Had a wonderful day today.
Went down to Hyde Park & Kensington Gardens for a sunset walk with the roomie. How romantic right? Haha. We saw the swans and other crazy looking ducks in the pond, the Kensington Palace, which is currently under construction and pretty lame. The park was huge! We walked around for 45 minutes and could only have seen half of it.
A few things happened that were adorable. First we saw an adorable puppy playing with his owner, running in circles. I was so drawn to the cuteness that I made Emma walk towards the puppy with me. He looked up and saw us, and sprinted right at us with a huge smile on his face. The fluffy puppy just wanted to be pet, and as we both got our puppy fix the owner yelled “keep tickling him! I’ve been trying to get a leash on him for 20 minutes!”
So cute and so hillarious. We also saw the Peter pan statue, the sun setting over the city, and found swings in the park. It was nice to have some chill time on the swings, a place will always be comfortable and nostalgic, even in London.
Today was one of those days where I thought to myself: This is my life?!
I am so grateful for my time here and all the people I’ve met so far. :D
Countrrry time, and then back to city life.
Recap of Scotland
- Beautiful views: highlands, lowlands, SHEEP, pigs, hairy cows, mountains, waterfalls, plains, cliffs, seas, lakes, forests.
- Beautiful people: old souls with countryside niceness.
- Australians!!! They were a good time, nice, gave me new insights on the purpose of traveling, AND we got to celebrate Australian day with them! ‘I come from a land down under.’ ‘So do I!’
- Independence for Scotland!!
- Haggis is alright.
- I need to go back to Edinburgh.
- Keep your eyes peeled for my facebook pictures if I ever get around to uploading them…
I love London life!! I know hearing that is probably getting old, but I’m constantly being surprised by the people and places I encounter.
The other day I walked around the parks by my internship in Islington (North east-ish London). The juxtaposition of the old and the modern really struck me, as well as the extreme wind of the day! The first park had a water spout that was too old to be used any longer, and so old that the engraving was barely readable. I could make out that the park was dated to sometime in the 1800’s and that it was dedicated to someone…
At the same time the park was being used by a couple people as a nice retreat from work for lunch. Something that wouldn’t have happened when it was created because parks were gated and locked for use by the aristocrats only.
The second park was being used by a girl and her dog enjoying a game of chase and a man, on a bench, chatting on his iPhone. Surrounding them were tombs and gravestones, covered in moss, chipped, crooked, weathered and shiny. Some tombs were crooked because of the ground under them shifting, and some of the engravings were impossible to read because time had weathered away the writing and the memory.
I couldn’t get over the mix of old and new and the ease of it all! And then I saw a real life TARGET DOG cross the road.
Still on the hunt for a hot British boy with beautiful teeth ;)
And still sending my love across the pond - Moon
I’ve been sleeping for 13 days
So I guess I’m bad at this blogging thing.
I sit down to write and I’ve done & seen so much I don’t know where to start.
It feels like I’ve been in London for at least a month. 2 weeks? You’ve got to be shitting me. So far I’ve seen Camden Market, Bath, Stonehenge (sort of, it was CLOSED), the V&A museum, the Harry Potter studios, and more than I can remember…
I’m settling in well to the pace of life here. It’s fast but relaxed at the same time. The Underground map looks like the most confusing thing, but once you know where you’re house is it all makes sense.
This is the view from my bedroom! The Olympia event center on Hammersmith Road, a very busy road. The sound of traffic has become my lullaby. Can’t complain though, it’s a flat in London!!!!!
My internship is one of my favorite parts so far. My co-workers are friendly and love to joke. It makes the day go by faster, and we picnic for lunch time. On Friday’s they go out to the pub, get drinks food and play ping-pong. I’m looking forward to that! This is the underground station I get off at. Kings Cross, the one with platform 9 3/4 from Harry Potter!
This past weekend we went to Stonehenge & Bath with CAPA (my study abroad program). It snowed the night before so our tour guides warned that it might be closed; being the Minnesotan I am, I assumed the 3-5 inch dusting of snow would never be enough to close a historical landmark. I was wrong. We stood outside the fence for about 5 minutes then moved on an hour early to the city of Bath.
Bath was adorable, we walked around with the tour guide and then got some free time. Emma (my roommate) and I found a quaint pub called The West Gate. It was mostly locals and the bartenders were friendly and steered us toward the local bakery to get a ‘Bath Bun’. On our way we ran into a few boys who went to boarding school in the city. They had THE CUTEST DOG, Casper. They were nice and hilarious, another wonderful random convo with the British locals.
Going to Scotland this weekend! More pictures to follow.
Sending my love across the pond - Moon.
Random British Fact #1
Alcohol was allowed on the tube until about 2 years ago. To celebrate the last day of legal drunken travels, hundreds of londonites boarded the circle line and partied away the night.
History in the Woodwork
Yesterday I was on my own for my orientation meetings. I found myself being much more adventurous without my roommates tagging along. I found several shortcuts from the tube to home and to the CAPA center. One of them was a narrow winding street, only big enough for one car, and had the feel of a time in the past when cars didn’t exist and people wore petticoats. The shops were small and the flats were quaint with front yard gardens and pastel colored walls.
