Senior Status

Sofia - RWU Class of 2013

Category: Spring 2012 - Abroad

European Traveler!

So sorry I’ve been neglecting you all! Classes finished on April 5th, and the beginning of my spring break began on the 8th! I had been living the life all semester with no work, and then all at once I had about 6 papers due within the same week! Poor planning on my part…

Anyway, that’s all over and done with and I got to spend my Easter traveling to Paris! It was my very first holiday away from my family, but I’m happy I had my mind occupied by the big and beautiful Eiffel Tower!

We were only in Paris for three days, and the size of the city and amount of things to do there was daunting. But with my obsessive and strategic planning, I think we saw just about everything! We saw the Louvre Museum, the Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur, Moulin Rouge, the famous lock bridge, and of course, the Eiffel Tower.

The Louvre

The Louvre

The Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower

The famous lock bridge

The famous lock bridge

Moulin Rouge

Moulin Rouge

Sacre Coeur

Sacre Coeur

Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame Cathedral

We even had time for a night cruise, which was only 12 Euros and we got a coupon from one of those people that harass you on the street—they aren’t all bad! And it was totally worth it… seeing the Eiffel Tower sparkle at night brought tears to my eyes (and not just because it was windy).

Paris at night--the Eifferl Tower from our cruise

Paris at night--the Eiffel Tower from our cruise

On our last day, we took a day trip to Versailles to see the palace, which was gorgeous (and free because we are students!). After touring the magnificent palace, we wandered around the gardens in the back and then rented a canoe on the lake! It was the perfect day.

Versailles from my canoe

Versailles from my canoe

Versailles Palace

Versailles Palace

The gardens at Versailles

The gardens at Versailles

Then I met my friend Jessi, who is studying abroad in Paris (jealous!) and from there we headed to Barcelona! Barcelona was much bigger than I expected and there was much more to see, which was good since we were there for four days.  It had such a cool, relaxed vibe there, and seeing palm trees while sitting by the pier was the best feeling!

The pier

The pier

The architecture there was out of this world, most of it designed by Antoni Gaudi, who I have decided is a total genius. My favorite area where his architecture is showcased is Park Guell. Not only were the buildings beautiful, but also the sights were out of this world! It was definitely worth the hike.

Park Guell

Park Guell

We also hiked up Montjuic and got to see Castell de Montjuic and rode my very first monorail down the mountain afterwards. We went back to relax by the pier and ran into music playing and people salsa dancing in the square! It was such a fun atmosphere… I love running into things that are unplanned!

As you can imagine, the nightlife and the food is amazing in Barcelona as well, clubs on the beach, sangria, paella, tapas… it’s making me hungry reminiscing!

The club on the beach

The club on the beach

The food!

The food!

We then flew into Pisa to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa! It was such a sight to see in real life and it was so funny watching everyone pose with it. I tried myself…

Holding up the Leaning Tower

Holding up the Leaning Tower

Later that day we took the train to Florence, where I visited my friends studying abroad there. Florence is so cute and exactly what I would expect from a small Italian city… I loved it! The food is amazing and I love how easily accessible all the sights are. We saw Ponte Vecchio, the Duomo, Palazzo Pitti, and Piazza Michelangelo, which all have spectacular views of the city.

Sweeping view of Florence

Sweeping view of Florence

Naturally, we had to visit the pizza place where the Jersey Shore worked, and it was actually some of the best pizza I had in Italy! We even got a picture with the boss…

Pizza Boss...Jersey Shore what?

Pizza Boss...Jersey Shore what?

As expected, the gelato was to die for and I am positive I would be twice the size if I studied there myself!

On the last day, we went on a wine tour in Chianti where we saw the Tuscan countryside. Even though it rained the entire day, the views were brilliant and I learned so much about wine and olive oil!

Wine Tour...for research...

Wine Tour...for research...

