The last 10 days of Londontown were a blur. I remember walking around South Kensington wondering when it would all sink in that I would be leaving this city and even on the plane ride home, it still hadn’t hit me.
If anything, the past ten days made me even more aware of how fortunate I was to be able to have this wonderful, life-changing experience.
I’ve talked a lot in this blog about all the amazing places I’ve been, but not enough about the unforgettable people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting.
Like I have said before, I joined the Imperial Swim Club in October. It was awesome swimming again but what was even better was getting to know kids from all over the world. I’ve met people from Spain, France, Italy and of course a few great Brits! They have made my swim club experience perfect for the short time I was there.
One of our last club meetings was the Christmas dinner at Sticky Fingers (A restaurant owned by one of the Rolling Stones, don’t ask which one, I have no idea). The meal, comprised of half priced cocktails (win for broke college girl) and 3 courses. I was surrounded by great company and was introduced to many British traditions including Christmas Crackers! (I’m not sure if my team was more shocked that I had never heard of the this Christmas ritual or that I actually thought they were crackers) I was pleasantly surprised to open the Christmas Cracker (shaped like a giant tootsie rool) to find an assortment of treats like paper hats, popsicle stick worthy bad jokes and other little knick knacks fit for dinner table entertainment. They were fun and I wish my family had them on Christmas day, it would have surely been a fun moment in the Lowe household.
After dinner, we all went out to a pub and danced for hours and it was the most fun I have had in a long time! I totally forgot about the FIE paper I had to write and did not mind one bit.
It’s a shame that I wasn’t able to participate in many swim club activities prior to this dinner because of work and classes but I’m glad I was able to become closer to my team mates. I will surely miss them and secretly (or not so secretly) hope I will able to go back someday and visit them, or they make a trip to the East Coast so I can give them a taste of my USA!
This blog is SO late and there are no excuses! But, now that I’m home sweet home and in my comfy bed, I guess I have all the time in the world to write about great Paris was.
I guess the word ‘great’ would be a drastic understatement, because Paris was absolutely breathtaking. I’ve seen countless TV shows and films with Paris settings and it has always looked beautiful on screen but seeing it in person was a whole different level of beauty.
Let’s start with the Eiffel Tower, the most iconic symbol of Paris. I had the great pleasure of arriving in the city just as the sun was rising (after a very long bus ride) above the tower. It was probably one of the most spectacular moments in my abroad experience. The city was still rather peaceful and was the perfect start to our 12 hour exploration into Paris!
With our lovely tour guide, we then proceeded to visit The Louvre where we got in for free (a small victory for a poor abroad college student) and were on our way to the one and only Mona Lisa. As I think I’ve mentioned before, I’m not the best appreciator for art but I really did try to soak all the artwork in while in search for Mona. I think my fascination with The Mona Lisa stems from the Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown and just the overall mystery of the painting. Needless to say I was pretty intrigued! After lots of pictures of naked babies and war battles, we finally found her…and she was a lot smaller than I had expected but still pretty cool all the same.
After that, we had lots of free time. Jenn, Colleen and I went to the Notre Dame, shopped in the little street markets and just enjoyed being in Paris. We had a boat cruise at 6 so we rushed back to the Eiffel Tour for a 600 step climb to the second level! The view was incredible. And just like we saw the sun rise, we also saw the sun set on the tower…several hundred feet in the air!
It was dark by the time we got back down on the ground and the Eiffel Tower was all lit up and shining like gold. At the top of the hour, for about five minutes, the lights began to flicker and sparkle. It was SO spectacular and magical to see. I took so many pictures and videos in that small time span because it was just that incredible.
That concluded our day in the City and the next day, our tour guide took us to the Versailles Gardens and Montmarte. I preferred the gardens to the city of Montmarte because even in the dead cold, it was still a beautiful site. The gardens went on forever with statues, ponds, trees and even bigger ponds! It had a lot of history and was really fun to walk around!
