Tuesday, October 31, 2006

a place called penarth wales

Well. Sorry it has been a while, it was a pretty crazy week coming back with some tests and stuff that kept us busy. But it has been too long now, and I had to get some pictures up. Wales. Live in experience with some member family.An experience that I will never forget. It was really awkward and long, but hey I went to Wales for a while and youcan't complain about that. Great family, just had way too much on their plate. Trying to do way too much, withoutenough time or resources to do it all. I think I need to get them a copy of life balance. From the second we got there (I went with Spencer's cousin Ross) the confusion never ended, never really knew quite what it was that wewere doing, just kind of that awkard "ok, so what do I do know feeling". They had 3 kids, one of whom was 22, Sama recently returned missionary, he served in the Ivory Coast and Ghana and had some crazy deportation stories. Sam is a professional DJ. On Saturday he double booked, and so me, Ross and his mom June, were the DJs at some 40 yearold lady's surprise birthday party. It was hilarious, we had all the lights, the big speakers, all the equipment, but man o man was it just weird or what. See the picture of me getting my DJ on. Enough 70's and 80's music to lastme for the rest of my life though. Crykee. They had two cars, a sweet 80s mini van with a leaky roof so if you sat ina certain spot you got soaked, and a little convertible, and also had a leaky roof and we were there on a crazy rainyweekend. see the picture? The dad was a great guy, Tim, good hard worker just as crazy and talkative as everyone else.All in all though, it was a great but weird experience. oh Ya, the grandma, she was awesome, she was like 80 or soand she said "flippin heck" a lot. It was sweet. Here's the pic of the family. I was excited to get back to London, but for the record, Wales is an incredibly beautiful spot. Brought me back to the time we went and stayed in that house on the estuary and dad ate at that one restaurant every day, and one timeNoah ordered Chicken Patte, because he thought it would be chicken patties, boy was he wrong. See some more pictures of some castles below.
We went to the ballet tonight. The Sleeping Beauty. Pretty interesting at the grand opera house. It was intersting, I don't think I will ever understand what drives grown men to go prancing around the stage in unitards, it is just weird.I got a new calling in my ward yesterday to be the teacher of the investigator sunday school class. I am so excited. I love having oportunities to do things like that. Ya boy. So I will get to help teach the young men, and then teach the investigator class each week. Can't complain about that. The Church is True guys! London is amazing. Seven of us are taking a trip to Florence this weekend, we are leaving on thursday, I can' wait, so if you have any advice for the place send it my way. Love you all, praying for you!
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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Wales + Castles = Fun

Caerphilly Castle! Sweetness. My favorite castle that we have seen so far. A thousand year old castle that has become somewhat of a ruin, but that is what makes it so amazing. As you can see by looking at the pictures, it was pretty sweet, and a pretty strong fort back in its day. This tower here was supposedly hit by a cannon shot by Cromwell and is leaning at quite an angle. Not sure if that is just a wives tale, or if it is just erosion? I like the first one better though. This was one of my favorite spots thus far on the trip, and it made the awkward experience with the family worth it.

Here are a couple more shots of the castle, then the one at the bottom is at Cardiff Castle. Cardiff is the capitol city of Wales, Penarth, where we lived was a suburb of the city of about 400,000 so it was pretty decent sized. This castle is right in the middle of the city and has been very well kept up and was home to a duke or some special guy for a long time until he gave it to the city 50 years or so ago. Went on a nice tour through it.
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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Tal in Londy!

