Sunday, January 29, 2012

Brother and Sister Hembree


When I was little, I always dreamed about getting married and the joys that come with that. I thought about the proposal, my wedding day, waking up next to each other every morning, having someone to come home to each night, snuggling up together with a movie and treats on weekends, never missing a day without getting kissed, making good healthy meals for two, hearing "I Love You" on a daily basis, and of course..........
Giving talks together in church on the same subject!
In the LDS church, members of the congregation talk each week on different subjects given to them by the bishop and his counselors. So, we don't have the same leader speaking every Sunday, but we get to hear from lots of people and their different experiences. It is a great way to learn about gospel subjects. And, it is fun when it is your turn to talk because then you learn so much from studying it and preparing to teach others.
Yesterday was our first time talking in church together as a married couple, as Brother and Sister Hembree. ::) It made me so grateful for Nate, for his testimony, and gospel knowledge. Plus, he looked so cute wearing his new suit that we bought on Boxing Day, that finally got hemmed and back to him. What a stud!
Our topic for today was on the Restoration which I was very excited about. This is a topic that makes our church different and that makes us stand out from other Christian churches. I realized that only on my mission did I have the chance to constantly think and talk about the Restoration. It isn't something that pops into your mind on a daily basis in regular life. But as I reviewed over talks and scriptures on the subject, my heart became full as I realized how blessed I am to be a member of the restored church of Jesus Christ on the earth again. I almost felt that giddy feeling as I pondered and prayed about the restoration and Joseph Smith in preparation for Sunday. I was again amazed at all that he went through and how Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ used him as an instrument in their hands to do great things.
I focused on Joseph Smith and his humble beginnings, as well as the 1st Vision miracle, and the blessings that come to us because of the restoration of Christ's gospel. Nate focused on the history of the Reformation and how it led to the Restoration, and also how we can apply it to our lives by reforming and restoring ourselves.
At the start of Nate's talk, he teased me a little. He mentioned how when we were asked to speak by Brother Kimberling and how excited I was. He said that I came home that day and said, "Nate! This is so exciting! This will be our first time speaking together in church as a married couple!" Then he said that he replied, "Ya......Oh goody!" (In a sarcastic voice.) Too bad that he wasn't as excited as I was. :)
Alot of my talk came from this talk- http://http://www.lds.org/liahona/2004/02/four-cornerstones-of-faith?lang=eng and this talk http://http://www.lds.org/ensign/2005/12/joseph-smith-jr-prophet-of-god-mighty-servant?lang=eng. You should read them if you have a chance. So good. Both by President Hinckley.
Or if you have questions about the Mormon church or want to learn more on your own you can visit http://mormon.org and http://lds.org. Both great sites for members and non-members alike!
I love the gospel and I love talking about it. It brings me back to my mission and makes me homesick for that constant feeling of the spirit. I feel so blessed to be a member of the church!

Dinner and Games

Has everyone played Phase 10?
I grew up playing this game and always thought it was a blast.
It reminds me of New Year's Eve
or other holidays when you are wanting to pass the time
enjoying conversation and fun times with family and friends.
Last night,
I spent the evening with friends in the area.
Sadly, Nate stayed home to do homework and work on his talk for church
so I went to the party by myself.
Heather and Steven invited us,
Kelcey and Mike, and Arthur (Esther was out of town)
to their home for dinner and games.
We all brought something to share and the dinner turned out great.
We had turkey stuffed peppers, mashed potatoes,
steamed broccoli, fruit salad,
bread, juice,
and baked honey bananas with ice cream.
Then we played a few rounds of Uno
and then Phase 10.
Food, Games, Conversation with Good Friends=3 of my favorite things.

