So I’m officially back in the states. It is surprisingly easy to adjust back to the way of good ol America, it’s just my body has gotten used to the walking and the no preservative diet. My pre-conceived notions before I left were many.
I thought that the British would be less influenced by different cultures, but discovered that their national identity is mixed in with pieces of everybody. I assumed that there wouldn’t be a lot of different tones of people, but noticed that the tones were spread out. Even the Scottish have a African community. There is just so much that I have learned on this trip I know it exceeded my expectations. All in all it was just like going to a new state, but with a completely different government system, accents, and… Okay so it’s nothing like going to a new state. However, it was a great experience I hope everyone gets to have.
Travel tip: Make sure you go to the right airport, just saying.
If you haven’t kept up with this blog I have a YouTube playlist of my journey where you can watch from beginning to end of my time before and in London.
I’m lucky to go to a University that allowed me to travel outside of the country. Though the program was with a different college. While abroad I realized how lucky I am that Universities in the states offer so many options and opportunities some students in other countries never get.
Travel tip: Check to see if your school offers any travel options and if they do take it, just make sure your dedicated and financially ready. There are scholarships and grants out there so look.
This blog is destination world so as I travel more I’ll blog more :)
Cheers and Laters!
These last days are going fast. I will miss the church family we have made here for sure. There was a Christmas service last night that was amazing. We had virgin mulled wine which smells better than the real stuff and homemade mince pies which are traditional Christmas treats here in Britain. Though I have loved it here I do miss my COTR (home church) :)
After service we made our way to the hostel for the night. It is interesting meeting all sorts of travelers. We had a room of about 12 people.
Travel tip: Always remember a towel and padlock for hostels.
The great thing about our hostel is that it allows you to leave your bags so you can travel the city. So city here we go for one last hurrah!
Travel tip: hostelworld.com is your friend.
Our hostel has many of the same things our program offered. However, light sleepers beware. Roommates will come in and out of the room and everyone has different sleep habits.
My time in London is almost up, but before I go. I want to talk about how I have been spending my last few weeks in London. First, I have been finishing up classes with papers and finals. It wasn’t too painful. Not nearly as painful as next semesters load back in the states. Classes aside I have been having a blast revisiting some of my favorite places here in London and traveling to parts I haven’t seen. I made it to a comedy night in Camden town, went dancing twice at some K-pop events in London clubs, went to see some more of the countryside with our group. It has definitely been eventful.
Travel Tip: Always keep abreast of what is happening in the place you are visiting.
I’ve been blessed to find a group that I love here called Heartz which is a creative arts group that does poetry, art, music, and dance for God. It has been nice getting to know that group of people and I will miss them dearly. I even started presenting my poetry at their church it has been a enlightening experience for sure. This has revealed things more to me spiritually than I anticipated.
It has been sad to see people leave, but I am glad to have met them. This group of Vandoners (place where we lived) were a lively bunch. We have some good family dinners and smaller bonding moments. It always nice to have people going through a similar experience as you are.
Travel Tip: Whether with strangers or friends when traveling abroad attempt to befriend new people. They just might surprise you.
If you have been following my short blog here then I thank you dearly. I will probably be doing some more post before I leave. So stay tuned in!
So before I leave there is one fundamental thing you have to talk about especially as a college student… Food! Yes, the four letter word that consumes the mind of a typical college student. Here in London for our group it is one of our favorite things to groan about, enjoy, and share all together. This might be a bit, but I’ll attempt to make it painless. If your hungry read this later.
How is food here in London? Well… It’s very diverse and I’ll tell you why, some British meals can be a bit on the bland side. I have had the typical fish and chips which is pretty good when you know where to go for an affordable price. If your in Central London near Buckingham Palace go to the Laughing Halibut right off of Victoria street. They have a market on the street during the week days. They also have great sandwich places and tasty pastries. Your typical English breakfast can be pretty good as well. Pastys are delicious they are bread with meat or veggies or both.
Travel tip: Don’t always go for what your used to try something new.
The best food here is ethnic food and there is a lot to choose from. They have amazing selections in China town, the East End, and other places. Some of the greatest finds are those little places that have great food, great prices, and good service. Many people in my group suggest Slug and Lettuce half of Mondays. Some of the great places I have eaten at have actually been out of London and into the smaller towns. Kent has some pretty friendly cafe type of shops.
Now I don’t always eat out most of the time we stay in and cook. The great thing about London is no preservatives and fresh produce. That could also mean quick expiration dates and a lot of pasta. Markets are a great place to get bargained prices as well as out of the Central London grocery stores like Iceland. The best thing here is sweets. Especially chocolate. It’s just better here and you will hear British say that all the time. I suggest Swiss and French chocolate as well, German too. And because your closer the prices are better. I have a fond memory of getting chocolate chucked at my head in a parade.
Alright that’s my summary of food here in Britain. I do miss good old American food with all it’s seasoned, slightly greasy glory. Also the portions in America do us justice. Ahhh… But for now I’ll enjoy all my options here. It’s not bad and great for the figure.
