Home, Glorious Home

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!

~Kallan

Home sweet home!

Hello!

I have made it back home safe and sound! The layover was brutal and long, but at least I was in the same time zone as my family and friends! It was so nice being reunited with my parents and being able to share everything that I had done while I was abroad to my family and friends. I will miss London but this was such an amazing opportunity and experience!

Going 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.

~Kallan

Portland bound in the Morning!!!!

I haven’t been able to keep up with my blogging over this trip due to technical issues with my internet connectivity and ability to download photos, plus I’ve been having a fantastic time in London and the rest of the UK. I’ll post the rest of my weekly adventures when I return to the US and have fully functional internet access so that you all can see what I’ve been up to on my adventure!

This trip to the UK has been one of the most life changing experiences of my life. Over the course of this trip, I was implanted in a foreign metropolis and expected to be able to navigate the streets of London without looking like a helpless tourist. While I was not able to meet expectations the first few days (with my nine hour trek back to campus), I ended up mastering the art of navigating London without looking like a helpless foreigner. In my time here, I have been able to go to several London landmarks, from the Globe theatre to the British Museum and the British Library (my favorite place in the world, which you’ll hear about in my week 4 post), and have also had many opportunities to travel throughout the country and see the countryside and more picturesque areas of Britain. I’ve been to Scotland, Wales, York, and Stratford-upon-Avon during my stay in London, and have enjoyed nearly every place I’ve traveled. While I’m excited to get back home and start real life again, I’m going to miss my time as a fly on the wall in London. I plan on coming back here someday, and I hope I’m able to do so. While I’ve been to a great many places here, there are still things that I wanted to do but wasn’t able to (The London Eye, Canterbury, Bath, Dover). While it saddens me that I was not able to get to these places, it gives me more motivation to come back, as there is still plenty of stuff available at my disposal. London is a city of endless opportunity, and it’s impossible to see everything you want to see in any allotted amount of time. Here’s to hoping I’ll be coming back to London in the near future, and here’s to hoping you all enjoy my further posts going into more detail about my experiences here!

Week Four: London

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.

~Kallan

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Home to Portland!

When I arrived in Portland I was so excited to be home because I had missed my first plane.  I had gone through customs in Texas and been so frustrated that we had missed our plane and when I arrived back in Portland I was so relieved.  I was kind of overwhelmed when I got there and like I felt when I got to Mexico City I was excited and the airport felt huge.  I was happy that I was home and all I could think about was seeing my family after almost six weeks of being away from home.  I couldn’t believe that I was back in a country where I was again in the majority it felt so surreal.  I also could not believe that all the languages spoken were English and I kept reverting to my non native language because I was so used to speaking Spanish.  Like Mexico City the airport was bustling but it was quieter because it was late at night.  In the end when I saw my parents I was so relieved and overwhelmed with emotions.  I almost kissed the carpet but all in all I was also sad that I was home too because I missed my host family and my host country.  I look forward to talking to them soon.

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Prior to Returning Home

My experience in Mexico has turned out to be exactly what I expected to be.  I learned a lot about myself and the others that I met along the way.  I have experienced the language and have learned more about the culture.  I have learned more about the stereotypes that Mexico has about the United States and did everything to disapprove them while I was here.  I learned more about the country of Mexico and about the people who live here.  I never expected that I would ever feel extremely comfortable talking to people not from my culture and I have learned to be able to talk to my host family and the people here in Mexico.  I had a lot of fun getting to know the culture and learning about the customs that are not know about.

I learned that burritos are an Americanized food and that Mexico is a lot more safe than people think.  Also there are many different colors of tortillas including red, blue, orange, and green.  I also learned that it is common for Mexicans to use their knowledge of English by changing their words.  They will change the words goodbye for adios and goodnight for buenas noches.  All in all I learned a lot about the culture and I was very surprised about what I learned and I feel prepared to teach others about the truths of Mexico.

 

 

Pre-Departure: Bittersweet

So I have less than 24 hours left here in Scotland. While I am super excited to see my family and my dog, I really don’t want to leave. Scotland feels like a second home now, it’s so familiar. I never expected to love it as much as I do or have as much fun as I did. While the first couple of weeks were the hardest for me, now life here has become like second nature.

I'll miss seeing this view everyday!

I’ll miss seeing this view everyday!

Tomorrow I leave the University of Stirling at 7:30 am for the Edinburgh Airport. From there, I will fly to Newark and then after a four hour layover, finally to Portland. While I am excited to see my family, I am not excited for the super hot weather that we have been having in Oregon, I will probably melt as soon as I step off of the plane.

And the beautiful Scottish highlands (the favorite part of my trip).

And the beautiful Scottish highlands (the favorite part of my trip).

I won't be seeing any castles like this back in Oregon.

I won’t be seeing any castles like this back in Oregon.

I know that this post is pretty short, but that’s really all I have to say at the moment. I will still post about my last week and my arrival home later this week. Now I am off to finish up packing my stuff and enjoying these last couple of hours I have here in Scotland. There are still so many things that I want to do and see but they will just have to wait until I come back!

 

Natalie

Coming Home

I had a wonderful last week in Mexico. I successfully finished up all of my homework and managed to get A’s in each class. Classes started for many of the local students during this week so it went from being mostly just study abroad students on campus to a full campus of native Spanish speakers. It was fun to have more people around to interact with although it made for some crazy bus adventures. All of the sudden the buses were packed full and they came at different times then they had been the past month.

We went out to the main centro most nights  to see as much of the city as we could before going home and I feel satisfied with all of the things that we did. I feel like I got to do everything I wanted to do. On our last day we had a goodbye lunch with all of the students and their host moms. My host mom was unable to make it to the welcome lunch on the first day so I was very glad she was able to come to this one. It was really cool to get to see the improvement in all of our speaking skills. I remember we all had our difficulties speaking to our moms at the welcome lunch but everyone seemed to be doing just fine at the goodbye lunch. It is amazing how much improvement can happen in just 5 short weeks. I feel much more confident with my Spanish now and while I know I still have a long way to go, I know I would not have gotten to where I am now for a long time if I hadn’t had this opportunity to be a part of the Spanish culture for 5 weeks.

Now I am home and am working on readjusting to The United States. Before coming home I had no idea that there would be things I would miss right away. The biggest thing that I miss is speaking Spanish. It was fun to actually be able to understand and communicate with people in another language and now that I am back to speaking English all the time it seems almost too simple. Although it may take me a while to stop thinking “gracias” first before I say thank you to people. And I can’t get over the fact that water is free here. There are many things that I have here that I take advantage of and I am much more aware of that now and am thankful for a lot of things that I haven’t had for the past 5 weeks.

The trip had its ups and downs but I learned a ton, made some wonderful friends, and pushed myself to do things I never thought I would. I am so glad that I got the opportunity to go to Mexico and to be a part of the culture there. I may not ever get a chance to go back but I know I will never forget such a beautiful city!

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Back in Oregon!

I successfully made it back to Oregon! I do miss Mexico a lot though, although I am glad to be back home for somethings.

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The flight home was the worst part of the trip. We missed our connecting flight because there was not very much time between our flights. Thankfully, we were all able to get on the next flight to Portland and were only two hours behind schedule.

In comparison to before I left, I think that Mexico is a lot more open and not nearly as conservative as I thought it was going to be. While it is still more conservative than Oregon, it was a lot more open and modern than I predicted.