Well, tomorrow is the day. The day we have to leave this beautiful city. I did not know that three and a half months could fly by so fast. This past week has been amazing. It is so bittersweet knowing that I have to leave my new family out here, but I am excited to see my family and friends. We had our final art history exam on Tuesday, what a relief it was to have that over and done! I will probably never again memorize 20 paintings, but if you want to know about impressionism or Dadaism I am your girl! After I went and did a little sightseeing at the Tower of London and Tower Bridge. I would have been upset with myself if I had missed seeing the crown jewels while I was here. Then that night we went to the Nutcracker Ballet. It was good but the whole no talking thing was just kind of boring to me. Looks like I am not a ballet kinda girl. Then Wednesday seven of us went to the Harry Potter Studio Tour in Watford, about an hour away from London. We got to see sets and props all used on the Harry Potter movies. It was absolutely incredible, a dream come true for a Harry Potter fan like me. I could see everything really coming to life and how they did so much of the cinematography. It was completely mind blowing. Then Thursday I had my last marketing final and last ethics class and we were FREE!! And today I have been doing my packing. I thought packing to come out here was hard, but imagine having all of that stuff plus everything I bought here. It is very difficult to say the least. Our cabs come at 5:30 tomorrow morning to bring to Heathrow International Airport for the flight home. I get home at 4pm, which is 10pm London time, quite the day of traveling to say the least. I just hope that my layover in Detroit isn’t horrible, I really hate that airpot.
As these past few days have gone by I have realized that everything is my ‘last’. Like I just took my last shower at my home stay. Tonight will be our last time at Church Pub. Last night was the last time I will ride the night bus. So sad when I start to realize all of these things. I maybe will come back here in a few years time or maybe for a job, but this experience I have had for the past three and a half months can never be replaced. London will forever have a place in my heart for my future ahead and I will always look back to this trip.
Even with that being said, there is definitely a few things that I have missed. We made a pro/con list on one of our day trips a few days ago. I thought I could share that with you, just so you know what I really miss out here.
Things we are excited for at home:
-Use of a dryer
-No more looking for wifi for our phones, we have service everywhere!!
-Using a microwave again!
-Dollars, no more getting screwed over by the exchange rate
-Driving and parking, except we are coming back in the middle of the winter so driving might be an experience in the beginning
-Access to ice
-Less travel time
-The UST campus
-Driving on the right side of the road, both literally and figuratively
-Target and Walgreens
-My full wardrobe back
Things we will miss about London:
-The night bus, although not everyone agrees with me but it is a free ride home that will take you anywhere at anytime!
-Pub lifestyle here
-All the culture and plays that we have experienced
-The Library, no not literally a place you study. We have a pub IN our school called the Library
-Being of legal drinking age (for some), I turned 21 so I don’t have to worry about this
-The people we have met and who are from here
-Public transportation, YES it has grown on me
-A million sites to see that you will never get bored
-Always having friends here, being with 50 students we always have a friend to do stuff with
-Double decker buses, duh!
-The fashion, you can literally get away with wearing anything here
-Pret A Manger, they NEED to come to Minneapolis. Or EAT, I would take them too,
-Pub Crawls any day possible
-Primark, people do not agree with me on this one either, but they have literally everything all in one store. If you can get past the crowds then this place is heaven. Shoes, clothes, accessories, luggage, coats, home decor, food, etc. you know what I mean!
If I could bring my friends and family to London, then I probably would. I would love to live here for the rest of my life. I could see myself doing it too. But I miss everyone at home, and I do not know if I could stay 6 hours away from everyone I love.
Lastly, in honor of people at home counting the hours until I get home. I thought I could do a little countdown of my own. My top 5 experiences and favorite things in London. My friends and I have been talking about our favorite/ most embarrassing moments out here. I honestly could not name one thing that I did that sticks out to be the BEST thing that I did. That is why I am afraid for when I go home because I will not have an answer for everyone when they want my 30 second speech on three and a half months. That is just not possible. I will sit down with you and talk for hours. I will literally talk your ear off because I have done so much stuff that I could tell stories for days. Explaining this experience in a few minutes just does not justify it. This list of only 10 things is also not justifying my time here, but it helps to those of you who have not studied abroad. Once you do it, you will understand. << My friends who have studied abroad before said the exact same thing and I did not understand. But once you study abroad, something changes. You grow up and mature into a whole new person. There are things we have experienced here that, if I told someone who has not studied abroad, they just would not understand. I know that maybe that does not make sense and I am rambling. But to sum it up, this experience was beyond the best thing to ever happen to me.
5) Switzerland. Who does not want to skydive through the Swiss Alps if given the chance? If you said you would pass, then you are either my mother or crazy! I got to canyon jump and skydive in the Alps. I know that many people will not get that experience. Although it was a bit chilly (we have been spoiled in London with 50 degree weather this whole time) seeing the Alps and having an adrenaline weekend was awesome. This lists on the top 5 because each trip that I get to take with my family of LBS is automatically amazing. This group of kids makes each trip beyond compare because when we all get together it is atomically fun. Switzerland was not just beautiful but it was exhilarating to be in the mountains. I would go back here in an instant.
4) Rome, Venice, Barcelona. What did you do for midterm break? Oh you went ‘up north’, yeah I went to Italy and Spain. Beat that. Rome was one of my favorite cities that I got to experience here. This trip was an amazing one for myself. I could travel with three good friends around beautiful countries. And I fit 10 days of clothing into ONE suitcase. Not even a suitcase, a weekend bag that had to fit in RyanAir carry on restrictions. Yes it was hard. But I would do it all again in a second. This trip showed me the backpackers way of life. Tour by day, party by night. I loved these 10 days, we saw new cultures and saw some of the best known monuments around from the Vatican and Colosseum in Rome to the Segrada Familia in Barcelona.
3) The pub lifestyle. The way they do things over here is so chill to say it bluntly. They think that having a pint with dinner is how it is supposed to be. I agree with that. You can meet your friends for drinks after work or go with your family to a pub to watch a sporting event. I will very much miss the ciders that they have to offer out here. Sorry beer but you are only drank rarely on occasion. But the ciders on the other hand, they are something that the states need to get. I love grabbing a pint with my friends after class. The drinking culture of the United States is very different and you are shamed for grabbing a beer in the afternoon, while here it is normal. I have realized these cultural differences. So who wants to get some happy hours after work this spring? Lets make the pub culture come back home with us!
2) Scotland. This trip was the first big trip that brought our family of 50 together. It might have been the hours upon hours on the buses or the sleepless nights that brought us together. But this trip was actually unforgettable. The Scottish Highlands were gorgeous. This trip made me want to consider grad school at St. Andrew. Scotland is beyond beautiful. I still catch myself looking back to this trip with a smile on my face. I met some of my best friends here. Although we did get caught trying to swim in Loch Ness by our bus driver, this trip was probably one of the best trips I had this whole time.
1) The people I have met. You are the reasons that I have enjoyed my time in London. This group of 50 of us is the most amazing group that I can imagine. Through the thick and thin, we all have each others backs. You kind of have to be friends with you are all pushed together in a different country. Bu we made the best of it and ended up creating a family. I know that when we will see each other in classes, at the bars, or just on campus we will all be eager to say hello and greet the other with a huge hug. Thank you to each of you for being such a great group to experience this country with and for each of us to grow up. I know that each of us might not think that we grew or matured, but looking back to September when we were all nervous and not sure what to expect, we have grown up since then. We have broadened our cultures and opened our eyes to the world. This experience I would not change for anything, and you people are included with that!