Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Forever Young

This past memorial day has been a great one, time spent with good friends, summer weather and fun things happening. While I failed at taking pictures for the most part I went to a Nats game with Erin and some friends, redid my bedroom, spent Memorial Day with Katherine and Mary Kate, and had two sleepovers with Lisa and Marcie.

First of all, my room. The last time I really decorated my room was probably in like middle school, or maybe even elementary school. But basically it was a little girls room. I had light pink walls, with accessories to match. We started to kind of redo it last year but all that happened was moving the bed and getting a new comforter. Then as have been away at school, new furniture, mismatched pillows, and old prom dresses accumulated in my room making it an even more mismatched disaster than before. So finally, we got the job done. We painted, got new furniture and new decorations and my room is as good as new. I'll probably spend most my time here this summer. There are still a few things to be added, but I'm lovin it.

On Sunday, (during church), Katherine, Mary Kate and I mapped out our plans for how we would spend Memorial Day. We made a list -my specialty- and kidnapped Mary Kate from MCAT studying and went to lunch. Unfortunately the day we decided to go to 2Amy's... they don't open until 5pm. Bummer. We got some Mexican Food instead and then later Katherine and I got slurpies. It was a good way to spend the holiday.


This weekend Marcie was in town for a final little family reunion before she and her parents head off for Columbia this summer and I got lucky enough to have my sister back staying with me. She lived with me for about 2 months my senior year so I like to think of it as her coming home when she's here. Luckily, we all timed it just right because Lisa is in town right now as well! We crammed into one bed and talked late into the night just as if we were in high school. We even went over to the Hatch's and it felt just as if I were 17 with my best friends.

Thinking about it now it's kind of ironic the course that our conversations would take. On one end, we were talking about how old we were with friends getting married, college graduation coming up, our jobs, friends coming home from missions, basically just life marching on. But then on the other end, Lisa and Marcie were getting picked up and dropped off in their "jammies" for sleepovers at my house. I think that just goes to show that even though we're getting older and still growing up, we'll always be in high school when we're together. It just wouldn't be us if it weren't.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

American Pride

It's definitely Memorial Day weekend around here.
Have a fabulously patriotic weekend :)

La Plage

Katherine, Mary Kate and I took a day at the beach.
It was hot and there were clear skies.
We also stopped off for some delicious homemade ice cream.

We're fine with the fact that we got sunburned.
It makes it all the better. 
It was a great, relaxing day.
We napped, read, ate and chatted.
Perfect.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Quince

She has many names.
Q Baby.
Q.
Quince.
Grandma.
Bon Qui Qui.
I just love her as Quincy.
And she came to see me this weekend.

In the fall we talked about her coming to Virginia but then I went to London and we were separated for too long. But she still came and I love her for it. Now she'll spend the summer in Arizona and then she's off to Sao Paulo, Brazil in August to be a darling missionary. 
While she was here we packed a lot of Virginia and Washington DC into her short stay up north before she returned to her family in Richmond. We lucked out with beautiful weather, good food and greenery everywhere. Too bad the Potomac is at an uncontrollably high level and brown. Other than that, all was great.

 I love my Quincy and will miss her dearly while she serves, serves, serves in Brazil.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Take Me Out To The Ball Game

It's time to come to terms with it, I'm in Virginia so blogging should start to reflect the CURRENT state of my life rather than my dreamy life a month ago (that long ago already!?).

So the latest on life in Virginia. Hm.
I should admit that I don't lead a riveting life.
I mostly watch movies and TV.
I wish I was kidding.
BUT
Here's the fun stuff:

For whatever reason in the few weeks that I've been home our family has gone to, not one, but TWO baseball games. We aren't crazed fans or anything, they're just so fun!
First we went to the Nats game which they unfortunately lost but you can't help but love taking the metro into DC for a ball game. 
Then we were lucky enough to get my mom's good friend Greg's tickets for the Orioles game. She is spoiled and has seats right above the dugout so we got some close looks at the baseball players and it's rumored we even got some camera time. Annie caught a ball, we made some new friends, ate great barbeque and the O's had an amazing win at the last minute in extra innings! Oh and the mascot kissed my hand, what a sweetheart. 

