Tuesday, November 30, 2010


The only thing that sucks about a Study Abroad?

The studying part.

Finals are this weekend, and the center is a madhouse. 

Yes, this is currently where I live.
I’m keeping myself going with numerous McDonald’s runs, spoonfuls of Jet Puff,
and lots and lots of Dr. Pepper.

Wish me luck.

On a happier note…it snowed this morning :)

Monday, November 29, 2010


This Thanksgiving, in order to avoid homesickness at all possible costs, I decided to take a vacation from my vacation, and head to Madrid, Spain for the long weekend. And I LOVED IT! It was warm(er) and sunny, the people were loud and friendly, we ate chocolate con churros every morning for breakfast, and with my dark hair, skin, and eyes…I fit right in! It was fabulous.

Day 1 consisted of a trip to Toledo—the most adorable little Spanish town I’ve ever seen. We stopped in the Lladro store first, where we discovered that they offer a 25% discount to Mormons (thank you missionaries), and then it was off to the Cathedral of Toledo, which was honestly the most incredible cathedral that I have ever seen. And I can say that, because I have seen A LOT of cathedrals. Sadly, I wasn’t allowed to take pictures inside (just like everywhere else in that country), but I may have snuck one or two from my pocket.

Next we happened to stumble upon the jewelry makers of the town, so we sat and watched that for a while, and then it was on to the sword maker’s shop, where we got a tour from a nice Spanish man who was missing a number of fingers.

Next we toured a synagogue, which at this point I have also seen way too many of, and then we had lunch at McDonald’s…where I successfully managed to order a number 7 sin salsa in Español. My papa would have been proud.

Then it was back to Madrid and on to the Prado, which is basically the Louvre of Spain and was filled to the brim with some of my favorite works. Sadly, no pictures in there either, so I bought lots of postcards from the gift shop instead. Then we found a restaurant out of our guidebook and tracked it down for our Thanksgiving feast. The food was decent, but the portions were tiny, and our waiter hated us for not ordering any alcohol, so it was slightly disappointing. So where did we go after for dessert? McDonald’s of course. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Day 2 consisted of a tour of the Royal Palace of Madrid

Lunch at Mercado de San Miguel, my favorite food market ever

Puerta del Sol and Plaza Mayor

And a quick stop at the Real Madrid football stadium.

Day 3 we only had a few hours before we had to leave to the airport for our flight back to London, so we decided to make a quick trip to the temple first thing in the morning, which was beautiful and I loved. I’m so grateful we made the time to go see it.

And then a quick visit to the Reina Sofia, which houses one of Picasso’s most famous works, Guernica, which was awesome to see, even if it only was for a second.

And then we were on our way back to London. I had such an incredible Thanksgiving and the only other place I could have wished to be was at home eating my mama’s chocolate pie. But I’d have to say that this was a pretty decent replacement. Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

London Lovers.

Remember how a few weeks ago I told you that I had had the best week in London yet? Well, I lied. This week tops them all. Why? Because JUSTIN CAME TO VISIT!!!  After three loooooooong months of being apart, I finally got to pick him up from the airport and show him around my favorite city. And I can honestly say that I love this place even more now than I did before. As great as all of my adventures here have been, it just means so much more when you can share those things with someone that you love.

So I spent nine days dragging him around to all my favorite spots. Seriously, what could be better than a week and a half in London with your fiancé? It was the best thing ever, and as my mother put it, we got to enjoy a “sexless honeymoon.” (Direct quote from Lori…no judging me.) 

I showed him all of my favorite sites—we climbed to the top of St. Paul’s, toured Westminster Abby, saw the Christmas lights on Regent’s Street, watched fireworks on the Thames, and rode the London Eye.

We spent a day exploring Cambridge, watched the Lord Mayor’s Show Parade, and wandered through Harrods.   

I showed him Buckingham Palace and Tower Bridge, and we ate bratwursts from Borough Market. 

We even went to an Opera! We both hated it, and we may have left halfway through, but at least now we can say we’ve been.

I introduced him to Nando’s and we ate there almost every single day. Seriously though, I think we ate there 8 out of the 9 days he was here. We even found one on our day trip to Cambridge. Just another reason why I love that boy.

And we had the amazing opportunity of having our engagement pictures taken while he was here. Our photographer was incredible, and she put up with me wanting to wander all over the city to get to my favorite spots. They turned out even better than we had hoped, and it will be so great to have those pictures to remember this trip forever. THANKS MOM AND DAD!

