Monday, 9 December 2013

Final Post!

Hi everyone!

Well here we are, one week to go in London. As I started to pack last night, it got much more real that I am heading home to Minnesota this coming Saturday. I am getting sad to leave, but anxious to get home and see everyone. We have a busy week ahead of us with finals and last minute homework assignments, but have some fun activities planned as well. Tuesday night we are going to The Nutcracker, Thursday night we are all going ice-skating and then dinner afterwards, and Friday night Megan and I are taking our family out to dinner and then will enjoy our last night in London with our entire group.

Okay, so back to this past week! Classes went well, but it is getting down to the wire and getting stressful. Finals are coming up and trying to get everything done at the last minute. With trying to get everything done and seeing what we need to see in London, last week and this will be a bit stressful. 

Anyways, Tuesday night we went as a group and saw Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (the musical). It wasn't as good as the other plays we went to but was fun to see and of course get a Wonka bar! Wednesday I had my last Business 200 service day and was sad to say goodbye to my kids. It was so much fun working with them each week and could see the progress they made over the semester. Friday, Megan and I decided to go on a tour of Wimbledon and it was so amazing to see! We ended up seeing Mamma Mia again Friday night, it was just as good as the first time. Saturday, we got up early and headed to Leeds to see the castle and then we ended up at the Rochester Christmas Market. It was not as good as it was supposed to be, but still cool to see. We went to O'Neill's in Leciester Square on Saturday night to celebrate our last weekend in London. Most of our group was there, so we danced the night away. Such a fun send-off!

This week is full of finals, packing, and seeing the last things we need to see. I have my final presentation in my communication class, tomorrow is my art history final, and Thursday I have my marketing final. We have a few fun things planned as we get ready to head home Saturday morning!

I hope you are all doing well and I can't wait to see you guys on Saturday!


Miss you all, 5 days!


Monday, 2 December 2013

Skydive? Sure!

This past week we had another week of classes, but it was a shortened week so classes flew by. Monday we had our long day like usual, and then Tuesday we had Art History. Wednesday we had our second to last day of community service. It is crazy to imagine that we just have two weeks left here in London. I have a few last things I need to see before I head back home, so these next two weeks will fly by but will check off those last few things.

It was weird to wake up Thursday morning, to no smell of turkey and all of the traditional fixings, but anyways we slept in. I went downstairs and Ajay (my host dad) said, "Happy whatever American holiday it is today", he knew it was Thanksgiving just wanted to give me a hard time. We packed up our last few things and headed down to school to catch our coach bus to Gatwick to head to SWITZERLAND for the weekend. I am so glad I decided to experience Switzerland and it was by far my favorite trip of the semester. We got into Switzerland late Thursday night and hung in the hostel for a bit and headed off to bed, as a few of us decided we wanted to jump out of planes the next morning!

So Thursday night I could barely sleep, tossed and turned all night, because a) I was jumping out of a plane in the morning and b) had Rosey decided to sleep with me! Two of us in a twin bed, you make it work! So Friday morning, we had until 12 pm to hang out before we went skydiving. As I couldn't sit still all morning, 12 pm felt like forever away. Anyways, a group of seven of us boarded the bus and had about a 30 minute bus ride to the hanger where we would begin the adventure of a lifetime. We broke off into two groups and I was in load three with Alison, Maggie, and a random girl. We finally got in the plane and that is when I literally freaked out. Maggie went first and we couldn't sit still. I can't wait to show you all the video when I get home. Weiss family, get ready, it will be the hit of Christmas Eve! Anyways after a scenic 15 minute flight, it was time to free fall out of the sky. So I was second and we got to the edge of the plane and again freaked out. There was no time to think and we were out! The free fall was by far my favorite part of the adventure. After a 45 second free fall, he pulled the shoot and I could breathe again. We had about a 7 minute ride before landing. The views were just stunning. We safely landed and I could smile and breathe again! We watched Mike, Jess, Jess, and Blake go next and then headed back to the hostel to tell everyone about our adventure.



Friday night, we had a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with our entire group. The meal was good, but not as good as home! It was so much fun to be with everyone as we celebrated Thanksgiving. After dinner, most of us headed down to the bar and had some fun and danced the night away.

Saturday, we hung around the city of Interlaken and went exploring. We walked down the river to where the river met the two lakes and took in the beautiful scenery. On our walk back, we stopped at a chocolate store and bought tickets to the chocolate show and tasting that evening. After a few naps by the fire at the hostel, we made our way to the show and filled up on delicious Swiss chocolate. Since about the only thing to eat in Interlaken is Hooter's, we decided it was time to hit up Hooter's for a $20 burger, which wasn't anything special, but hey it was dinner and nice to be with friends. After dinner, we went back and again headed down to the bar for more drinks and dancing, but called it an early night as Michaela was skydiving the next day and Rosey was canyon jumping!

Beautiful views of Interlaken!

Sunday, we slept in, and went to breakfast. It was now nice to watch the next group of skydivers freak out for the morning. My skydive video came in that day so we watched that multiple times and got them in the zone! There was an extra seat in the van, so I decided to jump in and be the photographer for the day. It was so much fun to watch them get suited up and skydive, without the nerves that I had on Friday. After everyone jumped, we headed back and packed up and headed back to the airport.

We landed in Gatwick and had a two hour bus ride back to Kings Cross, which was pure torture. All of us just wanted to be home and I had my huge business ethics presentation this morning. We ended up catching the last tube home and was in bed around 2:30 am after a shower and some time on Facebook, like usual!

