Saturday, January 30, 2010

After I turned in my last final for the semester I took a day and played tourist with my camera! I went to the changing of the guards and wandered around taking shots of iconic British landmarks. It was a very nice release after spending weeks writing essays and preparing for tests!
Here's a shot from the top of the London Eye. One of the most 'touristy' things that mom and I did together! It was fun and we had a beautiful clear day which made all the difference.
Elementary my dear Linda!!! Here we are at the Sherlock Holmes Museum at 221B Baker Street!!! On Boxing day we went to the museum then later in the evening we went to the new film. It was great!! I love Sherlock Holmes!
Here I am helping Sherlock and Dr. Watson out with a case!
Here we are on our way to board the Hogwart's Express!! Yes it's Platform 9 3/4 at King's Cross Station! (Ironically Platform 9 3/4 has been temporarily moved to platform 12 because of construction at the station, but close enough! It is so funny because it is really tucked away in a corner of the platform right now so you have to search to find it but there are always plenty of people waiting to snap some fun shots like this one!)
Striding two hemispheres!!!! We went to Greenwich and here I am striding the Prime Meridian. The Prime Meridian was amazing but the best part was seeing John Harrison's sea clocks at the observatory near by! Absolutely amazing and something else I can check off my list of things to do before I die!!
Ice Cream Fondue at Haagan Dazs in Leicester Square!!! Ice cream, fruit, cookies and brownies dipped in warm chocolate. Heaven. What more need I say!!
Here we are enjoying a stroll around the grounds at Blenheim Palace! It was cool but a beautiful sunny day. All in all very refreshing!
Here we are at Kew Gardens. Even though it was very cold (especially for London) the greenhouses alone are worth the trip!
My Mom came to visit me in London for Christmas and New Year!! It was so wonderful to have her here, we kept quite busy and had a great time! Here's mom at a sweet shop at the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park on Boxing Day!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The remains of our second turkey!! Both actually turned out quite well and were very tasty!
Here we are eating dinner. We went around the circle and everyone took turns saying what they were grateful for. I'm grateful no one got food poisoning!! (Among many other things!)
So my flatmates and I decided to throw a Thanksgiving Dinner Party...which then snowballed into a Thanksgiving Dinner Party for 25 people! It was a ton of work and we couldn't have done it without our mothers (who we called frequently in the days running up to the affair) but it turned out extremely well!! Here I am finishing up dressing our two turkeys!! We had to borrow the oven of our friends flat who live 10 minutes away to cook one of the turkeys. We got some pretty strange looks from people when we got on the bus with a fully dressed raw turkey but it was fun and hilarious!
Natalie and I went to Blenheim for their Christmas craft fair!! It was great fun! The palace was decked out for Christmas and the fair was huge! Gratefully all the stalls were covered or indoors because the weather was very uncooperative! We had a great time - the crafts and gifts were beautiful! And of course the treats were amazing! We had fudge, truffles and chestnuts!
Here's Natalie showing off our warm, freshly roasted chestnuts!! Yum! After eating chestnuts roasted on an open fire I have a greater appreciation for The Christmas Song!
My second Guy Fawkes Day! I celebrated Guy Fawkes Day last year in New Zealand but that was small stuff compared with the show I went to this year! We went with a group from the ward to a fireworks and pyrotechnics show in Tower Hamlets. It was really fun! During the fireworks, the music playing was very funny. All the songs were fire related like 'Great Balls of Fire,' and 'Ring of Fire' - very different from our traditional patriotic music but a lot of fun!
They also had a carnival in addition to the fireworks and pyrotechnics. Here I am enjoying a carnival necessity - candy floss!! (Aka cotton candy)

Here I am at the Harrod's Christmas Parade!! Wow, Harrod's really knows how to put on a party! The parade was on a Saturday morning, even though we arrived early it was packed! It was really cute because the kids were so excited. It is a small parade but very lavish. They handed out free balloons, water, juice, cookies, pins, headbands, and other treats! I was too far back to get any but oh well. The theme was The Wizard of Oz and all the characters paraded by followed of course by Santa! It was a lot of fun and a good kick off for the Christmas season.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Natalie, Katherine and I went to to Blenheim Palace up near Oxford on Friday. It was an incredible day. I really enjoyed getting out of London for the day and taking in some of the beautiful countryside. This was our first view of Blenheim and the grounds as we entered the gate. We arrived just as they were opening and it was a cool clear morning. It really was breathtaking. I enjoyed it so much that I can't wait to go back!
Strolling down the lane.
A view of the grounds.
Blenheim Palace and gardens, we had lunch overlooking the terrace!

