• Day Twenty-Nine: A Lot of Nothing

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    I had plenty of time to blog yesterday, but I was studying. More accurately, I suppose I was trying to study. But I did get some done. That has to count for something.

    After sleeping in yesterday morning, I had lunch at Icco with the lovely Shannon. Since the weather was nice, we had our pizza outside. We also took the time to reminisce about the things we’ll miss once we’re back in the States. There’s going to be a reverse culture shock. I think the first time I go to a restaurant and they bring me the check in the middle of eating, I’m going to freak out. They don’t do that here. You get plenty of time to eat in England. If you want the check, you have to ask for it. That’s one little thing that I’m going to miss.

    When lunch was over, Shannon and I headed back to the dorms. I studied for my world civilization final exam, but it was hard for me to concentrate. I read the same information over and over again. Zelda came over to study with me. I’m still not sure we accomplished anything. We did get to socialize, though, so that’s good.

    A few hours later, Shannon and I went down to The Court for dinner. I’m surprised we’re not on a first name basis with the people there, really. It was trivia night, so the place was packed. It took me a long time to actually order. I had fish and chips. I hadn’t had them in a while, and I thought I needed to get them at least one more time before heading home. Also, The Court has the best fish and chips out of every restaurant I’ve been to. The Court never fails.

    I topped the evening off with another brief study session, a long shower, and an early bedtime. I can’t believe I only have a few more days abroad. This month has gone by incredibly fast. I wish that it hadn’t. Still, I have finals today and a free day tomorrow. I’m going to make the most of things.

  • Day Twenty-Eight: When It Rains

    Today was not at all like yesterday. For one thing, there weren’t as many opportunities to say, “yes.” You might’ve seen that one coming. But today, it did rain. And we got to get out a bit.

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    We went to a market. I’d wanted to go to Camden Town, but the entire Northern Line was shut down today. Those of you who have been to London understand how frustrating line closures can be. We couldn’t get anywhere near Camden Town, no matter how hard we might’ve tried. Instead, we decided to hop on the Central Line to go to Portobello Road Market.

    Let me tell you a secret: Portobello Road Market is nicer than Camden. They have nicer shops, a great selection, friendly staff, and cheap prices. Let’s you and I chat about Portobello Market.

    The problem with Camden is that it makes you feel cheap. The owners of the shops there seem to think you’re worthless. After all, aren’t you? Camden is insanely busy at any given moment. If you move along without buying anything, there will be another sucker in a couple of minutes. You don’t have much value to anyone there.

    At the Portobello Road Market, there are long stretches of quaint shops with people who actually want you there. They value your business. They’re polite to you, and they let you take your time without harassing you to either buy something or go on your merry way.

    Portobello Road is awesome. It’s what everyone imagines when they think about shopping in the smaller parts of London. It’s a wonderful place.

    I bought some awesome stuff today.

    For thirty pounds, I got a pocket watch necklace shaped like a heart, a red maxi skirt, and a cream and green dress. I love all of it. I love Portobello Market. The only reason we didn’t stay longer was that it started raining. I am glad that I got to buy some nice things. I’m also pleased to have spent the day with my friends Shannon, Cynthia, Zelda, Colin, Jim, and Stephen. Those people are brilliant.

    Follow this blog for more travel updates as I finish up my adventures in London!

  • Day Twenty-Seven: Just Say YES

    Tina Fey once said, “Say, ‘yes’ to everything, and you’ll figure it out afterwards.” This quotation is so profound to me that I’ve put it as this blog’s subtitle. It’s also been serving as my life strategy for the duration of my trip to London. Yesterday was no exception. 

    Let me tell you how saying, “yes” to more things can lead to awesome experiences.

    Have you ever had a day that was so fantastic and filled-to-the-brim with adventure that you didn’t want it to end? That was the day that I had yesterday.

    I said, “yes” to more things. I said, “yes” to adventure. You can do it, too.

    We started off the day by heading out toward Leicester Square. Shannon, Stephen, Cynthia and I went to lunch at Bella Italia before going to M&M World. I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was a massive, four-level store and interactive experience revolving around the colorful, chocolate delight that is M&M candy. We took pictures, bought some candy, and wandered around the place for an hour or so. It wasn’t until we took one picture in particular that I got my first opportunity to say, “yes” to something.