Anyways, like I said before we have two weeks left here and I will be home next weekend, just in time for Weiss Cookie Day! I cannot wait to see all of you so soon. I know I will be so sad next week leaving this amazing place and my wonderful host family, but am so anxious to get home. I just wanted to take a quick second to thank a few people. Mom and Dad, without you two this whole adventure I have experienced would have not been possible. Mom, you really pushed me to go outside my comfort zone and to go abroad and it has been the best decision I have ever made. Dad, you backed up my decision and knew you were excited for me as well. Meg & T, I cannot wait to see you both and miss you both lots. One last shout out to Sarah Hendricks, you were the one who told me I could do this and that I needed to do this. I didn't believe you when you said this changed your life, I now know that a study abroad experience can change you! Sarah, I cannot say thank you enough. You are the best and you know a Cleveland Wok date will happen shortly after I get home.

That's all for now as we begin our four hour night class. We are almost to the single digit countdown! See you all next weekend!

At bat: Last weekend in London
On deck: Home sweet home


Monday, 25 November 2013

We're in the teens!

 Hi everyone!

Hope everyone is doing well and staying warm. I hear it is getting cold and the snow has come or is coming. That is one thing I am not looking forward to coming home. However, it is getting chilly here. I am so glad my mom brought my winter jacket, as Switzerland is coming up this weekend and I know it will be cold.

Anyways, as my title says, the countdown to home is in the teens. Official countdown: 18 days! Most of us are really excited to get home and see family and friends. But we have a lot of fun things coming up, so I know that our time is going to fly and we will be home in no time.

So this past week, we had classes, which has turned into crunch time for a lot of projects and homework. It's that time of the semester and we have a lot to do before we leave. But anyways, classes have been going well and still enjoying each of them, which is unusual, because normally at this time of the semester, I am so bored of them and just want to be done. But, it's different here.

On Friday morning, we had to be up early and to Dilke House at 8:20 am for our overnight trip to Bath, Glastonbury, and Stonehenge. I had been looking forward to this especially to see Stonehenge! Our first stop was at Avebury, which we saw a historic rock site, similar to Stonehenge. Russell, our tour guide for the weekend, was the best and gave us loads of information and stories about all the sites we saw over the weekend. After Avebury, we made our way to Bath where we stayed the night.

I loved Bath and wish we had more time to explore the town. My host brother, Kiran, had an interview for the University of Bath and really loved it! We saw the abbey, and then had a tour of the Roman Baths. We didn't have a lot of time in the Baths, but it was incredible to see and to also see the Hot Springs. After exploring the Baths, we had a quick walking tour around the city center. A beautiful, cute town with so many shops!

(Michaela and I at the Roman Baths)

Friday night, we settled into our hotel and had a great three course meal. It was great to mingle with others on the program. After dinner, many of us stayed down in this common area and played Mafia for  like 8 hours (I finally quit around 1 am). The hotel manager said the next day that we were the best group of students she had. Finally! We redeemed ourselves a bit after Scotland. Friday, we traveled to Glastonbury and climbed this huge hill to the Tor. After we saw the Abbey and then ended our trip at Stonehenge.

Stonehenge was beautiful and my favorite part of the trip! You couldn't go up to the rocks like I thought you could. We walked around and heard the history of Stonehenge. Russell is full of knowledge and has so many stories. After Stonehenge we got back on the coach and headed back to London. Once got back, Bissa and I headed to get a quick bite to eat and head home for the night.


So, here we are three weeks to go!

At bat: Switzerland this weekend
On deck: Last weekend in London
In the hole: HOME SWEET HOME

All for now, look for a new update after Switzerland! Can't wait to see you all so soon!


Monday, 18 November 2013

Another weekend getaway: Prague

 Happy Monday everyone!

Another busy and eventful week here in London. The official countdown to home has begun. Less than a month until we land back in snowy, cold Minnesota. It is crazy to begin to think that our time is coming to an end here in London. We have had a great semester, but I think it has hit a lot of us that we are starting to be ready to be home. But with that, we are going to soak everything in these next before weeks before heading home. It will be fun to experience "home for the holidays" which a lot of people experience each Christmas, but being 5 minutes from home, I haven't really had that feeling, but know it will hit home this Christmas.

Anyways back to London! This past week we did some great things and had another week of classes. For Art History we got to visit so many modern galleries this past week, which was interesting to compare to a lot of older art that we had been learning about. Tuesday night, we went to the Comedy Store to enjoy a British comedy show. Let's just say they love picking on the Americans, so we were the hit of the show. I haven't laughed so hard in awhile. It was a great night. Wednesday night, Megan and I got to experience another cultural experience. Pasha, our 14 year old, host sister, had her school play and she wanted us to be there. Of course we couldn't pass up this opportunity. It was fun to see her and Kiran's school which they talk about a lot so it was fun to see where they go to school and see Pasha's school play!

(Comedy Show)

Thursday, Megan, Bailey, and I headed off for another weekend getaway. We really have this country hopping down! We headed off to Prague in the Czech Republic to see the city and see Lindsey Steer. It seems like so long ago when we booked our tickets in September but this weekend came so fast and I was excited to see Lindsey. We met her at the airport and headed to get dinner before getting to our hostel. Friday was a day of sightseeing and we didn't realize Prague was a bit chilly (same as MN) so we ended up taking a city tour and saw all the main sites of Prague including the Charles Bridge, the clock, and Prague castles! Saturday we enjoyed a relaxed day as we had done a lot of sightseeing the day before. We met Lindsey and she showed us a local farmer's market and there were many different foods, flowers, and lots of wine. It was a neat experience. After the farmer's market, we walked around Old Town and had lunch. We ended up getting Thai massages, which was an adventure in itself. A Thai massage isn't the most relaxing thing. Lindsey met us again for dinner and we said our goodbyes. Sunday morning was an early morning to get to the airport and catch our flight back to London.

