Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Hello London!!

My dear family and friends--I have arrived in London! It's been awesome so far and I am having an absolute blast. Since I last wrote we left Dublin, took a ferry across the Irish Sea, and landed in Holyhead in Wales. We visited castles, checked out the Roof of Wales from Snowdon (a huge mountain in northern Wales), and then saw the Church sites of Gadfield Elms and Benbow Farm in Gloucestershire. Then we took another three-hour bus ride to London and after getting settled in our flats, we went grocery shopping and unpacked. Apparently we're living in the most expensive postal code in Europe right now--Kensington Gardens. Lovely.

We're starting classes tomorrow and getting our Tube passes and such. Awesome!! More to come.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Ireland in review

Well, unfortunately we've been without Internet access for the last several days. Our first hostel didn't have access, and the second had computers we could pay to use that were out of order. Oh well. So much has happened that it's hard to recall everything, but hopefully we'll have more regular Internet and I'll be able to update more frequently.

We've visited oodles of castles and lakes and churches, and we've seen incredibly beautiful vistas and had pretty much perfect weather. It's rained on and off quite a bit but today the sun came out for good and it was glorious. I've so far kissed the Blarney stone, taken a 2-hour, 5-km hike from a 96-room house to an ancient tower home on the edge of a lake, had a huge Twister tournament, and been serenaded with dozens of Irish ballads by our incredible bus driver.

I need to get dinner and such, and the Internet is so slow here that I might lose a long post. So, signing off!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Greetings from Shannon

Here I am in lovely overcast Shannon, Ireland! We got in about an hour or so and the view was beautiful and incredible! It looked just like the pictures--cliffs sticking right up out of the Atlantic, patchwork fields and farms and everything. I can't believe we're finally here!

So, an update about my travels: I got into Reagan fine with Mom and the kids but then hit a snag immediately with my passport not matching my ticket, so I had to get that fixed, but it wasn't that big of a deal in the end. Then I was in Boston for a while and they started paging "William Bennetti", but I guessed that it was just some other Italian person in Logan. Then they called "R. William Bennetti" and I figured that had to be me. It turned out they wanted me to take an earlier flight to JFK, so I did, making sure to tell them that they had to ensure that my bag made it on the flight with me. Since I arrived in New York way early, I spent several hours chilling around the airport and then met up with some of the other kids from the program and we were bored for hours. There was this huge group of high school students from a group called "People to People" which spreads world peace as taught to them by Dwight D. Eisenhower. Or at least that's what one of them told us. They all were wearing matching maroon polos and looked very touristy.

The flight was LONG. But that's not surprising given that we crossed the Atlantic Ocean. They had a huge selection of movies, music, and TV and it was cool, but quickly started to drag. The plane was smaller than we expected it to be and there wasn't a ton of legroom or anything, so it was a cramped and long flight as a result. It was all worth it, though, when we came below the clouds and got our first glimpse of Ireland! We're going to hang around the airport waiting for the other students to arrive and then after lunch we're starting our program with a trip to a local castle. Woot!

Sunday, June 28, 2009


So. Only a few more hours and I will be officially departing for the greatest summer of all time. Ireland. England. Wales. Scotland. And even a weekend in Paris. What could be greater? I am beyond excited. Even though I have hours of flights to look forward to--a jaunt to Boston from Reagan International, then to JFK in New York, and finally to Shannon, Ireland at 10:00 pm with about fifteen other people from my program. Awesome.

My last few days at home were fun. Full of prep and last-minute purchases and such. It's sad to leave after only having a week in Harrisonburg with everyone but I will be home again for another week and a half in the middle of August. But it's worth it for the two months of sheer awesomeness in foreign lands. Yes.

I'm at my grandmother's in Arlington, VA, just outside of DC, and tomorrow morning at 7 am we'll head out for Reagan. Oooh. Chills.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

News update from the 22801

Well, the work on our landscaping marches on. Yesterday my brother, Stephen, and I spent our day planting oodles of flowers and other greens all around our yard. I have a wicked sunburn on the back of my neck but I'm still pretty pasty otherwise--though you can't see it in this photo. Oh well. I tried to get some more sun on our back deck while listening to an audiobook which was rather enjoyable.

Can't say that there's much of note to talk about. We've been watching Chuck as a family--which is my all-time favorite television show, and has quickly become a family favorite. My sister Miriam and I have also been re-watching the entire Lord of the Rings extended edition trilogy. Good times.

Study abroad preparations are continuing in full swing. We got our detailed itineraries today and I did some administrative stuff to finalize my readiness for the program. Only four days until take-off!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

back in Harrisonburg

I'm not altogether surprised that I haven't touched this blog since I started it up back in April. But I promised myself that I would at least use this space to document my study abroad that begins next week!! So, in keeping with this resolution, I will recount the last week or so to get myself started.

Well, my third sister, Katherine, starts at BYU over summer term, so she, my mom, and the next sister, Miriam, brought her out for the start of term. It's a drive of about 32 hours or so and isn't something to be made lightly. If at all. It was fun having them visit for a week or so and to see people and whatnot, but the term ended quickly and finals, projects, and so forth kept us busy. They arrived Monday and we (me, Miriam, and Mom) left Friday to bring me home before leaving for Ireland on 29 June.

We drove basically straight from Provo back to Virginia, and it was rather torturous as always. We had talked as well about stopping in Independence, Missouri, to visit some Church sites, and had a good time doing so. We saw the RLDS buildings, visited the Church's visitors' center, and also went by Liberty Jail. It was a great experience and I'm really glad we stopped. It was hideously humid.

Around 6:30 Sunday morning we made it back into Harrisonburg. Dad and Stephen were leaving as we turned onto our street for the chapel--they were hosting a Scouts/Fathers' Day breakfast before sacrament meeting and had to get there early. We hurried to shower and dress before getting the younger girls and heading to the chapel ourselves. Stephen was also speaking in Church, which was fun. I dozed through most of the meeting and so Mom and Miriam and I went home afterward. I slept until about 4 pm.

Monday, Stephen and I helped Dad put in a new flowerbed, which took most of the day and gave me a killer sunburn on my neck and arms. The new trees we put in look great, though.

The photo is of Miriam touching the top of the RLDS (Community of Christ) temple in Independence, Missouri. It turned out pretty well.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

So, here goes something

Well, given that my recent paper-journaling efforts haven't shown much fruit, I've decided to go electronic to post news, get my thoughts out there, and keep up with life. Odds are that no one will be reading this any time soon, but little by little, people will flock to hear news about me. So, as for now, this is functioning as a strange kind of creature dedicated to letting people know about me. Maybe.

So my life got a little crazy recently. Last Wednesday my French professor approached me in class and let me know that if I decided to pick up a second major in French that I would be eligible to teach 100-level French courses next year--and then strongly encouraged me to do so. I promised to think about it and keep him posted.

That afternoon, I received an e-mail from the student instructor coordinator for the French department, advising me that my prof had let her know that I might be interested in the job; she then proceeded to outline everything I would need to do in order to be able to teach next fall, and also telling me that the already-passed deadline was being overlooked so that I could be considered for the post. After some consultations with friends and family, I decided to go for it.

Fast-forward to my interview with the coordinator the next day. She first told me that I cam extremely highly recommended by my French professor, that my transcript was impressive, and after chatting for a few minutes that there was no problem with my French skills and that she saw no reason why I shouldn't have the job! I was blown away. I'll hear back this week whether or not I have the post. Incredible!