My arrival home was much warmer than that of my arrival in London. My parents greeted me with hugs, kisses, and a cup of Oregon ice water! Compared to London, my flight home was not late nor were we scrambling to get from the airport to point b. Sadly, I feel that I was more excited about my return home than arriving in London. Upon landing in London, I was full of uncertainty because we were late landing, there were problems at the boarder patrol, and it seemed like no one had planed on any of the groups arriving late whereas going home, I knew that no matter how late I got in, there would be someone waiting for me at the airport to take me home. Furthermore, the US boarder patrol was a walk in the park compared to London’s.
It’s good to be home!
London was not what I expected, but at the same time it was also so much more. The history is mind blowing and it’s people are interesting. And the landscape is simply breathtaking. I expected there to be a mixing of different cultures, but I was not expecting so much of an Indian influence. Everywhere I turned was curry or a worker with a Indian-British accent, which is very hard to understand. I knew that there was going to be a bit of a backlash at us being American, but I never expected so much. It’s very frustrating knowing that people are judging you for your accent. I eventually began telling people that I was Canadian. I also didn’t expect to feel so safe in London and I only had two scary experiences on the bus and was completely comfortable with the tube.
I’m looking forward to going home and seeing my family. This is the first time I’ve been away for home by myself for so long. It was truly a growing experience, I don’t know how, but it was.
It’s Sunday of my final week and I fly back home tomorrow morning. I’m sad to see London go, but I can’t wait to be home. Of course this past week has been my best week in London. Last Friday I went down to Cardiff to see the Doctor Who Experience and what an experience it was! I loved every minute of it and cried the first 25 minutes because I was so happy to be surrounded by fellow Whovians and experiencing something so beautiful together. And Cardiff was lovely; the weather reminded me of Newport, Oregon and that was wonderful. On Saturday I went to see the Crucible staring Richard Armitage. That was amazing! I had read the play back in high school, but before I learned about The Red Scare, but this time I found a greater appreciation for the play and it’s historical and political significance. Also, it was interesting listening to the Brits in the audience talk about the play and totally missing the point. Following the play I went to the stage door hoping to meet Richard, but sadly he left right after the show to catch a plane. I later went back on Wednesday and got a photo with him!! Furthermore, on Friday, some of us went to the stage door or Richard III and I got aMartin Freeman’s autograph!! It’s been a star-packed week.
Class also ended this week and finals were on Friday. In Shakespeare, we visited a couple museums before heading to the Globe to be groundlings for a performance of Antony and Cleopatra. The play was amazing and well acted, but it’s mighty painful being a groundling. After dinner, we saw the new play Shakespeare in Love. It was wonderful. Many of the students in my class didn’t like it, but I loved it and it was really funny. In my WWII class, we didn’t do much, but we did visit The Tower of London to view the poppies that are being installed in memory of WWI.
I really enjoyed my classes and my time spent in London, but I’m really glad to be going home.
This week has bees crazy. Last Friday I went to Stonehenge and Salisbury Cathedral. It was amazing seeing the real Stonehenge after visiting the replica in Washington for years. It’s a shame that I could only get a few yards from the stones, but it makes sense not letting people walk through the stones as it would cause the grass to turn to mud and cause erosion. The Salisbury Cathedral was gorgeous. The detail of the tombs and the stain glass was spectacular. And the town is full of history as well by possibly being the oldest settlement in Britain. On Tuesday this week, I went to Bath to attend a World War Two walking tour. It was tiring, but it was interesting seeing where Bath was rebuilt following the bombing and what was preserved. Bath is such a beautiful place and we couldn’t have asked for better weather for it was sunny with a nice cool breeze, a nice change from the London heat wave. Thursday I’m having to leave at 5:45 an to catch the train to Stratford upon Avon to visit the birth place of Shakespeare. It’s going to be a very long day, but it’s worth it to see such a historical place.
Below: Stonehenge, Salisbury Cathedral, and Bath
This week has been much better than the last and I’ve finally begun to enjoy London. Probably what was the turning point was after talking to my parents on Sunday, I made a list of what I wanted to see and I’ve already crossed two things off of the list! On Monday evening, my friends and I headed to Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens so I could finally see the Peter Pan statue in person. It was worth the trip! After 15 years of wanting to see it and it was wonderful! Following the statue, we found the Princess Diana’s Memorial and soaked our tired feet in it.
