The Little things

Just a quick summary of the final weekend, and then I will talk about the little things.  Thursday, we ended up as a group heading to Roxy, the place we started in London, and had a great time as a group.  Friday, we started the day off at 2PM for a little pub golf.  This was the most fun day I had in London by far.  We had almost everyone in the entire group join, and it was nine pubs, nine pints.  I am so thrilled that everyone came and had a little competition.  I don’t have any pictures of the day, but a video is being edited from a friend right now. Okay, so I wanted to start making a list of all of the little things I will miss and maybe not miss so much about London that I might forget in a year.  Here it goes:

1) The Tube.

2) Slang such as hiya, lift, bin, mate, proper, wicked, queue, and cheers

3) Pint of Pride

4) The efficiency of transportation

5) OYSTER CARD

6) My Nokia cell phone from 2000

7) The speed walking everywhere

8) Lining up in queues everywhere

9) Hippodrome Casino Sunday nights for American Football

10) All museums and art galleries are free

11) Stand on the right side of the elevator, walk on the left

12) My host family

13) Class three days a week

14) My primary school students

15) My LBS family

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Wrapping Up

The last week has rushed by, and now even my finals are rushing by as well.  It is has been quite emotional the last few days as I realize it is the last time I will be doing many of these things for a long time.

Last weekend, after pub golf, we headed off to Lead’s Castle and the Rochester Christmas market.  Both were highly talked about as the most beautiful castle in Europe and the best Christmas market in Europe, respectively.  I was not impressed.  The castle was tiny and the only really cool thing about it was that it was surrounded by water.  And the Christmas market… I could find better stuff at a couple of garage sales.  Either way, it was one more day to spend with my LBS group.  That night, we headed off to Leicester Square to O’neils one more time to listen to some live music.  On Sunday, our host sister Jess took JJ and I to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park.  The closest thing I can compare it to is the Minnesota State Fair, but Christmas themed.  IT WAS SO COOL!  There was an amusement park, so many restaurants, pubs, food stands and definitely the best Christmas market in Europe.  I could have spent a few extra hours there (our LBS group is going Ice Skating there on Thursday).  Jess, JJ and I went ice skating as well as ventured into the Magical Ice Kingdom where there were multiple ice sculptures and an ice slide.  It was super chilly in the Ice Kingdom and it began to remind me of returning home.

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Jess and JJ

Jess and JJ

Skyline as we were leaving

Skyline as we were leaving

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Monday we went to PwC for our Ethics class.  It was cool to visit the other office and we discussed sustainability with a few managers.  After that, we had our final COJO class where we presented on different areas of London.  My group discussed Canary Wharf, which is a major business district in London and the world.

Yesterday, we finished up Art History.  We had to memorize twenty paintings from the last 200 years, the artist, date it was painted and a fact about it.  It was pretty easy and I feel that I did really well on it.  After that, Amelia and I did some shopping and I finally visited Harrods.  The place was absolutely stunning and I saw the most ridiculous items such as diamond crested phone cases for $100,000 and a watch for roughly 1.2 million.  Obviously I went crazy, and purchased a few things… not.  We then finished up our souvenir shopping and called it a day.

Today was my last day of volunteering with Year 1B.  I did my standard work, but at the end the class had a surprise for me!  They all wrote me the cutest thank you cards and I received a box of Cadbury chocolates.  It was the greatest feeling to know I made an impact on all of these kids in just a few short weeks.  A few started crying and I about joined them.  They asked what day I would be returning and specifically what time.  It was hard to say goodbye.

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And now, I just finished a little touch American Football in the park.  About fifteen members of the LBS group joined and it was an absolute blast.  Although most of my clothes were ruined from the mud, it was worth it.  The fog was horrendous and to the point where we couldn’t see the end of the field.  I probably will be too sore to walk tomorrow but my team came out with a victory, which is what mattered.  That football game was just another memory I do not want to lose.

 

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Pictures from Switzerland

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Zurich

Zurich

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Zurich

Grindelwald

Grindelwald

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Les Mis and Switzerland

Finally having a chance to sit down is nice.  It has been hectic, and the semester is winding down.  This will probably be the second to last post while I am here.  Last week, we had the opportunity to go see Les Miserables in Leicester Square.  The performance was truly amazing.  I was unaware that the actors sang the entire play, but it was still great!  That was the first play I have been to since I have been here and I am going to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory tomorrow.

This weekend, we had the opportunity to visit Interlaken, Switzerland.  Better than Scotland for me.  It was the most beautiful place I have ever been to in my life and I already do plan on returning at some point.  Most people were quite adventurous on this trip and went sky diving, cliff jumping, skiing, or paragliding.  I actually decided not to do any of these things and just relax.  It was the first time I have seen snow this year as well.  I cannot believe myself, but I actually missed it…

On Saturday, I visited Zurich.  It is the most expensive city in the entire world and one of the highest standards of living as well.  I had to pay the equivalent of $6 for a bottle of water!  Talk about ridiculous.  The city was absolutely beautiful as well and much different from Interlaken.  I had the best hot chocolate in the world, from arguably the best chocolate shop in the world.  The Christmas market was very hyped up there, but was disappointing.  I checked out the banks, their largest church, and of course spit in the river (I have spit in every single body of water I have seen abroad, just so I have some DNA everywhere I have traveled.  Weird, but just my little thing to do).  