That afternoon, we piled back into the bus and headed back to London Town. During that 8 hour ride, we watched It’s a Wonderful Life, a movie that I’m surprised I have never seen. I cried my eyes out. It was such a great film to start our holiday season and I was so excited to see my family after watching it. It was the perfect end to a perfect weekend!
Yes. You heard it: 11. Days. Left. I’m beginning to slowly wrap my head around this fact and as the days go by its FREAKING me out.
As my friends and fam know back home, I am SO excited to see them. However now I’m realizing there is so much that I still want to do! Museums, Pubs, just aimlessly walking around London…there’s a lot to accomplish in two weeks time!
Needless to say I won’t be spending much time in my flat. What’s unfortunate is the fact that I have a 2,000 word page paper due Monday. Now that should just be illegal.
I am LOVING my internship at Sheerluxe. It’s the perfect job and I’m so happy FIE placed me here. For those who haven’t read my previous blog, Sheerluxe is an online publisher that is devoted to online shopping. It’s essentially the one-stop-shop for consumers who want quality products. They have a directory of over 1500 retailers ranging from boutiques to luxurious designer brands. SL is not just for clothes either; Food, gifts, pets, wedding, children, men, accessories you name it, they have it! They offer discounts, news stories and the latest trend updates on their website. What I love about Sheerluxe is the personal touch you can see on the website. Everyone who works at SL has a blog and constantly updates them. One of my co-workers loves blogging about new restaurants, another has a blog specifically for Mothers or “Mums”. I even have an Intern blog where I get to write about anything I want. I LOVE blogging, as you can tell, so this is perfect for me. I’ve written 4 and published 2 of them so far, I’m hoping to do more in the next three weeks before we leave (aghhhh!)
I feel like my internship has been extremely hands on. I’m learning so much about running an website. There’s a lot of work that goes into it behind the scenes that I’ve never imagined before. We work on a “back site” where we put all our pages together and edit our content that can be seen on the “front of the site’ which is what you see on the website. It’s very hard to describe what it is I do everyday, but I mostly help to make layouts, upload pictures, create copy, and add product information to all the pictures. It was hard at first but I feel like it’ll be useful someday depending on where I work. I’ve also gotten to tweet and post news on Facebook on the SL page. It’s the closest I’ve gotten to COM/PR work and I love being creative with what I write.
As of this week, I’m the only intern at SL, which means I’m extremely busy but I don’t mind at all. I think the people who work there (who are all awesome and extremely fashionable) can see how hard I’m working as well. I’ll certainly miss it when I leave!! It’s been a great first-internship experience :)
Over the weekend, my friends and I took a very short but very sweet trip to Cork, Ireland. Ever since deciding to study abroad, Ireland has been my top destination to travel to so I’m glad that I got to experience a small amount of my homeland. (Apparently both sides of my family were from Cork, what are the chances?)
Anyways, Brenna Colleen and I started our journey at 4 AM Saturday morning and arrived at our cute little Bed and Breakfast around 11 after taking a bus, a plane and a cab. The B&B was so cozy and for some reason reminded me so much of home. We met up with our friend Aimee in the Cork city center and had a great lunch. Then we started our journey to the Blarney Castle!!
The Castle grounds were so beautiful, open and GREEN. In the past 3 months I’ve been in Europe I’ve never seen anything like it. We walked around different paths until we reached the castle and proceeded to explore creepy ancient tunnels and dungeons that Colleen had found. We walked up 100 steps to get to the top and we got to kiss the blarney stone! When you kiss the stone you have to lean backwards while the guide holds you, it felt like I was going to fall backwards all the way down. It was a pretty cool experience and apparently once you kiss the stone, you are gifted with “Eloquence”.
We stayed on the grounds for at least another hour, taking pictures and enjoying the nature and the sun (it was supposed to be terrible weather that day, so maybe we got good luck for kissing the stone!) We went out to dinner in Cork and then to a pub of course! It was really bizarre because on the weekends the college students go home so the streets and pubs were deserted. We had a good time watching the older people at the pub though, especially when they were drinking Jager Bombs.
