Long time, no… blog? Things got busy the last month of the trip, and my focus was really on seeing England/doing well in my classes/spending time with my friends during the little time I had left abroad. A few weeks ago, however, I got home. I unpacked, adjusted to being not-in-England and not-in-a-big-city, and went to training for my summer internship. Along the way, I was even able to venture out to New York City for a weekend–but more on that later.
Here are some of the final highlights of my time abroad/my weekend in NYC!
My class was lucky enough to spend the day in Liverpool in early April. We spent the morning on a private bus tour. As cool as it was to see the childhood homes of the Beatles/places the met/schools they attended, it did feel a little invasive from time to time. Still, the tour ended on a high note at the Cavern Club, where the Beatles regularly played in their early years.
My friends and I wandered around the rest of the afternoon. We ate lunch on the water, and we visited the International Slavery Museum and the Double Fantasy (John & Yoko) exhibit at the Museum of Liverpool. Our final stop was the Liverpool Cathedral, the largest religious building in Britain.
St. Paul’s Cathedral
The dome of this cathedral is one of the most recognizable parts of the London skyline–and has been for the past 300 years. My class explored the inside of the cathedral, and some of us climbed the 528 steps to the top in order to see views of London like the one above.
My class took a day-trip to Oxford about a week after going to Liverpool. A fearless tourguide led us through the city’s various colleges and landmarks. Visiting the place didn’t dismantle the romantic and fantastical illusions of Oxford I had in my head; if anything, visiting gave even more fuel to those perceptions.
I enjoyed my visit, too, because–just like with Marseille–I have written a story that took place in Oxford. All the research I had done about the place came alive around me, and I was also able to understand the city in a way I only could by literally being there.
Stratford upon Avon
Going to Stratford upon Avon (or, Shakespeareland, as I decided to call it) was my final and favorite class trip. Before seeing a production of As You Like It from the Royal Shakespeare Company in the afternoon, my friends and I were able to visit the place Shakespeare was buried, cross the Avon on a 50p ferry, and eat some fish and chips near the water. After the performance, my friend and I bought a gigantic unicorn balloon. A small group of us walked along the River Avon for a while (balloon included, of course) until we found ourselves in the middle of a field of sheep. To say the least, it was a delightful day.
Parks & Gardens
It warmed up for the last two weeks of my time in London, which meant that I went outside as often as I could. I continued to do my homework in Russell Square. I fell prey to the ice cream truck. My friends and I had a picnic and then played some soccer at Regent’s Park.
The picture above is of the sun setting behind the Senate House Library during my last visit to Russell Square.
I realized in a panic on my final day in London that I never went to see Abbey Road. So, I got on the Tube. 30 minutes later, I found myself staring at Abbey Road Studios and the famous crosswalk itself.
For our very last class event, we all went to the Shard. From the top floor, it was the best view anyone could find of London. I watched the Thames wind into the horizon; I watched the trains come and go like little bugs at the station below. We were able to find a lot of the places we went during our stay–“See that big green roof? That’s the British Museum, so we’re right next door” and “Oh, the Barbican again” and “Is that Greenwich?”
It was wonderful seeing all the places I loved over those three months, and it was also wonderful going on one last excursion with the great people I had come to know and appreciate during our time studying abroad together.
New York City
For Christmas, my parents gave me tickets to see To Kill a Mockingbird on Broadway. This meant that I was only home for about a week before I hopped on another flight for a quick trip out to New York City with my friend, Bella.
With a delayed flight leaving Columbus, we didn’t have a ton of time to explore on Friday. We walked around Columbia’s campus and went through Central Park. We accidentally went to Grand Central Station. Then, we left Manhattan to get to our Airbnb in Brooklyn.
Saturday was a full, incredible day. We started early with the TODAY show. While we didn’t interact with any of the hosts, we were able to be sneaky and get into some of their shots. Take, for example, this:
After this, we walked around what felt like most of Manhattan. (It wasn’t.) We walked through Koreatown, Soho, and Greenwich Village. Looking for a little rest, we then went shopping. I got to go to the big Macy’s! Then, we walked along the Highline and capped off our main exploring with a visit to Chelsea Market.
That night, we went to see To Kill a Mockingbird. This was a Very Big Deal for me. An adaptation of one of my favorite stories, written by one of my favorite screenwriters (Aaron Sorkin), and starring some actors I have loved for years (Jeff Daniels, Gideon Glick). It did not disappoint. I even went to the stagedoor after the show, where I was able to meet some of the actors and get my Playbill signed. I wish I could say it was a delightful experience, meeting Daniels and Glick, but the truth is that I don’t remember much of it. I was too busy feeling panicked (in the best of ways).
Sunday was a rainy, dreary day in the city but we made the best of it. We toured NBC Studios in the morning, getting to see the places where NBC Nightly News, MSNBC, Saturday Night Live, and the Tonight Show are filmed. There were still balloons all over the place from the previous night’s episode of SNL, thanks to the Jonas Brothers.
We spent a lot of that day at the Met. My favorite exhibit there was “Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock & Roll”. They had everything from Buddy Holly’s guitar to Ringo’s drum set. The other highlight of the day was visiting the New York Public Library. They had a really cool exhibit about Walt Whitman.
It was an excellent weekend, but I’m happy to be home for a while now.
If you’re reading this, thank you so much for keeping up with me while I have studied abroad! The experience has just been so valuable to me; I am glad I have been able to chronicle it somewhere, especially in a way that others have been able to read and enjoy.