Saturday, April 26, 2008

london... days four to eight

day 4- flew into heathrow today. we took the underground from the airport to our hotel. or should i say the stop that we thought was for our hotel. there were no elevators so i had to drag both my suit cases up what seemed like a million flights of stairs. when we surfaced we had no idea where we were.

eventually we found our place on high end road. thank goodness. we walked around and found a pub to eat dinner at and watch some football (soccer). it was great. we stayed away from the city, next time i would change that.

day 5- this morning we got off to an early start. we found a closer underground stop and took that to hyde park and the marble arch. here we got on a double decker bus and took the city tour. i never realized that london was so spread out. i sat on the top for a while. it was FREEZING! finally i just couldn't take the cold anymore and the annoying russian lady who kept standing up and blocking everything so i went downstairs to join the parentals. boring! you couldn't see anything. i don't know why people would sit down there! defeats the whole purpose.

anyways, we looped around again and stopped at the tower of london! this was one of my favorite experiences. i had just developed an interesting in king henry viii and all the drama that unfolded with him and his wives. there was so much history there. the be-headings of anne boleyn, lady jane grey, and the mystery behind the two missing princes. not to mention elizabeth and mary (bloody mary) were prisoners there too. sir thomas moore and so many others. it was just fascinating. i ate it all up.

then there were the crown jewels. they were breath taking. and the tower itself is over a thousand years old. AMAZING! i bought a book to help satisfy my new intrigue. its called elizabeth and mary. its about elizabeth and mary queen of scotts and there whole rivalry which end up in mary's death. i was just blown away.

other sites: london bridge, the london eye, kensington palace, st paul's cathedral, westminster abby, houses of parliament, big ben, the aquarium, tower hill, marble arch, west end theater district, soho, etc.

later that day we hit harrods to visit tiffanys to see if i could get my necklace fixed and to see if there was anything here that we didn't have at home. nada. we went to the ice cream parlor and the candy store.

after we got back on the bus and completed the tour of the city. we walked oxford street that night and did some shopping at the department stores and souvenir stores. didn't find a lot considering the pound was two to one us dollar. i had a hard time parting with that kind of money for things that i could find at home.

day 6- today holds my favorite experience from my trip. but i'll get to that later.

we walked from the underground to buckingham palace today. no changing of the guard today. but the palace itself was exquisite. there was a small guard that passed through the square on horse back at the time that they would normally change the guard. however, they only do it every other day during the year and then everyday during the summer. the queen was residing there, hence the flag. once again it was too cold to stand out there to long to we looked for a place to walk around inside.

westminster abbey was the answer. we spent a few hours walking through the abbey looking at all the tombs, monuments, and art through out the abbey. this experience was in the top three for me. we saw tombs of the people we had learned about at the tower. we saw tombs of henry vii and elizabeth, mary tudor (bloody mary), mary queen of scotts, darwin, and edward the confessor to name a few. memorials to newton, and some of my favorite authors. one of my favorites was the poets corner with jane austen, the bronte sisters, geoffery chaucer, tennyson, dickens, shakespeare, and handel! wow.

then there was the coronation chair. it has been used at all the coronations since 1308. 1308!

LES MISERABLES. after that we jumped back on the underground to picadilly circus to buy tickets to a show. it was supposed to be a surprise for my birthday from my parents, but my mom couldn't keep it from me. we went and saw.... les miserables! that was my favorite part of this trip! hands down one of the best experiences of my life. the performance was stupendous! i cried. i had seen phantom when i was younger and had always wanted to see les mis! finally! we snagged some great seats for that nights performance. it is performed at the queen's theater in the west end.

the music. my mouth just hung open as drew sarich, who played jean valjean, hit the note at the end of who am i... the line "who am i.... 2-4-6-0-1." the note was just so powerful and rich. then there was i dreamed a dream sung by fantine, joanna ampil. the lines:
"He filled my days with endless wonder...
...But he was gone when autumn came

And still I dream he'll come to me
That we will live the years together
But there are dreams that cannot be
And there are storms we cannot weather"
i shed a tear. yes it is true. and again at the end. of course i could care less for the songs like master of the house and the prostitutes singing their song. the lesson of change and being that change you want to see in the world was there. and i thought of president hinckely and his love for bring him home. i absolutely LOVED it! and who knows maybe i'll have to make a special trip out to NY during the 6 month limited engagement on broadway to see it again!

before the show we ventured out into soho and china town... we had traditional chinese food for dinner and walked around the shops before heading to the theather.... i fell asleep that night humming bring him home...

day 7- was kind of a blah day. by this time i was way ready to get back to the us. i wanted to sleep in my own bed and just be able to sit for a while and not feel like i'm wasting time or money because i'm abroad. i was ready to just take a break and sit and read a book for hours and not feel guilty. i was homesick.