Hey you all. Tal came, he saw, and he conquered. He was here for a short 48 hours or so, but we ran the city dry. It is always so great to get together with Tal. He is the man. It was awesome to see him, and hear about all the adventures in India, and then go and have some adventures of our own. Amy and Rob had just got here the night before and were nice enough to let Tal crash over there because you know BYU and their policies (he couldn't stay here). It was great though, we had a great dinner with Amy and Rob and a great pub. Then took off and saw the city. Walked along the Thames (nothing better than that at night time. ) We sat on the statue in Trafalgar Square looking down at Big Ben and Tal got me all caught up with the Lindsy situation and his love story. She sounds pretty darn amazing if she can get Tal this whooped on her. Big Ben is to the left of my head, can you spot it?
We then went to an awesome jazz club/pub and heard some awesome Jazz with some great Londoners, even had a great conversation with a French couple who gave me some advice for when we go to Paris in a month or so. Jazz music is so awesome. Me and Tal in this smoky restaraunt/pub with all these great Londoners drinking wine and eating steaks (it is a pretty nice place). It was great though
Sunday we went to church at the Hyde Park Ward, which was awesome cause I haven't been to it yet. Wow, what a powerful ward, there were some great talks and lessons going on. We had some lunch at an awesome Japanese place, Then went to Evensong at St. Paul's. Awesome. Music really goes well in that place. Then up to Notting Hill where I live, that's where we are in this picture. Tal saw the BYU center, met some people and then we went over for dinner with Amy and Rob. Those Guys sure are great. It's fun how close we are all to Amy. Then I had to go back and get ready for a test, and Tal and I parted ways, but we had an awesome little stint. Another great one to add to our stories of fun times.
After some crazy tests, we went out yesterday to the homes of Charles Darwin, Winston Churchill, and then to Hever Castle. And got to stop by the temple for a minute on the way back to snap some pics. What a beautiful house of God.
I'll throw some pics of that stuff up a little later.
As for now, Me and Ross (another guy here) are off to Wales for 5 days to stay with an LDS family there. I have no idea to expect. It could be awesome, or it could by 5 days of total awkwardness. But hey we'll be in Wales. It will be great. We are jumping on a bus in just a little to go down there, so I gotta go. But I'll write more when I get back next tuesday. Sure love you all. Hope all is well. I am praying for you all. God loves us. Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 09, 2006

I like to jump.

Wow. What a week. An awesome trip to Scotland that included stops in Liverpool, the Lakes District, Edinburgh, York and Chatsworth. It was a lot of time on the bus but oh so awesome. The English countryside is just too beauty. The greens you get there is like beyond green, like you have crazy glasses on or something. It was a great trip full of wandering, exploring, historical stuff, you name it. The professors did a great job putting it all together and we made the most of our time. Liverpool - went to the docks where I am pretty sure a lot of our ancestors went through on their way to America. It was cool to think about them being there. Making the big move to America.
We then went on to the Lakes District. Look below for some pictures and more detail. Then here we are in Edinburgh. This is a view looking out from Edinburgh Castle. Imagine if you were a cannon ball shooting out.

Here is the man. The Scottish man. When we were walking up to him before he started playing, I saw him take a comb out of his pocket and comb his mustache. Look at the size of that sucker. This man could really play. Mike even bought some bagpipes. I wish you could have heard him play as we hiked up to the top of Arthur's Seat. A big old hill/mountain overlooking Edinburgh. This is a picture of me, Ashley, Chris and Lyndsay on our way to the top with the city behind us. We went on from there through York. A cool city full of Harry Potter sites and a beautiful Church. Then to Chatsworth house, this huge old estate and garden where a Duke still lives. Beauty gardens, complete with a Chihuli glass sculpture. Man, it was an awesome trip.

We are back in London for a week and half, then to the "live ins" where we go live with lds families throughout the area for a couple days. Not really sure what to expect. Me and Ross, (spencer's cousin) are going to Wales near Cardiff to stay with a family there for 5 days, so that should be pretty sweetness. I guess we'll see, I am not really sure exactly what we do, but it will be great. London rules guys. This place is beauty. Fall is upon us, but it is still pretty warm, gettin excited to see the leaves in Hyde Park change.
A girl came up to me in church yesterday and told me how she grew up in one of the wards that Jonah served in, and said that Jonah was the best missionary the ward ever had. Jo, you are the man. Love you all, and hope all is well. I'm praying for you all. The gospel is awesome. Rememeber how awesome it was when we sang "We thank thee O God for a prophet" at the end of conference. Wow. Keep reading below for more pics and descriptions. Love you!!! Posted by Picasa

Can you say Beauty?