The past week and a half was the best time that I’ve had here my entire trip, and even though I’m so sad it’s over, I’m so glad that I got to share my experiences here with Justin. If it’s possible, I love him and this city even more than I did before. Only three more weeks!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

This is Halloween! This is Halloween!

The Brits may not know how to celebrate Halloween...but the girls (and boys) of 27 Palace Court sure do.

Happy Halloween! From our flat, to yours.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The best one yet.

So I’m still a tad bit behind in my blogging, but my goal is to catch up this week. I’m almost there! I would also just like to point out that I’ve been better at writing in my journal the past couple of weeks. Just in case you’re wondering. Yay for me! Anyways, here it is…

The best week yet, other than maybe France, was last week. I LOVED every single thing about it (other than maybe Sunday, when I had to teach the chastity lesson to a room full of teenage boys…but that’s a whoooole other story).  So we’ll just start with Monday.

Monday began with letters from my mom, my dad, and a poem from Elena. My dad is possibly the funniest person that I know (second only to LeAnn) and this is why:

“Olivia, I am writing this card because mom is making me so I am pretending that I am writing something profound and inspirational, so as long as I look like I am writing you something and I seal the envelope I won’t get in trouble. Well I am running out of words and, thank goodness, out of space, and now I can go to bed so I can get up and go to work to pay for your wonderful trip. I love you and miss you and am pooped. Love you, Dad.
PS This is why mom gets the better rest homes.”

Thanks dad, love you too.

Monday night we went to….the BALLET!!! At the Royal Opera House…which is beautiful.  I loved every minute of it. It was four different mini ballets all in one show it just made me so happy.

Wednesday was our day trip and it was fabulous. We stopped first at Sandham Memorial, which is a little chapel filled with paintings commemorating the Great War. I didn’t know very much about it, but the paintings portrayed the love and brotherhood of war rather than horrors, and it was such a good feeling to sit in that tiny room and just appreciate it all.

Next was Jane Austen’s house, and only those of you who know me best can comprehend how happy this made me. I’ll admit, I’ve found most of the houses that we’ve visited to be not terribly exciting…but I LOVED Austen’s. She’s my favorite author, and to see where she lived and where she wrote her books had me giddy. I celebrated with a copy of Emma and a copy of Persuasion straight out of the 50s, complete with colored illustrations. I know I should probably find a better adjective to describe this experience, but happy is just too perfect. After that we made a quick stop at Salisbury Cathedral, which was gorgeous and probably one of my favorites so far.

After that we took off to the one and only Stonehenge, which also was just amazing. It was so incredible to see something that I’ve learned about and seen pictures of my entire life. And to see where Tess dies in Tess of the D’Urbervilles, which was probably my favorite part about the whole thing (shout out to Mrs. Clark…and Ben). So lucky once again for sunshine, but it was still as cold as a winter’s day. My only regret? Not buying a “Stonehenge Rocks” t-shirt. What was I thinking?

On Friday, rather than our regular London Study, we took a second day trip and set out for Portsmouth –home of the HMS Victory—the oldest warship in the world. Also the ship used in Master and Commander. It really was so incredible to be able to tour the ship and see what life would have been like for the people who lived on it back then. Sadly, we weren’t allowed to take pictures inside, but it really was amazing. Fun fact for the day: When Lord Nelson—captain of the ship during the Battle of Trafalgar—passed away on the ship, he asked to not be buried at sea, but rather in his homeland. So the men stored his body in a barrel of rum, which preserved it perfectly. And then all the men drank the rum in a toast to Nelson. Lovely isn’t it?


After touring the ship we set out to find the Cadbury chocolate factory—the true reason for the trip. We all stocked up with enough chocolate to last the rest of the trip, as well as to bring plenty home to our families.

And then it was on to Brighton! Where we played on the beach, ate fish and chips on the pier, and just enjoyed the sunshine. We finished up with some homemade donuts, and got back on the coach to head to our final destination...the London temple. I loved being able to see it and a few of us were able to go inside, so we stayed for most of the night.

Sadly, we ended this fabulous week with a Jane Austen test on Saturday, but the rest of the week was so great that I honestly just didn’t even care. Now tomorrow we leave for a weekend in Wales and lots of more exciting things to see. Yay for London! Cheers!