Friday, December 19, 2014

I'm Coming Home

Today is my last day in England, and wow, has this time went fast, especially this last month. Between trips, hanging out with the girls, doing final projects, and choir performances, I haven’t had much time to write, but despite all that, I have had time to enjoy it.

At the end of November, my friends, Emma and Caitlyn, and I went to Amsterdam. We left Thanksgiving night, unfortunately causing us to miss our Thanksgiving dinner that the school was throwing for us, but the trip was probably my favourite here; I realize that I keep saying things are my favourite, but now that I am at the end of my trip, I can say that this was my favourite.

 Although Amsterdam is known for its legalization of drugs, while I was there, I didn’t notice that much, except when I would walk through random clouds of smell that I was told was from weed. What I noticed more was the atmosphere and the architecture and the history. The city is absolutely beautiful, between the canals and the old buildings. I loved walking up and down the streets, and taking the tram through the city, and never once did I feel unsafe. The food there was also fantastic. I had an amazing pancake pizza and a strawberry chocolate covered waffle that I am still thinking 

The things to do there were also wonderful. On our first day, before we did our walk around, we went to the Van Gogh Museum. It was such an amazing experience to see over 200 pieces of his work and stand in front of it and realize that he had actually painted it, that it wasn’t just a reproduction of it, but that Van Gogh had actually touched it.

Another place that was phenomenal, but also heart wrenching, was the Anne Frank House. When we planned to go the Amsterdam, I knew that I would have to go there, so on our last day, we got there as the museum opened, and after waiting in line for about an hour, we got in. The museum, which is mostly bare due to the wishes of Otto Frank, is outstanding, and there is a huge weight to it. It is a powerful feeling to know that you are standing in the place where for the people in hiding, it was the last time that they were all together, the last time that they had a life with one another, the last time the Franks were together as a family and that the next time one of the original inhabitants of the annex came back, he was the only one still alive. It was hard to comprehend, and one of the hardest parts came when they talked about Otto Frank, and how when he returned, one of the workers, Miep, gave him Anne’s diary, and while it was hard for him to read, he did and then he made it his life’s purpose to publish it; it gave him direction when his family was gone, a reason to live, and it gave her the legacy of being an author that she always aspired to have. At the end of the museum, there was video filled with people’s messages of what Anne Frank meant to them and what they thought of her, and the one that really inspired me was that of actress, Emma Thompson: “The only thingwe have to remember is all her would-haves are our real possibilities. All her would-haves are our opportunities. And the book's a flame, a torch, we can light our own candles and take them and illuminate our hearts with the incandescence of her spirit.”

 The quote moved me and I realize even more now that it is very much true, and that we need to do all we can to make the world a better place, and not let atrocities like those of the Nazis happen again, and to try to stop the genocides that are occurring currently in our world today. Following the video, we were able to sign a guestbook and write down our feelings, but I was feeling too much, and as I think about the museum today, I am still moved, as it was life changing, so I had to write it on their website when I got home. This is what I said:

For a long time, I have felt that I owed it to people who died in tragic ways to make a point and show that people are remembering their loss; I feel that society has that duty as well. In terms of the Holocaust, I believe that it is our duty to make sure that we do not forget, that we go out of our way to learn more about the horrific nature of it, and to learn about both the survivors and those who lost their lives and the courage that they showed in face of brutal hatred. That is why I had to come to the Anne Frank House. I have always been touched by her story and the fact that Anne’s diary captures a moment in time that for many is unimaginable, but with her becomes less so. Her story is representative of so many others and I am thankful that she wrote it down so we all can try to understand as much as we can about what they went through.

Walking through the house, and seeing the conditions that they had to live under to attempt to survive, I was moved by the courage of Anne, her family, and those who helped hide them and how they still had a life; they didn’t just give up. For me, it showed that no matter how unliveable the conditions may seem, no matter how terrible, life still continues, bringing both beautiful and tragic moments for us to bear witness to, and I believe that perseverance, that bravery to continue on, seen in the family’s resilience, and that of her father’s after, has enormous beauty and is a great source of hope for many, including myself. While I loathe the tragedy that had to occur for the museum to be there, I am grateful that the museum does exist and that through Anne, we can see all these things and remember and never forget and try to make sure that the tragedy of the holocaust, the tragedy of Anne Frank and her family, never happens again.