(Lindsey and I at the Lennon Wall)

Prague was so great, but it is nice to be back in London. We have a lot left to do in London with only a short amount of time left here. Yesterday, we got caught up on homework, made some dinner, skyped with Nick, Melissa, and Hadley. Hadley is talking! She is so precious and can't wait to make a trip to Dallas when I get home.

Well that's all for now, as I am getting ready for my four hour night class on intercultural communication. Sounds like so much fun... not!

At bat: Bath & Stonehenge this weekend
On deck: Switzerland
In the hole: Last weekend in London

See you all so soon! Just four short weeks!


Tuesday, 12 November 2013

CDH Takes on London

Hi everyone!

Hope everyone is doing well at home, just a quick update from across the pond! I had a great weekend with the big excitement of Marissa coming to visit for the weekend. We kept saying to each other all weekend, is this real life? Did we just casually meet up for the weekend in London? We don't see much of each other during the school year, as she is at Northwestern in Chicago, so needless to say we were thrilled to be together for the weekend.

Classes went pretty quick last week and we went back to our service sites after being off for two weeks. The kids faces lit up when they saw me in the back of the room as they came into school. That was so exciting to see that they had remembered me and that we were creating lasting relationships. My volunteering experience has been so great here and so grateful that we have had this opportunity.

(Year Four at Nightingale Primary School)

Ok, so Thursday night, we had planned to meet Marissa and Martha Boyle (another CDH alum) for dinner and then Marissa and I were going to go out after with my friends. Waiting at the Russell Square station for them was just like going to see my family. I was so excited and could barley stand it! After we all made it to Russell Square, we headed to dinner and had a great night. So much fun to catch up and hear about each's experience, for Martha and I here in London and Marissa's in Spain. Thursday night, Marissa and I headed off to Roxy to meet up with some of my friends. We had a great night and Marissa hit it off with all of my friends, so that was nice!
(Martha, myself, Marissa)

Friday, Marissa went off with some NU friends and I headed for a guided tour of Westminster Abbey. Inside the Abbey is beautiful and so many people are buried at the Abbey. Some include: Charles Dickens, Charles Darwin, and Sir Isaac Newton. It was a quick tour as their was a remembrance day service that afternoon. Friday night, a few of us at dinner at Rosey and Kari's house and met Michaela and Rosey's friends from home who were in for the weekend as well.

Saturday, we experienced a British Football Game. We went to see Crystal Palace vs. Everton battle it out. When Marissa and I got the stadium, she told me that both teams were like last in the league. Even with them being weak teams, it was so much fun to see the atmosphere. Almost comparable to a NFL game, but the Brits may be a little more into it. They had these chants that they chanted the entire game and they were on their feet the entire game. The game ended in a 0-0 tie, but it was still such a fun experience. Saturday night, Marissa had a friend who turned 21, so she met up with her friends and I headed home for movie night with the family. I had told Pasha several times that I would have movie night so we finally made it happen. It was a great weekend!

It was a great week and was so much fun to see Marissa and we said our goodbyes, but realized it is the shortest amount of time before we see each other again!

At bat: Prague this weekend to visit Lindsey Steer!
On deck: Bath & Stonhege
In the hole: Switzerland

A lot of exciting things coming up! My thoughts and prayers go out to the two CDH families who lost their son this past weekend. A sad time for the CDH community, but so humbling to see this community come together. It is a special community. Hug the ones you love & tell them you love them!

Love you all & miss you all!


Monday, 4 November 2013

Wait, only 39 days left here?

Well, it's Monday! Time for a weekly update from London!

I hope you all had a great weekend back at home, another Viking loss and hopefully another Packer win tonight!

We enjoyed ourselves in London this weekend as it was nice to settle back in from mid-term break. We had classes all week and had a great weekend.. maybe a little too much fun!

Thursday night was Halloween and to my surprise, there were a lot of people here celebrating Halloween as well. Before we left for the night, Megan and I passed out candy at our home stay and had a few groups of kids. I think we probably got more kids than we do at home. We headed down to our school for a Halloween party. A few us of went as cowgirls, pretty casual costumes! We had a fun night at ULU and tried to head to Roxy (a local club) but Rosey forgot her ID so we headed back to her parents' flat and headed to bed. Glad we did, as we had an early morning on Friday.

Santa's Little Helper and a Cowgirl (Bissa and I)

On Friday morning, we had a tour of Inns of Court. Inns of Court in London is where people who want to become lawyers study and live while in school. All barristers in London must belong to one of the inns. I didn't think I was going to enjoy the tour, but ended up loving it and learning a lot about UK law and how US and UK law are intertwined. After Inns of Court, I headed home to get changed for our tour at Lloyd's of London.

Lloyd's of London

Lloyd's of London is a huge insurance market located in the financial district of London. The building alone is so cool. All of the insides (elevators, pipes, etc.) are all on the outside. Very cool. We had a tour of Lloyd's and got the insights on the insurance market and to learn more about exactly what happens at Lloyd's. Very cool to experience Inns of Court and Lloyd's.

Friday night we once again headed back down to school and seriously had so much fun! It was a small group of us but it ended up to be a lot of fun! A few of us ended up sleeping at a friend's house for the night so it was fun a night to say the least.

