We are now in the last few days of our time here in London and we are rushing around the city to get all of our last minute “to dos” out of the way so that we can start to make our way home. From plays, museums, churches and cathedrals, we have seen this city up and down, left and right, for miles and miles. I feel that I am extremely confident in saying that I have seen everything that I had wanted to see and more and couldn’t be more proud to say that I have made this city my second home.

            In many different aspects, London is constantly changing. From the styles, people, architecture and tradition, they are growing exceptionally well with the rapid changes of society. Covent Garden is a good example of this changing society of London. Covent Garden gets its name from being the medieval-era “Garden of Covent”. This was when fruits and vegetables were grown and sold here for the kitchens at Westminster Abbey. The garden was first laid out in the 17th century by an architect who planned for it to be Italianate style, with the square being known as the Piazza. In the latter days, selling flowers, fruits and vegetables was the most traditional, but has now changed to have more modern day food, restaurants, stores and shops. The environment is very lively with live music, entertainers and vendors at every corner. The vendors sell homemade crafts, jewelry and clothing that they take utmost pride in. Covent Garden has been known for captivating and drawing people in from all part of the world. Even though it has changed dramatically throughout the years, it is still a more popular place for both tourists and London citizens. I found this place very interesting after we figured out how to make our way to the actual “market” of the garden. I thoroughly enjoyed Covent Garden and wish that we had a place as lively as this to visit regularly back home. (AAA, 93)

            Setting foot inside one of the world’s oldest museums was probably a feeling unlike any other and one that I will never feel again, unless I retrace my steps in this museum. The British Museum reminded me a lot of the Louvre, which I had visited while staying in Paris for a weekend because of the vast array of history that is treasured and displayed throughout the museum. The museum was founded in 1753 by Sir Hans Sloane, and is home to thousands of global artifacts, many of which are delicately found from Britain’s imperial past. These rich and inviting items from the past span over 1.8 million years of world civilization and continue into the present day. The Rosetta Stone seemed to be the most popular piece of magnificently found history. This piece of stone stuck out to me the most out of everything that I had seen because of the rich past, present, future and mystery that it still holds. The significance to the Rosetta Stone is that it holds the key to the understanding of Egyptian hieroglyphics and was founded in 1799. The amount of Egyptian ruins in the British Museum are the finest collection outside of Egypt itself and holds the only remaining statue of Rameses II from his memorial temple at Thebes. The newest part of the museum is the massive glass roof that spans the central courtyard, and was placed over the courtyard in 2000, making the museums public space increase by fifty percent. (Williams, 4,7-8) (AAA, 90)

            War Horse, a story of a boy, his horse and his family during the hard times of World War I. Britain goes to war with Germany in a harsh battle between the two, involving boys from ages 18 and on through adulthood, alongside noble horses who were more like true friends. The main character, Albert, has to lend his best friend, his horse Joey, to the army. War Horse is a novel, movie and play that is known worldwide for its instant success. I was fortunate enough to see this play performed in the New London Theatre on Drury Lane here in London. What an awesome opportunity! The New London Theatre was first founded by Thomas Killigrew in 1663, which had received a patent to do so from King Charles II.  This theatre has provided entertainment for masses of people and has been visited by every monarch since the Restoration. The theatre reached its three hundred and fiftieth year of operation on May, 7, 2012, however, the current building celebrated its two hundredth birthday in October 2012. Several performances have been put on at this theatre throughout the many years of its operation, such as My Fair Lady, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, and The King and I. This theatre has only one stage, but has worked diligently throughout the years in order to make this work for both the actors and audiences. (TheatreRoyal)

            While staying in Dublin, Ireland, we were casually walking around town and ran into a street performance competition in Merrion Square. There were multiple performances going on at the same time, as well as other street performers making their own art and whatever else their talents held for them. The street performers that we chose to watch were flame throwers. As flame throwers, they collectively got the attention of most of the people whom were in the vicinity, probably because they were literally throwing balls of flames around as if it were second nature to them. They had hula hoops with fire on them, batons with fire on each end, throwing them around along with acrobatic moves by themselves as well as with each other. It was a performance unlike any I have ever seen before. The two performers that were putting on this show were an Australian couple who traveled the world to share their talents with others in hopes of raising money for themselves and continuing with their happy and exciting lives. The couple was not only entertaining with their flame throwing, but with their commentary between themselves and with the audience as well. You could really get a feel for who they were and what they were trying to make of their lives by sharing the love of their talents with such a large body of people.