Friday, January 27, 2012

St. Edwards Primary School

Today I had a little different teaching experience than most days....
I taught at a Catholic School!
It was called St. Edwards Primary School
and the best part was that it was only about a 15 min tube ride from my house.
This is much better than the usual 45 minute tube ride.
I got to sleep in an extra 30 minutes too!
So the kids had the cutest uniforms. They all wore blue and silver striped ties, the boys and the girls, navy sweaters, white collared shirts, and the girls wore gray skirts while the boys wore gray pants. They looked so cute and so sharp! Loved it. We had an assembly in the morning and the kids talked about different celebrations that people celebrate. Towards the end of the assembly, they did a religious part which was very unusual for me in the school setting. Yes, religion in the schools is definitely more open here since they teach Religious Education courses, but this was over the top. I guess I am not used to teaching at Catholics schools. All the kids crossed themselves several times and repeated the Lord's prayer while holding their hands in prayer position. There were also tons of statues of the Virgin Mary and crosses everywhere in the school with Jesus on them. At the end the day, the teacher had written on my plans, "Tidy up, Prepare for Home Time, Nightly Prayers." In the classroom, there was a religious corner with bibles and church books, rosary necklaces, etc. So interesting....
The day went pretty well except for these 3 boys. They were so aggressive and they are only in Year 1! It is so funny to me how different boys are from girls. When boys fight they punch each other and kick, pretty much anything physical. When girls fight, it is all emotional and verbal aggression. They will say things like, "Well, you aren't my friend. You can't play with me. I'm not going to invite you to my birthday party." I see these types of things everyday. Anyways, these three boys drove me absolutely nuts. They were constantly fighting with each other, poking each other on the carpet, bothering each other. Then they would get hurt and come tattling to me saying things like, "He pushed me!" "Well, he called me stupid!" Well he said the f word!" "Well he punched me!" I can barely stand all the fighting....it drives me nuts. Can't we just all get along and be friends? Please? Then with only about 10 minutes left until school was over, one of the aggressive boys punched a sweet boy at his table in the face. It was a hard punch too! The aggressive boy's mom doesn't speak English, so we had to tell the big sister what had happened so she could relay the message to the mom. So hard when there is a language barrier. I can't imagine.
There was also 3 nose bleeds today, from 2 different kids. It was an interesting day.....
Funny Things the Kids Said This Week:
-"You are so pretty. I can tell that you are a Mrs. and not a Miss."
-A girl gave me this art project that she made. She took a mermaid coloring page and chopped the edges up and glued some paper around the edges and then wrote my name on it. She gave it to me. I said thank you but then said, "You should color it. I think it needs some color on it." She gave me this look like she really didn't want to but didn't know how to tell me. Then she said, "Actually it looks really pretty just like that when you put it in the light."