We then took another train down to Rome, which was the last leg of my trip. I never thought I would say it, but by this point, I was exhausted and couldn’t wait to be in my own bed in London! Nevertheless, we still had three days, and I wanted to see as much of Rome as we could.

We saw the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, the Colosseum, and the Roman Forum all in one day!

Trevi Fountain

Trevi Fountain

The Colosseum

The Colosseum

The Spanish Steps

The Spanish Steps

The Forum

The Forum

We then devoted an entire day to St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museum.

St. Peter's Basilica

St. Peter's Basilica

When I came to Rome years ago in the 8th grade, I had been unable to go inside the Vatican because of the election of the pope, so I was really excited to get to see it this time. I also got to see the Sistine Chapel, which is too beautiful to describe properly in words! Wish they let us take pictures…

I’m so thankful I was able to travel while studying abroad, and I have definitely made a dent in my bucket list of places to travel!

And as soon as I arrived back in London it hit me… only one week left!!! Where did time go!?

Until next time (where you will read about my mental breakdown and struggles packing, I’m sure…)

Cheers!

xx

Beyond Windmills and Wooden Shoes

Time is beginning to freak me out. I can’t believe we are now halfway into March… where is the time going?? In one month, I will be traveling through Europe on my spring break. In less than two months time, I will be back in America… AH! I am so overtired and worn out but I don’t have time for rest. Too busy having the time of my life! (Not so much right now… currently sitting in class barely able to keep my eyes open, why did I think going out last night was a good idea again?)

Over the weekend, I took a trip to Amsterdam with my school. It was the first time I traveled outside of the country since I got here and I had a blast! We met at the bar on campus on Thursday night and traveled by bus and ferry to get to Amsterdam by Friday morning. I did not get much sleep because one girl was SO LOUD on the bus, so no one could sleep. We all wanted her head.

We finally arrived, exhausted, but I was not about to waste a minute in Amsterdam sleeping! My friends and I dropped our luggage at The World’s Worst Hostel (literally, they have a gold metal AND a plaque), and began exploring the city! There are rivers everywhere and it’s actually set up in a giant circle, patterned with roads and rivers. The first thing I noticed (after it’s beauty) was the insane amount of bikes. EVERYONE seems to ride bikes there, and they rule the streets over cars, pedestrians, even the tram. The bikes have their very own lane and stop lights!

bikes everywhere

Bikes Everywhere!

Amsterdam at night

Amsterdam at night

The second thing you will notice about Amsterdam is the amount of coffee shops there are. No, I don’t mean cafes to grab some coffee and a croissant. Coffee shops in Amsterdam are very different… but we won’t get into that.

On the first day, we went to the Rijksmuseum, which was mostly under construction, so it was kind of a waste of money. I did get to see some original Rembrandt paintings, though! Aside from that, not so worth the €14 I paid for a ticket. Really beautiful on the outside though.

Rijksmuseum

Rijksmuseum

We then wandered in and out of some touristy shops to collect some items of memorabilia (I got a shot class and a postcard for my wall).

While walking though the city, we found some truly amazing street performers and street art, so I had to take some photographs. I wanted to make this guy’s dream come true and put is art on a blog, so here it is!

street art

street art

Street art on a blog, as promised!

Street art on a blog, as promised!

And it wouldn’t be Amsterdam without wooden shoes, right?

Me in a wooden shoe

Me in a wooden shoe

wooden shoes sold everywhere

wooden shoes sold everywhere

They’re everywhere! Street fries are also really popular, but I couldn’t muster up the confidence to have them with traditional ketchup and mayonnaise… but they were delicious all the same.

We then ventured our way over to the Red Light District… I don’t think I have many words for that. We were in and out of there in about 60 seconds!