Claire and I

Saturday, I basically slept the day away, whoops. Going to bed at 4 am the night before didn't help. Megan (my roommate) went out shopping, so I caught up on some sleep and homework. Saturday night there was a big firework show at Alexandra Palace, near our house, and we had heard since we arrived that we needed to go this. So, we went with our host siblings and had so much fun! So glad we ended up going and even though it was freezing Saturday night, it was some quality host sibling bonding time.
Our great host-siblings (Pasha and Kiran)

One girl on our program turned 21 on Saturday, so we ended up doing another pub crawl. These things are so much fun and enjoyed myself once again. It was another late night, so Sunday we slept in and got some homework done and actually made it to the grocery store to get groceries for the week.

So basically this weekend in a nut shell: barely any sleep, way too much fun, and good times with good friends!

As my title said it, we only have 39 days left here, which is crazy to think. Yesterday I had a Facebook message with all of my HS friends, which made me miss home a bit, but know these next few weeks are going to fly by.

Exciting news for this upcoming week! Marissa Pederson comes to visit from Spain! I am so excited to see her as she was in Chicago for the entire summer. We have a few things planned, dinner with another CDH friend on Thursday and a soccer match on Saturday afternoon.

And next week we are off to Prague to visit Lindsey Steer! So many exciting things coming up so be prepared for lots of pictures next week and a weekly update.

Miss you all & I will see you all soon!


Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Italy: Land of Pizza, Pasta, and Wine

Hi everyone!

So Sunday, after my dad and Tommy left, we headed back to bed as our flight to Florence didn't leave until 2 pm. We packed up and headed off for the airport for a week of traveling to Italy. Italy has somewhere that both of us have always wanted to go to, so why not do it for some quality mother/daughter bonding!

Our first stop was Florence. Many people back home had told my mom that we should go to Florence over Venice, so we took their advice and headed to Florence first. We got off the plane and as we were heading to get a taxi, we ran into three girls from my program. So funny! We arrived at our hotel and enjoyed a few drinks and appetizers at the hotel. We walked into town to of course find pizza! We found a cute place near our hotel and had the best pizza I have ever had. Sorry Davanni's! We ended up heading back to the hotel to plan the rest of our trip and book a few tours.

Monday morning, we slept until almost 11 am. Whoops! Well, it is my break from school so it was so nice. No alarm, nothing. We woke up and headed into the city to catch our bus for a tour of Tuscany and a wine tour. We couldn't go to Florence and not go on a wine tour/tasting. I still don't like wine, but I tried each of them. The bus ride through the Tuscany countryside was beautiful. After about an hour we arrived at an old castle that had been turned into a winery. We learned about how the wine was made and then had our tasting with some yummy snacks as well. We headed into a small town after the wine tasting and had some free time to walk around. We hopped back on the bus to head back to Florence to do some shopping and grab dinner. We found ourselves shopping and going into every shoe store. After some window shopping and taking mental notes of where we wanted to go, we grabbed some dinner and headed back to our hotel.

Tuesday morning, we actually made it to breakfast (which ended at 10:30 am). We headed off after breakfast to go on a hop on hop off tour of Florence. Seriously the best way to see any city in a short period of time is these bus tours! We got off at Michelangelo to see the famous statue and take in some of the beautiful views of the city from above. Ok, time to go shopping and find some new Italian leather boots! We ended up with 3 pairs, they were way too cute to pass up! We shopped and ended up with some gelato before we headed back to our hotel for a quick siesta. We ended up back at the same pizza place as the first night for a quick pizza and pasta before getting ready for our next adventure: Rome!

Next up: Rome!


Rome: More pizza & pasta!

Hi everyone.. almost done I promise!

So Wednesday morning, we took the train from Florence to Rome. It was only about an hour and twenty minutes so it was pretty quick. Once we arrived in Rome, we quickly noticed this is much different than Florence. In Rome, there are so many people, so many tourists, just another big city. But we were excited to experience Rome. We took the metro to our hotel which we thought was close. We ended up realizing that our hotel was near Vatican City. As we got off the metro, we were approached by a man trying to sell his Vatican City tour. He ended up being from California so we chatted for awhile. We ended up booking with him for a tour that afternoon.

We quickly headed to our hotel to drop our stuff and basically run back to meet for the tour. The tour was of the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, and Saint Peter's Basilica. We didn't have to wait in any lines, but the tour got pretty long. Vatican City has always on my bucket list and was so cool to see but it has become such a tourist attraction and almost takes away from what it is there for. The Sistine Chapel was packed and you could barely move which took away from the experience. But it was so cool to see where the Pope comes out to speak and somewhere we always see on TV but actually cool to see it in person. After the Vatican City tour we both needed a nap, so we headed back to our hotel. We ended up at a local spot for dinner.. you guessed it pizza. I actually ended up getting pasta because I needed a break from pizza.

Thursday morning, we made it to breakfast and were kind of sick of the same cereal we had been eating all week, but we managed. You could tell my mom was ready for her bagel and coffee from Bruegger's. Mom try three and a half months without it! Anyways, we headed off to go on the hop on hop off tour of Rome. We started at the Vatican City and saw all the major sites. We jumped off at the Trevi Fountain to channel my inner Lizzie McGuire and become an instant pop-star and meet my Paolo. We both threw our coin in and made a wish! The Trevi Fountain is so beautiful. We got back on and headed for the Colosseum. All I can say is, wow. The place is amazing. I found it so interesting how these buildings are in such good condition for being so old. We walked around and stopped at a local snack shop for a snack and a beer. You know it's totally normal to walk around with a beer in your hand. I wish I would have captured this moment.. oh wait it happened more than once. Momma was happy. All we needed was Lisa Kleindl with her and then it really would have been perfect!