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Weekend in Ireland

On Thursday night, Nate and I and Heather and Steven
left for Ireland for the weekend.
Heather and Steven lived in Ireland last year, both studying
at a university there and they accidentally bought tickets to the show
"Dirty Dancing" a year in advance, thinking it was for the current year.
So they decided to take a trip out to their last year's home country
to visit friends and use their year old tickets.
They were kind enough to invite us along.
We flew on Ryan Air which is super super cheap,
but they get you with fees and luggage prices.
You are only allowed a small carry on item per person
and checking a bag is way pricey.
Plus, they are very strict with the size of your carry on,
and will charge you if it doesn't fit within all the limits
both weight and measurements.
So Nate and I bought these matching bags at a tourist London shop
that advertised for selling "Ryan Air Suitable" bags!
I loved how matchy matchy they were....
mine was navy and pink and Nate's was black and white.
Aren't you proud of me for only bringing that much stuff with me?
It actually wasn't that hard.
You can fit quite alot in that little bag.
The real problem will be on our
Scotland/France trip when I have to pack for about 19 days
in that one little bag!
That's going to be tough.....
We rode the Gatwick Express train to the airport
which were both fun experiences.
The train was so smooth and you could see the London lights from the window.
I felt like we were riding on the Polar Express.
The flight wasn't bad either, super short.
We sat next to a guy from Dublin who flies back and forth to London for work.
But before we got on the plane, we stopped at Nate's favorite restaurant...
McDonald's!
It was conveniently in the airport,
and was staring us down while we were waiting.
I got a Smarties and Cadbury Crunchie McFlurry.
The ice cream is really all I care for at McDonald's.
Yum!
As soon as I got off the airplane, I realized that all the signs
were written in two languages.
English and Irish!
I didn't realize that there was an Irish language!
Only a small part of the people actually speak Irish on a daily basis still,
but it is required for all children to learn it in school.
When the British were attempting to take over Ireland,
the Irish people were band from speaking Irish, so it is now a lost language.
Reminds me of the Hawaiian language.
Heather studied Irish Studies last year and was our personal tour guide
for the weekend and was able to explain lots of Irish culture and history to us.
We stayed at Heather and Steven's friends house.
Crystal, Hue, Jade, and Lilly were great hosts,
and very fun to get to know.
I taught Steven how to play Speed Scrabble
while Jade sat and "built words" with the tiles
and then would ask, "What does this say? Is this a word?"
She was happy when she finally spelled a "real word,"
which was "Now."
Crystal also made us some traditional Irish food which was fun to try!
Our first morning she made an Irish breakfast
which is similar to the traditional English breakfast.
It includes:
sunny side up eggs, dense wheat/rye bread, sausage,
rashers (which is similar to bacon but more like strips of ham),
OJ, grilled tomatoes, and drum roll please....
white pudding and black pudding.
What is that you ask?
Well, it is not "pudding."
You should look it up.
Or maybe you shouldn't, because then you probably would never try it!
Thanks Steven for saving me.....
Crystal also made us Irish Stew, Irish Soda Bread,
apple and blackberry pie with custard around it,
(European Custard is really really good)
and gourmet mint hot chocolate.
It was probably the best hot chocolate I have ever had.
Serious.
The secret? Sweetened condensed milk.
She said that Irish people always drink either coffee or tea with their desserts
so since we don't drink that, she made us some hot coca instead.
I didn't think I would really LOVE Irish stew that much
because it has lamb in it and that isn't my meat of choice,
but it actually was really yummy.
The Irish soda bread was good too.
She got the recipe from an Irish cookbook that she has.
Before you bake it, it says to cut it down the middle both ways,
so you can, "let the fairies out."
I think I will start a tradition of making Irish Stew and Irish Soda Bread
every year for St. Patrick's Day.
After we landed in Ireland,
we rented a car so we could have our freedom of driving where we wanted.
This was a good idea and all,
except for the part of Heather and I both feeling completely car sick.
The roads are so windy and we were in the car for a while.
Good thing neither of us threw up! :)
On our drive,
we ran into this old castle and stopped to check it out.
First off, there are castles EVERYWHERE in Ireland.
Heather said that there used to be tons of kings here
for every county.
And their castles are still partially standing.
It made me wish that we could go back in time
and see who used to live there.
So interesting!
Such an old building.
I am sure they were watching us from the grave trampling
all over their property!
The back side of the castle.
It had a cute little path around the whole castle that we explored around.
A view from the back of the castle.
Speaking of castles....here is another one that was in Dublin.
Rock Walls.
In most of these pics I look so out of it.
Partially because I was freezing the entire time.
January is probably not the best month to visit Ireland
because it is already a cold country,
and the January weather doesn't help much.
It is much colder than London by far.
Weird, since they are so close together.
But anyway....back to rock walls...
they are everywhere in Ireland.
I don't think I saw a single wooden fence,
but instead they just build rock walls.
Heather said that she asked one time how they move the
animals from pasture to pasture without a fence door
to open up and let them through,
and they said that they just tear down part of the rock wall
let the animals through,
and then rebuild it.
And speaking of animals,
there are alot of sheep in Ireland.
There are some rock walls that have absolutely no purpose
and that lead to no where.
These are historical rock walls.
They were built by Irish people in return for their food long ago.
The British made them work for their food,
so they had them build pointless rock walls everywhere
just so they are working.