For something a little more serious and less disgusting, we went to see the Anne Frank House, which was probably one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take any pictures there (except one at the entrance), but I highly recommend it for anyone who travels to Amsterdam. It was a little eerie being in the actual house she lived in during the Holocaust, but breathtaking and so emotional. The things they have preserved here are quite a sight to see, right down to her bedroom wallpaper and magazine clippings she hung up herself. Visitors can walk all throughout the house (even behind the bookcase to the annex!) all the way up to the attic, reading plaques and watching video clips along the way. Once we made our way back to the beginning of the house, we got to watch an interview with Otto Frank about the discovery and publication of his daughter’s diary. We even got to see the actual diary in the red plaid notebook she filled with her feelings during this excruciating time for her and her family.

Amazing, amazing, amazing. Worth the trip to Amsterdam itself.

That evening, we went to a club with my school and had a blast! Quite difficult to wake up on Saturday, but refused to waste time when we only had a weekend!

On Saturday, we started the day off right and visited the Heineken Experience, and let me tell you, it was an experience. I wasn’t expecting it to be so interactive and interesting, and I don’t even like beer! I decided to like beer that day though, as our entrance fee came with a wristband that allowed us a choice of two complementary beers, or a lesson on how to draft a perfect Heineken and one complementary beer. I choose the latter, and drafted my first beer perfectly on the first try! I got a certificate and my very own Heineken bottle with my name on it, so legit!

me, my perfect beer and Storm

me, my perfect beer and Storm

Heineken experience

Heineken experience

Malt barley at the Heineken Experience

Malt barley at the Heineken Experience

After staying there for… almost the entire day… we found a playground and had a photo shoot on tire swings! I then got my very first falafel wrap; it was amazing and I am now addicted to anything with falafel in it.

To be proper tourists, of course we had to stop by the I Amsterdam sign and take some photographs, posing on the letters. It was much bigger than I expected and so much fun to climb and pose on the letters. I even ran into my friend who is studying abroad in Florence! She was visiting in Amsterdam as well and we got a picture in front of the sign together… love you Alice! Xo

Alice and me

Alice and me

Tire Swing!

Tire Swing!

Sunday morning, we had to head home in the morning, but all in all, it was an incredible weekend and I would not have wanted to experience Amsterdam in any other way. We stopped at a rest area in Brussels and picked up some Belgian chocolates (YUM) and headed home!

This weekend is St. Patrick’s Day weekend… so there will definitely be some stories to blog about.
Until then, cheers!

xx

I Survived London Fashion Week

Attending and working at Fashion Week in one of the most recognized cities in the world is something I could have only dreamed about doing. Let me begin by saying that this was not all glitz and glamor (although there was a great deal of it)—I worked harder than I ever worked in my entire life. But, I found that it is true when they say that you don’t mind working hard for a job you love to do. It’s absolutely true! I’m a little afraid to add up all the hours I worked over LFW because I know it’s not a very pretty number.

Basically the event runs over a course of ten days (5 days for womenswear, 1 day for menswear, and 4 days to open the stands to the general public). Every day, the designers have a stand where representatives from the company will show clothing from the current collection to potential buyers, bloggers, and magazine editors (a.k.a. we kiss their butts). Catwalks, exhibitions and private events also show throughout the day where visitors can gain entrance if they have a certain pass or ticket. I had an exhibitors pass so I got to wander around pretty much everywhere and sneak my way into a catwalk show one morning… amaze!

Exhibition Room

Exhibition Room

As far as the people, everyone walked around like they were famous, and during London Fashion Week, they most likely were famous. But because I don’t really know many stylists or editors popular in the UK, I could have easily been drinking champagne (yes, there was champagne… lots of champagne) and rubbing elbows with the best of them. My PR girl self was eager to network and find out everyone’s business, but I was there to work, and didn’t have much time for mingling.

Henrietta Ludgate Stand

Henrietta Ludgate Stand

Most of my time was spent printing up extra copies of biographies and press releases, delivering them to press rooms around the Somerset House, and e-mailing everyone that stopped by our stand to thank them and send out a digital lookbook. The best part of my job was getting to walk around in Henrietta’s clothing. Not just for fun, but to get photographed and end up on fashion blogs and style websites. This is not only amazing for me, but promotion for Henrietta Ludgate as a brand.