I think I’m going to find a lot of hidden treasures once my internship starts and I am venturing across the city on the daily. The trick is not being afraid to get lost!
Last night was a crazy story. We went out to the pub in Camden and after chatting with a Frenchman, a creepy Brit, and a group of Italian men we got terribly lost on the way home. A big group of about 10 of us were spared any scary situations by the nicest bus driver I’ve ever met. He informed us that Camden is slightly ghetto and that the people there love to take advantage of Americans. He ended his route and turned the bus around to take us where we needed to be. It’s true that brits won’t go out of their way to help but there are kind souls everywhere. He also told us that he would love to go out dancing with Michelle Obama hahaha.
After the bus fiasco we got home around 3 am, got a little bit of sleep, and woke up early to go on CAPA’s panoramic bus tour. We drove around the whole city while a friendly gentleman told us all about the sights. It blows my mind how much history is in one city, over 2,000 years of civilization and architecture! The Romans built the true city of London which was one of my favorite parts. The streets were so narrow you could reach out and touch your neighbor through the window. The medieval feel was strong and I tried my hardest to picture Romans walking the streets.
I could go on about all the sights we saw but that would take too long. Basically, London has seen a lot and the history of its people is still in its stones and bricks. That is something that Americans can’t even comprehend.
After the tour my roommate Emma and I went to a pub for lunch. I ordered ham, eggs and chips; an unlikely combination but delicious. Seated next to us were two older ladies enjoying a pint, we struck up a conversation and learned the best places outside of the city to visit. They were from Norfolk in the north and were spending the day in London to see Cirque du Solei at the Royal Albert Hall (a huuuuuge, opulent venue that makes the target center look like a joke).
The ladies chatted about sports and the places in the U.S they had visited. Brits are amazed at the size of our country and the time it takes just to get between states. This made me think that a lot of our problems probably stem from the distance and differences between the states. How can a Minnesotan really relate with a South Carolinian or a New Yorker?
I hope that random conversations like this will keep surprising me throughout my stay. It was a welcome interruption and something that would never happen in the states. The British perspective is what I’m after and I’m super excited to meet more of London’s kind souls.
First impressions & Bloody Mary’s
I’ve arrived safe and sound in the city of London! It still feels surreal that I am all the way across the pond.
Things I’ve noticed so far:
The GREEEN: the grass is green, the plants are green, the moss is green. A welcome change to the MN brown and white I had been accustomed to.
The accents: I am giggling everywhere I go at the silly ways people say things. Our landlord told us if the water in our bathroom is high enough for “a hamster to need a canoe”, we should call the maintenance line. I’ve been told to “keep my wits about me”, and not “drive people bonkers.” But for the most part I can understand everyone just fine. And it only took me a day to master a british accent!
Directions: Obviously, Brits drive on the other side of the street, and as I’ve learned the same rules apply to walking. Walk to your left, pass people on the left. Today at the Underground I made the mistake of walking up the right side of the stairs. A not-so-kind old lady informed me “YOU’RE GOING THE WRONG WAY. UP THE LEFT, DOWN THE RIGHT! UP THE LEFT, DOWN. THE. RIGHT!!” and snarled at me as I said my sorries.
Size: Things are little here! They weren’t lying in orientation. Our flat in its entirety is about the size of our living and dining room at 1079 como. It’s adorable though, and pre-furnished with really comfy furniture. Besides the beds, they are pretty rock hard but fixable. All buildings are little here; the CAPA center is tiny but quirky and cute. I guess cute is the word I’d use to describe the feel of the city here in Kensington.
I already love it here. The big city feel without the steel and concrete overload are some things I really appreciate about London. The men are smokin’ hahaha, and I’ve had a pretty good time checking them out on my walks. THE PUBS. They’re everywhere and I had one of the best bloody mary’s at The Cumberland Arms yesterday with dinner.
I had so much more to say but my mind has been in overload since I got here, and this is all I can get to spill out. One thing I really need to do ASAP is find a rain jacket!
Packing up my MN life [t- 3 days]
And my study abroad blog has begun!
I’m currently sitting on my bed googleing “how best to pack a suitcase.” This is about as far as I’ve gotten so far. Packing is hard enough for me when the trip is going to be two weeks, let alone four months! How can I know right now what I want to wear in April?
To everyone who keeps asking: YES I AM EXCITED. How can I not be?! I had some nerves last week, but already I’m adapting to this upcoming life change. The only thing I’m really dreading is the packing….
I found out I will be interning at the Children’s Society, a non-profit that helps the less fortunate children of the UK. A.K.A business casual – a look I’ve never had to pull off before. This further complicates my packing dilemma; what constitutes business casual? Does casual Friday even exist in London?!? Are heels appropriate? Will I die if I wear heels on the tube?!
But I gotta say, all the uncertainty of this trip is adding to my excitement and curiosity. I’m going farrr from Minnesota, where I’ve been my whole life. Just in time, too, I can’t handle the frigid winter this year! This new cold just adds to the January misery.
Big adventures await me, however; I will tackle them, stuffy nose or not.