Sick Days in the UK

Sadly the migraine from the night before continued into this morning. I knew I had my exam so I at least had to power through that. After some last minute studying during the last four presentations of the term it was time. The exam ended up going pretty well and at this point I was just happy that it was over with, I knew I would end up doing fine in the class (GPA boost here I come!!). After the exam I got back to my room and basically collapsed into bed. I laid down feeling miserable for about an hour and a half before changing into pajamas and continuing the misery.

I slept from around 1:00 PM straight through until 5:00 PM when I realized that I could now sit up and look at a screen without feeling like my head was going to explode- walking was a bit more difficult though. I mustered up the motivation to finish hand editing my essay and decided to finish putting the edits onto my typed copy in a couple hours.

I opted instead to watch a movie on Mattflix. After going through the latest additions I settled on La La Land starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. I had heard great things about the film (and the soundtrack!), so I was looking forward to experiencing it for myself. As someone who would much rather- and had a better attention span- for sitting down and reading a book opposed to watching a movie, I was enthralled by the film and was sad when it came to an end. During the movie I had also ordered a bowl of tomato soup, since I hadn’t eaten since breakfast. After the movie I knew it was time to get some work done.

I finished writing my essay and sent it to my mom to edit before sending it over to my professor. When she returned it to me later that night I pressed send, officially ending my winter courses in London. As exciting as this was, I was quickly reminded of how soon Spring courses would begin as I found a course syllabus waiting for me on Sakai.

The remainder of the night was spent making sure I had finished packing as much as possible, setting five trillion alarms to ensure I woke-up the next morning, and Face-Timing with my grandparents and then Peter.

As sad as I was to be leaving the City of Symphonies I knew more great adventures were in store for me when I arrived home.

Empty Wallet, Full Heart

I woke-up early today, slightly nervous for my presentation. I say slightly because I know I’m a good public speaker so I know I would be absolutely fine, but I was used to being graded quite strictly when it came to speeches and my preparation was far less than what I had done for COMM350 back in Delaware. That being said, I woke up with enough time to go over my speech once and that definitely helped calm my nerves.

Class was fine as I was transported back to intermediate school, trying to sneakily read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone under my desk while boring presentations went on around me. Soon enough it was my turn to present. Prezi amazed my professor as he had never seen anyone use it before and it was my go-to for presentations. The whole thing went very smoothly and the only questions I received was “what got me so interested in World War 2,” a question I was thrilled to answer.

(The reason I find WW2 so fascinating is because of my Aunt Clara and how inspired I am by her and all she overcame as a young Jewish girl under the Nazi reign.)

Let me not get ahead of myself though. At the beginning of the semester we were assigned to think about the question “Why London? Think about and explore what sets London apart from other cities and allows them to support five classical orchestras.” I decided to take a historical approach to the question. My conclusion was that the people kept the classical music scene in London alive and to prove this I looked at three major organizations or groups during WW2. One of the easiest ways to determine the success of anything is to see how it survives through adversity. With WW2 being one of the greatest challenges our world has had to face it only seemed fitting to use that as my example. If you want to read my paper just let me know and maybe I’ll post it on my blog as one final London “hurrah.”

After reading my way through another three presentations class was over and I headed back to the hotel room to figure out what to do next. Since I was hungry and feeling adventurous I decided to try the little Indian place down the street from our hotel. It did not look like much from the outside, but inside the place was gorgeous and relatively fancy looking- a trend that I’ve noticed in London is that restaurants typically like to give the appearance of being fancier than they really are. I ordered some chicken thing with rice that wasn’t spicy at all (thank goodness!) and very delicious!

When I finished eating and paying I walked straight past the hotel and over to the British Museum. I had spent four and a half weeks in London and had to been to countless museums besides the one that was literally RIGHT NEXT DOOR. Since I’m ridiculous and feel the need to read every single thing in museums I ended up spending two hours there and only getting through the Ancient Egypt exhibits. I was able to see all of the mummies though and the Rosetta Stone, which was pretty cool.

Gross Fact: When they went to mummify people and they couldn’t cut them open to get their organs out, they would dissolve the organs and then take them out your butt.

After I left the museum I stopped at Starbucks and tried their Butterscotch latte that was actually pretty good. When I got back to the hotel I FaceTimed Peter until he had to leave for work and then I called my grandparents. When I got off the phone I decided to head over to Oxford Street to do some shopping because I hadn’t spent enough money already this trip (that was sarcasm). I first went into Accessorize and bought a shawl thing and a hat, and then I went to Top Shop, H&M, and a couple other stores for before deciding to head back before I was completely broke. All in all I would say that it was a very successful shopping trip.
I had planned on going to DF Mexico and getting tacos or something, but when I had almost made it there I saw another healthy fast-food type place called Leon, so I decided to go there instead. I ordered a Moroccan Meatball Box and a Coke and then headed back to the hotel room to eat it. Everything was surprisingly really good. Over dinner I talked to Jackie and showed her all of my new purchases.