Sunday was a day of traveling back to London. We had a delicious Irish breakfast at the B&B and went on our way to the airport. Overall it was the perfect mini trip and I’m so glad I got to see Ireland. I’m hoping to go back someday to take a real tour around the country. The coastline is supposed to be gorgeous. I also think when I’m naming my dog Cork in the future…cute right? Maybe I’ll get an Irish Setter and make it even more perfect.
I know this post is extremely overdue, but with my first week of my SheerLuxe internship, I barely got anytime to write!
Anyways, ITALIA was amazing. I would say it was one of the best trips I have ever taken. We had absolutely perfect weather all 4 four days we were there and we really got to experience everything that Florence had to offer. I honestly don’t even know where to start!
We got there Thursday night and met up with some of Devon’s friends who were also traveling abroad. We went to the Lion Fountain Pub that was a popular place for American abroad students like ourselves. The ceiling and walls were covered with US memorabilia and T-shirts from Colleges around the US. I found UCONN and Bentley but no Marist :( It was rather disappointing. That night I also had my first Italian dish of Pasta with a delish ricotta and tomato sauce! Sooo yummy!
The next morning we started our day off bright and early at the museum that housed the Statue of David by Michelangelo! This sculpture was so life-like, it was unbelievable. You could actually see the definition in his hands and feet. The veins and muscles were so prominent it was unreal. We then headed over to the Duomo, the most beautiful church in Florence, and climbed all 432 steps to the very top where we witnessed the most breathtaking views of Florence and the Tuscan countryside. We must have stayed up there for almost an hour just taking everything in. All the buildings were burnt oranges and reds, and with the green forests of the countryside it was the most beautiful view.
Saturday was by far my favorite part of our Italian adventure! Thanks to Jenn’s amazing researching skills, we found a tour of the Tuscan countryside for a great price. This tour was filled with stops at towns like Sienna and San Gimigano*(sp) and we also had a delicious 4 course meal with a wine tasting at a local farm. We ate pasta and drank glasses of Chianti with a view of the most beautiful landscape I have ever seen. We also went to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa and took the typical tourist pics, but it was totally worth it! It was a great tour to go on, we saw so many great places! Words can’t describe how beautiful that day was.
Sunday, we had a free day of exploring to do around the city. As fashion major/minors we went to the Salvatore Ferragamo museum of SHOES. For those who don’t know, Ferragamo was the first designer to incorporate cork into shoes to create the first wedge heel! He handcrafted shoes for royals, Marylin Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Catherine Hepburn and so many more women. His designs were so unique and were inspired from everything around him like birds, native american art and other cultures. It was really interesting to see Ferragamo’s work after studying it in my classes.
What was great about this Italian trip was seeing our friends from Marist! On Friday we went to dinner with some our FIE girlfriends who were also traveling in Florence. (We got free wine becuase we were abroad students!) On our last night, we met up with two of our friends who were actually studying in Florence. They took us to Gusta Pizza which was THE BEST pizza I have ever tasted. Nothing will ever compare to it, plus it was shaped like a heart which made it that much cooler. It was the perfect way to end the trip!
I could have written so much more about this trip but I felt like it would have turned into a small novel, so that’s it for now! I really recommend Florence to anyone who wants to travel it Italy. You won’t be disappointed!
I chose the Sporting London class because of my curiosity of British sport and my love of the Olympic Games. I can say that with the ending of this class last week, I have become somewhat of an expert on both topics.
In this class, we learned so much from our teacher Helen Curtis. Essentially she is the encyclopedia on all things Olympic. She played Water-Polo and swam growing up and actually knows people from my high-school team; such a small world. She is so enthusiastic about our class and made it a blast to learn.
Over the course of the semester, we’ve been to the Olympic Park (previous post), Wembley Stadium, Chelsea Stadium, Olympic Gift shops, Wimbledon, and TWO Chelsea Football games.
