Sunday, December 7, 2008

Hamlet Dies, And This Time I Care

This is going to be one of my last posts since I only have two weeks left, so you should savor every moment of reading this I'm sure. It's really quite tragic, although not quite as tragic as watching David Tennant die in Hamlet last night. But that comes later. Right now I'm mourning the fact that I only have 8 days left of the program. Luckily the program ending isn't the worst thing in the world, because once it's over that means that I get to visit two of my very favorite people-- first the lovely Sara in Sweden, and then the fabulous Louise in Denmark. I pretty much love my life. But, first I have to make it through this week. Between this week and last week I have 5 papers and three finals due. Not cool. But don't worry, I'm a professional procrastinator so I still managed to have a lot of fun. This week's fun activities included:
  • Kitchen Crew-- I know I talked about it a little bit last time but it was all this week so I'm going to say more. We cleaned dishes. A lot. We also had to wake up early and set up all of the food and such. I am so ridiculously sleep deprived because we had to be downstairs and have everything ready by the time breakfast started at 7:30, and of course my room (who were all also on kitchen crew) and I could never seem to be able to go to sleep before one. We make the actual work fun (there's a lot of singing involved); it's just hard since it takes a couple hours out of our already hectic days. But now we're all done! We enjoyed dinner tonight by rinsing of our plates and then just walking away. Oh yes.

  • Mama Mia-- This was just a ton of fun on the stage. Getting tickets to this is pretty much impossible, so Anna went early while the rest of us were in mystery class and got us super sweet tickets-- we had our own box. So, we were right above/next to the stage, and the seats were even more comfy than usual. And the tickets were even less expensive. It was just all around good. We danced along with the songs, and then whistled the songs for the rest of the week while they were stuck in our heads.

  • The Queen Opens Parliament-- I just watched this on TV while working on my British Studies paper. It was pretty fun to watch all of their traditions and whatnot. A couple of the girls headed out early-ish and actually got to see the Queen up close leaving Buckingham palace and waved to her and such. I was a little sad that I couldn't go, but for once I was on a roll with my paper and I figured that it was ok since I had already seen both of the princes in person. Plus, it was fun watching it in the warm kitchen.

  • The Cabinet War Rooms and Churchill Museum-- This was pretty cool. Actually, it was really cool. The rooms that Churchill and his cabinet operated in and made all of the decisions regarding the war. They moved all operations under ground so they wouldn't get hurt by bombs, but Churchill didn't like to spend too much time down there. It was really interesting to see all of the things that were going on behind of the scenes of the war though, and there was even the huge map they used to track troop movements that still had thousands of little holes in it from where all the pins used to be. It was really interesting to see how they all lived down there and made decisions that were so crucial to world history.

  • The Sherlock Holmes Museum-- This was pretty sweet, mostly because they had hats and pipes and everything to take pictures with so we could pretend like we were Holmes and Watson. They also had wax sculptures of the villains upstairs, and the whole house was decorated just like 221b Baker Street is supposed to in the books, and there were even some actors and stuff walking around pretending like it was all real history. The gift shop was pretty fun too.
  • The Messiah-- We went to this cool presentation of Handel's Messiah at the Barbican Center where they performed it with instruments from the baroque time period and had a smaller choir like it would have been then. I have to admit that I didn't realize that it was so long though, or that I was so incredibly tired. The music was all performed amazingly, but I'm not a huge fan of Baroque as it is and I almost passed out a few times. The Hallelujah Chorus and other things that I recognized were fun.

  • Snog-- So I had my first snog after the concert. It's probably not what you're thinking. Snog is this frozen yogurt place (like Yoasis or that place in California Amber is addicted to) next to the South Kensington tube stop. This tube stop was as far away from the Messiah as it could get (although it's only a couple stops from home) but we wanted it so after traveling forever and getting a little lost (where we ended up strolling past our local Lamborghini dealership, you know, the usual) we made it there. And we ate that frozen yogurt. I got strawberries and blueberries on top and was quite happy with life.

  • Abbey Road-- There are a bunch of fun little London things that we just hadn't got around to doing yet and this was one of them. I think it's pretty much required to go to Abbey Road and try to recreate the scene on the album. It's actually really funny to watch because the crosswalk they use is a big intersection and there isn't a stop light, so when there are no cars you just run, freeze, and hope someone takes the picture before you get hit. I'm happy to announce that all of us are still in one piece. I don't think I'd ever want to drive on that road because I'm pretty sure there's a constant flow of tourists there. Right next to the crosswalk is the Abbey Road recording studio. The wall out front is completely graffitied, and they have to paint it every couple days so we decided to join in on the fun and became vandalists. It's probably all gone by now, but it was fun while it lasted.