Luckily since being home I have a few friends and I'm not totally lonely. My dear Katherine and I have become buddies. We both aren't work for the time being so we spend our time playing throughout the area. We've hit DC, Alexandria, Old Town, McLean, etc etc. The list will only grow. We're trying out some fun new restaurants and have big plans on doing a bunch of fun DC things this summer to really take advantage of our prime location.
My favorite place so far has been Nando's. It was one of my London favorites and I nearly died when I saw that they had locations in Washington. Katherine graciously accompanied me and I was one happy girl. I just missed my Londoners. 

Finally in an effort to not completely lose my mind I have some things on my "to-do list" this summer. I realize that by putting this on here I'm setting myself up for failure but I'll risk it in an effort to sound interesting. :)
I'm trying to read more. Honestly, so far, I've researched what books to read more than I've ACTUALLY read but I promise I'll try!
I also decided to scrapbook some of my literally thousands of pictures from the last few months and I have nearly completed the task! I opted for the online option, so hopefully when I order my creation I'll be pleased with the outcome. 
Similar to scrapbooking I plan to print my blog in a book for another "momentous souvenir"
I've also spent a lot of time looking at yummy treats to make so I'll get around to making some good ones and share how great they turn out (sarcastic eye roll... me? baking? HA. I'll try.)
Finally, we're redoing my room and the process is a little slow but it WILL get done. I can't handle the half decorated/half clutter room I'm living in right now.

So there you have it, from London to Washington DC.
Onto the next chapter!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Remember When...

The following are some of the most significant aspects of London Study Abroad:

Food: Upon my return to the states, several people have addressed the fact that I certainly did eat my way through Europe. There's no denying it. I have a newfound love for candy, good chocolate, crepes and all sorts of tarts.


Shows: In the first month or two, we went to every show we had any desire to see (and then some). We would rush out after dinner to catch a show. Thank goodness for those student discounts where we payed a fourth of the price and got fabulous seats every time.


Tube: The Underground is now probably one of my favorite modes of transportation and beats out any other metro system as far as I can tell. It takes you everywhere, always entertains, and is oh so convenient.
Parks: A lot of our time was spent wandering around through parks. Mostly Hyde Park of course because that's the favorite. But when the weather was nice, we could be found paddle boating, biking, walking around, sitting on benches or even reading. They were always so peacefully happy and once it warmed up, full of flowers!

Birds: An odd subject I admit. But there are just birds everywhere and we were always entertained by them, sometimes even fed them. Once Julie threw the remainder of her sandwich at a bird and it followed me around for awhile. They have no fears.

Museums, Tours, Cathedrals, Castles, and all things historical: This was kind of the purpose of study abroad. You know, to learn. Some were certainly more interesting than others (church history tours being the worst, I think we can all agree on that one).

Traveling: Whether we were going to York via bus, Scotland via train, Ireland via place or even France/Belgium via bus on a ferry, a lot of our time was spent moving from place to place. I became a PRO at packing a bag for a few days, entertaining myself with mindless things for hours and eating bags of candy on the go. A lot of that time was certainly spent sleeping. I was notorious for sleeping pretty much every time I sat down.


Matching Outfits: Generally it's Julie and I, but considering we all brought very basic looking clothing, we had a tendency to match. Shoes, Northface, color scheme, etc. There were many moments where we would up-down each other and say, "Really!?". The perks of study abroad.

There are still a lot of different things I could address but there are too many. Shopping, cuddling, chatting, gossiping, laughing, pranking, teasing, etc etc. 
Farewell to the most fabulous months of my life.

By seeing London, I have seen as much of life as the world can show me.
Samuel Jackson


Denial.

