Monday, August 16, 2010

Even closer!

So, I wrote the last blog post after waiting only two hours in the FCO airport. That was at approximately 1 pm on Sunday. Katelyn and I passed the time reading/talking about the Book of Mormon, playing Solitaire, and sometimes I hummed a hymn. Eventually we fell asleep on a windowsill… I’m not sure that I actually fell asleep for longer than 30 minutes at a time, but yeah, it was very interesting! I don’t think I will ever do it again.
Anyway, we eventually were able to check in. I was the first person to check in at that terminal! That was pretty neat, except my luggage came almost last.
I just got off the 10 hour flight to JFK. My head hurts and I am hungry, but I am very happy to be getting home.


On my way!

Obviously, Brandon hasn’t “proposed” to me yet because I don’t have a ring on my finger (according to Beyonce: If he wants it then he should put a ring on it!) I’m sure that will happen soon enough, but thanks for all the congratulations I have received from family and ward members who mysteriously figured out the circumstances.
It’s weird to think how much I am going to be growing up within the next six months. I remember when I was give and I was so excited because in five more years, I was going to be 10 and 10 was the highest I could count on all of my fingers.
And then I remember graduating high school and thinking: four more years and I get my Bachelor’s. I’m getting my B.S in less than a year!
Anyway, today Katelyn and I spent hours and hours in the airport and we are still going to be here for awhile. Turns out we can’t check in until approx. four hours before our flight. I was looking forward to sleeping on carpeted ground and I wish I had less carry-ons but I’m trying to take home souvenirs. J Because we have so much time in the airport and it is a Sunday, I’ve committed myself to reading/studying the Book of Mormon in 20 page increments and listening to Mormon Tabernacle Choir/EFY music.
Side Note: Not so much with the Book of Mormon, but people often comment on how quickly I read books. I actually read pretty slow, but for very long periods of time. Slow and steady wins the race!
Anyway, I was listening to “What Heaven Sees in You” earlier today and felt inspired. The song is unique in that it is focused on women and their blessings/covenants they make throughout their life. Some of these covenants I will make when I am endowed and then married in the temple. I know tat these commitments I am making to my future husband and God are forever. They are so sacred and holy and I intend to keep them the best I can. My endowment and marriage will be the most important things I do this year and among the most important things I will do in my life.
I’m so excited to progress with Brandon and to be a part of his life forever!
I am going to move in a new direction now without very much transition.
I would like to say this to my immediate/extended Crandall family:

  • We’ve sent out three wonderful missionaries to Hawaii, the Dominican Republic and Hungary (Joshua, McKay and Justin). Justin is still out serving and McKay and Joshua have returned with honor.
  • We’ve had two temple marriages (both in August 2009/2010 – Becca and Paige) and one on the way in December (that’s mine!)
  • Great-grandpa Russell Heath passed away in June 2009. We know he is happy and in heaven.
  • We’ve had the awesome company of my half brother, Josh, who I missed throughout my life.
  • We love and uplift one another.

We are choosing the “more excellent way”! I am not trying to boast in what we’ve accomplished as grandparents/parents/spouses/siblings/children/cousins, but I am excited that we are choosing the right. I can’t imagine heaven without any of you.

As for the Ormond side of the family – we recently had Grandma Carol pass away. It was sad, but I promise she is so happy where she is! J
These past two years, I have been able to reconnect with my aunt and her daughter and my uncle and his son. They are very good people. I am impressed with their kindness and generosity and especially with my cousins’ determination to choose the right. In a world full of corruption, evil, and dishonesty, they stand out as shining examples of good people who are not of the LDS faith. I love them very much and hope that I will be in heaven with them forever as well.
God truly loves us, doesn’t he? He gives us opportunities and blessings as we choose the right and he pours them so abundantly. Even through the hard times, I know he will be there for me and if I just look to Him and trust Him, it will all come out just fine. J


P.S. I think Brandon has rubbed off on me. There are smiley faces all over this blog post. And exclamation points. J

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The end of my European adventure

The end of my trip is here. Today I am going to board the train that will take me to the airport and then I will fly back home. It is all very bittersweet.

I spent the last few days in Rome going to the market, eating gelato, watching the river, and seeing the basilica. It was nice to just “hang out” and not be the tourist for once.