Marjorie & me in Henrietta Ludgate

Marjorie & me in Henrietta Ludgate

Henrietta's girls in front of LFW sign

Henrietta's girls in front of LFW sign

Nikara in Henrietta Ludgate

Nikara in Henrietta Ludgate

The weekend was a little less exciting because the crowd was less fabulous and famous, just a bunch of fashion wannabes essentially who couldn’t get an invite to the real fashion week! But, in their defense there were loads of designer clothes at amazing discount prices. I myself got a hot pink sheer maxi skirt and a blue sheer blouse with a gold sequin collar by Never Fully Dressed for only £50!

Overall, it was a great experience and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I learned so much about the industry and myself and I know for sure that I’m perusing the right career path. Because the past six weeks of my internship have been preparations for London Fashion Week, I really have no idea what I will be doing now, but I am eager to find out! I do know one thing is for sure though; I will be working a lot less. It’s time for me to focus on sightseeing (and some schoolwork…)! We will be making t-shirts that say: “I survived London Fashion Week” – hilarious, I can’t wait to rock it in the states!

On my day off, I really would have just loved to sleep in, but I just hate to see myself waste a day in a place like London, with so many things to do and see! I finally got the chance to see Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, and Buckingham Palace. They’re all in walking distance from one another and the London Eye is right over the River Thames and OH MY GOODNESS, it was beyond beautiful! Words just can’t describe, I walked up the steps from the Westminster Tube and BAM! Big Ben is right there, in your face, gigantic and stunning. I don’t think I ever took so many pictures in one place (and that’s a lot of pictures for me)! I already can’t wait to go back and visit again!

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey

Big Ben & London Eye

Big Ben & London Eye

Houses of Parliament

Houses of Parliament

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

This weekend I am going to Amsterdam and I am so excited!!! Photos to come next week!

Cheers!

xx

…I thought they spoke English in England?

UK Dictionary

1. Toilet, Loo, WC = bathroom
2. Fit = good looking
3. Cheers = thank you
4. Skanky = dirty/ratty/old
5. Tuff = conceited man
6. Tart = promiscuous girl
7. Aubergine = eggplant
8. Biscuit = cookie
9. Scone = biscuit
10. Crisps = chips
11. Rocket = arugula
12. Mind = watch out
13. Lift = elevator
14. Trousers = pants
15. Knickers = underwear
16. Jumper = sweater
17. Trainers = sneakers
18. University/Uni = college
19. Mucking around = goofing off
20. Holiday = vacation
21. Boot = trunk
22. Car park = parking lot
23. Motorway = highway
24. Petrol = gas
25. First Floor = Second Floor (this is VERY confusing)
26. Bill = Check
27. Off license = liquor store
28. Bangers = sausages
29. Chips = fries
30. Take away = take out
31. Toastie = grilled sandwich
32. Bin = trash can
33. Way Out = exit
34. Cooker = oven
35. Hob = stovetop
36. Mobile Phone = cell phone
37. Queue = line/wait
38. Knackered = exhausted
39. Fag = cigarette
40. Porridge = oatmeal
41. Tutor = professor
42. Cab = taxi
43. Are you all right? = Can I help you/How are you?
44. Wanker = drunk
45. Till = register/checkout
46. Snogging = making out
47. Fancy = want
48. Loads = tons/a lot
49. Dodgy =  sketchy
50. Zed = Z

Pancakes = Crepes

Hoped you all celebrated Fat Tuesday yesterday– I sure did! It was National Pancake Day here and I love me some pancakes. There were pancakes races all over the city yesterday, my friends and I decided to go to the one at Borough Market, right near the Southwark Cathedral and the Thames River.

