The time has come. Or I guess I should say the time has gone. I've eaten my last lunch, taken my last shower, and spent my last pound... and in under 24 hours now I'll be on a plane back to the United States. 

The last four months have been some of the most amazing of my life! I've learned so much, made amazing friends, and had seen incredible sights. However, I'm also extremely excited to get back to America and see my family and home again. Can you imagine how conflicted my feelings are right now?? I'm sad, happy, satisfied, and amazed all at the same time! These conflicting feelings are the inspiration behind my last blog. Here goes nothing!
What I’ll miss about London:
16.Well-behaved Dogs that can go anywhere
15. Going to class in my pajamas
14. Cobblestone streets (that you have to look at while you walk so you don't trip)
13. Heather squeaking on the bed above me that keeps me up all night
12. Glen the Bus Driver
11. Having a pocket full of change worth more than a $10 bill
10. Waking up to heather’s books, letters, and who knows what underneath me
9. Frog Yogurt
8. My Primary kids singing “Scripture Power”
7. Walking miles everyday through the sites of London
6. Hyde Park
5. Markets – Borough, CamdenSloan Square, and Portobello
4. Yogurt Covered Banana Chips
3. “Please Mind the Gap between the train and the platform”
2. Doing workouts in the Classroom with Haley, Elise, Paige, and Shelbi.
1. Spending every second of every day with the amazing friends I’ve made here

And while there are MANY more things I'm going to miss about this wonderful place, it does have a few downsides that I'm happy to leave behind. 

What I most definitely WON'T miss about London:
10. The horribly high conversion rate
9. European gum
8. Not being able to curl my hair because of the humidity
7. Paying to use the bathroom
6. Sharing one shower with 12 girls
5. Using the same purse and coat every day
4. Leaving 2 hours early for church to get there on time
3. Going out to eat with 10 people and having to figure out how to pay for it because they won't split the check for you
2. Having 2 faucets in the bathroom - one with ice cold water and the other scalding hot. NO HAPPY MEDIUM!
1. Our disgusting fridge crammed full of 40 testco bags making it nearly impossible to find any of your food

Now, a list to please my feelings of satisfaction and amazement.

What I’ve learned from my adventures:
5. I like White chocolate a lot more than milk
4. Contrary to popular belief, British Men aren’t very attractive at all
3. How to fall asleep while 12 other girls are screaming and laughing
2. Ryanair has the worst customer service on earth
1. .... and here's a shout out to Haley Walker first...OH BABY, I have Bieber fever!!

Last, but not least, my feelings of excitement!

What I’m excited to see/do/have/use when I get home!:
16. My closet of clothes
15. Driving. Even if it is my old green mini van. Actually, ESPECIALLY my old green mini van!
14. Using an outlet without a converter
13. Parking lots (No, they don't have them over here. Even small ones.)
12. Free public toilets in places other than just McDonald's 
11. My own bedroom and space
10. Not having to microwave my eggs
9. Internet access that isn’t bipolar
8. Real salads (not a bowl of lettuce)
7. Drivers that give pedestrians the Right of way
6. Costco
5. Mexican Food - aka Cafe Rio
4. My mom’s cooking (Notice the pattern of good food here at the top of the list. London is NOT known for good food)
3. THE SUN. I miss him so. 
2. My sister's engagement ring
1.5. My sister's body attached to that engagement ring
1. My family and their amazing humor, love, spirit, and craziness!

Well. London, it's been grand! I'll never forget this past semester. Until next time. 

Kaylee Joy - OVER AND OUT.


London Liebt Lisa!

My last weekend in London had to be a special one. So what do I do?? Why, invite Lisa to come stay with me of course!!

Lisa was our foreign exchange student during my senior year of high school and is from Germany. When we both found out that I was coming to study in London, we immediately started talking about how we HAD to see each other. Too often in life plans like this are made and then sadly never happen. But not this time!! I am here to report that Lisa has now come and gone. We spent a wonderful weekend together and now she’s currently flying back to Germany. What adventures did we have, you ask? Read on.

