Selfie Me

I’m in the middle of feeling like I’ve been in London forever, and like time is flying by. We’ve already been here for five days and done so much. It’s hard to say if I even have a favorite part right now. I really enjoyed going to the British Museum the other day and seeing the amazing artifacts this building contains. It was also a good time to unwind by ourselves and to take our time with the exhibits we liked.

As a group we’ve grown a bond and already have become our own family. I think that one of the best things this trip has afforded all of us is the ability to get to know each other very quickly and find out we get along perfectly. As a student family we have tackled the Tube at rush hour, survived our first torrential London downpour and done a walking tour around the city center.

Although we switched a few things around on the schedule I’m so happy to be walking the streets and seeing the everyday culture of London rather than just seeing the tourist sites. However, we have seen some of the most important tourist sites anywhere close by. One of my favorite things was seeing Westminster Abbey and the history it offers. I was also so excited to see Cleopatra in the Museum, especially since we will be seeing the play Antony and Cleopatra.

Going to the Prom concert last night and being able to get dressed up for it was a lot of fun. It has been a a jam packed summer so far and with Hyde Park Cemetary on the list for tomorrow I’m so much more excited. I’ve attached some of the pictures from the last few days and a few “selfie me” photos as well!



free spirit


All my reflection is changed by what I saw just now. This morning we went to Westminster abbey and later we went to house of parliament. Without doubt, Westminster abbey and house of parliament are fabulous and magnificent UK architectures. I am shocked by these incredible buildings. I strongly feel that British people are deeply proud of their history and their royal family existence. Apparently, the royal family is a symbolism of United Kingdom spirit. While I want to say royal family is also one of the ways UK people keep their history. On the other hand, British royal families really do a good job to represent the whole UK. The design and structure of the architectures should be another kind of wonderful history that British people are proud of. People love London because we know that London’s history is fully filled thick humanistic and literature background. Even the British accent makes me feel pleased. In my impression, UK gives people a feeling of peaceful, harmonious and quiet. UK people speak slowly, walk slowly and their whole life tempo is like waking up in the morning, not too active and not emotional. This parade in the afternoon totally changed my impression to UK. I said to myself that I saw the quiet side of London, now I saw the active side. Hundreds of people were unstoppable coming to the parade ground. I saw marches before in American and Canada but I never saw such big one. The parade is organized. People walked in sequences hanging up their board. My heart was shaken by the slogan shouting. I felt their emotions. I get my reflection that UK is a freedom country. Unlike UK, America projects freedom in architecture, in movies and in music. It has become common sense that freedom is in America. I do not know there is also such free spirit in UK. I am really moved by the parade. People fight for what they want. People have the right to fight what they think the right.

Mind the Gap



London is such a fast-paced city. It seems like I can hardly keep up with everything. I’m constantly in imminent danger of getting run over by a double-decker bus or a taxi. Everything around me seems to be constantly on the  move. Even the city itself is changing constantly. We went through a good amount of construction yesterday, but it was interesting to see how much of the city is changing. It reminded me of all the construction happening back in Massachusetts and Lowell.

Today we visited the British Museum (which is not air-conditioned, much like the rest of London). I found myself lost among the ruins of the ancient societies  of Greece and Egypt. I loved imagining the people who owned the jewelery on display, and the clothing. Looking at the mummies was especially interesting.It illustrates humanity’s fascination with death in a beautiful way. At dinner tonight (authentic Indian cuisine!), our group discussed how different cultures experience death. It seemed to be a recurring theme in each section of the museum.

Yesterday we finally got to see Big Ben and go on the London Eye! It was an amazing experience. The girls and I stayed after our program was done for the day and got to see the sun set over Big Ben from the top of the Eye. I think that was truly the moment I realized I am in England. Not a bad place to be.


Face to face with History

Sometimes, you know something is going to happen, and yet you’re still not prepared when it happens. That pretty much sums up how this week has been. Each day, I know what’s on the agenda, and yet when we’re there, in the moment, I’m still in awe. It happened yesterday at Buckingham Palace, and again today when we were at the British Museum. I stood in front of the Rosetta Stone in disbelief. You grow up learning about something of vital historical importance, and it seems so very distant from your own personal reality. But this week, my own personal reality has taken a holiday, and instead of my norm, I’m touring historic churches, museums and palaces, and am standing six inches away from the Rosetta Stone.

