The End, and the Beginning, of Another Amazing Week

Before I start throwing out all the words, here are some visuals to help describe my adventures for the last week!

British Museum- Armor  Platform 9 and 3-4 Vegetarian English Breakfast- Glastonbury  Arthur and GuinevereGlastonbury Tor- Group  Bagpiper

Hot Sass in Scotland Scotland- A View from Above


From left to right, and up to down. (1) Armor from the period of Roman Britain (what the Hobbits may have had in their collection, and what Arthur and Lancelot would have worn: British Museum, London. (2) Headed to Hogwarts, at platform 9 and 3/4: King’s Cross Station. (3) The Traditional English Breakfast, with Vegetarian Sausage: Glastonbury. (4) The (supposed) original tomb of the legendary Arthur and Guinevere: Glastonbury Abbey. (5) A group selfie, with Glastonbury in the background: Glastonbury Tor. (6) A bagpiper: Edinburgh, Scotland. (7) Glorious Hot Sauce: Edinburgh: Scotland. (8) The view from above: Edinburgh: Scotland.

After a little over two full weeks in London, I am feeling pretty run down, and starting to get a bit homesick. But even though it has been overwhelming, I am having the time of my life.The trips never end! With two classes, I am going on about three to four excursions per week. This last week, I went to the British museum (3 times!), the British Library, Glastonbury (the first burial site of the legendary Arthur and Guinevere), Lacock (a village where some Harry Potter scenes were filmed), and Scotland (a personal trip). I didn’t think that it was possible, but I had even more fun this week than I did last week. I was able to admire many items and locations that inspired my inner (or outer, it is obvious) English nerd.

One of my the fun locations for this last week was the British Museum, three times. Now, this may seem like overkill, but I still have not seen everything that that museum has to offer! It is the biggest building I have ever been in, and more items stored than would fit in our university. Someone could go there every day of the week, and still not feel as though they had seen everything, not to mention they change the exhibits often. You would think that such an awesome museum would be expensive, but entrance was free! Of course, I still had to buy some books at the gift shop, since I didn’t have to spend money on admission. 😉 I also bought some books at the British Library, which was the most amazing archival/English experience that I have ever had. Our class explored the treasures room, which includes such original documents as Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre (My absolute favorite novel) and Beowulf, written in Old English (My favorite Epic).

Glastonbury was absolutely beautiful. I got to see the ruins of the Glastonbury Abbey, as well as the tomb that the legendary Arthur and Guinevere would have been buried in (of course, this is all legend). And I also got to climb up to the Tor, in which one can see to “the ends of the earth.” I am not exaggerating when I say that this was the most beautiful view that I have ever laid eyes upon; I felt like I was on top of the world: it actually inspired some tears.

Lacock was a cute little village, which is apparently a prime filming spot, as there was filming going on during our visit. This cut off our access to the Harry Potter film sites that we had come to see, but it was still fun to explore pieces of the little village. I had some delicious dark chocolate, and took a picture as an English prisoner.

Scotland was my favorite trip. Although Edinburgh is also metropolitan, it was much quieter and less crowded than London. Also, residents have worked very hard to protect the look of the city; new construction has to fit in with the old buildings. This makes it very fun to visit, as you really get the feel of a complete city, rather than the parts and pieces that arise in London. I also appreciated Scotland because the people there were much nicer; they smiled at us, an occurrence that is rare in London. I was also able to hear multiple Scottish accents; it is easy to tell which accents come from a “higher” class. Hearing the “lower” class accents made me feel like a fit in a little more, since I always feel like I am mumbling in London; I couldn’t understand the “lower” accents that ran together. Now I know how Londoners feel when I talk to them; I should get a cone installed on my neck…

I am still discovering cultural differences, every single day. One of these was quite shocking. This last weekend, I decided to chop all my hair off in Scotland, (don’t worry, I have been planning on doing this for forever,) but I could not find a barber shop that would serve me. Apparently, even with a short cut, barbers only cut male hair in Scotland. When I did find an actual hair salon, a woman, not a man, had to cut my hair. This was pretty surprising to me, as it is not like this in Oregon. I felt a little bit oppressed, even though I know that this was not the intent.

Even though I am feeling a tad homesick, since I never have time to sit down and just relax, I can’t picture living in the states for the rest of my life. As I stated in my last post, I am seriously considering graduate school in the United Kingdom. And even if this does not happen, I will definitely be coming back to visit even more places next year, such as Ireland and Paris.

Calling All Paparazzi, We’ve Found Some Lucky Blues!

Week two interning with Educate Girls was much less busy but I have still learned just as much. My task for the week was to develop an English teaching model that will start at the beginner level and progress through more advanced lessons. I’ll continue to develop it during my time here and eventually be able to use it on Team Balika volunteers. I have also started English lessons with our Communication’s Officer, Meena. Her English is already very good, so week one was finding what needs help yet and reviewing the basics of grammar.

My other task for the week was to paint signs and posters that we used for the Republic Day parade that took place on Sunday, January 26th. Educate Girls was involved in a rally and to present during the big parade that happened in the afternoon on Republic Day. On Saturday we all worked into the night painting, working out costumes and reviewing dance steps. Having a vast dance background, I was excited to get my first official lessons in bollywood dance. I had 20 plus people stay at the guest house with me Saturday night and we all were awake by 6:30am getting ready for the parade.

The Parade was alot of fun but at the same time very overwhelming. I now know what it’s like to be Justin Timberlake or Kate Middleton being bombarded by paparazzi. There was  constantly a camera on me even if I was simply standing there doing absolutely nothing. A friend was pretending to interview me about the situation and instantly a swarm of 30+ people surrounded me. I was ushered out of the circle by another friend. Another time my director had to step in and help usher the people away. So, I have my own body guards. They all tell me that only the luckiest people are blessed with blue eyes (Sweden must be on whole different level then). 😉 The experience was great and all the hard work paid off for we won FIRST out of all the floats and displays in Sirohi.


There's a popular cereal that's called "foreign bride" in Hindi. This was my name for the night.

There’s a popular cereal that’s called “foreign bride” in Hindi. This was my name for the night.


EG's display for the parade

EG’s display for the parade filled with dancers, posters and Team Balika following behind


Educate Girls Wins First!

Educate Girls Wins First!


Akanksha and I with our trophy. The master behind the whole plan.

Akanksha and I with our trophy. The master behind the whole plan.

This week was filled with learning more about Indian traditions and customs. From getting to experience a wedding processional through the city with the groom on a horse, to the parade and various costumes and regional dress my mind has once again been filled with wonderful, first hand knowledge and experiences. Constantly living, learning and living that lucky, superstar lifestyle! ~Anna

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness.” ~Mark Twain