The field trips this week were to Hampton Court Palace and The Tempest (Shakespeare) and the Imperial War Museum to see the World War I exhibit (history). Both were good trips, the Palace was absolutely beautiful and full of so much history and the War Museum was very informative. The Tempest, however, was bad. Some of the characters were puppets and others were masks. It was too out there for me and left me more confused as ever.
Today I went out on my own for the second time and was finally able to master the tube! I went to the Twining’s Tea Shop and Museum and bought a rather cool gift for my big brother and then I wandered down to the main campus of King’s College, found the shop and bought a shirt to remember the school.
Tomorrow I head to Stonehenge and then Salisbury. It’s going to be great finally seeing the real Stonehenge after visiting the replica in Washington for many years.
Below in order: The Peter Pan Statue, Hampton Court Palace, and a Spitfire Airplane at the Imperial War Museum.
My first week in London was alright, though I spent the majority of the time wanting to go home. It wasn’t that I disliked London or was having homesickness, it was the heat and jet lag. The first weekend was crazy. With too much stuff happening at one time, I was glad when classes started Monday. It was something normal in a sea of chaos. I really like my classes and my professors are nice. Last week also marked the beginning of field trips, both class related and not. For history, we visited the Churchill War Rooms and it was amazing being in such an important place and knowing that during the war, no one knew that Churchill and his team were working only a few feet under London. In English, we visited Shakespeare’s Globe, the Rose theatre, and Richard III with Martin Freeman. It was a really busy day, but a dream come true to a English major. On Friday, I went on the weekend excursion to Edinburgh, Scotland. On my gosh, Scotland is so beautiful and the weather was so nice, (it reminded me of Oregon). On Saturday it was raining and foggy, making everything more magical. I’d go back to Scotland any day.
Below in order: Winston Churchill, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, and foggy Scotland
It was a long road from Oregon to London. Literally. Late flights and layovers caused us to be the last group to arrive and after a 10 hour flight the fun was just beginning. Going through the boarder was horrible. Apparently we needed a hard copy of a letter from CCSA, with their header on top, stating our reason for being in London. No one told us that we needed this and the lady at boarding patrol was really snarky, calling us unorganized and such. Later we’d learn that EVERYONE had the same issue but at the time I convinced that she was going to send us back to the states. Anyway, once past security we whipped through the airport, so that aspect is a blur. Once in the bus, we headed straight to the campus. Along the way I noticed that the vehicle lanes are very narrow with no room on the side of the road and they drive very fast. Once at the campus, we hit the ground running by going on a walking tour of the surrounding. Mind you, since we were late, we were not given lunch and this tour wasn’t even of the campus itself, which is highly disappointing. From what I’ve seen, this campus is beautiful.
I leave for London in less than 14 days and I could not be more excited! However, like most tourists, I’m nervous. I’ve never really been in a large city on my own before. Sure, I’m a frequent visitor to the Portland area, but with my folks and I’ve been to New York City twice, but the first time I almost lost my eye to an umbrella wielding New Yorker and the second time I was almost hit by a taxi. I suppose what I’m trying to say is that I’m a little weary of the large crowds that I’ll encounter in London. I’m also worried about finding my way around and the large possibility that I’ll get lost. Luckily, my parents have equipped me with enough maps and travel books for a small tour group, so hopefully misdirection won’t be a major problem. Besides, if it does happen, I’ll just roll with it. Personally, I really don’t know what to expect in London, but I know that I will encounter several different cultures living together in one space and centuries of history, both of which I am eagerly anticipating. Overall, I believe this will be a great experience for me; on a personal and a cultural level.
Well, I’ve finally come down from all the stress that was spring term and I figured it was about time that I did my introductory post. Anyway, I’m Kallan and I picked merry old London, England as my destination for studying abroad. I chose London for two reasons.1) I’ve wanted to visit the UK since I was five and 2) I’m avoiding a bad professor. I leave in less than a couple weeks and I can’t wait!!