After we left the museum, we felt the need to do something a little more light-hearted, so we went in search of the bench from The Fault in Our Stars, as it is my and Emma’s favourite book and one of my favourite movies, and a search it was. We looked up and down the same street for three hours, using pictures from the film to help us find it, as I had the movie on my iPad, and asking people if they knew where it was. All the people told us the same street, which confused us further, because we thought it was the same one we had been on, since it sounded the same. Finally, after using Instagram to find a picture with a notable piece of architecture in the background, I took the picture into the place where we had booked our canal tour and asked the worker if he knew where the building in the background was. He knew almost right away and marked it on a map for us. It turns out that we had been on the wrong street the entire time, and that it was on another, one that was spelt almost the same way and sounded very similar. So, after taking our canal tour, which was a beautiful way to site see, we made our way down to the bench which had been 15 minutes from where we were, and took our picture on it, me doing so with The Fault in Our Stars book I had bought that was written in Dutch.

That night, we left, and almost immediately I missed Amsterdam and personally, I cannot wait to come back.

A couple of weeks later, the St. Mary’s  University school choir that I am a part of got an amazing opportunity. This year in England, the BBC held the first ever BBC Music Awards and for the grand finale, they needed a choir. One of the members knew someone who had a professional choir, and the leader of it asked us to join it. Eight of our members were able to and we had to learn the song “God Only Knows” by the Beach Boys, while being trained by professional vocal coaches, one of whom was the amazing David Grant. The day of the awards, we got to the venue, Earls Court, at around 10 a.m. and spent the rest of the day in rehearsals, practicing our entrances, our choreography, and especially our singing, during which we got to practice with who we were performing with: Paloma Faith and Sir Tom Jones. We even got to go and see of the preparation for the award show and watch the rehearsals for Take That and Paloma Faith.

When the show began, we all had to stay in one area and watch the show, but at one point, I was walking around and got to see Chris Martin and the rest of Coldplay walking around which was really cool; I had to do a double take at first. I was hoping to see Ed Sheeran or One Direction to take a picture for my friend at home, but I didn’t; I did get to hear them though.

 At around 9:30, we all had to line up for our performance and as we waited, passed us, adding another celebrity to my list. Finally, it was show time, and with our cue, we went on stage and sang for an audience of 13,500 people and millions around the world, including my family who was watching at home. It was amazing experience to be standing on a stage with fireworks, confetti, world-renown performers, and a screaming crowd, one that I will never get again and will never forget. "God Only Knows" BBC Music Awards Performance

Since then, it has been more about relaxing and finishing up school. After 10 essays, I finished my classes on Wednesday, and then on Thursday, we went into London for the last time, going to Piccadilly Circus, Covent Gardens, Harrods, and the Hyde Park Christmas Markets, enjoying the sites one last time with each other.

Now, as I sit in my room, my suitcase filled, my drawers and shelves empty, my walls cleared, I have time to reflect on my trip here and I can say that I am extremely grateful for it. I have done so many things and seen so many places that I never thought I would and may never get to again and I have made friends that I will miss dearly, ones that I am already crying over because I am going to miss them so much.

For a while in the summer before I came here, I was considering not coming, because I was afraid, and now I am so glad that I made the decision to come and meet people who have changed my life, people who I hope to be lifelong friends with. It was a life changing experience and I can say that I am now more independent and not nearly as afraid of the world, which was my goal. I have to thank everyone who was involved in giving me this opportunity; it is one that I will never be able to thank people enough for, and I have to thank the people here for enriching my life and teaching me things about life and the world that I may have never learned otherwise. It was a privilege to share this experience with you all.

Although, I will miss London and I will miss my friends, I am ready to be home and I am looking forward to when I get off the plane and see my family for the first time in over three months.  I have missed them as well too.

So, all that’s left to say is goodbye London. Thanks for the memories. Here I come USA.

"I, I did it all
I, I did it all
I owned every second

That this world could give

 I saw so many places
The things that I did
Yeah, with every broken bone
I swear I lived"-
OneRepublic "I Lived"

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Ireland, Harry Potter, and Hunger Games Oh My!