I feel like I've been going through the grieving process over the last few weeks. I've learned about this concept for years starting with my health class my sophomore year with Coach Carter (yeah, like the movie). With his dangling cross earring, intimidating tattoos and in-your face confrontations he taught the following:
Depression
Anger
Bargaining
Denial
Acceptance
Or DABDA for short.

Why am I an emotional disaster (exaggeration x10) you ask? 
London Study Abroad is over.

My journal has sat untouched after writing in it every night and this poor blog has been neglected all in fear of facing facts. But here are the facts:
My sunburn is gone.
The peeling has stopped.
My bruises and scabs are gone.
My constant exhaustion is gone.
I don't have any roommates.
I eat regular meals.
I don't have to hike 24073023847 steps to go to my room.
etc. etc.

So here I am. Facing facts and trying to get past the denial stage.

Study abroad was something that I needed a little persuading to do because of my lack of spontaneity and basic fear of new things. Thankfully, I pulled myself together and set off for London. Early on, I think we could all agree that it was all a bit odd and a little awkward.
39 college students (33 girls, 6 boys), 2 professors and their families, one couple in charge of the Centre, one crazy cleaning lady and an alleged cat lurking outside our bedroom. We all moved in on about the same day, barely knew anyone and we started to spend every waking hour together. So naturally, we all got pretty dang close. As you can imagine.


Now, after all that time together and after all those memories, we're all split up again. Not to mention we aren't in London anymore.

So in an attempt to move on to the "acceptance" phase of the grieving process, I'm facing the facts.
I'm not nearly as articulate as my dear Maddy but going to London has changed me.
Over the course of the semester my "spontaneity" has increased tenfold and I think I've really realized how important those spontaneous things can be! Those are the experiences that you will always remember and so you need to take advantage of those things as they come. Run away to Portugal for the weekend? Sure. Go to the Celine Dion concert instead of just dreaming about it? Definitely. Read that book you added to your list of things to read? Get on it.
Life truly is about the right now rather than just putting things on the "to-do list" to be done eventually. It's about the living and what better way to do that then to spend all the time you can with the people that make you laugh, who will listen to your life stories (no matter how uninterested they are), who will be honest with you about a hideous dress you just tried on, and most importantly who will love you despite how odd you are.

So here's to London.
You'll always be a huge piece of me.
And to my London family.
I love you too much to say.

You know how the time flies, only yesterday was the time of our lives

Subsequent posts will be dedicated to the most loved and remembered aspects of London (using pictures of course)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Firsts and Lasts

I'm sorry that the world will be forced to endure "London Blogging" for awhile even though I am in fact NOT in London

On the first day in London, rather than sleeping like I wanted, the professors took us on a walk to Hyde Park. The whole thing is kind of a blur of introductions to people and following the group to various spots in the park. One of the stops that was notable was to see the Prince Albert Memorial that Queen Victoria had built, it's right across the street from Royal Albert Hall and I think even in my groggy, exhausted state I loved it. It is huge and quite elaborate. Which is only appropriate when you learn about Queen Victoria's devotion to Albert. On my last day in London I decided to walk through Hyde Park and ended up near that same memorial. Who knew on that first day that I would be as in love with London as I am now.

Another stop on the first day, then again on the last day was the Peter Pan statue, it's just as wonderful as it is in "Winning London".

My last day that I've been talking about, I had a few hours before my flight left and I had to head downtown to pick up my luggage so naturally I went to all my favorite places in my neighborhood. First stop was Tesco to buy embarrassing amounts of candy to take home, a walk down Portobello Road for some last minute souvenirs, the Centre to write my final words on my bunk, Kensington Palace, Hyde Park, Cupcake Company and finally Nandos for some lunch.
It was the perfect day.
I spent the whole day walking around thinking about how great the semester had been.
How surreal it is that it's over.

The only weird thing was going into the Centre.
There wasn't anyone reading in the parlour.
Studying in the library.
Rushing down the stairs.
Eating toast in the servery.
Blow drying on the landing.
Skyping in the stairwell.
Watching a movie in the classroom.
It was so quiet.

I knew it was filled with memories but it was like a dream.