    Stephen, Cynthia, Shannon and I wanted to take a picture in front of the Abbey Road setup because there were four of us. I approached a staff member and asked her if she would mind taking a picture of us. She said she’d be delighted, and then asked if we would be willing to help her with something. She wanted us to take a survey. I agreed. She took the picture. Everything went very well.

    We ended up going behind the scenes to participate in a taste test. While I’m not at liberty to discuss the details of the survey, I will say that it was an interesting experience. I would never have been able to participate in it if I hadn’t said, “yes.”

    Afterward, Shannon, Cynthia, and I went to the Globe. I hadn’t anticipated going there, but when Shannon suggested it, I said, “yes.” Are you sensing a pattern? We poked around a bit. It was spectacular. I still can’t believe I got to stand where Shakespeare might have stood at one point in history. Life is surreal.

    Speaking of surreal, we also went to the Clink Prison Museum, which was interesting, but in a much different sense. We had to pay almost eight pounds. I’m not sure it was worth it. I did, however, enjoy the torture exhibit. Much more extensive than the one at the Tower.

    Our final stop for the day was The National Gallery. I’d been dying to see some art. The museum was extraordinary—much more so because it was absolutely free. Visual art never ceases to amaze me. We even got to see the impressionist exhibit. I saw original pieces by Van Gogh, Manet, Money, Cezanne, and Seurat. It was all so incredible. I can’t put it into words.

    I could go on and on about yesterday. I said, “yes” to a few things and it changed my whole day. Whatever tomorrow holds, I’m looking forward to it. I’m saying, “yes.” Subscribe to, follow, or check out my blog to find out what happens to me today.

  • Day 23: Can’t Complain

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    I don’t remember anything major happening yesterday. The fire alarm woke me from a sound sleep at seven in the morning. After collecting my keys and my purse, I staggered outside with the rest of the grumpy horde. Luckily, whatever fire existed in the building was extinguished quickly, and I was able to go back to bed. I didn’t even care that people saw me in my pajamas. I was not on fire.

    After waking up again, I did some homework. Matt and I went out for coffee and to Paperchase.  Matt, Jordan, Ashley, and I all hung out in my room and played Hangman until Shannon got back from Scotland. I had forgotten about Hangman. We all went to The Court and hung out for a while before heading back to the dorms.

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    I gave Shannon my fries from the other night to heat up in the microwave. Just as she was about to eat them, Heather stumbled into the kitchen with her foot wrapped in a towel. A bloody towel. I followed her back to her room to help fix her up. Luckily, I’m not uncomfortable with blood. She cut her foot on some glass, but I managed to stop the bleeding and put some gauze on the wound.

    Finally, I went to bed. Or at least, I tried to. My mind wouldn’t calm down. I only got four hours of sleep. Oh, well, whatever. There’s always tonight.

  • Day 22: Camden Town

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    I spent a great deal of time in Camden yesterday. After eating the best chicken burger of my life (at Byron), Ashley, Heather, and I headed over to Camden Market. For those of you unfamiliar with the area, it’s like one giant flea market with stalls and tents full of clothing, souvenirs, jewelry, and anything else you could possibly imagine. I am going back as much as I can before we go back to the States. It is amazing. I only spent 20GPB, and I got a lot of stuff. I even got to use some haggling skills I picked up in Mexico.

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    Exhausted after a few hours of shopping, the girls and I headed back to the dorms. I had a date to prepare for. I don’t want to give too much away, but it was probably the best first date I’ve ever been on. Of course, he doesn’t know that (but he probably figured it out). He took me to a pub in Camden, where we sat and talked for two hours. Then, we went to the highest hill in London. When we got to the top, we could see the entire city skyline lit up in the darkness (I KNOW).

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    This guy was a perfect gentleman. The conversation was excellent, and we’re pretty comfortable around each other. Everything went swimmingly. Enough gushing, I know. But I’m pretty happy.

    I only have ten more days in this beautiful city. Today, I’m doing homework, going to Abbey Road, and who knows what else. I’m pretending I don’t have to go back to the States. So far, the denial is working for me. And on that note, I’m going to get back to work. Tomorrow is still a school day, after all.