Southwark CathedralThe Thames


Gorgeous! So anyway, because it was a Tuesday, I may or may not have skipped my morning class to attend this crazy event, but I just felt like I couldn’t miss it (what has my life become??)! Before the race began, we had some interesting entertainment…


Funny guys


And then the race began!


Oh crepe!Pancake Race!


Needless to say, it was hysterical. What a day!


Oh, and here’s my “pancake”… I guess they’re crepes here, another American thing I miss dearly! It was delicious anyways, Spinach & Ricotta!


Yum!


Until next time.. :)

xx

White Chocolate Chunk Cookies… and Other Things

After hunting for the perfect (i.e. cheap) restaurant, I finally had my first proper English breakfast! It was certainly different than the typical hearty “American” breakfast and consisted of fried eggs, sausage, bacon, baked beans, a grilled tomato and a choice of either a portobello mushroom or black pudding (I won’t disgust you with an ingredients list of the latter…).

english breakfast

English Breakfast

Since I’m a vegetarian and I’m a bigger fan of French toast, we’ll just say that I’m happy I had it, but have no desire to have it a second time.

I also went to Portobello Road, which is about a two-mile long street market selling all sorts of food, clothing and miscellaneous items. I spent probably a good three hours there and walked away with loads of stuff for hardly any money at all! It was so much fun and I’ll definitely be visiting there again.

portobello

Portobello Road

We also visited Covent Garden, which was a fruit, vegetable and flower market for over 300 years. In 1980, the Victorian halls were transformed into a main tourist attraction filled with shops, restaurants and street performers.

Covent Garden

Covent Garden

It’s such a lively atmosphere there and we found an amazing cookie place there called Ben’s Cookies…the white chocolate chunk was heavenly.

The Social Programme I am enrolled in took us to see Phantom of the Opera last week at Her Majesty’s Theatre in Piccadilly Circus. It was an incredible performance! The theatre itself is really small, but they really worked the stage and made a great use of space. I haven’t ever seen this particular performance in theatre and I haven’t seen the film version since high school, so I was surprised to find myself singing along with them (in my head), and I could even understand the opera verses!

theatre

Theatre

Before we got to the theatre, we decided to make an evening out of it and go out to dinner too. We went to a really popular chain restaurant called Bella Italia… and I died. I’ve found that the Italian food here is particularly yummy and the chain restaurants are not your average Olive Garden’s, it’s REAL Italian food. I can’t wait until I actually go to Italy—I might never return home.

Went to a club over the weekend, had so much fun and met a cute English boy who saved me from creepy men and danced with me all night long. Found out later his name is Mike and lives in Northern England so I’ll probably never see him again, so sad. The night went from great to awful as I stepped outside of the club in negative degree weather and got lost getting home. That night I honestly thought I was going to die and cried in the middle of the street because I was so cold. Needless to say, I will not be going out again until it gets warmer.

Over the weekend, I finally went to Harrods and decided that I’m moving my family to Kensington. It sounds fancy and it’s even better in person. All the high-end shops, restaurants, and museums are within walking distance from each other and Harrods is smack dab in the middle of it all. I thought it was just another high-end department store, but oh no, this place puts Niemen Marcus to shame.

harrods

Harrods

Step into seven floors of designer heaven stretched over 4.5 acres, where you can buy everything from shoes to clothing to makeup and perfume, all by top name brands. They even sell children’s clothing (designer only, of course), evening gowns (I’m talking red carpet), costly housewares (as in £900 for a fancy bowl), and a whole floor devoted to fine food/wines! There’s also a Harrods gift shop, bookstore, furniture, home entertainment, bed & bath, and almost an entire floor appropriately titled “Toy Kingdom.” There are also an astounding 25 café’s and restaurants inside including Café Godiva, an ice cream parlor, a steakhouse, a sushi bar, and a pizzeria! We went to the famous tearoom and paid an outrageous amount of money for a pot of tea and a couple of scones… but I loved every second of it.

