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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Glimpse of the Lake District

September 21-25, 2009

This photo was taken at Fountains Abbey on September 22, 2009. Fountains Abbey is the largest abbey ruins in England. It was one of the abbeys that King Henry VIII commissioned to be stripped.

Although the abbey is focused in the center of the photo I was aesthetically drawn to take it because of the reflection the abbey has in the stream. The stream also gives us a serpentine line to follow leading towards the abbey. I also liked the way the trees on the sides framed the picture. The trees seem to be overpowering the abbey, which shows how nature could take over the abbey if no one kept up with the grounds. I wanted to take a full picture of the abbey, but I did not want to overwhelm the picture. By taking it further I feel as if I almost capture more of Fountains Abbey’s beauty.

I was drawn to the picture on the left because it shows the ruined state of Fountains Abbey. There is something in the way you can see the moss growing over the sides of the standing wall that makes this picture really show to devastated state of the abbey. The picture on the right drew me in spiritually because I am always touched when I see birds flying together. I also liked that with this picture you can see a portion of the top of the abbey, but that the sky and the birds are the focus.

This picture was taken on September 23, 2009 at Ambleside in the Lake District. Aesthetically I was drawn to this because I could see the rays from the sun coming through the cloud and hitting the water. The water and the mountains looked so beautiful to me I was glad I was able to capture this. The focus of my photo is the sail boat on the lake- this is area of the lake it was the only one sailing at the time. There was also something spiritual about seeing the sun rays and seeing the lone boat on the lake that drew me to grabbing my camera.

I wanted this picture to be the focus on the slide because of

how bright and dramatic the clouds are. The sky is so full of

light you are drawn in to look at it. The boats along the

water also provide a nice serpentine line across the lake. Again we can see the grandness of the sky by comparing it to the size of the sail boats. I was also spiritually drawn because of the beauty of the sky.

Aesthetically this picture works because there is not a 50/50 split in the land and lake. There is also the lone person sitting on the rocks looking out- with this person we can see the grandness of the lake and even the mountains around. I was drawn because of the person and because of the way the sun was reflecting of the water- I also liked the sail boats in the background just floating.

I chose these two pictures because they are focused on the same tree just in different ways. The picture on the left is a broad view of the area with the tree being almost the frame of the picture. On the right we see a close up of the same tree with the lake in the background. I took this picture sitting down so I could get a sense of looking up at the tree. Both of these work so well because they both show the

beauty of the Lake District.

These were also taken at the Lake District, but in a pasture right next to the lake. I was drawn to this because of the cows grazing around. Although it is a close up I wanted the picture on the left to be the focus because I found her so beautiful. The picture to the right works aesthetically with the lone cow and the mountains in the background. I loved the picture at the top because the sky looked so dramatic and so different from my lake pictures even though they were taken five minutes before.

September 24, 2009


So on September 20 our group went to the Tower of London. Like always Jenny and I ended up wandering around the Tower alone just taking our time through everything. We arrived at 9:00 to see the guards opening up the gates- it was so neat to see them come down and open it up for everyone to come in. Jenny and I enjoyed the Tower so much we did not leave till 4:00! There was so much to do and even with us staying all day we still want to go back!Notice the crown on the weather vain: this shows that it is still a place of the monarchy

There are 20 towers in the Tower of London and today we can still go through most of those. In some of the towers like the Salt Tower you can see engravings where prisoners wrote while they were staying there. The Tower of London is where Anne Boleyn stayed when she was being put on trial. One thing that was neat that was not there the last time I was there were the reenactments that were taking place!
Traitors Gate: Anne Boleyn and Cromwell were brought through this

While we were there we took place in the trial of Anne and Lord Cromwell was there! It was so fun because they took us through what happened and it seems to me they forced the jury to make the decision to kill her.Where Anne was executed!

In the White Tower they had a special exhibit that showed the war and sportswear that King Henry VIII wore. It also showed how much he loved playing sports and how good he was at them. I learned that King Henry VIII was playing tennis at North Hampton when he was told Anne Boleyn was executed. Ten days later he was remarried. I love going to the Tower because I learned so much about the Tudor period- and of course this is my favorite period!

Of course, we also saw the crown jewels! It was so interesting to see all the jewels used in the coronation. Everything is so symbolic and has been in practice for so long. The amulet that is used to give the holy oil dates back to the 1200s and has been used since the 1600s!

I must say that now that I am older I appreciated this so much more than when I came here in the 8th grade!
This is not a Yeoman Warder- but a guard in front of the crown jewels

We also took a tour with a Yeoman Warder! Our tour guide was named Bill and he was so cool! He taught us so much about the tower. To be a Yeoman Warder you have to have been in the military service for 22 years and be a distinguished officer. Yeoman Warders are between the ages of 40-65. It is now my goal to be a Yeoman Warder (as of right now there is 1 woman) even though I am American! Yeoman Warders are the Queen's bodyguards and there are only 35 of them!
There are also a lot of ravens around because Charles II said that if the ravens flew away the White Tower would fall down and the monarchy would fall-so there should always be 6 on the grounds but they keep it safe and have 9!