One night we went to Galway which is on the west side of Ireland.
It was a cute little quaint town.
We walked down a fun little narrow street with shops.
We got some Butler's chocolates, Heather's favorites,
and they were very good.
I also found a really cute green scarf that has clovers on it.
I can't wait to wear a real Irish scarf on St. Patrick's Day!
On Saturday we headed over to Dublin.
In the morning we went to the Prison there and took a tour.
It was interesting to hear about all the sad things that happened there.

Heather, Me, and Nate standing solemnly by the prison doors.

Me, inside one of the prison rooms while
Nate takes my picture through the peep hole.
All these doors are prison doors.
I thought this little bridge was kind of cute.
Steven and Heather showed us around
their campus from last year
and I was blown away by how gorgeous it was!
It was so old and majestic looking,
like an old castle/church.
It had this cool door on it that opens with a
smaller door in the middle of the big door,
just like at the Tower of London.
What a fun place for them to have gone to school!
We went to church on Sunday and it was fun hearing all the Irish accents during the talks and lessons. It was another testimony building experience for me that the church is the same no matter where you go in the world. Whether we are in Hawaii, Idaho, Utah, London, or Ireland, it is the same doctrine and same teachings. I will never have to go "church shopping" whenever we move to a new place. Everyone there was so friendly and sweet and so Irish! Before church, Heather and I made crepes for us and Crystal's family. After trying several different pans and griddles, oils and sprays, we finally got them to look somewhat decent. Crepes are so heavenly when put with mascarpone filling, nutella, bananas, and whip cream.
One funny thing, when we were at Tesco shopping for our crepes breakfast items, we were buying other food items for breakfasts and snacks. I picked out a bag of oranges for us to all share. I thought I was getting a steal deal because this bag of oranges was way cheaper than all the other bags for the amount that you were getting. I grabbed it, we bought it, and went home. When we were unloading all the groceries, Nate saw that the tag said marmalade oranges. I was thinking that it didn't matter and that we could just eat them anyway. But then right on the tag, it says, "Not suitable for eating raw." Who has ever heard of a bag of oranges that you can't just open up, peel, and eat? So yes, another Tesco trip was scheduled into our weekend.
Crystal's house was pretty freezing because it is super old and doesn't have good ventiliation. So the first night, I was freezing to death the entire night. I woke up several times and was freezing. So the next night, Crystal offered me to use one of their hot watter bottles and I accepted. After that night, I was hooked. It was so warm and comforting and brought me back to my rice bag days. :) (Nate hates my rice bags because he thinks they smell weird, so I don't use them much anymore.) I slept so good that night! So the rest of the nights, and even on Sunday during the day, I was carrying around that stupid little hot water bottle! It was like it was my blankey or my teddy bear that I couldn't be separated from. :) I think I need to get myself one of these...
I think I want to go back to Ireland again sometime but in a better month like May or June. It is so green there, even in January! I can't imagine how green it would be later on in the year. They call it the Emerald Isle for a reason. There are so many cute bed and breakfasts and quaint little towns. I think Ireland would be a great place to visit when you just need to slow down a bit and get out of the city. It would be fun to stay in a B&B and relax, while watching the sheep out of the window. It was nice to breathe in some fresh air, instead of the smokey London air that we breathe in all the time. Ireland is definitly much cleaner than where we live now. :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Tropicana Trafalgar Square

We got back from Ireland this morning around 10,
and I was excited to have the whole day off
before going back to work again the next day.
I cleaned up our house, did some dishes, unpacked, slept,
and then headed to the gym after a weekend full of food.
I needed to go desperately, even though I teach Zumba tonight.
On the way home, I saw this at Trafalgar Square.
There was this huge crane in the middle of the square
holding up a big yellowish orangish ball.
It was an advertisement for Tropicana orange juice.
The best part was that they were giving away free mini orange juice bottles!
Score!
I asked what they were going to do with the ball,
and the girl said,
"Tonight when it gets dark,
we are going to lift it up in the sky and it will glow and be really bright
and it will look like the sun."
I thought it seemed kind of funny
but was happy to get some free OJ out of it. :)
Thanks Tropicana for advertising right next to my house!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

"The Office"

