Friday, April 29, 2011

Will & Kate: A Fairytale

I like to think that because I was a London resident for 4 months, I have more insight into the whole "Royalty" situation. It's probably not true but I'll cling to that belief. Because of this I have been ecstatic about this Royal Wedding for quite sometime. I have many silly souveniers with their faces on them, I immediately chose which stations I wanted to watch coverage of the Royal Wedding on when I got home (BBC and NBC), and I will talk forever about if you ask me. 

Today was a dream come true.
I have all possible information I think there IS about this day.
So when it came I just watched in awe.
Loved all the guests hats... with a few exceptions.
I loved the Queen's bright yellow outfit.
I loved the sweet look on Harry's face when he was talking to William.
I loved the dapper page boys.
I loved the excitement of the crowds.
I LOVED KATE'S DRESS.
etc. etc. etc.

The only thing I didn't love was the fact that I was watching it on my couch.
One week ago I was in London.
Biggest mistake of my LIFE that I didn't stay put.
I'm trying to not be too bitter about it.
But it's hard.
It was fun however to know exactly where the route to Westminster was, where all the crowds were gathering, where they had been doing construction to prepare, what the military uniforms looked like in person, what the layout of the Abbey was like, where the news reporters were standing and so on. 

I'll get over it.
I'll just look at pictures of the big day until I'm sick of it all.
Happy Royal Wedding Day!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Lists of Italia

Over the course of the last few months I've created a book of lists. I've always been a list maker so it's become a "group book" for the most part where we all combine efforts to create various lists. Some of these include: 

  • Things To Do
  • Lessons Learned
  • Catch Phrases
  • Pizza Hut Buffet
  • On A Scale Of...
  • "You're Tacky and I Hate You": Ireland
  • Food Consumption in Brugge
  • Biggest Fails
Italy was no exception to the Lists. Julie and I compiled a "Suck It Up and Suck It In: Italy" List. The thing about all these lists is they usually end up being lists of disasters or mishaps. So when looking at my Italy list, it isn't nearly as long as the others. Whether that's due to us finally figuring things out, my parents being there, or Italy itself, I'm not sure. So I guess you could say our trip was a success. Here's the list:
  • Getting from Pisa to Rome
  • Cab ride to hotel in Rome
  • Julie getting pooped on by a bird
  • Missing the ferry to Cinque Terre
  • Taking a water taxi to Cinque Terre
  • Picking of skin and teeth
  • Language barrier
  • Sara getting harassed by a 9-year-old
  • Sara's major wipeout
Some things are self explanatory but others aren't. So here's the play-by-play of Italy 2011.

Day One: [Gelato Flavor: Stracciatella & Fragola]
We were staying in a BEAUTIFUL costal town called Lerici. We woke up and looked out the window to see perfectly blue water and to hear church bells ringing. We spent the morning walking around and looking at how beautiful everything was. 
Then we spent our afternoon driving to other cities. First stop was Pisa, boy does that tower lean. Holy Moley. It's pretty surprising to see in person. Pictures really don't quite capture that thing. Then we went to Lucca and wandered around "the walled city". It was a lovely afternoon for a stroll on the wall and the city was pretty!

Day Two: [Gelato Flavors: Nutella & Fragola]
Cinque Terre Day! One thing about us staying in Lerici, was that we always slept in past when we said we'd get up. So when we planned to catch the 9am ferry and got going around 11am, we knew we'd have to rearrange our plans. So we missed the ferry we had to take to get there, so we hired a water taxi. The whole ride (which was actually longer than expected) we were riding those waves, jumping up and down. Thankfully no one got sick. So then we did the Via Dall'Amore (Love Walk). It was so so beautiful! This route was established to connect two cities so that the "lovers" could meet and now people go there and "lock their love" by putting padlocks along the way. It was great.

For lunch I got some pesto pasta (this is where they created Pesto after all!) Then we boated back along the coast to Lerici and watched the sunset from town. 

