Sunday, 22 September 2013

It was a Wicked week in London!

Wow, this was a crazy week!  I have a lot to write about, so sorry you have to read so much!  Hopefully I can remember it all. I am getting really good at being a tourist. Okay here I go!

Front row
It all started on Tuesday, the 17th!  And if you know me well, you know all good things happen to me on the 17th (my birthday, High School Musical 2 came out, I got hired at Us in the Son, I met Nick Jonas, etc.)!  Well on this day I got to go see Wicked the musical.  Not only did I get to see it, I got to see it from the very front row!  It was my second time seeing the show, and it was amazing to see it from so close up.  The actress who played Elphaba was incredible, and I read that she had previously played Glinda, so you can imagine the vocal range on this girl!  It was such a great night!

The Telegraph Newspaper
On Thursday I had another field trip for my Media in Britain class.  We went on a tour of The Telegraph newspaper that is located in London. We first listened to a talk by one of the guys that is in charge of advertising, which was very interesting especially after having worked for LMU's school newspaper in the advertising department.  After the talk he gave us a tour of the huge office building and the newsroom where all of the journalists work and meet.  I wasn't allowed to take picture inside the newsroom, but the picture I did include is a picture of the entry way which is decorated with figures of olympic sports.  All of the heads of the athletes are The Telegraph's logo.

Tower Bridge
On Friday after class I went grocery shopping, and the cashier who was checking me out noticed I was buying literally all of the cheapest items in the store.  This lady was super sweet and after asking me if I was from America (understanding how expensive everything is in London) she wrote down some recipes for cheap meals I can make and told me where to find all the ingredients! There are nice people in the world!  Later on Friday, two girls and I tried to go see an outdoor movie that was free and right next to the London Tower Bridge, however we are really bad with directions and got lost and when we got there there were no more seats.  Oh well, now we know and we are going to try and go next week when they are playing Grease!  But the good news is I did get some good pictures of the bridge, and we went back to our apartments and ate ice cream and watched our own movie!

Saturday was a super fun day, and full of touristy things!  Since a lot of people we live with traveled to Dublin this weekend, Aya and I thought we would explore more of London for FREE!  First we went to Abby Road and took pictures on the same street as the Beatles!  Let me tell you, this is the hardest thing to do... trying to dodge traffic, and dodge other tourists, and get the perfect picture is very stressful!  But after many attempts we managed to get it right!  We then got lost again trying to find the Beatles store... but getting lost is all the fun of it!  After Abby Road we headed over to Brick Lane in East London.  Here there is a ton of street art, shops, markets, and really cool paintings everywhere.  We kind of had a mini photo shoot with all the awesome graffiti and paintings.  To end our journey for the day we headed back to our apartment but stopped at one last place... the house that the mom from The Parent Trap lives!!  The house is only about a half mile from where we live and is in a VERY nice area!  It was a very fun and exciting day!

Lastly, Sunday!  Today I got to tour the state rooms of Buckingham Palace!  Unfortunately the Queen is not in London at the moment, so I did not get to see her, but it was a really cool feeling to know I was technically in the Queen's house and that she has been in the rooms I was in.  The palace is beautiful, and so historic.  It was a great experience.  Too bad we weren't allowed to take pictures inside.  The rest of the day I have just been working on homework, projects and papers... because I actually am here for school, you know!
Buckingham Palace Gardens

Once again, I am having a great time but missing everyone so much!  I was so happy to be able to skype some people I have really been missing this week, and I hope to skype more soon!  Let me know if there is anything else you want to hear about or if I am boring you with all my writing!  I've posted a lot of pictures on Facebook recently, so check those out too! Love and miss all of you!



P.S. More pictures!


My favorite of the street art
Who knew graffiti could look nice?
Parent Trap house!!

Sunday, 15 September 2013

I've a feeling we're not in California anymore...

Already on to week three!  Time is going fast, which I have mixed feelings about.  I am really beginning to miss home, all my friends, and family, but I still feel like I have so much to see and do here.
Pray for Monday!

