Sunday, July 21, 2013

Update from Rome

Alright everyone- my last post was on day two of this trip, so obviously a lot has happened since then.

First off: our phones were stolen on our last day in Paris. Oh, and this was right as we were approaching a 15 hour bus ride that was supposed to be a train ride, but I guess we didn't read the fine print.

So that sucked.

I was planning to write during this 15 hour ride, but I was so upset about the phones and everything else I decided to keep quiet. I mean that was definitely a low, but the trip has still been amazing. And I bought an iPad, so at least I can still Instagram.


But if I thought getting our phones stolen and spending 15 hours on a hot, crowded, over-night bus ride was a low, it was NOTHING compared to our first hour in Rome.

We took a ferry from Barcelona to Rome (that's 20 hours, plus an hour train ride). Again, I meant to write during the trip, but they didn't provide any wifi (what, what, what are you doing Grimaldi Lines??) so I couldn't.

The B&B where we're staying in Rome is chill about check-in times, you just have to let them know when you plan on arriving. We told them between 8 and 9 p.m.

But our ferry, which was supposed to take off at 10:30 p.m., took off at 12:30 a.m. During these two hours I kept waiting for some kind of apologetic announcement and update as to when we could expect to take off and help to contact anyone expecting us in Italy.

I mean, there were announcements. A lady came on the intercom about every five minutes to remind us that the ship's cafeteria was open and that we should go spend more of our money on their D-grade food.

So helpful!

So, with no wifi or any other way to communicate with our B&B, we landed in Italy two hours later than planned. The trains were still running, but not the metro. We grabbed a taxi which dropped us off around midnight in front of the closed and deserted building where, somewhere inside, two beds waited for us. This was the most beautiful image in the world at the moment, after spending the previous night on the couches of the ship's noisy 24-hour bar.

We ringed the doorbell and waited.


We rang two more times and waited.

After a few minutes, our heads hung in defeat.

We both knew what was waiting for us. We hadn't seen any 24-hour places on the ride over, but we had seen some people hanging out on the steps around the various plazas of Rome.

Grabbing our bags, we headed out into the night, hoping to find somewhere to sit until morning. There was no way we were going to sleep.

We had barely taken three steps when a white, windowless van pulled up to us. A man rolled down the window.

Both of us were thinking, "Oh HELL no," but before we could yell at him to keep moving, the driver said, "Mister Paul?"

I could have cried. "You said between 8 and 9," said the driver in exasperation. I couldn't have cared less if he had screamed at us for giving him the wrong time. He was going to let us in and we were going to sleep inside and on a bed.

It's good that I'm writing this down now, because it's been a few days since this happened. I have since become annoyed with the B&B because the wifi they have set up doesn't work. We've had to come up to their stuffy office to access the internet.

But now I'm just glad we're not still out on the streets of Rome.

Friday, June 28, 2013

18 Hours of Sleep and Maybe Ron Howard

So I made it last night until about 7 p.m., but I passed out almost the moment my head hit the pillow.

18 hours later I woke up. Woof.

After showering and getting dressed, Paul and I headed out. We spent most of the day around the Thames near Parliament and Westminster Abbey. We didn't get a chance to go into Westminster, so we'll go back and take lots of pictures.

We ended up heading to Trafalgar Square and exploring the area.

"What's that?" I would say.

"Let's go see," Paul would respond.

We ended up in a garden with lots of statues and plaques. It took us right by the Savoy, which I thought was great because of it's scene in The Importance of Being Earnest.

As we headed away from the Savoy it started raining. There was a guy coming toward us with a black umbrella. That's seriously all I noticed. Just ask Megan Adams; I don't notice famous people. I'm usually looking around at buildings and plants, not people.

After he passed, Paul was looking like he was trying to remember something. He asked me, "Who's the narrator in Arrested Development?"

"Ron Howard."

"I'm 100% sure that's who that guy was."

"Shut up!"

We watched/ kind of stalked him back to the Savoy, where he entered. I never saw his face; His umbrella was in the way. But Paul swears it was him.

I know, I know. Picture or it didn't happen. And I can't even really verify that it really happened, but it's still a funny story wanted to tell you all.

Maybe these posts will be frequent.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

48 Hours of THE WORST


I was not really planning on blogging during this trip. I haven't updated the blog in a while anyway and I want to save the really good stories for when I get home.

But, holy crap, the first two days of this trip is the new Hottest of Messes, and I've got to tell you all about it.

The story is a two-parter and a bit long, so bear with me.

PART I - Our Unexpected Detour to Canada
And also my first time in Canada

I already knew our travel time to London was going to be long. We flew out of JFK and were scheduled to have a ten-hour layover in Iceland. Then we would fly to Heathrow Airport, making our total travel time around 19 hours.

Imagine, if you will, a perfectly calm flight with Icelandair. I didn't know this- but Icelandair gives you free TV and movies and they have a pretty good selection. Honestly: Argo, Shawshank Redemption, All the President's Men and Sherlock Holmes were all available for me to watch, pause, rewind, etc. Not to shabby, huh?