After a day of sightseeing we headed to our hotel to eat there for dinner and get packed up because mid-term break was coming to an end. We packed up, and Friday morning came before we knew it. My mom's flight back home was before mine, so we said our goodbyes in the hotel as she got in her cab. It was hard to fight the tears back and there were some after I went back up to the room. It was sad to say good-bye but know that I will be home in no time and that it was so nice to spend a week together just the two of us. We created lasting memories and know I will be so excited to see everyone come December 14th!

Well now I am back in London for the second half our of semester. Again, so crazy that we are over half way done but have some pretty excited things coming up. This upcoming weekend we have a girls birthday, a firework show at the palace near our house. Next week, Marissa will be here! I am so excited to see her and catch and up and show her my home turf. The following week I will be heading to Prague to visit Lindsey Steer and cannot explain how excited I am to see her and have her show us around her home turf. Finally at the end of the month we have trips to Bath and Switzerland and then one final weekend in London and then we will be saying our goodbyes.... so weird to think!

Anyways that is all for now, but time for a few promised shout outs! First and foremost, happy 23rd birthday to my other half, twin, and best friend! Meghan, I hope you have the best day and hopefully will see you in London soon. Second shout out to Nora Phythian, miss you lots & can't wait for a much needed trip to Serenity when I am home.

A special good luck to the Raider football and volleyball teams as they battle through sections this week. I will be cheering from across the pond!

Miss you all!


Finally Reunited!

Hi everyone!

So sorry for not being caught up on blogs, but have been crazy busy since I last posted. I will try and keep you updated in a few different blog posts!

So Thursday before mid-term break, I had marketing and business ethics as usual. I took my marketing midterm and then headed off to find the Marriott Regent Park, because guess who had arrived? Yep, mom, dad, and Tommy. I couldn't control my excitement on the tube, I was so excited to see them.

I headed up to their room to be greeted with hugs (held the tears back). We relaxed in the hotel as they were all a bit exhausted and jet-lagged. Expect we needed to hit the ground running because my dad and brother were not here for very long. Thursday night, we headed up to Wood Green, where I live and we had dinner at The Gate (almost better than Punch) with my roommate Megan. I was happy she could meet them before heading off for her mid-term break vacation. After dinner, I went home to pack and they wandered around for a bit before coming to meet my host family!

They made it back to my house and met the family who I have been living with. We enjoyed great conversation and dessert. Anytime guests come, my family always has dessert and tea. It was so much fun and both families meshed so well! I showed them around the house and my room. We ended up staying much longer than anticipated but it was great.

Friday, we jumped on the hop on hop off bus tour for the day. We saw all the major sites including: Parliament, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Leciester Square, Piccadilly Circus, etc! After a day of sightseeing we had dinner before we went to Jersey Boys. If any of you know my dad, of course he couldn't come to London and not see Jersey Boys. I think it is like the 7th time he has seen it!

Saturday, we started off the day by heading to Wembley stadium. Then, we continued our bus tour and saw Tower Bridge, London Bridge, Globe Theater, Tower of London, London Eye. We went on the London Eye and was so cool to see the city from the top. Saturday night we ate dinner at a steakhouse in Piccadilly Circus followed with some Cinnabon for dessert. We ended the night by seeing the famous crosswalk at Abbey Road and headed back to the hotel as T and Dad had an early departure the next morning.

It was so great to see them and to be reunited for the weekend. It is hard to believe that we are halfway done with the incredible experience and will be home in no time! (My mom and Tommy has most of our pictures, will try and upload more).

Next post: Exploring Italy with mom!


Monday, 14 October 2013

A Relaxing Weekend

Well, it's Monday! That means it is time for a weekly update. There is not much to report on this past week, so I will make it short and sweet.

We had class all last week like normal and are diving into our coursework as mid-term is quickly approaching us. It is crazy to think that mid-term break is next week! Time really is flying by. For my art history class last week we went to the Tate Modern museum. I am not much of a museum person, but loved every minute at the Tate. The Tate is very modern and interactive, so it was very cool to explore and learn more about art. I love our art history professor. She is wonderful and lives, eats, and breaths art! 

This past weekend my roommate went to Ireland for the weekend, so I was home alone for the weekend. It was so quiet in our room but also nice to have my own space for the weekend! She said Ireland was a blast, so I am kind of jealous I didn't go. This weekend was all about homework. A lot of people are like "oh you don't get homework abroad", well that statement was false this weekend. Throughout the semester this far we hadn't had a lot of homework but it came down on us this weekend. I had a paper for Business Ethics, a COJO midterm today, and a marketing exam on Thursday. So Thursday and Saturday night I stayed in and caught up on homework. Sunday was also devoted to getting homework done.

On Friday night, we went out to a bar called Piccadilly Institute, which was an old mental hospital that has been converted into a bar/club. It was really fun as there were a lot of us from the group, but was very expensive. But hey, you only live in London once! That has been my motto of the trip!

Besides Friday, I spent time hanging out with my host family, by watching movies and playing Just Dance. I can't wait for my family to meet them this weekend.

So that brings me to the most exciting part of this week! Mom, Dad, and T arrive on Thursday afternoon. I am beyond excited to see them and show them around London. Dad and T will leave on Sunday so T can get back to school and swimming and then my mom and I will head off to Italy for the week for some quality mother/daughter bonding. I am excited to explore Italy with her. So I can't wait to update you all after mid-term break with many exciting stories and pictures!

