Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Good Morning to Heaven on Earth

I have a secret for you: I have discovered that all-elusive Utopia--that Heaven on Earth that is forever longed for: it is the peaceful land of England's Lake District. Paris was definitely fun, but this beats Paris tenfold, easily. If I had the choice, I would come here and never ever leave. BEAUTIFUL. No wonder all the Romantics came here to live out their lives, writing poetry and painting what God had set before them.
Tell me that's not the most stunning thing you've ever seen, and I will tell you that you have not a soul to claim your own! And even a poor photograph cannot do the experience justice. Sigh. This must be what Heaven truly is like.

However, while day 1 in heaven was wonderful, night 1 was absolutely horrendous. I didn't sleep a wink--it didn't help that as I was kneeling down to pray a giant, furry spider crawled out of my pillowcase. Of course, that is another tender mercy, strangely enough; bugs don't bother me quite like they used to, or at least, I can handle taking care of them. When the other thirty something girls are all screaming over a little spider, you start to wonder why it's all that terrifying. It's a bug, nothing more--gross, creepy, and just not cool, but quite easily squish-able. Anyhow, between the screeching girls, the bugs, but most of all the sauna air of our room, I just never fell asleep. I gave up around 4-5am and went out to the dock with some of the girls to watch the sunrise. It was pretty overcast, so it wasn't the grand display that you might expect, but simple and absolutely beautiful nonetheless. Then I enjoyed a morning misting rain and read my scriptures for a few hours. It was by far the best morning of my entire life. Like I said, I would stay here forever if given the opportunity. HEAVEN.

I sat on the dock and watched the Canadian Geese slowly wake up and hunt for their breakfast, all gathered together on the lawn in front of our hostel.
Their awkward yet contradictorily graceful movements even inspired us to try a little yoga, which, if I could have every morning feel just like this, I would gladly wake up at 4am to do every day of for the rest of my life.
"Sit in reverie, and watch the changing color of the waves that break upon the idle seashore of the mind."
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

"I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright."
~Henry David Thoreau

"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better."
~ Albert Einstein
My favorite was this swan--I named him Bruce--why Bruce? Because I think he wanted to eat me! He circled the dock, round and round and round, and I could have sworn that I could hear the theme music from Jaws crescendoing somewhere in the distance. Several times he tried to attack the dock--maybe he was jumping up to see if I had some breakfast to share, I'm not sure, but he was rather intimidating, even for a swan.
Even with their strong attitudes--or maybe even because of them--I loved the creatures there. Everything just seemed so right and beautiful.
"Breathless, we flung us on a windy hill,
Laughed in the sun, and kissed the lovely grass."
~Rupert Brooke


Nothing like the Lake District to cheer you up, let me tell you. This place is where I will go when I finally become too fed up with the world to remain among it. The saddest part of this entire trip was that we had to leave Ambleside... it's so beautiful! Honestly, I have never felt so at peace and one with myself.

Home sweet hostel--kind of cute, don't you think?
Right on the lake--literally, step out the front door and BAM! There it is. There's really nothing like this place.
Thought I would just chill in a tree for a while and write poetry while listening to the ripples of the evening lake. Yup, that sounds like a pretty good way to spend the evening.

There's our hostel across the lake--told you it was RIGHT THERE!

Oh, and after some minor exploring we discovered some ancient Roman ruins--right next to a field of cows. There were these two baby calves that were absolutely adorable, but when we tried to say hello the Mamma cow basically had a cow; for a brief moment I quite literally feared for my life. She was about to charge, it was crazy. But eventually we came to terms and peacefully went our separate ways.
Sunset in Ambleside--really, there are no words to lay it justice.

I could have slept out on that rock all night, just watching the light dance across the water--there's nothing like it. I almost didn't go back to the hostel, if it wasn't for the cold, because my word, I have never experienced anything quite as spiritually mind blowing as those colors and lights and visual pleasures. You can't really describe it, or show it--it just is, it's a beauty that is only truly comprehended in the moment you are experiencing it. If I had my way, I would never leave this place.

"Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher."
--William Wordsworth

Sunday, September 26, 2010


It's funny, but as far as I know I haven't been hated quite like this since high school; and of course back then I let it slide because all of us were young and stupid. I remember one night friends of my own "friend" decided to milk my car--when I went out the next morning to go to school, I opened the door and milk spilled out. It was disgusting to say the least--soggy, smelly, and just sad--fortunately it wasn't the nicest car in the world, but my poor little Toyota wasn't ever the same after that. The most unfortunate part wasn't the car of course, but that I wasn't ever the same after that. Things like that, well, they hurt.