Day Three: [Gelato Flavors: Limone & Fragola]
This day was a mess. We were traveling to Rome and it took MUCH longer than anticipated. So we drive to Pisa (about an hour) and get on the train to Rome (like 3 hours, atleast) but we hadn't eaten since breakfast so we were STARVING. So combine that with boredom and there you have us. Julie and I had a grand time playing the iPod game. So when we finally arrived at the train station we got a cab and it was the LONGEST ride ever. Turns out our hotel was on the opposite side of town. We thought this cab driver was going to kill us or scam us because it took so long. Sheesh. I didn't even take pictures this day because it was long and train stations aren't that fun to take pictures in.

Day Four: [Gelato Flavors: Cioccolato & Fragola]
ROMA. Stop #1: Vatican. Oh the Pope is coming? Okay. Yeah, we saw him drive around in the "Pope Mobile" and then listened to a service in like 5 different languages. It was pretty cool and pretty darn lucky. So then we went through the museum and the Sistine Chapel, got delicious pizza and went to the Navona Piazza. Loved the Piazza because they had all these artists around and performers so it was fun. From there we stopped at the Pantheon, threw a coin in the Trevi Fountain and walked down the Spanish Steps. 




Day Five: [Gelato Flavors: Limone, Stracitella, Fragola, Crema & Frutti de Bosco]
Ancient Rome Day. We first stopped at the Colesseum, ate lunch overlooking it, walked around the Forum and all the other "ancient things". We did a lot of wandering this day around that area and on our way back to our hotel. Today was a fail day for me for 2 reasons (both of which are on the list). First of all at lunch I was waiting in line in the bathroom and a 9-year-old boy was yelling at me in Italian and tried to unlock the door when I was going to the bathroom. It was traumatizing. Julie laughed. Then later that night we went out for dinner and gelato and on our way back to the hotel I had a tumble. I stepped on uneven pavement on a downhill slope, and couldn't recover my footing in time to prevent a face plant. I had gelato running down my leg, got a scab on my knee and a ridiculous bruise on my elbow.


Day Six: [Gelato Flavors: Limone, Fragola, Nutella & Lampone]
Final Day in Roma. First stop was to go in St. Peter's Bascillica. It was huge and so incredible. Then we wandered back over to Navona Piazza to meet Julie and Cameron for lunch and gelato. I got my final Margherita Pizza (so exotic!) and then we wandered back towards our hotel to go back to London.

We had a great time and PERFECT weather while we there. Hopefully because I threw a coin in the Trevi Fountain I'll be back soon! 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

On to the Next!

Well our room at the Centre is a DISASTER but we're getting packed up and ready to leave. I have to admit I'm pretty sad about it but I don't think the enormity of what I'm leaving behind here will hit me until I've been at home for a few days.

So in other news: LAURIE AND DOUG ARE HERE! YES! Admittedly, all semester I knew that them coming here meant me leaving shortly thereafter, but once today came... I waited by the door anxiously pacing until the doorbell rang and I ran to answer it and attacked them with hugs. It's so fun to have them here in my place with me!

So as I leave behind my people, my new home and my life here- I'm going on vacation! Julie is coming along with me, Mom and Dad to Italy! We'll be in London for a few more days and then Bella Italia. I'll be computerless throughout it all so await anxiously a blog update when I'm at home in Virginia, snug in my bed. With Nikki (my dog) keeping my feet warm, my phone BLOWING UP with texts and phone calls (not) and The Office on in the background. Likely with Annie laying next to me. 

My last week here... I hate that but it'll certainly be fabulous!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Final Countdown

This song is definitely my life right now.
This IS the good life.

We're down to days, even hours now.
There are suitcases in the hallways.
I just left my last final.
(There's a paper left, but I'm past caring that much)
We're planning our last things we need to see.
We exchanged phone numbers.
We gave addresses so we could get wedding announcements.
Had our farewell fireside.
Some have cried.
We've laughed till we nearly wet our pants... again.


How did I get here? 
How is it that starting January 5 I hardly knew anyone here, had no idea how to get around London and the whole semester just seemed kind of daunting. 
And now....
I can't imagine my life not in London.
I can't imagine not being around these people.
I can't imagine driving instead of taking the tube.
I can't imagine a place without raspberry tarts on every corner.
I can't imagine having a full wardrobe.
I can't imagine anything else.

