"To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter... to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird's nest or a wildflower in spring - these are some of the rewards of the simple life. "
Today began in the country. Kent to be specific. I could have stayed there for the rest of my life and been perfectly content. immediately stepping off the train into quaint kent, you could smell a difference. the air was fresh, clean. no smoke, no smogg. just fresh.
Before the country though, there was the train. sad series of events. i left my tickets at home, and didnt realize until we were half way there. so i had to buy new ones. my card wouldnt work. cali bought them for me. 14 pounds later im on the train. to later find out rodger had an extra ticket in case someone forgot. and no one ever came to check. it was an expensive lesson to learn. but it could have been worse. the train ride was grand. i slept like a baby the whole way.
|waiting for the train. lauren, chelsey, me, and cali. i sure do like the people on our program.|
|while waiting for the train i got sick of holding my bag. in the process of setting it down it got stuck on my bum. yes it is true, i have a large enough bum to hold bag with no hands. embarassing.|
we got there and George (i think his name was george- it was the same guy who gave the devotional on war in london) was waiting with two of his brothers and a grandson to take us on our walk through kent. they were the cutest old men i have met in my life! they helped us cross the street and would tease us. loved them.
|Our trusty tour guide, George and Rodger.|
the walk started through the town. the cottages were the cutest things i have ever seen. Chelsey and I were talking how we wanted to come back to Kent at Christmas time and sit by a fire reading a book, sipping hot chocolate. think the Holiday (the movie) and you have kent. the first stop was supposed to be a castle to eat lunch but unfortunately it was closed due to vandalism. dumb vandals. but we instead went down by the river to eat lunch and it was absolutely perfect.
|eating with our legs hanging over the edge. perfect.|
|our lunch buddies. they enjoyed our bread. hobnobs. and anything else. i was tempted to throw some jalapeno cheese but realized that might be a little mean.|
while we sat and ate i talked with one of George's brothers- Ron, maybe. He tested me on my history, and the whole time i flew by the seat of my pants praying i would know the answer. first question. where was your president born. thank you news on the way to london. hawaii. what other historical even happened there? pearl harbor- december 7th i think. phew. what was the name of the main ship? uhh...USS...arizona? thank you US History for being stored way back in my mind.
the weather was beautiful but fickle. one moment it would be as sunny as could be, the next moment a nice england rain. i loved it.
after lunch we continued walking and ended up and an old roman villa. it was excavated and you could go inside and they had an exhibition on it. it was fun to look at, but after being in rome it wasnt anything too special. it was fun to read about roman life though.
|ashlee, elly, and i made mosaics using tiles|
|kiersten dressed up in roman clothing|
|and cali and i learned how to play a game. after finally figuring it our, and just starting to enjoy it we got scared that we would be left. but no worries we will make our own board and play some other time and it shall be epic.|
The walk continued. the countryside was absolutely amazing. rolling hills. green everywhere with dabs of colored flowers. i loved it. i wish a camera could accurately capture the beauty.
|while walking we came across some horses. they came up to the fence and we were able to pet them. carley had carrots on her so she fed one of the horses. she was the cutest thing ever.|
|a little bit down the road was this guy. a mix between cow and horse? i think so. i think his name should be monet. pronouced moooo-neigh. badumbchu|
|a duck under a barbed wire fence and the field was all yours. i just wanted to stay and soak in everything but the walk continued on. i|
|which was okay because we passed cool castles|
|and went into a shop that sold lavender ice cream- supposedly in tasted like pouporii. but they had this metal heart decoration that i loved. but didnt get. it was so very lovely.|
|the whole shop was filled with lavender. as we walked there were fields and fields of lavender. so beautiful.|
|cali in the beautiful countryside|
|making a wish. this guy was tricky. when you first blew nothing happened. it took a good deal of lung power to get the seeds to fly away.|
it was so peaceful to just sit and think in this old church. as i sat pondering i couldnt help but think how grateful i am for the restoration and for joseph smith. for the knowledge we have because a fourteen year old boy gave a humble prayer. as a sat thinking i could hear rodger and george talking behind me about having us sing a hymn. they then turned to who to have lead. i braced myself. five seconds later i heard my name. we sang four songs as a group. because i have been given much, i need thee every hour, i know that my redeemer lives, and the spirit of god. it was such an amazing experience standing at the front of this old old chapel singing these hymns. The sound was beautiful, and it was so peaceful. i was so grateful for that experience.
sadly, the time came to an end and we headed home. following suit i slept on the way home. when i woke up i made eye contact with rodger to which he said ellie's awake. and then continued to comment that i had been bobbing. im a head bobber. its the worst. i think i need to do neck exercises because i cant support my head while sleeping.
we made it home and quickly ate and got ready to go to the ballet, Manon, at the Royal Opera House. The ballet was wonderful. The group was Cami, Ashlee, Lauren, and me. our tickets were all spread out so we could get the cheapest tickets. only 6 pounds! but we were the luckiest. my original seat (or place to stand because it was a standing spot) was awful. my short stature made it so i couldnt see a thing. i had been over talking with cami and lauren before going to my seat. and lauren came and told me that there was an open seat next to her because a woman's daughter couldnt come. the seat was grand. it was the absolute last row but dead center so you could see everything perfectly. at the interval we all moved down to where ashlee was because there were three open seats next to her, and then right as the lights went down we moved down three rows where there were 4 open seats. so 4 different seats in one performance. not too shabby. the performance itself was absolutely amazing. i love the ballet. the dancers were wonderful, and make it all look so easy. i was scared that the 3 hour performance would be boring. after all there are no words and it is just classical music the entire time, but i was enthralled. there was always so much going on on stage, and you were constantly trying to figure out what was going on (we didnt buy a program that had the synopsis in it, at the first interval i talked with an usher to make sure we had figured out who everyone was and how they were related correctly...we had) the time flew, and the story was understood. it was a sad one. at one point a gun is fired and i nearly jumped a mile. it took a good five minutes to get my heart rate back to normal. it was just so fun to be at the ballet, we all got dressed up, and i felt so proper and cultured. i loved it.
|before leaving for the ballet. ashlee, lauren, me, and cami.|
|new seat next to lauren. so excited for the show.|
|joining ashlee during the first interval.|
|the royal opera house was absolutely beautiful. also i have decided that i will have a daughter who is a ballerina. yep. its the truth.|
the end of an amazing day.