About an hour-and-a-half into the flight, I noticed the flight attendants crowding around a seat two rows in front of me. I thought someone was having a panic attack, until the passenger started throwing punches.

Immediately about ten guys (bros, really- God bless) jumped up and pinned the guy down. He was screaming and the girlfriend of the guy who got punched was crying and profanities were being yelled AND I WAS FREAKING OUT.

Meanwhile one of the flight attendants ran up with her arms full of zip ties. I couldn't see everything but based on what I was hearing they bound his wrists and ankles. Immediately the man began to scream that these people were killing him and why weren't we all coming to his rescue? They quieted him, but soon after he would try to attack someone again, and the men on the plane would hold him down and bind him with more zip ties. Then he would start screaming again.

For the next hour or so this cycle continued, culminating in the rows in front-of and behind him being cleared, two male passengers guarding him from the seats behind and him being bound to his chair.

The captain announced that we would be making an emergency landing in Goose Bay, Canada. Most passengers were speculating that he was really drunk, but to be honest I think it had to be drugs. Maybe it was the crazed way he was screaming - half in French, half in English - but I would bet it was something stronger than booze.

After we landed, I watched out my window as three police cars, two ambulances and one stair car (you're gonna get hop-ons) pulled up to the plane. The man didn't fight as the police escorted him off the plane and to the ambulance. After the crew was asked some questions by the police and our plane was refueled, we took off and completed our trip to Iceland. Overall, we lost about four hours.

And needless to say, there was no sleep on that flight. But they did give us free food and drinks, so...

Part II - Literally Every Hotel in London is Booked

After six hours hanging out and sleeping at the airport in Iceland (there really just wasn't enough time to go explore after the delay) we hopped on our transfer flight to Heathrow Airport.

We had a reservation that night for a room in the Hilton on-site at the airport, knowing that we would be exhausted after traveling that long. We arrived, only to be told the reservation was made for the night before and that they were booked for the night.

Not losing hope, we found a coffee shop in the terminal. We grabbed some sandwiches and began to look for a hotel, any hotel, where we could stay that night.

And we looked.

And we looked.

And then we looked some more.

And then I was straight up crying because I had only gotten like two hours of sleep in the preceding 24 hours and it was midnight and guess what we were going to have to just hang out in the airport until we could check into our hostel downtown at 2 p.m. AND I HATE EUROPE AND LET ME GO HOME.

And so it was. Paul and I both tried to catch some sleep while the other watched our things. I barely slept. At some point I resigned myself to the inevitable and started downing caffeine.

So now, on roughly three hours of sleep for two days, we caught the tube to our hostel, which I immediately began to panic would be bed bug infested and horrible.

Right now, I'm sitting in the pub below the hostel. The building and rooms are downright charming, it's close to everything and the wifi is free.

We just ordered a pizza and we have reservations for the Eye of London tomorrow. Everything is good, and I'm hoping we got all the bad luck out of the way for this trip.

Now if you would be so kind as to knock on any wood nearby.

Thank you.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Farewell to Liz Lemon

30 Rock ends tonight.


I'll get through it; at least it means the return of Community.

But 30 Rock has given me, and anyone else who has enjoyed this show, one of the greatest characters of all time.

The amazing Elizabeth Lemon.

I don't know how to explain why Liz Lemon is the perfect character. She is a mess- a ridiculous, Princess Leia costume-wearing, Sabor de Soledad addicted, left wing mess.


Because the humor surrounding Liz's character isn't enough. There are plenty of funny women on television right now. The reason Liz Lemon is the perfect character is because all women feel like her at some point.

For me this is pretty frequent.

Sometimes- this is how I want to spend my friday night:

And when I'm hungry, I become inconsolable.

A lot of the time, people annoy me.


And then there's my awkwardness with men.


I'm constantly trying to balance being feminine with being strong and independent.

One of the greatest scenes in the show is when Liz is pushing down her desire to make a big deal of her wedding. "It's okay to be a human woman," Criss says to her. "No!" she insists. "It's the worst. Because of society." Their wedding invitation is perfection.

I'm still not entirely convinced that Liz didn't handle this situation appropriately. Isn't that how dodgeball works?

Hopefully I figure it out before I start to consider buying a cat and naming her Emily Dickinson. After all, if Liz can land James Marden there's hope for everyone.

So tonight, I'll go by a hoagie from Which-which (the closest thing I can find to a teamster sub in Provo) and watch the hour finale with my fellow 30 Rock lovers (ugh... that word bums me out unless it's between the words "meat" and "pizza").

