Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tate Modern Museum

Last Friday night, Nate and I went to the Tate Modern Museum. Modern art is so I am not really sure what to call it or how to describe it. I don't even know what to think when I see it. What is art really? I guess that is the main question, and this museum answers it by saying, "Anything really."

To get to the musuem, you have to walk over the River Thames on the Millenial Bridge. It is gorgeous at night with all the city lights and the smooth glass looking water. You can also see St. Paul's Cathedral lit up which looked picture of course, I whipped out the camera.

Here are some of the highlights of the museum:

Left: This piece of art is very unique. About every 30 seconds or so, it spits out a little receipt paper. Every receipt is in a different language.

Right: This piece of art has a slit going right down the middle of it. Whoever knew that slitting a piece of fabric could be so artistic? Why didn't I think of that!?!

This was one of my favorites. All it is, is a bunch of white nails nailed into a piece of white painted wood. Why is it my favorite you might ask? It is cool because all the nails are pointed at different angles, thus causing different shadows. Depending upon where you are standing in the room, the shadows are different. Plus, with all the nails and their angles, it kind of makes this rippling effect.

This piece of art was burned. I also thought that when something got burned then you throw it out, but not with this. It is art and now it is hanging in a very famous museum in London, and whoever made it also made a good chunk of change.

This one.....I'm still trying to figure out......and I don't think I ever will! Maybe it is supposed to be a girl who just got out of the shower (so she is naked) and she is trying to clean up her room, but there is a ton of clutter and clothes all over the floor. To make it easier, she piles all of her clothes into one big pile to get ready to put away on a later date. Who knows.....

Left: This is a piece of fabric that was made into a ceiling decoration. It was acutally pretty cool looking. I just wished after seeing it that I could really walk up the stairs and go jump in it, or even sleep up there. But, no luck.

Right: Very simple, but very creative! This is a picture of a bunch of tiny white rocks formed ever so carefully into a bunch of even circles.

We didn't even get through half of the stay tuned for Tate Modern Art Part 2 in a later post! :)

Thanksgiving Morning at St. Paul's Cathedral!

I never thought that on Thanksgiving morning I would be going to church, let alone The Church of England, in London. But this happened this year and it was actually really fun!

St. Paul's Cathedral holds an annual Thanksgiving American service every Thanksgiving morning. It is put on by the leaders of The American Church of England, and The American Church of London. Leaders of the American Embassy are also there and other American community members. They all work together to put on this fantastic service. The service wasn't even religion based really, but they mostly talked about why we celebrate Thanksgiving and what it is supposed to mean. They talked about football, the wishbone, canned cranberry sauce having the rings around it, being with family and friends, being at home, and gratitude. It actually made me really homesick, but it was super fun. The hymns that they sang were the same Thanksgiving hymns in the LDS hymnbook, so I was singing right along! :) Then everyone donated money to a homeless shelter for youth, for each youth to have a Christmas dinner and a gift on Christmas day. It was a great day. Plus, if I am being honest, it was refreshing to hear people speaking in American accents for a whole hour. Oh how I miss those nasal-y "rrrrr" sounds. :)

Another bonus was that I got to go inside and tour St. Paul's without paying a single pence. Usually it is around 14 pounds to go in and look around, but this way I got a great experience, and got to save some money while doing it! :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

London Teaching Memories

London Teaching Memories:

1. We were talking about symmetry and how things need to look the same on both sides. We were dividing shapes in half so they were the same on both sides. Then we had a gingerbread man shape on the board. I drew a line down the middle cutting him in half. Then I drew a eye on one side, and said, "Ok, if there is an eye on this side, what do we need on the other side?" I did that with other things so they got the idea that the gingerbread man needed to be symmetrical on both sides. Anyway, then I said, "So if you draw a shoe on one side, what needs to be on the other?" "A shoe!" "Good! And if you draw pants on one side of his leg, what needs to be on the other side?" All the kids started laughing and looked embarrassed. I was confused. I then realized what I had just said. "Pants." They call underwear, pants here in England, and our pants are called "trousers." :)