teatime

teatime

On Sunday, I felt super fabulous because I got to go to an International Fashion Show at the Saatchi Gallery in London called Scoop. It was awesome because I asked a lady at the tube how to get to the gallery and when she told me it was closed for a private event, I got to tell her that I had a VIP pass, BAM!

purplecarpet

purple carpet for Scoop

We arrived at the gallery and walked down a glamorous purple carpet, and once we entered the doors, I knew this was legit. Three floors of fashion and brand representatives treating you like royalty, hoping that you will buy into their brands and sell them in your store. My co-worker and I were at the event representing Henrietta Ludgate (my internship) and because she doesn’t sell other brands in her store, I was tempted to buy for myself! All the top brands were promoting their new collections at discounted prices up to 60% off… but I managed to retain my self-control and left with only the goodies they gave us. It was a fun experience and I got to learn how to approach and sell to customers, since I will be doing the same at London Fashion Week (which officially starts tomorrow by the way, I’m dying).

On Tuesday, I celebrated Valentine’s Day for the first time without a boyfriend (or my daddy) and it was actually one of the best. We went to the Haagen Dazs Café in Leicester Square and I had a Caramel Banana Crepe served with one scoop of Banoffee and one scoop of Dulce de Leche topped with sliced bananas, warm caramel drizzle and caramelized hazelnuts… I’m drooling just thinking about it.

dessert

dessert

My valentines and I then went to the Odeon movie theatre and saw The Artist, which is a silent movie set in the 1920’s. Everyone has been raving about this film and how great the little dog is, and I wasn’t disappointed. It was so fun and unlike the usual romantic love story. Go see it!

Booked a trip to Dublin last night for mid-March and currently counting down until my trip to Amsterdam after fashion week… can’t wait to start traveling! Keep you posted, I’ll try and take as many pictures as I can at Fashion Week, fingers crossed I can attend a couple fashion shows!

Cheers!

XX

Abbeys and Tea and Parades, Oh My!

This is so crazy to think about, but I’ve officially been here one month! I didn’t realize how quickly time would fly, even when I am missing my family and home. My dad just celebrated his 55th birthday on the 31st of January, so it was really hard for me not to be there for it. But, we skyped, and we are going to celebrate again when I come home! (By the way, shout out to whoever invented Skype… I don’t think I would be able to study abroad without it!)

Anyway, I said I would talk more about my traveling and sightseeing in this post, so let’s get right into it! I’ve made myself a bucket list for two reasons: I’ll use any excuse to make lists and it’s probably the only way I’m going to do everything I want to do, since I’m here for such a short period of time. I’ve crossed quite a few things off, but my list is still about two pages long, categorized by shopping, museums, places to travel, things to do, sights to see, restaurants, and bars/clubs. It’s quite a daunting list, but I’m determined to do and see it all!

I’m signed up for a Social Programme that the university offered for international students for a chance to visit places we may not get a chance to see. They are taking us to see Phantom of the Opera next week and eventually Stonehenge and the Olympic site!

One of the first things I got to do here was take a weekend trip to York, which was so beautiful but freeeeeezing! We got to tour around town the first day and see Abbey Ruins, old castles and the one and only York Minster—(hard to imagine, but the inside is even more beautiful than the outside!).

York Minster

There is also a cute town centre with lots of shops and café’s, including the famous Betty’s Tea Room! I didn’t actually know this until a few days ago but Betty’s is apparently the oldest and most famous tearoom in London. The one we visited in York was the very first and opened in 1920! I was so thrilled this is where I had my first “proper tea.”