Last night in our farewell fireside we played a game where we all answered questions. It was basically us just laughing about all our insane memories that we've made. To name a few: peeing in many inappropriate places, making fools out of ourselves in front of the professors, eating obscene amounts of food, acting like immature fools, the woes of living in close quarters etc etc. Someone literally fell out of their chair because we were laughing so hard. Then we watched a slideshow of all our pictures over the course of the semester. It was an hour long we had so many.
This is me sharing my most embarrassing moment of the semester
(there have been a lot)
Then the professors each said something and I think we all were feeling so so blessed to have our directors, to be in the program we're in and to really just be experiencing all that we have in the last 3.5 months. 
It'll be hard to say goodbye to it all on Thursday morning.

I. Love. London.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Chillin'

In the last week here in London, I thought I'd be running around frantically trying to fit in everything I haven't done yet. Luckily, I have been busy all semester long doing everything that I have like 3 things on my "to-do" list. So in my last few days here we've been doing the thing we love.
Hanging out.

Hanging out: [in London] taking walks around the Royal Parks which include, but are not limited to Hyde Park and Regent's Park; sitting on a bench across the Thames overlooking Parliament and Big Ben; getting dinner/dessert and lingering longer than necessary; having movie nights every night; staying up way too late talking

I wouldn't trade the hanging out for anything these last few days. We're within a week left here at the Centre and I have chosen to not deal with the fact that I'm leaving these people (the regulars), of my life. 
Even if when I come back to London, it may not ever be the same because I won't be with my people. 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Yowza.

Enter Portugal.
Best. Place. Ever.

We arrived late on Thursday night and could hardly contain our excitement as we arrived at our nice hotel and trekked to the beach. 
SO BEAUTIFUL, SO WARM, SO PERFECT.
We sat up on a cliff we climbed up there and made a pact that we would enjoy every second and stay as long as possible.
We knew it was one of those moments as we sat on the cliff, staring over the ocean, feeling the breeze, barefoot and together, that we would never forget.

The next morning we woke up, walked out on our deck to see this:
Picturesque. 
We immediately put on our bathing suits (cheered that they still fit), and went down to the beach.

It was windy but oh, so beautiful. We decided we could just sit there all day and be perfectly happy in the sun.

So we did.


After awhile, we decided to try out the pool by our hotel. It was amazing how less windy it was. It was the PERFECT day. The pool water was freezing. I only got in thanks to Blake throwing me in. But I wasn't mad. (mostly because i pushed him in later) How could I be mad when it was so beautiful outside?


After lots of ice cream, sun, and laughs all around. We decided it was time to venture into town for dinner.
Then the pain began.
None of us had worried about sunscreen and enjoyed our day completely without it.
So we laughed at each others silly burn lines and headed out to eat.
Of course, it quickly became more and more painful by the second.
I couldn't even eat dinner I was in so much pain.
Others didn't sleep that night because of the pain.
We were certainly a miserable, pathetic bunch.


The next morning after laying in bed groaning for at least 30 minutes, we went and got a delicious brunch of American pancakes (how we've missed them!). 
Then we came back and enjoyed the warm weather, from the shade.
We were dreading leaving but we had our mini beach trip and it was time to head back to London for the final stretch of our European adventures.

I realize I haven't included too many details about this trip but it was just too perfect for words.
Our first night there we sat on the beach and talked about how this really is "the time of our lives". We're starting to realize that our time here is running out FAST. We have less than two weeks and it's so sad imagining our lives without each other now when we didn't even know one another 3 months ago. I know that Blake and I are headed into our final year of school, Laura's off to start a new major, and Maddy is getting thrown back into life as a Comms major and BYU. We're all headed in different directions and it is so incredible that we've been able to do these great things with each other and create these inexpressibly amazing friendships but so devastating that we're parting ways in less than 2 weeks.


So Portugal was our final hurrah you could say. And it was all that we imagined it would be, with a little (okay a lot) of sunburn on the side.