The Chelsea games were absolutely amazing. We were so lucky to go to both games for only 20 Pounds in total! The first game we went to was against Fulham and the second was against Belgium, which is the game pictured above. The Chelsea Stadium looks big in a tour, but looks even bigger with thousands of fans in blue and white! We had amazing seats and cheered along with the intense crowd. Helen went with us on both occasions and was able to answer any of our questions at the drop of a hat. (Since I’m not football-savvy, I was glad she gave me the 411 of the game’s progress)
The game against Belgium was our last big “Hoorah” for class. CFC won against Belgium 5-0 and we had a great time! I’ll miss that class and Helen a lot. Hopefully we can meet up in a pub someday soon!
was joining the Imperial Swim Club. I’ve only had 5 practices with the team but I am absolutely LOVING it. The practices are hard and the pool is in meters, not yards like at home but I don’t care. Just having a chance to be on an actual team and getting to swim like I used to in high school is worth it all.
Everyone on the team is so nice and welcoming. I’ve met a bunch of great people and I think were going to get along great. I’ve never been on a co-ed swim team, but the atmosphere is a lot like my co-ed track team in high school (which is a very, very good thing). The coach is also a great guy too. He works us hard and I feel a lot stronger already!
We had time-trials for the upcoming BUCS Championships they compete in and I decided to do it. I knew that my times weren’t going to be great with a longer pool and only practicing for a week but it went ok! I was proud of myself for swimming my hardest. I did time-trials for the 50 Breast, Fly and Free, the 100 Breast and the 200 IM. I was going to do 100 Fly since that was my best stroke in high school, but I knew my body could not handle that yet!!
Today, some of the team members and I went for a run around Hyde Park. It was about 40 minutes and it felt great. I’ve had some tendinitis in my heel recently so I’m glad that it felt good to run on it today. I was able to keep up with two guys from my team and it was nice getting to know them!
All in all, I’m really glad I joined this club. I’m so happy that I get the opportunity to swim and meet new people :)
Now, I have to get back to writing two papers and studying for a midterm. Yikes.
I cannot tell you how excited I am to begin swimming again on a regular basis. I miss swimming so much and was so disappointed to find that Marist didn’t have a swim club when I was freshman. Now, I get to work out, meet new people and maybe even compete!? This is unreal. I hope my mom remembers to bring all my swim stuff!
Words cannot describe.
p.s take a look at the club’s website by clicking the blog title “Imperial Swim Club!”
If you click on the blog post title above, you’ll get a glimpse of my first INTERNSHIP! I got an email a few days ago saying that I will be a communications intern at Sheerluxe, an online fashion magazine! Basically, this is the most perfect internship I could ask for. In the past couple years I have begun to seriously consider working at a magazine like Glamour. I feel like this internship with a fashion related magazine is the perfect way to begin my career path!
I grew up reading and subscribing to magazines like Girls Life, Seventeen, Glamour and Vogue and I’ve always enjoyed reading the fashion tips and spreads to see the latest trend. It’s surreal to me that I get to experience this in an online format!
Obviously I’m pretty pumped about this internship, and when I know more about the company I’ll certainly share!
Below are a bunch of pictures of my very first catwalk experience!
It was so much fun! We were in the second row on the end so we could see the models at the end of the catwalk pose. The show consisted of 5 designers works with 3 of them being trunk shows from designers at the event. We saw the stylist of the show as well as the host who’s actually the host from Next Top Model in Britain and Ireland!
The collections were awesome! I loved Jaegar and Osman (the models in the pics are from both of these designers)
They also had places where you could get your hair and make-up done and lots of places to shop. Although most shops were expensive, my friend Steph and I found a buy-one-get-one-free deal!I got an adorable pair of brown, black and hot pink heels!
On Saturday, we traveled to Stonehenge and Bath for a FIE day trip. We took a coach bus about 2.5 hours out of London and the countryside was absolutely gorgeous! I got so used to the city life that I forgot about farms, green grass and cows. It made me miss Suffield so much!
The first stop was stonehenge to visit the ancient rock formations that NOBODY can understand. It is believed that they were made hundreds of years ago (Before Christ!) by teenagers because most of the population didn’t live past their 20s! Some of the rocks were from Wales too, which blows my mind how they managed to move them. There are so many theories as to how and why they made these formations, but nobody knows the true answer. Stonehenge is basically in the middle of nowhere with some cows and hill-like burial grounds. Some of the burial grounds were huge and others were pretty small. They have investigated them before but didn’t find any artifacts to help them figure out the mysteries of this world wonder. This place literally blew our minds.
