Wednesday, October 27, 2010


I would just like to apologize for my terrible grammar. You’d think, that as a sophomore (woah, junior - you'd think I'd also know my own grade!) in college, I’d have this whole comma thing down. Well, I don’t. Sorry if you are a comma freak and cringe at every one of my sentences. You’d also think that being in England, the country that has supplied so many of the world’s greatest authors, I’d pick up a thing or two in the grammar department. Welp, what can you do? To make me feel better about myself, here are some things that I have picked up...

1. I have been working on my accent and it is coming along quite nicely. I’m no Kate Beckinsale but I like to think I could fool someone into thinking I'm british if I tried really, really hard and they were really, really tired... maybe not though.

2. I have become a pro at walking up spiral staircases. This is all we have in England. At first, it is charming, but then when you have to walk up hundreds of stairs you realize that it makes the width of the steps uneven and things get a little tricky. It is kind of fun to get a little dizzy though!

(this isn't spiral but it is curved so you get the idea!) This was climbing up St. Paul's

3. I have become pretty savvy with my Tube etiquette: don’t smile, don’t talk, stand to the right walk to the left (or you'll get trampled), exit the tube station then figure out where you're going instead of blocking traffic, half of the lines will be down or delayed on the weekends, push through people if you have to, pick a good spot so the door magically opens in front of you, stay away from Earl’s court at all costs, have a slight scowl on your face.. you'll look more authentic.

we're smiling, obviously our first day here in Londontown haha

4. I have become accustomed to paying in coins. In America it is considered to be very annoying to the cashier if you pay in all coins. In England, all they have to give are coins! There is a 1 pence, 2 pence, 5 pence, 10 pence, 20 pence, and 50 pence coin, as well as a 1 and 2 pound coin. It was really hard to figure out which was which in the beginning, so I always just ended up paying in straight pounds and eventually couldn’t close my wallet because I had so many coins. Now I have it all figured out and can pay like a pro.

5. I have become a little more responsible with my sleep. This is a recent, still-in-testing development. Saturday night I got my usual 4 hours of sleep so Sunday and Monday I decided to get 8 then 7 hours. Yes, it is 12:30 and I have to be at breakfast at 5:15, but this is better than the night before the North Trip when I didn’t go to bed at all! I’m learning here people!

Tomorrow morning at 6:20 we leave for Wales! We’re going to go to some church history sites and get a feel for Welsh life. Since I just recently found out that I am a lot Welsh, I am really excited! I hope it is as fun as our previous trips... I know it will be! 

This is Natalie and I mom-walking it through the Gardens at Versailles on a really hot day in Paris to make sure we didn't miss our coach. Success! We made it just in time.

 Me and Meegan reenacting Titanic on the Liverpool Harbor.

I can't wait to go to Wales. Some of my most favorite memories from study abroad have come from these trips!

More to come!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


No, I am not able to drive a car here so not that kind of parking. And no, not the kind of parking that involves a lookout point, nice scenery, and night time... 
I have just been taking advantage of many of London's beautiful parks. With nice weather, you really feel like you are in a small town, not in one of the biggest cities in the world.

My personal favorite: Holland Park

Holland Park is just down the road from us. It's fairly secluded and is more of a low key park, much more of a local place versus a touristy park. A great majority of it is completely covered by trees, there is a dog park, life size chess board, and the coolest kid's playground that you have ever seen! I love it.

The Classic Park: Hyde Park

This is a Hyde Park Corner Monument dedicated to men who died fighting in the First World War. We had to go see it for my Great War and Modernism Class. There are a ton War monuments throughout the parks here.

Here is another monument on the Corner. 

The Queen's front yard: Green Park

Green Park is right across from Hyde Park and also across the street from Buckingham Palace. It is gorgeous. Yesterday I walked from Hyde Park Corner, through Green Park, to Buckingham Palace, back through all of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, and wandered through Knotting Hill to get home. It was incredible. The weather was beyond perfect, I had my ipod in, and was able to just think and clear my head in one of the most incredible cities in the world! I love being here.

