7.05.2014

Paris, je t'aime


I've been sitting here with a delicious cup of cappuccino trying to think of something original to say about Paris, but I've come to the conclusion that there simply is no other way to describe this enchanting city without sounding like a total cliché. For me, Paris was everything and more! There is reason as to why it's called the "city of love." Sure, it is the destination for newlyweds to lose themselves in their romance and yes, French is considered the "language of love", but simply strolling along the Seine River with a drink in hand or just walking aimlessly through the countless small streets, you can't help but become smitten with the city. I would say one of my favorite things I did while in Paris was people watching while sitting outside at a cafe in Saint Michel. There is so much we tend to look over because we're too busy with our own agendas, but once you slow down and just take everything in, you'll be surprised at all the little wonders. I didn't have enough time to go into the Lourve when I visited during the day, but I was able to get the typical Lourve picture and also see it at night as well to see the light fixture, a red neon lightning bolt, by Claude Lévêque. And of course, I cannot forget to mention La Tour Eiffel! While I did not go see it during the day, I made up for it a million times over by visiting it at night with a few friends from Paris. The Eiffel Tower was just beautiful. I think I stood staring up at it with a giddy smile on my face for a good minute..I was that much in awe!

I did end up being able to see all the main attractions in Paris during my stay, but that was partially because I was driven around at night to see them all! Personally, a weekend trip for my first time in Paris was not enough. No matter. It is just more reason to return to the city that stole my heart.

7.02.2014

L O N D O N : Places & Things

made my mark on the wall in front of Abbey Road Studios.
Because I haven't had time to write more individual posts on the things I have done while abroad in London, I thought I'd combine most of them into one. Here are a few images from some of the things I did during the last few weeks (minus my trips to Paris & Amsterdam!). The first set of photos are from our school trips to Stamford Bridge and Wimbledon Stadium. As a former tennis player, Wimbledon was probably one of my favorite trips from the many class trips we had. It was as spectacular as you'd expect it to be! There are also a few photos from my trip to Queen Mary's Gardens in Regent's Park. I've never been a big flower person, but while walking through the garden of roses, I was stopped suddenly by the most delicious smelling rose I had ever smelled - these were called "Chando's Beauty." Michelle and I sat by these bushes for a good 10 minutes before moving on through the beautiful grounds. The last few sets of photos are from my trip to Stratford upon Avon, which is the home of Shakespeare! We had a few hours to spend so a group of us decided to go row on the river that cut through the charming little town. Next are just a few photos I had left from my night out in Camden on a Camden Pub Crawl. While it was such a great night out, I was pick-pocketed during the time of the last few photos - my phone and some cash were stolen! I didn't really let that ruin my night...or at least I was too much in my happy place to let it bother me. Still, I had an amazing time with everyone! Finally there are a few pictures by Michelle of me making my mark on the walls in front of the famous Abbey Road Studios. As a Beatles fan, it was like a dream come true to find myself walking across the Abbey Road crosswalk. Taking a picture was impossible since, well, it is an actual road and a busy one at that. No matter, that just gives me more reason to return to London!

I still have more to share, but I've been having a hard time really getting settled down to write a few posts. At the moment, I'm signing on from Firenze! I'm very behind with what I want to share with you all, but I'll catch up soon enough. Bear with me! :)

6.15.2014

L O N D O N : Kensington Park & Rochester


Oh the beauty of the greenery in the UK! I've since visited a few more locations, but for this particular post I'd like to share Kensington Park and Rochester. On the first day London had a bit of sunshine, a group of us went over to Kensington Park to have a picnic on the luscious fields of green. We all bought lunch at the Whole Foods nearby school and walked a few minutes over to the park to find it filled with families playing ball, bicyclists weaving through the scattered pedestrians, and loads of cute dogs running about. Perfect way to the start of summer classes! We went to Rochester on a class trip and visited Rochester Castle and Rochester Cathedral (the second oldest cathedral in England!) The quaint town was a breath of fresh air after being situated in a city setting for so long. Things as simple as walking down the cobblestoned streets, peering into the secondhand book stores and visiting old-fashioned confectionary shops was such a refreshing experience. It's nice to step back and enjoy the little things.

6.12.2014

L O N D O N

 

The idea of studying abroad has always been just a dream. Never did I think that I would actually take the plunge like I did a few months ago when I clicked the "Confirm" button on my study abroad application. Well, here I am! I've been in London for two weeks now and time has just been flying by. With classes, field trips, random excursions out into the city and spontaneously planned weekend trips, these two weeks have been an absolute dream. Of course, there were some up's and down's at the start of my trip like being homesick within a week, totally missing the ease of finding everything you need in one store and realizing that a convertor is not always needed for your appliances (I broke my new travel steamer and hair straightener in the first week!). But even with the occasional bad day, I'm loving every single minute of it. This is basically the first time I've been away from home without any family close by to lean back on. Although I have my school to look to in case of any real emergency, for the most part I'm on my own here. So far, I think I'm doing more than okay (the only real crisis I had was when I accidentally burned a small section of my hair!) As I look back on the two weeks that have passed, I've realized it's not all about where I am but also about who I am while I'm here. It's quite the cliche, but I'm looking forward to see how I come to grow as an individual on this journey of mine.

Anyway, here are some of the photos that my friend Michelle and I took during the first few days - there's more to come. To be honest, it's been very hard to remember to take pictures...I'm just too preoccupied with just living in the moment!