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!
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.
So fall break here was pretty chill… Most people went to travel around and see some pretty awesome places :) I took this opportunity to get to know London better. I did manage to make it to the poetry library. Yes a whole library dedicated to poetry. How awesome is that? Well I’m off to class at Tate Britain, but my next one should cover food here in Britain. Because that is one of the most important parts of another country, other than site seeing of course.
So one of my favorite things about walking in London is when I walk around and then I look up and realize I see something that I thought was really far, but it is right there. I have abandoned taking the tube unless I have to grudgingly go somewhere far. What have I been up to? Classes, exploring, and meeting British people. Meeting British people is a lot harder than you think, but I just have taken chances by going to random events. This one event that I went to was an international cafe where I met people from all over the world because apparently that’s what happens at the events, but I just saw a poster that said all welcome and free so I went. I also got to have scones and crumpets with my tea which are pretty tasty. It’s so posh of me I know, but when in Rome… Wait I’m in London :)
My travel tip for this entry will have to be take chances when traveling and put yourself out there. Actually you should do that everywhere. Even if you are shy. Many British won’t just walk up to you because of their reserved nature. At least I haven’t experienced it. Usually you can just be approachable and open yourself up to conversation. I have had some interesting ones.
How’s class? Ummmm well… Just kidding I love them. They are extremely different from my American classes and apparently the classes we are taking with our program are different from British classes that most people who go to undergrad take. My creative class is amazing just because I get to do the thing I love. It is filled with older adults who work daily, but keep there minds going by taking this class. They range from late 20’s to late 50’s. They are a fun bunch of people.
The video below is of me discussing classes, very serious.
So I’ve been in London for two weeks and some days. I love the sights and traveling around. For those who think that everything cost in London they are wrong. Technically, there are plenty of things to do for free. But like anything that is free you have to search for it and turn over every stone. I have found a festival for tomorrow over the African Dispora. Then next month there will be a celebration for national poetry month. These events should be fun. A musician I have found that is from London is having a concert next month and tickets are at a great price. I really hope funds will allow me to go.
Currently, I am planning my trip for fall break. With all the visa drama I'ma stay within the UK just to be on the safe side. I was jobsmacked to find that there is a Megabus here! Which means the price for going to Scotland or Wales is really inexpensive. Hey I am all about budgeting people.
On another note. Our programs group is a great bunch of people. I love having so many different conversations all of the time. Plus this means diversity in the things we all do together.
My video of the Market/Museum is below.
My last entry was short and sweet. This one will hopefully be a bit more in depth. My travel buddy and I arrived just in time for the weekend trip with our program all paid for. So the entire group loaded onto a bus early Friday morning and was off to Bleinheim Palace. It was a beautiful place. The most astonishing thing was the fact that the duke paid to have a artificial landscape put in so that it would be perfectly beautiful forever. I have to say it was. I was only disappointed to learn the Palace was built with money made off of slaves. But I guess it was the way of the world back in those days… Shoot even today we have “slaves”.
Our next stop was Stratford-Upon-Avon the birthplace/death place of Shakespeare. How cool/sad is that? Our tour guide was fantastic. She had bits of jokes and seemed really passionate about here home town. I love tour guides that don’t bore you to death. She was telling us how people no longer have thatch roofs anymore because birds, cat, and dogs would go into the ceiling an snuggle up for warmth. Well when it was about to rain of course the cats and dogs wouldn’t want to get wet so they would all jump down and that’s how the phrase raining cats and dogs came about. (drum noise) I thought that was cute of her. She even gave us a list of American sayings. While there it was only fitting that we saw the Scottish play, you know Macbeth (shhhh!) While in Stratford we stayed in a B&B with an awesome inn keeper. The Salamander is the one I recommend if you want a funny and entertaining Frenchman as your host.
Also on our weekend we traveled through the countryside to Bourton-on the-Water. Now the best thing to do there is shop or visit the maze/puzzle for a small price. It was one of the highlights, the maze. You had to find clues and things. You could also visit the bird museum or car museum for a very different price.
We finished up our weekend in Oxford. Home of the intellectual and some place where Harry Potter was filmed. Everyone set off for those sights and I went the other way to Oxford Universities campus. Quickly left when I saw science and math signs and went to the University park. Spied a tennis game and a cute pond in the on again off again rain. Then found the museum of Natural Science. I really liked it there. Warning: Don’t call it a bathroom or restroom! It is a toilet or more polite Ladies/Gentlemen’s room. There was another free museum in Oxford that I didn’t make it too, but I heart was decent. My artist friend said it was a lot of replicas unfortunately.
So, that was my first weekend. Thanks for reading/watching!
Next time I’ll discuss the Markets and museums here.
The first two days in London have been a bit of a cram session. My travel buddy and I definitely got turned the wrong way in the airport and missed our flight, but the airline reimbursed us and got us a flight for this past Tuesday. We were the last ones to make it here and the British people in central London are sticklers for timeliness. The first two days we explored the city and found our college that we are attending outside of the program. The first night we went to “Wicked” and found inexpensive/tasty food around the corner from our home for the next few months.
I must say I love the tube for it’s efficiency. Be aware that people will rip tourist off in another country. Luckily we were too tired to care our first day, but the second we were alert :)
My search for a great poetry/underground scene has yet to start, but I have found another spoken word buddy in my program :)
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