My front yard: Kensington Gardens

Kensington Gardens is literally across the street from my house. How incredible is that?! Kensington Gardens is connected to Hyde Park and houses Kensington Palace. I love this picture because it is proof that London does have beautiful weather. When it was snowing in Provo, I was enjoying a gorgeous, sunny day walking though the parks of London. Again, I love it here.

The rose park: Regent's Park

Regent's Park is ginormous. It has a stunning rose garden and the cutest little ponds and willow trees that make you feel like you are in another world. Definitely a must see by way of parks!

More to come!

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Wednesdays and Fridays are probably my favorite days of the week. Every Wednesday we go as a group on a field trip outside of London and Fridays we stay inside London to see something cool. This week we got to travel both days, it was fabulous.

Wednesday. First Stop: Jane Austen's House

Second Stop: Salisbury Cathedral

(photo cred: Natalie)

Third Stop: Stonehenge

It was freezing!

Natalie and Jordan had the genius (not being sarcastic, I really loved the idea but just had poor execution) idea to build a human Stonehenge. They lifted me up against my will. Unfortunately, we had a bit of a crash landing... sorry guys!

Friday. Second Stop: Portsmouth

We toured the HMS Victory, the ship that Lord Nelson used to defeat the French and Spanish in the Battle of Trafalgar. I felt like I was on the set of Pirates of the Caribbean the entire tour.

Second Stop: Brighton

(Meegan and I always end up in the most awkward of poses, I love it... this ones just making fun of it!)

It was a perfect day. The sun was really bright, I promise even though this picture is dark! Oh how I love the ocean, I have missed it so much! This exact spot made me really homesick for Newport. 

Such a fun pier! There were shops, tons of food places, a casino, an arcade, and lots of roller coasters!

English telephone booths and the ocean, two of my favorite things! Too bad it's the wrong ocean. I'm a Pacific fan.

I thought these food shacks were so cute. But mushy peas? Really? How does that sound appetizing?

Third Stop: The London Temple

The temple grounds are beautiful, they even have a duck pond. The coolest part is that they have housing for people who have traveled a long way so they can do as much temple work as possible during their stay. I love it.

This week was jam-packed, just the way I like it!

More to come!

Friday, October 22, 2010


Unless you count seeing Ryan Sheckler driving down PCH, I had never seen a celebrity in the flesh until tonight...

After our day trip to Portsmouth and Brighton, a few of us decided to go to dinner in Leicester Square and check out the carnival there. On the way, we ran into the movie premiere for the Black Swan starring Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis. Unfortunately, Natalie Portman couldn't make it but Mila Kunis did! I was close enough to touch her. Soo exciting. I love premieres. Upcoming premieres: Harry Potter, a Brad Pitt movie, and a Jake Gyllenhaal movie. Can't wait!

Good News: The hot water is now working! That means a heated house and no more cold showers!

More to come!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

family history-ing.

For a religion assignment we were required to go onto new family search (an LDS family history website) and find when our ancestors joined the church and plot where our family is from on a map of the UK. I became obsessed.

I have a feeling that I am going to become the crazy aunt who keeps records in her basement and goes on trips to cemeteries to find the graves of her family members. I can see it now. I am already planning a family history trip to the UK to show my future children where we came from. I'm in trouble.

I discovered some pretty amazing things...

1. QUEEN ELIZABETH II (the current queen) IS MY COUSIN!   [through Grandma Poole]
  • I started clicking and came across Lord Edward Beauchamp Seymour. His name sounded important so naturally I googled him. He was born inside the Tower of London because his mom, Catherine Grey, was a prisoner there. Rad. Catherine Grey was the sister to Lady Jane Grey, the 9 day Queen of England, and granddaughter to King Henry the 7th. 
  • Long story short: Catherine Grey's great grandchildren include Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, Prince William, and Jenna Masters.
Yes, you may curtsy to me through your computer screen. 

And if you were wondering, yes, she does let me call her cuz. I'm thinking of stopping by Buckingham today for some tea.

Yesterday we went to Salisbury Cathedral (pictured above). I found out that night that Catherine Grey is my very great grandma, and it turns out that she is buried at Salisbury! What are the chances?! Here is me at the cathedral she is buried in. Pretty swanky graveyard if I say so myself. I could get used to this whole royalty thing!