Rain, rain go away!  The weather has really begun to change and my inner Cali girl is beginning to appreciate the amazing year round California weather!  It rains pretty much everyday... sometimes in the morning, sometimes in the afternoon or night, or sometimes all day long.  But nonetheless, there is rain everyday!  A big thanks to Elly and Alex for hooking me up with rain boots and an umbrella before I left!  At times the rain is very peaceful, but makes going out and doing things just a little more difficult and wet!

BBC News Room
On Tuesday I went on my first field trip for my Visual Media class.  We went to the BBC Studios and Headquarters and were able to see the main news room and the old BBC buildings.  There was also a part of the tour that allowed people taking the tour to be a part of a mock broadcast and weather forecast report.  Three people were picked at random to be a part of it and of course I got picked to be the weather reporter.  While the news broadcasters got a script, I had to look at the map and totally improv the weather forecast.  Lets just say I need to brush up on my geography... (Pictures of me as a weather lady to come).
BBC Studios

It was weird not being in the US for September 11th!  None of my professors even mentioned it in class and there was really no attention drawn to the day here, whereas at home its is almost always mentioned in classes or through the media.

On Friday we all went to a play called "39 Steps".  It was a play that the study abroad program bought us tickets for, so it was technically free!  It was a comedy and super funny!  The entire play was put on by only 4 actors who all played numerous roles.. it was very impressive!  Most plays I have ever been to have been musicals, so it was nice to see something different!

"39 Steps" Theatre 
It has been a busy week, and because most of my classes are only a quarter long, I already have papers and midterms coming up!  I have been running in the park the past few mornings, taking advantage of it before it gets too cold!  Tomorrow I have 3 papers due, so I have pretty much just been doing homework all weekend.

Crazy (man?) on the Tube
Not as exciting of a week, but still a ton of fun!  Missing all of you like crazy, and once again I would love to hear from everyone so Skype/email/Viber message/Facebook me!!


Bri ♥

Monday, 9 September 2013

Starting to Get the Hang of This

My favorite spot in the park
Well let me just start off by saying goodbye to my favorite season of the year, and hello to London weather.  I mentioned last post that the weather has been surprisingly warm, but I think I jinxed it!  This week I have officially experienced bi-polar weather.  I thought LA had bi-polar weather, but London weather changes by the minute... literally! This last week began in the 80s and super sunny, and made it down to the 50s with wind and rain.  I am hoping I build up a tolerance to the cold, because I am a wuss when it comes to any type of weather bellow 70.  Well enough about the weather... on to the fun stuff!

This last week I started classes!  The program I am studying abroad with is called Foundation for International Education (FIE) and there are about 12 other schools from the US here.  All of my classes are with these other kids from the US, which kind of stinks because I am not really interacting with kids from the UK.  However, all of my professors are from the UK.  As I might have mentioned, all my classes are 3 hours long (yes, it is horrible) and some are twice a week.  A lot of the classes have scheduled field trips, and in fact, tomorrow we are going to the BBC studios.  All of my classes are pretty interesting, but I will be doing a lot of reading (which if you know me at all... I HATE READING).  The classes I am taking are: European Cinema, Media in Britain, Visual Media, Islam in the West, and an Internship course (will start at the end of October).  All very cool classes that will all count for credit back at LMU!

The famous saying before & after
you get on the tube.
As I mentioned, I really like the people I live with! On Wednesday the guys I live with and I went to the park to play soccer, or should I say football, and that was great because I am really missing playing soccer, and "Soccer Tuesdays" with everyone from Us in the Son! I also made another walk up to the park on Thursday to read for my classes and I ended up falling asleep under a tree and napping for 2 hours!  As you can tell I love the park, and I was trying to take advantage of my last few days of warmth and sunshine!

Friday I had class in the morning and finished at noon (4am for most of you back home haha).  Later that night Aya and I went out to dinner because we haven't really eaten a whole meal since we had been here.  We went to a place called Nandos... probably just as famous here, as In-n-Out is at home.  After dinner a few of us went to the pub to watch the England National World Cup Qualifier game because we don't get the channel in our flats! England won 4-0!
Exploring! Trafalgar Square, London
On Saturday I was really tired so I slept in really late and then Aya and I went to do some exploring and ended up walking like 7 miles.  That is one very convenient thing about being here, if you take the tube to one part of town and end up walking far, there is always another tube station to get on.  Public transportation is amazing!