            The Globe, a modern reconstruction of Shakespeare’s original Globe Theatre, is meant to give us a similar experience to those who attended plays during Shakespeare’s time.  This modern reconstruction is made of oak, thatch and 36,000 handmade bricks. This remake would have probably been very similar to the original make of Shakespeare’s Globe, which burned down in 1613. The theatre is open to the skies and the audience is encouraged to cheer and shout just as they would have done in Shakespeare’s day. I attended the play, A Mid-Summer Nights Dream, an original by William Shakespeare for the first time at the Globe Theatre, located on the Southbank of London. This play took an old-fashioned view of the fairies instead of the more modern fairytale depiction. This production is much bawdier in nature than most plays in today’s era. The actors really made the play come to life in front of me. The fairies even ran past me through the crowd below the stage, to create a connection between the audiences. The play A Mid-Summer Nights Dream is a tale of mismatched lovers, led astray by fairy tricks, players who also fall victim to fairy magic and royal love that continues to grow throughout the play. By seeing such an historical, yet magical play at one of the world’s most renowned theatres in the world, was magical in itself and those fairies will float in my head for a long while, even after leaving this fairytale city of London. (Williams, 70,77,83)

            Jane Austen was an English novelist whose works continue to be popular today. Austen wrote in such a sophisticated manner that many noble men and women of great power looked to her work as works of art and were inspired by her works. When we visited Bath, England, we were able to visit a home which would have been very similar to where she would have lived for only a few months. The Jane Austen Centre in Bath was built between 1735 and 1760 by two pre-eminent Bath architects of the period, John Wood the Elder, and his son, known John Wood the Younger. The focus of the Jane Austen Centre is to give us an idea of Jane Austen’s five years living and socializing in Bath, giving us detailed explanation and descriptions of the places she lived in and visited, as well as the locations which were the inspiration for her lively wit and sharp attire. There were many of Jane’s belongings on display as well as pictures of some of her star-crossed lovers. (TheJaneAustenCenter)

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Journal 5: Color Blue!

I can’t believe it, but it’s our last week here in this city of pure Royalty and the royal baby boy has just been born only a few hours ago! Being able to study abroad here in such a time as this is more than I could have ever asked for. By living in this city during the time of the royal baby, I am living in history at this exact moment in time. After a month of living in London I have become very familiar and comfortable with the city itself and the people within it. I have also made wonderful friends along with amazing memories throughout my times spent here. I hope to continue traveling after this trip now that I am more accustomed and comfortable with the process of traveling on my own.

            Dublin, Ireland, the boisterous heir of Ireland or the “family home” was another fun- filled weekend trip for five other classmates and me. Dublin, being the capital of Ireland, hold a great deal of significance in and beneath its streets. As I walked through the streets of Dublin it was almost like I was in a movie. People were so happy, playing and enjoying music, dancing, singing, and acting and they were constantly in eyesight during our three- night stay in Dublin. Ireland, being described as a Celtic country, with all the myth-making that goes along with that, claims with pride that it was a “land of saint and scholars” when the rest of Europe was deep in the Dark Ages. On the way to the Cliffs of Moher we stopped and toured a small city called Galway or Ireland’s most Irish city. The National University of Ireland is located here and possesses the traditional language of Gaelic. A rather small village called the Claddagh village sits just beside Galway and we were able to walk around there as well. Claddagh village was known as a small fishing village on the western edge of Galway city or just across the river. It has been known for its Claddagh ring that is worn as a wedding ring in this village and worn as a classic ring by people from all over the world, signifying their relationship status and their Irish heritage. While visiting, we took a tour to the famous Cliffs of Moher, which sits directly across the country of Ireland, on the opposite side of Dublin. The Cliffs of Moher were unlike anything that I had ever seen, being two hundred and fourteen meters high and stretched over eight kilometers over the Atlantic Ocean on the western seaboard of County Clare. Ireland is a uniquely beautiful place in which I would love to visit again. The subtleness of the country and being surrounded by water is peacefully sentimental and quite remarkable. (76, Williams)

