After obtaining an adequate chicken and pasta meal for lunch and waiting for the other girls to leave the grocery store, I noticed three boys with the youngest of them perched on top of his brother's shoulders. The child held a green tyrannosaurus rex plastic figure in his hand. The trio passed by me and as I watched them walk down the sidewalk, I notice the child thrusting the dinosaur towards stranger's faces and yelling, "Rawrrrr!" And then turning the other direction and doing the same thing. It was quite amusing.
Today was my first day of class! It was a lot to cover, but I think I'm retaining a lot it already. Whoohoo!
So on Monday we left Dublin really early to ferry over to Wales. I usually love ferries, but after getting up so early, I just slept the whole two hour ride across the Irish sea.
Ireland reminded me of Oregon, but I felt like Wales WAS Oregon. When we needed a coach break, Katelyn and I walked through Snowdonia National Park. There was moss and pines and brown and green! I loved it. We traveled along a river for a while until we found this ladder that went over a stone wall. Of course we went over it. It was irresistible. In the field behind the ladder were about a dozen sheep. I tried to touch one, but it kept running away. Probably a good thing, but they're sooo cute!
On the way back from the national park, Katelyn and I stopped at a bakery and I bought a huge shortbread cookie with one half dipped in chocolate. It was good. Very good. I love bakeries.
We only stayed in Wales one night and I walked 3/4 miles in pouring rain to get to the hostel with a bunch of the other girls. Needless to say, my things were soaked when I unpacked a day later in London. On the way to the hostel, there were these two horses that seemed shorter than most horses with pointed snouts. They followed us down the road for a little bit. All the horses seem to be like this that we have met so far.
After a long bus ride yesterday (stopped to see the oldest LDS chapel in the world) we made it to London and rushed to get to a play we had paid to see called 39 Steps. I LOVED IT! So funny.
Anyway, sorry that this blog post is kind of boring. i don't have time to fix it; i need to get ready for my first day of class!
As of late, we have been frequenting the city of Dublin. It isn’t quite what I expected. For some reason I thought there would be more hills, but it is rather flat. People are often smoking and many people just look sad, dirty, and worn out. I haven’t been to New York, but I think it’s similar. Los Angeles, Portland, and San Francisco were a little different. However, no matter which city, I have decided from this that big cities are not my thing.
What I do like about Dublin is that there is food all over the place! I love food. There doesn’t seem to really be an “Irish” type of sustenance. They mostly eat what we do. I have had chicken wraps, sub sandwiches, turkey and potatoes, and this cereal called museli (it has raisins in it and granola. Mmmhm!) The only food I feel like I am really missing out on is cinnamon. I think I must have been cinnamon’s biggest consumer while living in America the way I’m craving it right now. I’m especially missing those chocolate covered cinnamon bears that Mom brought home from the candy store the week before I left. So good!
Yesterday I got to see my first River Dance show! I could not believe how skillful these people had to be. They could play music on instruments, river dance, tap dance, do ballet steps and twirls, sing, act, joke… I was sad when it ended! It seemed so short. I think my utmost favorite part of the show was when they created a Harlem scene with two black guys dancing in a more bluesy fashion. These rigid Irish dancers came in and the two groups had a dance off. They first made fun of each other (the Harlem guys acting really rigid and twirling around like girls and the Irish guys flinging their hands everywhere) and then they started to really dance. It was crazy! Their legs flew so fast. River dancing is something I want to learn, but I first have to take Kung Fu classes. I really want to be able to do the splits while balancing on two chairs before I start doing Irish jigs.
While I have been having a fun time exploring and learning about a different culture, I do miss my family and friends back at home. You guys are the best! I always feel so happy and comfortable around you. Thank you for all that you do.
Two more things that happened yesterday besides going to Dublin Castle and St. Patrick’s Cathedral:
Liz, Kari, and I ran into this small library called Marsh Library. We went in and started looking around when this man asked us to first pay a small fee before exploring the exhibit more. He asked if we were students and said that he would let us look at it for one euro. We declined having thought before that it was a free exhibit. He then asked where we were from and when we said America the sweet gentleman said that we could look around a little bit for free and that there wouldn’t be any charge. While exploring I realized that I was recognizing names from a book I read by Carl Zimmer called “Soul Made Flesh.” It’s basically an interesting history book about the discovery of the brain, other anatomy and the function of it. I saw books written by ancient philosophers, Robert Boyle, Thomas Willis, William Harvey, and others. I only wish I had more time to look around. When we left, we told the man thank you and had a good little chat. He revealed to us that in 1980 the library lost it’s all of it’s funds and had fallen a little bit into disrepair. The American-Irish tax dollars went and paid for the library to reopen. I think that is why he let us in for free. Such a sweet man! I wish I knew his name.