2. ONE OF MY GRANDMAS WAS HANGED IN BOSTON!  [through Grandma Poole]
  • My many times great grandma Mary Barrett Dyer was hanged in Massachusetts on June 1, 1660 at 9:00 a.m. for being a leader in the Antinomian movement. She was a leader in this movement with Anne Hutchinson claiming that God speaks directly to his people through inspiration rather than through a clergy. (yay! go ancestors!) She and her family and Anne Hutchinson were banished from the Puritan colony of Massachusetts for being Quakers. They went to settle Rhode Island with Roger Williams, there her husband William Dyer signed the Portsmouth Compact.
  • Mary returned to Boston 4 times to preach against the Puritans, publicly and willingly defying the law. The first 3 times she was arrested and released. She was arrested again for the 4th time and since she wouldn't denounce her Quaker faith she was hanged as a martyr. These were her last words:
"Nay, I came to keep bloodguiltiness from you, desiring you to repeal the unrighteous and unjust laws made against the innocent servants of the Lord. Nay, man, I am not now to repent."
[repent meaning denounce her faith]

This is a statue of her that can be found in front of the Massachusetts state capitol in Boston, Massachusetts. 

Apparently her marriage to William Dyer is recorded at St. Martin's-in-the-fields, a church in London. I can't wait to check it out!

  • My great great great grandma Janette Bleasdale joined the Church with her family in Lancashire, England in 1843 when she was 9. When she was 10 her family left for America but didn't have enough money for her way so she had to stay behind, by herself, and work for 3 years to earn the money to sail to America. The family she was supposed to sail with was robbed so she had to make the trip alone. Talk about strength! She was only 13!

This is me and Natalie at a monument erected in Liverpool as a memorial to the 52,000 Latter Day Saints that left the UK in the mid 1800's to settle in Utah. Almost all of them went out of the Liverpool Harbor. We both have family members that left from here so we decided to join them and hold hands. :)

  • Ok so I don't have any Native American blood in me, but a lot of my family members settled San Bernadino, California with the Latter Day Saints in the 1800s. I always knew I was a pure Californian!
  • I always knew that my dad was German but I found out that my Grandma Masters side (so technically the Smith's [her maiden name]) are mostly Welsh. I was so excited because Wales is such a small, forgotten country, its native language is a Celtic language, and I am going to Wales on Thursday! Most of my Welsh family joined the church when the missionaries came to Wales in the 1830/40's and sailed across the sea to America and crossed the plains to Utah. 
  • I am basically UK through and through. I have tons of family from Wales, Scotland, and England and then some from Germany... no where else. How then did the crazy man in Chicago tell me I should be cast as a Spanish for a TV show?!
  • My dad's name is Gregory Masters. 2 days ago I found out that 8 generations back there is a Gregorius Meschter from Silesia, Germany. Meschter is the early form of Masters and apparently Gregorius is the early form of Gregory. My dad wasn't even named after him, what a weird coincidence! 

Left: Gregory and Melinda Masters
Right: Gregorius and Magdalena Meschter... strong family resemblance, don't you think?

  • While comparing maps in class today, Nikki and I realized that we share the same great grandpa, James Kenyon, from Lancashire, England. Who would have thought that I would find so many long lost cousins while here? First the Queen, now a girl I live with... who's next? 
  • One really cool thing is that Nikki is a convert so she figured she was the only member in her family and that none of her geneology would be done... but this entire line was done for her!
As you can see I am a little excited about all this family history stuff. It has just become so much fun because I am living in and visiting the places where they lived. It is so fun to read their stories and have the name on the chart come alive. I don't know many stories from my Masters side so I can't wait to find some!

More to come!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


The hot water went out. 
What does this mean?

I took a freezing shower at 5:15 this morning. My body was literally convulsing in the shower. Apparently last time this happened to a program it took them 10 days to fix... wish me luck!

The professors' hot water still works so they are offering their showers for student use. No thanks, I'll stick with my cold shower... that's a little too close for comfort for me. 