2. There was a little girl today that I caught crying in the corner during free time. I was teaching a reception class which consists of 4 and 5 year olds. I asked her what was wrong and she burst even harder into tears and said, "I MISS MY MOM!!!" I tried to comfort her, but nothing helped. I later was talking to her and said, "So what is your name?" She said it through tears, but I couldn't understand because of a combination of her emotions and her accent. I asked her to spell it for me. She went like this, "mmmmmm.......aaaaaaa........rrrrrr......
lllllllll........aaaaaaa." (Instead of saying the letters, she said the sounds!) I put it together and said, "Oh! Is it Marla?" She nodded her head. It was very cute. The rest of the day she followed me around everywhere. Every time I would move, she would move with me. All during free time and recess time, she would follow me around instead of playing with the others kids. Poor little thing.....I know how she feels to miss her Mama sometimes! :)

3. During the afternoon, I was with Year 3 aged children, so 7 and 8 year olds. The core curriculum here includes swimming lessons all during Year 3 and Year 4. So for the afternoon, we took a little field trip down to the community swimming pool. We gathered all 21 children and rode the bus there. It was a crazy little outing. Kind of stressful to keep the kids all in one place and to make sure they don't get hit or lost! They all brought their swimming gear from home and their swimming caps to keep their hair dry. I thought it was pretty neat that they make this apart of their school day! What a great opportunity that is for the children!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cute Little Milo.....

Last Friday I taught Year 2. It was such a great day and a great experience. The kids were all angels and the staff at the school were completely helpful and sweet. All the kids were great, but there was one little boy that melted my heart. His name was Milo. He was this cute little blonde haired, blue eyed, slightly chubby, thick British accent boy that was as sweet as can be. He was so honest and nice to everyone. I can't imagine him ever being mean to anyone in his life.

When I needed something or had a question of how things usually go, I would ask Milo. He would help me and then we would move on. At lunch time, he came up to me and said, "Mrs. Hembree, you look like someone that I have seen on film. I can't remember what the film is called but you look like her. That girl on the film." Then during free time where they can color or draw or read, Milo approached me. "How do you spell your name? Will you write it down on this paper?" He made me this cute little picture and wrote my name on it. It was so sweet.

Then during weekly evalutations, the children write about things that they enjoyed doing in school that week. When Milo turned his in I glanced at it and read it. It said, "This week I enjoyed having Mrs. Hembree. She is so so so nice. I enjoyed learning a song with her." It was the cutest thing I ever saw.

The day was about to end and the kids were getting their coats and water bottles, and then lining up at the door to leave. Milo comes up to me and says, "Are you coming back tomorrow?" I said, "Tomorrow is Saturday! :)" He said, "Oh.....well, then, are you coming back on Monday?" I told him that I can only come back if his teacher was sick again. Then he gave me a big huge hug and said, "Mrs. Hembree, you are the best teacher in the whole world!" Then he lines up.

Kids like Milo make teaching totally worth it..... :)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

So my whole life my mom would say to me, "Mikelle, I feel so bad for your future husband because you will never make a turkey for him on Thanksgiving. I think you should tell him that before you marry him so he knows before he makes that commitment to you."

Yes, it is true. I don't really love meat. I was a vegetarian for two years of my life. But then my mom scared me into telling me that if I didn't meat that I wouldn't be able to have any kids because my body needs protein to develop. So grudgingly, I started eating chicken and turkey.

I can cook meat now and it doesn't gross me out that much. I have gotten pretty good at it. I even was willing to cook goat for Nate last year and researched out where to buy it at a slaughter house in Utah. It didn't end up happening...but that's a different story. Anyway, I prefer buying boneless skinless chicken breasts, and other "clean" meats. I can't stand meat on the bone. So that is why cooking a turkey is a little out of my comfort zone, since there are ALOT of bones. Just seeing the whole turkey carcus and body right there, legs and all, kinda freaks me out. Seeing it body and all make me realize that this used to be a real life creature. I am just being honest here. So since hearing my mom's comment over the years, I thought my chances of getting married were slim........

Luckily, I found a husband who actually enjoys and wants to cook the turkey every year for Thanksgiving! After finding him, marriage looked like it would be in the cards for me. :)

His name is Nate. Here is a picture of him in action.....

I feel so lucky to have him to cook the bird every year during this holiday season. He even was researching on the internet ways to cook turkeys and wants to try deep frying it next year! He is excited about that one! Now I can be in charge of cooking the potatoes, stuffing, and all the fixins, while he focuses on the bird. This makes us both happy. Problem solved!