The Office.
Now I have never gotten into this show ever, until we moved to London.
I always knew about it, heard people quote it, had friends that loved it,
watched bits and parts of episodes here and there,
but never fully got into it for myself.
I even acted out an Office episode for a BYU FHE movie activity
my Junior year, in the BYU Wilkinson Center.
But now, I am hooked.
Nate has his favorite toys here in London and they include:
A projector, Apple TV, jambox speaker, Netflix account, Itunes
So this allows us to have hours of entertainment right in our own room!
We actually have quite the set up.
We have a big white wall opposite of our bed
that is perfect for projecting movies and shows onto.
It is like we have our own little movie theater!
Nate and I have become quite fond of The Office.
We usually watch at least one 20 min episode a day,
but most times, after it is finished we say, "Let's watch one more!
They are only 20 minutes!"
Then after that one sometimes it is like....
"We gotta watch another one...watching 3 is only like watching an hour movie,
which would be a super short movie, so if you think of it that way, it is not that bad."
This usually makes for some pretty late nights for us.
Dang Office.
But we love it.
Nate recently watched an episode from the British Office TV Series,
but he said it wasn't as good.
My favorite parts of the show are the pranks that Jim pulls on Dwight,
Jim and Pam relationship drama, Kevin, and Kelly's total ditsy girl comments.
The whole show is hilarious.
I know I am a little behind the times with this since this show has been out forever now,
but if you haven't watched it,
you should.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Peanut Butter Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

For those of you that know me well,
you know that I love to cook and bake.
I have had a passion for it for years now.
My favorite books to read are cookbooks,
and my favorite blogs are the cooking blogs.
I came across an amazing recipe the other day that I think you all should try.
It is easy, warm, gooey, chocolaty, and heavenly.
It is a peanut butter hot fudge pudding cake.
And the best part is that it is made completely in the crock pot!
Something so easy never tasted this good.
Trust me.
This is worth every calorie!
INGREDIENTS:
Cake:
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ cup milk
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ cup smooth or chunky peanut butter
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
Topping:
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
¾ cup sugar
1 ½ cups boiling water
Vanilla ice cream for serving.
DIRECTIONS:
Coat a medium round or oval slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. (I have a medium oval sized one, and I doubled the recipe and it turned out great. It was a little full, but still worked fine.) In a medium size bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center, add the milk, oil, and vanilla, and stir, gradually incorporating the dry ingredients, until you have a smooth batter. Stir in the peanut butter. The batter will be thick. Stir in the chocolate chips. Spread evenly in the crock pot. To make the topping, in another medium-size bowl, combine the cocoa, and sugar; pour in the boiling water and whisk until smooth. Gently pour over the batter in the cooker; DO NOT STIR. Cover and cook on HIGH until puffed and the top layer is set, 2 to 2 ½ hours. Turn off the cooker and let it stand, covered for 30 minutes before serving. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Enjoy!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

What Do They Have in Common???

What do these two people (groups) have in common???


If you said, "They both sing." You are right.
If you said, "They both are Mormon or LDS." You are also right.
But the real answer is.....
they both bring people to the gospel and help in the conversion process.
Story #1-
There is a lady in my ward named Carol and she grew up in London. When she was young, around 15 years of age, she was obsessed with the Osmonds. She knew that they were Mormon, (members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints) so she looked up the closest Mormon church to her house and decided to go with a couple of other obsessed friends to the service on Sunday, to "meet the Osmonds." She thought that they would be at church, even though she lived in a different country than them. :) But she was bound and determined to meet them. When she got there, she didn't meet the Osmonds, but she met a set of young men that changed her life forever. The missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She talked with them and they told her more about the church. She started meeting with them regularly and taking the missionary lessons, and soon after she was baptized. Years later, she is still active and attending the Whitechapel ward in North London.
Story #2-
We had the missionaries over for dinner last night and they were telling us about some of the people that they are currently teaching. They told us about a girl named Caroline that is 19 and is meeting with them. Caroline is from London and she is obsessed with David Archuletta. She knew that David was Mormon and wanted to meet him very badly. So, she looked up the nearest Mormon church by her home and found out where to go, the Whitechapel ward in North London. She hoped that she could meet David Archuletta at the church there in London. Of course, she didn't end up meeting David there since he goes to the Mormon church in Murray, Utah, and not the one in North London, but she met two other young men that day that are now changing her life. She met the missionaries serving in that ward right now and she is currently taking the missionary lessons. She is loving what she is learning.
Conclusion:
-Carol and Caroline growing up both had a deep love for Mormon pop star singers.
-They both looked up the local churches in London and attended the Sunday service
in hopes of meeting their American Mormon pop star crush.
-They both either took or are currently taking the missionary lessons
from the missionaries and learned or are learning more about the gospel.
-And they both have similar names.....Carol and Caroline.
Crazy huh?
I thought so.
Too bad I didn't post this post on Friday the 13th.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Almost a Zumba Nightmare