And though her constant displays of excellence will end with the show, Liz Lemon will forever remain in my heart as a soul sister just trying to figure out how to have it all.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Op-Ed: Open hearts for those who leave

A few weeks ago I was going about my business in the newsroom when I got a text from my mom.
“An LDS guy won the Medal of Honor.”
I immediately began to research the story so we could publish something on The Universe website. As I searched, I found details of the award.
The recipient is Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha. His actions on Oct. 3, 2009, earned him the highest award for valor in battle when 300 Taliban fighters attacked the outpost where Romesha’s unit (about 60 U.S. troops) was stationed. The battle lasted 12 hours. Romesha spent most of the battle moving under intense fire, directing men and helping the small band regroup. He also managed to neutralize a Taliban machine gun team. While attempting to take out another team, he was wounded in the neck, arms and shoulder by shrapnel after a rocket-propelled grenade exploded nearby. Romesha continued to fight and directed air support. Only eight U.S. troops lost their lives during the fight.
This battle was chronicled in “The Outpost” by Jake Trapper. A passage from the book answered the question concerning Romesha’s activity in the Church.
“His parents had hoped he would follow his father into the church leadership, and Romesha had in fact gone to seminary for four years during high school — from five till seven every morning — but ultimately it just wasn’t for him. He didn’t even go on a mission, a regular rite for young Mormon men. Romesha was better suited to this kind of mission, with guns and joes under his command.”
Automatically, for one brief moment, my heart sank with disappointment.
You can read the rest of my op-ed here.

Monday, November 12, 2012

I'm Still Alive

I'm still here.

And while I usually love writing and blogging, I've been having a hard time writing down anything lately.

I'm having hard time with a lot of things. I've found myself not seeing the point of being social or of doing much more than watching TV and sleeping.

I don't want to meet people. I don't want to make anymore friendships here. I'm pushing away the friends I already do have. I've begun to resent my school and the people at BYU. The reasons don't matter, but church, school, work - they've all become exhausting.

This low point has stretched on for a while, and last week it was confirmed that my dad will be headed to Afghanistan in a few months. It was just the shot in the arm my hot mess of a year needed.

I'm just so angry right now. The anger isn't really directed at one thing, it's just a constant burning in the pit of my stomach.

Tonight our Family Home Evening group came to our house for the activity. This still wasn't going to make me attend. This has nothing to do with my mood lately. FHE was a huge part of my life freshman year, but since then I've decided my Monday nights are better served doing other things. Like watching Downton Abbey with Elizabeth and Nathan Baier.

But I digress.

The point is, I had absolutely no intention of going, especially when my roommate told me we were building snowmen. But I like my roommates and I wasn't going to abandon them to host by themselves, especially when I was just going to be chilling in my room.

In a not very surprising twist, the snowmen building quickly turned into a snowball fight. Alex took these pictures:

I'm on the left. The girl in the right is Mallory, one of my other roommates.

The night wasn't bad. I met a few people, though it was made painfully clear that no one in my group knew who I was despite the fact that we're a week from Thanksgiving.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, I'm going to try and make the best of this last year at school. I don't magically expect this one unexpectedly painless evening of socializing to take away any of the frustrations in my life right now.

But I'm going to try.

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Hottest of Messes - Part IV (Or, Stuck in St. George)

As it turns out, the problem with Club PrezPotts was not just a tube. It was the transmission.

We found out early Monday morning after Andrew called the auto repair shop. We all immediately pulled out our phones to look at car rentals.

Online, our prospects didn't look so bleak. It looked like we could pick up an economy car in St. George and drop it off four hours later in Orem. No big deal. And all for a total of $65 including the underage fee. We started calling places to make reservations.

This process took from about 9 am to noon. Places wouldn't answer their phones. We called several places multiple times only to be told that they could help us out... tomorrow.

Apparently there were only two cars in all of St. George that were available for rent. Oh, and they wouldn't allow us to drop the car off in Orem; We'd have to find a way to get it back to St. George, so we'd also have to rent it out for a week. And it wouldn't be available until 4 pm.

We decided that this was really our only option if we wanted to be back in Provo that day. We reserved the car for 4 pm, went to lunch, and took naps. Not too bad of an afternoon.

The car was a Dodge Charger and the price came to about $344. After an hour at the rental place we stopped by the repair shop to grab some stuff that we optimistically left in Andrew's car and headed out to the freeway.

The trip back to Provo was MUCH longer than the trip down to St. George. First of all, a good fourth of the way was reduced to one lane. Second, we were completely reliant on the radio for any kind of music. There was actually a point where we pressed the scan button and it circled through all of the stations several times before we got reception again. There was some conversation, but really we were all pretty tired and aggravated and just wanted to be home.

Do misunderstand- we're all still friends. There were no angry words or hurt feelings, we all just needed to get out of that car. I don't think I've ever been that excited to be back in Provo.

As I write this, Club PrezPotts is on its way back to Provo. My family is coming up from Phoenix this weekend and my brother agreed to pick the car up from the shop and drive it up. They'll take the Charger back down on Sunday.

Personally, I don't regret the trip at all. It's kind of a shame that the trip will forever be referred to as "The Hottest of Messes", because it was a blast and just the vacation I needed.

I can't speak for everyone else, but when I look back on The Hottest of Messes it will be a good memory.