today's stops were the british museum, regent street, hamleys, the london eye, and more shopping. my favorite part of the museum were the exhibits about egypt and mummies. facsinating. hamleys is one of the largest toy stores. it is the largest in london. there were 5 floors of toys. i walked around and picked out all the toys i used to play with as a kid. and i was glad to see that somewhere in the world they still made some of them. i got a paddinton bear and a book from my mom there. apparently its supposed to be for my children who, by the way, are still waiting patiently in heave for the mom to get a clue. and i also bought a star (yes a real star in the night sky) for my students. it came with a cute blue stuffed dragon. we have yet to name our star.

the london eye. this was a sight that everyone must see. i was a little freaked out at first, but it was well worth it. the views of the city were sensational. too bad it wasn't a totally clear day when we went. but i got some good pictures of the city.

by the time we were done getting all the "stuff" for our friends and family here i was ready to just get on a plane and come home.

day 8- woke up early to finish packing and get ready to venture home. took an hour cab ride to gatwick airport. the underground and other trains weren't such a good idea with the luggage situation which we learned on the way in from heathrow. the cab ride took about an hour. i got sick in the car. not sure if it was driving on the other side of the road, lack of circulating air, or the fact that i was way dehydrated. maybe a combo. all i know is when we got to the airport my heart jumped.

the flight home wasn't as high tech as on the way in. no touch screens and guess what... no people. our flight was almost empty. i had a whoel row to myself and stretched out for the journey home. watched national treasure two (again), enchanted, and sort of watched the water horse. read a lot. chatted with my dad about life. once again, no sleeping.

on my flight were two of my professors from byu. that was a little weird. they were from the pre-school at byu. random seeing as byu was still in session. small world i guess.

i finally got home after 23 hours of no sleep and crashed. got up the next day and went back to work. and let me tell you... still recovering and its been six days...i'll post more pictures as i get them from my parents. there are links on the right up at the top for more pictures!

the united kingdom- i'd do it again. only this time i'd explore the countryside more and things outside of london. ooooo and i'd rent a car for a day just to drive around.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Monday, April 21, 2008

the netherlands... days one to four

Day 1- Traveling to Amsterdam. i got up at 4 this morning to make sure that i got everything that i needed. joy and i headed to the airport. i dropped off joy for her 6:55 flight and then headed to angelina's to drop off the car and wait until it was my turn to head to the airport.

i flew from slc to atlanta. my parents flight from lax was canceled. they were bused to orange county and just made it. we met in atlanta. from there it was a LONG flight to the netherlands. i normally do fine traveling, but i got really sick on the way over for the last 2 or 3 hours of the flight. for most of the flight i played on the touch screens on the seats in front of us. i played my some of my favorite games. Cami and i used to stay up until all hours of the night playing zuma and bejeweled. so i played those for a while. i also played this spelling game with tiles and such.

in flight movies were great too. we could watch whatever movie, whenever we wanted on our screens. i opted to watch elizabeth: the golden age. it sparked an intrigue about british history. i'll get to that more later in the second half of the trip. other movies: becoming jane, dan in real life, i am legend, enchanted, etc.

we finally landed on sunday morning. i had lost an entire day of my life! weird to think about. i didn't sleep at all on the plane. the nausea was too much. and it didn't stop after i got off either. i kept thinking that i just wanted to throw up already.

we took a taxi to the hotel. it cost a hundred dollars! the euro exchange was about 1.50 us to 1 euro. so everything was "expensive" to us.

our hotel was right on the main square at the heart of the city. this is what we saw from the front of the hotel. that is the royal palace. here is the front of the hotel....
that morning we (my dad, my mom, and me) headed to Anne Frank's hiding place. It was about 3 blocks from where we were staying. sadly there are no pictures of the inside of the house or annex. here is the outside of the house along the canal. it was a very humbling experience to walk where she had walked and try to fathom the magnitude of what really happened there.

...after. nap time. much needed nap time. then it was time to put on a "business" face. we had to attend dinners for the international conference that my dad was attending for his company. we had traditional dutch food. i had to force some of it down. but it was an interesting experience. the women that were there arranged for the next day activities while the men had their meetings and negotiations the next morning. on the agenda: the keukenhof, north sea, and shopping.
Day 2-
dad sprained his ankle while running along the street. it was bad. of course he never complained about it. and for the rest of the trip you would have never known how bad it really was unless you took off his shoe. a trooper. there are pictures of the injury in the album with city pictures in it.

breakfast was served in the hotel restaurant. then off to the drive to the keukenhof.
car accident! yes it is true. while driving on the highway in the hosts car (an alpha romeo) was clipped by a what we call a mini "semi truck." we were "pushed" off the road and thank goodness that there was an exit where we were pushed off.

