Tuesday, January 31, 2012

London Calling

I'd like to start this post off with a lovely British joke:

How many British people does it take to change a light bulb?
Five; one to change it and four to stand around and talk about how 
much better the old one looked.

This joke, which I may not have entirely understood a month ago, is a testament to how the British, to an extent, value tradition and consistency rather than modernization and change.

I can't believe I've been in London for almost a month already. This past week, once again, has flown by. Last Tuesday we took a trip to Harrod's where we browsed the amazingly expensive clothing and gazed longingly at interesting items. They had some toys, some animals, some food, and tons more. We planned on getting some frozen yogurt but even that was a bit out of our price range.

Just an example of the decor
Hangin out on the escalator
On Thursday we finally went to the famous Platform 9 and 3/4 from Harry Potter. It was pretty cool and of course we got some great pictures there (which my cousin Kelly will love): 
See ya
Just bringing Allie with me
Getting rejected

On Friday the infamous Meagan Miraldi graced London with her presence, with the addition of 3 of her friends from Barcelona. Over the course of their stay, we walked around, went to Westminster Abbey (where William and Kate were married), did some touristy things, went to a pub, and called it a weekend. They were all a little tired since they unintentionally slept at the airport the night before... sillyheads. At one point we were rushing onto the crowded tube train and Katie's bag got stuck in the door. 
Westminster Abbey
Big Ben and the London Eye
Artsy picture of Meagan taking an artsy picture
Big Ben again... obviously
Sweet backpack bro
Our "8th grade" facial expressions
Dana sleeping
On Sunday we went into Chinatown for the big Chinese New Year celebration. There were festive dragons, decorations, and music. To heighten the celebratory event, we ate at a Chinese buffet. We had high hopes before we went in but by the time we piled massive amounts of mystery food on our plates the excitement faded a little bit. To this day we're still not really sure exactly what we ate... so we're just not going to talk about it.


Yesterday we all had our British Life & Culture class where I handed in my first assignment of the semester; a newspaper critique comparing the validity and language used in tabloid versus broadsheet papers. During class we watched the movie "The Queen," which was about the life of Queen Elizabeth during the time of Princess Diana's death. This gave me some serious insight into this event, since I didn't realize how much the Royal family disliked Diana after her and Charles' divorce. Well anyway... yesterday was also Allie's 21st birthday! Unfortunately it isn't as much of a celebratory event here as it is in the United States. For example, when buying alcohol, the man at the convenience store asked Allie if she was over 18, and after she replied "Yes" I said, rather enthusiastically, "Today is her 21st birthday!" only to have the man reply "Ok." Either way, we made a big deal out of her birthday anyway. I went out shopping with Allie while Erin and Katie bought her a cake and some macaroons (her favorite dessert) to surprise her. However, as Allie and I were walking out of the store I look across the street and see Katie and Erin running and dancing down the sidewalk. Luckily I was able to distract Allie long enough for them to hide until we passed. Crisis avoided.

That brings us to today, nearly February and almost the one month celebration of my arrival in London. Sometimes I forget I live here but when I remember I'm always thankful. I know this post wasn't too exciting but some of the things I experience here can't really be put into words. The little things, like hoping on a double decker red bus, hearing a little boy yell "Mum!", and being greeted by "Ello darling, you aright?" are just some of what bring me the most enjoyment being here. I've learned to really appreciate my time here and take nothing for granted.

Next on my extravagant abroad to-do list of wonder:
- Go to the Rainforest Cafe in central London
- Run in Hyde Park
- Take a bus from Hammersmith to central London
- Go to Scotland (this weekend!)

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