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

Pre-Departure

Leaving London is so bitter sweet for me. On one hand I’m devastated to be leaving such a beautiful country, but I’m really excited to go home and see my family and friends! I also have to admit I’m looking forward to getting back to work! I’ve felt like such a lazy bum not working for so long! In a perfect world everyone I loved would just move to England. However, that’s not really reasonable. So it’s cheers to England for now, but i know I’ll be coming back.

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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Pre-Departure: Until next time London

Hello everyone!

I cannot believe that this trip has come to an end! I am really excited to be back at home with my family. I cannot wait to see them. There are many things I will miss about London, but I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to take a course abroad and explore a new culture. This has definitely been an amazing experience! I learned a lot about myself while being in my leadership course, and also during the times I was exploring on my own which I had no idea I would ever be traveling anywhere without someone else. The fact that I felt so comfortable and safe made me be more open to try new things and not rely on someone else to enjoy the time I have free to myself. Especially being able to do that in an unfamiliar place made me feel that I could do that anywhere. There are so many memories that I will never forget and experiences that I will share with other people who decide to study abroad. It was definitely difficult to leave my family behind for a month with minimum communication, but it did not turn out as bad as I had thought. I am so happy to be going home tomorrow, but I will definitely miss riding the bus and tube to the grocery store or downtown.

As for my last weekend here, it was the best time of my life! I went to the beach on Saturday and it was absolutely gorgeous! I had such a blast and did not want to leave. This was by far my favorite thing I had done in London. I went to church at St. Paul’s for the last time, and it was truly amazing being able to attend church while I was abroad. I lit a candle this last time because I had done it the firs time I went to St. Paul’s Cathedral. I will miss that beautiful architecture, artistic building.

Now off to the next adventure, back to Oregon!

Beach 2 Beach 3 Beach1

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.

 File:Portland International Airport Concourse D - Oregon.JPG

 

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

London Week 4

Hello everyone!

Well, it is week 4 and I just finished with my finals for this summer course! It has been such an amazing adventure and really glad that I had the opportunity to be in my Leadership course. I am really sad that we will be leaving in just a few days, but I feel that I had taken advantage of what there was to see so I feel good about leaving soon.

So, for the past week since my last post, I had been going out and exploring on my own! I was always so worried and scared of leaving anywhere on my own, but I am so glad I did, I am starting not to feel like a tourist!

On Friday, me and a couple of friends took the train over to Cardiff, Wales. I absolutely enjoyed being there, the weather was really similar to Newport, OR and there was many restaurants and cafes to hang out at. Where we stopped and hung out at was the bay of Cardiff and it was absolutely beautiful. We tried to go in to a couple museums that were around the area, but everything was closed, and with no map we did not want to stray off too far. It was really cool being able to see the culture of things while being there. Although, I was worried about not being able to communicate with the people that were around that was not a big concern. Later on that day, it was expected to rain and like in Oregon, it rained! It was interesting seeing other people’s response to it and a lot of people were not prepared for the rain so many of us ran under this covered area and waited for the weather to die down.

Saturday, we attempted to go to the changing of the guard, but unfortunately they were not going to do the change since it was a new month, they were only doing the change every other day. But unfortunately with the schedule we have left we will not be able to watch the change. But after that we went to the Millennium Bridge then walked over to a market and had lunch. Then Sunday we went to St. Paul’s church then to the British Museum, and the museum was really interesting. I liked that they had a variety of different cultures, but definitely Greece was a favorite of the museum. We looked at the mummy’s from Egypt and it was interesting learning about the process of washing the body’s and getting it prepared to be wrapped and put in the coffin. After this museum we stopped at a stand which was serving hot dogs and they were delicious! They taste a lot different than the ones we have in the states. Then we walked over to the science museum. I really enjoyed this museum. There were different levels and each level was specific towards a specific time era. When we walked in we saw the first car ever made and the spaceship to the moon and the clothing that they had to wear. My favorite exhibit was the top level which was the future, there were three big tables and about 10 people could stand in front and you had to choose a game from the choices and we all had to different tasks, one of the games that we played was we were all doctors and we had to take urinary samples from each person coming down the screen to see if they had any disease and then told the “patients” what they had to do to treat it. There was also a C02 exhibit and learning about the atmosphere and that was really neat.

One of the things that I have learned to accept while being in London is the fact that when you make plans they can either go really fast or they take a long time to do. I had planned to go to Victoria Gardens, but then I changed my mine while on the tube since I was not sure if my bus pass will take me to that zone. So I ended up going to covent gardens, and I was expecting something completely different. But when I got there, it was a market which sold clothes, jewelry and there was also like a mall so I went in and checked out some of the things they had and it was amazing. I really am glad that I ended up going there. On my way back, the tube stop I had gotten off at was closed and I was so worried I would not be able to make it back for class, so I walked and tried not to worry and I ended up finding another tube station so I was glad about that. After dinner me and some friends went to Abbey road to take pictures where the Beatles had taken their album picture and it was really cool, there were a lot of people trying to take pictures so that was a little difficult.

My last field trip as a class was yesterday, we went to Westminster Abbey and it was really cool being able to walk around and see the graves of people like Queen Elizabeth the first, King Richard the second. I really enjoyed being there. We also had a walking tour about William Wilberforce because he was one of the leaders that we had focused on in class and we learned a little bit more about him. The walking part has definitely gotten more difficult for some reason, but I find that once I rest for a little bit I can keep going. I have loved everything about London!

Just a few more days to go and I will be home! Until next time!

 

Abbey Road

Abbey Road

British Museum

British Museum

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

Millennium Bridge and St. Paul's

Millennium Bridge and St. Paul’s

Science Museum

Science Museum

An Unexpected Journey

This past week I actually ended up running into Richard Armitage and Martin Freeman from The Hobbit movies. It was really cool; I actually met Richard, and  just saw Martin in passing while he was getting into his car. I’ve never met a famous actor before so it was a really cool moment. I also went to the Beatles studio and walked across Abbey Road. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world! I love London and all the opportunities I’ve gotten here!

Richard and I

Richard and I

The mythical Abbey Road

The mythical Abbey Road