just another week of life in london

photo 5-8It’s been a few weeks since I have written so I have much to catch you up on. Many things have been the same as usual, my normal routine of going to class and exploring the area, with some additional exciting adventures. Let em begin by telling you bout school, the good and the bad. The good would be about my class “exploring London,” the class about London from a  sociology perspective. My assignments for this class are really enjoyable, one of them was to go house hunting and well you could say i put an immense effort into that assignment. Below i attached the links of some of my findings if you happen to have been looking for flats in London then these might be of some help or, like in my case, you wanted to go clothes shopping but there is no Target near you and looking at Nordstrom’s website feels very pointless then this is an excellent alternative.


My assignment the week following for this class was to go around the area of Clerkenwell with some classmates and discover the gentrification of the area. The task started off poorly with us having no idea what to say to people to find out this information and even involved me really awkwardly wishing someone a happy monday and bursting out laughing. My family and friends at home know that this is not abnormal for me so you’re probably not very shocked, but the people in my class whom I had just met were puzzled which made it all the more fun! We eventually found local business owners who were able to tell us that the area 40 years ago was not a place to walk at night, that certain streets used to be all clock shops whereas now the area is abundant with architects (fun fact- it takes longer to become an architect than a doctor in England). We found a pub that has been there for 200 years and a building that monks lived in back went London was in its earliest stages. We spent way more time on the assignment than necessary, but it was so festinating to be learning the more recent history of the area from people who have lived it. Also in part of the area, since the international students had tours when we first arrived, I was able to inform the Londoner’s in my group about the history of some of the buildings that even they didm;t know, including the bank where Dickens placed money, the house where Marx wrote from, and a convent for nuns before the split from the catholic church.  The final assignment I have for this class is a paper on the 2011 London riots, which I knew very little about previously and was surprised how remarkably similar the causes of those riots were to the causes of the turmoil in Ferguson this past year.
The past few weeks have had an odd football theme running through them that was mostly unintentional. The first was a trip to arsenal’s emirates stadium in Islington.photo 2-11
Last weekend was the real excitement as of late when i went to Manchester!!!! I went with three lovely friends from the house and it was a really fun weekend.photo 3-11
We took the train up north so I saw the open fields that I always picture England having, thanks Downton. When we arrived, checked into our hostel, and visited Old Trafford where we were clever and took this picture.
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It rained that day for only the third time since I arrived in England, but I worked my magic and by the next day Manchester had clear skies and sunshine. We explored Manchester which has a central hub with the Manchester wheel or the Manchester eye iI prefer to call it. This was in the center of the city which is very small after coming from London. It was a funny thing begin in a place that looked like London, but had such a different energy, different demographic of residents, and different accent. We visited the national football museum so if you ever need fun facts about the history of football i’ve got you covered.  There was an attempt that weekend to immerse ourselves into more local culture which I did in the nest way i know how; food. I tried my first pie & mash, Manchester tart, british breakfast, and cadbury chocolate. Our hostel experience was a good one with nice, and we even went on a pub crawl provided by the hostel. We made friends on it, some from different parts of England, some from other European states and as always with the Americans. It was a really social way to meet people staying at the hostel with us and to see the city at night. Given the higher proportion of students in Manchester the atmosphere was very different than in London. Our last day there we visited the museum of manchester, university of manchester, manchester library and manchester art gallery. These were all nice to see, but paled greatly in comparison to the museums in London. photo 4-12 Here we are roaming the city with our new german friend!
These past few days back home in London have mostly been filled with the same old same old. It rained one day which I was actually really excited about. A friend and I went to the arsenal museum because we had free tickets to go and we learned some more about our local football team followed by free crepes on pancake day from our uni. I found other hidden gems in London this week including the area north of primrose hill, the Regents canal right by my house and a 9/11 memorial not far from the U.S. embassy. At this point I probably clear that I could go on and on forever, but I won’t because we all have things to do… bye
xoxo christine

I do believe its time for another adventure….

This has been a week of immense exploration! From notting hill to the view from primrose park I have seen  many new things this week and London is truly feeling like my home. Last week we traveled to notting hill to have brunch and also visit the famous portabello road market. This market was less extensive then many of the others here and I would not say its one of the best but it was nice to visit such a well known place. I know that British food does not possess a very positive reputation but the brunch we had that day was one of the best meals I have ever had! i love how fresh the food is here even though it means you cannot purchase more than a few days worth of food at a time.

photo 1-9 this is a picture of portabello road and it, like many of the property in nicer areas, has house in multiple colours. It adds such a nice touch to the street and I appreciate especially on the cloudier days when the colors of the houses take away the from grayness.

