First off, I want to apologize for my lack of blogs. So much has been going on these past few weeks! Where should I even begin? We started our Statistics class the Monday after we arrived. Our normal class routine is to have class from 9-11 am and then from 1-3pm. On Wednesdays, we take a walk somewhere and take in London. The first Wednesday, we went to the Somerset House. Some went ice skating and looked around in an art museum that was located there. The second Wednesday, we went to King’s Cross Station and took a group picture in front of Platform 9 3/4 from Harry Potter. We then walked to the British Library, which had such a great collection of works such as the Gutenberg Bible, the Canterbury Tales, the Magna Carta, letters from Queens from the past, and even pieces of paper that the Beatles jotted song lyrics on. Today, we went to the Imperial War Museum, which was very interesting and would take hours to go all the way through. On Thursday, we have class in the morning and then take a test in the afternoon, which means that we get Fridays off! It has been so wonderful to have 3 day weekends and really get to go explore London during the daytime. Last Friday, we went to Dunnhumby, a company that analyzes what customers buy from the stores they are associated with and tries to find better ways to market products. Then the weekends we can take trips to places that are farther away or explore London more. That pretty much sums my week as a student.
When we are not thinking about class, we like to go out and explore or buy groceries located from stores literally two minute walks away. Some of us took a couple of hours to go through great Harrods store. I also like to go on my five minute walk to Covent Garden (there are numerous little shops on the streets leading to the market and once inside the market there are more stores, performers, and vendors). It true place to find London culture. I also enjoy taking walks or going on runs through the parks. Some friends and I went on run through Regent’s park, which is the home of London Zoo, soccer (football) fields, and lovely gardens. It is so great to be able to walk or run and observe a London couple walking their dog (not on a leash) or seeing a pick-up soccer game. I absolutely adore Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. These two parks are merged together and consist of the Kensington Palace, the Peter Pan statue (my favorite), and other memorials. There is no greater feeling than to grab a cup of hot chocolate and stroll around the park.
On the second weekend, we took a train out to Cambridge which was such a pleasant surprise to me. I really did not know much about Cambridge, but after I entered into the town, I saw what an amazing place it was and is to this day. We went on a tour in the morning. We went throughout all of the colleges and go to see where Isaac Newton went to school. We go to see where the first atom was split and where the discovery of DNA occurred. After the tour, we had a chance to explore more. My friends and I went to a pub called the Eagle, and I ate my first fish and chips meal of the trip. Then we wandered through an art museum and through the gardens of the colleges.
On the third weekend, we all made a trip to Stoke City to watch a football match. After a long, cold walk from the train station to the stadium, we were able to take a tour and go down to the field level, the locker rooms, and the press box. After most of us bought our Stoke City scarves, we were ready for the game. The game was sold out and was such an amazing experience. Soccer is finally making it’s way up the ladder in US, but here in England it is the most popular sport of them all. I was so thrilled to be able to watch a game and here the chants coming from the fans. Each fan is so passionate about the team and it was just a truly amazing experience.
One thing that I have never done in the US is celebrate Chinese New Year. This past monday was Chinese New Year and we were able to go into China Town and see the lanterns that were strung about the streets and the decorations in the windows. We even ate at a Chinese restaurant to celebrate.
That is all I have to share so far. I will make sure to keep you updated as much as possible. We are going to Oxford this weekend, so I’m sure I will have much to tell about that!