The tube station

Brighton Pier
Sunday was my first day trip since being here!  Me and two other girls traveled to Brighton, a beach city about an hour and a half away by train.  I was missing the beach too much, I couldn't keep away!  This town is like the Santa Monica of England... They have a pier with rides, arcade, etc. and a lot of really cute streets and shops.  We basically walked around all day going into stores and admiring things we can't afford.  While we were there we experienced true England weather... We got there and it was sunny, then it got windy, then sunny again, the it rained for like 3 minutes, then sunny again, then heavy rain, a thunderstorm, hail, and on and on.  And yes, I did go feel the water... WAY warmer than Huntington, thats for sure!
Brighton, England

Well thats it for the week! I am really starting to miss everyone and I love when I get texts/emails from people back home.  Even if I am not able to respond right away to the emails, I do appreciate them!  I have put some pictures in the blogs, but here is the link to my Facebook so you can see the entire album, its titled "London 2013":

Hope everyone is enjoying the heat at home!



P.S. Proof of the bi-polar weather...
Sunny. 5 minutes later...


Monday, 2 September 2013

Traveling Across the Pond

I made it! Here is a little bit about what I have been up to my first week in London:

My Flat
Once I arrived I met up with Aya, my roommate from last year, and we took the tube to the station nearest our apartment.  We then had to walk to the place to pick up our keys and then walk to the apartment (all together about a mile walk).  When we finally got to the apartment we found our rooms and I unfortunately got stuck with a 4 person room and the top bunk-bed.  We then had to go walk to pick up our class schedule, books, tube pass, etc.  We also went on a walking tour of the local area then went to get some dinner with some people from LMU.  

The next day we had 6 hours of orientation (which was super boring)! After that Aya and another girl and I went walking around the area.  The area we live in is very very nice and very very expensive, which has been the hardest thing since being here.  But its a very nice area, and super safe! The last thing we did that day was have a meeting with everyone in our apartment/flat and our RA.  I really like all the people I live with! 

Friday we had one last orientation for our internship and then a few of us went to walk to get our cell phones all fixed up so that we can use them here, and to buy groceries! After that Aya and I went to Hyde Park (about a mile from our flat), which I loved because its just like Central Park.  Right next to/in the park is Kensington Palace which is where Kate, William, and the baby are moving into in a month.  We walked around the gardens for a little while and then learned to take the bus back to our flat.  Friday night a bunch of us LMU people went out for the night to explore and ended up staying out really late, but it was fun because I ended up getting to know a lot of them really well.  
Kensington Palace: Home to William, Kate, & baby George
(And sometimes Harry)

Saturday we all went into central London for a tour of Parliament, which was really cool but a lot more walking!  A few of us from LMU then went out to lunch and walked around the area.   Central London is where all the touristy things are like Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Palace, and the London Eye.  So we walked around and saw all of that.  We actually also walked through the big park they have there and ended up all laying down and taking a nap in the grass because we are all so tired!  All together it was a pretty good day!
The London Eye

Yesterday we had a scheduled bus tour that took us around the city which was very interesting.  We were able to see a lot of the sites we had already seen, and more, as well as get some cool facts!  Also yesterday a few of my flat mates and I went shopping and bought a few communal groceries, since food is so expensive here.  Last night we all stayed in and made our own dinners... I had rice and milk.  Basically the last few days I have been living off peanut butter and jelly, rice, and milk.  So between my new diet here and the amount I have been walking, I may or may not come back 50 pounds lighter! 

Today I stared classes.. Happy not so Labor Day to me!  But it wasn't that bad since on Mondays I only have one class 5pm-8pm (all my classes are 3 hours long).  It was my European Cinema class, so basically we watch European films and analyze them.. In a few weeks we watch Bend it Like Beckham! I also have this class with all LMU students, so its basically everyone I live with!
Buckingham Palace with my flat-mates

I am really enjoying it here, and I think it will even be better once we are done with all this orientation stuff and once I get used to the horrible time difference.  The weather is surprisingly warm, which is nice but I was not prepared for! So, so far everything is super expensive, a lot of walking, and really pretty! I will try to send emails, pictures, and blog every so often!

Big Ben

Miss and love you all!