So stay tuned for an update from Italy in a few weeks! 

All for now! 


Thursday, 10 October 2013

Wait, we are 1/3 done?

So we are officially one third of the way done with our program abroad. It is crazy to think that we have been here for over a month and that next week my family will be here. I am so excited to see them (have mom bring some clothes and food as well), but mainly excited to see them!

A lot has happened since my last post, sorry for getting a bit behind. Monday was a busy day!

Last week we had class all week as usual, but I swear the weeks go by so much faster here than they do at home. On Thursday after marketing, we quickly traveled to King's Cross to meet our group to take the train to Scotland for the weekend. Before I left home, many LBS alumni have said that Scotland was the best trip and the group gets really close. I had been looking forward to Scotland since I got here. It is weird to think that it is here and gone!

We arrived to Edinburgh on Thursday night and made our way to our first hostel. We settled into our room and some of us decided to go look at this castle, I don't remember the name. Our guides told us that not seeing this castle was like not seeing the Eiffel Tower in Paris. So a large number of us headed out in the pouring rain to see the castle. We made it, of course, it was closed and couldn't get super close to take pictures. It was still cool to see this beautiful castle. By the time we made it back to the hostel, Bissa and I were soaked, we thought who needs rain boots and an umbrella? After a quick change and made ourselves look presentable again, we headed down to the bar for dinner and a few drinks. I had chicken fajitas which were out of this world. SO good to finally find good Mexican food. Majority of our group made their way down to the bar and we all enjoyed ourselves and the bonding has begun. There was even some yoga being done at the bar that night. We won't go into details.

Friday morning we had to be on the bus at 8:30, so 7:00 am came way too fast, after it took me half the night to fall asleep. We enjoyed a simple breakfast and headed out for our journey of Scotland. We met our tour guide and driver for the weekend, who were unreal. I can't even describe Dave our tour guide. Oh wait I can, long curly red hair, longest beard I have ever seen, and of course a kilt! He was great and had so much information to share with us. Friday we stopped several times to get out, enjoy the scenery, and to take pictures. I probably took about four naps on the bus, but seemed to be awake for every major stop! After about eight hours on the bus, we made it to the hostel. Ok, the name of the hostel was "Saucy Mary's". Enough said about that. We enjoyed a dinner provided by the hostel. I chose salmon, potatoes, and a salad. Dad, aren't you proud, that after 4 years of working at the Campfire Grill, I finally tried salmon and actually loved it! I know you would be proud. There was live music at the bar that night, so of course, we all hung at the bar and enjoyed ourselves. We spent some time down by the water, which was so cool and beautiful at night.

Saturday was another early morning. We had to be back on the bus at 8:30 so after we scrambled to get out of bed and get to breakfast, we made it just on time to be on the bus. Saturday was pretty much similar to Friday, where we were on the bus all day seeing major sites. I can't even describe the Scotland Highlands. So beautiful! It was so refreshing to be in the countryside for the weekend, and get out of the busy, crazy London. It even reminded us a lot of home, or being up north at the cabin with all the lakes and green! Saturday night we arrived at our last hostel and enjoyed an Italian meal. We met the bartender Neil, who said we were in for a good night! We were all excited and many people dressed up in traditional Scottish clothing which made the night so much fun. Saturday night, I was stuck rooming with Bissa, Michaela, and Rosey... just kidding I was beyond excited that the four of us were put together.

Bissa, Michaela, Rosey, and I have gotten so close since being here in London and so glad to call them some of my best friends. We had so much fun rooming together, maybe a little too much fun, and maybe a little loud, but hey you are only in Scotland once! Scotland brought our entire group together and I feel like I can honestly say I have made fifty new best friends. Today, Rosey and Michaela left for Prague and we literally stood in the middle of the sidewalk and hugged each other and our entire program thought we were crazy, but it will be weird not to see them for the weekend!

Tomorrow, as a group (or the ones who aren't traveling for the weekend) will have a ride on the London Eye and a tour of Greenwich. I am excited to finally go on the London Eye! Bissa and I have a few things we want to accomplish this weekend, yes, shopping. We have a lot of homework for next week so it's a good weekend to be here in London and I think some host sibling bonding is in store for this weekend as well.

Next week, we have class, but the most exciting part will be at 2 pm on Thursday afternoon. I will make my way to the Marriott Regent Park and finally see my family. 6 weeks ago when we arrived, this seemed like so far away and now it's only a week away. Since some of my goodbyes were hard when I left, I am excited to see everyone.

That's all for now, expect a post next week when they arrive! Off to finish homework!


Wednesday, 2 October 2013

So I Caved...

So today on my ride home from school, I caved and finally got my nails done. It had been a whole month, which for those of you who know me is a long time. They needed to be done and I said to myself it's been a month, so why not? It was nice and reminded me of home! I decided I will do one in November and then when I get home!

By the way, I have been here for a month which is crazy! Time flies when you are having fun. It's really hard to believe that we are off to Scotland for the weekend tomorrow. I am so excited to see the countryside and be out of the city for a few days.

Expect a Monday update with new pictures and exciting stories!

Countdown to family here: 15 days! Can you tell I am excited?

Enough for now, time to finish some last minute homework. By the way mom you would be so proud, I packed for the weekend in just a backpack.

Hope all is well back at home!


Monday, 30 September 2013

What a weekend!

Hi everyone!

I hope everyone has been doing well & things back home are going well! We had a great week back in London and an even better weekend!

