Super Bowl


I’ve been home for two weeks, and, along with unpacking, finding a way to wrap up my time in London has been looming over my head. There are enough stories to fill a novel, so here are just a few of the things I’m taking with me.

Take risks and be Adventurous.

It’s not hard when you’re living in a huge city like London. I realized that if something scares you, it’s probably worth doing. Even if something goes awry, you’ll probably still have a great story to tell. There was something thrilling about pushing myself out of my comfort zone, and if I wasn’t up for trying new things, why did I go abroad in the first place? I’ve never been an impulsive person, but it was really fun to just throw caution and expectation to the wind and let things happen. Ciera kept quoting “when’s the last time you did something for the first time?” and we could basically say everyday while we were there. Go. Do. Explore.


Talk to new people everywhere you go.

How else are you going to find out anything about wherever you are? You can read all the guidebooks in the world, but that’s not a way to really experience a new place. Whether it was listening to the “cerebral Australian” with dreadlocks talk about his opinions on the “establishment,” getting introduced to the pub as the “Missouri girls” by a band in Dublin or making new friends while watching the Super Bowl because you know that Coors Light is an American beer, people, both those you’re there with and new ones you meet, help make experiences.


Find things you like doing and do them.

If you like live music, go to open mic night at the pub around the corner with your best friend on a Wednesday. If you like food and shopping, go hang out at any of the fantastic markets in London. Seeing and taking pictures of all the tourist highlights is fun and shouldn’t be missed, but finding and doing things you’d be interested in no matter where you were is the way to make the most of any travel experience.

Being and doing things alone can be really rewarding.

I’ve always thought I wanted to live and work in a big city, but I’d never actually done it. Now, I’m not only certain that I can and want to live in major city, but I also know I’ll enjoy it. I never felt lonely spending time alone in London, and that’s because it wasn’t hard to find something new and fun to do. From visiting a Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit and going to concerts to wandering through Camden Lock or down Oxford Street, I loved being able to hop on the Tube and know I’d find something exciting to explore and see.

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But so can exploring with some of your best friends.

I’m so lucky to have gone on this trip with such a great group. I became closer with the friends I knew before we left and made new ones that I can’t wait to see when we’re all back in Columbia. We shared international trips, karaoke stages and more visits to media companies than I can count, and we’re bound by those experiences. Who else am I going to talk to about using Valirie’s One Direction knowledge to distract us from getting seasick on our ferry from Calais or reminisce with about how long we walked to get dinner on our first night in Paris?

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Learn to like being in transition.

Essentially nothing in my life right now is fully figured out or permanent, and I realized that’s okay. I’m constantly packing and unpacking, and I’m learning to like change and being in the “in between.” Everything is an opportunity for a new adventure if you keep a positive attitude. I’d like to have a solid plan to follow, but where’s the fun (and the reality) in that? I’m not supposed to have all the answers right now, but I’m trying to figure them out. And that’s pretty much all I could ask for.

Thanks for all of your lessons, fun and adventure, London. You were everything. xx


Two Weeks as a Tourist

The last two weeks have been packed with trips and sightseeing.


We took a group trip to Stonehenge and Bath that felt more like a trip into a tropical storm.  From the minute we drove into the Stonehenge visitor parking lot, the sky looked like it would burst open. We got into the tram that would take us to the stones, and the rain just started pouring.  I zipped up my coat, tightened my hood and stepped out of the tram clutching my umbrella for dear life. The wind was driving the rain sideways as we walked up the small hill towards the stones, so I tried to use my umbrella as more of shield. It really didn’t help. After laughing our way to the top through the wind and the cold, we stayed long enough to snap a couple pictures before rushing back down the hill to catch the tram back to the visitor’s center.  Bath was, thankfully, drier and most of the Roman baths were inside.



We’ve been trying to take advantage of Tuesday and Thursday mornings to explore London. We went to a photography exhibit of BAFTA nominated actors and actresses at Somerset House, and I met my friend Anna for a ride on the London eye.She’s studying abroad in Manchester and was in town for about five days. It’s so hilarious that we’re going to school closer now than we do at home. The eye was great and not very crowded because we went right as it opened. 

IMG_0578It felt like we were just having a chat in a coffee shop with way better scenery. I also didn’t realize we were moving most of the time unless I looked outside of our pod and had a new view. I didn’t have time to go to the Churchill bunker with them before class, so I hopped on the tube to borough market for lunch.  I never been on a weekday or gone alone, but it ended up being a great experience. I got a delicious Italian sandwich and the best café au lait I’ve ever had. It was fun to see the market less crowded and watch “the regulars” chat with stand owners while they ate.  There was a street brass band playing in odd costumes, and it was just too New Orleans to not stop and listen.  Later that afternoon, we explored Greenwich and finished off with a ferry ride back to Waterloo station.


Friday, Ciera and I saw Once in the front row for only 25 pounds each.  We were looking up how to get the best deal all week when Ciera found a website detailing the information on day seat tickets for different shows. She went to the box office about an hour before it opened, and was able to get us the fabulous, cheap seats. It was an absolutely magical performance, and it was really fun to go with someone who had never seen it before.  They have waiters that take drink orders from your seat, and they sell ice cream at intermission. Completely different setting than a Broadway theatre, but the performance was just as wonderful.

We got 10 pound round trip train tickets to Windsor on Saturday, and we spent the day touring the castle and exploring the town. I think I like that atmosphere a little better than straight up museums. St. George’s Chapel was absolutely beautiful, and it’s just insane to me that so much history can be in one place.  Windsor was a cute town and had great shopping.

IMG_0660Ciera and I celebrated Chinese New Year with practically everyone else in the city on Sunday. We were packed into huge crowds and had the hardest time finding an entrance into the main streets. We finally found a gate, but police officers were keeping everyone outside. Apparently they thought it was too crowded, but opened the floodgates just a few minutes later. I can’t believe it wouldn’t be easier if they just let the crowds flow naturally in and out of the main festival center. I think they’d benefit from a Mardi Gras training course from NOPD. I digress. The food was absolutely delicious and pretty cheap for large portions. We came home and got ready to watch the Super Bowl. We went to the Oxford Arms pub around the corner from our flat, and actually stayed for the whole game. It was really fun meeting and seeing so many English and European people watching and trying to understand the game together. Plus, when am I ever going to voluntarily watch a football game in the middle of the night ever again?

All of the tourist activity was followed the most London experience I’ve had so far: the tube strike. I had to take the bus to work, and, of course, got on the one going the wrong direction. I, thankfully, realized this before I’d gone very far, but it still took me 50 minutes to get to work instead of my usual 15. Just learning to live like a local!