01 October 2014

The Best Birthday Week Yet!

I can't say enough how wonderful my birthday week was this year! I have some incredible people in my life, and a Heavenly Father who consistently reminds me of how blessed I really am.

The highlights:

  • The first Poole House Dinner of the new year with my housemates and Jonathan... and I didn't even have to cook this one! 
  • A wonderful FHE with lots of new faces, a fantastic lesson, and winning a hilarious game of Uno that turned more into a free-for-all. Seriously, it was ridiculous.
  • A return to Lichfield and the Maces, with the delightful addition of a charming toddler and her parents.
  • My first trip to Stratford-upon-Avon to experience the Royal Shakespeare Company... It definitely didn't disappoint! We saw Love's Labour's Lost, which is like the prequel to the play most people know as Much Ado About Nothing (which was originally called Love's Labour's Won). It was delightful, with a few laugh-out-loud bits interspersed with some quite insightful and sometimes even poignant moments. Overall, I found the play to be a remarkably accurate and witty portrayal of how ridiculous, uncertain, and uncomfortable the process of coming to love someone else can be, made all the more unnecessarily difficult by our own foolish walls and limitations. Basically, the Story Of My Life by William Shakespeare. Here are a few of my favourite lines:
Study is like the heaven's glorious sun,That will not be deep-searched with saucy looks;Small have continual plodders ever won,Save base authority from others' books.These earthly godfathers of Heaven's lightsThat give a name to every fixed star,Have no more profit of their shining nightsThan those that walk and wot not what they are. (1.1.84)
Your wit's too hot, it speeds too fast, 'twill tire. (2.1.119) 
Did not the heavenly rhetoric of thine eye,'Gainst whom the world cannot hold argument,Persuade my heart to this false perjury?Vows for thee broke deserve not punishment. (4.3.60) 
But love, first learned in a lady's eyes,
Lives not alone immured in the brain,
But, with the motion of all elements,
Courses as swift as thought in every power,
And gives to every power a double power,
Above their functions and their offices. (4.3.327)
They have been at a great feast of languages, and stolen the scraps. (5.1.39) 

  • On my birthday I went back to Stratford (it took me more than a year to go the first time, but at this rate I'll make up for it in no time! haha) with my housemates and we had such a fun day walking around the town, taking a boat ride down the river Avon, walking along the river and exploring the gorgeous church. This time I managed to take a *few* pictures. 
The RSC Theatre (front and back)
This man serenaded us while we ate lunch in the park. Can't remember his name, but he has a gorgeous voice. 
Stoked for our boat ride

Whenever I see a tree like this I just want to nestle in between its roots and read a book. 

I love these girls so much! They are beautiful, inside and out!
On our boat ride, I saw this stump and had an overwhelming desire to sit on it. We found it while walking to the church... 
It was just as lovely as I thought it'd be. Simple pleasures.

Holy Trinity Church, where Shakespeare is buried 
The girls played dress up while I rested my leg and stared at the gorgeous stained glass windows.
  • After an amazing day, we went to institute for a BBQ and registration. There were so many new faces, it was wonderful to talk to some of them. I also had a blast catching up with those who've been gone during the summer. So much laughing. It's going to be a fabulous year at institute!
  • Before we went home, Jon and I had a brief jam session at the piano with the Children's Songbook. It's been a long time since we've done that, and it was a fabulous way to end a really great day. 
  • Thursday morning I went teaching with the Sister Missionaries to a YSA named Harry. He has SO much faith, and his enthusiasm is contagious. He was baptized this weekend, and we're excited to have him join our Harborne YSA.
  • Thursday night I Skyped with Skylar and spent about 2 hours just laughing. It was SO fun. I'm not sure if I was really on a roll, or if he was in a particularly giggly mood, but either way it was good to just be ridiculous together for a bit. 
  • For the weekend the three of us went to Wolverhampton to stay with Chloe's grandparents. SO MUCH GOOD FOOD in so little time. Pretty sure I ate as much during those two days as I did the rest of the week combined. While we were there we visited a few places: Wightwick Manor, Moseley Old Hall, and Ironbridge.

Wightwick Manor
The stained glass windows are in the banquet hall, where I got to play an
antique Steinway piano that has been kept in impeccable condition.
The sound was gorgeous! Definitely a highlight.

Moseley Old Hall--an original mid-17th C. tudor-style house on the inside,
but the outside was bricked up in the 19th C to stabilize and protect the wood. 
17th C. Knot Garden
Ironbridge, erected 1779 and kind of a big deal
One of the best notices I've ever seen posted.
Thank you, Restaurant Severn, for the many laughs this provided.
  • When we got home on Saturday night, I Skyped with one of my mission companions in El Salvador. I haven't spoken to Hermana Garcia for about 3 years, and she recently asked me if I'd be her English-speaking partner for BYU-I's pathway program that she just started. It was SO great to talk with her! I'm looking forward to working with her every week.
  • And to just top it all off, the weather was amazing all week long. Maybe it's because I'm an autumn baby, but there's something about walking in warm sunshine on a crisp, clear day with leaves crunching under your feet. And when you can walk without crutches, even better! :)  
Lots of great highlights from a really incredible week full of lots of love and LOTS of LAUGHING. Seriously. I feel like I laughed almost continuously. This can only mean one thing: 27 is going to be the best year yet!

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