I taught Zumba Monday and Thursday night this week at LA Fitness.
I also subbed for another class on Tuesday night.
On Thursday, I did my usual routine to get ready.
I got dressed, did my hair up, gathered my phone, bus pass, water bottle, and Ipod,
and rode the tube to Marylebone.
I got to the gym with about 5 mintues to spare.
People start flooding into my class.
You can tell it is January, because my classes have been extra packed lately.
There is probably close to about 50 people in there.
I plug in my Ipod into the sound system....
and I can't hear any music.
Nothing.
My Ipod won't even turn on. It has a completely black screen!
I knew it was charged because I checked it right before I left the house.
Panic starts to come over me as all the people are watching me and expecting a class.
I have thought about this situation before of having my music not work,
or forgetting my music and not realizing until I got there,
and it is one of my biggest nightmares.
It brought me back to the horrible day when I had to use CD's
last minute while subbing for a Zumba class at another gym.
That definitely was a Zumba nightmare!
If you didn't read that embarrassing post, you can read it here:
I didn't want to repeat another night like that.
It doesn't matter how good of a dancer I am,
or how much I smile and make them laugh,
without music, I am absolutely nothing when it comes to Zumba.
I check the lock button at the bottom. It is not locked.
I try to turn it on, thinking it just turned off. Nothing.
I briefly let the class know what is going on, and tell them that I will be right back.
I go find another employee at LA Fitness.
He says that he has a charger downstairs.
So we go to plug it into the charger. Nothing.
I am freaking out in my mind, but trying to keep cool.
It is now 5 minutes past the time that my class was supposed to start.
I go back upstairs about to tell them the bad news....
"So Sorry...class is cancelled for tonight because my Ipod broke." Lame.
Right before I am about to lay the bad news on them,
a girl comes up to me from the class and says that she thinks she knows how to fix it.
She said that the same thing happened to her
and she Googled what to do and it worked.
So she pressed some buttons and messed around with it,
and voila!
It turned on!
Seeing that white apple Mac icon was the best thing I had seen in a while.
The music started and the class went on!
I can't tell you how relieved I was.
Good thing that girl was in my class. :)
She saved me that day!
If you are wondering,
she said that all you do is hold the top and the middle button down at the same time,
for a long time, until it turns on.
Good thing we have Google in our lives....

Friday, January 13, 2012

4 Months!

Today I was at work and writing the date down on my timesheet

and I thought to myself....

Has it really been 4 months?

Yes.

Nate and I moved to London 4 months ago today.

My how time has flown by!

It has been a fun, crazy, stressful, adventurous, exciting, and memorable 4 months!

And we have loved it.

I started thinking about the day that we will leave this beautiful

part of the world and I started feeling homesick for it.

I made a goal to myself to soak up every minute that I can,

participate and do everything that there is to do,

and live every moment to the fullest,

because I know that soon, it will all feel like just a dream.


