London, a love letter

While packing for my flight home tomorrow, I stumbled upon the following quote from a course packet:

“We are, all of us who are Londoners, paying visits of greater or less duration to a Personality that, whether we love it or very cordially hate it, fascinates us all.” – Ford Madox Ford in The Soul of London

To me, this quote captures the very essence of London because it truly is more than a city. At certain points, London is “the City,” capital C, a financial hub. In other parts, it is a borough of parks and townhouses. On weekends, it is a hub of markets that cater to many tastes and cultures. The “Personality” about which Ford writes is a personality that suits anyone. Because of this, London makes everyone feel at home. I have experienced this myself, and I can now say I know London better than Boston. Though Boston is the home I am used to, London is the home that demands to be known. London’s distinct “Personality” attracts people in ways that other cities never can and never will. It is a remarkable place, and I will forever cherish my three months here.

I have successfully moved from tourist to student to Londoner.


Now, time to recount my final month in London:

  • Ate breakfast at the Wolseley
  • Strolled around the National Gallery
  • Visited Regent’s Park
  • Had afternoon tea another two times (total: 8)
  • Traveled to the seaside to see Brighton
  • Cooked Thanksgiving dinner with my flatmates
  • Attended Thanksgiving service at St. Paul’s Cathedral
  • Toured the Tower of London
  • Rode carnival rides at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park and Winterville in Victoria Park
  • Took a ride on the London Eye
  • Ate at Cereal Killer Cafe on its opening day
  • Saw the Natural History Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum, Selfridges depertment store, and Hamley’s toy store all in a day
  • Attended the first ever BBC Music Awards where Coldplay, One Direction, Ed Sheeran,  George Ezra, and many other British acts performed
  • Found sites from the film “Notting Hill” and befriended an employee at the site of the film’s travel bookstore

After all of this, I am heading back to Boston tomorrow night. Thank you, London. Until next time.

Continuing to win London

Hello, hello!

Two months in and one month to go. London is still fantastic – so much has happened in the past month. I will try to fit in as much as I can!

  • Crossed Abbey Road in honor of The Beatles
  • Ate lunch at The Shard, the tallest building in Europe
  • Climbed to the top of St. Paul’s Cathedral — absolutely breathtaking in every respect. I wish I had the words to describe how beautiful it is inside and how lovely the view is
  • Took a weekend trip to Amsterdam and Bruges — very beautiful cities!
  • Saw three plays:
    • King Charles III – about what would happen if the Queen died and Charles would take the throne. Very British and culturally relevant
    •  Speed-the-Plow featuring Lindsay Lohan – about Hollywood and the movie industry. Not great, but I was excited to see Lindsay
    • Made in Dagenham — musical about the ladies of Ford Dagenham fighting for equal pay. Another culturally relevant play that was both entertaining and informative
  • Planted poppies at the Tower of London for Remembrance Day to honor the centennial of the First World War
  • Took a day trip to Paris for my 20th birthday —  absolutely remarkable and beautiful. Again, I wish I had the words to describe that city
  • Visited the Olympic Park & saw the aquatic center
  • Started watching Sherlock and found the filming site for Baker Street on North Gower Street
  • Attended a USA vs. Colombia football match at Fulham football club — got to cheer on former Eagle Alejandro Bedoya who played in the World Cup this summer
  • Made a day trip to Cambridge and got to travel in a car again, visit an English home, and see colleges of Cambridge — one of the oldest universities in England

Though this has all been amazing, I must acknowledge that I still miss my friends and family dearly. There is no doubt that being abroad is worth it, but adjusting to life so far away has been part of the experience. I understand that this is what happens when I’m thousands of miles from home, which is why I continue to embrace it. Plus, I still have loads more afternoon tea to drink before I leave. My tea count is now at 6, but I feel I have not yet ingested enough finger sandwiches to be truly British enough.

One Month as a Londoner!

Hello, my Eagles! It’s hard to believe I have been in London for a month already. The past four weeks have been absolutely incredible. It was hard to leave my friends and family at first, but the transition has been easier than expected. London operates similarly to Boston, so it was only a matter of time before I was swiping my Oystercard (English version of the Charliecard) in and out of the tube (English version of the t) like a native.

I am in awe of this city every day: London has such beautiful architecture and diverse people! After a day here, I knew I had made the right choice when I decided to study abroad. With that said, I don’t even know where to start when recapping the past month, but I will provide a highlight reel:

– Stood on the red carpet at the BFI London Film Festival and met Ansel Elgort from The Fault in Our Stars & Divergent
– Visited Buckingham Palace (unfortunately, the Queen was not in)
– Gone for afternoon tea (3 times thus far – my flatmate and I are a bit obsessed)
– Watched Frozen on a rooftop by the Westfield shopping center near the Olympic Park
– Eaten at food markets in Camden, Bourough, and Brick Lane
– Brunched with a full English breakfast at The Breakfast Club
– Seen Stonehenge
– Explored Bath in northern England
– Shopped at Harrod’s
– Seen Dan Croll in concert at KOKO (look up his song “From Nowhere”)

My advice for anyone studying abroad is: Do it. If you have ability to, you must take it. This has been the most amazing experience so far, and I wish everyone would seize this opportunity.

Cheers!
Ariana

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London Calling

Hello, all! My name is Ariana, and I am studying in London this fall! I will be taking four courses abroad: two to fulfill my English major and two as electives. I am excited for “The Dickens City” which requires students to tour London from Dickens’ point of view. If this were an American Literature class at BC, the city component would be akin to taking Poe tours in Boston. Though I’ll be in an English-speaking country, there are many nuances of British English that I am trying to learn before I leave. For example, “biscuits” are buttery rolls in the U.S., but they are cookies in the U.K. Over the next month, I will be reading up on British slang and finding the closest Nando’s to Heathrow. Meanwhile, I know everyone is getting excited to move back and cheer on our Eagles at Gillette! Please cheer extra loud for me! I’ll be cheering too but for a different kind of football.