Here is what I learned from this study abroad and trip:

  • No matter where you are, people are the same. They like it when you smile at them and help them. They like familiar places. And every nationality is just as “crazy” as the Americans when it comes to being tourists or just people in general.
  • The gospel is the same all over the world. It is also the same throughout the universe.
  • I love staying in one place for longer periods of time so that I can really absorb the culture.
  • Cathedrals and churches are pretty and interesting, but I miss going to the temple and attending my ward. Although now I feel knowledgeable about certain ancient Catholic traditions.
  • I am such an internet-nut. J
  • I learned how to be more accepting of other people. There were girls with varying personalities in my study abroad group that I learned to get along with. It was good! I’m so excited to see all my new friends as I begin school this fall.
  • I learned about the English history: the Celts, Romans, Anglo-Saxons, and Normans
  • I learned how to write in IPA!! I love doing this.

Despite all the fun and learning that I had, I am so excited to get home.

A major part of this is being able to see my family especially after the death of my grandma. I feel like we really need to become even more united with each other (we are already a pretty loving family). My other grandma and great-grandma are also coming out to see my family and my cousins in September. That should be very fun! I am excited.

And lastly, Brandon and I are going ring shopping on Tuesday. I bet you all know what that means. ;)

I am a very happy camper.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

last day in madrid, first half of roma

Last day in Madrid: The last day in Madrid was a Sunday, so I tried to be really careful with the things I did. Katelyn, Annie, and I went to a market. I didn’t want to buy anything, so I just watched the people so I could get an idea of the culture. I find the Spaniard to be very kind and fun people unless you are trying to move in a similar direction as one. There was a lot of shoving and pushing going on. I took many pictures so that my mom could see what it’s like.
After the market, we went home and got ready for church and packed up our stuff for check out. We checked out, hauled our 100,000,000 lb backpacks, and hobbled over to the metro. We finally came to our stop after a couple of changes and about a half hour. And then after another half hour of walking through a pretty sketchy neighborhood, we saw in the distance a man wearing a white shirt and tie. Bingo! We followed him the rest of the way to the mustard yellow church and sat in the back of the congregation. During the second song, some investigators came in with the sister missionaries and sat in front of us. Because Annie was translating the Spanish talks for me into English, the sister missionaries became interested in us and would give us half glances every 10 minutes or so. At the end, we talked to them and found out they were from Nevada and Utah and one of them knows Katelyn’s friend. It’s a small world. J
After church, we had time to kill before checking in at the airport. We talked for awhile in a local McDonalds (I was craving a burger and we didn’t have any food) and then we took a nice walk in a nearby park. It was beautiful and put all of England’s parks to shame. I wish we had parks like England’s or Spain’s in the US. After that, we walked for quite awhile to find a metro that would take us to the airport. We got there, found our left luggage, and camped out.

Airport Stay/Ride

When we arrived in the airport, it was very quiet. Hardly anybody was there. We camped out by a couple of outlets to plug our computers in, arranged the carts and sleeping positions so that we could guard our stuff, and fell asleep. I woke up at about 2 am to find the whole of the airport populated with Italians and Spaniards. Families and people were camped out all over the place either sleeping or talking. The floor was cold, so I pulled out a sweatshirt and put it underneath me and fell asleep again. I woke up at about 5 am and the crowds were thinning. People had started checking in to the terminals (no one was allowed to check in until two hours before their flight). A couple of ladies came up to me and started speaking to me in a language I didn’t understand and kept pointing toward Katelyn and Annie. Being hardly awake, I managed to say, “Mis amigas?” One of them replied with, “Si, si!” I woke Katelyn up and the lady talked to her for a second and then made a motion with her fingers and eyes that meant “wake-up.” As they strolled away, I asked Katelyn what they said. She didn’t know. They were speaking Italian. We gathered our stuff together and got ready to check in.
After we checked in, we found the line for security. A few people piled up behind us and then these Spanish ladies decided that they would cut in right behind me and as we moved up the queue, they began to try to pass me. Being an American and liking the no-cuts rule, I tried to spread all of my stuff pretty wide so they couldn't pass me. I realize in retrospect that if I had let them pass me earlier on, I wouldn’t have had to worry the whole time. They eventually got around me and I gave them the meanest, nastiest glare I could muster. It was 5:30 am, mind you, and I hadn’t slept very well all night. My manners were not very good. Besides, they didn’t even notice and pressed on. Eventually I saw them no more and I went through security.
The flight was pretty uneventful except for the man who would push on and shake my chair randomly for long periods of time. It wasn’t that big of a deal. I had calmed down from earlier, so I just fell asleep. I woke up to see a few islands below the plane and a curve in the continent. We started to descend and I continued to look out the window at the beautiful sea and landscape. For those who don’t know me, I am a very, very big fan of the ocean. I love looking at it and playing in it and walking by it. J People tell me cruises are all about eating. If I ever go on one, I don’t know that I would eat very much, because I would be on the deck watching the ocean.
We finally arrived in the FCO airport. Annie was the first to leave and I followed her over to where the passport check was and the luggage claim. After we had gotten through and walked the area over three times, we realized that they had let us in to the wrong area. After talking to four security guards, we were finally about to leave the area and go to our luggage claim. It was stressful, but I had a good laugh about it. We found Katelyn and Rhiannon, who had been so kind as to grab my luggage and we set off to purchase a ticket on the express train.
We arrived in the Termini Station in Roma at about 11:20 am and walked the long, hot way around to our hostel. The man who greeted us was friendly and provided us with a map and things to do.