  • Days 20 and 21: Bittersweet Symphony

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    Thursday, I was almost struck down by wave of nostalgia. Oddly enough, I was feeling nostalgic about my time in London, even though it’s far from over. I only have two weeks left over here. Quite frankly, it’s not enough time. I want to stay here forever.

    London is everything I expected it to be and more. It’s a city that doesn’t quite feel like a city. It’s sprawling and intimate at the same time. The people, for the most part, keep to themselves. The ones I have spoken to are friendly and polite (save for a few drunken gentlemen at the pub). The city is bustling during the day. At night, it sleeps. It’s wonderful.

    But I digress. I started this post to talk about the events of Thursday and Friday. Thursday was fairly boring. I went to the British Museum with my world civilization class. The building was massive. We were supposed to spend the majority of our time in the Asia galleries because we’d been studying China and Japan. Zelda and I breezed through the gallery. We wandered around some of the other exhibits, but they were hot and crowded. When we finally met up with the rest of the group, it felt to me as though an eternity had passed.

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    We had lunch at a little tea place a couple minutes’ walk from the museum. I wasn’t hungry because I’d gotten too hot, but I did order a slice of lemon cake and a Nutella cupcake (delicious). Then, we visited the Twinings Tea Museum, which was only one big room. I don’t have much to say about that.

    After the field trip, I came back to my room and took a nap because I’m still getting over being sick. Next, I went to the Spaghetti House with Cynthia, Matt, Stephen, and Jim in honor of Cynthia’s birthday. I ordered chicken wings, and I only got three. Appetizer portion. Thanks, Europe! Anyway, it was good. Once we’d finished eating, Jim went to an Internet cafe, Stephen and Cynthia ran to Tesco, and Matt and I wandered around in search of an ATM.

    Later, I went to the pub with Matt, Jim, and John. We didn’t stay very long because it was crowded and hot. Are you sensing a theme here?

    Friday (yesterday), I hung out with Heather and Ashley for most of the day. I love those ladies. We had lunch at Pizza Express and wandered around Baker Street in search of the Beatles store. Although it was difficult, we managed to find it. The store wasn’t huge, but it had an excellent selection. I didn’t end up buying anything. The t-shirts along were 25GPB. No thank you.

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    We got back from our excursion and rested for several hours. Then, we went to East Street for dinner. It was some of the best Asian food I’ve ever eaten. We came back to the dorms, changed clothes, and did our hair and makeup. Once we were ready, we headed out to O’Neill’s with Angelica, Jordan, and Matt for a little bit of dancing. It was fantastic. A bit too crowded for my taste, but I managed all the same. By the time we got back, I was exhausted.

    I only have eleven days or so until I go home. It’s bittersweet, it really is. I love this city. I could picture myself spending a great deal more time here. This experience has been extraordinary for me. It’s done so much good. I can’t wait to tell everyone all about it. With that being said, there are a couple of things (and people) I miss back home. I guess when it comes down to it, I am a little glad I’ll be going back to the States at the end of all of this.

  • Day Nineteen: The Ladykillers

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    This post is going to be brief because I’m getting ready to go out on another field trip. This post should be quick. Yesterday was honestly pretty uneventful. I had both my classes yesterday. Nothing major happened.

    In film studies, we watched Victim, which is an interesting piece about homosexuals in Britain during the sixties. Homosexuality was illegal back then. If someone was convicted of “buggery,” he or she would be sentenced to life in prison, or at the very least, ten years in prison. The movie was intense. I liked it, though it did seem a bit heavy-handed at times.

    In world civilization, I had another test. The only bad thing about having classes that last a few weeks is that I have a test just about every other class. I did study, however, so I think I did fine.

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    Last night, Shannon and I went down to the Vaudeville Theater at the Strand to see if we could get tickets for The Ladykillers. If you’ve been following my blog, you know that we watched the film version in class not too long ago. We managed to get tickets for 25GBP, which was a lot better than I expected. Then, we ate at Garfunkel’s and had some deep conversations. But I won’t get into any of that.

    The Ladykillers was a wonderful show. The acting was all right, but the costumes and the set really knocked it out of the park. I highly recommend it to anyone in or near London.

    I’m going to miss this city so much. I wish I didn’t have to leave it.