Travel, Arrival, and First Full Week in London!

So the internet has been really spotty up here at King’s College, so I haven’t been able to update everyone on my arrival and my first couple days, but the internet finally started working again so here we go!

King's College Hampstead Campus

King’s College Hampstead Campus

Coming over to London went very well, though it took quite a long time. I started my adventure with a  six hour drive to the airport in Portland, followed by two plane rides culminating in 12 hours of flight and passing through Immigration in both Canada and the UK.

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After we landed in London and got through Immigration, which took nearly half an hour, we were on our way to King’s College. At the college we checked into our rooms and went on walking tours around the area before dinner, where everyone got to meet each other officially for the first time. After dinner, I went back to my room and slept until midnight, when I woke up and started (and finished) most of my homework for my first few weeks of class.

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This past week has been full of incredible experiences! The first day we were in London, we went on a bus tour of the city, and then were allowed to wander through London for as long as we pleased. A few other kids and I got lost for a few hours, but ended up walking and touring the city for nearly 9 hours. It also gave me several opportunities to take some beautiful photos.

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We wound up at the British Museum, where we were able to view several wonderful artifacts, including THE Rosetta Stone!

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The next day, most of the Shakespeare class went to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre to see Shakespeare’s bloodiest, and one of my favorite, plays Titus Andronicus. The Globe was breathtaking, and the play was phenomenal, the best play that I’ve ever seen!

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Since Monday, I have mostly been doing school related activities, as I am primarily focused on my schooling here in London. However, I have had several chances to go into London Town and have fun with friends, and by myself! Over the past few days, I’ve been able to see the London Bridge illuminated at night, go to King’s Cross and take my Platform 9 3/4 photo (Go Ravenclaw!!!), see several different museums, and attend Richard III starring THE Martin Freeman. This past week has been phenomenal!!!

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Week 1 in London!

Hello!!

So I have completed my first week of classes in London! Hurray! Classes here are so interesting compared to the states. I am taking a leadership London course and the professor is from Belmont University, there are 10 students in my class, which is really nice when trying to get to know everyone. The structure is different and we sit in class for 3 hours two times a week and have field trips every other Tuesday and Thursday. This weeks field trip was to the Tower of London which was absolutely breathtaking, there was so much history to be told and everyone who still lives in the Tower of London had incredible knowledge of their history. My favorite part was being in the Crown Jewels, where the queens, kings, princes, and princesses had their outfits, crowns, rings, spoons, etc. There was so many crowns to see and see how different all of it was from other people’s. After that we went to the National Portrait Gallery which was not really my scene, but there were some interesting portraits of people that I did recognize such as George Washington and Winston Churchill. This was also a neat place to learn more about the history of some of the great British leaders from the 19th century until now.

I am finally adjusted to the time difference here so it is nice to be able to sleep when I am supposed to and wake up when I am supposed to. There will still be many cool places to see, but today I got to go into the Beatles store, and walk around downtown where we ran into a souvenir shop which was surprisingly cheap and  had many gifts in which would be a good representation of London. The person working there was also really friendly and gave an extra postcard for free! I am loving London!! The only thing I am not a big fan of is having to wash my own clothes, the washer and dryer each cost 2 pounds per load!! Washing by hand has been an experience and has made me feel really privileged to be able to not have to pay during my time in WOU. I am enjoying walking around, I took a small walk out near the campus and then I decided to read my book for class outside since the weather was really nice. This has been such an amazing experience and have been learning a lot.

Until next time!

 

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Week 2 in Queretaro!

I can’t believe how quickly the time is passing here! It is already week two, but in some ways I feel like I’ve been here for longer.

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This past weekend, my classmates and I went to Mexico City for three days. Here, Mexico City is referred to as Mexico D.F., or simply Mexico. It was by far the biggest city that I have ever seen in my entire life! Not only was the city itself huge, but it was super crowed with all the huge crowds of people!

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We were very touristy and saw many of the must sees of D.F., including the pyramids, Frida Kahlo museum, Diego Rivera murals, and several other important museums. I had a really good time but I am excited to be back in Queretaro. It was nice coming home to a city I recognized, where I knew how to use the buses to get around, and just as important, being home to my host mom’s amazing cooking!

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Overall, my Spanish speaking and writing skills are getting better. It was really rough at first, and even though it is still not perfect now, I am understanding a lot more and I am able to talk more as well, which is really exciting!

Week 2

Hi I know this late but last week was crazy.  I will talk about last week and how it went.  My group and I went to Mexico City last weekend and saw many things.  We went to the National Museum of Anthropology, the pyramids, the art museum, the biggest castle in Mexico City, the ruins of Aztecs which is called Templo Mayor and lastly we went to the house of my hero Frida Kahlo.  We went for three days and I had so much fun.  My favorite places were the pyramids and the house of Frida Kahlo.  The pyramids were fun for me because they are what is left of the Aztecs and I love learning about history especially ancient history.  The pyramids were huge and the largest pyramids were “The Sun” and “The Moon” but the “The Moon” is the largest.  We only had time to climb the smaller one but it was still fun.  I also had fun at Frida Kahlo’s house because I always have wanted to go there since I have studied all about her in the past.  She was an amazing woman who broke barriers and did things that no one ever believed that she could.  Ever since I was a little girl I have wanted to be like her minus the spinal injury.  Also after we left Frida Kahlo’s house we went out for lunch to watch the final game of the world cup.  I wanted Germany to win and everyone else including the people her in Mexico wanted Argentina to win so I had to keep quiet. In the end Germany won and I had to keep my excitement to myself so that I would not frustrate the other people around me.  In the end last week was okay but it was very long but I had a great time in Mexico City.