the gardens and park were breath taking. i'll try to post as many pictures here that i can. i'm working on an album of the pictures i have and i'm waiting to get the pictures that my parents have on their camera. the color in the photos i took are so vibrant.

we walked the park for about 2 hours. snapping pictures and just taking it all in. there were sculptures here and there and a windmill of course. i'm having a hard time choosing which pictures to post here of all the flowers. i'll make a photo bucket of them... click on these photos to get a better idea of the colors. i don't really like the way the photo have been uploaded in the photo bucket albums. they aren't as good as the originals.

later we ate lunch on the beach of the north sea. then a little shopping in the little town along the coast.

that night when we got back to the hotel we found a line of 6 limos outside. they belonged to some business people and..... drum roll.... MADONNA! yes she was there. so that was exciting. another international dinner.

day 3- nothing too exciting. we walked around the city and took pictures. that night we took a boat tour through the canals. we had to be careful while we were walking around for the "coffee shops" and the "red light district." the coffee shops were code names for pot houses. if they sell pot then they can't sell alcohol. and if they sell alcohol they can't sell pot. we walked down a street and there was a "seed" shop where you could choose the species of pot that you wanted to grow and "shrums" too. it was very interesting. the pictures from this day are in the post in the "city pictures."

day 4- we went to the rijksmuseum and did the souvenir shopping before heading to the airport to london-heathrow.

overall i enjoyed my time in amsterdam. do i want to go back... no not really. but i am grateful for the culture and experience from my visit.

Friday, April 11, 2008


well folks i'm headed to europe for 8 days! i leave tomorrow morning and get back in the evening on the 20th! i'll post my adventures when i get back!

Thursday, April 10, 2008


today was a pretty good day. it had its rough points, but it also had its finer moments as well. i was reading a blog earlier today that belongs to my friends kristen and nate. they are just too cute. nate posted this sweet entry about why he does the things that he does. it was so simple yet so deep. he does everything he does because he loves his wife. isn't that what it is all about? that second only to the Lord we should be motivated out of the purest kind of love for the person we will spend the rest of eternity with? who should receive more of this kind of love, or charity, than our family and more specifically the person we have chosen to spend eternity with. he says, what one day i hope that my husband will say about me:
"Of course, we have tiffs now and then, but by and large I would much rather be doing anything with Kristen , than doing something awesome by myself."
wow. i wonder what that must feel like. i often envy, both openly and privately, those that have found an individual that was willing to take a risk on them and just love the heck out them. (i now need to repent openly for my coveting) that no matter what they have that much faith, trust, love, and concern about that person that every fiery dart that the adversary throws at them seems to either be worth facing head on together or not even phase them. i can only imagine how empowering and amazing that act must feel like. to seal your entire existance with another person. i am often baffled by the whole notion.

i have been blessed in my life with a glimpse of what it must be like. i have been blessed to love and to have been loved. i look forward to the time in my life when i can experience these emotions (again), build this kind of relationship, and covenant to care for another one of God's children they way that Nate and Kristen (and so many of my other friends and family) care for each other!

Monday, April 7, 2008

birthday and other distractions...

My birthday... yes i am 23! so i spent the night before my birthday with some friends doing our "red robin" dinner. justin and jessica just got engaged so there was reason to celebrate. we laughed and had fun as you can see in the picture of me and andy. quinn managed to stay out of the photo graphs, but we were throughly entertained by the brownie question. i rushed home only to find that life isn't always what it appears to be. I had a hard time sleeping that night, but the morning did come and wasn't exactly as i had planned but it never is.

i woke up to a familiar sound of a car that i know all too well. its driver dropping a nice birthday basket (filled with 3 hardcovers of my favorite children's books i did not yet own, 3 cds from my wish list, my favorite candy bars-take 5s, and some party blowers) and balloons off at the door.

i spent the rest of the morning running around with my head cut off. i had a baby shower to go to and a bridal shower to attend right after. still needed to go and get gifts for each and plan a game for the first of the two. the second was at our apt and thank goodness for good roommates who picked up the downstairs for the event. Court's baby shower was cute. i can't believe she's having a baby. Natalie Marie Hundley should arrive in the next week or so! Mir's bridal shower was fun. it was great to watch her chew all the bubblicious (or however you spell it).

after that it was off to get ready for dinner. ate dinner at ottavio's on center in provo. then after flew kites up at the elementary school behind our house. mine was my little pony. yes it is true. best $2.88 kite EVER! My Little Pony's companion for the venture was Spider Man! Spent the rest of the evening at home.