More to come! - hopefully about hot, steaming water!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


London is one of the most diverse and cultural cities in the world.
Queen Elizabeth shouldn't be thanking her impressive museums or performance art for that accomplishment... all thanks goes to the people. 
Here is some evidence to back up that claim...

(left photo: photo cred Natalie)
Are racer back tees the new menswear basic for Spring 2011? I think not. Sorry boys, neither are manpris or Robin hood hats.

uh huh. work it girlfriend.

Paparazzing the crazies is one of mine and Natalie's favorite past times. Paparazzing our teachers may or may not have joined that list (don't worry Dr. Seely [1] and Dr. Tate [2] you aren't one of our crazies)...

pondering on the tube.

Our thoughts exactly, Dr. Tate.

Natalie and I have many more gems so there will definitely be more to come!

Monday, October 18, 2010


Since schools in California are all outdoors, and kids decide that it's easier to throw their lunch on the ground than walk 2 feet to the trash can, sea gulls come to eat the remains of sack lunches and vending machine food... always nailing a few unsuspecting students along the way. I made it my entire middle and high school career without getting pooped on. That is quite the feat. Once, my friend was attacked on her birthday. They have no sympathy.
Well, my bragging days of a clean record are over. Saturday at Regent's Park,
I was hit.

I knew it was too good to be true. After making a fool of myself by rubbing it off with the side of a bench and some fresh grass, and after a shirt change, I survived. 

More to come (but hopefully not of any bird attacks)!

Sunday, October 17, 2010


This past week we went on holiday to Northern England. Technically we were on a field trip, but come on, riding ferries on a lake, hiking through the Lake District, and shopping down cobblestone roads... does that sound like school to you? Definitely not, just a vacation for sure.

Monday we road the coach all day to get up to York. My favorite stop was Chatsworth. It is the Duke of Chatsworth's home, but most importantly, Mr. Darcy's home in Keira Knightley's Pride and Prejudice. It is amazing. It rivals Buckingham and made me want to be a Duchess rather than a Princess. Mainly just because searching for a Duke expands my dating pool from 2 to about 40 while still allowing me to live in a fabulous house such as the one below. My chances are going up!

We checked into our hostel in York that night. Quite the experience. Let me just say one thing: starve before you eat hostel food. Unless of course they offer you banana cake, take two pieces, it's delicious. Wear sandals in the showers and do not use the linens if they are stained. Also, watch out for professors without their shirts on... they roam the halls in the mornings. 
While in York we took a tour of the huge Minster (cathedral). Our tour guide was the spunkiest woman I have ever met. She called herself the "rebel guide" and is no younger than 70. Fabulous. That day we just roamed the streets and shopped. I got the cutest polka dotted blazer for super cheap that I am very excited about, pictures to come. 

The next day we rode the coach all day up to the Lake District. I forced myself to stay awake because the ride through the countryside was breathtaking. My favorite stop was Hadrian's Wall, a wall built in the 2nd century to mark the edge of the Roman Empire. Again, the view was incredible.

Thursday we spent the entire day roaming the Lake District. First, we went to Wordsworth's home. He lived in the cutest little lakeside town called Grasmere. Anyone looking for a cozy vacation spot, check it out! Then we took a fairy across the lake and hiked to Beatrix Potter's, author of Peter Rabbit, home. The rest of the day was spent enjoying the scenery and finding a Tesco to get groceries that could save us from the awful dinner.

Friday was the last day of the trip. On the way back to London we stopped in Preston to see some Church History sites. We took a tour around the city and saw the square where all the early missionaries taught. We also saw the temple and MTC there, it made me so excited because my cousin Braeden was there only 3 months ago. We also stopped in Liverpool for 20 minutes to drop some students off for the night. We snapped a ton of pictures on the dock where the early pioneers left to sail to the U.S. and listened to The Beatles the entire drive through the city.

If I was to sum up this trip with one adjective, I would have to go with beautiful. It was so different from our trip to Paris, but I loved it just the same. It was much more relaxing and rejuvenating and gave me a greater thirst to see more of nature's beauty. I can't wait to go back and spend a few more days there!