Last weekend, we celebrated Chinese New Year in Chinatown, which is right in the heart of London. We had to get up super early to see the parade, but it was so worth it! I got some amazing pictures and it was such a fun atmosphere to see everyone coming together to celebrate the year of the dragon.

parade dancerslanternsfireworks

There was a dragon dance later on with other performances, delicious street food, and vendors selling paper lanterns, toy dragons, and firecrackers. That was also one of the greatest days because on our way through Leicester Square, we accidentally ran into M&M World!! It was amazing and I swear the M&M’s were the best I’d ever tasted…

M&M

And if you’re wondering if I watched the Superbowl on Sunday, of course I did! I’m a diehard Patriots fan, and even though we lost, I had an amazing time at The Roadhouse in Covent Garden. It was so much fun to be surrounded by fellow American football fans (and some extremely confused English people). The game didn’t start until 11:30pm here, so needless to say, it was a long night (and even longer literally running around the city trying to find the night bus…)! I don’t think I got to bed until about 5:00 am! It’s all about the adventures.

To end things on an awesomely positive note, I am OFFICIALLY going to London Fashion Week!!!!! My life is complete.

More updates soon! Cheers!

X

Don’t Believe Everything You Hear

I’ll start out by saying that basically everything I was told about studying abroad and London was wrong. The people are not rude, the fashion is not drastically different, the food is not gross and I do not need $5,000 a month to live. I have weekly homework, I do have to attend class each week and I do not have an absurd amount of free time. Also, I’m almost positive people never sleep around here and the Mondays really are messy. Oh, and people are more obsessed with William and Kate than you could even imagine…

William & Kate

But some things, I suppose, you just have to dive into head first and figure everything out on your own. This is what you would call growing up.

So I’ve been here about three weeks now, and I’ve got to say it feels like two months. I don’t mean this negatively, I just mean my days have been filled and I hardly even have time to keep my room clean– at the moment it’s looking more like a construction zone. But I’ve gotten myself settled, and that’s the most difficult part I would say. I’ve found the nearest grocery store, I’ve gotten myself a cell phone, I’ve found all my classes and I know how to use the public transportation. (The few times I’ve gotten myself lost or was unsure about what direction I was going, the people here helped me get wherever I was trying to go–they are amazingly nice.)

bus

I’m living just outside Central London (20 minutes to the city by tube) on the Harrow campus, which is where the Media, Arts and Design students live. After much trouble and irritation with the Administration/Registry Offices here, I am finally enrolled in Arts & Entertainment Journalism, Fashion Trends and Contemporary Culture, Fashion Journalism, and Personal and Professional Development. Begrudgingly, I have to take the latter class in order to be enrolled for an internship.

So far, I really love all of my classes (maybe that’s a bit enthusiastic for my internship class), but I am starting to notice how different the education system is here compared to in America. First, I find the students to be pretty rude here. The lectures are three hours long and after about an hour usually, we get a “biscuit break” for 15-20 minutes. Many of the students do not return after the break and the ones who do are chatting and hardly paying attention to the tutor (that’s what they call professors here). Students will also get up and leave whenever they want, even if the tutor is in mid-sentence!

This may be explained by the class lectures, however. My notebook at the moment is pretty much empty, which is an extremely unusual thing for me. I have not taken a single note for two of my classes. In one particular class, we spent almost the entire 3-hour lecture listening to popular music through the decades and how much better Glenn Miller’s “Moonlight Serenade” is better than “today’s rubbish”. If any information is useful enough to write down, it’s already on a PowerPoint slide and posted on Blackboard. My assignments list for the entire semester takes up one side of a small piece of notebook paper. I guess I shouldn’t be complaining, it’s just extremely different and unusual for me. On the plus side, my two journalism classes are taking us to visit museums, exhibitions and even to the theatre to write reviews like real critics! I guess I just have to accept that this semester is going to be filled with a lot more fun things than work… I’m not too mad about it.