            The National Gallery was literally breathtaking. The rooms weren’t only full of hundreds upon thousands of pictures and paintings, but hundreds of people touring the Gallery as well. The vastness of the Gallery reminds us of the word “National” in the title, meaning it contains one of the finest collections of Western European art in the entire world. There are many different famous, infamous, and not as famous artists from all over the world, whose artwork hangs on these walls for the world to see. From Leonardo da Vinci to Vincent Van Gough, the artwork that lines the walls of the National Gallery has been treasured throughout time and is remarkable to see. (34, Williams)

            Westminster Abbey, sits directly behind the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, helping to make up Parliament Square. Westminster Abbey has been the ceremonial site of almost every British coronation, from William the Conqueror in 1066 to Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. Princess Diana’s funeral was held here, along with Prince William and Princess Kate’s wedding. The Abbey is the burial grounds to Henry VII, Elizabeth I and Mary and is also full of monuments and memorials to a multitude of famous people. At three o’clock pm on Sunday afternoons at Westminster Abbey, the service called Evensong is held. Evensong is devoted to the prayers of anyone who would like to attend, as well as regular attendees. It is similar to a normal church service with the choir singing, congregation joining in song and a small message from the Pope of the Abbey. Each song that is sung from both the choir and the congregation is meant to resemble a prayer to God. I enjoyed this service and even being able to compare it to the service that we attended in St. Paul’s Cathedral. (55, Steves)Image

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Journal 4: Time is running out!

The longer that we are here in London the shorter the days get. This is due to the amount of activities and requirements that we are trying to fit into our schedule, because the clock is ticking to the end of our stay in this wonderful city. From the museums, parks, and gardens here in London to the weekend trips, there is so much to tell about and only so much time to tell about it all.

            Kensington Palace is just two blocks away from where we stay here on Kensington High Street. This is one of the more highly significant palaces that is still standing in the city of London. The palace is now home to William and Kate, and they stay in one of the larger apartments on one side of the palace. The rest of the apartments are home to other London royals. The first royal residents to live in Kensington Palace were William and Mary in 1689, followed by Queen Victoria who was born there in 1837 and raised her own children there, as well as the young Princess Diana of Wales who resided there most recently. The side of the palace that is opened to the public as a museum is the journey of King William III and Queen Mary, as well as looking through Queen Victoria’s diary as she and Prince Albert lived in the Palace with their nine kids. As you walk through Victoria and Albert’s half of the Palace, you are reading snippets of her diary that are mainly about her reign, how she felt about certain things, and most of all, her love for Prince Albert. The other half of the museum was the story of Queen Mary and King William III, along with their thirteen children whom never made it past the age of eleven. The fact that these past royals actually lived in the palace makes it even more special and exhilarating because you are retracing the footsteps of Kings and Queens from times past. The museum was very unique and holds great meaning that will continue due to the royals who continue to keep this Palace as their current home. (Williams, 54,119)

            In today’s world where the young are taking over, many things are changing including style and art. The art of young people is becoming more noticed as well as popular due to the trends that are being set by artists all over the world. The Tate Modern Museum does a wonderful job of collecting and incorporating the focuses on contemporary works after the 1900’s. This is a relatively new gallery that has been established in London and has been on the road to primary success. The building is in the process of being renovated to actually look more “modern” and to give the effect that will stand out to both younger and older people of all kinds. The Tate Modern is large enough for huge pieces of artwork and experimental pieces that are displayed throughout its 88 galleries of eclectic works of art. The works of art vary from artists such as Dali, Picasso, Matisse, Rothko and Warhol. One of my favorite rooms was the “music gallery”. The Music Gallery not only displayed works of art dealing with music and many different instruments that were used as the canvas for the art, but a place that musicians could express themselves in a worriless and inviting environment. I was able to play a piano that was painted and decorated, which enabled me to take myself back home for a few minutes, due to the amount of hours I spend playing instruments in the privacy of my own home.  The Tate Modern Museum is for people of all ages and cultures due to the vast collection and different pieces of artwork that are displayed throughout.  (Williams, 18-19)