She got in late Thursday night and somehow navigated her way to her hostel by herself. She wasn’t allowed to stay in the center with me, so I just met her on Friday morning in the lobby of her hostel. Lisa and I have a tradition of shopping together... and what better place to do it than in London?!? We went to Oxford Street right away and left about 8 hours later. Talk about shop till you drop! I introduced Lisa to the wonders of Primark, Topshop, etc. She’s hooked. We took a little break at Bella Italia for lunch, but other than that we went crazy.

Friday night we went on a walk around Buckingham Palace and St. James Park. My favorite was when we came back and decided to watch Tangled. We were all SUPER excited and Lisa’s reaction was something like, “I always watched movies in American and then I come home and never watch them. Now I’m with Americans again… I guess you guys just love movies!” Her assumptions were 100% correct. We love movies. Especially cute animated princess love stories that make you laugh and cry.

Saturday we woke up and went to the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace and then to Camden Market. I’d been to Camden before, but had NO CLUE how big it was! It’s about 8 times bigger than I realized. It was awesome! We basically spent another 5 hours shopping. Best part of the day: we bought matching Baby Voodoo Dolls.

Saturday night I took her to Frog. What is frog? Only my favorite frozen yogurt place in London. Geez I’m glad we still have frozen yogurt in America. Or I’d miss it greatly. Luckily, it’s actually a lot cheaper and better in America.

Sunday while I went to church Lisa went shopping AGAIN!! When I got back we went to Hyde Park and relaxed in the warm sun. I felt like I was at a swimming pool – it was SO crowded! Perfect for people watching though. Which we both love.

I guess you could easily sum up my weekend with two words: Lisa and shopping. In other words, it was perfect in every way!!

 Walking through St. James Park
 This telephone pole has a PERFECT location, but it smelt of urine and throw up. If you were wondering. 
 Changing of the Guard
 Aka watching two guards march for a few feet in front of a Palace. 
 Camden Market
Stunna shades!


Futball: The original name for the sport, "soccer".

For all you futball lovers out there: be jealous.

Tuesday night we had tickets to go to the England vs. Ghana game at the Wembley Stadium. Yes, Wembley. I was so incredibly excited. It was one of those excitements that only grew as we got closer to the stadium until finally I rounded the corner and looked down on the field. It literally took my breath away! The screaming fans only added to the atmosphere. I had forgotten how much I LOVE soccer! Ahem… futball.

The game wasn’t anything special. Oh wait.. except for the professional players, massively cool stadium and crazy fans part. England scored in the first half and held it at 1-0 for ALMOST the entire game. This is where the moral comes in.

I really don’t like leaving early for games. I think it stems from BYU football.. but when the game isn’t going so good and half the stadium gets up to leave in the third quarter, it just gets under my skin. So when everyone (meaning the Americans from OUR program) got up and started leaving when there were 10 minutes left I was appalled! Okay, not really. But there was no way I was leaving with them. In the end there were 6/44 that stayed.

In the last minute of the game Ghana scored. You would have thought Ghana had won the world cup! The entire Ghana section went INSANE!! It was so fun. Anway, back to the moral. The 6 of us were SO excited. The game was going to go into overtime and.. well that’s just exciting. We also may have taken pleasure in the fact that everyone who left would miss it. But we’re evil like that. So we freak out with Ghana.. which confuses everyone around us because we’d been cheering for England the entire time..  and wait for the exciting overtime.

Guess what?? No overtime. The game ended 1-1.

Moral of the story: Never leave a game early. You never know when the underdog will come back, tie the game up, and then shatter your excitement by leaving the score tied.

Side moral: Being cool and staying until the end of the game earns you an added reward of increased traffic and crowds.

Being in the Wembley Stadium was probably one of my favorite single things I’ve done this whole trip. THAT is how amazing it was. Why can’t America get with the program and realize how AWESOME soccer is??

Oh, and I’ve decided I’m going to Brazil in 2014 for the World Cup. Anyone is welcome to join me! 


Friends, Family, Londoners, Lend me your ears!

The months I had here are turning into weeks. And those weeks are quickly becoming days! I can't believe I've already been in London for 3 months. These next 2 and a half weeks I'm going to do everything I can to A, see and do everything I possibly can and B, not get trunky. Which is not going to be easy. While I've LOVED it here, there are definite things about America that I simply can't wait to get home to. So I refuse to think about them right now.

