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Sofia - RWU Class of 2013

Tag: London

Back to Bristol!

Hello my friends!

I have finally returned to Bristol, RI. London will forever be remembered as one of the best experiences of my life, one that I will cherish forever. Being back in Bristol feels like such a routine, thinking about how I was traveling abroad just a few months ago just doesn’t seem real. (I find myself reminiscing and looking through pictures to remind myself!) And as soon as I come out of this dream world… I realize it’s senior year.

Oh, s***.

I have way too much to do.

I basically spent the summer working at American Eagle, took a couple vacations with my family (Florida and Martha’s Vineyard) and celebrated my 21st birthday in August at Mohegan Sun! Being productive was not happening. And neither was an internship. I was offered an internship with Cone Communications, but things fell through when I realized how expensive it would be for me to commute from Brockton to Boston everyday and not get any pay or compensation. I was pretty bummed that I had to decline, but I think it was for the best. I clearly needed the summer to relax before coming back for a crazy, insanely busy senior year.

First, I am taking five classes: Mass Comm Research, Digital Journalism, Photo Journalism, Advanced Design, and a Senior Seminar (three hours long on Tuesday night… UGH). This year I am also Account Executive of the Bateman team (a PR competition where we plan an execute a campaign on a given subject.. this year is on bullying). I am also a member of VOS, PRSSA, and the Hawks’ Herald. I have a new work study position at the study abroad office and I am in the works of possibly getting an internship. When will I be completing hours for this said internship? I haven’t the slightest clue. But we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. I just can’t picture myself taking a semester off from an internship, especially my senior year! I feel like that’s horrible luck and karma would come and find me when I’m job hunting…

That’s another thing, I have to find a REAL JOB. Like a big girl job. Like all of my years of education and thinking about that omnipresent question: What do you want to be when you grow up? It’s here. And I have to start looking in just a few months. This can’t be real… someone pinch me?

Just finally picked up my parking sticker yesterday and I haven’t even gone grocery shopping for my apartment yet… oops. I’m a mess already!

Until next time…

-Sofia 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

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!