                Wow! I haven’t posted in such a long time and for that reason, I have a mountain of things to talk about. At the end of October, we had a week off from classes called “reading week,” which is supposed to be used for reading, but most of the study abroad students used for traveling. I used it for both, as my friends and I went to Ireland and I did some assignments.
Me and My Leaf at Blarney

                We were there for two days and during that time we did some sightseeing in Dublin and went to Blarney Castle. Our first day was in Dublin and we started off by going to Trinity College, home to one of the most beautiful libraries I have ever seen. It was full of books from every genre as well as artifacts that dealt with literature. I could’ve spent days in that library, but as we were there for only a limited amount of time, I couldn’t. After that, we went to a fifties diner that served American food and in all our time in Europe, we all agreed that it was one of the best meals we had ever had, and as the day went on, we found that Ireland was full of great food (there were some great pot pies there)!
                After lunch, we went on a train bus car tour and it was awesome because we were the only ones on it and we got to listen to some authentic Irish music as we drove through the streets of Dublin. We got to see many great sites like the Guinness Brewery, the Millennium Needle, the Oscar Wilde Statue, the Ha’penny Bridge, and all the colourful doors of Ireland that were painted so that people in the 1800s’ knew what door was theirs after a rough night at the pub. It was a cool place to see and I can now check it off my bucket list.
                My favourite place in Ireland by far was Blarney Castle. My friends and I filmed ourselves exploring castle and we had a great time doing it. I also found a giant leaf, the largest I have ever seen, and got great pictures with me and it outside the castle. After the exploring the grounds, we wandered into the castle and up its steep and narrow stairs to the top where the infamous Blarney Stone was. My friend Caitlyn was the first to go and it was a bigger drop than she realized and it was quite a traumatic experience as you have to lay upside down, over a hole, at least a hundred feet of the ground, and kiss a stone. Her reaction was understandable and mimicked by the next person to go, our friend Regina. When I went, it was pretty easy, as my height was a help and Liz handled it pretty well too. It was a fun experience and it definitely helped my luck (more to come on that later). Following our exploring, we got some more delicious food, a piece of chocolate cake and ice cream for me, at a bar where a children’s Halloween party was being held, which we found to be funny.
                Ireland was a beautiful place to visit. When we took a train to Blarney, we got to view the countryside and it was most vibrant green that I have ever seen. I loved the people and the culture, as they were all so friendly and the food was absolutely wonderful.
                My entry about Ireland would not be complete without one final story about our ride to the airport. We had a flight at 8:45 on Halloween morning and for that reason, we had to leave our hostel at 6:20. We had booked a shuttle to the airport through our hostel and as we were waiting in the alleyway outside, multiple cars drove past, including a taxi who offered to take us to the airport and truck that sat idly with the driver in its seat, but not a one was our shuttle. That all changed when a black van drove down the alleyway bearing the words “mystery bus?” on its side. A man with an accent that sounded either vaguely Polish or Ukranian got out and asked for six euros for the shuttle ride as he pulled out his Ziploc bag full of money. We gave it to him, gave him our bags, and got in the van, realizing as we pulled out of the alleyway that this was the beginning of Criminal Minds episode. Obviously, we were not murdered (unless I am ghost typing this from the great beyond) but it sure makes for a great story.
                In other news, when we returned from Ireland, Caitlyn and I hit up Platform 9 ¾. To say the least, it was amazing, and despite the long line it was worth the wait. We also got to go into the Harry Potter gift shop located at King’s Cross, and we both got shirts that had the platform number on them and said that they were from London, which we found to be pretty cool.
Me and Caitlyn in Weasley's Car
                While on the topic of Harry Potter, the next week Caitlyn, our friend Sydney, and I went to the Harry Potter studio tour and it will forever be one my favourite things that I have done. It was an hour and a half away from where I go to school, so after two trains and a bus, we arrived at the studio and I was probably at one of my most high levels of excitement ever. Right away, we got our pictures taken with some chess pieces from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and then after, we headed in and

got in line for our tour. The tour was amazing and I may have cried more than once. The tour had everything I wanted to see and more! We got to see the Great Hall, Harry’s first Hogwarts robes, the Gryffindor bed chambers, the common room, the Mirror of Erised, Hagrid’s hut, Dumbledore’s office, the Potions classroom, Number four Privet Drive, the Knight Bus, Aragog, Hogwarts, the Burrow, the Ministry of Magic, Diagon Alley, the Weasley’s car, and so many more items from the movies. As I walked around, my butter beer in hand, meandering through Privet Drive, I felt as though I had come home to the place where I had always wanted to be. I hated to leave, but at least to go to back to school with my very own authentic Weasley sweater.
                In another instance of pure fan-girling, last Monday, my friends Molly and Nadira, and I went into London for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part One World Premiere. Since I found out I was going to be studying abroad in London, I had been hoping to be able to attend the premiere of this movie, since I knew that they would be holding one here. When I found out where it was going to be and what date, I made sure to tell my friends so we could clear our schedules. Originally, there was going to be more of us going, but when Molly and I decided to go with Nadira, and another girl from study abroad into London early to see the poppy display at the Tower of London in
Nadira, Molly, and Me at the Poppies