Another cool thing we saw yesterday was at the Museum of Natural History – or something like that. Obviously not the one in New York. At the museum, they had an exhibit that showed bog bodies. Bog bodies were preserved in such a way that they looked almost exactly as they did the day they died. Because many of them were found in 1930 when the Irish didn’t have good methods of preservation, many parts of the bodies have deteriorated away. However, you can still see the skin and hair scalps. It was rather gross and fascinating at the same time, but cool to see what a bog can do. I wonder if they have other preserved things like fruit. I wonder if you threw a banana into a bog whether it would decay or just hang out in there.
Church was so cool today! I learned a lot, particularly from the first speaker. English definitely wasn’t his first language (he sounds like he is from Italy or somewhere similar). Besides the smallness of the ward, church was exactly the same. Don’t you love that? The gospel is the same no matter where you go. I believed that to be true before I went, but now I know that it is true.
My favorite church notes from today with some added “meat” from me:
*Every person on this earth is a child of God. We are all children of the most High and He loves us. He knows are very inner thoughts and intentions. He knows exactly what we need.
*Heavenly Father is not an anonymous Being without flesh or a body. He has a body! He has flesh and bone. However, He has been glorified while we are in a fallen, carnal state.
*Our relationship with God is very personal. We can be very close to Him as we listen to the promptings of the Spirit, become more perfect disciples (followers) of Christ, read the scriptures, attend church, listen to our church leaders, and keep the commandments.
*God is wisdom, love, and mercy. He is all that is good.
*As a parent, God knows what we need just like our close parents know what we need.
*Commandments act as guideances from God to help secure blessings in our present and future lives. As we strive to follow these we can return to live with Him again.
*We know why we are here: 1. To gain a body. We were only spirits before we came to live on this earth and after we die and the resurrection has occurred, we will have bodies once again. 2. To create families. 3. To be tested according to our works and what we do and what we don’t do while in this life.
*Job 38:7 : We believe we had a premortal life and that we were happy.
*Following commandments helps us grow to spiritual maturity.
*We become favored children of God as we accept Christ. Baptism: we take upon the name of Christ. Quote from somewhere I can’t remember, “You are not my child. You do not take my advice.”
*Conversion is even for those in the covenant already. We must turn our hearts toward God and Christ. Remember, if it is not celestial, forget about it!
In the speaker’s testimony, he said, “I protect the church because I know it is true!” That phrase now seems hammered into my heart. I will defend and protect the church and it’s members just like him because I know without a doubt that every part of the church is true. Everything the gospel brings into my life is good. All the covenants that I have made and will make will help me progress toward exaltation. I will stand by and protect it no matter the cost. I will stick to my standards although it may leave me friendless. I would go to whatever lengths to do what Heavenly Father wants. The gospel is true. Our God is also our Father. He loves us. He sent His Son to earth and here He was killed so we could have the ability to repent of our sins and be clean. Because of Him and His everlasting sacrifice, we will rise after death in glory and take upon us the blessings of Eternal life. This is true. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Soooo... I have not written on here due to the lack of time and free wireless at the hostels we have been staying out. We have been traveling all over Ireland and I mean ALL OVER! I know I haven't seen it all, but maybe I have from a distance. There have been some pretty amazing experiences including collecting tons of pictures of gravestones to help out the church members in proxy ordinances. We've seen lots of castles.
One of my favorite stories from today occurred after I kiss the Blarney Stone (Sorry, Mom!). Anyway, we were walking down and we met some musicians. One of them gathered us together and had us do an Irish dance that included a hop, step, step and quick turns. We also jammed out with some tambourines, banjos, frogs, and mandolins. The catch is that the whole time we were being watched by a huge line of people! I felt like we all became one and that all of our different nationalities were overlooked. It was wonderful!
Awkward part of the day. I was taking a picture with one of my friends, Kari. We were both raising an arm to show off our gelato when this 60-year-old dude ticked my pit and was like, "Smile, Miss Tourist!" or something similar.
Because this world is crazy and corrupt, I cannot reveal any destinations I see until after I have been there. I cannot even reveal when I leave for Europe or when I come back. However, as I journey I will be sure to include funny stories, pictures of the places that I have been, and various reflections.
I never thought that I would have the resources or the time to visit such amazing places, but thanks to some very loving/wonderful people and personal savings, I do. This experience will be truly unforgettable. I am sure I will learn much.