The final day, I almost decided to go skiing in the Swiss Alps.  Since, I have never skied before in my entire life, I thought it would be best not to go.  A girl on our trip actually tore her ACL and MCL that day, which was very unfortunate.  Leaving was tough, because it was definitely the best weekend trip from the semester.  

I had our ethics presentation today about business’ and how they are affected by catastrophe’s.  We had quite an interesting discussion and I feel that my group presented very well.  Before I return home, I am still going to the play tomorrow, ice skating in Hyde Park, and going to Lead’s Christmas market.  12 more days.  Pictures will be up later tonight.     

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The Countdown

Last week, was the red carpet premiere for Catching Fire.  We had class at the same time, and a paper due, but I thought we might be able to squeeze in a few minutes.  Clare, Amelia and I went down to Leicester Square for a chance to see any of the stars.  We were surrounded by a bunch of crazy fans, and got pretty close to the red carpet itself, but you had to have tickets to be that close.  Right as we were leaving for class they started announcing all of the stars that were showing up!  I missed Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Stanley Tucci, and Donald Sutherland by a matter of minutes!  I was so frustrated.  Amelia and a few other girls went after our class and actually managed to get a few pictures of the stars as they were leaving the film.  Tonight, is the world premiere for the public, and yes, I will be attending.

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Last Friday, we also had the opportunity to take a day trip to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and the Tower of London.  We first went to the globe and it was a great experience!  We learned that the model we were standing by is actually the second replica.  The original was burned down during a play, with a fire mishap, and the other one was destroyed due to political reasons.  The globe looks quite small, but it can hold as many as three thousand people.

Our guide let us walk behind the stage to show us around and tell us what it is like performing there.  He was an actor, and so he had quite a bit of knowledge about what the crowd feels like since they are so close to the stage.  He had a booming voice, which I was not surprised by.  What I was surprised by, was that he told us we were going to perform on the stage.  He said we were going to quote the first line from Romeo & Juliet to the other people that were touring the theatre.  He told us a few confidence tips and we strode out to the middle of the stage.  I know it wasn’t exactly performing like he usually does, but there was a few people out there watching us, probably between 75-100.  I built up a bit of courage, puffed my chest out, and on three, we all shouted, “Two households, both alike in dignity!”  We were directed to point at a stranger as we said it, and let me tell you, this woman felt very uncomfortable.  She must have thought she was doing something wrong the way she was shifting in her seat and avoiding my eye contact.

Next, he brought us to a practice room and we learned some techniques and practices that actors use to prepare for plays.  We listened to directions, played a card game based on social status, tried to convince someone to steal something using only the word “yes,” shouted lines at each other from Romeo & Juliet, and performed the Haka.  It was a great, interactive way to learn how actors built confidence, and it was a blast.

Right after, a few of us decided to go eat at the Burrough Market.  It is one of the most famous in London, and I chose a German bratwurst with sauerkraut.  Couldn’t go wrong there and it was delicious.  Amelia and I split a cookie as we headed off to Tower of London.

Tower of London wasn’t as great as I imagined it, but it was still a great site to see.  The tower must have been indestructible before airplanes.  Inside was a torture chamber, a bunch of ravens that weren’t afraid to bite, crown jewels valued at 12 billion pounds, lots of armor of past Kings such as Henry VIII, and weaponry.  I know it was used as a palace as well as a prison before it became a tourist attraction.

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I am finally caught up!  I realized I have 24 days in London, which gives me a bittersweet feeling.  I have to admit, last week I finally got a bit homesick.  I miss everyone in my family! Can’t wait to see all of you!

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Football

Still trying to catch up day by day, but the day after Harry Potter we traveled to Crystal Palace for a football match.  JJ and I arrived about an hour early, just to find our seats, watch warm-ups, and watch the fans.  Crystal Palace is 1-10 and Everton, their opponent, was at the top of the league.  I thought Crystal Palace was going to get whooped, but it ended up being a 0-0 tie.  The fans, however, were ridiculous.  They chanted, screamed, and sang the entire ninety minutes.  One student stood up to use the toilet, and I heard multiple people scream at her, “sit the f*** down!”  These people were absolutely crazy and couldn’t miss one second of the game.  Although there were no scores, it was still one of the most fun sporting events I have ever been too.  We had great seats, but the atmosphere is what made it such a great time.  I wish I could have gone to a few more of these games!

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HARRY POTTER STUDIOS!!!!!

This day deserves an entire blog post to itself.  Most of you know my passion for Harry Potter, so I will not go into detail about that.  JJ, Bailey, Megan, Clare and I all met up for this magical adventure.  We had the full audio guide package, which was supposed to be a three hour tour.  We stayed there a little over six and a half hours….  We rode brooms in front of a green screen, learned how to duel, saw the Hogwarts building that was used for the first six movies, and much more!  I won’t go into much more detail but I will post all of these amazing photos!

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Now remember! All of these were the real props from the movie!  It was such a great day and I finally got to see the studios!

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