The Secret Garden at Blenheim! Wow!
Blenheim has a real hedge maze!!! This is another thing I have always wanted to do, it was so much fun! It was a dream come true, I can't wait to go back and do it again!
Fun on the putting green at Blenheim!!!
Katherine, Natalie and me overlooking the Oxford skyline.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sarah, Natalie and myself went to the changing of the guard. It was very funny because we were standing in pretty much the worst spot we could have picked. We really saw pretty much nothing aside from a couple of carriages that drove by!! It was so hilarious we were completely foiled!! We followed the band after it finished and got a couple of pics. We have to go again and now we know where to stand!
Guess what!!! I've done something that I can mark off my list of things to do before I die!! I went to the Globe Theatre in London!!! Natalie and I went to see Loves Labours Lost, it was beyond amazing!! Seriously we had the best time ever!! We were 'groundlings' meaning we only paid 5 pounds and had to stand through the performance. But we went super early so we were some of the first ones in and we were literally leaning against the stage in the front center. It really was incredible! I even got hit in the head by a flying loaf of bread in one scene! Excellent!!
Ahh.....the beautiful London skyline!
A lazy afternoon stroll through Hyde Park.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Walking along the south bank of the Thames at twilight.
Optimus Prime on a budget!!! On weekends there are so many street performers! Covent Garden is an especially popular area, every fifty feet there was another act dressed up or performing, very entertaining!!!
Here I am at the Portabello Road market enjoying a scrumptious mushroom and cheese crepe!!
This is Regent's Canal just down the street from my house. Quite picturesque!
Here I am at Kew Gardens, my new favorite spot!!! I've been to many botanical gardens but this place is huge!! My flatmate, Natalie, and I went one day. We spent six hours walking the gardens and we didn't come close to really seeing everything!! Yay for plants!! I'm going to have to spend a lot more time exploring the gardens!
So here I am with the London Eye in the background! Even with a year I don't know how I will see everything on my list, there are so many things to see and do!!!

Friday, October 2, 2009

So I'm back! Or I'm off again depending how you look at it! I've settled into London and am having a great time so far. Classes start on Monday and I'm just finishing up my orientation meetings. I've already done some really fun things and have many more on my to do list. Here I am welcoming you into my flat in London! (Okay so it is Kew Palace but whatever, mine is a bit more humble but a great place).

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Well I has been a while since I have updated my blog but I have been quite busy.  I came back to the States briefly before I set off to Namibia with my parents on safari.  So here are some of the highlights of our trip.  Namibia is absolutely incredible!!!  I loved every moment and have to go back!!  This first picture is my mom.  She and I had some serious fun playing with long-exposure photos on the roof of our bungalow one night!

I can't break with tradition so here is a crazy jumping picture African style!

Namibia is very desert which really felt like home.  The scope of the landscapes was immense.  I loved how open and free it feels!

While my dad and his friend Shawn were hunting the rest of us went on a tour to some incredible locations.  We had so much fun and visited many wonderful areas of Namibia.  Here is our group at dinner in Etosha National Park- Bernd (our tour guide), me, mom, Sherry and Kyle.  The food was great, make sure you try the oryx if you go!
We watched the sunset after hiking to the top of this mount.  The vast beauty of the landscape was incredible!  Truly breathtaking!
This is some bougenvia at one of the places we stayed.  It was very much in the middle of nowhere in an incredibly beautiful area of Namibia.  It was wonderful! 
Here I am attempting to hitchhike!  Talk about the middle of nowhere!!!  We stopped for lunch where we literally couldn't see anything the horizon in any direction.  What is funny is that this is a pretty major road in the region (that's the road on the right of the photo).  I think three cars came by in the hour we were stopped.  It was one of the most memorable lunches ever, we had a blast running and horsing around!

 It was amazing to watch the giraffes and the way their tongues maneuvered around the acacia thorns to eat the blossoms.

The zebras often laid their heads on each other it was sweet and made for great pictures.

Here are some elephants coming in to drink at a water hole.  One of the neatest things I learned and was able to observe was the hierarchy that exists among all the animal species, especially at water holes.  The elephants are definitely in charge, they're the real kings.

The diversity of animal species at the water holes was quite varied.  Here is a photo with elephants, ostriches, zebras and oryx represented.  I was surprised at how freely they mingled, at one hole we saw eight different species all together.  How cool!

We visited a fur seal colony on the Skeleton Coast near Swakopmund.  It was remarkable to see so many seals together but they smelled VERY bad!  It was also very comical because they make a sound that sounds like bleating sheep.  So essentially it was like seeing a herd of thousands of smelly aquatic sheep, cool!!  This was one of our favorites because it was very asleep with a flipper sticking straight in the air, none of the others slept this way.