Thursday, 13 September 2012

Our first 3 weeks in England!

Yes-- that's the view from my new bedroom window. WOW is all I can say. Words can't even do it justice so I'll let the picture talk for itself. It's only been 3 weeks into the semester, but it feels like I have been here for months. We have already done so much in such a short period of time, and there is still so much to come before this amazing semester ends. I still cannot believe I'm living and studying in England, the place I have always dreamed of visiting. I never imagined I would actually be living here.... and in a MANOR! Or as I like to refer to it as my castle (which everyone back home HATES, but I love it). I'm still trying to get used to waking up for 8:30am British Studies lecture, which is quite difficult for someone who has never had a college class before 11am. And living in the same room with 3 girls is definitely different. But honestly, who could complain. Just take a look outside your window and any little problem you think you have feels like it doesn't even matter.

Harlaxton Sunset
After settling in after a long and exhausting Thursday and Friday, we had a High Table Dinner on Saturday. We were introduced to the faculty and staff of Harlaxton. Also, the students got to talk and know each other with the random seating arrangements. This is where I met almost all of the friends I have today. I'm very thankful that we had this dinner because I came here not knowing anybody, and I met people that night I know will be life-long friends.
(from the left) Morgan Stone, Me (Courtney Leer), Dayna Johnson, Nikki Woolston
Bag Pipe at Dinner
And of course after the dinner ended, we decided to venture out into Grantham to see what the night life was about. We went to Gravity (night club), Bar Code (which was recommended by our Street Car driver), and then The Late Lounge. We met many some new friends from Grantham that night, too.

The next weekend after classes started, we left for London. On Thursday night, we departed from the manor and drove to London by coach. Once we got to London, we marched up the hill to our hostel. This was my first experience staying in a hostel. From the movies and stories others had about hostels, it was safe to say that I was not only nervous, but pretty scared! Luckily, my hostel stay was neither scary nor nerve-wracking. Our room fit 12 girls, with bunk beds 3 people high. It also had one shower, two sinks, and two outlets-- definitely not my favorite part about the hostel, but we were so busy having fun it didn't even matter. 

After we got settled in our hostel (more like threw our stuff into the cubby and took off) we were all starving and wanted to find a place to eat. Then, realizing it was nearly 11pm and all the pubs were closed, we decided on McDonald's. And that was probably the best idea of our entire stay because guess who else decided to eat McDonald's... in London..... at the same time......and same place. HARRY STYLES. Yes, of One Direction. My roommate, Emily, even has proof.

The next morning, Rebecca Kish and I decided to explore London. We took the tube, bright and early (6AM), to go to the Paralympics. Sit-down volleyball, men's judo, and table tennis were the Excel events we decided to watch. 
sit down volleyball

After spending a few hours there, we took the London Underground to the Camden markets. This is where we ate and shopped. And let me say- the markets in Camden were GREAT.

After we were done exploring Camden, we made our way to the heart of London to take a ride on the London Eye. The views and photographs we got while riding were absolutely beautiful. And luckily the waiting time was not as bad as we thought, considering the line was extremely long.

And on the way back to the hostel from The Eye, we were figuring out which train we needed to take back to the hostel and saw a man that was letting people hold an Olympic Torch from the London 2012 games. How cool?! Of course I HAD to get a picture with it! 

On Saturday we decided to take the Red Bus Tour and visits various sites, such as the Houses of Parliment, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, and of course, my favorite, Buckingham Palace. I was so excited to see the changing of the guards, but it was not happening the day we went. I'm hoping when I go back with my mother in early October I will get to see them, and maybe Prince William & Harry (I could only wish).... But then again we did run into One Direction, so ANYTHING is possible in London!

Riding around London on the Red Bus

Buckingham Palace

And what is coming to England and NOT taking a red phone booth picture. You just have to.

So then after a full day of London sightseeing, we decided to have a little fun and attend the Camden Pub Crawl. We heard it was the best pub crawl in London, so our course we had to make an appearance. We were nervous after hearing it was mostly just tourists who attend the crawl because we wanted to meet people from England, too. That was not the case, though. There were people from London and surrounding areas, too. 

Finally, we left London early Sunday morning and made our way to Hampton Court Palace and Runnymede (Magna Carta). After spending a few hours at those places, we came back to our home to get ready for classes bright and early Monday morning. It was a great weekend in London. I am in love with the city and I cannot wait to go back!

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