So today is officially my last full day in London. I cannot believe how fast this semester went. I honestly feel like I just moved in yesterday. I remember when I had no idea how to use pounds, or how to cross the street, or pretty much how to do anything in this city. And now, 4 months later, I feel like I can truly call this city home. Despite all the ups and downs, this abroad experience has been so incredible and so eye-opening. I have met so many great people, done so many crazy things, and above all, learned so much about myself and about what I am capable of. I came to this foreign city, where I knew nothing and no one, and managed to survive living and working here for 4 months on my own. I still can’t comprehend that it all ends tomorrow. I know for a fact that I will come back someday soon, its just scary to know that it won’t really ever be the same. As much as change and endings scare me, I am ready to take all the amazing things I have learned and all the incredible memories I have with me to the future. London will always hold a special place in my heart and I wouldn’t give up or change a minute of this semester for anything.
Its been a while since I’ve updated so time to do another giant recap. Although I haven’t gone on any big trips in the past month, I have gotten the chance to go on a bunch of day trips throughout the UK, which have all been great! 3 weeks ago I went to Oxford and Cotswolds on a day trip with my program. First we went to this little town in the cotswolds and it was actually adorable. Everything was so charming and beautiful. We had tea in this cute little tea shop and it was actually the most amazing tea and scones I’ve had abroad. Then we went to Oxford and got a tour of all the different colleges. I didn’t realize but Oxford University is actually made up of a ton of different colleges spread out across almost the whole city. Its actually huge! And SOOO pretty! It reminded me a lot of Cornell being that the whole place was a “college town” and very centered around the University. Also it had the same old and beautiful feeling that Cornell has - but way older and way more beautiful. I’d like to call it Cornell on crack. But it was definitely nice to get to be in a college town again, even if just for the day!
The next week I went on another day trip through my university to Cambridge. First we went punting along the river. Basically they are these long flat wooden boats and someone stands on the edge and uses a large stick to move the boat along the water. It happened to have been an amazingly gorgeous day that day so it was actually really nice to be outside and on the water. I can only imagine how nice it must be during the summer! We then got to explore the town of Cambridge, which was very similar to Oxford in a sense that it was also very college oriented. Definitely glad I got a chance to see both cities and both colleges.
This past weekend I went on an organized day trip to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge and Bath. It was a little weird at first because it was one of the first times since the very beginning that I felt like a tourist again. It definitely made me realize the fact that I’m not actually tourist in this city anymore. But nonetheless, still fun to do tourist-y things once in a while! It was definitely a really rushed trip but I loved each of the 3 places. Windsor Castle was so cool. We got to see a bunch of the state rooms and the Church where a lot of famous kings and queens are buried, including Henry the 8th! It was extra cool because the castle is still one of the Queen’s main residences. Then we went to Stonehenge. And although it really is just a pile of rocks, it was really cool to see. And it was another beautiful day so it was awesome just to walk around and be outside. Plus we saw tons of sheep, which is always cool! Then we got to Bath and it was amazing! The Roman Baths were great and the town was just a really cool place. I would have liked to spend a little more time walking around and seeing the rest of the city but I guess that just means its a place I’ll have to go back to!
Overall I’ve really enjoyed getting the chance to see the sights around the UK and outside of London. Makes me love the country even more…
Finally starting to be up to date with these posts! So I’m still just recovering from the best week in London so far! Last weekend, Melissa arrived in heathrow and I couldn’t be happier. After a “love actually-esque” embrace at heathrow we headed out for some st pattys day celebrations with a bunch of my friends. The next morning I went to class while Melissa slept and then in the afternoon, we got on the Eurostar and jetted off to Brussels! Made it there just in time to have a nice mussels and fries dinner (a Brussel’s specialty) and just explored the cute and quaint little streets of the city. The next morning we woke up and explored the city. We had amazing Belgian waffles for breakfast, went to a chocolate museum, took beautiful pictures in from of the grand place. Then we went to the atomium and mini europe! Now I can say that I really saw all of europe (despite in miniature form) during my time abroad! Then we went on a hunt to find the Mannekin pis, and discovered that it was the tiniest, most disappointing attraction in Brussels. We also made sure to eat A LOT while we were there. We got mussels, fries, chocolate, waffles and beer - basically all that brussels is known for. And it was all delish!