Every day has been an adventure like this. Every day I’ve taken unbelievable photos of places or things I never dreamed I’d ever see in person.

In the past, I was always a person who would spend money on things rather than experiences, but this week has taught me that money spent on educational travel is every bit as much of an investment as money spent on things tangible, if not more so.

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Old and New

Today was all about walking and acquainting ourselves with the city. While my legs may fall off, I was so excited to finally get to tour this beautiful city. One thing I noticed throughout the day was the old and new weaving together in the landscape, architecture, and culture of the city. Our morning walking tour of the traditional tourist sites, such as Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, and the Houses of Parliament, showed me the traditional architecture that has been in the city for hundreds of years. However, crawling throughout these historic landmarks were bustling streets full of cars and busses, and the Tube was running right below our feet. While London continues to take pride the buildings that showcase their extensive history, the city is extremely modern.

During our second walking tour of Kings Cross station, St Pancreas, and the University of the Arts, the disparities between old and new architecture were highlighted again. King’s Cross station is an extremely old building, but inside held Eurotrains and modern art. In the University of the Arts, Carol Ann pointed out to us that the old garage markings on the brick walls of the University. The city allowed the University to use an old building, but set rules to ensure that history was not destroyed.

After our walking tours, we went to The London Eye. It was amazing to see a bird’s EYE (hah) view of the city, and the experience again highlighted the juxtaposition of old and new throughout the city. We saw Big Ben and The Houses of Parliament from the top of the wheel, but the eye itself is only about 14 years old. Londoners take pride in this new piece of architecture, and it has become almost as much a fixture of London as Big Ben.

I’d like to think that this is a reflection of the culture of London. The city may be old, but the people are forward thinking, constantly looking for ways to modernize the city, without loosing sight of the past.

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Flying High


It’s not every day that you conquer your biggest fear, but why not do it when you’re having the experience of a lifetime?

On my first day in London, I tried raw fish for the first time simply because I was here (and also quite jet-lagged), but it actually turned out to be rather good and I’m proud of myself for the attempt. Since my arrival, I have tried to do things that I never would have in the comforts of Massachusetts, including public transportation and asking for directions. I have tried to branch out in smaller increments, yet I was in for my biggest shock today. One of the biggest tourist attractions here is the Eye of London, an enormous Ferris wheel that was built to celebrate the millennium. Of course, all my classmates were dying to go, but I was apprehensive to the point of sickness; I am positively terrified of heights, and often the fear is coupled with nausea and tremors. It took some coaxing, but along with my friend Mei (who shares the same fear), I stepped into the car and ascended into the sky.

For my first few days at London, I have felt like an ant: small, easily crushed by moving cars, being shoved left and right on the tube and on crosswalks. Yet today, for the first time since we arrived, I felt on top of the world – and I literally was. There are no words to describe the beauty and the tranquility of the Eye, and even the 50+ photographs I took do not do it justice. I’m not sure what it is about the wheel, but it has a way of making me feel great, and my fears seem small, like tiny specs from another world.

You only get one lifetime, so live fearlessly.

the first day of our trip

system theater royal park

I am very willing to write down daily journal for this trip. I have too much to write down. At this moment, I feel excited. While before yesterday I felt more nervous than expecting. This is a totally new experience for me. Normally travel is relaxed and lazy. For me, this trip is full of discovering and combined with a little pressure. Before departure, I already imaged how hard to travel with American classmates and English Literature professor. Obviously, the pressure comes from my language and my major. However, everything is better than my imagination. After the departure flight, I felt comfortable immediately. Yesterday, also the day of departure, I got my conclusion: to get friendship the best way is to travel. Today is much more beautiful. I visited new place and I enjoyed the visiting from more perspectives.