To start off, we had class all week, which was average. We had our first marketing exam last Thursday, so it really made it feel like school. We did our service learning again on Wednesday. I am at a primary school working with year 4 and I love it! I am exhausted by the end of my four hours, can't imagine being a teacher! My kids are so intrigued by me being from America and love to ask me questions about back home. So I have been asked if I have a huge house and if I have met Justin Bieber. Pretty fun questions coming from 8 and 9 year olds!

We had another day trip on Friday. This time we were headed to Oxford (or Hogwarts for you HP fans). It was such a cute city with many shops, markets, restaurants, etc. I ended up buying an Oxford sweatshirt, like the rest of our group did as well. We enjoyed our day at Oxford, for sure one of our favorite day trips. Friday night, there was a big party at our student union, so many of us went down to see what it was all about. It was so much fun, there was a huge dance floor, UST took it over, like usual, cheap drinks, and just a lot of fun to see all the new students coming back to school, even though we have been in class for three weeks. It was an adventure to get home, with not all the busses running and certain night busses, but we made it home safe and sound.

Saturday, Megan, Bailey, Clare, and I headed off to have a tour of Buckingham Palace. The flag was up, which meant the Queen was there, but she was clearly too busy to ask us to tea! Just kidding, we had a guided tour where we say the state rooms, which are the public rooms. It reminded me of a tour of the White House. Very cool to see and to check off our bucket lists. Saturday afternoon was also an afternoon to remember. There was an NFL welcome block party on Regent Street, which was so fun! We walked around, took tons of pictures, ate, met former players, cheerleaders, etc. Such a fun way to get in the spirit for Sunday's game. I'm sorry Dad & T, I wore the dreaded purple last night. Hey, they were 0-3, they needed all the help they could get.

Sunday was by far one of the best days I have had in London. It was Vikes game day in London! Megan and I headed for Wembley around 2 pm for a 6 pm kick-off. Once we got down to the stadium, we were amazed by all the people and how much there was to do down at the stadium. Reminded me of home! We ate some food before we headed in to our seats. Ok, so our seats. I thought we had to be in the nose bleeds, because really where else can you get 50 seats near each other. Oh wait, we were wrong. We were in the end-zone, first six rows, which made our experience 100 times better. We were so close and got to interact with the media, some players, and get pictures that will last a life time! Finally all 50 of us made it to our seats and were ready for kick off. The game was so much fun and since it was a home game it felt like the Metrodome but so much better because of all of the energy and Vikes fans! They even came home with a W, which was the cherry on top of a perfect day.

Just a preview of this week: class Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and then we are off to Scotland for the weekend. Can't wait to update you all on Monday after we get back.

Countdown to Dad, Mom, & T to be here: 17 days! Can you tell I am excited?

Miss you all, until next Monday!


Monday, 23 September 2013

The City of Lights.. Paris!

Hi all!

Sorry I haven't updated in a while! We are typically busy during the day, and by the time I get home each night, I am too lazy to blog! I will try my best to keep you guys updated.

So tomorrow marks us being here for three weeks! I can't believe we have been here for that long and it is becoming more and more like home and feeling like home. It's a good feeling! The biggest thing that has happened was that we had our first trip this past weekend. We went to Paris for the weekend as a group! Thursday afternoon, we left for Paris via the EuroStar train. It was about a two and a half hour train ride. Most of us slept the whole way there and the same on the way back to London.

When we arrived, we were brought to our hotel and had a little time to settle in. Megan and I unpacked and freshened up and met everyone in the lobby for a group dinner. We went to a place near our hotel and had a great three course meal. I think we were all finally full for the first time since we had been here. We had duck, which was so good! After a little walking around after dinner, we realized there wasn't much to do in our neighborhood so we headed to the hotel to just relax and hang out. Best part of the night, besides the duck, was that I got to take a real shower! Finally! We only have a bath at our house with a shower attachment, but it is not the same. I was so happy to have a real shower. Anyways we headed off to bed, to be ready for a day of sightseeing on Friday!

Friday, we had breakfast at our hotel and got on the coach for a tour of the city, much like the tour we had here in London when we first arrived. The tour got a little long, and we only got off once to see the Eiffel Tour, but was nice to see all the major sites. After our tour, we got dropped off and had the rest of the afternoon to explore. Rosey, Michaela, Bissa, and I knew exactly what we wanted to do. We wanted to find Tiffany and Co. Every girl deserves a little blue box, right? Why not get it while we were in Paris. After three hours of wandering and asking every Persian for directions, we finally found it! We made it back to the pier for our boat cruise, for yet another tour of the city. It was a nice day in Paris which made it more enjoyable. After the boat cruise, some of us headed off for dinner and a night at the Eiffel Tower! The Eiffel Tower is so cool to see lit up at night, so we got loads of pictures!

Saturday, we headed off for a day trip to Versailles. Versailles was home to Louie the 14th, 15th, and 16th. We had a tour which was suppose to be approx. an hour and a half, ended up being two hours, so some of us were a bit tired and cranky after the tour. Bissa and I stopped for lunch and ended up taking the metro back for a quick nap and to get ready for the night. We went out with some girls for the night and ended up back at the Eiffel Tower, so we decided to go up the Eiffel Tower. We were a bit late, so we only got up to the second story, but was still so cool to see the city all lit up! We ended up taking a cab back to the hotel where we hung out with some friends and chat about what we all did!

Sunday, was our last day in Paris and let me tell you we were all ready to go back to London. Paris wasn't exactly what I expected but was still so fun to see and visit. Once we got on the train back to London, everyone crashed like usual. I think we were all a bit homesick for London. Once we got to our tube stop to go home, we all sighed and was so happy to be home!