Will and Nate carving the turkey. This was a little rough since they didn't have an electric knife and they didn't know really how to do this properly, but it still turned out fine.

Here are some of the foods that we enjoyed on this special day:

Buffet style all the way......

We did a potluck dinner at Paige and Will's house. We had 11 people there, including friends from the wards, the Sister missionaries, and a Japanese couple from Nate's school program. We divided out the food assignments beforehand and it all turned out great! Nate made the turkey, I made the gravy, (which for some reason I always thought was hard but it was super easy) Paige made the potatoes, stuffing and cranberry sauce, Rachel made the sweet potatoes and the fruit salad, Emily made the corn and pumpkin pies, and Steven made the pumpkin rolls and the cheesecake.

Here is how it looked all together on a plate:

The cute Sister Missionaries in the Hyde Park ward! Sister Gipson is from Hawaii and Sister Richey is from Oregon. Such sweet girls!

Mikelle, Emily, Rachel, Crosby, and Paige. Such a fun group of people. I feel so grateful to have such a fun group of friends here in London. It makes such a difference!

David and Will in the kitchen nibbling on the last bits of turkey.

The lucky wishbone! This is a Thanksgiving tradition. I haven't done this in years. The legend is: Whoever gets the largest part of the bone after pulling it with your pinkies, wins! They are then the lucky one for the whole year until next Thanksgiving!

Here is a video of us "pulling" the wishbone. It didn't turn out too well.....oh well, there is always next Thanksgiving!

All in all, it was a great day! We had a ton of fun and our bellies were filled with good food. And for the record.....I did eat a SMALL piece of turkey this year. It is the first bit of turkey that I have eaten on Thanksgiving in many many years. The best part was that I didn't have to touch it or cook it, all because I have a ring on my finger.... :)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The London Turkey Hunt!

So Thanksgiving is tomorrow as I am sure all of you know. In the US, finding a turkey is very easy, especially around Thanksgiving time. They are everywhere! But in the is a different story.
Nate and I went on a turkey hunt yesterday and 4 hours later we came back to our apartment empty handed. It was a complete waste of time. We thought we would go to Costco and get our turkey. We rode the tube for an hour, then hopped on a bus, and then forever later, we finally got to Costco. They only had one kind of turkey and it was way way expensive! About double the price of what we had thought we would spend. It was because it was a free range turkey and a expensive brand. So we left Costco, after eating dinner at the food court of course, and went on our second trek.
Asda? Asda is the UK version of Walmart. It is actually owned by Walmart. So we found Asda on our Iphones and realized that there was one close by. So we ran to the bus, literally, and barely made it in time before it left. We finally found Asda, and go inside. It was a smaller store so they didn't have them! Only the large Asdas carry turkeys.
So we went home and gave up for the day.
This morning, Nate had class so I went on our 3rd turkey hunt alone. I went to Asda again, but this time to the larger store down in South London. It was about a 45 minute trek out there, but they did have them! I grabbed the largest, heaviest one that they had, bought it, shoved it in my empty backpack and walked to the bus stop. I was laughing to myself, the fact that I had a whole turkey strapped to my back and I was walking down the streets of London with it! It made my back cold too. :) But I had it to the bus, and now it is unthawing in our fridge for our Thanksgiving feast. We are celebrating with our group of college friends here and most people have class on Thursday (since it isn't an official holiday here) so we our doing our celebrations on Saturday.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!!

Happy Birthday!

When Cindy came to London last week I decided to do a small little surprise for her birthday. Her birthday was a few days before, but hey, better late than never right? Happy Birthday Cindy!

The cupcakes were divine. I have never really liked eating cake that much, but for some reason I have this strange fascination with cupcakes. I think it is because of their cute little size and how beautifully they look when they are frosted and decorated. I love all the interesting combinations of flavors that cupcake shops create and plus, back home, I used to watch Cupcake Wars on Food Network quite frequently which got me hooked on these delectable little treats!

These cupcakes were from Sweet Couture in Covent Gardens. We had three different flavors: Oreo, Coconut Raspberry, and Peanut Butter. Yum! They are soon coming out with their Christmas flavors which I just might have to try..... :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Can't Stop Laughing......

Yesterday was a hilarious day!