We then went back to London early the next morning so I had time to show Melissa around London. We went to big ben and westminster. Took pictures in a red phone booth and along the thames. Then we went to buckinham palace and then had high tea at harrods! Monday and Tuesday I went to work and Melissa explored a little on her own. Tuesday night, Jocelyn Kristen and Arielle arrived and I couldn’t have been happier. We had a great italian dinner and just relaxed and caught up. I introduced them to my favorite british treats: digestive cookies, random’s gummies and of course cadbury chocolate - which they all loved.
I took the next 2 days off from work so I could hang out with my friends. Wednesday we saw changing of the guards, went on the London eye and shopped around camden market. Wednesday night Evan and I had a joint birthday party at China White. I was so happy to have my friends from home and my friends from abroad all there to celebrate with me. It was a really great night!
The next day was my 21st birthday! I can’t believe I’m finally 21! In the morning we went to St Pauls and walked the Millenium bridge to the Tate modern. We then had an incredible lunch at borough market which we all LOVED. I gotta make sure I go back there before I leave! Then we went to St Jame’s park which was absolutely beautiful. Afterwards, I took them to this cute little creperie and gelato place in my neighborhood. That night we went to the ice bar and froze our toes off (litterally) but had so much fun anyway! All it all it was one of my best birthdays yet and I was so thrilled that my best friends came all this way to share it with me!
Unfortunately, they all left me the next morning. Some tears may have been shed again, but we really had such an amazing time. And now its only another month til I come home! Its crazy to think that my semester abroad is almost over, it definitely flew by soo fast! So here’s to making the most of my last month in London…
So since its been so long since I’ve written and I have a lot to catch up on I’m going to try and do a quick overview of the past 3 weeks or so.
2 weekends ago my parents and Jenny came to visit! I had the best time with them! I finally got to do a lot of the things on my london bucket list and it was just really enjoyable to see them. We did kensington palace, westminster abby, the london eye, high tea, tower of london, bicester village outlets (of course that one mostly came from my mom’s list), 2 shows, portabello market, harrods, great dinners, and just had a really nice time. It was definitely too short of a visit!
Last weekend I went to dublin for some pre-st patty’s day celebrations. It was a really small city, and just as stereotypically irish as you would imagine. We did a hop on/hop off bus tour which took us to all the sights: the guinness factory, trinity college, temple bar, st stephen’s green, graphton st and some other cool irish sights. Had my first guinness! It was pretty good. The next day we took a train to this little fishing town on the coast called howth. They had all these great cute little markets with amazing food! Overall it was a great trip!
Now after a full week of boring work melissa is here! I was so excited to see her and may or may not have shed some tears in the middle of heathrow airport. Were about to head off to brussels for the weekend and when we get back the rest of my friends arrive! Its gunna be a great week!
So I haven’t written in a while. Not surprising! But I thought I should catch up on a few things. After I got back from spring break, I started my internship! Im working in the HR department if Elizabeth Arden. Really unlike anything I thought I would be interested in but its definitely a cool company and its so interesting to get the experience of working in a different city! I really get the full experience of London working life. I start off my day as a sardine, jammed onto the tube and then I walk through the crowds of people down Oxford st, which is basically London’s version of Madison avenue, to get to work. Live at work is average, I’m an intern, what more can I say. But I must say, british companies are way more different than you would think. Just little things about the way people go about their day in the office. Everyone is so sarcastic and witty, and there is no qualms about throwing out curse words everywhere. Definitely things that would not fly in NY.
The one really cool thing about my job is that I did get to work at London Fashion Weekend, which was SO cool! Funny story though that further explains how different london is. So when my supervisor was explaining what I would need to do at fashion weekend, she told me that I should wear all black. And so I followed up with what I thought was a seemingly harmless question clarifying my outfit restrictions and so I asked her if I can wear “pants” (meaning if I needed to wear a skirt/dress or if pants were acceptable). Well she gave me quite a confused look when I asked that and the rest of the department starts giggling and laughing. Then she finally smiles and says “oh you mean trousers”. Little did I know, “pants” means “underwear” in british-english. So basically I asked my supervisor if I could wear underwear to london fashion weekend! So much for going to a city that speaks the same language!