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So there are so many different areas in London that have such different character. the market areas are always very artsy, Where is live is considered young and trendy and upon exploring the area more and more I have found that to be true. This is graffiti on the side of the road in Islington/Shoreditch that is of the Disney Pixar move Up! I thought this was particularly cute and was not actually by the presence of this graffiti in Islington. photo 1-10

I had my first presentation last week on the topic of war specifically the US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan and basically i kicked butt on it, not that it matters because i discovered later that it doesn’t count towards my grade. that would have been nice to know beforehand so I was not as nervous, but I am happy that I got the chance to practice giving presentations.   photo 5-4 photo 1-11

Last Monday night we went to a musical! This musical was a bit different than the other types than what I have seen before, from the moment we walked in the cast was already singing and using less common musical instruments. The story ended with a cliffhanger so we will never know whether the Irish singer achieved his dream.

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This week it snowed for the first time and it was really exciting for me! This was me on my run in Hyde park where the snow had not yet melted as it and on all the streets. The park was really beautiful with the snow on the ground and I enjoyed that it was not very cold despite the snow. This was Tuesday which I consider my personal exploration day because i do not have class when many others do, I walked around Hyde park, Kensington palace, westminster around the houses of parliament, parliament square, westminister abbey, st. james park, trafalgar square, downing street and the guards house.The high point of my day was when i witnessed a squirrel attack followed by the death of the bird, this was the most horrifying experience ever and after decided it was definitely time for me to go home, where upon i then trekked up to emirates stadium to see where arsenal plays, which is in the dodgy end of Islington.

photo 5-6 There are times when I know exactly what I’m doing or where I’m going, but other times my friends and i get terribly lost. This is what happened thursday night, the plan was simple go to the ole ye cheshire cheese pub that was here before the London fire then rebuild following its destruction. I guess things rarely go according to plan, after getting lost in the business district (hence why we have this picture with a random statue outside a business office) and having to go around numerous detours from all the construction, we finally ran into the view below. I know the photo is not great but the view was breathtaking. The full moon right over St. Paul’s was stunning and had our pub close to it! unfortunately that pub was too crowded, as was the next one we tried and after another thirty minutes of walking and passing the London eye we ended up at TGIF (which tastes good here). although things didn’t quite go as planned, it was still a fun night and I walked many more miles than necessary, yay.

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This friday i continued my job as a tourist by visiting the Churchill war rooms,  the underground rooms from which the government and war was conducted from following damage to 10 Downing street. The rooms were left exactly the way they were left in 1945 following the conclusion of the war, not event the paint was refinished. In this picture which was the main strategy room for high ranking officials the seat for Churchill can be seen in the middle directly in front of the map. It was in this room we learned that Churchill would often pretend to be deaf when hearing opposition. The war rooms and Churchill museum taught me many things I did not know, including Churchill conducted work from his bed for the first few hours of the day, once met the US President in his bathtub at the white house, was made an honorary US citizen, and was a trend setter for rompers. Seeing the rooms, as they originally were, brought the reality of the terror of the war to me.

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It was a beautiful although really cool day that I spent the day in the regents park. It was so fun to explore the park, so much so that I played on a playground. I was really excited about this excuse I am not allowed to play at the one by my house because I do not have a child.(hahaha funny because I’m sure there are people who still think of me as a child so i think i should be able to go whenever i want.) This is me taking full advantage of the opportunity to play on the swings. photo 3-7 photo 4-9

The sun was out and shining and I was even able to have a picnic outside the houses of Parliament. This saturday Patty and I visited the Westfield mall that is located in Hammersmith, one of the outer boroughs of London. It was funny that once inside the mall it looked just like any mall at home it reminded me very much of main place mall or south coast. We then went to the Regents park and primrose hill. This hill has the best view on the London skyline! it was beautiful to see. We sat there for a while and I came to realize that this is a city that I would gladly live in forever. At this point I was very tired, but rallied to visit my Big at a pub in Piccadilly! It was exciting to see her half way around the world and hear her stories of studying abroad in Dublin! Today consisted of a 4 hours treasure hunt! it was based in Shoreditch, Islington, Hackney, Spitafields areas and was focused on the street art in the area. It was interesting having to really examine the street art for clues and figure out the clues. This activity took us all around the trendy areas of London and led us to a pub where the other teams were gathering too! it was exhausting but i did convince all the participants to geocache with me! Clearly its been a busy week here with a lot of exploration as always, but I look forward to the adventures yet to come this coming week!

with love from london,