remembrance of World War I, we decided to get to the premiere even earlier, and while our friends said they were going to meet at it, it never worked out, as there were a great number of people there and they wouldn’t have been able to get a spot, since we couldn’t save any.
Josh Hutcherson
Me and Sam Claflin
                After seeing the poppies, we got to Leicester Square, where the premiere was taking place, at around 11:30, and saw all the people already waiting around. My hopes were not high for getting to see any of the stars or even getting a place, but we got the wristbands needed to get in anyways, ours being numbers 725, 726, and 727 out of over 1000, and we waited for our numbers to be called so we could get our places along the barricades. We were placed at around 3:00, and originally, we were farther back and were told that we most likely wouldn’t be able to get autographs, but it a moment of pure luck (it must have been the Blarney Stone) all the people with wristbands were told to move to the front, and we got a place right against the barricade.
Liam Hemsworth
                The premiere didn’t start until 5:30, so we waited around in the elements, mostly the rain and the cold, and tried to deal with the people already pressing into us to get closer. Still, despite our position, I was not getting my hopes up that I would get to see the stars, but when the premiere began, I found that I should’ve, because our waiting had paid off. At 5:30, the premiere began and the energy was high. Along the lines, cameramen walked, telling us to cheer (I later found out that this was for the live stream, and when I watched it back, I saw myself on there, which was both entertaining and embarrassing). There was a lot of cheering and even more when the cars full of the stars drove past us. One of the first people to get out was Jena Malone (Johanna Mason) and she made her way down by us right away and started doing autographs. I had bought a book especially for the occasion, so when she got to me, I had my book ready and she was able to sign it. I was so excited, and back home in the US, my mom was watching the live stream online and saw it happen, and she too got very excited. That night, she told me how happy she was that I had gone to London, and that I had made the right choice in going, and I agreed with her.
Me and Jennifer Lawrence
Me, Nadira, and Sam Claflin
                As the cars drove up and the stars got out, I was totally fan-girling. I was taking tons of pictures and trying hard to get autographs, which paid off, because I got Liam Hemsworth’s (Gale Hawthorne), Sam Claflin’s (Finnick Odair), Josh Hutcherson’s (Peeta Mellark- love!), and Jennifer Lawerence’s (Katniss)! I was so excited and I couldn’t stop smiling. My happiness increased when I was able to get some photos with Sam Clafflin, which now are basically my screen on everything. It was such an amazing experience and all the stars were incredibly nice. They made sure that they got to do as many autographs as possible and were running back and forth between that and taking pictures to do so. Even now as I think about it, I still break out in a smile and I cannot fully believe my luck. The odds were definitely in my favour and now I am even more excited to see the film, which I am going to on Wednesday of this week.
Me and Jena Malone

So far, this trip has been absolutely amazing, and while I am still acclimating to the educational system when it comes to assignments, I am having a wonderful time and doing things that I never dreamed that I would have the opportunity to. Next week, I will be heading off to Amsterdam with some friends over Thanksgiving, where I will go to the Anne Frank House and do some more fan-girling at The Fault in Our Stars bench. It should be exciting!