This was an poll they were taking- of course I said NO!!!

We also saw where and how they tortured their prisoners! I don't think I could ever live on the rack! Although I think the savengers daughter since I like to be curled up!

It was so much fun to go through the Tower and I can't wait to go back! It was such an educational experience and I think that if you ever go to London this should be in the top ten!
I was trying to be him- but it looks like I am about to attack him!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Peter Pan In Kensington Park

After Southall we raced back to catch the 7:30 production of Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens. I am so lucky to be in London right now! It seems that during the Fall the city has all these amazing events! It was excited take part in seeing Peter Pan because we were actually in the place where it all happened. JM Barie lived close to Kensington Gardens and Peter Pan goes to Kensington! The play was so amazing. It is set in a tent in the garden and so it closes in a couple of weeks because it will soon be too cold to sit outside. We were in the back but the set is so close and personal we really had great seats! The acting was pretty good and I soon found myself so caught up in the story. I especially liked Tinker Bell - her character was so quirky and unique- she seemed like an annoying little sister! I also really enjoyed the stage set up and the set design- it was so clever! I don't want to give too much away because I believe if you are ever in London in the summer and early fall you should come and see Peter Pan- this production will truly make you feel like a child again! This play is truly for everyone- I was never a Peter Pan fan when I was younger, but this production was so good! I am glad I decided to experience seeing Peter Pan in the gardens.


If I Wasn't Mormon I'd Be A Sikh: Southall

*This post is for a class assignment! For those that do not want to read my full experiences in Southall please enjoy my pictures!*

On September 10, 2009 our group headed down to Southall to experience- and take a look at the Sikh and Hindu cultures. When I found out we were doing this I was excited to see and learn more about a different culture.
That afternoon we got on a train to head down to Southall. The first thing I noticed when I got off train was the people on the streets. The majority of the people were of Middle Eastern descent. Some women were wearing the head coverings, and traditional dress and some men were wearing turbans. The shop signs and billboards were also in both English and a different language than I could not recognize. The smells in the streets were different as well- to me is smelled like curry and Indian food.
The first place we went to was the Sikh Gurdwara. Immediately as we walked into the Gurdwara we took our shoes off. I believe this was a sign of respect to the Gurdwara and their scriptures. We then went into the prayer room. While I was in the prayer room I noticed that there were men and women in both traditional and modern dress. I believe this is because there are different generations going to the Gurdwara and because the Sikh religion seems accepting of all people regardless of how strong they are into their faith. To me I saw a pattern of the older generation wearing the more traditional dress and the younger generation wearing Western type clothing. There were a few families that walked in that had younger children. There was a young girl around the age of 3 or 4 that went right up to the altar- gave her tithing- and knelt down to pray. This reminded me of little children in our church that know how to pray or take the sacrament at such a young age. It is interesting to me that within most religions parents take on the responsibility to teach their young children the practices and traditions of their culture.
In class the before coming to Southall we learned that in some strict Sikh cultures the people never turn their backs on the scriptures- at this Gurdwara the people seemed less strict because some turned their backs while walking away- to me this shows the progression or different types of religion within a religion. Looking at my own religion I think this idea applies because within the LDS religion there are people that practice Mormonism differently. Some families are stricter than others.
After leaving the Main Hall there was an older woman handing out Prasade- a little bit of a sweet when we got out of the room. The food was made from water, flour, butter, and sugar. I later learned that this food was given out to give the people something in return for going into temple. There is a since of give and return in this religion. After that I walked downstairs and enjoyed langar. I really liked taking part of langar because again it is the church giving back to the people. While I was there it seems that langar also seemed to be a place of socializing. There were many people talking together while enjoying their food. I liked this place because everyone was very friendly here. There were both men and women serving food and they seemed happy to be helping out. That is other thing that really impressed me was the total equality in the Sikh religion. From our chat with Singh he thought us that women are equal to men if not a little higher because they give life to great kings and warriors. I noticed the equality all throughout the Gurdwara. One thing that stuck out to me in his talk was when he mentioned that being a Sikh is a way of life- not just a thing you do once a week- this reminded me of my religion. We then had an amazing speaker come and talk to us and teach us more about Sikhs. One thing that really stood out to me was that Singh did practice the 5 Ks (knife, hair, bangle, comb, and undergarment). He also told us that as Sikhs the people are also continually learning all the time and bettering themselves.
As we left the Gurdwara we broke into small groups of about 3. We were told this would help us fit in better, and not be so obvious about not being from here. Even though I was in a small group it seemed the people could still tell. Within the first five minutes the young men on the street corners where trying to strike up conversations and in a way hit on us. Some of the phrases I heard where: “You’re lucky I’m fasting.” “These American girls have beautiful eyes.” And “Look how beautiful these Americans are.” At first I was taken aback by the comment, but then I thought it was interesting that even though we were not talking they could tell we were American.
We then went to two Hindu Mandirs. The first thing I noticed was the people here were all dressed in a more modern way. Most of the women were not wearing head coverings. One similarity that I saw was that after the people went and prayer in front of the Gods they would go to the priest and take the Holy Water and get a piece of fruit. At both the Gurdwara and the Mandir the people get a little bit of something for coming and communing with God. While at the Shree Ram Mandir I noticed five people going up to the Shivling- which is the God of fertility. I also noticed that after the people were done with making their prayers they would ring a bell in the front middle of the room- I learned that this action was to wake the Gods. Another similarity that I saw was that the people in the Mandir also gave a sort of tithing by putting money in front of the statues- this is what the Sikhs did in front of their scriptures. At the Vishwa Hindu Kendra a woman came up and welcomed us and reminded us that the statutes where just symbols not God and that there was only one God. I thought this was interesting because we did not say anything about Hindus being polytheistic. She also encouraged us to take part in the Holy Water at the end. It was interesting to experience a Mandir and the people were real open and accepting to us coming into their temple
Going to Southall was an exciting experience because it allowed me to learn and delve more into the Sikh and Hindu culture. I was surprised how similar the LDS and Sikh religions were. I found myself saying, “If I wasn’t Mormon I’d be a Sikh.” I thought the values and practices of the Sikhs were so in line with those we learn as LDS people it was amazing.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Dover Castle and Canterbury Cathedral

