Sunday, January 18, 2015

Back in the City

Well, I made it back to London in one piece. I don't know how I managed getting everything back over here, but I'm moved back into my room and already had my first week of classes.

My first week back has been an insane blur.

Sunday January 11

My flight landed in London in the wee hours of the morning and I didn't get any sleep on the plane so I was beyond exhausted (both physically and emotionally, I lost it saying bye to my parents in the airport and then decided it would be a good idea to watch TFIOS on the plane... all the feels!). I made it on the tube with all my luggage and got back into my room. I managed to stay awake watching Netflix until 2pm, when I couldn't fight it anymore I finally fell asleep and slept till 7:30pm. Then, I stayed up till midnight and slept until 10am the next morning. (I think I'm finally back on London time! Yay!)

London! I landed BEFORE the sun came up... so early

Monday January 12

I had a meeting Monday afternoon about my Thesis (talk about a wakeup call after not doing anything academic for an entire month), picked up ALL my books from a friend who kindly let me store them under her bed during the break, then we (my friend and I) went to the Natural History Museum and ate REALLY good Thai food after our museum tour!

Finally checked this place off my list!
I got back from all that to find my floor damp/wet in the corner of my room by my bed. My radiator was leaking. So, a guy came up to fix it and while he was tightening the 30+ year old rusty pipe, IT EXPLODED!!! There was water spouting straight up to the ceiling. Did I mention the water was STEAMING HOT and the guy was using his hands to try and stop it. I was screaming and he was yelling at me to move all my stuff (which was everywhere because I was in the middle of unpacking my storage bags). I ran all the way down three flights of stairs to reception to tell them he needed ALL the maintenance guys upstairs immediately.

When I ran back upstairs I found this:

(don't worry, my computer still works!) A river of water flowing through my room thanks to the geyser of water he somehow contained, can you hear the water?! It had so much pressure behind it and was spraying out of the tiny rusted pipe incredibly fast. The guy ran downstairs to get a piece to replace the broken pipe part and random guys kept running up and down through my hall with arm loads of towels. They called a plumber who was there within 30 minutes and they moved my roommate and I out of the room for two nights. Talk about an insane welcome back!

Tuesday January 13

I had my first class on Tuesday morning, Professional Practices, its safe to say that it will by far be my favorite class this term! It was in this class that I got the wake up call about our internships and how the summer (and internship application deadlines) are fast approaching. So, after class, I spent the entire afternoon/evening working on my resume and cover letter for internship applications (here's to hoping!).

Wednesday January 14

My class on Wednesday was at 3pm, so I didn't set an alarm thinking I'd wake up early due to the jet lag (plus I haven't been sleeping good all week). But, when I was moved out of my room-turned-sauna I was put in a single room, and I slept like a brick the second night in that room. It was absolutely glorious! However, I woke up at 1:30pm (oops!) and had to leave for class within an hour PLUS I hadn't done my reading yet (oops again!) because I thought I'd have time to do it that morning. So, I showed up for my first class unprepared, I hope this isn't a reflection of the rest of the term.

After class I moved back into my room, which smells (present tense) like gross moldy old damp things.

Thursday January 15

Thursday morning I woke up early to run errands.

Oxford Street on a weekday morning is seriously the best! I took a mental note to run all my errands in the morning from now on!
That afternoon I went to my last class of the week (no class on Monday or Friday WUT UP!!) and after class a group of us spontaneously decided to go to the Cereal Killer Cafe. It was so awesome! One of my top food groups is cereal so basically I was in heaven.

Street side view
How can this NOT make you jump for joy?!
So, I caved and got a second bowl after my Lucky Charms, I decided to try one of their "cocktails" which are different mixes of cereals... it was a good decision. 
Lucky Charms!!!
However, its not the best place to go to get a full meal to fill you up. So, after cereal we went to the Indian restaurants on Brick Lane, and after much haggling we finally chose one. Basically we had an appetizer of cereal and a main meal of Indian food, it was quite the evening.

Friday January 16

NO CLASSES!!!! Tara and I (you remember Tara, we went to the library EVERY DAY for two weeks to finish our final term papers back in December) went to the Tower of London because it was on our "London To-Do" list (as was the Cereal Killer Cafe) and we decided that this semester we are actually going to go do things in London. So, we spent the better part of the day at the Tower of London.

Thankfully we got in for free, but in my personal opinion the Tower of London is NOT worth the steep 22 pound entry fee. If you have limited time in London I would recommend other tourist attractions way before recommending you actually tour the Tower of London.

Walking on top of the walls! 
View from the south wall

The Tower!!! (with a creeper Shard in the background)
View from the North Wall.
This is where they keep the Crown Jewels... They are so outrageously over-the-top that the diamonds and jewels actually look fake. It was cool to see them, but I definitely would've lived if I hadn't.
Tara had somehow never walked across Tower Bridge, so we walked across to the south bank after our tour and ate a late lunch/early supper at a pub on the Thames. It was a pretty great day.

We found public art!!

Saturday January 17

I woke up early to catch a train to Birmingham (apparently the place where ALL the Muslims live and no non-Muslims can go - thanks Fox News... ) to meet up with Austin and Blake. Blake scored some free tickets for an orchestra he works for and Austin and I decided to take him up on his offer when he said he had extras.

It SNOWED on my way to Birmingham. My first time in London, back in January of 2013, my dad and I drove through the beautiful snow covered English countryside to Stonehenge. Training through the freshly dusted white fields on Saturday morning was the BEST way to start my weekend. (To read about my first visit to London click here)

Austin and I met Blake and he took us on a tour of the University of Birmingham where we went exploring!

The University of Birmingham campus
The tallest free-standing bell tower in Europe!! 
This is the top of the tiny spiral staircase we stumbled upon at the University
And the little Hobbit door that led to the top of the domed ceiling building
Selfie under the hobbit door!
Pretty sure we weren't supposed to be up here... but it was funn!
We were way up there!!
After discovering all the campus had to offer, Blake took us around the town!

The Cathedral Blake took us to in Birmingham 
One of the best street names everrr 
Bullring shopping center
Then we went to the concert (where Jess met up with us) and we sat BEHIND the musicians, it was crazy to see it from the perspective that the choir usually has (cue flashbacks to sophomore year of high school). All those people looking at you... no thanks.

The view from our seats... I could've reached out and touched the heads of the percussionists. It was so cool!!
After the concert we went to a top floor bar and got to look over the city of Birmingham by night!

View from "The Cube" (as the square shaped building in which the bar was located is so eloquently called by Brummies--that's people who live in Birmingham).

Sunday January 18

We had breakfast at some place called Selly Sausage... or something (sketch much?). I got PANCAKES!! which made this American girl pretty dang happy. And they were actually really good, and cheap!

Blake and Jess had a choir practice which Austin and I sat in on for a half hour before taking back to the streets of Birmingham. We went to an awesome coffee house called Faculty and then went our separate ways back to London and Cambridge.

Bye clock tower! 

The multiple teas I have bought this week have been extremely sub par. I was super happy to drink some nicely brewed loose-leaf Earl Grey this morning (Yes, yes, I am OFFICIALLY a tea snob!)
Its always so nice seeing old friends over here. I wasn't able to see Austin or Blake over the break in America and I really missed those guys. Tomorrow, Tara and I are planning to hit London again and see what else we can mark off our list! It's been a whirlwind of a crazy week, and there's always more adventure to be had!

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