Monday, October 6, 2014

Without Breath and Without Words

            Speechless and breathless. Those are the only words that can used to describe the state I was in for the majority of the weekend; the state that all the sights I had the pleasure to view rendered me into.
            This weekend, I went on two tours: one a boat tour down the River Thames to Greenwich and the other one to Bath and Stonehenge. Both tours were amazing and I saw so many places and artifacts that my mind is still reeling from the beauty of all of it.
Millennium Bridge
Tower Bridge
            Saturday was the boat tour and it was our first day of the typical London weather: gray skies and rain. Luckily for us, the boat that had a glass ceiling, allowing us to be protected from the elements and still take great pictures, although, I did venture outside a couple of times to get a better view, namely of the Tower Bridge and Millennium Bridge, known to me as the bridge from the beginning of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. This bridge was not the only movie location that we had the pleasure to see that day. In Greenwich, there is the Royal Naval Hospital/ Greenwich University, which has been the location for many scenes in film including: The Dark Knight Rises (café scene), Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Skyfall, and my personal favorite Les Misérables
Royal Naval Hospital
. In Les Mis it was the location of the giant elephant and where they sing “Do You Hear the People Sing” both times, which led me and one my friends to break out into the song as we walked through the area. The area without its film history was magnificent but with it added, it was even more amazing.
            Also on the University campus is what our tour guide described to us as the most beautiful dining room that you will ever see and he was correct. The room, called the Painted Hall, is covered in murals of scenes depicting British royalty from the 1500s’, 1600s’, and 1700s’. The only word that I can think to describe it, granted it is a hyphenated one, is awe-inspiring. It was one of the most gorgeous places that I have ever had the pleasure to behold and while I was there, I did one of the things that I came to England to do: stand somewhere that people had stood for hundreds of years before me in awe and marvel. It was simply exquisite.
Painted Hall

            Once we left the dining room, we went over to the Naval Museum to look at some exhibits, including an item from the Titanic, and then we had the option to either go to the Royal Observatory from which all time is set, as it is the place of Greenwich Mean Time, or go to a market. I chose to go the observatory and with that, some other study abroad students and I set out for our trek up a hill to the destination. When we got there, it had cleared up, giving way to sunny skies, and we got a wonderful view of the city.
View from Observatory
We also got to go to the line that divides the eastern and western hemispheres and with one foot on each side of the line, I was able to be in two places at once.
Two places at once

            After we took in the views, we were able to go to the market before we went home and there I purchased a delicious pumpkin chocolate chip cupcake. Not wanting to rush and eat before I got on the tube (that day being the first that I had ever ridden any underground transportation) I ate it when I got back to my dorm, closing out the day in a tasty way.
            On Sunday, a group of us got up bright and early to go on a tour of Bath and Stonehenge. From our campus, the bus ride to Bath was two and half hours long, giving me the opportunity to view the English countryside and get some reading for a class done. The countryside reminded me a lot of Wisconsin, so for that reason, as we were driving, it felt like I was back home and going on a road trip with some friends, but that all changed when we got to Bath.
            Bath is a city that has been around for thousands of years and contains the country’s only hot spring, which was utilized by the Romans for many years. Although after the Romans left the city wasn’t as popular for many centuries, it regained its status in the 18th century when a group of men set to reinvigorate it and made it into something that is similar to a resort town with amazing architecture. The first stop we made on our tour was to the Royal Crescent. The Royal Crescent, like many of the buildings in bath, is made from sandstone and was designed John Wood, who worked with his father of the same name of the other buildings. It is a beautiful building, also like all those Bath.
The Royal Crescent

            Our next stop was the Circus, which is a series of buildings built in a circle around a roundabout.
The Circus
This had been one of the things that I most wanted to see when I came to the town and I definitely wasn’t disappointed in the sight. From there we walked through the streets, past the Jane Austen Centre, Queen’s Square, the Bath Abbey (more on that later), and to the Roman Baths. The Roman Baths are the actual place where the Romans thousands of years before enjoyed the hot springs and tried to heal themselves through them. This place was one of the most interesting places that we visited and I found it amazing that the baths were that well preserved for how many years that they had been around. While I did not touch or drink the water and get to enjoy its healing powers, I did buy a bottle of the waters as souvenir.
Roman Baths

            Following the Roman Baths, my friends and I walked through the town and after picking up some lunch, we found our way to the Pulteney Bridge. This bridge is astounding and was also the scene of a memorable Russell Crowe scene in Les Misérables.
Pulteney Bridge
The area around the bridge is a mixture of architecture and a park, which when we went in it was the most beautiful and well-kept park, aside from Hyde Park, that I had ever been in.
I found myself saying that I would move to Bath because of how beautiful it was and because it was so peaceful. Also, as a lover of books and an aspiring writer, to be living in a place where Jane Austen walked and set her books in would simply be amazing. It was amazing just to walk where she did for a couple of hours.
            Our final stop was the most breathtaking.
Bath Abbey
The Bath Abbey was built in 15th century and is called the “Lantern of the West” due to its stained glass windows. While the windows are beautiful, it was the ceiling that really stopped me in my tracks and caused me to look up with my mouth agog.

The architecture of it was intricate and wondrous and I was in awe. As I write this, I still find my words unattainable when trying to describe it, so I will let the pictures attempt to do it justice instead.

