Last Weekend in London

Friday

After class we decided to tackle something on our bucket list. Abbey Road. Overall a success, just VERY crowded. Well worth it. Afterwards we headed over to Primrose hill. By far the steepest hill of my life, maybe not literally but you have to understand that 1- I avoid exercise 99% of the time 2- We had all been walking alllll day already and Van slip-ons are not qualified walking shoes. I’m talking walking the length of a nine-hour trilogy. And finally 3- I was getting really hungry. So maybe it wasn’t the steepest hill but either way the view was well worth the torture of climbing it. And there were dogs everywhere so, bonus. Then we headed off to a small pub to see a surprise show for a British band called Superfood. The show was free and packed and I knew zero songs but I now enjoy them thoroughly and had such a blast. It helped that the excursion involved cool street art and pizza.

Saturday

Last free day in London. What are you to do? Go to Oxford of course! After getting turned around and setting off an hour late we made it to the city of people who are much smarter than me. Definitely one of the highlights of my trip and something I have beeb=n looking forward to for six months. We navigated on a system I like to call “Six college kids who wont turn on their data for fear of charges.” Also known as, screenshots of maps, one real map, and a paper towel I snagged from a Hilton we didn’t even stay at. The paper towel consisted of all 13 things we wanted to see, the times they closed, and the order in which we should see them considering both distance and time efficiency. I am a very thorough planner. The rain was no match for a group of determined students lead by a napkin. Not that it’s relevent but the napkin still lives and survived the washer. In Oxford we saw the Bodleian Library of Oxford University, Oxford Castle, the Narnia lamppost, and the most important being The Eagle and the Child Pub. AKA where TOLKIEN and the inklings (including CS LEWIS) used to hang out and write. Naturally I was a dork and excited the whole time and bought a postcard.  Such an amazing day.  Hands down one of my favorite experiences. (For the full tour via Karrie click the link to see our list of sites to see in eight hours.)

https://www.google.com/maps/placelists/list/1uIntL2rN1Gy_hCef7qpNpRhUdug

 

Sunday

A morning of rest and then of course running out and about. I did find time to sit still for a moment and absorb some time in the word. Much needed and appreciated perspective of reconciliation and humility in 2 Corinthians 5:11-22.

After lunch in the dorm, off I went to eat Gelato and hang out with some company I’ve grown very fond of. Side note: while I often do complain about the food here being not salty enough (America needs to cut back on the salt so I can enjoy other cultures more) and missing the taste of freedom in all my food, I will say that London has stolen my heart for their frozen dairy delights. So amazinnnnggg, but alas I digress. After that I went to the other peice of my London heart, the castle. The local pub down the street with the friendliest staff and best Sunday Roast. This is of course biased because it’s three min from my bedroom, the only place that ever has sunday roast at 6pm, and they gave us free drinks after laughing our inability to comprehend cricket. I still have no idea what the heck the point of it is and I hope to see a match before I come home. Also I think they like us because we’re used to tipping and tip well compared to everyone else. But we pretend its our American charm, even though most countries despise American tourists.  So after another delightful sunday roast with the best company I headed back to my dorm to complete an assignment and write to all of you.img_4602

Mmm just thinking about a Sunday Roast and the fact that I may not have another dish quite like it is enough to make me very sad and almost hungry. *Start’s singing ‘So this is love mmhmm’*

And with this lovely image to feast your eyes on I bid you all a very fond farewell.

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A day in the Queen’s footsteps 

On Thursday after class we broke off and made our dorm style cuisine. On the menu for Thursday’s lunch with hardly any ingredients was Mac and Cheese. Or as my friends (they may say victims) who tried it said “a lot of melted cheese with some pasta”. My cooking is in its self, an art form. This is apparently debatable because someone then said “yea you’re like one of those modern artists that’s kinda hard to understand”. But hey if you don’t like it don’t eat it, personally I enjoyed it.  But anyway that’s not the point of yesterday, I digress. 