Do you ever have one of those days where tons

of funny things happen and you are just laughing all day long?

This was one of those days!

Funny things that happened yesterday:

1. So I already mentioned the dog one in my last post, but I wanted to tell it again because it should have gone in this post.....I was riding home on the tube, (the subway), and I was sitting next to a lady that was holding a cute little white fluffy dog. My heart goes soft when I see these type of dogs I think because those are the only kind I have ever owned. I started talking to the lady and her dog crawled on my lap, and I was snuggling with her. The lady told me it was Lilly's 2nd birthday and she was on her way to the vet for a checkup. I was having so much fun when I realized.....I missed my tube station stop! Hahah. I was so preoccupied with this cute little creature that I wasn't paying much attention to anything else.

2. On Sunday night, I made homeade brownies from scratch. We had a huge amount leftover and I didn't want to eat them all by myself, and Nate doesn't LOVE leftovers, so I decided to give some brownies to some of my favorite people on the floor. I took some to 2 rooms of Chinese girls and a room of girls from India. They all were so grateful and loved them. So tonight, I was downstairs doing laundry, and 2 of the Chinese girls were doing laundry too. They saw me and ran up to me thanking me so much for the brownies and telling me how wonderful they are. Then one of them puts her hands on my shoulders and says, "I want you to teach me. You need to teach me next week. Is it a secret recipe? I want to learn!" They went on about how my brownies were way better than the ones they bought from Tesco. I was laughing so hard. Ya, it was a good recipe, but nothing secretive. It was a fudgy brownies recipe from King Arthur Flour. I told them I would love to help them learn. So funny!

3. I taught Zumba last night and the class went great. It seems like there are more and more people there each week. The director said they are trying to add more classes for me because of my popular class. Yay! So after the class last night, there were two girls who approached me. Everyone else was gone. The girl said, "Hey! Can we get a picture?" I said, "Oh, that is so sweet of you! Of course! I probably look disgusting right now though cause I am so sweaty and everything, but sure. How nice." Then she hands me the take a picture of her and her friend! I felt like an idiot, but had a good laugh afterwards!

4. Yesterday during teaching, I forgot to mention one more funny thing. The student teacher that was there had the class around her at the carpet and they were doing a math lesson. Some of the kids were being a little energetic and talking too much. She would look at them and say, "David, if you can't stop talking to your neighbor while I am talking, I will have to move you to Amber." Then another time she said, "Lilly, if you can't stop shouting out the answer without raising your hand, I will have to move you to Amber." I kept on thinking, Whoa! I wonder who this Amber lady is! I pictured the teacher taking the child into Amber's room and something terrible happening to them in there.....and Amber being this mean old lady so yells at them. The kids looked terrified when she would say, "Amber." I thought, Dang! I want to meet this Amber lady! She sounds awesome! I need to learn her skills......Later, I looked over on the wall and there was a management chart of a traffic light with red, yellow and green. The kids start on green each day and if they get progressively worse they move up the traffic light. If they get to red, they have to go into another teacher's room for time out. I then realized that they call the "yellow" traffic light color, amber. Amber is a color, not a person!

Have something funny happen to you recently? Leave a comment and let me know!

Monday, November 21, 2011

2nd Day of Teaching!

Today was my 2nd day of teaching in London. With supply teaching, alot of the time it is spur-of-the moment work, so you don't know before you are going to bed what is going to happen the next day. This can be very stressful because I am a planner and like to know what I am doing the next day before I got to bed....oh well.

This morning I woke up at 6:30 AM and started to get ready just in case. At 7AM I called my teaching agencies to let them know that I was up and ready to go (which means I was showered, deoderant was on, and thats about it....) if something comes in. They all said nothing had come in yet, but they would let me know. So I didn't really keep on getting ready thinking that I wasn't going to get a job that day, and I was headed back to bed.....20 minutes later, they called and said, "I got work for you. It is Year 2. You need to leave right now to get there in time, but you said you were ready, right?" I said, "Uh.... Yep!" When really, my makeup wasn't even on! So I got ready as quick as I possibly could, shoved a granola bar into my bag, and headed out the door.