Last Friday we went to Stratford upon Avon to visit Shakespeare's birthplace. It was about a 2 hour drive from London and then we spent the afternoon there and went to the Royal Shakespeare Company's performance of King Lear. First of all, Shakespeare's house was amazing. I think I was mostly astounded that a 500 year old house could look as new as it did. Also... isn't it amazing how similar their lives were to ours? I mean, the house was a LOT like something you would find today, just minus the technology stuff. We do basically the same things they were doing 500 years ago! We've progressed so much, but in a lot of ways we're exactly the same.

After visiting the house we walked up to see Shakespeare's grave at the local church. Just our luck, we got there at 4:43 and the gate had closed at 4:40. We still got to walk around the graveyard, but his actual tombstone was inside the church out of sight. So I can ALMOST say that I saw where Shakespeare is buried. I saw the building?

The performance of King Lear that night was amazing. Very long and very hard to understand, but very well done. King Lear and Edgar both go insane and the actors were SOOO good. If someone told me they were actually insane I wouldn't doubt them for a second. It might have been slightly awkward when they were practically naked running around stage, but such is Shakespeare. Most of the time I didn't know what was going on until the end of the scene.

Yesterday for Lit class we went to a graveyard. We read The Graveyard Book for class, so in its honor we held class in an old graveyard. I have some SWEET pictures. It was hands down the creepiest coolest graveyard ever.

Today Paige and I went to the Imperial War Museum. There are all sorts of displays dedicated to the World Wars, but we focused on WWII and the Holocaust. The Holocaust display was so moving. There was so much information about the horrors that went on that I found myself having to skip over sections because I couldn't handle it. In reading about one of the camps there was a section dedicated to how they burned the jews and took their clothing and I had to walk away. The Holocaust is such a horrible thing and seeing so much of the evidence was frightening. There were pictures of the victims everywhere, statistics of deaths and camps, newspaper articles, clothing gathered from the abandoned camps, and videos of survivors. One thing i read really moved me for some reason and I wrote it down:

"An SS Non-commissioned officer gave the order: "Men to the Left! Women to the Right!" Eight words spoken quietly, indifferently, without emotion. Eight short, simple words. Yet that was the moment when I parted from my mother. - Elie Wiesel, Auschwitz survivor

Accounts like this were everywhere. There was an entire wall dedicated to the words of actual soldiers who were the ones inflicting the pain. I couldn't believe what THEY even went through having to shoot, gas, and harm the Jews. Many of them didn't want to do what they were doing. It was so tragic to read.

As I went to the museum today I felt so strongly the importance of letting this history live on. The Holocaust and horrible things that went on just 70 years ago need to be remembered and prevented. It's the least we can do for those 6 million people who lost their lives.

 Imperial War Museum
 This was a list of all of the different cities and how many people were executed from each one. I was amazed at how many were killed before the concentration camps even began. 
 The entire first floor had huge tanks, bombs, missiles, and war jeeps on display. Oh and there were massive fighter planes hanging from the ceiling!
 If it offends you to think that I sat in a throne that was actually somebody's tombstone, this was photoshopped. If not... that's exactly what I did. 

 Epitome of cool, creepy graveyard? Most definitely. 
 This is probably the portal into some freaky zombie land. So, naturally, I strike a pose. 
 This is in Trafalgar square. It's a countdown until the 2012 London Olympics. This picture was taken on Saturday when there were 489 days, 5 hours, 16 minutes and 16 seconds left!
Basking in the glory of Shakespeare!
500 years and still goin' strong!


Where Poppies Blow

For some reason the French are willing to let anyone into their county while the English make everyone go through an interrogation just to visit. Why is this?! We didn’t even have to get our passports out to cross the English Channel TO France, but coming home was a different story. It’s like that every time. Ah, well. Next time I need to worry about my passport will be on my flight back to the states anyway!

We crossed the English Channel via Ferry. Our bus just drove straight onto the ferry, we waited 2 hours, and we were in a different country! (I actually don’t know WHICH county it was, because we immediately kept driving for 2 hours.. All I know is that we eventually got out in Belgium.)

Funny side note: Remember my trip to Dover awhile back when we didn’t get to see the castle because we got the time wrong? Well, the Ferry left from Dover again. Turns out our 9:40 Ferry was cancelled and we had to wait until 10:40. Dover just isn’t our place apparently.