Thursday was awesome because we went to visit Parliament. It sounds like a yawn and a half but I actually enjoyed it a lot. I know it wasn’t the purpose of the tour but it looked so much like Hogwarts and was so old that there were ‘corridors’. Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take pictures for the majority of the visit but as we took our tour we followed the walk the Queen would have made on her journey to the Throne. Each year the Queen ceremoniously walkes through the hall and rooms of parliament and to her Gold leafed throne to begin that year of laws and Lords. You can actually watch the ceremony on YouTube if you’d like to get an idea of what I’m talking about.  

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=deDt17Vrlrc

This was the main journey for that day, so amazing I wish I had been able to take more pictures. But there were armed guards everywhere sooo I wasn’t going to be the one to snap a pic for the gram. No thank you. 

Afterwards we all headed back and tackled another home made dorm meal. My title as the Paula Deen of Dorm food remains. My secrets are random ingredients, butter, and some seasonings that I’m not sure what the purpose is. Quality. 

Well in the wise words of Porky the Pig

Th-th-th-that’s all folks!

I’m so excited and I just cant HYDE it

First of all- s/o to my “evil woman” aka lovely sister Jess

Rainy English Saturday afternoons are quickly becoming my favorite kind of afternoon. After a night spent doing a report paper and preparing for a presentation(I know it looks like I’m just on vacation I SWEAR I go to class for a few hours each morning and do homework) I decided to sleep in on Saturday. SO lovely, after staying up late each night that week and getting up early it was nice to not set an alarm.

After we all woke up at our respective times we decided to meet up at the Bond Street station. This was a lot of fun because I rode the tube there alone and when I got there my friend was still having lunch with a friend of the family. So I decided to walk a bit further down the block and ended up returning a few items at a store I had been meaning to visit, I bought a new sweater, discovered a tea shop around the corner and buy myself a souvenir, and visit the music store that Ed Sheeran released his Album at. (Not going to lie, I was low key fan-girling just walking around in there thinking about him working there a few months ago and giving out his new signed album. no shame)

It was really neat being by myself in such a big city. London is so easy to navigate. Literally signs EVERYWHERE and I’ve been to a lot of the different tube stations so I don’t need to worry about getting confused there. It was fun to be off on my own, I wasn’t nervous or anxious, just excited to be so independent. I think having time to yourself in a new place is great because it leaves room for you to grow and even fail. How would I learn if I followed the pack all the time and everywhere? I wouldn’t!

After meeting with everyone we headed over to Hyde park which was amazing even in the light rain. We decided to stop for afternoon tea at a reteraunte right on the Serpentine in Hyde Park. It was cool to watch the swans on the water as we sipped our tea and laughed over our scones.

After this we headed back to the dorms and made dinner. We spent another night in which was perfect after a long day in the park and the rain.

PS- We’ve concurred that while loose leaf is FAR better than bagged tea; it’s the honey that really puts it over the top. Next tea related mystery: is regular liquid honey as good as the crystallized honey cubes served here??

Stay tuned.

Waterloo – not a bathroom

Another day another blister, as they always say. Okay well no one actually says that but that’s what I was saying after deciding to wear flats on an all day walking trip. Flats:1 Karrie:0 . After spending the morning in class discussing the ins and outs of the British Press we took a class trip to central London. There we went to the Britis Museum, which is Home to major artifacts such as the Rosetta Stone and fantastic Marbles of just about anything and everything.

The only negative thing about the museum was the fact that because it’s so old most rooms weren’t air conditioned. So we all spent the entire time in stuffy rooms with stuffed mummies. 

Next we headed over the New York Times branch of London and met with an Editor there named Sewell Chan. Then we met with an author of a few articles we read for class. They imparted a lot of honesty about journalism in both America and the U.K. Such an amazing time that I’m very thankful for.

After visiting visiting my dream job site our professor split from us and we were left to explore on our own. We went to a few stores and got some sweaters (because like I’ve mentioned, it’s so cold here) and decided to take a stroll on the Waterloo bridge across the Thames. (The bridge is not in fact names after a toilet but instead named after the Waterloo battle of 18, July 1815 in which Nepolean met his final defeat) 

Just across the river was a lovely place called Southbank Centre where there was a book market and a few food trucks. We watched the skaters and bikers at the sweet skate park built in under the upper level. Then we headed back across the Thames and to the dorm where we all made our microwave dishes and gave the U.K. Netflix a whirl. I will say that the U.K. Netflix is lacking a few shows but they have a wider selection and update some shows weekly which I found interesting. 