So I ended up getting there on time, early even. Today went wonderfully! The kids were so cute and the classroom was very organized. The office workers were so helpful and nice. Most of the kids were African, some Indian, and some white. They were all darling. And the best part was that there was a teacher's aide as well as a student teacher. The student teacher had a couple lessons planned so I helped on-one-on with children and did some guided reading. Then I took over in the afternoon and there was plans made! Yay! Then we had PE and then it was time to go home. Smooth, easy, and fun day.

Some funny things I noticed today:

1. They call the dot at the end of sentences a "full stop," not a period! It makes more sense than a period I guess since a period involves tampons.....

2. They call erasers, "rubbers," construction paper, "sugar paper," the role, "the register," recess, "play time," and lunch, "afternoon dinners."

3. For P.E., the kids bring exercise clothes in change in to. I asked the student teacher, "So where do the kids change?" She said, "Oh, just here in the class." I thought that was interesting. Ya, they are only in 2nd grade, but it still seemed odd. They were stripping down to their underwear, taking off their shirts, everything. Then I asked her, "So at what year do they finally change in a bathroom with just either boys or girls?" I was thinking, it would have to be next year for sure, when they are in 3rd grade....... She said, "Oh I think they do it up to Year 5 or 6." I was shocked! Isn't that awkward? I said, "Oh....."

4. A little girl just got into her P.E. clothes and ran up to me all excited. She says, "Read what my bottom says!" Then she turns around and bends over so her butt is pointing right at me. It says, "Cheer!" on the bottom. Hilarious.

Side Note:

On the way home on the tube, I was playing with a lady's dog that was sitting next to me. It was small and white and so cute. It looked like Marley, my cousin Chelsea's dog. I was talking to the lady and holding the dog......when I realized I missed my stop! Hahah! I was distracted by a dog! But it was fine, cause I only missed it by one station. Some things are just more important......

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Free Lunch at Traflaga Square!

On Friday, I had left the apartment and was one my way to the post office to mail off something. I was stopped by a lady that was handing out flyers. The words on the flyer caught my attention because big and bold on the top it read, "FREE LUNCH!" Now I love both of these words, free and lunch, but put together, that is awesome, especially since we are poor college students who live in the most expensive city in the world at the moment. So I read a little further and realized that from 12-2 at Trafalga Square they were giving out free lunch, and not just any lunch, vegetable curry!
So I quickly called Nate and he met me down at the square. It was pretty cool what was going on. They were trying to help us understand how much food is thrown away weekly. The motto was, "Fill bellies not bins." They took all this food that normally would have been thrown away like mishaped carrots and potatoes and apples that aren't so beautiful on the outside but perfect on the inside, and fed a ton of people with all of this surplus. They had curry with rice and freshly pressed apple and pear juice, that was really good. They were giving away free fruits and vege tables when you sign their pledge to not waste so much food. We got a whole bag of potatoes, grapes, and a bunch of bananas for free. (I wish they would do this every weekend! Free groceries!) They were also doing an activity where you could help bag produce for the homeless. They did cooking demonstrations of how to use parts of things instead of throwing them away. They were cooking up pig liver and saying that this is often thrown away by people when really it is very tasty! I don't know about that one.....
So many people were there all eating the same thing. It was a fun event. I love living right by Trafalga Square because cool things are happening there all the time.

This girl was helping with the day and she is holding up a carrot that would normally be thrown away but was used for this benefit. I think the carrot is cool looking! Too bad they can't sell them unless they look "perfect."

Saturday, November 19, 2011


My friend Cindy Ford came to visit again this week. While I was teaching for my first day, Nate and Cindy went and got tickets for the show, Wicked. It is about a 20 minute walk away from our house down in Victoria. We had really good seats too!

I have wanted to see this show for about 7 years. I bought the soundtrack online my Freshman year at BYU and loved the music, but had never seen the actual play. I can't believe I waited this long! It was so amazing, everything about it. I think that I loved it because of its connection with The Wizard of Oz. I love that show and I thought Wicked was so neat because it filled in the whys and hows of all of elements of The Wizard of Oz. I thought that who ever wrote the Wicked script was so creative to think of a plot that fit so well together with the sequel! Watching it made me feel guility for having such negative feelings toward The Wicked Witch, because it shows a new side of her, a nice side, that you didn't know existed. She is actually a really good person. Who knew? :)

I want to see it again! If you haven't seen this show, you need to go!