Megan and I made a quick dinner and headed upstairs to finish homework and get ready for the week. This week we have class and on Friday will head to Oxford for the day. Megan, Bailey, and I have a tour set for Saturday to visit Buckingham Palace and Sunday we will all be at the Vikings game! Look for us on TV!

All for now, doing some homework before our four hour communication class! About four weeks and then mom, dad, and T will be here! SO

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Week One!

I just want to start out by saying, sorry for not postings sooner! It has been a busy but great week and this morning have some time to fill you all in!

Week one of classes is complete! It was weird to be back in class, but now a routine and a schedule is slowing starting to come together which I like. Mondays are my busy and long days. I have two classes in the morning and then a class from 5:30-9:15, which is long and exhausting after a long day, but we make it work! For the first time, I really enjoy all of my classes and professors. As I was telling my mom the other day, I am getting into my business courses which I find exciting and interesting. 

Tuesday, we had our first art history class. This was one I was excited for until I realize it's another four hour class. However, when I sat down in class on Tuesday, I realized we would never be in the classroom. Our British professor wants to make this class as fun and exciting as she can and something we wouldn't be able to do back home. So, we get to go to a different gallery each week to see different pieces of work! She lives for art and it's so nice to have her at the galleries because we get all this information that we would never had known!

Wednesdays are our community service days and Wednesday was our first time there. I was a bit worried that when we showed up, they weren't going to know what to do with us or why we were here. This has happened to past London Business Semester (LBS) students. But, Mandie who was at the office greeted us and got us name tags and put each of us in our classroom. I am in Year 4 (I think like 3rd graders). They are full of energy and when the locals say our normal tone is yelling, I would like to bring them into my classroom! We're quiet compared to some of these kids! They all wanted to get to know me and I am so excited for this part of our experience abroad. 

Thursday, I had Business Ethics and Marketing again, which are taught by the two UST professors. I love both of those classes and really like both professors. They get we are abroad and want to see and learn as much as we can, so we incorporate what we do outside of class to what we are learning about in class. 

Yesterday, we had a day trip to Brighton. Brighton is about 60 miles from London and is where one of the beaches is. But hang on a second... sand, sunshine, beach, nope a pebble beach! Good thing we were in rain jackets and rain boots, because you guessed it, it rained yesterday! It only started once we were leaving, so we had a fun day of lunch at the pier, shopping, and a few rides on the pier. We finally got back to our homestays around 7:45 pm and Megan and I made dinner and chatted with our family for a bit. I skyped a few friends from home, which was so nice but also made me miss home a little bit. I know this is all short-term and that we are going to look back on this experience and be like wow, what an opportunity that was!

Today, I am going to meet up with some girls and book our trip to Spain & do some shopping! 

All for now! Hope everyone is doing well at home!


Saturday, 7 September 2013

The first few days!

Well I have officially made it to London! After quite the adventure in the US, I have made it safe and sound. So when I was accepted into the program, I decided I would fly standby and save some money. Looks like everyone else had the same idea. Every flight was oversold, and in some cases oversold by 10 or more. My mom and I flew to Chicago to get me on a different flight which two girls were on from my program. Missed that one and missed the next two American flights.

We overnighted in Chicago and ended up buying me a ticket out of Chicago the next day. Sounds great, right? Nope, it was cheaper to go out of Minneapolis. So we flew home Wednesday morning and then I was back at the airport five hours later to fly to London through Chicago. Anyways, it all worked out and I am here.

After arriving and getting all my bags and finding my taxi driver, I made it to school about 45 minutes late for orientation. I quickly snuck in the back of orientation to listen to what I had missed. We talked about riding the tube, safety, school, and other things. I found Megan (my roommate) and we headed off to get lunch. Bissa (my good friend from UST) and I went to this place thinking it looked good. Wasn't good & overpriced. We got Starbucks and headed back to school to go on our city-tour. However, it wasn't on a double-decker red bus.

Day one was long and I was ready for bed! We met my family and they showed me around and showed me my room. Our room is huge and is on the third floor, away from the rest of the family which is nice. We have a student from Spain and Japan also living with us! Full house to say the least. I finally got in bed and slept ok.

Day two, we had our Business 200 orientation, which is a program that all UST business students have to do. To graduate, you need to complete 40 hours, non paid community service. I got placed at a primary school here in London and will start on Wednesday. I am super excited! After orientation, we got cheap cell phones so we can all text each other for free. Some went exploring but Megan, Bailey, and I went on the tube and went to the grocery store and headed home for a nap. We went to O'Neills (a pub) for dinner.

Yesterday, we went to Hampton Court Palace where King Henry the 8th lived. It was so cool to finally see the inside of an old palace. Our tour guide was a hoot, she was super funny and kept us all engaged. After our day trip, Bissa and I returned to school and found a mall. Did I just say mall? Yes, we finally found one! We went through some stores and landed at Starbucks to check e-mail and Facebook. We got home took a nap and yep you guessed went back to O'Neills. O'Neills is the central meeting point for everyone! It was a good day.

Today, we went on a scavenger hunt to find different landmarks and to really learn public transportation. My group was Gianna, Morgan, and Kendra. We went to Kensington Palace (tried to find William, Kate, and baby George), no luck. We also went to Victoria and Albert Museum, Harrod's, and tried to go to Olympic Village, but it was too far! It was a fun day to explore and get to know the city. When we got home, we chatted with our host parents and have just relaxed as we have been going non-stop for the past couple of days!

Off to bed, tomorrow is to find our service site and do some reading for Monday's class!