            Living in London, there is almost a need to know the history of this grand city, which dates back to the very beginning of time and leads up to the present day. The museum starts with the prehistoric times and detailed artifacts that are provided by geologists and archeologists, in which animals, plants, and human remains are displayed. Roman Londinium, the name of London’s past, is highly talked about and displayed in the first half of the museum and is reiterated many times throughout. The city of the past is reconstructed through displayed streets, shops, and domestic interiors, which give us a good idea of what it what really like back in the days of Roman Londinium. As you walk through the museum, it is almost as if you are walking through the good and the bad times of London’s past and onto its present. As it took you through a more personal account with the people of London during World War II, with the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, under control, it was very emotional and opened my eyes to what London experienced during the war as well. I have only thought about America and our people through the rough times of the war, but realized after visiting the museum that the city of London had major damage to the city and I was quite shocked to see just how much was damaged compared to that of the United States. The Museum of London gave me the chance to really get a handle on London and its utterly fascinating history. (Williams, 48, 136)

            Winston Churchill, who was the British Prime Minister during World War II, is still highly regarded here in London, and should be because of his major war efforts and accomplishments towards the city during his time in power. The Cabinet War Rooms, which are located under the Government’s Treasury Chambers, served as a meeting place, as well as a home to Churchill and his employees during the time of the World Wars. The rooms are untouched and kept just as they were left in 1945, when London was attacked by the Nazis; therefore, Churchill had to arrange plans for his military men and women to be in sync with his country. The Cabinet War Rooms serve to document the 27-roomed secret hiding place in which Churchill conducted all of his plans to fight against the Nazis (1939-1945). It is largely dedicated and directed towards Winston Churchill’s great effort in keeping London alive and safe in these desperate times during the war. This museum has been my favorite by far because of just how personal and “untouched” that it looks and feels inside. You get so much out of the documentation and important artifacts that have been collected from those hard times in London. We have always seen and heard of Winston Churchill as being “the man with the big cigar and top hat”, so it really reiterates the story behind this man and just how important he was to this city. (Steves, 85)

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Journal 3

As a teenager, I had always wanted to travel the world and see new things. I wanted to walk down streets that scholarly, famous, and intelligent historic individuals had walked down at one point in their lives and see the houses that they once lived in. Being in London is more than “a dream come true” in my fairytale book. I have completely fallen in love with the city over the past three weeks that I have been living in and adore calling this place home. As we started our first travel weekends since being here in London, I have become even closer to the city than I imagined before studying abroad here. The vast expansion of mind that studying abroad has brought to me so far through its varying cultures, has left me in awe of just how much this trip has already changed my “small minded” way of thinking.

            There is so much to do and see here! If it is a museum day here in London, we almost have to prepare ourselves to be in the museum for over four hours or more. The amount of art work, monuments, ancient artifacts, and a variety of eclectic things that there are to cover once stepping foot inside the museum is something that I had yet to grasp before studying here, but after understanding the importance of the monumental pieces of works, I understand now just how extensive that museums can be. The first museum we explored was the Victoria and Albert Museum. The Victoria and Albert Museum is very large with 145 very different and intriguing galleries that are to be seen throughout the museum.  These galleries share their collections of jewelry, ceramics, metalwork, glass, paintings, prints, sculpture and rooms full of Indian and Far Eastern treasures (Williams, 48). As you may recognize the names Victoria and Albert, refer to devoted royal couple and Queen Victoria dedicated this museum to her husband Prince Albert after his sudden passing away from a terrible sickness. Speaking of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, Queen Victoria also dedicated a monumental tribute to her husband, who played a large part in establishing the South Kensington museums, due to his interest in the arts and sciences. The Albert Memorial sits right outside of Kensington and Hyde parks and is no more than a fifteen minute walk from Heythrop College, where we are currently staying while studying here in London. Across from the Albert memorial is the Royal Albert Hall, designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott and completed in 1876 (Williams, 119-120).