What's really funny is that things like that were quite common in my high school days, and I learned to deal with them; I didn't like it of course, but you have to survive. Now I'm older, more mature, stronger, right? I thought so anyway, but maybe I'm wrong. I thought I could handle someone resenting me much, but I think now it's even worse. I don't expect everyone and their dog to love me, that's ridiculous, but as far as I know I haven't done anything to warrant such strong enmity toward me. Maybe I missed something. While I was away in London Town some very lovely person decided to pour soda pop all over the inside of my car; it's summer, so the windows were partially down I admit, but it would have taken some extra effort to make the mess that I found when I came home. I spent almost all day Saturday in a futile struggle, scrubbing the interior of my car. The ceiling is still speckled, and it smells like Dr. Pepper--much better than milk, I assure you.

When I finally gave up (hence why the ceiling is still speckled), I was proud of the work I had done, and really not all that bothered by the mess (I like to clean, it's strange). However, I am still trying to understand the motivation behind these things. I wasn't expecting such animosity when I came back, that's for sure. And it is of course possible that it was a random act by some dumb random teenager, but then again, few criminals can cover up all their tracks I'm afraid, and it pains my heart to think that I possibly know this person.

If it was a one time thing I would accept it and move on; but for some reason these things keep coming back to me. A neighbor sent the dog catcher after me this last week, instead of just coming to my house and confronting the problem directly--if my dog is causing problems, I am more than happy to take care of it. Did she really need to send me to court over it? I had another incident again today, and honestly--if I have done something to offend someone, I would feel so much better!--but the incident involves a good friend and I can't quite figure out what my offense would have been. I've racked my mind and come up empty handed. I know I've hurt people in the past, but I never meant to--and when I know I've hurt them I do try to help repair the damage. But who did I hurt so terribly and I never knew?

Oh well. I guess in the end I just wish that if someone had a problem with me, they would COME TO ME AND TELL ME! We're adults, right? Why can't you just tell me instead of going behind my back?

The worst part is that I can't hate back--I so wish that I could. But I just can't. Charity. Love. Compassion. Friendship. These are the true dealers of the deepest pain sometimes. But they are also the dealers of the deepest joy, which is why we hold on to them. Sometimes I just fantasize and wish that it wasn't such a sharp two-edged sword. Then again, I have been known to be a masochist at times.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I Love to see the Temple

On our way to Ambleside and the Lake District, need a rest stop like you wouldn't believe, where should we stop? A sketchy truck stop? a bunch of bushes? Oh, I know--how about a LDS chapel! They're bound to let us in--you know, being BYU and everything. Yeah. It's locked. But conveniently the MTC and Preston Temple are RIGHT THERE! Yeah, I was pretty dang excited, not gonna lie. It was beautiful!

Seriously, it's the coolest thing to be traveling away from home, both my American home and my home at the London Centre, and suddenly see a temple! It makes it feel like you're really not all that far away after all. And what's even better--how about an MTC?
The MTC has a flipping lily pond--seriously? We just have a big old grass field...
However, we do have one or two more flags than the MTC here in England. Just a few more maybe.
And finally! We found someone to let us in the church building--nice, clean bathrooms, can't beat that. Pretty cool, like being right at home.

Bronte Parsonage

The Bronte Parsonage is a museum (their old home actually) dedicated to Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Bronte. In case you don't know who they are, the Bronte sisters were 19th writers in West Yorkshire. Charlotte is best known for writing Jane Eyre, Emily for writing Wuthering Heights, and Anne for writing Agnes Grey. So yes, they are kind of a big deal. ;)

and the best part--it finally rained! I was told that it rains 12 months out of the year in London, so I brought rain boots and a rain coat and everything, but I have yet to see a drop of water in London. Oh well, here in the North there was plenty of rain!
and the totally awesome cemetery--I have a strange thing for cemeteries, they are so beautiful and peaceful.

Look at how green it is here! It's SOOOO beautiful!
as we were returning to the bus Rachel cried out to me--"Don't step on him!" On what? I looked down and this is what I saw:
Rachel thought it was CUTE--cute??? Can you believe that? It was one of the biggest slugs I have ever seen--yuck.