Our next stop was Bath which. is cute, little city that reminded me of Edinburgh, Scotland. Apparently, there’s a huge Jane Austen fan base in Bath because it’s the place where she once lived and wrote two of her novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. They had a Jane Austen festival and activities while we were there. There was a group of the author’s fans dressed up in historic outfits like they would have worn during Austen’s time.
We also visited the Roman baths which were so interesting too! We took pictures of the ancient saunas where the Romans would go. The building is still intact and you can even see the Roman’s plumbing! It was so interesting!
It was a great day trip to get out of the city and experience a different area of england!
more blogging to come about London Fashion Weekend!
Last weekend Jenn, Devon, Colleen and I traveled North to Edinburgh, Scotland! It was SO beautiful. It was such a cute little area with AMAZING breakfast cafes (with the best hot chocolate I have ever tasted) and the cutest shops, boutiques and tourist shops.
The town of Edinburgh also has several castles that we checked out. The first one was Hollyrood castle where the Queen stays on her visits to the country. We took the tour of the castle and it was pretty similar to the Buckingham Palace tour, except the gardens had remnants of an old Abbey. The pictures of the old, broken stone walls were probably my favorite I took on the trip.
I also had my very first hostel experience in Scotland and it turned out to be great! The Bedford Hostel had once been a church and some of the rooms were freezing, especially our room. However, we spent most of our time in the bar/rec room reading magazines after our adventures in town.
There were two main streets that showcased the Edinburgh culture. Princes Street had the more modern stores, restaurants and a mall that proved to be helpful when we didn’t know where else to go after we visited all the tourist spots. The other street was called the Royal Mile which started a mile away from the previously mentioned Hollyrood Castle. This street had old pubs and lots of tourist shops where I picked up a lambswool scarf! (It got really cold there, so I’m glad I purchased it!)
On the second day, we had been already been to many of the tourist spots so we went to Princes street and walked around some gardens and went to a pub for 3 hours. Our bus wasn’t leaving until 10 PM Sunday night and we ran out of things to do but the Bedford Hostel saved the day and let us come back and hang out in the rec room before we had to leave! It was a great relaxing way to end the trip! We got back to London around 7:30 after an 8 hour bus ride, but it was SO worth it to experience another country!
In other news, not much happened this week. I did however get to go on two great field trips in one day! The first was to the BBC broadcasting center for my Media in Britain class. We saw how much work it takes to make sure all the programs are running smoothly, how they input close captioning into programs and how they make their own tv commercials and previews for the upcoming seasons and episodes of shows. I had to leave early to get to my next field trip and took the tube all by myself for the first time! After changing tube lines 5 times, I ended up at the Chelsea v. Fullham Football game which was an AMAZING experience. I went with my Sporting London class and it was a blast cheering with the crown and what not. Chelsea won against Fullham during penalty kicks after 90 of gametime and 40 overtime. It was a long game, but so worth it to witness a european football game!
I have had a lot of homework and projects this week, so nothing too exciting has happened besides what I’ve mentioned. I will be blogging soon about our day trip to Bath and Stonehenge on Saturday though!
Over the past couple of days, the girls and I have been getting out and exploring London a lot more. I have been running almost every day in Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens and they are absolutely gorgeous, even in the rain. There is SO much green and so many paths to choose from to run. What I love most about the parks is the Kensington Palace, the gardens and all the monuments! They are all so gorgeous and elegant and absolutely beautiful! I have yet to take pics of this area, but I think I will on my next run in the morning. The most beautiful spot is the Princess Diana Memorial. It’s hard to explain, but it’s basically a continuous circle fountain. (I’ll take pics of this too!)