First Night in Italy

We crashed in the room and the three girls fell asleep while I sat up and internet-ed. I have trouble sleeping at midday. Eventually I did take a short nap though. When we were all up and ready to go, it was evening time. We walked over to St. Mary’s church and just looked at it and talked for about 10-15 minutes. It was still warm, but not hot and there were a few kids playing on the steps. We eventually got up, found an awesome pizza ristorante, ate, and then purchased some gelato. I got chocolate. Gelato here is nothing like you have experienced in the US, particularly in my state. It’s wonderful and creamy, but not too creamy and it’s refreshing in the best way. The chocolate looked like frosting and tasted like million dollar goodness. Right before we went to bed, we were serenaded with accordion and violin music while a man sang. It was beautiful.

Second Day in Italy

Katelyn and I took a trip around the Colosseum, the buildings around that area, the Pantheon, etc and went through piazza after piazza. We ate gelato near the Trevi Fountain and talked. It was a good day and pretty uneventful. Around 3 pm, we made it back to the hostel and decided to sleep. It was hot and we weren’t feeling very well. I had a cheeseburger and chatted with Brandon online throughout the evening and then I made a very exciting, important decision and went to bed smiling and happy.

Third Day in Italy

On this third day, Katelyn and I decided to go opposite the route we took the day before and head up toward the Piazza Navano. There were painters all over the piazza and I am thinking of going back and getting my mom one of the paintings. We then walked along the river, saw some pretty neat buildings and statues and ate Nutella lunches in a marketplace. We left to meet Annie at the hostel at 3:30 pm so that we would be in for the hottest part of the day and take our siesta. On the way back, we stopped at a couple of touristy shops (we’re trying to buy presents for you guys). In one of the shops, this Indian man noticed we were looking at some earrings and he tried to sell them to us, but we decided against buying them. He continued to speak to us and asked us where we were from. When he found out we are American, he began repeating over and over again, “I like Americans. Americans are good people.” He continued talking about how President Obama is a good man and we just kind of nodded our heads and said, “Thank you” repeatedly. I’m not sure about President Obama because I don’t know him personally, but I sure hope he’s trying his best to help our country. We asked him where he is from and like all Indians I have met, he is from Bangladesh. I am not sure what Bangladesh is like, but I am wondering why there are so many Indians in Italy and England. It’s something I should research.
We got back and napped/computed until about 6:30 pm when Rhiannon got back. Then we went to the That’s Amore ristorante and to a gelato place (it was the third time I had gelato that day). I think my favorite gelato flavor so far is black cherry. Reaching back into my memory, I think that Brandon’s dad said that was the best flavor as well… I can’t be sure though.
We came back and watched the Lizzie McGuire Movie. After that I was up until about 3 am trying to sleep and having a hard time because it was so hot. I ended up on the tile floor underneath the fan for about an hour until I was cooled off enough to go back to bed.
Oh, I forgot to mention this. When Katelyn and I were heading back, we noticed a fountain that people were putting their feet in or walking under the water. I was so hot that I got excited about this fountain that reminded me a lot of my childhood fountain in the Bethany Centre in Beaverton, Oregon. I asked Katelyn to watch my stuff, took off my shoes, and ran right into a bursting fountain water spout thing. Everyone else had been reluctantly getting wet, so when I jumped right in, the people around laughed and smiled. I turned around to Katelyn, put my arms up in the air and yelled, “Yeah!” And then I looked at this Indian lady who was smiling at me and I said, “Yeah!” again. She smiled and said something positive. I went in one more time and got pretty soaked. After we left, we noticed a sign that said to not get in the fountain and we would be fined if we were caught. I’m glad we weren’t caught.

