Tuesday, January 28, 2014

You Sound Like You're From London

You may recognize the title of this post as a quote from the movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall. While you'd be correct in thinking so, I'm using it because it's a line my brother repeatedly said to me in the days leading up to my departure. And so now we (finally!) begin the first post about my time in London.

I flew to London and navigated my way through the city's Underground system to my flat all by myself, an accomplishment I'm very proud of. It was my first flight alone and just happened to be an international one, only slightly intimidating (please note the sarcasm). Aside from lugging my giant suitcase through the tube stations during rush hour traffic, it was all very easygoing and I managed to arrive at the flat at the same time as the rest of the group! The first day was a bit of a blur due to orientation meetings and, of course, jet lag.

We were gifted with a beautiful view of the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament at sunset on our walk across Waterloo Bridge!

For the first two days, the wifi at our flat refused to work so we had to find other places with *free* wifi in order to stay connected and let our families know we were alive. Wifi in London is pretty accessible, especially at restaurants and pubs, so that's where we found ourselves a lot of the time. When in London?

Our next big adventure was ringing in 2014! Of course, we decided that we must be tourists tonight and watch the fireworks, especially since our flat is, quite literally, down the road from the London Eye, which is what the fireworks shoot out of. The crowds were insane and our large group was split up but we were all able to watch the fireworks and then reconvene back at the flat to celebrate the New Year!

Look! Fireworks in the background!

Throughout the trip, our days were filled with exploring the many museums the city has to offer and our nights were spent soaking in the hard work of musicians and actors at various plays, operas, ballets, and orchestras.  We were able to see many famous works of art up close and it gave me a new appreciation for and interest in art. The shows we attended were fantastic. Even if I didn't absolutely adore a show, I could see the hard work and numerous hours that went into each performance and I really appreciated the different aspects of each one we saw.

The Royal Opera House, where we saw the opera Carmen, was breathtaking.

The tour of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre was informative and entertaining! It's actually a recreation built just down the road from the location of the original Globe Theatre.

Yup. Pablo Picasso.

We were lucky to see Jude Law in Henry V, such a fun performance!

Westminster Abbey, absolutely stunningly beautiful!

Cold and wet after a rainy morning, but still happy to be at Westminster Abbey! The tour was almost two hours long, however I definitely could've stayed longer, so much detail to see and history to learn!

The outside of the British Museum is deceiving, this lobby was enormous, bright, a modern.

This was my favorite exhibit at the British Museum; Greek Mythological statues.

I liked the story behind this statue the most. It's the sun god, Helios, and he's positioned on one end of the grouping of statues pictured above this, with the moon goddess, Selene, on the other end to balance the scene. But I like this statue because it's depicting Helios coming out of the water on his chariot, like the sun rising, and that's why only the head of the horse and the front half of his body are seen.

The Tate Britain Gallery.

Westminster Abbey from the outside!

I was extremely excited to see real Andy Warhol prints in person at the National Portrait Gallery.

No pictures of paintings allowed at the National Gallery, however, I found the floor beautiful so I opted to take a picture.

And so we arrive at the end of my first abbreviated post about my trip to London. I think I'll do two or three more, I don't want to overload each post with too many pictures. To end this post I'll just say I'm really grateful for this opportunity to have studied abroad in London on this type of trip. It's a unique experience to fill your days for over two weeks with museums and shows. As I said earlier, it allowed me to grow a new appreciation for art and everything that goes into it. I've always appreciated art, I'm a creative person and those are the things I enjoy more so than science and math. But then again, I'd often find myself more willing to read a book or go to a movie than to attend an orchestra or browse through a museum. Now, things may be different. I may want to spend rainy Saturdays perusing through a museum rather than sitting on the couch reading a book. Well, they may be on a more level playing field at least. Rainy reading days are my favorite.

Until next time.

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