We also went to Harrods a few days ago, and I was surely starstruck by all the brands and designer collections. The store is like Saks in NYC but so much more expensive! I thought that walking around Topshop was bad but this definitely took the cake! One of my favorite designers, Elie Saab had several ballroom gowns there and there was a whole room devoted to Christian Louboutin shoes that we were NOT allowed to touch. Just seeing all those red-bottomed shoes made my heart melt, too bad I won’t be able to afford a pair anywhere near soon. At Harrods you can buy ANYthing and EVERYthing. Elephants, Cars, House, Designer Clothes, and even groceries. It’s an insanely ridiculous and fabulous store.
Today, Jenn and I visited the Queen at Buckingham Palace! Well, not really but we did see all the state rooms on a tour! These are the rooms where the Royal family entertains their guests. This was interesting and all…but the main attraction was THE DRESS of the century. That’s right, we saw Duchess Catherine’s wedding dress up close and personal along with her shoes, flowers, jewelry and the cake! (Apparently, the Royal cake is only cut into, not eaten. They eat the cake made of Fruit Cake when the first son/child is born.) It was so amazing and Duchess Catherine is SO skinny, her corset was so small! We watched a video of Sarah Burton, the creative director for Alexander Mcqueen, discussing how her team made the dress too. There is so much work that goes into a dress like that. Only the finest lace and fabric was used. The lace patterns were of the four flowers of the UK: Roses, Daffodils, Shamrocks and Thistles which I thought was really interesting. There was a lot of British tradition and culture in that dress for sure!
Anyways, after my run and my class tomorrow the girls and I are going to SCOTLAND! I can’t wait and will blog about all my adventures next week!
I haven’t blogged that much recently, so I’ll just try to wrap the highlights of the past couple days!
As I said last week, the girls and were going to Fashion’s Night Out!For those who don’t know what this is, Fashion’s Night Out is basically a huge party in all the stores right before Fashion Week (which is happening right now). The stores display their newest collections and also offer freebies like manicures, celebrity sightings and free champagne!
On Thursday night we all got dressed up for the occasion and did each other’s make up and hair. Before we left for FNO we went to our FIE reception party where all the abroad students went for a free dinner and two free drinks! I had two glasses of pinot grigio and a cheeseburger. (sadly, the burger is nothing like the real ones in the US…it tastes like meatloaf)
After our dinner, we took the tube and went to the shops! We stopped at Mango (a British store) that was offering great sales, but it was still so expensive for those who were used to dealing with the American dollar. It’s hard buying a sweater for 30 pounds when you know it would be almost sixty dollars in the US. (so basically, I haven’t bought anything yet :[ ) Our next stop was Anthropologie, which is an expensive store is the US too, so we didn’t buy anything there either. However, they did have great merchandise, a fantastic floor set up AND free champagne.
Once we got to the higher end stores, we started seeing paparazzie EVERYWHERE. We found out that Gwenyth Paltrow was in the Coach store and sprinted there in our heels. We waited outside for a good 25 min but we didnt see her. We did see Daisy Lowe though. She’s a famous model who has worked for Chanel and her father is Gavin Rossdale, who is Gwen Stefani’s husband! There was apparently other British celebrities there but we had no idea who they were, we took pictures anyways! It was SUCH a good night!
The next day, my Sporting London Class took a field trip to the Olympic Park for the 2012 Olympics! It was still under construction but we went to a viewing gallery (where the QUEEN has been) to see the progress of the buildings. The park is in the poorest borough of London (Stratford) and is right near the O2 Stadium where tons of famous artists have performed. It’s the poorest area because it was severely bombed in WW2 and has never fully recovered. Not only are they building the arenas and stadiums for the Olympics, but they’re also reconstructing this run down area of London with new apartments for the Athletes which will be for sale for citizens when the olympics are completed. They also just built the biggest shopping mall in the UK right near the Park as a tourist attraction. It seems like Olympics are definitely going to be benefiting this area before, during and after the event.
We went to the View Tube and got to take up-close pictures of the Olympic Stadium, the Aquatic Center (Built like a wave) and the Olympic sculpture called ArcelorMittal Orbit (which will taller than the Empire State Building). The buildings look amazing! I noticed that they’re not as artistic as the Beijing Olympics however. I think it’s because the culture in London is much different and most of the buildings I was told were built for practicality so they can use them after the games are over.