Fourth Day in Italy

Today we are planning on going to more marketplaces and a swimming pool next to the river that is only 6 Euro after 3 pm. Yay! Earlier this morning, I walked over to the train station and tried to use the pay phone to call Brandon. Didn’t work, but I did find a grocery store and bought the sweetest, best peach in the world. Yum! Good breakfast. 

Sunday, August 8, 2010

My Stay in Spain

Day #1


*Stepping out of the airport and feeling very warm! We dropped off our luggage at the airport lockers and continued on the metro to our destination near the city center.
*While shopping, we were given fake yellow daisies for free! :) I'm putting one in my hair today.
*We met the man who runs the hostel. He is very nice and recommended that we go to Jamonal for dinner. When we got there, we realized that there were pig appendages hanging from the walls and ceilings. Even though I am not a vegetarian like Rhiannon, I still felt very grossed out.
*In our hostel room, we have two balconies with tall doors. We left these open all night to cool ourselves down. The view was awesome!

Day #2


*We moseyed along for a large part of the day and looked at random vendors and shops. We also went to a museum that had a art piece that Katelyn and Annie wanted to see. I was more intrigued with some of the sculptures. There was also a middle part in the museum that was open to the air, so we sat and looked out on the city for awhile. That was very nice.
*At lunch (we had "lunch" at 5 pm), I ordered a hamburger and papas fritas (french fries - translated as potato fries, I think?) I received some scattered fries and two burger patties that were raw on the inside. I ate the fries and around the edges of the patties, left my money with Annie and Katelyn and decided to walk around the square while they finished their meal. I was embarrassed that I had eaten so little. While I was walking, I came up to this table with three heads on it. As I looked at it and passed by, one of the head yelled and started moving. I realized that it was a real man! I continued to walk around the square and watched some people doing pencil drawings and others painting for a bit before finding Katelyn and Annie. I decided I was going to go back and scare the table man, but as I reached him, he scared some other group and so he saw me. He then said to Katelyn as we walked past, "How are you, baby!" That was weird.
*We watched Return to Me, which was a very sad/happy movie. :)

Day #3


To be written later.

Last night, I stepped out onto the balcony and watched the people down in the square for about 15 minutes. Cars zoomed by and many people were taking pictures of each other. I could only see one star and it was probably a satellite. And then I just sat there and breathed in Madrid. I fell sort of half asleep on the balcony railing and felt very happy at where I was that moment. Me gusta Madrid!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

I understand that people interpret the commandments differently, but here is one thing I would like to say for myself: Just because I am on vacation doesn't mean I'm on vacation from the commandments.

There you go, World.

Friday, August 6, 2010


I think the best feeling ever was when I stepped out of the plane and immediately felt heat on the terminal from the sun. Yes! Warmth! I love Spain!
I really do like Spain. I wish I could tell all that has happened and all that we are planning tomorrow, but then I don't want anybody to follow us girls around, so I think I will save that type of blogging until later.

Don't forget to check up on me! Who knows when I will blog again... maybe it'll be in an hour...

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Well, it's off to Madrid tomorrow

Today was pretty awesome! We left York and went to an abbey and the Bronte sisters house before reaching Manchester. After a brief walk in Manchester to find some cold medicine, I decided that I don't really like the area and i am very glad to be going to Madrid tomorrow! Yay! Anyway, so nothing much is going on. I am getting pretty psyched to go school shopping when i get back because i have been wearing the same clothes over and over and over again. Time for a visit to DI!

Well, I miss everyone and I love you all for sure.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Oh, that venison!

I woke up with a migraine today and threw up all morning because of the onions in the venison last night. I am never eating  onions ever again. Ever, ever, ever.

So I spent the morning letting my stomach settle, organizing photos and then exploring a pretty portion of York with Katelyn. We walked along a river, went down Shambles street, and also bought a milkshake each. I got a chocolate one. Mmmm. The milkshakes they make here are more like really cold, frothy chocolate milk that has some ice cream in it. I am considering having some of that at my reception. Yum!

Here is something cool I learned in Scotland on Sunday. A lady quoted someone (someone important with the church) who said, "Do not judge someone just because they sin differently than you." Smart! I love that quote. I think I do that a lot. We all sin differently and we are all at different levels trying to improve. I hope that when people see my faults, they can step back and realize that I am trying to be a better person and that I love Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost and that I love the gospel.