We got to Brugge, Belgium about mid-afternoon and had the day to explore. Brugge is absolutely adorable! It is a classic little Belgium town with the cute stepped-roof houses along every street and courtyards with cobblestone and horse pulled wagons everywhere. Lining every street are DOZENS of little chocolate shops selling the most beautiful chocolates in the world! Seriously – chocolate is a form of art. I never knew you could do so many different things with it. Needless to say, we all immediately fell in love.

We did a boat tour through the town first and where able to enjoy the town’s charm while floating down the town’s river/canal. Then we ate at the cutest restaurant, stopped to buy souvenirs (aka - Belgium Chocolate). The next morning we went to a chocolate museum first thing in the morning. Everything in the museum is made of chocolate and you just walk around licking the walls. It sounds disgusting, but the taste is so good you don’t mind swapping a few germs.

Okay, that was a lie. The museum just told the history of chocolate basically. Did you know the cocoa bean used to be a form of currency? I decided that in my quest to create a world-wide currency I’m going to take that up again. Apparently it only cost 10 cocoa beans for a dead rabbit. That sold me. I love dead rabbits.

After a delicious lunch of Belgium waffles (Sweet, right?) and an enjoyable afternoon in a Brugge square, we headed to Leper for the In Flanders Fields Museum. I was super excited for this because the song In Flanders Fields was a very special one to me as I sung it through high school with my choirs. It definitely lived up to my expectations. The museum took you through WWI and everything that happened to the soldiers. I felt such a reverence and was moved to tears multiple times. The most touching story was about the Christmas Truce. I’d heard the story before, but it was so different reading about it there. I read pages of accounts from soldiers about how both sides ceased fire for Christmas and joined together as brothers to celebrate. The poem In Flanders Fields was displayed in the middle of the museum. While the poem has always meant so much to me because of the song, I have  complete new respect for it now. The men that fought in those poppy fields were sacrificing so much and went through amazingly terrible things.

The rest of the trip was centered on WWI. We stayed in the French town Amiens Tuesday night and on Wednesday went to a battlefield where actual fighting took place. The trenches have been preserved so that we could see both sides lines as well as no-man’s land. Our guide spent about an hour and a half walking around with us and explaining what the soldiers would have been going through.

The trip was full of fun as well as reverence. While Brugge was pure enjoyment, Amiens and Leper taught me a lot about the First World War and what went on. It’s impossible to choose just one, but easily this trip was one of my all time favorites. 

 Standing on a Brugge bridge! The canal behind me is the one we went boating down.
 The stepped-roof houses were the cutest things.. I honestly felt like they too cute to be real. We could have been standing in a studio surrounded by perfectly painted backdrops.

 This was one of the town-squares that we spent a lot of our time in. 
 Chocolate Museum!
 Here's the square from a different angle... I guess I really liked this square. Another thing I loved about it was that there were hardly any cars anywhere. Everyone rode bikes or just walked.

I know this doesn't show you at all what the museum was actually like. Proof I was there maybe?

 These are the trenches from WWI that are still at the site today. In some parts you couldn't even see over the top they were so tall. 
 Our guide explained to us that each soldier's stone was exactly the same size no matter what rank, nationality, or name he had. There were also some tombs with 2 soldier's names on them because they had died so close to each other they had to be buried together. 
 Just to the right of the flag is a little piece of metal. That's a piece of shell that is still in the field. There are still tons of shrapnel and shells that never went off buried out in the trenches and fields. 
Everything about the museum just amazed me. What they went through, the fact that they dug the trenches, how they fought, how they died, and then how they are honored. I'm so glad I had the opportunity to visit battlefields and museums where I could develop a greater appreciation for WWI and the soldiers that fought through it. 


Luck o' the Irish!

Someone told me once that they drink green beer in Ireland on St. Patty’s day. I was all excited to actually be THERE on March 17th and see for myself. Sadly, I still have no clue if that is a myth of not. I guess I forgot to take into account that I don’t spend much time in pubs to observe the color of other people’s beer.