  • Camden-- from Abbey Road we took a quick trip over to the Camden markets where I got some sweet earrings and a cookie before I had to bail and run back to the centre since I had kitchen duty. It was a fun half of an hour though.
  • The London Temple-- We actually had Friday off from class and stuff to work on all of our papers and such, but we ended up opting to take a group trip to the London LDS Temple for a session. Even though it's the London temple it actually took a couple of hours to get there (it takes over an hour just to get out of the city) but it was totally worth it, as going to the temple always is. It was a really neat experience since the session was made up all of people from the program too. All of the temple workers there were a lot of fun too, and they had the best stories. One of the members of the temple presidency and his wife just got back from being missionaries in Nigeria and they just had the best stories. It was fun to go to the temple too because now I can say that I've served in the temples at all of the places I've lived-- Portland, Provo and London. It was gorgeous, although it was really funny because it had scaffolding on the outside of it. There's been scaffolding on everything since it's the off season (St. Paul's, Chartwell, Versailles, Chatres, you remember), but the temple was the last place I expected to see it so when we were driving up so I just laughed. Apparently they're just about to put the angel Moroni on top (he's on all of the temples) so I figure it's ok though. The temple has been there for a long time, but this is the first time they've been able to put the angel on top because it's right next to Gatwick airport and they said the gold would be a distraction. So this time it's going to be bronze.
  • Beetle the Bard-- J.K. Rowling's new collection of short stories came out and I think everyone in the program went out and bought it because it will be 20 times cooler since we bought it here. Plus, it's cute and small and only cost 3 pounds 50. Going to get it at Waterstone's was our designated "fun break" from writing papers. Being us we stayed in the tiny book store for a long time looking at random stuff.

  • Hamlet-- We left the centre at eight in the morning to stand in line outside in the cold for an hour and a half just to get tickets to this play. That's not something that I had ever expected to do for a Shakespeare play since I've never exactly been a fan. Well, at least I hadn't been a fan until I saw Shakespeare performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company. That's a completely different story. I've decided that the RSC should officially be the only ones allowed to ever perform Shakespeare, because when they do it I actually like it. I really liked Love's Labor Lost when we saw it in Stratford, and the RSC has a London season that included Hamlet, so I figured that this was my best chance of ever enjoying the play. There was even the added bonus of having David Tennant, who was in Love's Labor Lost, play Hamlet. And Patrick Stewart, the guy from X-Men played his uncle. This is quality stuff. All of the tickets sold out months ago, but they have 25 tickets that they release day of at student rate so we decided to take advantage of that, even if it meant waking up at an icky hour. We had to get there early in order to fight off the David Tennant fans-- for those of you who don't know, he's the star of Doctor Who, which is majorly huge over here. I've seen chocolate lollipops with his face on it. I've never seen Doctor Who, but I have seen him on stage and he really is that amazing. I really hope that he sticks with the theater even though it would be easier for me to see him on film because he's just so dang good at it. So I was really excited to see him again. We got some of the last 5 pound tickets (only five pounds to see it for a student with a slightly obstructed view! Isn't that amazing? Even converted into American dollars I couldn't get a seat in the back of a BYU production of the same show) and then had a party. It was totally worth waiting in line to see. I can't even describe how good it was. They used the original Shakespeare but performed it in modern dress, which I thought was really cool. I just got completely sucked into the play; it didn't matter that I knew everything that happened since I studied it in AP Lang and heard it a ton. Ya, I can't describe it. It was perfect. I just wish that it wasn't a tragedy... David Tennant was too much fun to watch to have him die. Patrick Stewart was great as the Uncle too, and I almost didn't want to not like him. Oh man it was just great. I wish I could relive it. Moral of the story: only watch Shakespeare if it's performed by the RSC. They do it right.

  • Tate Modern-- In between buying tickets and going to the play was an entire day, so I went and did stuff. One of the things I had to do for humanities was go to the Tate Modern, which is a sweet modern art museum in an old factory along the Thames. I got to see lots o' modern art, which was fun. I also had to go into the special exhibition of Rothko, which was actually really cool. For those of you who aren't familiar with Rothko, he just painted a bunch of squares. Now, this sounds like it would be easy, but he actually drafted these puppies like none other. They had some of his plans and sketches on display and he would go through a lot of work before painting those squares. When the paintings are all together in this huge room they look really cool too, especially when you look at all the brushstrokes and colors and stuff. It's not like it's my favorite thing in the world, but it's really interesting.

  • Shopping-- Apparently this weekend is the closest thing Britain has to our black friday, but without the amazing sales. They actually shut down all of the traffic on Regent Street and Oxford Street, two major places to shop, so that people could walk down the middle. I only went for a couple hours. It was crazy but a lot of fun too. When it got dark they had fireworks at Oxford Circus and an acrobat in this giant inflatable dome thing. So that was fun.

  • Church-- This was my second to last week of church, which is sad because I like my ward here. It was funny in Sunday school today because we're in this tiny room and people kept coming in. We ended up with 19 young single adults and little kid all crammed in on chairs with the teacher, Ayla (I don't actually know how to spell her name), sitting on the desk. The lesson was still great though (I'm really going to have lessons taught to me in that sweet Scottish accent) and we all had a lot of fun. I'm excited because there's a single adult Christmas party on Friday at the stake center. We're so going to be there.

  • Papers-- As you can tell, we did less this week than other weeks (even though I still managed to write way more than I should). Just fill in all of the gaps with me slaving over papers and you'll get a good idea of how this week went down.

And that's it! Tada! The only other thing I've been doing today is writing. Between writing some friends and missions and this blog I think that my hands are going to fall off or something. But you all love me, right? Right. Now I'm going off to watch Elf in the classroom because it's way more fun than writing papers.

Being Holmes and Watson. We're all ready for some quality detection.My first snogging experience.The famous Abbey Road.I learned that vandalism is actually quite fun.The London Temple, complete with decorative scaffolding.Our last day of kitchen duty.

Waiting in the line for tickets way early in the cold but beautiful morning

After the wonderfullness that was Hamlet

On our way to church! We switch lines at Tottenham every single week. Good times.


Amber said...

I want a snog!! haha can you freeze one and bring it back to me please?

Lee said...

HAHA! your very first ever snog!! yay!!