Friday, January 4

It's a Jolly Holiday...

Rain. That's what I am listening to right now, Rat-a-tat-tat on my window. That's how the weather has been nearly all week! I guess that's what an English winter is: wet, foggy, and cold. No complaints here though, I am just glad to be a part of it! As you may have noticed, I haven't updated this blog since Christmas, which means this is my first blog post being (gulp!) twenty. I am officially not a teenager anymore! I even had a party. OK maybe party is exaggerating a little bit- I think "get together" is a better word. It was me, and my friends Sian-Amy and Louise. We went out to see the movie I Am Legend, followed by a nice picnic in Dunorlan park. We had such a lovely afternoon! Here is a picture of us at the park- we would have taken a picture at the movie, but we were all too terror-struck to think clearly.

The reason for my recent blog neglect and overall absence from the cyber world is a result of my holiday. A lot of people here go away for Christmas or New Year (or both). We went away to beautiful Devon. We stayed near the coast in a place called Tuckenhay Mill (click here to see the exact cottage we stayed in!), and that was extraordinary! Can I just say that I love England? This place was so cute, small country cottages, beaches, rivers with moss covered trees and rocks (really, nicer than it sounds) and old bridges and castles. Talk about fantastic! I took some really lovely pictures there, only some of which I will post right now.

These two pictures are my very favorites I think!

I think the English do it right. They take time out to go on long, relaxing holidays filled with time together, time to lounge, time to clear your head and make all the stress that has been building up disappear. This cozy little cottage tucked away in Tuckenhay was just what I needed to end the year and start a new one. The holiday activities included:
beach time

a wildlife preserve for sea animals and birds

(yes, I was that close!)

This seal was hillarious, it was posing for me-it would hold a pose until I flashed my camera, then it would do another one and hold. Can you say Diva?
old pubs

observing (and at times getting soaked by) huge waves

and some mild sight-seeing.

This is Salcombe castle, and battle grounds for the Civil War.

Looking out from one of the bridges

This bridge is thousands of years old! (so I am told)

This one is not thousands of years old, but it sure looks cool.

And this is my favorite shot. It was an absolutely beautiful day!

We also visited this cute little town called Totnes. It is one of those towns that is so inviting, so warm and small, you could live there you're whole life and be perfectly content. You would go to the butcher to get your meat, the farmer selling his goods for your fruit and veg. Maybe in the afternoon you would drop by the community center for a family craft or a mingle and tea. Basically I am saying that if I ever return someday to live in england, look me up in Totnes.

I apologize, because these pictures do it no justice at all!

Ringing in the new year was also great. We all stayed up and watched Take That perform live on BBC1, and then watched the most spectacular fireworks display I have ever seen live in London. Click Here if you have 11 minutes and 25 seconds to spare. I highly recommend it, because it was amazing! Definitely a highlight, along with holding hands and singing auld lang sang, breathing English air, writing new years resolutions, and making a "January 2008" folder for my pictures. The beginning of the new year also inspired a lot of thinking. I have been thinking things like, "holy crap I will be 21 this year" (that happens every year), and the fact that both Jared and I could be going on missions this year. Now that's a strange thought! I guarantee that will come quicker than I can say "wait a minute!" I also had time to review last years resolutions, and record what I had done to complete them. This was a first for me because usually I make new years resolutions, write them down, and loose them 4 days later. Last year I was a genius and I typed them on my computer and saved them for now, and it was really great to see what I wrote last year. This years resolution list includes a lot of stuff that I wont tell the world, but other things like this:
read a classic novel
learn a classic piano piece
sing for an audience
run a 10k
scrapbook my "European experience"

When I said I had 12 resolutions this year, or goals rather, everyone looked at me like I was crazy...which I very well could be! But why not start out the year ambitious? I decided this was going to be the year Two-thousand and GREAT!
(sorry...too cheesy?)

Well, the time we had flew by like all vacations, but it had to end sometime! The drive back was lovely. We passed Stonehenge both ways, so the next time I want to go the probability of me getting lost and driving in the opposite direction has decreased by roughly 12%. I spent 4 and a half hours driving through England, most of which was countryside (something I never, never thought I would do!). And while I was driving I, being recently inspired by something who knows what, played classical/instrumental music the whole way. Ok maybe all classical is a stretch...there was some Simon and Garfunkel rockin' my car. I put on my favorite soundtrack, Gladiator, followed by the Last of the Mohicans. Now Gladiator distinctly reminds me of Italy-how can it not? When my Parents and I were in Rome staring at the Colosseum I could here Gladiator music playing...well Dad was humming it, and I might have joined in with some harmonies. We also listened to Gladiator when we were taking the train through the Italian countryside-the combination making my Mom cry at one point. (sorry mom). So as Last of the Mohicans played in my car and I was zooming over hills and spectacular scenery I couldn't help but notice that it fit perfectly. This music was meant to be played while driving through England (Daniel-Day Lewis running in slow motion through grassy hills coming in close second). It was especially perfect when the music really picked up at the exact moment Stonehenge appeared in the distance... I am telling you, it doesn't get better than that. Ok so maybe I see things in a little bit of a "music video" mode, but it makes for an enjoyable car ride. So I ask you, my friends and family, what is your soundtrack? I am so curious. What music do you hear in your head as you pass that Harmon's or cross over the bridge onto the highway, or look out over the valley from the mountains? I am wondering. If you don't have one...get one! But let me know what it is...and no stealing mine!

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and a Fabulous New Year!


Anonymous said...