For a city rich with history
It is under constant repair
There’s always hammers
Scaffolding to block the walkway,
Always work men
Unafraid of heights
The boss who’s taking a fag break,
Sometimes there’s yelling heard
Sometimes the hum of tools
But beware the trucks that will almost run over you
Mind the Gap ;)
So a person in my creative writing class wrote a poem about how graffiti artist are a lot like poets. Poets hide nothing and neither does graffiti artist. Wandering around the London I have found so many different tags, some with meanings and some with just a name of a person who wants to be remembered or other reasoning. The viewer can only come up with why they put it there in the first place. I know graffiti exist in the states as well, but even graffiti differs from place to place. I should know I attempted in my art class to create my own graffiti looking for what techniques graffiti artist have used. I asked an artist friend of mine what she thought of graffiti and she replied she doesn't like it because she doesn't understand it. Sometimes in life we don't understand, but it's always good to take a look anyway.
So I haven’t posted in awhile. This time I want to discuss celebrations in London. There is of course Guy Fawkes day which is really big here, the Lord Mayor Show, and Remembrance Sunday which all happen in the month of November. A weekend ago I spent my days going to the three hour long Mayor Show and had a pretty good standing spot. The great thing about that is I got chocolate chucked at my head. The little children across from me also made it amusing. I had a London native explain some of the traditions that were displayed in the parade, but I talk about that in my YouTube video. It was a really great experience to see the differences of parades. Note I come from places where parades are life not just celebration. Thank you USA. For me the parade here in London had some great moments. Plus I got to see the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress… That might mean more to me one day. That night we got another set of great standing spots so we could see the big fireworks. We stood on a pedestal.
Travel Tip: If you hate big crowds don’t go to see the fireworks because people could be all over you.
The next morning we headed to the Remembrance day early. I really don’t want to mention this day because we were standing for three hours straight and I did not have a great sspot. I did meet some great people who also could not see. A father and daughter became my best friends because she was small enough to be lifted. Don’t get me wrong I was blessed to go, but I really wanted to see the Queen. I could have watched on the telly, but figured to go because it was right around the corner. I went early, but not early enough. Overall, I have enjoyed seeing how people in another country does things.
Travel Tip: If it’s a big holiday in the country you are visiting go to the venue as early as possible to scout out a great viewing area.
This week our group is celebrating Thanksgiving together which should be awesome. When life gives you a batch of Americans in a foreign country throw an American bash involving food.
Video below! I hope you readers enjoy!
That’s my french greeting. When I first arrived in London I had a lot of pre-concieved notions because of the things you see on the media. Luckily I came here with an open mind to see the true London. I realized that it takes time for a place to expose itself to you. It is a slow process. However, within these two months I have found some great things about London as well as some annoying. *cough,cough* Cigarette smoke all the time in the street could be the annoying. In one of my classes we talked about the national identity in London and the first thing that comes to mind when I think of this is diversity. On one side there is the reserved side of London. I was riding on a train the other day on a trip outside of London and it was completely silent. No conversations, loud people on the cell, or crazy people mumbling to themselves. It was weird, but at the same time I have grown accustom to it. I settled down and read a book while listening to my music like a normal Brit. It wasn’t until the train was almost emptied that my American friend and I broke into immediate conversation. Had we grown used to this?
Travel tip: Always travel with some form of entertainment, a book is the best choice so it won’t get nicked.
The other side is the embrace of different cultures. You can find things from all corners of the world here and that in itself has become a part of London. I have had steam buns from China town, jammed to reggae, fallen in love with French all over, tasted true Italian Gelato, and am going out to an Indian restaurant next week. I even found a concert for a DJ dog a mix of reggae and Mexican music.
Travel tip: Take risk and try things from all over the world.
All in all the heart of London lies in the people. Do you know there are a lot of people here. However, I am extremely blessed to be able to meet just fragments of London’s heart. They shall forever have left their imprint on my spirit and SOLS. ;)
So today has been an adventurous day. Walked across the bridge, got lost, and finally made it to the Park where I saw the fastest Ferris wheel ever. Then it was a firework show with music… That was new, but it made sense because a lot of people had their children out. The most surprising thing about the firework display had to be the closeness. I’m used to having water separate me from the fireworks unless I’m in a backyard somewhere, but here in London no such rule. You get the smoke, the taste, and the particles. The great thing is the music blocks the firework noise so it doesn’t matter that your right there.
Travel tip: Just because they announce a show is starting doesn’t means it starts right away.
Other than the fireworks that had glowing ears, food stalls, and light up (almost blinding) light up sword sticks. Then I found the direct route home after visiting Marley’s once more since we were near Brixton. This time I shared the food. Walking back with all the Londoners was a good feeling. Doesn’t mean I don’t miss the fam and friends, but I like it here :)
The video is below.
Jump Rope Sis
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