Usually, taking picture of local view is to experience the trip. I think this is the most common way people use for feeling travel. Apparently, the beautiful London view is unforgettable. Everything is like in the movie, very beautiful and classical. The double floor red bus, the black cab, and even the similar conventional buildings along the street are so attractive. Today, the first day of our trip, makes me feel the difference of the trip. I understood more than what I can get just from travelling. If you see the label “keep right”, normally you as a visitor may just think it is a public warning and get over it. Actually the label covers the culture of UK. “Keep right” can be seen as one of the system of British. No matter for stair, elevator, or underground, British has the rule of not taking up left. This is similar as what happens in the morning tube. In the morning tube, it is much crowed but quite. I think walking on the right and keeping quite in the underground has become the common sense for Londoner.

Later, watching the Wonderland performance makes me feel the charming of theater. After theater performance, the afternoon sunshine literature dialogue in the hill is very comfortable and relaxed. I think more and feel more about London. I like the way of travelling, very fresh and fulfilled. That’s why I am still excited even today is almost over.

The Views of London

After arriving yesterday morning we were all excited to start our three week adventure. We had all booked taxis to pick us up at the airport. Naturally as my luck would have it I was the person who had looked things up for travel and told the rest of the group which one I had chosen, and my taxi didn’t show up. I thought to myself, this can’t be how my trip is starting.

Julie and I finally made it to our homestay in Southgate after calling the company and sorting things out. Our neighborhood is AMAZING and we did a bit of exploring after settling in. It took a bit of time to figure things out but I think we’ve mostly got the tube down. Quite unlike Boston, we have to tap our Oyster cards to get into the station AND leave. A few of us learned that the hardway.

We attended a performance today of Wonderland, and it was such a great performance. The acting was great and the set was really interesting. It was similar to how the North Shore Theater is set up but quite a bit smaller and you sit essentially right up along the stage. There were a few moments that shocked me as I hadn’t seen the sign about loud noises but overall I truly enjoyed going to the Hamstead Theatre. We saw the whole view of the center of London at Primrose Hill right after the show. So far I am loving what we’ve done and the group is great to be with. I can’t wait for the rest of what’s in store!!!

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In love with London!

Unlike the rest of the group, I have been in London for two days now, and am having the time of my life. I’ve been to places I’ve always wanted to go, and find it hard to believe that I’m actually here. On the first day, I walked around London near Trafalgar Square, and took a ride on The London Eye. As my pod was at the top of the Eye, I just thought to myself, I’m really here. Yesterday, I took a long trip up to Lyme Park to visit the house where the Colin Firth version of “Pride and Prejudice” was filmed. In the film, the house is known as “Pemberly,” or Mr. Darcy’s house. I took a tour of the vast mansion, which was quite maze-like, and strolled the grounds, which were stunningly beautiful, with fabulous views in all directions. By the time I got back to my hotel (after getting lost not once, but twice) I was exhausted but feeling blissful.

Today I spent the morning leaving the hotel, traveling to my host family’s house, and getting settled in. The host family is warm and gracious, and I couldn’t be any happier with my roommate, Mei, who is a doll. Oh, and on top of that, I’m still in London with three weeks of adventures ahead of me! Somebody pinch me.

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rowdy and charlie

It didn’t really hit me until I stepped foot in the London airport that I was actually in London. ENGLAND. I am finally here. After over a year and half of waiting for this trip, I am sitting in my new room, waiting for the other girls to contact my roommate and I to go out. I am running on approximately 3 hours of sleep and I desperately need a shower (TMI) but I am ready to take on London.

We had a taxi pick us up from the airport. Our taxi driver was Hungarian, so it was interesting to hear his perspective on England. I asked him the best place to find Top Gear merchandise for my obsessed brother, and he noted some interesting places to visit. I had to close my eyes when he drove close to big trucks; we were already on the wrong side of the road! His steering wheel was also on the U.S. passenger side of the car which totally threw me off.

Chelsea and I are finally settled into our host family’s house. It already feels like a home. I think we are going on the London Eye tonight. I have no idea what to expect for our first day, but I think that’s one of the best parts of this trip. I have no idea what is in store for me in the next three weeks. I have always been the person who plans things at least 5 months in advance. We do have a pretty busy schedule, but I have no prior experience of these places. All I know about them I have seen in movies or read about in books. Now it is my turn to explore England. Luckily, I have a great group to explore with and Rowdy and Charlie Dickens to keep me company.