Yesterday (Sunday), we were up and out early for a Royal London walk with our awesome tourguide Deborah from the Tower of London day. We headed out on the tube and got to a park where a HUGE 10K was going on- basically so many people and lots of things closed off that got in the way of our tour a lot.
|family home of Princess Diana|
|so. many. people.|
|the best view we got of Buckingham Palace|
|Number 10 Downing Street- where the Prime Minister lives|
|why we took a picture by this just baffles me...we aren't female war vets. oh well.|
|that horse loved to try to eat us... hence my very far away leaning stance hahaha|
Our tour ended in Trafalgar Square where we got Pret again (never gets old, seriously SO GOOD) and took a bunch of pictures with the lions and sat and ate in some shade and people watched for a while. Such a good afternoon.
We had more orientation meetings later- a talk from a police officer about a bunch of different safety things and things to be aware of while we're here.
We finally got our money for the week (YAY) and then had some time to kill before dinner.
We had dinner out at Rusty's house (about 30 mins on the tube) in more of a suburban and super adorable neighborhood area! The faculty member in residence every semester lives there, so Rusty is there with his daughters now. The house was awesome, with a really cute backyard garden area where most of us ate. We had pizzas and pasta and salad and tiramisu for dessert and it was the best night with the most hilarious conversations ever. This group of people is awesome and so much fun.
We headed back around 10ish or so to our house, I finally was able to skype my parents (horrible video connection that didn't work at all) and Kyle (perfect connection, thankfully!).
Today (Monday) was our first day of classes! I had Media & Politics at 9 am over at the Florida State University building where JMU has a classroom. The professor was a quirky British man with a completely mismatched suit on and an obsession with saying "Seriously!" in the cutest accent when he's trying to make a point. It was awesome and hilarious. We talked a lot about differences between politics and media in the US versus the UK, which was really interesting. It was about an hour and a half of going through the syllabus a little, and then just discussion and lecture. At like 10:30ish we headed back to the house for a quick stop and then our class (8 people) and the professor were off on our outing to the British Library. We walked there and I'm not totally sure where it really is, but it was massive and very cool looking.
|inside of British Library|
We were there to see the Magna Carta and talk about the foundations of government and politics here in the UK, which was really cool. The British Library is similar to the Library of Congress. There were different exhibits like a musuem throughout it, which is where we were today. After we saw the Magna Carta and our professor talked to us for a while, he left and we were free to roam around on our own. We walked around the area where we were and it was SO COOL. We saw original documents and journals and such from Leonardo da Vinci (so intricate and in his mirrored writing style, just so cool), lyrics the Beatles wrote on the backs of envelopes and scrap paper, journals of Charlotte Bronte (her original handwritten copy of Jane Eyre), the writing desk and glasses of Jane Austen, Shakespeare's works, etc. I couldn't get over how cool it all was to see right up close. This place is awesome.
We (me and three other girls from class) got Pret again for lunch (is this an addiction? Quite possibly) and walked back to the Russell Square garden to eat which was just so London and so awesome and I loved it. The parks here are the JMU Quads of London, and I'm in love with them.
We stopped back at the flat to drop stuff off, grabbed our grocery bags, and went to Waitrose for some breakfast foods, fruit, and cider/wine. Amanda (my roommate) had class and a play tonight, but when she got back, we made our first dinner at the flat! It was such an exciting and grown-up experience. Cooking for ourselves is going to be tricky without a kitchen full of all the little things you forget about (salt and pepper, etc), but I'm so excited about it.
Tonight's menu was whole wheat pasta with chunky vegetable sauce, asparagus, and a rose wine! We were so proud of ourselves, it was crazy. It was delicious! Hand washing all the dishes after wasn't so fun...definitely miss dishwashers. But we have tons of leftovers and it's way cheaper than eating out and much more fun, so it's going to happen often. Wine out of coffee mugs since we don't have wine glasses was super classy too. :)
|so excited about our meal!|
Best part of the day was seeing one of my best friends from JMU who is here for a different program and is living just three houses down from me on the same street! We met up outside our houses and chatted for a while and then went to her flat to continue catching up and it was just the best thing. It was so great to see someone from home and feel like we were back at JMU hanging out again, I definitely needed it. It's hard being away from my small group and the JMU and IV community and my family, so it was a good taste of that, and just fun to chat and hear about her London stories and share mine too!
Two classes and outings tomorrow- busy day ahead (as always)!