It was a great two days exploring the big events coming up for London! I can’t wait to see the Olympics on TV and know that I saw the construction in progress!
Today, all of the girls have class so I’m going on a run to Hyde Park which I have been dying to do! Were going to Harrods for the first time tonight as well! and the biggest news of all…were going to SCOTLAND this weekend! I’ll be sure to blog right before we leave.
I can’t believe I have been living in London for a whole week so far! I’ve been so busy with classes, events and exploring that I haven’t had time to post!
On Monday, I started my first day of classes. I’m taking British Life and Cultures, Media in Britain and Sporting London. After having each class at least once so far, I can say that Sporting London is my favorite class. Basically, we are learning about the historical/sociological/communication aspect of the Olympics, especially the 2012 Olympics in LONDON! So far we’ve discussed the British sports like Football, Rugby, Polo, Cricket and Crochet. I find the class a lot more interesting because my professor knows SO much about these sports and their significance to Great Britain. Tomorrow (Friday), we get to go see where the Olympic games will be held this summer! I am SO excited for this little field trip!
There has been lots of exploring time this week after class. We went to pubs twice this week; once with the MN group and once with some Marist girls! I had a blast with both groups but I was so happy to be hanging out with the other girls from our school! We went to a pub in South Kensington called Gloucester Arms where I had the most FABULOUS British drink called Pimms. It was so fruity, delicious and only cost 5 pounds! It will definitely be one of my drink of choice this semester! (Fact: All British Pubs have the same exact food/drink menu…so it shouldn’t be hard to order Pimms!)
Last night, the whole FIE student body got tickets to go see a broadway play. Half of the students saw 39 Steps, which from what I heard was a hilarious production. The other half (including 3 other Marist girls and myself) saw Blood Brothers. It was a really dark musical about how twin brothers were separated at birth and grew up being secret best friends or “blood brothers” without ever knowing that they were related. I thought the production had amazing actors with great voices, but I think I would have liked to see a more spirited play like 39 Steps. I’ve seen a lot of plays in the past and I always get teary-eyed at the end of the show when the closing music starts and the actors bow. No matter what kind of ending, be it sad or happy, I ALWAYS get goosebumps.
Today I don’t have classes which is good because I ended up going to a Zumba class at Club Kensington (the gym I joined) this morning with Jenn and another girl from Marist named Ashley. It was definitely not as fun as the hip-hop and fast paced Zumba classes I’m used to at Marist, but it was a good to try a new Salsa dancing type.
Now, TONIGHT is going to be one of the best nights yet. That’s right, tonight is FASHION’s NIGHT OUT in London!! It’s going to be huge, amazing and glamorous and I can’t wait to see all the stores celebrating their newest Fall collections. (Here’s the link: http://fashions-night-out.vogue.co.uk/ ) They are selling FNO T-shirts at Gap and I must get one before they run out! I’m getting ready with a huge group of girls tonight from Marist. Before the Fashion night starts, FIE is holding a reception where we can have a few free drinks. All of us are planning on going to that and toasting to a fun, fashion-filled night! I CAN’T WAIT
Right now, Jenn and I are taking a little siesta while Colleen and Devon are at class to get ready for our night on the town! I’ll post pictures our FNO soon!
As you can see from below, the girls and I have been quite busy the past 24 hours! After our amazing enchilada dinner with the MN boys we got ready to go to a pub. We met more people from MN and went out with them in a huge group which actually benefited us in the long run last night.
We decided to go to Russel Square last night which was much farther then we had ever been on the tube. Ryan said that the pub Rocket was a really great time so we decided that would be our destination. The funny thing about the tube is that the doors don’t stay open long enough. As a result our big group got split in half; The girls and I made it onto the tube but the other people weren’t so lucky! Luckily, we somehow reunited at Russel Square within minutes of each other.