The Palace of Fine Arts

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The Sun Pyramid

 

 

Week 2

This week was busy with lots of school and homework, but this past weekend was amazing! We all headed out to Mexico City for the weekend. It was about a 3 hour bus ride and the very first thing we did when we arrived was to visit the pyramids. We got to climb to the top of one and the view from the top was quite impressive!

Over the weekend we visited so many museums and learned a lot about the history of Mexico. Our professor for one of our classes was our tour guide and it was cool to have him show us paintings and artifacts that represent the things we are learning about in class right now.

We also visited a castle

And went on a boat ride…in the rain!

After such a busy weekend it was really nice to come home to my host family. Laura had me sit on her bed and tell her about my whole weekend. My spanish is improving and I find I am asking people to repeat themselves less often. Only three weeks to go but I know they will be filled with adventure! There is still so much to see and do!

Week 2

2014-07-11 12.35.25 2014-07-12 12.51.03 2014-07-12 13.23.04This week has been so much better. I am feeling a lot more comfortable talking with my host family. I am asking them more questions and am better at comprehending what they are saying. I am also gaining confidence with trying to understand new topics in Spanish. This weekend we went to Mexico City, or as it’s called locally Mexico or DF. A new experience for me was the fact that at touristy places, vendors would approach you and ask you to buy something. It was weird at first because it isn’t common in the States, but you get used to saying no thanks or I don’t want anything. The whistles some were selling sounded amazingly like animal calls. I was tempted to get one, but knew it wouldn’t much interest for me for long. Also, it’s common to barter for market items, it’s kinda fun if you remember to ask for a lower price. Some vendors decrease the price if you’re interested in something when you start walking away. Also, some vendors had incense going, and smelled to high heaven. The ancient culture in Mexico is incredible and sad at the same time. The Aztecs must have been in good shape to climb all of those steep steps. I felt more comfortable going down the steps on my butt, because of a fear of heights, and it felt safer doing it that way. Visiting the museums helped me gain a sense of how the ancient civilizations in Mexico lived.

Week Three- Argentina World Cup Champion?

 

 

 

 

This, like previous weeks has been exciting and new.

First off I want to say what an incredible experience it has been to be here in Argentina during the World Cup and to see them advance to finals and place second. I have never seen so many people unite and cheer for a single cause. It has been truly amazing and contagious. Today as I watched the final against Germany, I saw people of all ages cheer and cry for their team. Even though they lost the match, people still went out on the streets and celebrated. It was truly heartbreaking to watch Germany score at the last minute and feel the atmosphere of the room change. Never the less, witnessing the World Cup in a football loving country has been wonderful and I am glad that I was able to experience it.

Midterms were this week and I was exposed to different examination method. It was interesting, to say the least. Professors expect you to know all of the material, no study guides. One professor didn’t even tell us the format of the exam. But overall I think I did well and have found a new appreciation for the Oregon public school system.

I also went to the monumento de la bandera this week after Argentina’s win on Wednesday, which also happened to be their independence day. There were hundreds of people there, chanting and dancing. There were fireworks and news vans. It was a wonderful experience to celebrate and feel like an Argentinian.

This week I also went to el parque de independencia, el museo de la ciudad, el centro fluvial, and I tried sushi for the first time. I have learned more of Rosario’s history and it’s ties with soccer.

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Covadonga

We ended our excursion on Saturday with a trip to Covadonga. Tradition says that the first Asturian king, Pelayo had victory against the Muslims in a battle in 722. Additionally there is a cave where it is said that the Virgin Mary appeared to give courage in war. At the foot of the cave there is a fountain and legend says that if one drinks from it, they are assured to have a good marriage. Also in this area is the Basilica that was built over 100 years ago.

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Los Lagos

There are no words to justify how beautiful this place is. Pictures can’t even do it justice but I’m going to try. The lakes we visited, Enol and Ercina, are situated in a national park with a mountainous landscape. There are cows all over the place which made the drive up even more challenging because they would just mosey in front of the cars. There were also sheep all along the road too. I’m pretty sure I saw a wolf but I can’t be sure because it was in the distance and people bring their dogs everywhere with them. We were told that animals similar to antelope live in the mountains as well as foxes, wolves and numerous species of birds. We got to eat our lunch with a view and later on explored the area.20140712_123047 20140712_134828 20140712_135836 20140712_141224 20140712_144610 20140712_150835

Cangas de Onis

Saturday was a full day of site seeing that took my breath away. The first place we visited was Cangas de Onis which is a cute little town but has a lot to offer. After getting off of the bus (the bus ride was an adventure itself because this area is situated high up in the mountains), we immediately walked up to el Dolmen prehistorico where la Capilla de la Santa Cruz, or the Chapel of Santa Cruz  is which was the first Christian church in the area and dates back to the times of the Romans.

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Next we walked over to el Puente Medieval also constructed by the Romans. It is situated on the main street and is one of my favorite places that we have visited because it is nature’s eyecandy. The weather at this point was also treating us well so that made everything even better! Wow we are so lucky :)