Why London? Here is the story of how it all happened:


On the weekend of April 9th, 2011, I was in Denver, CO for a teaching job interview in the state of Hawaii. Nate and I really want to move back to Hawaii sometime during our lives, and so I tried my hardest to get a teaching job there and to make that dream possible for us. Brent and Brenna Fowler were nice enough to let me stay at their home and spend the whole weekend with them. I had a blast and got to meet their new little son, Lincoln!

Meanwhile, Nate was at home in Provo. He felt a sore throat coming on so he decided to go to Macy's grocery store to get some OJ. While he was there, he ran into an old professor that he had from BYU Provo, Dr. Karey. Dr. Karey remembered Nate, and Nate remembered him and they began to chat. He wanted to know what Nate was up to and how things were going. During the conversation, he said to Nate, "Have you ever thought about applying to graduate school in the UK?" Nate said he hadn't and that the dates for applying were probably all past by then, plus he hadn't even taken the GRE exam. Dr. Karey explained that for the UK schools, that you don't need a GRE test score, but they just look at your grade point average, your personal statement, and 2 letters of recommendation.

I get a call from Nate late Saturday night. He told me about his encounter with Dr. Karey and that he thought he would apply and just see what happened. He knew his grade point average was high enough, and he had some professors in mind from BYU Hawaii that would be more than happy to write him a raving letter. And for the personal statement, well, lets just say that Nate definitely has a gift for writing, so this wasn't anything he was too concerned about. I thought to myself, London? That is crazy. It would be way fun, but it just seems a little too good to be true. It didn't seem like something that actually would happen, not that I was doubting Nate's capabilities by any means, but it just seemed like a dream or something.

So around the beginning/middle of May, Nate applied to 2 schools, The University of Edinburgh in Scotland, and The London School of Economics in London. We didn't hear back from them until mid June, but he ended up getting excepted to both schools! We were thrilled!

After much thought and prayer, considering the pros and cons, seeking advice from professors and others, Nate decided that LSE was the way to go. Dr. Karey replied to Nate's long email questioning what school to choose and he wrote back a three liner that read something like, "There are 2 different kinds of people in the world. Those that went to LSE and those that didn't. Definitely LSE." That confirmed our decision that LSE was the better choice for us. We were ecstatic. London! Here is come!

The next few months were busy, busy, busy. We drove to CDA for my family reunion at the condos, moved out of our Wymount apartment at the end of July, bought a locked enclosed trailer to store all of our stuff (except for the 2 big suitcases, 2 small suitcases, and 2 backpacks worth of stuff that we were taking with us to London....I felt like a missionary again!), finished Nate's boat project, finished up my tutoring job and Zumba jobs, moved into the Hembree's motorhome that was parked on the side of their house for 2 months, went on a motorhome trip with my parents for 2 weeks to AZ and CA, came back to the Hembrees, worked at Plato's in Layton, and then after packing, shopping, and organizing to get ready, we left early in the morning on the 13 of September to London! It was a wild ride!


I remember when we first got here, we were so overwhelmed. We jumped from hotel to hotel, dragging our luggage all around the city, and then lived with Bishop Stephenson and his family for a week. There were days that we were very discouraged and totally dejected. It was a struggle to get anything done in this new country. It was crazy how hard getting a bank account, signing up for cell phone plans, and finding housing was. And we didn't have Internet access for the first week or so, so we were constantly lost and couldn't look things up to help ourselves. Finding housing was a nightmare, and after looking at tons of places, having the place that we liked fall through because it wasn't going to be ready until 2 weeks after we had planned, we were blessed to be selected from the LSE housing waiting list and given a place last minute. What a huge blessing for us. It couldn't have come at a better time. After we finally moved into our place and got settled, things started feeling more comfortable and like normal life. I remember that first week or so when Nate started classes and was gone most of the day and I was home alone. I remember lying in bed, feeling sick to my stomach knowing that I was going to have to go out there alone, in a huge city that I wasn't familiar with, figure out where I was going, get lost, get lost again, figure out my way home...get lost another time, etc... I was completely stripped from any comfort zone that I ever once had!