We got to Rocket and we ended up splitting up again because Devon and Ryan didn’t bring IDs to the bar. A group of us decided to stay and the other group went to another pub around the corner. My group that stayed at Rocket had a great time! We were so surprised by how much American music they were playing, it was nice to hear some Britney Spears there! By 12 we had met the non-ID group at the other bar and had such a great time! (the first picture shows it for sure!)
The one bad thing about the tube in london is that it closes at 12 on most nights. On saturday nights theyre open for another extra hour but somehow we still ended up missing our line back to kensington. It left us with the challenge of navigating the bus route. We managed to get a bus to drive us to the closest possible location, but we still had to walk several miles back to Kensington. This is where being in a big group was extremely helpful. We stayed together and ended up getting home in the wee hours of the morning, but I’m just glad we made it home in one piece; with the exception of a few blisters from the girls shoes! High heels were not the best choice.
After our Saturday night adventure, we woke up and went on a coach tour of London which was so awesome! Our tour guide, Angie was the cutest British woman ever. She knew so much about the history of the Burroughs and was filled with cheeky remarks about the tourists and random people walking down the streets. Our first stop was Buckingham Palace. Jenn and I were absolutely thrilled to see where Prince William and Princess Catherine had their first two kisses. We woke up early on April 28th just to watch all the royal wedding coverage and have been obsessed with the royals since. Princess Catherine’s dress is being shown at the palace until October 3. So the four of us will definitely be purchasing those tickets! We also went to see the London Bridge, Parliament, Big Ben, St. Pauls Cathedral (where Diana and Charles got married) and Westminister Abbey (Princess Diana’s funeral and the wedding ceremony for William and Catherine!)
I loved going to these places because they are so beautiful and old and historic. I also couldn’t stop thinking about how the Royals lived. Can you imagine your grandparents living in Buckingham palace? or getting married in one of the oldest and more famous churches? I would love to be a fly on the wall at a family gathering or at a huge royal party. Maybe I’ll meet Prince Harry and get an invitation of my own? I think I’ll make that one of my goals of the semester :)
It’s currently almost midnight in London and seeing how it’s my first day of school tomorrow, I should probably hit the hay! My class isn’t until one so I think I’ll go for a run in the neighborhood and get my books before my British Life and Culture and my Media in Britain classes! I definitely need some rest!
PS forgot to mention that the last picture of the pasta and salad is the first meal that the girls and I made for ourselves! We are becoming so domestic!
Hey everyone! Welcome to my little London diary! I’m so glad that I can finally start this blog after these crazy first 3 days we’ve had here!
I’m studying abroad this semester with three of my best friends and a bunch of great people from Marist College. The process started for all of us back in December of 2010 so it’s pretty safe to say that we are ECSTATIC that the wait is finally over. All of our paperwork, visa preparations and planning has finally paid off and now we can live our London lives!
My friends Jenn, Devon, Colleen and I landed at Heathrow airport around 7 AM on September 1st after a long flight from Boston. We had quite the little adventure getting to our new home in Kensington. A tube trip and a long walk left us tired and sore but the beauty of the buildings certainly made up for it. The white townhouses with grand pillars and flowers were so classy and elegant. I hope I can live in such a fancy place when I get older. (our RA told us that one of the townhouses sold for 140 million pounds…WOW)
After we got settled in our flat, we met some great guys from St. Johns in MN. They took us to get groceries (by that point we were STARVING) and we had a really great time. We ate grilled cheese sandwichs, talked and drank for the rest of the night. It was so much fun getting to know people from different schools!
On our second day we had three orientation group meetings which were very helpful. I just wish that I hadn’t been so jetlagged still!! We took a well deserved nap and got ready to go to a pub with our friends from MN. We went to Piccadilly Circus which reminded me so much of a mini Times Square. We found a great pub where we had our first beers as London-ers. We proceeded to toast to a great trip and new friends! My first experience of exploring the London night life was a great success!
Today, we did a bunch of errands and walked around the area. It was such a beautiful day and none of use were tired because we finally got more than 6 hours of sleep! Tonight were hopefully going out with Marist College kids. But first, were having an enchilada night with our MN neighbors!