We flew into Ireland on Tuesday in the wee hours of the morning and the first thing we did was go to a beer museum. Ever heard of Guiness? Well I’ve toured their first factory. It was pretty hilarious having a group of BYU kids tour a beer factory. The tour included a free drink at the end and the workers were kinda confused as we asked for waters and cokes instead of beer. The tour was pretty cool though. I learned a bunch of useless information about how they make beer. Apparently women get drunk twice as fast as men because we’re smaller and have more fat on our bodies. Good to know.

Tuesday night we all ate at the oldest pub in Ireland. The Brazenhead Pub. The food was DELICIOUS. Once again, I think we amuse people when none of drink any alcohol. Wednesday we were given the entire day to do whatever we wanted. So we roamed Dublin all day! We visited the “biggest city park in Europe”, went to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, a little market, a street festival, and shopped for fun souvenirs. Wednesday night is when weird St. Patty’s stuff started showing up. This city goes CRAZY for St. Patrick’s day. There was green everywhere, carnivals, street performers, and then just weirdos. I saw people walking around dressed like swans, chickens, and foxes. What do those have to do with St. Patrick’s Day? Beats me.

The dancing in the square on Wednesday night was super fun. A huge stage was set up in the middle of the street with a live band playing Irish Music. Then they’d have different dance instructor people teach the crowd different Irish Dances. I wish I could say I’m now the master of the river dance, but alas. I would basically just kick and swing around because I never had any idea what was going on.

Thursday was the big day. St. Patrick’s. We all of course had to get dressed up in everything green we had, paint our faces, die our hair, etc. etc. in order to fit in. Green was EVERYWHERE! It was totally awesome. I’m used to St. Patrick’s Day being an extremely small holiday that just gives kids an excuse to pinch each other. Not in Ireland. There was a parade through the center of town that was supposed to start at noon and we had to sit in our places at 10. We sat there for over 2 hours and then when the parade did start, it lasted about an hour and a half. Now, I’ve seen many a parade in my day. Mostly St. George Utah style. This parade was unlike any parade I’ve ever seen. It was probably the creepiest thing in the entire world and still haunts my dreams. Nothing seemed to have anything to do with St. Patrick’s day. Every float was some really creepy looking giant villainous animal. We just stood there for 2 hours wondering who on earth put this insane parade together and what kind of drugs they were on.

We spent the afternoon wandering the streets and enjoying the celebrations everywhere and then left for Kilkenny. That’s where we stayed on Thursday night and explored on Friday morning. They have a sweet castle that we toured with beautiful grounds. Then on the way back to Dublin to catch our flight on Friday night we stopped in Cashel. There was a giant Abbey/Cathedral/ruin thing that was awesome. In the spirit of the week I even got a grass stain jumping off one of the walls! Staining my pants green just to show a little St. Patty’s pride. That’s true Irish devotion for ya.

In conclusion: where on earth were all the leprechauns, rainbow, and pots of gold? I clearly need to do some more research on this whole St. Patty's day thing, because maybe America has the wrong idea. Maybe swans, foxes, and chickens are where it's at. 

 Haley and I drinking our beer at the Guinness Tour House. A little sour for my liking, but overall good quality. 
 This was at the "biggest city park in Europe" that I mentioned. The big stone tower behind me is called the Wellington Monument... and I have no idea what it's for.
 Someone please tell me why on earth you'd dress up like a fox and go out dancing in the streets for St. Patrick's Day?!? 
 Yes. Sharon and I wore Shamrock covered boxers over our pants. 
 This is us waiting for the disturbing parade to begin. 
 I took TONS of pictures during the Parade so that I'd be able to prove how insane it was. Unfortunately, I can't show you all of the floats, but here are some. Pictured above: creepy black dog of death.
 This is a giant cockroach. GIANT COCKROACH!! In my mind, enlarging the nastiest insect ever to walk the earth and marching it down the middle of the street is NOT something I wait 2 hours to see. But maybe I'm crazy.
 This is a band. Of Moose skeletons. Kinda cool... in a creepy way of course.
 It took us a minute to realize what this was. This is a bird carrying a dead dog in its talons.
 I call this one CLIFFORD WITH RABIES. 
 Ramzi, Sharon and I at the Cathel Rocks in Cathel. 
 Jumping down from this wall is how I got my grass stain. (Might I add that Ramzi was too chicken to jump and climbed back down the baby way.)
 I wish you could see this picture better. My eyes reflected and look completely white. It definitely adds to the mummy/"raising from the dead to haunt you" feeling. 
This was my favorite picture of the entire trip, so I had to include it. Ramzi struggles a wee bit.