            Music has always been a large part of my life and will continue to be throughout the rest of my lifetime. I appreciate music more than words can describe. As we are required to see multiple different genres of plays while we are in the city, a musical was the first play that I wanted to see, and specifically I wanted to see Wicked! This is a musical that my mother has constantly told me about after she both read the book and went to see the play, helping me fall madly in love with the music that is produced in it. We ended up getting our tickets to go see Wicked for about thirty-five pounds, and we couldn’t have been more excited! Watching these actors and actresses interact with one another in both dialogue and harmonization was truly unlike anything I have ever seen on stage before. The sets and acting were beyond words, and to me, without a single flaw. I enjoyed this play to the maximum degree and will never forget the experience I had that night in the theatre.

            Before we had the chance to walk through most of the parks and gardens that are offered publicly around the city, I was quite bored with the fact that we were to compare and contrast each one. I mean, are not all parks and gardens about the same? I have now found the answer to this question, and the answer is a definite, “No.” As I have kept a close eye on each park that I have ventured through, I have found Green Park to be the most active with groups of people. Kensington and Hyde Parks are more of a place to casually run and hang out with friends and family in one of the many courtyards provided. These are also more common places for locals, as well as visitors, to grab a 4:00 pm afternoon tea. Afternoon tea here in London is a ritual and has been a custom for many years and many more years to come. Prior to the introduction of high tea into Britain, the English had two main meals: breakfast and dinner. This didn’t suit the Duchess of Bedford, Anna Maria Stanhope (1783-1857), because she suffered from ‘a sinking feeling’ at about four o’clock in the afternoon, hence the purpose of the four o’clock teas (The Orangery, Kensington Gardens). At Green Park there are more workout groups, doing hard core workouts in the middle of the courtyards, as well many joggers and sport players. I felt more alive as I walked through and hung around Green Park than I had felt when walking through the other parks. Kensington and Hyde Parks are more of a place to relax and catch up with friends and family, rather than working out and getting your “tan on”. Green Park is overlooked by Buckingham Palace, in which the Queen resides for more days than less, during the year (Williams, 28). I have thoroughly enjoyed having all of these gardens just footsteps away from the college. It gives me a place to get away and run, read, do homework, relax in the sun with friends or by myself and just slip away from the city for a little while.

            Visiting the college town of Oxford was quite different and exquisitely interesting because of the completely different feel from what our college towns are like back home in the States. The buildings of the college were beautiful, luring me to want to make this campus my own. The small town of Oxford was adorable, heartwarming, and had a very “homey” feel to it. Oxford is Britain oldest university town and is fascinating to visit, it has museums and galleries at almost every turn, making it even harder to leave. The buildings that make up this college town are magnificent and something worth making a trip to Oxford to go and see (Williams, 167). The feel of this small college town, was more “touristy” than we are used to back home, but was very interesting to compare and contrast our college towns from theirs. I thoroughly enjoyed the feel and vibrant experiences I felt as I walked through the campus and around the streets of Oxford.

            For our first weekend trip, three other girls and I decided to journey off to Paris, France for two nights and two days. This was also an experience that I will never forget. Not due to the good things that happened while there, but unfortunately, the bad. As long as I can remember, I have only heard positive things as well as the stereotypes that tend to come along with the name Paris: romantic, fancy, fashion, and high class. Upon our arrival by train into Paris, I immediately noticed how poorly kept the streets were, along with the strong odor that came with the dirtiness surrounding the city. I was highly disappointed in just how unkept the city was although I do not regret taking this small trip into the heart of Paris, because of the cultural differences and values that were discovered while being there. Despite the abundance of negative things that I have mentioned about Paris, we had a few good experiences visiting The Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. The Louvre, the largest building, palace, and museum in Europe is home to more than thirty thousand works of art on display, with specialties of Greek sculpture, Italian paintings, as well as French paintings (Steve’s, 107). This is also the home to Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci’s most famous painting. However, I was disappointed in the painting due to its small size and the large piece of glass that was almost smothering its beauty. Visiting the Eiffel Tower was magnificent to me because I have seen so many pictures as well as watched movies that involve the Eiffel tower, so it was amazing to be sitting in front of it and taking pictures! The Eiffel tower was built by engineer Gustave Eiffel  in 1889, at almost one thousand feet high, which is the tallest man made structure in the world (Steve’s, 184). Although Paris had many faults and imperfections, it did have its glory and flattery as well. I am more than glad that I was able to gain the knowledge and experience that I did while visiting for such a short period of time.

