Friday, October 29, 2010

Colored Comfort

Today was a day. Not a bad day, just a day. I started work this morning--8am, which means going to the gym at 6am, which means waking up before that--yeah, it wasn't as easy as I had pictured it, but I can do it. Plus, it only lasts until December, and it's a little cash, so who can complain? But I do have this nasty cold and stomach thing and throat deal and headache, and it's Halloween--for me, that's like being sick on Christmas! LAME! So here I am, cuddled up in bed at 10:00pm on a Friday night but you know, oh well, what can you do. As my literature teacher says, it's a good thing I don't have a gun. :P You know, there are good days, and there are bad days, and then there are just those days that have no language equivalent. Today was one of those days.

This evening I looked up at the sky and smiled without meaning to--I love watching the sky change, it's so peaceful. I remember a wonderful sunset that completely turned my day around. It was, of course, on my lovely trip to London. :)

After a long bus ride and a billion stops (all good mind you, just tiring) I was so ready for some rest; when we arrived at the hostel in York I didn't care if there were bugs, spiders, or a raccoon living in my bed, I just wanted to sleep. Poor Tony (our coach driver) wasn't feeling well, and a bus of obnoxious girls doesn't help, so when he was trying to park he totally took out the side of the building. I felt awful, but he took it pretty well. I honestly was just glad to stop for the night.

I got to my room only to discover that the water heater was one of our roommates (and of course right next to my bed), which made it even hotter than our hostel in Ambleside, if that's even possible! If the heat wasn't bad enough, it was the heated pressure of the air--it really messes with that lovely head of mine, and within seconds I was in a delusional migraine and really losing my mind. To top it off, the girls weren't exactly being all that kind, and mix that with a large dose of exhaustion = not a good thing. Dear Katy found me out in the hall distressed, so she made the executive decision to put me in their room (they had an extra bed thank goodness!). It was nice to feel wanted (this trip to the North really made me reevaluate my relationships with my roomies here), not to mention to get away from that lousy water heater furnace thing! But I was admittedly still extremely frustrated with life in general, so I did the only thing I could do--I left.

Yeah, sometimes that's what I do--sometimes you just have to get some fresh air to clear the mind and body, and let me tell you--it SOOOOO helps! I took a walk around York to calm down and meditate; I ended up spending most of my time on the bridge over the river, watching the sun set in its entirety. God is in the sun I've decided, because I have seen sunrises and sunsets, and they are beautiful but mostly because there is just something about them that heals. There is some strange, hidden comfort to be found in a sunset, just watching the colors naturally bleed together, morphing and changing imperceptibly yet dramatically--it's quite the experience if you really take the time to think about it.

"Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky." ~Rabindranath Tagore

"When I admire the wonder of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in worship of the Creator." ~Mahatma Gandhi

"If your eyes are blinded with your worries, you cannot see the beauty of the sunset." ~Jiddu Krishnamurti
Good night.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hadrian's Wall

Last on the list for the day was Hadrian's Wall, built by the Roman Empire across the entire width of Northern England way back when and it is still there! On one side of the area we visited would have been Scotland, way back in the day, so now I can say that I've been to Scotland--sort of anyway. ;)

I love the English countryside...

My favorite part (of course) was the Chariots of Fire reunion we witnessed between a mother sheep and her baby--most precious thing I've ever witnessed. All of the sudden we heart this strange, shrill, kind of cry, so we whipped around just in time to see the little baby bounding towards his mama--and she towards him--and seriously, I could hear epic Chariots of Fire music playing, and the sheep seemed to be moving in slow motion--when they reached each other the baby was so happy! His little tail was wagging a mile a minute--did you know that sheep wag their tails? Apparently so. ©

Monday, October 25, 2010

Durham Cathedral

At Durham Cathedral we had the most adorable little tour guide in the world—she had to be like 100 years old—but she was still going and knew so much, and had such a deep passion for the place—but then she asked if any of us had Scottish ancestry, only to tell us she is not such a fan of the Scots unfortunately. Apparently a group of Scottish men came into the cathedral back in the day and destroyed all of the interior. Dang. Other than that though, it was the best tour so far, definitely. We even sang hymns around St. Cuthbert’s tomb.