I am so excited to go to these next few places on the list, but I am also very excited to get home!


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Hadrian's Wall, Durham Cathedral, York

Everybody has those days when you feel paranoid that nobody likes you and that you are ugly and mean, etc... Well, about four or five of us were feeling that way in the group today, including me. I kept trying to give myself pep talks and some space from the girls so I could calm down and read my scriptures and get a positive face on, but Satan kept hitting me low blows. I felt so lonely and wretched.

All of this mainly happened after a really short nap on the way to Durham Cathedral. It was a beautiful cathedral, but I don't think I looked at it very closely because I was sitting there wondering why no one wanted to look at the cathedral with me. And then I did find Lauren and Janelle, but got separated from them shortly after and ended up wandering Durham by myself and getting lost for about a half hour. It felt more like a few hours. Anyway, I got myself back to the coach parking lot about an hour earlier than we were supposed to go there, so I grabbed my Book of Mormon and decided to read it in the park nearby. I did that and felt somewhat settled and less angry at the whole situation. However, once the girls boarded the bus and started talking very loudly, I put my ear plugs in and tried to fall asleep again instead of being social. Katelyn noticed and made sure I was okay. This was greatly appreciated. I really needed to know that someone cared.

Anyway, on to better things:

Today we went to Hadrian's fort. It was pretty neat and we got to look at a cool river and play around. At this point, I was still a happy camper. We took a lot of pictures and just talked. The sun was out (which does not happen often in Scotland) and there was a good feeling around us. Because it was so good, I am sure Satan tried extra hard on us today.

Next, we went to Durham - I already talked about that

And then we arrived in York. What a quaint little medieval town! I love it. We had a Viking feast at one of the halls and ate real venison and then we watched a slideshow of the study abroad so far. I'm going to miss it all! I am sad to leave. We then had a small variety show which included a few skits, some readings, and a silly synchronized dance. I loved it all!

Still trying to get over those rough feelings, but I am sure I will wake up tomorrow to a brighter day.


Monday, August 2, 2010

Loch Lomond, Aberfoyle, Stirling and York

Yesterday was incredible! During our preparation class for this study abroad trip, I was assign to learn and give a presentation about Loch Lomond and Stirling. I was very excited to see Loch Lomond because I had learned that Loch Lomond has over 99 islands in it and one of them is populated with wallabys! Unfortunately, we were only given an hour to stroll around the "bonny, bonny banks" of Loch Lomond, so I didn't even have time to rent a paddle boat. :( But the Loch was so pretty and clean!

About 30 minutes later we stopped in a small tourist town called Aberfoyle for lunch. They also had a petting zoo and a birds of prey exhibit which I thought was pretty interesting.

Then we went to Stirling Castle. I loved the view we got from it! Stirling Castle is situated on the narrowest part of Scotland so that the guards could see when an army was coming (it didn't help that the English wore red coats!)

During the whole of the trip, our bus driver was telling us history and also making some jokes. He was so great! He laughs just like Justin, my brother. Throughout the ride, he would play for us different Scottish national songs. The official national song is "God Save the Queen" because Scotland is a part of Great Britain. Another one of the songs was "Loch Lomond." And the North American favorite (I think my group was the only North American group on board) was the song that goes, "...and I would walk 500 miles and I would walk 500 more." That's was interesting to me because that was the song I was listening to when that guy turned left in front of my and we wrecked. Weiiiird.

When we got back to Edinburgh, we when to an Australian sports bar place for dessert and were carded! I've never been asked to show my ID before and I was weirded out. I guess it's because they sell drinks there? I don't know. They sell alcohol at Red Robin's, but I never am carded there. Oh well.

One of my highlights of the day was spending time with Emily and Janelle as we packed up our stuff to go to York and talked. I decided on a new nickname for Janelle. I had originally been calling her Janellie Bean every once in awhile (she approved) and then today the name "Bean" just slipped out of my mouth. We both agreed that it's a good nickname and so now I try to remember and call her Bean. I think I will still say Janelle fairly often though.

Anyway, my grandma's funeral was yesterday and I did not get to attend, but I hope everyone had a good, happy time. I am going to miss her very much.

Yesterday I started looking at pictures from when Grandma, Mom, and I travelled up to Oregon and Washington. Grandma looks so great in those! It's so weird how something can happened to someone and their health suddenly plummets. It's hard to believe that she is gone from earth. I have made plans to visit her grave when I get back.

Anyway, I miss everybody very much!