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!