I also started my internship with Henrietta Ludgate. I was surprised to see that it’s not at an office building, but actually at a mall! It’s a store, office and workshop, all in one space. My first day there, I was already so hands on—literally. We moved furniture around the shop to make it more interactive for the shoppers to see the clothing actually being made. Customers can buy clothing off of the floor or have it specially made for them, having the option to choose their own fabrics and colors. It’s a very small company because Henrietta is an up and coming designer, but I love working so closely with someone who is such a creative entrepreneur.

fashion

Because Fashion Week is coming up, I’m working every weekday I don’t have class (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) but each day is a new adventure and something exciting and new. I’ve been cutting out patterns, picking up fabrics and dropping off pieces to customers (I even got to go to Colin Firth’s house to drop off a dress for his wife to wear to see the Queen!). There was a photo shoot in the workshop last week and I even found out that Henrietta was the winner of the Fashion Innovation Award at London Fashion Week last year! I am eager to continue this internship and learn more about the business from someone growing so quickly.

As far as sightseeing is concerned, I have gone to a couple of markets and landmarks which I will talk about in my next blog post. But one really cool thing that I did was go on a night cruise, which was organized by my university for all of the international students to get to know each other more. I actually met a large group of girls from Harrow AND we got to see the Tower Bridge! Simply breathtaking…

London Bridge

Well, I think that’s enough for now! Promise I won’t forget about you all while I am conquering London.

Cheers!

X

Just touched down in London town.

The day had finally come for my trip to England, January 6th 2012. Unfortunately this was also on the day of my mother’s birthday, but I was happy that I got to spend most of the day with her until my 7:40pm departure time.

We celebrated with an early birthday dinner at mom’s favorite restaurant, Atlantic Fish, and headed over to the airport. Naturally, my father got lost, and getting lost in Boston means getting stuck in traffic and going about 30 minutes out of the way… so I didn’t get to the airport until 6:48pm. This was definitely cutting it close, but definitely enough time to get through check-in and security.

Or so I thought.

A (not-so-very-nice) check-in employee named Meghan (not-so-very-nicely) informed me that check-in time closes promptly 1 hour prior to departure time and they gave away my seat to someone on stand by.

January 6th 2012 was the evening I had my very first panic attack. I was 8 minutes late, and there was nothing I could do. Meghan was not being sympathetic and she could care less about the fact that I spent $400.00 on this (apparently pretend) plane ticket, I had to check-in to Westminster in the morning, and I had planned to meet Clara at the airport to take a cab to Harrow together.

After I (sort of) composed myself, I called my ticket distributor, Student Universe, and had a few choice words for them. I managed to get myself another ticket for Sunday evening with only a $100.00 charge. Better than Meghan’s suggestion to buy a whole new ticket because the one I had was “worthless”.

That weekend went by at a snail’s pace. I had been so ready to leave on Friday and it was the biggest buzz-kill ever to have to drive back to my house that night.

But Sunday eventually came, and saying goodbye to my family was as hard as I imagined. It was hard to be excited when I was significantly more scared and terrified of getting homesick, but I had the flight to give myself a pep talk and compose myself. (BTW Virgin Atlantic is the coolest airline ever! But I’m flying First Class next time… reclining chairs with footrests, Champagne, and hot towels!?!) I watched Friends With Benefits and slept on my purple Hippo pillow pet (shout out to my roommate Michelle, best present ever!).

I made it a priority to get a driver with a sign with my name on it, and I was so relieved to see him when I arrived! He helped me with my bags and drove me to school, talking to me along the way about his life and kids. He even let me borrow his phone to call my parents to tell them I had landed! He also gave me his number when I arrived to call him if I needed anything or had any questions. A nice gesture, but I’m a little leery about it.

As much as I wanted to go to sleep, I had to find my room, drop my things, and head to orientation. Thank goodness Clara knew the way, because I was half-asleep and there was no way I would have been able to figure out the tube on my own!

After three long hours, too much information, and too many pamphlets and brochures, I headed back to my dorm, skyped my mom, and went to bed. Day one was VERY long and finally over. Top of my agenda tomorrow: get a phone!