The boys were amazing on my actual Birthday. I think Rhys understood that I was sad Steven wasn't there because he did everything he could to make it perfect. He gave me a "surprise" party, which consisted of him hiding in his room and yelling surprise when I came in. It was the cutest thing ever. Then he sang me Happy Birthday when we ate my cake and he was sad he didn't have a present to give me. (Steven made sure he gave me one when he came home.) He was the sweetest, cutest little boy ever and I appreciate all that he did for me to make my day special.
Gavin was also a little angel. After we dropped Rhys off at school, I decided I wanted to go into the City for a little adventure. We rode the train and then went to the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow. Or the "Goma" as its called. Since I've been really enjoying my art lately, it was really fun to get to explore and see some interesting work that people do. I can't lie, some of it I didn't get, but for the most part I loved it. Then we went to Burger King so I could get my American Junk Food fix in. (Is it pathetic that I miss it?) Gavin couldn't have behaved better while we were out and I am grateful to be the Mom to such sweet little boys.
My real present came the next day when I got to go to London. Our amazing friends Ben and Olivia watched the boys for me so that I could go. I dropped Rhys off at School and went straight from there to the train station. It was heaven to sit on a train by myself. I forgot how nice it is to travel when you're not worried about little boys driving people crazy.
When I got there Steven's parents were waiting for me at the Train Station. It was SO good to see them. I was so happy to see their smiling faces, and it was especially nice having some veterans with me. I'm positive I would have gotten lost without them.
They took me on the London Underground, which is every bit as confusing as I heard it was. Thank goodness I didn't have to navigate us. =) We only had time to see one thing, so we went to the Tower of London. It was absolutely beautiful! There is something so completely mesmerizing about walking around those old, beautiful buildings. You can just feel the History as you walk around. We barely got there in time to see the Crowned Jewels, but we did make it. I can't believe the size of some of those. I don't know if I would ever want to wear something like that, but I would love to try and see how heavy they are sometime. I can't possibly imagine what it was like for someone to carry those around. The burden of being Royalty I guess.
I think my favorite part was going into the prison rooms and seeing all of the graffiti that was carved into the walls by the prisoners. Some of it was really quite elaborate and must have taken them forever to do. I'm sure there probably wasn't a lot else to do when you're in prison, but still. I'm afraid I would never have the patience to do it.
I also got to learn about the crows and the legend behind them. They say that when the crows leave all of England will be destroyed. I gave the crows very specific instructions that they are NOT allowed to leave until my family is safely back in the States! =)
We walked around until they were closing and then we went and had a "snack" before the show. I say "snack" because that's what it was supposed to be, but we all ended up getting this Donner Kebabs that were pretty huge and they ended up coming with chips as well. It was delicious, but we had to laugh at our choice of "snack" before the show. =)
We then headed to the hotel so Steven's parents could add some layers since its so cold. I just wore my tights under my jeans and all my t-shirts under my sweatshirt all day. It ended up not being a bad choice because I wasn't cold at all when we saw the show. I wouldn't say I was comfortable, but I definitely wasn't cold!
The Globe is amazing. While there are definitely similarities between it and the Adams theatre in Cedar City, they really don't look the same at all. I was so impressed with the sheer size of it, and then to get to see the gallery where people can stand was so fun. We were tempted to stand there, but ultimately decided it would be easier to keep warm while sitting.
There were about 150 people there, which is a little more then I was expecting. The Show itself was great. I had never seen their group act before so it was fun to finally get to see them all perform together. I know I'm a little biased here, but Steven was definitely my favorite. When they gouged out his eyes on stage I literally got chills. His scream was incredibly impressive and I seriously had to stop myself from trying to run up there and help him. And while he did share the part with another guy, he was actually on stage a lot. It was the first time I had seen him in a month, so it was hard to look at anybody but him. However, I did keep reminding myself that I wouldn't get to see this play again and so I was able to take in other peoples performances as well, but it wasn't easy. =)
We were very happy to find out that they were allowing us to take pictures during the performance as long as there was no flash. Since our camera isn't that great, I decided to let Steven's Dad handle all of the picture taking since his pictures are amazing anyway. It ended up being nice for me to just focus on the show and then get to see the pictures later. I have a copy of them, so I will make an entry with all of those pictures next.
After the show it didn't take long for Steven to come out and see us and it was great to get to hug him again. I missed him so much while he was gone and I'm so happy to have him back. The reunion was short lived because he had to leave really quick to get some notes from the head of the Globe, but it was relatively quick. Steven got some very positive feedback, which is always a good thing and we were also able to tell Steven that we saw some people sitting in a "reserved" section taking notes throughout the whole play. We think they were agents, but we can't really know for sure. The Actors will be performing their final production in London again, so hopefully we'll see them again!
After the show we walked to an Indian Restaurant near by. The service was slow, but the food was good. We had one dish that was pretty bad, but they ended up giving it to us for half price which was very nice of them.
When we finished dinner, Steven and I said goodnight to his parents and were excited to meet them back in Glasgow and then we were going to take the underground back to his flat but I lost my ticket. It was a devastating experience for me, I don't lose things very often, and I searched through my backpack for a while before Steven finally stopped me. We were going to just pay again, but then I decided that it would be more fun to walk. Since most of my experience in London was on the Underground I didn't get a chance to see many of the sites. Plus, I wanted to see what Steven had been doing everyday since he had to walk to the Globe everyday.