Spoon me.

Our road trips are coming to an end! We only have two left now – Ireland this week and France/Belgium the next. Last night we got back from a 3 day trip to Wales.

We left Thursday morning and drove 4 hours on the bus to an unknown city. Maybe if I had been awake for any part of the bus ride I would know! But alas. Sadly I don’t think I could tell you what direction Wales is from us. I know it’s north, but that’s about it. I just get on the bus, sleep, and get off when I’m told.

Anyway. I digress.

At the unknown city we picked up a tour guide who we spent the next four hours with going to church history sites. He talked to us all about the first members of the church in Wales. The Benbow Farm, if you’ve heard of it… we went there. It sounded painfully familiar to me, so I’m thinking maybe it’s some huge church site that I really should have been more impressed with?

That night we actually stayed in Northern England at a Hostel. The highlight of the evening was when we found a book “So you Think You Know Harry Potter?” It had 1000 trivia questions about HP. My dream book. This was one of the hard questions: "What was the password to get into the Prefect bathroom?" If you know THAT, you are a true HP fan. 

Friday we drove to Wales and went to the Big Pit first. It’s an old coal mine that they’ve shut down and now just use as a museum/tour place. We got to put on legit mining hats and gear and go deep down in the mine! The craziest part was when our guide had us all turn off our head lights. He wanted us to see how dark it was for the little 6 year old boys who worked in the mine. I have NEVER experienced such pure blackness before. I couldn’t see my hand 3 inches from my eyes! (Which I realize isn’t all that impressive considering I was wearing black gloves…)  But you could feel the darkness it was so intense. It was really cool to learn about the conditions in the mines and how things worked. The horses apparently had to live down in the mine 50 weeks of the year! Sad, huh?? Oh and our guide made us all sing our National Anthem before he would lift us up to ground level again. We sounded glorious FYI.

Friday night and Saturday we stayed in Cardiff and were left to explore. My favorite part was roaming on Saturday morning. We found a market! If you’ve been reading my blogs AT ALL you will know that in the past few weeks I’ve developed a love for markets and their nuts. There is always a stand of nuts where you can buy all sorts of candied nuts and stuff that are SO GOOD. I bought 3.50 worth of almonds, cashew, and yogurt-covered bananas. Best purchase of the trip. Hands down. I tried to eat them slowly so they’d last all day… but I failed miserably. They were gone in 20 minutes. I’ve decided that I may go to a market here in London the day before I come home and purchase every yogurt covered dried banana there. That way I can have at least a 3 day supply until I can find some back in America

The Benbow Farm. Lots of cool history about the Benbow family, but mostly i was just reminded why I can't ever live on a farm. It smelt SO bad. SOO bad. 
An alley we walked down to get to one of the church history sites. Mostly I just wanted you all to see how cute Haley, Sharon and I look from behind. 
Haley and I in front of a church we visited. I wish I could tell you more about it.... I wasn't listening to our tour guide.
We hiked to the top of a hill and it was so windy. The wind could almost held my body weight! Apparently it isn't always windy though because Wilford Woodruff used to hike up there to meditate when he was a missionary in England. 
Tintern Abbey
Charlie's Angels meet Tintern Abbey Ruins. 

This went better in my mind. It's supposed to look super cool and hip. Oh well. 
I think the way we all posed says a lot about our personalities. Sharon is doing some flamingo bird thing, I'm masculinely pointing off into the distance, and Haley... looks like she needs to go to the bathroom. Or like the next Marilyn Monroe. Take your pick.
We mine coal. 
So there is this Welsh Spoon tradition that I fell in love with. Boys used to carve spoons for girls they were interested in or in love with. If the girl accepted it, it meant she returned his feelings and they courted. They were called Lovespoons. Apparently this is where the term "spooning" originates. So there were wooden spoons everywhere with different symbols in them that meant different things. This was only part of what a shop claimed was the biggest love spoon ever. 
My game face. Bring it on Under Armor.
This was the massive jumprope... easily 100 lbs. Give or take a few. 
Sharon and I with our yogurt covered dried bananas!!!! Point for Wales.