More than a mushroom

This morning before heading out to my first day of class I spent some time in Philippians and took time to reflect on the joy of humility and joy of Christ. This was an awesome way to start my day and a great reminder throughout the day to be humble which can be hard at times. But what an awesome thing, I was more appreciative of this amazing opportunity I have to study in LONDON. How sweet is that?

First day of classes, oh what a lovely thing. There is no ‘syllabus week’ on study abroad. You jump in head first and your idea of a summer get away comes crashing down. “Oh yeaaaa I’m here for school. I have homework and assignments.” It was around this time that I realized I forgot to pack not only a pen or any kind of pencil but my notebook as well. Way to go Karrie, killing it in the packing game! (its a joke because I did very poorly. #adulting) Needless to say a trip across the street and three pounds later I was all set. In class we spent time going over all the different perspectives and reputations of the local papers.

After class we decided to take advantage of discount tickets and escape the cold and rain inside a movie theater or cinema as it’s called here. Dunkirk seemed very appropriate seeing as how it is British History and heartthrob Harry Styles was in it. Over all amazing movie, stressful, suspenseful, rarely happy, and immensely heavy and depressing. Such an amazing story in history but prices were paid as often is in war.

Afterwards we were all feeling a little blue and needed a pick-me up and since there wasn’t any fancy tea around we started to wander.

We went in search of Portobello Market and weren’t disappointed. Everywhere you look are London Souvenirs and a weird store selling jellie boots called Jelly Jolly. And if you’re still thinking about Portobello Mushrooms you’ll be pleased to know that they did have a stand selling them cooled in various ways. I only bought a few souvenirs at the market but there we’re definitely very cool finds along the way.

After the Market we headed down the street to “The Castle” for some grub and returned to the dorms for a nap. (jet lag is still lingering a bit my friends). After our respective 8pm naps we tuned into some very trashy and drama filled UK tv. All of the papers we read for class somehow involved this reality tv show called “love island” and the big finale tonight. Imagine the Bachelor’s in paradise meets Jersey shore meets big brother. Only watching the finale was hilarious because we could not for the LIFE of us figure out what anyone was saying half the time. (you wouldn’t think of a British accent being hard to understand but let me tell you, they talk so fast and there is zero space between their odd pronunciation.) Not that it matters but the couple we wanted to win lost and so it just further validated that American TV is far superior.

Much more to come tomorrow but it nearly midnight here so I need to hit the hay or whatever they say in england.

Cheerio

competitive writing

I was never a fan of writing. In fact I hated it up until about a year and a half ago when I got to college. Reading was always my forte. Reading is safe. No one comes up to you and says, “Yea I mean the book you’re reading is alright but I think you could have done a better job with *add in anything and everything*, maybe it would be better if..”.  See? Much safer. Letting other people read you’re writing is like saying “hey here is a piece of my heart.” and giving them a knife to make corrections and revisions with. I used to hate writing so much because I always felt like to be a great writer I had to hear it from other people. I felt like I had to be better than my peers or receive an A to be capable of writing well.

I was wrong.  Since coming to college I’ve received every grade on the scale. I’ve worked days straight on a paper and had it returned with comments like “what does this mean”, or “I don’t even get what the point is” and red marks all over the page with a fat F at the very top mocking me for all my long nights and hard work. And other times I’ve strung together some polished sentences and sloppily chosen quotes in a few hours, typing against the clock barely meeting my deadline, and received an A.

The matter of it is, I’d rather work hard and receive a terrible grade on something I love than an A for a hasty piece of writing I could care less for. What makes writing good writing is the voice in it being your own. So now I try not to write to be better than my peers or to boost my grade but to have fun and spill my mind onto paper. I try not to worry about what people will think of my measly blog posts.

Now I write for fun and for my own therapy because that’s what writing is for me.         Not a competition.