So I just got back from my spring break in Italy! It was absolutely incredible. Last tuesday morning I took a final at 9am then ran straight from my final to the airport to catch my flight to Roma! When Riana and I landed and went to find a cab we quickly realized that neither of us spoke a word of italian. Luckily the cab driver spoke english and we were off to meet our friends. I got to Niki and Newman’s apartment and I was SOOO happy to see them. After catching up for a little, we went to dinner at this place called Maccaroni. I don’t know whether it was just because it was my first meal but I think it was the best mean in Italy. Newman and I shared a caprese salad and I got the gnocci with pear and gorgonzola. DELISH. We then got gelato at their favorite place which was HUGE. Mom, you would have loved it. Instead of having the normal 1 counter of flavors, it had about 6 or 7 counters of so many different flavors. It was great. We then decided we were too tired to go out but we were right near the Trevi Fountain so we go to see it light up at night which was beautiful! I threw 3 coins in and made a wish, so hopefully it brings me good luck.
The next morning Niki and Newman had class but I met up with Jill to do all the touristy things in Rome. Unfortunately it was POURING rain (way worse than London) but we didn’t let it put a damper on our experience. We went back to the Trevi fountain to see it during the day, climbed the spanish steps, saw the Pantheon (which was actually so cool in the rain because of the hole in the ceiling it rained inside), toured the coliseum and the forum. It was a long jam-packed day but we had to fill it all in. That night I met up with Riana and we went to Tony’s which is everyone’s favorite restaurant. It was more American style Italian food but still the best penne alla vodka I’ve ever had. Then we all went out and I got to see what Roman nightlight was all about.
The next morning I slept in a little bit and then we toured the Vatican and the sistine chapel. It was so incredible. We just sat in there for a little just staring up at the amazing ceiling. Then we walked to the Borghese park which was beautiful and had amazing views of the whole city. That night we went to La scala and had the most amazing homemade fresh ravioli. (Basically my whole trip in Italy was based on food, seems to be a theme of being abroad). We went out again and woke up early the next morning to catch a train to Florence!
We arrived in florence, checked into the hotel and went off to eat! After another amazing meal of pizza and pasta, we climbed up the 400-something steps of the Duomo. It was so so beautiful. I think another theme of being abroad is that in every city your suppose to climb up some sort of large structure and see some amazing view of the entire city. Well worth it though. We then walked around the San Lorenzo market and did some shopping. We went out to dinner (more delicious pasta) and went out. We met up with a bunch of Cornell people who were either studying in Florence or were visiting for the weekend too. It was so nice to see everyone. Then, we went out on a search for the famous Florence secret bakery. Apparently your not allowed to sell food late night in Florence so this bakery opened up and its a little window that you knock on and quietly whisper what you want and they bring it out to you. After getting lost a few times we found it and ate quite average tasting chocolate croissants. I guess the lure of the place is less about the food and more about the so-called “secret.”
The next morning we got up and saw the David! It was massive! (here I go using my newly acquired british vocabulary). It was way cooler and way more impressive than I expected. Then we tried to go to the ufittzi gallery but the line was way too long so we skipped it. We then just spent the afternoon walking around the city. We crossed the river to the Ponte Vecchio, did a little shopping, then walked up to the Piazza Michaelangelo to see the sunset. Absolutely amazing. We then got gelato at viviols. Actually the best gelato I have ever had in my whole entire life. Then we walked around some more, ate another delicious dinner consisting of fresh mozzarella, pizza and pasta. Seriously, Italy really does have the most amazing food I’ve ever had.
The next morning we woke up early to catch a train to Pisa! We went straight to the leaning tower and took funny touristy pictures of us holding it up. Then we ate a last italian lunch, had our last gelato, and went to the airport to come back to London. Overall it was an absolutely amazing trip!
So I haven’t written in quite a while. Somehow I knew this would happen, I am terrible at sticking to these kinds of things. I’ll attempt to do a recap of the past two weekends.
Last weekend I was in Amsterdam. Honestly the craziest and most out-there city I have ever seen in my life. It is just SUCH a different kind of culture than America and even London. We did pretty much all the main touristy sights. The Anne Frank Huis was extremely moving and incredible to see. Heinekein Brewery was so cool and I even got to draft (or in dutch “DRAUGHT”) my own beer! We ate ginormous pancakes, climbed on the I amsterdam letters and went on a boat tour. Overall it was such a fun and crazy weekend!