            Once we were out of Bath, we began our drive to Stonehenge which was about an hour away. On the trip, our tour guide informed us of its history and told us that from what they can tell, Stonehenge was built around 3000 BCE by thousands of people (apparently, it wasn’t aliens) and was built for the purpose of healing and to worship the sun. People were brought there to be cured of disease but also to be sacrificed to the gods.  From our coach, we walked to an area where we waited in line to be taken on another bus to the site.
When I first saw it in the distance through the bus windows, the sense of marvel came over me and I as I walked around it, it stayed. The stones are huge and to think that people who had minimal tools compared to what we have today were able to carve and move these stones long distances is mind blowing. It was also incredible to be there because it was the oldest site that I had ever been to, as it has been around 5000 years and as I stood there, taking it all in, I had to wonder if the people who built it would have ever thought that it would be still standing, outlasting them by thousands of years, and that it would have drawn so much attention over that time; I don’t think they did, because I don’t think that anyone really anticipates that anything will last that long.

Between Stonehenge, Bath, and the Greenwich tour, the weekend was a tour of history that took me from ancient times to the present, making it the coolest mashup of past and present that I have partaken in to this day. This weekend here has been one of my favorites and I cannot wait to do more sightseeing in the future!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Welcome to England!

                Today marks two weeks since I have left the United States and it has been quite a busy two weeks! I am currently attending St. Mary’s University in England which is about thirty minutes outside of London. It is located in a peaceful neighborhood in a town called Strawberry Hill, which is as adorable as it sounds. The houses are like something out a story book, and next to my school is a castle like house made out of white stone. It is picturesque England and so far it has been amazing, even though it has been an adjustment, especially where money, food, and driving on the opposite side of the road are concerned.

            At St. Mary’s, I am one of about 50 study abroad students and I have met people from all over the world and all over the United States. It has been an experience that has gotten me greatly out of my comfort zone and forced me to do things that haven’t always been the easiest for me, like put myself out there, and doing these things have already reaped great rewards. I have become more independent and have made many new friends here and together we have traveled around the area, going to the quaint towns that surround the campus and of course to London.

            So far, I have been to London twice and I have guided me and my friends around the city with the help of my map. I visited Queen Elizabeth II Tower, or Big Ben, Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, the British Museum, where I saw the mummy of Cleopatra, Piccadilly Circus, the London Eye, Hyde Park, where I saw a statue of Peter Pan and ate lunch on the Serpentine River, Trafalgar Square, and, my favorite, the Sherlock Holmes Museum at 221 B Baker Street.
 I have seen so many things and been in awe of some many sights, which was one of my goals for when I came here. For a great part of my life, I have longed to stare at something in awe and wonder and know that hundreds of years before, someone was doing the exact same thing as I did, and here I can do that, because many things are old and historical and beautiful. At home, not much is older than 150 years old, but here, many buildings and pieces of work are much more than that, and I find that amazing.
My other goal when I came here was to not be afraid as much anymore and I can say already that I am not. Now of course, I am still always on my guard, but when I went into London, I was able to lead my group around the large city and get us back home without fearing that we would get lost and on the first day at school, when my friend and I did get lost on the way home from a pub, we were both able to keep our cool and find our way back. For me, those were big events, because it was facing my fears of getting lost and getting lost in a big city and overcoming them, and it made me feel great that I could do it.

            Now, while I am here, I will be doing a lot of traveling, but I am also in school. Last week, I started three of my classes, and this week I will be starting one more. I am enrolled in a history of Queen Elizabeth class, one on women in America, another on writing adaptations, and a theology course on biblical interpretation. So far, all the classes have been extremely interesting and I am enjoying all the information that I get to learn. I am also enjoying my schedule, because at Thursday at 10:00 a.m., my weekend begins and I am free to travel and do what I want, while also doing homework.
Here, you have class once a week and the majority of the work is independent study, so there is a great deal reading to be done. For the most part, I feel lucky that my school has prepared me for this, and I feel as though that is one less thing for me to adjust to here.

            Overall, I am having a great time and I am loving all that I am seeing and while I miss home and the food, there is more than enough here to keep my mind and myself occupied. For example, this upcoming weekend I will be taking a tour to Bath and Stonehenge and I am very much looking forward to seeing both, especially the architecture of Bath. I will be sure to take many pictures and post them here!