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Kayla in Michigan: May 31, 2011

May 31, 2011

Back home again after a long day of flying and airports. Things went smooth though (well as smooth as any trip to an airport can go) and we got home on time and in one piece. I was exhausted, but kept on going. My parents picked me up from the airport and I finally got the Mongolian BBQ I had been craving for the entire trip. We drove back to the apartment after a long meal and car ride of show and tell.

Instead of just going to sleep like I should have, I stayed up to try and unpack as much as I could. I ended up just moving things out of my suitcases into heaps on the floor. I have a lot to do today…

I’m happy to be home, but there’s this feeling of sadness hanging over me that I may never see what I saw on this trip ever again.

So with that, this blog has served its purpose. Thank you for reading. Hopefully there will be more adventures (even if they’re close to home) in the future.


Thoughts on Leaving: May 30, 2011 —– Day 22

May 29, 2011

Last night at our final/dinner/wrap up meeting we were asked to describe how we were feeling with one word. People said words like sad, inspired, bittersweet, and I said content. And last night I was content. Content with my experience, content with my time in London, and ready to go home. It’s 4:30am here. While I thought it was a little ridiculous for Chelsea to think that she really needed to wake up at this time, I ended up waking up before her alarm after having a terrible time trying to fall asleep. I woke up with an emotion I didn’t think I would have: longing. I’m longing to stay here, maybe not right now, on this same trip, but again, at some point in my life with someone else I can share it with. I want to show someone I love the beauties and wonders of London that I found while I was here. I’m longing for all the adventures and locations this trip provided to me. To my great amazement, I’m sadder about leaving than I would have ever expected to be.

I hope to come back here. One day, maybe my honeymoon, to see London again and to love London again. To let all of wonderment of it was over me again. I feel restless. I’m ready to go back home but at the same time, this WAS home for me for three weeks…

Thoughts About Leaving: May 29, 2011 —– Day 21

May 29, 2011

Things I’ll Miss
Public Transportation
Proximity of Shops and Cafes
Walking Everywhere
Primark’s Selection
Experiencing Something New Everyday
Humorous Greeting Cards
The Culture
Fantastic Postcards
Tesco’s Cookies
Paul’s Ham and Cheese Panini

Things I’m Happy to be Returning to
My Parents
My Boyfriend
My Besties
My Bed
My Phone
Cheaper Prices. Larger Portions
My Fan
Getting a Steady Paycheck
Clothing Options
Large One-Stop stores (i.e. Walmart)
Cars on the Right Side of the Road
Better Ice-Cream (and more of it)
Upcoming Birthday festivities
The Simplicity of U.S. Currency

I Spy with My London Eye: May 29, 2011 —– Day 21

May 29, 2011

I had a very hard time sleeping last night out of restlessness to go home, but when I woke up this morning, I was glad I still got to be in England. We set out around noon for the London Eye, our final, very touristy adventure. We had a “4D” experience before we went on the Eye that Shelby and I had been super excited about since she found out it was included.

The Eye itself was incredibly cool. It was the perfect closure; we could see so many things we had explored over the course of the trip. It was a very bittersweet ride.I thought about how I may never see these things again, but how my time in London is up. I know lately it’s has seemed like I’ve been counting down the minutes to go home, but that was just the homesickness talking. This was such an amazing opportunity and I loved every second of it.

Tonight we’re all getting together to have dinner and reflect on the course. Then it’s off to bed to wake up at 5am for the bus to the airport with the plane to take me back home.


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The End is Near: May 28, 2011 —– Day 20

May 28, 2011

There’s only one more full day left to the trip. It’s kind of unbelievable, but that’s what everyone who travels or goes on vacation always says. You wait months and months for the trip to arrive and then suddenly it’s over. I have that feeling of time having gone by quickly, but in that same feeling, time hasn’t seemed to have gone by too rapidly. I’ve enjoyed the experience immensely, but I’m also ready to go home. I spent today packing up everything I possibly could, even though that wasn’t very much since I already had the majority of my things packed a few days ago.

I did go out and down the road where the food and shops are for a bit. I wanted to go into the stationery store to spend a bit of my remaining money on funny cards to send in the future, but it was closed. I remembered that the post office had a card section, so I went into there instead. I also stopped by the Tesco for some cokes for the remaining days. Then I came home, started to upload photos to get them developed, and moved stuff around in my suitcases for no apparent reason.

I’m slightly worried about my suitcase weighing too much, but I’ve done all I can to move the heavy things like my shoes, straightener, and jeans into my carry on. I’m doing well on space surprisingly even though I’m bringing back a lot of souvenirs. That’s probably because all the food I brought with me is no longer taking up all that space.

My roommates haven’t gotten quite as far in the packing process…

I’m not sure what I’m going to do tonight, but I’m sure the group will have some sort of adventure in mind that I’ll tag along for. Tomorrow will be better since we have activities and need to wrap up the course, so I won’t be constantly thinking about how eager I am to go home like I have today.