After the storm of post birthday news had passed, i went up to salt lake to celebrate my birthday with my roommate Angelina. i took her to this Thai restaurant for her birthday and she took me to A Fine Frenzy for mine. what a great trade off. During dinner we gabbed about the news in our lives. she told me of her adventures in nursing and the dating world. i told her of my decision to leave utah and all the happenings of 1st grade. and thankfully she didn't laugh at me when i cried and expressed my deep inability to understand this thing that we call life. i thank my heavenly father for friends like her.

anywho, here are a few pictures from the performance....I actually really enjoyed her live. i also found my new favorite song for the moment... Ashes and Wine. Great!

i stood and listened to her play and i found myself identifying the microphones that they were using on stage. "thats a ____ we used that to record_____" or "that's _____ we used that in the piano during this performance." i quietly praised myself for knowing how to wind up the chords being used. its not just wrapping it around your elbow. i picked out the monitors they were using and tried to push it all to the back of my head. i even for some odd reason looked over to the sound booth hoping. i made passing comments about the re verb on the vocals and picked out every key change i could think of. maybe one day this too shall pass and i will be able to attend a concert or symphony with out the ghost of "what was" or "what could have been" sitting on my shoulders.

"Good bye my almost lover, good bye my hopeless dreams. I'm trying not to think about you, why can't you just let me be? So long my luck-less romance, my back is turned on you. Should've know you bring me heart ache... almost lovers always do..."-Almost Lover

a distraction..

here are some pictures from the concert i went to on tuesday night up in salt lake....

Sunday, April 6, 2008 more week...

well conference weekend is almost over. i can't believe it. its already april... wow where has the time gone. this past week has been a toughie for me. so i'm really glad that conference came when it did. i was filled with the Spirit for the past two days. something that i have been praying for over the last week. it was comforting to know that Heavenly Father was aware of my need to feel of his love and how i can not deny that i have felt it.

update: i have used the week productively. i have updated my education placement file with 3 new letters of recommendation. i have completed 3 new applications for various teaching opportunities. i have 2 others in the process of being completed. i guess its all really happening now... wish me luck!

Friday, April 4, 2008

...Operation Disinfect ....

it is about that time... its time for Operation Disinfect to commence...

this past week has brought the need for not only a very literal but also a figurative need for a "disinfecting" process to take place.

the personal operation isn't as clear to me at the moment, but a purging of hope will need to happen first, then the operation will really take place of ridding myself of the "disease" we call... "true love."

as to the literal operation... it has just begun. My bath tub is currently being used to sanitize all the math manips from my classroom. yes, there are floating connector blocks and geo blocks. Ha.

So why this massive mission?!? Well this week my classroom has seem to turn into a pool of germs! here is how it has all kind of panned out over the week....

Monday- is just Monday-a day this week that I would like to forget... (personal)
Tuesday- G threw up all over the rug while we were singing the Star Spangled Banner! What a way to start off the day after the night from hell.
I also got an email from C's Mom to tell me that she thinks she has hand, foot, and mouth. look it up. its not fun. I only had 14 kids today (7 were absent)
Wednesday- B's Mom comes in to tell me that he has the chicken pox or something like it since he's been vaccinated. And that each child that attended his birthday party on friday is at risk. Oh yay. So 5 kids from our class went to his party. 1 is absent as well and has the same thing. BUT she came to school with all the sores and may have given it to more people! I had 15 today (6 absent).
Thursday- K and C have viral infections. One is a rash and the other is contained in her eye. Lovely. They are at school today. G is back. But T's mom called while i was at walmart getting ready to go to europe to tell me that T has bumps all over his stomach and back. and tells me with a tone that i should have noticed the bumps..."alright kids welcome back from recess please lift your shirts and let Miss Lee look at your stomachs and backs..." Yeah, no. I'd get fired or something for that....
Friday- T now has full blown chicken pox. I saw him today out in the jeep. poor little guy. I had to send a letter home notifying parents of the "epidemic" in our room. I also am told by the mom that i have to tell parents that their kid cant come to school. and this that and the other thing. oh and did i mention that A decided to pee behind the guided reading table while i was at a grade level meeting during lunch.

So my room is just a flowing river of disease and germs! lol. All the pencils went in the trash and all the crayons. They needed to be changed anyway. All the toys that had been played with are being soaked in bleach. And i sprayed down the desks and chairs. I am so tired! oh and i almost forgot the lice "epidemic" we had... TWICE this year! yup TWICE!

If it wasn't enough to have a huge load of personal "stuff" to have to deal with... i now have all this to deal with too. Parents calling me wondering what i'm doing to keep their kid "healthy and safe," parents calling to subtly tell me that its our classroom that gave it to them, and then parents who know their children are sick and let them play with other kids and don't bother to tell me.

This wouldn't be so hard or that big of a deal if it just came at a different time in my life. I know that this is life and that I should just deal with it. and I am, the best i can. it just goes to show that when it rains it pours it seems like.

the moral(s) of the story:
  • (the personal ones will stay just that, personal)
Smile... operation disinfect is underway... cross your fingers it will be a success!