            Being able to attend a service at St. Paul’s Cathedral was a church service that I will not forget throughout the rest of my life. I couldn’t believe my eyes as I walked through the doors of this magnificent cathedral. St. Paul’s Cathedral is the great masterpiece of Sir Christopher Wren,  who rebuilt the city’s churches after the Great Fire of 1666. It is home to the largest swinging bell in Europe, Great Paul, which strikes the house and marks the death of royalty and senior churchmen (Williams, 40). The men’s choir and orchestra that performed during the 11 o’clock service was remarkable, and really gave depth to the church service itself. The acoustics that were provided naturally by the dome-shaped building, in which the service was held, helped to create the beautifully large sound from both the orchestra and the choir. Taking communion with regulars of the church was simply amazing to me, and was an experience that I probably will not be able to relive. I was very pleased with the service and the kind people who helped organize the service and would recommend St. Paul’s Cathedral to anyone who decides to visit this beautiful city of London.

            There is so much to tell about my travels and not nearly enough time of day to tell all about them. I almost wish that everyone could experience these wonderful places with me! As I will continue to say, I cannot believe that I am in London, England right now at this point in my life. I could not be any more grateful to my supporting parents, teachers, Meredith College, and friends as well. I am constantly learning new things here, not only about the city and its culture, but about myself as well. This journey has been the journey of a lifetime, and one that I will never forget.

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Today, July, 1, 2013, will officially make it one full week that we have been staying and studying here in this marvelous city of London, England. Already, we have been more than privileged to see so many historical monuments, buildings, traditions, and geographical areas that are simply magnificent. By living no further than a mile away from Kensington Palace, as well as Kensington Gardens, and the rest of the city at our fingertips, it really gives us a chance to experience the city from a true citizen’s viewpoint.  In a weeks’ worth of time, I have been able to make quite a few valid observations about the city, its people, their customs and styles, and a good feel for what it would be like to really live here.

From the Tower of London, Parliament, Kensington Gardens, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, to the Pride Parade, our past week here in the city of London has been quite an adventure. The Tower of London, for much of its 900-year history, was an object of fear to the townspeople, especially those who had committed treason or threatened the throne. These troublemakers were held captive here, with a slim chance of making it out alive. The Tower of London is also the home to The Jewel House, which is where the magnificent Crown Jewels are housed (Kindersley 154). The Tower of London was truly amazing inside of its walls and out. It was such a valuable experience to tour a castle and its city streets. It was almost as if you took a step back in time, could hear the townspeople talking and the King or his guards yelling at the townspeople or the troublemakers of the city. Walking into The Jewel house in which the Crown Jewels are held, was almost like stepping on glass. I didn’t want to touch anything and you barely even wanted to talk to your neighbor, everything was just that captivating, as well as extremely delicate!

With just as much, or more history, we also had the great honor of touring the Houses of Parliament, which dates back to 1512 and was designed by Victorian architect Sir Charles Barry (Kindersley 72). The only surviving party of the original Palace of Westminister is the Westminister Hall, which has been standing for over 700 years and was the first room that we stepped into upon entering Parliament. We were taken through the House by a tour guide, who, was thoroughly informed of the many things that had taken place in British history and what was still taking place today amongst the many rooms of the House. To be able to see the Commons’ Chamber, in which most laws are made, and the Lord’s Chamber, was definitely a once in a lifetime chance, and was quite remarkable on many different levels.

