The past week and a half has been a whirlwind. Orientation event after orientation event and then classes. So here is my not-so-brief low down:
1. FIE, my international school, did a great job with planning events. Some of them were boring lectures but most of them were insanely fun and a great way to help orient ourselves with the city. One of the events that really stood out was the bus tour. At 10:30 AM on Saturday, a coach bus met us outside our building accompanied by a guide, our visiting faculty from Elon, and a driver. We piled on and rode through the city, seeing The Tower Bridge, The River Thames, Buckingham Palace, and Big Ben, just to name a few. We stopped at a small outdoor shopping mall, climbed to the top, and spotted this view:
We also got a tour of Parliament and it was fascinating. The history and authenticity of it made me not want to leave. The entire building was so ornate, there wasn't a single wall without decoration or bust or oil painting. Unfortunately pictures weren't permitted or I would have thousands.
2. Classes have officially started but that doesn't mean that I have any less time to get around and find new places. I have classes Monday and Tuesday afternoons. That's it! I have no idea how I managed to get that but I'm going to take every advantage of it. All of my professors are awesome and understand that this is a study abroad experience and not just for studying. Traveling and exploring is part of most of their curriculums and so I have a feeling it's going to be a good time.
3. Hyde Park is one of my favorite spots at the moment. It's so full of life which surprised me being that it is the middle of January. Dogs run freely, the Queen's swans mingle with the people, and the ducks are so friendly. Especially today, which was a spectacular day with blue clear skies and a bright sun.
4. Kensington Palace was something at the top of my list and today we popped in. I have to be honest, it was different than I thought. It was set up more as a museum than a palace. There were different exhibits for specific monarchs, with descriptions of their history. However, unlike Parliament, they were recreated and not as ornate as I thought they would be. Some original furniture, knickknacks, and clothes were on display but some rooms were remodeled to look original. The best part were the gardens. They are so beautiful and in the spring I can see myself spending a lot of time there.
Some other things I've done this week:
I've done a lot in my first week and a half but there is so much more to do, so stay tuned!
xoxo Brunette Hazel-Eyes
Wow, I can't believe the past 24 hours have only been 24 hours.
24 hours ago I was in Pennsylvania.
24 hours ago my bags weren't totally packed.
24 hours ago I hadn't met the city of my dreams.
Lets start with the flight. I left JFK airport at 10:30 yesterday night. The overnight flight was a great way to allow my body to rest and possibly jump start getting on Zulu time. Although failing to sleep, I stepped off the plain feeling refreshed and full of energy. If anyone has spent any time with me what so ever, they know that I have a tendency to get really, really over tired. I call it the 'sleepy ha-ha's' but I'm not quite sure thats what this was.
The second we got off the plane, there was so much for us to do. I swear we walked a mile before getting to customs. As I tried to be a polite, perfect presence with the government official, my nerves were over the moon. Even though I have nothing to hide, that shit freaks me out!
Getting our baggage was a sight to see. We giggled uncontrollably as we lugged a cart piled high through the airport. Let me tell you, that cart had a mind of its own.
Once we got on the bus, my whole world changed. London is better than I had imagined and I had pretty high hopes. The old buildings that are full of character, the alleyways that are full of color, the cute taxis that zip around bends, all bring this happiness to me that I never knew I could get from any other city than my own. I mean just ask my friends, every five seconds I remind them that I'm already in love with London.
This opportunity is incredible, not only do I get to live in one of the most 'posh' parts of the city, I get to learn, travel, experience, explore, etc. The gratitude I feel for this experience is so overwhelming, I can't stop smiling, despite my exhausted body.
And to think, I've only been here less than 24 hours.
So it's official, I am going to London tomorrow. In [about] 24 hours I will be sailing over the Atlantic about to embark on hopefully the best experience of my lifetime. As I lie in my bed in Philadelphia, full of anticipation, excitement, paranoia, and exhaustiveness, I write.
Today I spent the day sorting, consolidating, organizing, procrastinating (we're all guilty), reminiscing, and panicking. A couple goodbyes were said. Which by the way, I am awful at goodbyes so it was more of an awkward conversation consisting of 'thank you, you too!'
*face in palm*
This day was really for preparations, and now is the time to take care of one last one before snoozeville, kicking off my blog.
Honestly, I've never blogged before, I haven't even kept a journal, so please bear with me. I decided to begin this word-rambling page because I want to be able to remember this awesome experience. I will most likely have only one study abroad opportunity during my undergraduate career and so why not immortalize it publicly with friends and close acquaintances on my social media? I mean, who are we kidding, I've never spoken to half my Facebook friends.
So come by or don't, I promise to be funny (in my awkward, 'it's only funny to you' way) and honest. I will share all that is appropriate ;) and invite you into my journey through London and most of Europe. Hopefully it will be life-changing but we'll see.
Enjoy but if you don't, honestly, this blog is more for my mom than anyone else #loveyamom.
So I sign off, probably wont sleep a wink but who cares, I'm going to London!