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!