Saturday, April 19, 2014

Recap of past travels.

I went to the UK last summer.
This is one of those things where time got away from me and it was never blogged about. But that trip was most assuredly the highlight of the last year of my life. And my parents are currently in Scotland picking up my brother from his mission *insert high pitched squeals of jubilation* and all of their pictures have made me reminisce about my own trip. So I will take you through some of the most highlighted parts of my lovely holiday with my lovely friends.
Two of my roommates were going to be in England last summer for academic trips and there was a bit of overlap between when one arrived and the other left, so I decided to join them for some frivolity across the pond. Jenna and I flew over together and had a day just the two of us exploring Kensington Gardens and seeing the sights.

Then we met up with Andee and Jonathan and all of their friends from their program in Oxford. We spent that day exploring the main attractions and then saw Phantom of the Opera that night.

And then it was off to Scotland! We dropped Jenna off at the University of Glasgow for her study abroad, took a quick stop at Loch Lomond, and then headed to Edinburgh. Oh how I wish we could have stayed in this beautiful country for more than just the two days we were there. It is by far my favorite place I've ever visited in my life. So much beauty and so many hilarious, sarcastic, and genuine people. 

One train ride back to London and we arrived at Kings Cross Station. Maybe this was one of those moments of my trip that I was most looking forward to: finding the entrance to platform nine and three quarters. It's fine, I found the Hogwarts Express.

Then we went to freaking Wimbledon! It honest to goodness just so happened that we were in London during the Wimbledon Championships, so obviously we had to take the opportunity to try to go. We had to wake up at 4:45 in the morning to take a train out to Wimbledon and then sit in the standby line (the English call it a queue) to get a ticket. The first 6000 people in line were allowed in first thing int he morning, and we were afraid we wouldn't make it - that's how many people were in this ridiculous queue! But we made it and we got into Wimbledon, never again will I have such an incredible opportunity. And I thought Andee was going to die of excitement/anticipation/happiness.

And we also went to The Harry Potter Studio Tour. Let me run that by you one more time: THE HARRY POTTER STUDIO TOUR!!!!! This is where the filmed most parts of the Harry Potter movies and it is where all of the sets and costumes and other props are currently housed. I almost died of happiness during this tour. Jonathan and I were like little kids at this place and Andee graciously allowed us to geek out as much as possible. I think I will do a blog post about this tour one day, so just one pic will suffice.

And then here are some more pics from other random moments of the trip. Like Camden Lock, one of the coolest markets I've ever been too and where I bought the most delicious orange juice in the entire world. That one time when we went to Abbey Road and were the Beatles for a day. And the Tower of London. And watching MacBeth in The Globe Theatre. And St. Paul's Cathedral. And Tower Bridge.

This trip was the real deal. We had a complete blast and we pushed ourselves to the point of exhaustion to see everything we wanted to in the 9 days I was there. You may notice that our group of people we were with was constantly changing, and that was so fun. I was able to meet some fun new people and meet up with some good old friends. Overall, best trip ever. I know it's been nearly 9 months since I was there, but I just had to share the love and the pictures. I am so blessed that I was able to go. And don't you worry, I will be going again sometime in my life.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Toot Sweets.

I've given up on sweets.

Not permanently, don't fret. This is a temporary 6-week jaunt. I simply decided that I had eaten WAY too many Cadbury eggs and Lindor truffles in recent months. Also ice cream, lots of ice cream. And so I gave up sweets. I guess technically it's for Lent, because I am indeed following the Lent schedule but since I'm not Catholic and don't actually observe Lent, it's more for health purposes than for religious ones. And it has been an interesting experience. Guys, I get to eat sweets again on April 19th and I AM SO EXCITED.

For the first week or two, I was really struggling. I'm pretty convinced that chocolate is addictive and that I was having withdrawals. I wanted chocolate all of the time. Luckily I had started this endeavor of no sweets with my roommate and she bailed on the second day, so I had some solid motivation to keep on with it so that I could rub my success in her face. Yes, I realize that this is not the best way to motivate myself, but that's what happened and I'm not going to sugar coat it (obviously, because I'm not eating sugar-coated things).
Then the strawberry cake happened. There's a couple of back stories that need to be told to have this all make sense:
1) I just don't like cake. Never real have. I just that in general think it's too dry.
2) I woke my roommate up from a nap and she deliriously rejected all my Friday night fun ideas and wouldn't stop talking about strawberry cake. It was hilarious. So the next day she bought some.
3) Smiths makes a surprisingly delicious looking strawberry shortcake.
So... we had this cake in our kitchen and I was drooling. I justified to myself that with real Lent, the Sabbath is a day without fasting from whatever you've given up, and it was so late on Saturday night that it was practically Sunday. So I did it. I took a bite and it totally wasn't worth it. Honestly, it wasn't even that great of a cake, even as far as cakes go. And I decided to not take any more Sabbaths off from my sweet fast.
It's been an interesting road, and especially difficult the week my pre-ordered girl scout cookies showed up at work the second week of lent. That was real rough, and still is since they are still sitting in my drawer waiting for the week after Easter.

I've learned a lot about my own self control these last weeks and I've learned that some days are way better than others. In general, I haven't eaten sweets, but I've learned that I do way better saying no to other people than I am at saying no to myself. So that's a thing that I should work on.

I can't wait to eat all my Easter candy. It's going to be so much more satisfying now that I've been deprived of sweets for so long.

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