Thursday, 25 August 2011

We are Back...[Three Months Later]

Well, I have now hit my four week... it is now our THREE MONTH mark since returning to American soil. [This post was written that long ago and I finally thought I'd update on here...] I guess I am finally ready to talk about the fact that I had to leave my lovely life in London. It feels like my life in London was a dream. I'd love to share a bit of what happened during our final days in Europe.

 I don't quite know where to begin. We had a joyful reunion with the Jensen family while still on the other side of the pond and had the opportunity to travel with my entire family for two weeks. We spent a few days in London going to museums, walking the river, taking the boat and bus tours, visiting Greenwich, we saw Wicked and much, much more. After our time in London, we rented two cars to carry all 8 of us up to northern England. We stopped at Cambridge along the way and barely missed the Queen. We spent a few days up north in the York and Bradford areas. We got to go to the beautiful Preston temple. We got to meet three of my grandma Jensen's siblings. Two of the three had never been to America and the rest of us had never been to northern England--so we finally got to meet! It was so neat to see where my grandma Jensen had lived prior to coming to America. Since we were not in London on April 29th, the day of the Royal Wedding and my dad's birthday, we watched the Royal Wedding with my great aunts from the good ol' tele like everyone else (I was just fine with this. I did not want to camp out in the cold, wet rain for three nights just to see the royal couple speed past for 3 seconds). I was in awe at how beautiful and elegant everything was--especially Kate! I am not ashamed to say that I had... excuse me, HAVE joined the rest of the world in the obsession with this prim, proper, royal couple! (Kate and I both choose to grocery shop at Waitrose--I think we are meant to be friends).

From Leeds we all flew to Pisa, Italy. We of course saw the leaning tower of Pisa and then drove to Portovenere, a beautiful coastal town. We stayed in a grande hotel just 10 steps away from the Mediteranean water. We attended church in La Spezia and got to meet some amazing people. I loved every minute listening and watching Christian translate for us. He blends right in with those beautiful people. I couldn't believe it! We then took a train to Cinque Terre and saw the COLORFUL coastal buildings along the water. From Cinque Terre we drove to Florence and saw the Duomo and the statue of David. After our time in Florence we went to Rome and truly got to take in most of what that great city has to offer. We went to the Colosseum, Vatican City, the Spanish steps, the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, etc. We were in Vatican City the day after Pope John Paul II was made a saint, so things were still set up to accomadate the crowds. It was neat to see all of the banners and posters put up in celebration of the beatification. We had a guided tour of Vatican City and got to see so many wonderful things, but my very favorite thing that we saw was the Sistine Chapel. It truly is the most amazing thing I have ever seen.

After our time in Rome came to an end Christian and I headed off to Milan and then to Kos, a small Greek island. My parents, Rachel and Taylor went to France while Megan and Dave went to Portugal. It was so wonderful to see so many amazing things with my family! We feel so blessed that we got to have the opportunity to travel with them. Many thanks to mom and dad for planning and making this trip happen!

Christian and I arrived in Bergamo, Italy, early in the morning with an open day ahead of us. After picking up our Smart Car we headed up to Lake Como. I have had the opportunity to do a bit of traveling and see quite a few things in my 24 years of life, but I don't think I have seen anything quite like Lake Como! Words can't even express the beauty that this place holds. I can hardly wait to go back there. Unfortunately, we could only spend a day there and then we set off for Kos. We traded the alps and a beautiful mountain lake for the beach and breath-taking blue water. We stayed at an all-inclusive 5 star hotel, I learned that this is the only way to travel! We got a great deal on the hotel and didn't have to stress about chasing food because it was all provided. We rented a scooter one day and toured around the town. Another day we took a boat over to Turkey and spent the day in Bodrum. Then we spent the last few days lounging by the beautiful pool and relaxing. We had five days in paradise and got to celebrate our ONE year anniversary in Europe.

After our holiday in Greece we returned to London where we got to spend a few more days with our dear friends as well as some last-minute shopping! We strolled through Notting Hill, Hyde Park, Covent Garden, and a few of our favorite areas before coming back to Utah.

I miss everything over there so much!! However, there really is no place like home! We have the greatest family and friends here in Utah and are so happy to be back with them! We have loved our summer in Utah and have filled it with boating, barbeque's, cabin trips, road trips, etc. We miss London and all that we created there, but it is good to be home. AND I know we will go back.

I am forever grateful for the experiences we had and will cherish those memories forever. I never thought I would be living in Europe within my first year of marriage, but I wouldn't trade it for anything in this world! It was the perfect opportunity to grow together with Christian and as an individual. There is a wonderful world out there and I am so excited for our next adventure! 
[Pictures will come in a later post]