On Wednesday we went to Dover Castle and the beach there and saw the white cliffs and then we went to the Canterbury Cathedral. It was real interesting to see the castle and tower of Dover. We learned that castles were built for three main reasons: 1. For protection from foreigners and other countries 2. Protection against commoners and 3. For a display of wealth. The castle also had a war museum of sorts that showed the different wars England had been in. I also saw a few WWII bunkers that were around the area. Although I thought the castle was pretty it did not seem too comfortable to live in! It was a real experience to see a landmark that has been around to see so much history. Dover was a neat experience and of course my roommates and I found different ways to have fun.

At the Dover Beach Getting Blow Away in the Wind!

We also had the opportunity to go to the Canterbury Cathedral. This was an interesting place to visit because I remember reading Canterbury Tales when I was in high school and going to this place made the book so real to me. While on the tour I was able to see places where Thomas A Beckett lived and died. I also got to see parts of the crypt which was over 900 years old. It was interesting that there were a couple of fires that burned the Cathedral down and the monks kept rebuilding it. In some instances the monks needed to raise money and they had the wealthy families give donations to the church and the monks would put the families coat of arms on the ceiling of part of the church. There are over 800 coat of arms on display including: Pope John Paul the 2nd and Prince Charles. There were also death masks hanging above as well. There were also amazing stained glass windows that were from the 1200s. In the crypt we saw statutes with the heads cut off from when the Puritans came through and destroyed the Cathedral. There is also a change in architecture throughout the Cathedral spreading from Roman to Gothic.

For me it was just amazing to be in a place with so much history and a place that Thomas A Beckett knew and lived. This is part of the ceiling and the Cross in the center is 6 ft long. Part of the chapel and the alter.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Buckingham Palace

Yesterday, my roommates and I went on a tour of Buckingham Palace. Some of the staterooms where open while the Queen was on her summer holiday. It was really interesting to see the inside of Buckingham Palace and see the history in it. On the tour I learned that Buckingham used to just be a mansion house before they added on and converted it into the Palace. I enjoyed seeing all the portrait galleries and marble collections that were in the Palace. I could not even imagine living in a place filled with so much art and history. I also really liked seeing the special display about the Commonwealth and all the tours the Queen did. I thought it was very respectful that every gift the Queen receives finds a special place in the palace. You can really tell how much the Queen respects and cares for the Commonwealth. Also, I found in one of the rooms that William Shakespeare was in the plaster in one of the staterooms- since we are reading a bunch of Shakespeare I found this interesting. I enjoyed this experience and know how lucky I am to have caught the Queen on her summer holiday.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

National Gallery Assignment

For our first assignment we were asked to go to both the British Museum and The National Gallery. While at these places we were to find specific things to look and reflect on. At The National Gallery we had to look at two paintings and compare and contrast them. The paintings were supposed to be from the Medieval and Renaissance time periods and should be focused on religion.

The first painting I looked at was
-->“The Crucified Christ with the Virgin May, Saints and Angels (The Mind Crucifixion)” by Raphael. This panting was done around 1503. -->
The Renaissance painting was “The Adoration of The Shepherds” by Luca Signorelli and was done in about 1496.

It was interesting to look at the paintings and try to relate them to each other and drawn differences. This experience really helped me look at art in a different way and helped me with being able to look at pieces together.

I am putting the pictures up so take a look and see what you can find! These two where really two of my favorite pieces in there time periods!