Man oh man. This has got to be one of the most beautiful places in the world. Lake Windermere. We spent the night there at a youth hostel right on the lake, it was really quite nice. (english). The morning was the best part, I woke up to the look out the window and see the hills accross the lake engulfed in mist, and then as I made my way down to the lake, the mist continued its way toward me until it covered the lake and provided for some beauty shots of the sailboats.
This goes on my list of places to come again and again and explore. Windermere was just one of the many lakes in the districts. I want to come back some day and drive all around and just explore. This is one of those places where you just know that God created this earth. I loved it. Maybe you all have been there before. If not, I really recommend it.
Keep looking for more pics below.
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Wowie Zowie

This is one of the coolest pictures I have taken, this massive stained glass is in Liverpool Cathedral. Notice the reflection of light on the right. Yea boy. The one below that is the cathedral taken from the spooky graveyard below at night. Below that is the hills lining Lake Windermere, arguably one of the prettiest areas I have been to in my life. I will go back there with my wife one day. The bottom is the picture of us at the castle on the lake. We saw it earlier and walked for 2 and a half hours in the rain and total darkness and somehow happened upon it. We got soaked and it took forever, but it was so much fun. Gotta love that stuff.

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Sunday, October 01, 2006

Take me to the Kew

Hey guys! Rain = cool pictures. It's been a great week. Highlighted by conference of course. Well we still have a couple sessions left, but man oh man has it ever been great. I love how Heavenly Father is able to talk to you through prophets, and you are able to hear the things you really really need to hear. And it always makes me happy to see President Hinckley speak with his hands, or President Faust's little smirks. We watched morning and afternoon at night here (sat) at the center, and then went over to the Hyde Park Chapel for priesthood this morning. What a great session, and what a great place to watch it. It is great to think back on all the great memories certain members of our family have at that chapel.
We went to Kew Gardens on Friday. That is one big garden. Wow. 300 acres containing one out of every eight plants known to man on the earth. The flowers were amazing as well. These were some of my favorite shots that I got there. They even have a huge japanese garden complete with a bit old Pagoda. It was aweosme.
Well, this week we are heading up to Scotland! We are going up through the Lake District, and Liverpool, to Ediborough and then York on our way back. We'll be there until Saturday. It will all be on a bus, which will prove to be a little tight, but oh well. Staying in youth hostels is always great too. One of them though is inside of an old Castle, and who wouldn't love to sleep in a castle? I sure would. It is supposed to be an incredibly beautiful area, maybe you guys have been there.
Well, how can you not love London. Aside from the fact that it is off the hook expensive, (it is really stretching my frugal side) there isn't anything not to like about this place, well maybe the wiffs of B.O.
I am loving life though. Great people, great friends, learning lots of great things. The gospel is true guys. I liked when it was said that we are able to talk to the Lord through prayer and he is able to to talk to us through the scriptures as we really dive in and search them. That is something I am going to work on. Appreciating the scriptures more, I mean it is the words of prophets! Right from God.
I love you guys. Hope all is well back in America. It's getting cooler hear, I think fall is setting in, can't wait to see the trees in Hyde Park turn colors. There are some more pictures below too.  Posted by Picasa

Warwick Castle and Stratford

This castle was pretty cool, but even more amazing was the surrounding areas. So lush and so green. I love these old castles though. It wasn't quite as cool as the ones we have been to when we came to England and Wales before though because it has been a bit touristified.
Can you seen the green in these pictures. It was a beauty overcast British day, which in a way brought out the green.

This picture was taken from the top of the castle out overlooking the surrounding area. From one side, beauty church and British landscape, from the other a sweet little town complete with grass tennis courts.
Here's the church in Stratford where old Willy Shakespeare is buried. He was quite a man. I don't know that I will ever fully understand him. But he did some good stuff. We saw "the Tempest" there that night, and well, it was a bit hard to follow, a combination of crazy accents and hard to follow language and more stuff that just made you go "Huh?". A great little place there though, Stratford is.  Posted by Picasa