As always a story that gets your heart pumping and inspire you to travel. Maybe you should write, photograph and make videos of traveling. Maybe there is a career on the travel channel for you. I know once I am done reading I want to visit everywhere you have been and hope to one day. Love the ambition in goals. Some are you can accomplish in a short time and others throughout the year. Nice goal setting. I just hope to I will be able to accomplish my goal and journey to know my Savior better and over come the bondage of my life. I too have thought about how you and Jared can go on a mission at the same time. I wonder if you parents are ready to have two children on a mission at the same time. I know I am writing a ton. Sorry I missed your call. Hope to talk to you soon. Love Martha

Dona and co. said...

I just want to know if you sit around in your spare time (not that you have a ton of that) and say to yourself "Hmmm, what could I write about today that will make everyone wish that they were me?

You will be sorry you asked that soundtrack question. Let's see. I have to tell you that if you don't listen to the Sense and Sensibility soundtrack at some point while driving through England I will HAVE to snub you when/if you come home. Some of the songs that I like to listen to while driving are; Dan Fogelbergs Paris Nocturne which matches very nicely the scenery in Spring City, Utah and the surrounding area. I think it would be highly appropriate for you should you make your way back to Paris before your return to real life back here in the New World. There is also a song by him called Netherlands that I would recommend you get your hands on should you get the opportunity to tour the Netherlands. Secret Garden (not the soundtrack of the play but the actual group) is great background/movie scene music. I totally related to what you were saying about the music.
Loved the pictures and the whole update.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it is a happy "two thousand & great" and you started it off with great expectations and resolutions!
I must say your photos and musings of the jolly holiday in the cottage at Tuckenhay Mill are enchantingly descriptive - like where I picture C S Lewis doing his writing.
I must agree that the old stone bridges, countryside, and a quaint village call for a particular, personally chosen sound track for musicial accompaniment to your inspiring scenic drive through the English countryside. You and your dad are good at putting your world to music - choosing and even creating your sound track.

Today is a good day -if not a jolly holiday - a jolly good day never the less-- because it was so good to see my first '20 year-old' photo of you on the blog and it was sooooooooo good to hear your voice on the phone ! even so, I still encourage the email route and want you to save your phone money since I get carried away and talk too long like I did today).

Colie-o's Daddie-o said...

Ditto for me... I'm reading the blog and commenting to Michelle that I HAVE to figure out a way to get a couple of MONTHS not weeks off so I can do more than just do a "fly-by" at 120 kph! As for my soundtrack... that is tough. I pretty much live for music. It inspires and drives me. Anything with piano, strings and harmony... not necessarily all are necessary. Gladiator is probably my all time favorite instrumental (plus it makes Michelle and total strangers she meets on trains, cry), although there are many others that have inspired in the past. Think back to the old original Star Wars. We wore the grooves off of those albums back in the day. There are LOTS more... Braveheart, Lord of the Rings, Last of the Mohicans, to name a few. Then there is the inspirational ballad types... Diamond Rio, Alabama, etc. too many to name I guess. I'll give it more thought and get a more concise list later. As always Nicole, you've got us all thinking wonderful thoughts...


Marie said...

Grrrr...why do you have go to back to America! I want you to stay here forever and ever. You really must come down to our cottage and spend a day with us and have some tea with us before you go back. That would be so much fun. I loved this virtual trip down to Devon with you. Makes me want to go again. Mind you the last and only time we went it bucketed down rain the whole time so all I got to see was little bits of it from the rain spotted windows of our car for the most part. I did get to get drenched in Clovelly, not on the way down the hills mind, but on our way back up and I got to fall down and slipside down the side of what seemed like a rather steep cliff! Yayyy my first experience with mudsliding! It was good though. As for a soundtrack to my life it would start of with the dulcet voice of Micheal Buble singing "Its a wonderful world". Then there would be Ordinary Miracle (Sarah McLaughlin) Mushaboom (Feist) My Idea of Heaven (MOrgan Page REmix)Blackbird (Sarah Mc again) Wildflower (Cheryl Crow) just to name a few! You get the picture. I am a flowerchild feel good kind of person. Seriously think about coming down to spend the day and let me know! XXOO

skousenmom said...

Well hon, dad pretty well said it all. He named all my favorite music, but I did think of one. How about "The Man from Snowy River" soundtrack? That would do for a lovely horseback ride somewhere through the fields of England. I loved the pics too. Anyway, I miss you, but as much as I want you home, I know you will really miss all of these fabulous people you have met there. So to all Nicole's English friends, thank you for being so great and making her experience unforettable. You are all amazing people and we hope to get to meet you all if we can ever find air fare for 6 cheap enough! Here's hoping! Love, Nicole's mum

Dona and co. said...

Make that cheap airfare for 7! Don't most people take their aunties on holiday with them?

Amie said...
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Amie said...

I want you home! Nicole, I love your pictures! I'm jealous of your descriptive writing skills too! Wow, can you believe we are getting so old? I'm turning twenty in a month and I'm kinda sad to see our teenage years at an end. Anyways, I was thinking about your soundtrack question and I have 3 that I absolutely love and cherish. 1. Meet Joe Black (also my favorite movie) 2. To Kill a Mockingbird (probably one of the best books ever written) and last but not least 3. A Beautiful Mind soundtrack. (ah! It's so beautiful) I'm glad you are getting into the classical music phase too. I have always loved classical music! Now I'll have a buddy who likes it too. Good luck with your New Years Resolutions Cole. You are amazing!

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