The walk was amazing and extremely romantic. We got to walk across the Millenium Bridge, which is famously the bridge that was destroyed in the beginning of Harry Potter 6. We also walked on Fleet Street and Dreary Lane. It was about an hour but I loved every second of it. I loved getting to hold Steven's hand, and know that there was no one at the Flat waiting for us to relieve them of babysitting and so we could take as long as we wanted. The last time Steven and I had a night away, just the two of us, was when Rhys was Gavin's age and we went to Las Vegas for the weekend. (We ended up getting Gavin out of that trip... luckily we did not end up with the same souvenir this time.. lets finish Grad school before crossing that bridge. =)
Anyway, Steven's flat was small but very nice and it was fun to get to see it in person. I wasn't surprised at all to see that Steven hadn't packed himself yet. The next morning, Steven had an early meeting before our train and so I stayed behind to get him all packed up. It was appropriate since I had packed him to go in the first place. (Seriously, I don't know what he'd do without me.) Then I braved the land of London by myself and met Steven at the train station. Okay, so it was only a few blocks away, but for me that's a huge deal. I found it and everything!
I only had to wait for Steven for about 10 minutes when I saw him arrive from the Underground. We had about 20 minutes until our train left so we were trying to find which platform to go to. None of the signs said where to go so we had to find a employee to ask. It turns out there was a derailment and so there were no trains going to Glasgow from that train station that day, but that they had talked to Kings Cross and everyone was allowed to use their tickets to go on a train from there. So, Steven and I had to run the few blocks to Kings Cross where we had 5 minutes to board the train. We were sad because we were on Platform 7, which was SO close to Platforms 9 and 10 but were weren't able to go take a picture. There just wasn't enough time.
This train actually took us to Edinburgh, so we had to then find another train to Glasgow from there. It was a different route, so it took us by the Sea and the view was just gorgeous. There was even a trolley that came by with sweets that we could buy. I was tempted to get something, but we refrained.
We only saw Edinburgh through the window of the train as we passed, but it was just beautiful. The Castle was amazing and Steven and I have decided that we're going to have to make sure we make a trip back as soon as we can to actually see more of the city.
We only had 5 minutes to make it to our next train, but luckily we made it again. I was so stressed out because our babysitters had needed to leave as soon as we got back because they had some place to go, and with all of the train problems we were going to get back at least an hour later then we thought. Luckily, we were able to get in contact with Steven's parents, who made it back to Glasgow a few hours ahead of us, so they were able to relieve Ben and Olivia for us. It was a huge stress relief and I was able to enjoy the last train ride a lot more knowing things were okay at home.
We did end up only being about an hour later then we had planned, and it was so nice to get home. Rhys and Gavin were so excited to see us. Gavin actually spent the rest of the night in my lap or my arms. He had never had me gone for so long, so he was definitely going through withdrawals. They were excited to see Steven as well, and Steven was really happy to be home.
That night we went to a restaurant by us called Scilia's. Its an Italian place that was actually quite good. Steven and I are going to have to go back again sometime.
The next day was the only full day we had with Steven's parents in Glasgow, so we actually met them at their hotel that morning. Since it was raining, we just walked around Glasgow a bit, saw some of the shops, Steven's school, and had lunch. After lunch we went and explored the Goma a bit with the boys and let them spend a lot of time in the family creative center. They loved drawing pictures and reading the books there. Then it was obvious Gavin was exhausted so we took him back to our house for his nap and Steven's parents went back to their hotel for a nap as well. We met up again at our house later that evening for dinner. We were going to try a nice Indian place, but when we got there it was closed. So, we ended up wandering around Cardonald for a bit trying to find some place to eat. Most places were closed, or they were pubs that stopped serving food at 7, which is when we were trying to eat. We finally decided to try some Indian Take-out which was surprisingly good. Steven's parents even approved, and they know their Indian food. =)
The next day we woke up and went to Church. Steven's parent's just met us there since its at 10. It was actually my first week in my new Calling as a Relief Society Teacher, and so I got to teach Sherrill. I was so nervous, I don't do well in front of people, but it was so nice to see her sweet face smiling at me. It made it a lot easier and I'm glad she was there.
We were also very excited for them to meet all of our new friends we've made here in Scotland. The Ward has just been so warm and welcoming to us, that we wanted to show them off a bit. =)
After Church we let Gavin take a nap and we all had a little snack while we waited to eat dinner. We also had Steven's dad take some pictures of Rhys in his School Uniform which turned out amazing. We have one handsome little 5 year old.
That night we took a Taxi into the City. It was my first experience ever riding in a Taxi, so I loved it. We went to eat at Wagamama, which is a great Noodle place. Everyone loved it, including Rhys and Gavin. Rhys will eat anything, but its shocking to find something that Gavin will eat as well, so we were quite happy with it.
When we were done with Dinner we went home and had a visit with the Missionaries in our Ward for a bit. They were excited to get to see Steven again, and it was fun to have them meet Steven's parents. Once they left we had about an hour until the parentals had to leave for their train to London to fly home. It was one of those hours that you just really enjoy talking and visiting and you're sad to see end.
I was so sad to say good-bye to them, even though I know they're coming back in a few months. Apparently I have gotten a little more homesick then I thought, and they helped fill that void a little bit. But, it has been wonderful having Steven home again. Just having him here has helped my stress level a ton, even though nothings really changed. Its just nice having someone there who understands completely what you're going through and who can love and support you through it. Even though he still loved and supported me in London, its nice to be able to get a hug every day and know its all going to be okay.
Well, that's my London experience. Keep your eyes peeled for pictures soon!