fallen in love with coffee here, and I actually have taken to drinking regular cafe mochas with a little (or several scoops) of sugar or Splenda added in. I had a cup today from our "university" cafe and it really helped me make it through the afternoon. Speaking of, we met our tour guide from yesterday, Warren, at Westminster Abbey for a personal tour, and a panoramic coach tour of the city. Westminster Abbey was really neat, and it was awesome to see the place where Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, Charles Dickens and several kings and queens including Henry the VIII, Anne Bolyn and Elizabeth the I were buried (along with a ton of other people). Charles Darwin is actually buried there in the Scientist corner, along beside Sir Issac Newton and several other famous scientists. Considering Westminster Abbey is an Anglican church, the fact that a man who tried to disprove God throughout his entire scientific career is buried there, makes me a little uncomfortable and weird-ed out.
The paneramic tour was cool as well, although the bus driver's crazy moves made me a little bit motion sick, haha. We got to stop at Buckingham Palace (I waved to the queen again for you Hev!), and the Tower of London for pictures, although we are planning to head back when it's not raining and we actually look pretty. The queen's birthday is actually next weekend, and we are planning to get up and go... we might actually get to see her!
We were planning to go out tonight, since we don't have to be a the Globe for a theater tour (and acting lesson... thanks theater majors for coming along on this trip and making this happen... haha NOT) at 11:30, but its gross and raining so Jenna, Lib, Cait and I are researching things to do and watching CSI, so a normal night for me in the states. We also get to see a play tomorrow night at the Globe, which is going to be an interesting experience for sureeeee. I'm so interested in London, but I'm definitely looking forward to being back in the good ole US of A.

Peace and Blessings, Peace and Blessings from this Crusty Crust.