It’s not that I don’t like England or didn’t enjoy the trip; I don’t want you to get the wrong idea. Three weeks is the longest I’ve ever been away from home, let alone across a vast ocean. I’m a homebody, and I’m ready to be home again.

Victoria and Albert Museum: May 27, 2011 —– Day 19

May 27, 2011

For our last full “class” day in London, we set off for the Victoria and Albert Museum. We met up with the same tour guide we had at the British Museum and she took us on a long, exhausting two hour tour of various parts of the museum. I didn’t like her the first time, so it felt like mild torture having to experience her over-knowledgeable style yet again. She has an ability to make museums so much more daunting and overwhelming than they should be. I was happy to be released for individual exploration and I found my way back to the theatre/dance photography section that I was drawn to as we rushed past it on the tour.

Shelby provided the group with tickets to a special fashion exhibition, but I personally didn’t really enjoy it. I felt like the outfits weren’t actually outfits that any normal or even model would wear. Seeing this exhibition really fermented certain opinions on fashion in my head. To me, fashion is something that should be able to be worn by someone, for something. So anything else that doesn’t fall into that category but is still technically fashion should be called something else.

The gift shop had really amazing postcards so I got a few. While I’ve been here I’ve gotten quite a number of postcards, but they’re just so unique and intriguing here. I’ve never seen postcards like these in the United States. Plus they’re also an investment for future home decorating ideas.

After the museum I tried going to Paul to have the same sandwich I had yesterday, but they didn’t have it. It was probably for the best that I didn’t spend another four pounds on a silly sandwich.

I hung around the flat for a few hours and then we were off again to see our final show at the National (where we saw two shows previously, but in two different theatres. The location has three and we saw a separate show in each of the theatres). I really enjoyed this show (Rocket to the Moon) even though I think a lot of the other students didn’t. I loved that even though the storyline was pretty cliche and done before, the dynamic, complex characters gave it a new, unique life. The story I felt like could be anyone’s story, the characters are just different. It was set in New York and written by an American, which I took as sort of a sign that I was being told that it’s getting time to go home.

Before the show we took a group photo on the steps (it’s in the slideshow) and looking at it now I’m already getting nostalgic. I didn’t know these people before, and now after three weeks I know more than I think I would ever care to know about them. They aren’t going to become my best friends and I’m not sure if I’ll ever see them again, but I was able to coexist with them for three weeks. Sure some personalities I could have lived without, but I had to learn to live with them or I would have gone insane and ruined my experience.

I’m ready to go home though. I’m missing everyone and everything like crazy.

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Rain and Ballet: May 26, 2011 —– Day 18

May 26, 2011

With the knowledge that it could very well rain (finally) today, we set out to Kensington Gardens on foot to finally see the Serpentine Gallery located in the middle of it. It was closed the first day we wandered around the park, and it was finally open. I wasn’t too keen on the exhibition going on, but I got a few postcards that were really unique and not typical “This is London” cards. Not that I have anything against those cards (I’ve bought quite a few), but these were completely different than anything I’ve seen.

It had been raining a bit on our walk over, but when Kelly and I decided to leave to go get lunch, the skies opened up on us. I had my raincoat, but of course didn’t think to bring my umbrella. We were soaked by the time we got to Paul, this bakery like place that other people in our group have raved about since day one. I wanted to get a sausage sandwich that Jessie had gotten our second day in London that she let me try, but when I saw that I could get a hot ham and cheese sandwich I was sold. It was probably the most delicious sandwich of my life. The fact that I was freezing probably made it even more delicious than it would have been on any other day, but I don’t care. It’s probably a good thing I just discovered this sandwich, or I would probably be broke at this point in the trip.

The rain refused to let up, but that didn’t stop us continuing our plans to go to Covent Gardens to see St. Paul’s Church and wander the shops before our evening show. I was sitting in a pew in the church for about a half hour and when I looked to my right I literally jumped when I saw the cat sleeping on the cushions. I thought it might have been fake, but it wasn’t!

Of course when the rest of the group saw me petting a cat they all had to make a ruckus and come over to it to pet it, so I left the main room to go into the entryway, where another cat came out of nowhere looking to be pet. God must be telling me I really should get a cat…..too cheesy? Yeah, I thought it might be.

I clung to Shelby as we dispersed for the remaining few hours before the show. We went to an Italian place for dinner and had really good conversation. I liked the one on one time with her to just talk about art, passions, and human nature. It felt like a really grown-up type of conversation. Does that make me sound young by saying that?

We went for ice cream afterward–which was fantastic–and I couldn’t believe how dark the sky was.

We didn’t get any more rain though as she and I wandered the shops wasting time.

The show we saw tonight was actually two one-act ballets. In the Evening Standard newspaper for today there was a review that just ripped both performances apart, so we were all curious to see what we thought of the performances. I loved both. I loved the first for the storyline and the beauty of the dances, and the second for the lighting, the music (check out Joanna Newsom’s “The Book of Right-On” which played during the performance and I just absolutely love) and passion. They were both amazing; that critic was insane.