This past weekend I was in Barcelona! My favorite place so far by a longshot. I forgot how much I missed being able to speak spanish! (I was extremely rusty). But the city was just so cute and charming and WARM! It was great. The first night we went to a bar called chupitos which my cousin had told me about and I was so excited to finally get to experience. They have about 300 different types of shots with all these funny themes and ways to drink them. It was so much fun! The next morning we did a hop on hop off bus tour that hit pretty much all the major sights in barcelona. All I have to say is that Gaudi is a genius! La sagrada familia was amazing and parc guell was actually the most beautiful place I have ever seen in my whole life. I felt like I was in a fairytale. And Casa Batillo was unlike any other building I’ve ever been in. That night we hit up the barcelona clubs and lets just say that barcelona night life lived up to its reputation. The next morning we walked las ramblas, went to la bogueria, walked along the beach near the ports, and went to the barcelona zoo! We ate lots of tapas and drank lots of sangria all weekend! I was very sad to leave because I think it was the best weekend yet. I will definitely have to come back sometime in the near future!
That about sums up the past too weekends away! I am staying in London this weekend, which I am looking forward to and then next week I leave for spring break in Italy! More to come…
BONJOUR! So its now monday afternoon and I just got back from Paris yesterday! Wow, what an incredible city! I had the best best weekend!
We took the train from London straight into Paris. It was soo quick and easy! We got in kind of late so we checked into the hotel, dropped our stuff off and went straight to dinner. We went to this place called Le refuge fondue and it was AMAZING. Theres no menu, just a set dinner so when you sit down and this plate of little antipasta just gets plopped down in front of u, no questions asked as to what you are actually eating but we just went with it. Then the waiter says “red or white” and you get brought wine in baby bottles! Yes, real baby bottles. Not exactly sure why they do that, but it was hysterical nonetheless. Then this hugee pot of hot buttery cheese fondue gets brought to the table. SO GOOD! The restaurant is so small so we made friends with the waiters and the people next to us. It was such an insane experience. After that we decided we needed to get crepes so we found a little crepe shop called “le snack time” and proceeded to stuff ourselves with even more delicious french crepes. After that we just walked around and explored the area we were in and found moulin rouge! Pretty cool.
The next morning we woke up and headed to the eiffel tower! On our way to the metro (which was so easy to figure out, partially thanks to the amazing navigation skills I inherited from my dad) we stopped at a little patisserie where I had the most amazing chocolate croissant I have ever had in my life. I warned you, this post is entitled “eating my way through paris”. Getting off the metro and rounding the corner was my first view of the eiffel tower! It was so incredibly breathtaking! The very top was closed which was a little upsetting but the views from the 1st and 2nd level were still amazing. Then we left and proceeded to do all of the sights one after another. Notre Dame, Orsay, the Louvre, Tulieries, Champs-Elyssess and the Arc de Triomphe. All amazing and beautiful but it was an exhausting day. We stopped at another patiesserie (my new fave thing) for some AMAZING french macaroons on the way back to the hotel.
After we relaxed for maybe a minute, we went to dinner at the cutest little neighborhood french bistro. None of the waiters spoke a word of english and the menu was all in french. It was the first time that I literally felt helpless because I had NO idea what anything was. Thank god the hostess spoke english and came over and tried to explain things to us as best as she could. I heard the word chicken and just went with that to be safe. It was amazing. Then we got crepes again for dessert.
The next day we woke up, had croissants again for breakfast, and went to the Pompidou museum. Weirdest/coolest place I’ve ever been. Then we walked to the Jewish quarter and went to some cute stores walked around the area. We then waited on this huge line at the famous falafel stand. Most incredible falafel I’ve ever had, oddly enough it was even better than the ones I had in israel. We spent the rest of the day wondering around Paris just absorbing the city and sitting at a cafe drinking hot chocolate. Picked up some macaroons and a bottle of wine to bring back to London with me! In the late afternoon we head over to the Trocadero which we heard (thanks to my guide book) has the most amazing views of the eiffel tower. So we waited until it got dark to see it light up and honestly words cannot even explain how pretty it was. After simply staring and taking millions of pictures, it started to sparkle! I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything so pretty.
Then we went to a quick dinner at a little cafe place near the hotel. We all got delicious salads and… I tried escargo! I thought, when in france, do as the french do, so I decided to be really adventurous and just went for it. It was pretty good!
After an amazing weekend of incredible sights and even better food, we headed back to London. Once we got back, we were so happy to be hearing english and to be familiar with our surroundings. I guess thats a good sign that London is starting to feel like home…