The first two days were so hard and awful, especially at night. I felt so homesick. I missed my family and all I wanted was to be home. I felt embarrassed because it seemed like I was the only one feeling this way. I felt guilty because here I was in London of all places, with the greatest opportunity and yet the only place I wanted to be was home. I cried so hard on Tuesday night. It didn’t help that I was exhausted and overwhelmed.
So that was my first two days.
I promise the next day was MUCH better. I’ve made the greatest friends ever here! I think you would all love them! They super funny and we’re ALWAYS laughing, even at inappropriate times.
We have done such amazing things here in London already and we’re only on week 2. We spent time at the Tower of London, where many of the mideivel kings and queens reigned. People like Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth. It was so cool.We saw The crown jewels… which are CRAZY. Makes me want to be royalty 😉
We live in a beautiful (and posh) part of the city. We are so blessed. I live in a room with 11 other girls (not as fun but still ok). I climb 7 full flights of stairs to get to my room which is a million times a day. But luckily my pants are getting bigger so I guess thats a plus. I am always sweaty because I climb so many stairs or I’m briskly walking the way the natives do so that we don’t get in the way like other annoying American tourists. I have the tube system down pat. I can get to anywhere in London that I need to.
I walked all around the city where the ruins of the Roman wall are. That was really cool, the Roman empire was so expansive.
The Macarons at Harrods are a dream. They’re so delicious. Harrods on its own is a dream. It’s designer HEAVEN. SO much stuff I love and could never afford. It makes me smile.
I climbed ALL 600 stairs to the very top of St. Paul’s Cathedral, but the views were worth it. London is so beautiful.
We went to see Phantom of the Opera for my friends birthday!!! I was amazing!
Also Elder Holland and his wife stopped by the Centre to meet with us. For those who don’t know, he is one of the highest authority figures in the Mormon church. Similar to meeting whoever is directly under the Pope? He answered questions and told us about his work in helping stop religious persecution with a member of the house of Lord’s here and with other religious leaders from various religions. I also got to meet his wife and the General Relief Society Presidency. It was so amazing.
This Tuesday, we packed up a little bag and headed to our first stop on our southern coast trip— Brighton. The Royal Pavilion is there. It’s a huge palace built as the English were taking over India. It looks like an Indian palace, and the entire interior is Chinese themed. It was a little disorienting.
Right by the pavilion there’s a pier where one of my professors grew up. The beach here has no sand… It’s all pebbles and rocks. It was so cool. They also had the best doughnuts EVER.
Our next stop on the way to the Isle of Wight was Portsmouth where theres this really old battleship from when the British were fighting Napoleon’s armies. It was cool, we got to go all around in the ship. It’s HUGE.
When we got the the Isle of Wight, which to do we put our COACH BUS on a FERRY. We literally put a bus on a boat to go to an island for less than 24 hours but it was worth it because WE GOT TO STAY IN HOTEL ROOMS. It was two people per room and I got my own big bed and a private shower and it was soooo so nice. And there was a TV in the room so we got to watch the Great British Baking Show which was a major plus.
The next day while we were on the Isle we did a million things. It started by going to Carrisbrook castle, which was ruled in the Anglo-Saxon times (Celtic times like 1 bajillion years ago) by Queen Isabella !!! She has my name! She was married at 12 so that’s lame but otherwise v cool.
Before coming back to London, we went to Osborne House, where Queen Victoria and King Albert spent most of their time raising their children. It was huge and beautiful and definitely my kind of place. The royals hold such an interesting role in British Identity. It’s cool to see how they lived and how opulent their lifestyle was. Maybe I could woo Prince Harry?
Then we headed back to London.
We went to the Holocaust Exhibit at the Imperial War Museum yesterday. It was really heavy and hard to get through. It was worse than the one in DC and New York. The videos and pictures were upsetting and it left me in a bit of a stupor for a while. People were so awful. It reminded me how blessed I am.
The class load is actually quite heavy for to fit in between trying to live London to the fullest. I am exhausted all the time, but in a good way.
My ward is AMAZING. It’s like Wellington but even smaller. For church, they divide all of the students up and we’re assigned to different wards in small groups that we attend each week. I’m in the White Chapel ward for my time here in London. My first week they called me as the chorister and the primary chorister and have already asked up to speak. I’m in charge of the Primary Program music?!?! What?!? My time at church was the first time I really felt at home.
I am loving it here, and I am learning so much. Thanks mom and dad so much for the opportunity.
UPDATE: I am completely safe. I was seated in class during the attack on the tube today. Thank you for all prayers and well wishes.