When we got off the phone I did some laundry and showered before trying to go to sleep. After getting into bed I developed a horrible migraine and had to take both my prescription medication and sleeping medicine in order to fall asleep.

Sunday in the City

I woke-up around 9:00 AM this morning and got up and got dressed relatively quickly. Instead of Hillsong Church being around the corner at the Dominion Theater it was moved to the Apollo Victoria today, which was about a thirty minute bus ride away. I decided to be more productive with my Sunday than usual and attend the 11:00 AM service.

It was weird being back at the Apollo Victoria because that’s also where I had seen Wicked a couple of weeks earlier. I did not love the theater for church as much because there were less seats in the stalls and being up in the circle kind of made me feel removed. The service was fine, although the speaker was not as good as they had been the past couple weeks. I still enjoyed it and felt blessed that I had such an up-lifting church community here in London for the past four weeks.

After church I headed back to the hotel, packed my bag with my laptop, and then headed to TY to get some work done. I had my final presentation the following day, so I mostly just worked on creating my Prezi, so then later all I had to do was create my presentation notes and practice. The place was more crowded than it normally was when I arrived because I got there a little later in the day than usual, but I was still able to find a space to work. I ordered a bowl of their Minestrone soup and ended up getting two Chai lattes. I had finished the presentation by the time I left.

When I got to the hotel I just hung around for a while, the original plan being to go and get dinner out towards the Barbican and then just meet the class at the center for our movie that night with a live orchestral performance. I ended up being too lazy to go out to the Barbican early, mostly because it was raining pretty hard. Instead I ran across and down the street to a little Fish and Chips place. It was incredibly delicious (even though I still claim to not be a fish person) and they had amazing desserts. I ordered the Tiramisu and ended up basically inhaling it.

Before I left for the Barbican I talked to Peter for a bit. When I arrived at the Barbican our professor told us that even though we originally had a movie review for The Visitors our professor essentially told us he was too lazy to grade it so it was optional and for our The Lodger movie reviews, we all got high As. Although I was kind of annoyed that he wasn’t doing his job fully, at least I did not have to do any extra work. The movie was very interesting, but I kept on falling asleep and did not really have the attention span to keep up with it. After the movie I went back to the hotel room, did some pre-packing prep and then went to sleep.

Late Night Adventures

UPDATE: When you’re doing one billion things a day and fall behind on blogging it’s REALLY hard to remember what you did four three days ago, so let’s see how this goes.

This morning I woke up determined to finish reading The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher, so that’s exactly what I did. I actually finished it over breakfast at Café Salt and Pepper that was down the road from our hotel. I wanted a “real breakfast” and I woke up too late to go down to the hotel breakfast, so I ended up getting a cheese and spinach omelette and a smoothie. It was very refreshing!

When I got back to the room I wasn’t feeling great so I decided to just use the day to rest again and take a nap. I could tell I was getting towards the end of the trip because I was having less and less energy as time went on. I wasn’t getting stressed out about it though because I knew I had done a lot during the trip already and it was okay to take a couple rest days in order to finish the trip strong.

I woke up around 5:00 PM and tried to get myself organized before meeting with my youth leader over Skype to talk about some service opportunities I had been planning. The plan was to meet at 6:00 PM, but 6:00 came and went and around 6:25 PM I finally gave up and decided to go and get a quick bite to eat before meeting up with Ana-Maria. Of course the second I left I got a text message about the meeting, but we ended up just post-poning until I got home.

I went back to the cafe around the corner- Pomme de Pain and just ordered a chai latte and grabbed a yogurt with granola. When I got back to the room I ate my yogurt while talking to Peter for a little bit on Skype. Around 7:30 PM I left the hotel to go and meet Ana-Maria by the tube station at Harrods. This became difficult because the exit I went out of closed at 8:00 PM and that was the time we were supposed to meet. I did not see her at that exit and there was about three others, but I did not want to leave incase she showed up. When it hit 8:15 PM I decided to start walking towards the other exit in hopes of running into her. I ended up being successful and we met up and headed back towards Harrods.

We wandered around until they closed at 9:00 PM and spent most of our time in the toys sections- the only place we could be without feeling too poor and too out-of-place. After we left we walked over to Birmingham Palace to see it all lit up at night. We got kind of lost and cut through a dark park, but in the end we made it there safely. After visiting the Queen we headed towards Big Ben and the London Eye. Both were absolutely stunning lit up and it was cool to have been able to see them both during the day and at night.

When we finished taking photos it was already 10:00 PM and my phone had just died. Ana-Maria wanted to go get food (people in Western Europe eat so late!!!), but I was exhausted and concerned about my phone so I decided to head back. After exiting my tube station I opted to run across the street and get some Burger King quickly before going back to the hotel room, eating it, showering, and heading to sleep.