One more thing: while in the Lake District, I started something new that I am really excited about. Since we go to so many writers' houses, I decided to buy a book at the homes of the authors I enjoy or am interested in. I now have a small Wordsworth Anthology from his home, Jane Ayre from Charlotte Bronte's home, and Peter Rabbit from Beatrix Potter's home. I am so excited to have these in my library and for the way they will be a life long memory-sparker of my stay here in London.

More to come!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

field tripping.

Since being in London, I have become very acquainted with "the coach." I don't know why saying the British version of words makes me feel so proper, but I feel so proper calling our cramped bus, "the coach." We've spent hours on end napping on it through English countryside, napping on it during our professors' explanations of the sites, and have stopped at too many rest stops to count.

These hours on the coach are so worth it because we get to see so many amazing sites. Here's what I have been up to lately:

(disclaimer: I find super long posts hard to read and therefore kind of annoying. I am sorry but this is one of them. I just want to get all up to date before I head up North... so sorry this is going to be super long!)

Bodiam's Castle. I love Medieval Castles.

Rudyard Kipling's (author of the Jungle Book) home. The gardens here were stunning.

Battle Abbey. The site of the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

We went on a Shakespeare marathon for two days. We started out by seeing a play at the Globe and then went to Shakespeare's wife's home, his childhood home, a Shakespeare museum, his adult home, and his daughter's home. While really cool, since no one even knows if Shakespeare was a real person, the tours seemed kind of pointless when you heard that the place you drove 3 hours to see what might have been, probably was, and is assumed to be Shakespeare's stomping grounds. Nevertheless, Stratford upon Avon and the Cotswolds are the most charming towns.

Becca, me, Natalie, and Meegan at the Globe as groundlings to see "Merry Wives of Windsor." We stood for the entire 3 hours, my back was killing me! I don't think the whole peasant thing is for me... I'd much rather be a princess... Prince William isn't married yet!

Anne Hathaway's (Shakespeare's wife not the Princess Diaries actress) childhood home in the Cotswolds.

Kew Gardens. Molly shared her umbrella with me because I forgot to bring one to England... guess like any Californian I thought I could dodge the rain. Not the case. After a month I went out and brought an umbrella. But we really have been incredibly lucky with the weather so far! Fingers crossed it stays that way!

We hiked up to the top of Glastonbury Hill to the Tor, an ancient Christian mythological site. The view was incredible... it was one of the highlights of my trip... I feel like I end up saying that every other day. I just love it here.

At Stourhead, one of the filming sites for Keira Knightley's Pride and Prejudice. It was the most charming and romantic park that I have ever been to. Here I am with Andrea, the sweetest and most dear girl you have ever met, she was loving it more than all of us.

The all star tourists that we are at the Roman Baths. This town is so unique: cobblestone roads and an ancient cathedral with some of the best shopping outside of London. Loved it.

On Friday we took the tube out to Hampstead and visited the poet John Keat's house. It was great to hear
about his brilliant and tragically cut short life, but we were all so tired. I fell asleep against the wall... this seems to be a trend of mine these days haha.

Friday brought gorgeous weather and Hampstead is gorgeous so it was perfect. We walked through an incredible park with tree canopied walkways up to Parliament Hill. This hill has the absolute best view of the city. We just sat and soaked up the view, the sun, and the 70+ degree weather. It was a perfect day. This is Molly, Natalie, me, and Mackenzie stopping on a fallen tree to have a dance party on our way up to the hill.

So this is what I have been up to lately. Again, I feel so incredibly lucky and blessed to have this experience. It is an experience of a lifetime. I have met the best girls and have seen some of the most famous and incredible things in the world. Thanks mom and dad, you're the best.

The time on my computer is off, but it is 3:45 in the morning. I have to be down for breakfast at 5:45... 2 hours... why do I do this to myself? I do it every day. Good thing I took a 3 hour nap this afternoon and that I have an all day coach ride tomorrow.

I'm headed up North to the Lake District and LDS British church history sites in a few hours so...

Lots More to Come!