The Pride Parade here in London, was unlike anything that I have ever experienced, since I am from a small town made up of Republicans, and where gays are not accepted as easily as they are here in London. Celebrating Pride helps gays, lesbians, and trans gendered people express themselves and try to show others that they are proud of who they are, no matter who they fall in love with. The parade was very large and had thousands of people lined up on the sides of the street, running through Oxford Street, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square before ending at Whitehall. I could not believe how big this festival was. It truly caught me off guard that this many people were showing their pride for who they were. “Prime Minister David Cameron has written in the Pride guide about the Equal Marriage Bill, and said: “There will be girls and boys in school today who are worried about being bullied and concerned about what society think of them because they are gay or lesbian.” (BBC)

I am a natural runner. I run for the benefit of my health and well-being, not because I like it or because I have to. While being in such an exciting city, I decided to take a run through Kensington Gardens, a very entertaining, yet peaceful place to run. There were so many different paths, both on the sidewalks and through the large fields that are provided by the Prince and Princess. Princess Diana also lived here with her two sons William and Harry as she watched them grow up. There is now a playground memorial that stands in memory of Princess Diana of Wales where children can run safely through troughs of water and other safe activities fun for the whole family (The Royal Parks). I could have literally run for miles without getting bored because there was so much to see. However, tired is a different story. Kensington Gardens, being at the doorstep of my dorm room, is beyond anything that I have ever dreamed of. It is a magical place here for sure.

Every day that I wake up here in London, I am continuously reminding myself just how lucky that I am to be studying abroad in such a wonderful city. I would not have it any other way. As each day goes by, I am constantly learning more and more by divulging myself into this British culture.

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Journal Two: Settling Down

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Journal One: Welcome to London, England!

As we embark on our journey here in London, England, I cannot begin to explain the wonder, excitement and adrenaline that come along with living in this both wonderful and historical city! Just flying into the city was beyond anything that I have ever seen, due to the thousands of years of history that is embedded here. By choosing this experience that is available to me through Meredith College, I came in hopes of educating myself through living in a culture that is completely different from the one that I have known my whole life, and one that I will soon be going back to in one month from today.

                After being embodied in London for the first time in my life, I wasn’t sure exactly what to do or how I felt about actually being here! It was a mix of emotions between anxious, nervous, excited (or overly excited), and very happy. I realized that all of these emotions can wait and that I will just go with the flow and enjoy myself! This is exactly what I have done. The first thing that I had to do once I was able to get settled into my room was exchange my currency from the American dollar to the currency of my new home, the pound. This was a little scary to me, seeing that I had never gone anywhere that I had to use a different form of currency, and especially not on my own! After using it a few times, I realized that it was very similar to the U.S dollar in use. This helped me relax much more after I started getting used to it. Our first adventure as a group was to tour the city from the top of a double decker tour guide bus! We were able to see most of the main attractions from the top of this bus, which was the perfect way to start off our time here in London, because we would be learning about these places as well as visiting them to get a closer look into London’s history. The tour bus dropped us off at the Tower of London, which I will talk about in a later blog, which is located down the Thames River from Parliament Square, where Big Ben sits. As mostly everyone knows London as the home to Big Ben, the very tall clock that looks over the city and this was what I was most excited to see in person. I couldn’t wait to have a picture of me and my friends with Big Ben in the background! Big Ben was installed in 1858 by the Chief Commissioner, Sir Benjamin Hall, in which he referred to the clocks 14-tonne bell (Williams).

                Coming from a small beach town, Southport, North Carolina, being in a city is much different for me, of course, but being in London is much different than I have ever been used to! As soon as we stepped off of the plane, I noticed that the diversity varied greatly and everyone is on their own time, in their own world, getting themselves to their destinations as fast as they can go. I am used to that well known “Island Time”. Although they do speak our language, their accents are so strong that they can barely understand me and I can barely understand them, so its almost like we are speaking different languages! I am excited to continue this journey here in the magnificent city of London, England and cannot wait for the things that I will experience every single day while studying abroad here, both in the classroom and on the streets!Image

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