By the way, St. Cuthbert of Lindisfarne was an Anglo-Saxon monk in the 7th century. Legend had it that when Cuthbert's burial casket was opened eleven years after his death, his body was still perfectly intact and preserved, and ever since he has been associated with numerous miracles.

What was really fun was when Rachel and I were almost run over by the crazy smart-car driving bobbies--yeah, fun stuff--they came out of no where up the tiniest little street I've ever seen, and they didn't care who on earth was in front of them. Not that I blame them too much, apparently there was an emergency inside the cathedral--someone tried to jump off into the cloister--huh. I guess if you're going to commit suicide, a cathedral's the best place to do it? ...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Halloween is almost here!

Halloween is like a second Christmas to me--I love it! And it's next week! Yup, I'm SOOOO excited!!! So here are some Halloween treats in preparation for my holiday:

Sugar cookie ghosts
And candy-corn Jack-O-Lanterns

And pumpkin cupcakes for my Gospel Doctrine class

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bede's World

It's been a while since I've had some London reminiscing, and I think I could really use it today, so here we go.

There's something special when two grown men--serious, intelligent BYU professors--stampede students as they are rushing off the bus to get to the next site. Am I talking about Disneyland? Of course not, but it wasn't too far from how a couple of kids would have acted like at the gates to the magic kingdom, for sure. Dr. Seely and Dr. Tate were off like a flash, before Tony had even put the bus into park. Where on earth could we be that would cause such great excitement? The one, the only.... BEDE'S WORLD!!!Bede's World-I'm sure you are asking yourself, what is Bede's World? Well, let me tell you, it is still awaiting an awesome theme song to accompany its magical features (we're working on it). Although not the amusement park that its name may imply, Bede's World is pretty awesome. It is a museum in Jarrow (where Bede lived and worked 1300 years ago) dedicated to the extraordinary life of the Venerable Bede (mascot of our Bible and Christianity class for sure)--monk, author, scholar, and overall awesome guy.

Here at Bede's World one can find an interactive Age of Bede Exhibition:
I'm still not quite sure about this one... modern art? I think it's the Bede version of the Wizard of Oz...
An ancient herb garden and Gyrwe, the Anglo-Saxon demonstration farm, complete with rare breeds of animals and recreated timber buildings.
This is our friend, Fatty--he is one of the rare breeds you can encounter here on the Gyrwe. What makes him special--besides being a freakin' monster!--is that he is bred from crossing Tarnworth and Berkshires (both old breeds) with wild boar. Yep, pretty scary, so we let him sleep.
That fence was definitely NOT big enough or sturdy enough if he had gotten mad. But he was pretty cute just sleeping there.
Of course, this was little Fatty's pen--maybe we should have named him Ferdinand! <3
Sheepees! The sheep here are from older varieties which have survived in some marginal areas of Britain; the flock consists of Herdwick, Hebridean, Ronaldsay, Manx and Soay varieties. This poor fellow had his horn stuck in the fence. :(

And the horses--I love horses, I need one!--Lizzie loves them too, see? And the horses really seemed to love her. They are so sweet!
That's the cute little medieval horse--isn't he adorable?

Behind the amazing petty zoo was St. Paul's church. The chancel is a direct survival from the 7th century! Inside the church, cemented into the wall of the tower, is the original stone slab which records the Latin inscription of the dedication of the church on April 23, 685 AD.

This translates as: The dedication of the basilica of St. Paul on the 9th day before the Kalens of May in the 15th year of King Ecgfrith and in the fourth year of Abbot Ceolfrith founder, by God's guidance, of the same church.

This is Bede's chair--awesome.

It was a small, yet quite impressive little building. The entire trip made me feel like I had gone back in time, or to another world--yes, it was rather other-worldly for sure, but in a very cool way.

Come on, even the mushrooms are magical!
And I had to take a picture of the enormous Morning Glory for my mom--and I thought that pig was monstrous, these blossoms were the size of my entire hand!