But now life is great. We are so blessed. It is amazing how things have worked out so well for us. We were truly guided here to London. I finally got my American police check sent back to me (after waiting 3 months) and am working full time now as a supply teacher. Nate loves school and is having lots of great experiences. I am teaching Zumba twice a week at LA Fitness and loving it! Nate is taking French language classes....Bonjour! We have made so many great friends and met so many people from all over the world. We live in downtown London, as central as you could possibly get, and it is so much fun! We have trips planned to Ireland, Scotland, Paris, Southern France, Spain, and Wales in the next coming months which we are stoked about! It is so fun living so close to so many different countries and to travel to them so cheaply! Plus, we have our supportive ward family here that loves and supports us as well as amazing family at home that pray for us daily. And of course we have each other! We have definitely grown closer together throughout this whole experience. We are on the adventure of our lives and we love it.

I hope the next 6 months will slow down a little because we don't want this chapter of our lives to end......

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Little Bachelor History

Some of you may know that one of my guilty pleasures in life is
watching "The Bachelor," and "The Bachelorette."
I have to admit that I am quite the fan.
I rarely miss an episode.
The last episodes that I my missed were not my fault
because I was on my mission.
But other than that, I am devoted.
Actually, towards the end of my mission,
I made a goal not to watch any reality TV anymore
because I thought it was too worldly
and knew I could fill my time with better things.
This lasted for not very long.....
and then that goal went out the window
and there I was, hooked again.
Now this is not something that I am extremely proud of,
nor something that I am really that ashamed of.
I know it isn't the most wholesome or inspiring thing to watch,
but I do find joy in watching it.
I think we all could use a little addicting silly TV show
every once in a while, right?
I have fond memories when it comes to watching this show:
Watching and snuggling up on the couch with my dog Chloe, watching with my mom and sisters and discussing our thoughts throughout the show, heading down to the lounge Freshman year at BYU while living in DT planning to watch it with just a few people and then finding a whole room full of Bachelor fans from my dorm, watching in Jackson Hole Wyoming late at night online because I missed the actual show on TV because of play practices, discussing with my mom and sisters our thoughts on the phone after watching an episode, missing several episodes on my mission but reading my mom's letters with occasional Bachelor updates from the current season (haha), watching in Hawaii with a bunch of girl friends while eating Acai bowls, watching it with my cousins, mom, sisters, and nieces at the condos in A1, watching and snuggling up with Nate before we were married and breaking him into the show since he had never seen it, watching it with Nate at Wymount every Tuesday night online while snuggling on the lovesac and eating some homeade treat...
The list could go on forever.
Now I am creating even more fun Bachelor memories here in London.
Every Tuesday night, I stroll on over to Heather's flat
and we watch it together with a group of girls from the ward!
And the Bachelor memories continue to go on.
I'm glad I'm not the only Bachelor addict in the London area...
I thought it would be fun to take an overview look
of all the Bachelor's from the previous seasons.
There have been 16 Bachelor seasons, but only 15 bachelors.
Why?
Because Brad Womack came back for a 2nd try.
So here they are.....all 15 bachelors.
#1- Alex Michel
This is the man who started it all!
Not that good looking I don't think.
#2- Aaron Buerge
#3- Andrew Firestone
#4- Bob Guiney
#5- Jesse Palmer
#6- Byron Velvick
#7- Charlie O'Connell
#8- Travis Stork
(Former boyfriend of Carrie Underwood)
#9- Prince Lorenzo Borghese
#10- Andy Baldwin
#11- Brad Womack
#12- Matt Grant
#13- Jason Mesnick
#14- Jake Pavelka
I'd have to say that he is my favorite, even though
I think he was a complete idiot for choosing Vienna
over the sweetest girl in the world, Tenley.
Bad choice, that's for sure.
#15- Brad Womack....again.
And announcing the new Bachelor for 2012....
#16- Ben Flajnik
(Honestly, I don't see what the big deal is....
So he owns a winery?
So what?
And I think he could use a haircut...)
Who is your favorite???
Happy Bachelor-ing Everybody! :)