Saturday, January 28, 2012

First Official Week

Ok, so I finally have some pictures of the neighborhood I'm living in and my dorm building (I'm slacking on the pictures, I know)! We live in Kensington, which is an extremely expensive area in London (which is saying a lot considering everywhere in London is expensive). It has some of the most expensive flats in all of London, and probably some of the nicest cars I've ever seen parked outside. You see Range Rovers and Mercedes on every street, not to mention the occasional Porsche, Aston Martin and's insane. Not too far from us is the Kensington Palace, where Princess Diana used to live, which is located in Kensington Gardens, which leads you into Hyde Park. It is a crazyyyy expensive area, but it's a given that I will never be living here again, so taking advantage of it now is amazing. 

The surrounding neighborhood

Atlantic House, home for the next four months!

I finished my first official week of classes on Thursday (no Friday classes woowooo!). I'm taking 12 credits, so four classes total; three history classes and a communication class. I wanted to take a management class over here, but Pamplin (the business school at Tech) wasn't having it and I wouldn't have gotten credit. Classes are a lot different over here! I think my biggest class has about 30 people in it, which I'm not used to at all. All of my professors seem pretty interesting, so hopefully that means an interesting semester. Two are British, one is Colombian, and one is French...a little different from back in Blacksburg.

A couple of us stayed in and had a movie night in our common room on Thursday night, but last night we headed out to Camden Town. We went to a club called Koko, and it was definitely one of the coolest places I've been so far. A fairly inexpensive cover in comparison to some others, and the venue was incredible. I looked it up online, and apparently it used to be the Camden Palace Theater, and was later turned into The Music Machine, a live music venue for a lot of punk music in the 80's (Camden is associated with a very "alternative" style and culture). For anyone in Columbus, this place reminded me a little of the Newport, but wayyyy nicer and a lot larger. All the architecture of the old theater has been kept in tact and it was beautiful!

 Hard to tell, but this is the view of the stage from a few floors up
 Some of the boxes 
We did some was locked.

So overall, the first official week was a success! About 20 of us have planned a trip to Edinburgh this upcoming weekend (look out Scotland....), and are taking the Megabus up there and staying in a hostel for a couple of nights. We'll be on the bus headed back to London during the Super Bowl, so I'll miss watching the Patriots lose to the Giants once again, but how many times am I going to get to go to Scotland? It's going to be awesome, we're all so excited! And the weekend following, we're headed to PARISSSS!! I'll keep you guys updated on everything!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Orientation Week

This past week was so much fun, with lots of activities planned for us as well as some sight seeing we did on our own. We had a boat party on the River Thames this past Friday, and most of the people from our program were there. Then we headed to Covent Garden for the rest of the night!

On Saturday, Katie (my roommate), Gracie, Gracie's friend Leah, who was visiting for the weekend, and I went to Camden Town to look at the markets and just wander around. I forgot my camera, so I don't have any pictures, but it was a really interesting area with tons to do and see. We went to Trafalgar Square after that and spent some time in the National Portrait Gallery. It was massive and we didn't get to see nearly all of it, so I'll definitely have to make it a day trip and head back. 

On Saturday night we headed to Piccadilly to a place called O'Neill's and spent the whole night there. There were about 12 of us from our program there and it was absolutely one of the best nights. There were a couple live bands playing a bunch of covers of American classics and we were going crazy. We clearly stuck out as the Americans in the pub...but that's ok. 

Yesterday we headed to Chelsea Stadium for a tour which was so awesome. We went in the stands, into the different locker rooms, through the tunnel the players come out of and stood next to the field. Such a cool experience. 

 Outside the Stadium 

 At the Press Room desk with Emily and Gracie

Chelsea's locker room

The tube is pretty easy to understand, which means it's easy to get from place to place. There's so much more exploring to do here! I have my first classes today so hopefully they go smoothly! And congrats to all my Eta Pi's and our newest Alpha class, can't wait to meet everyone in the fall!!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Home Sweet Home

I'm officially settled in London!! We've been here since Tuesday morning and I'm already in love. The area is so gorgeous around us, it's exactly what you would picture. I've been doing a bad job of picture taking, so I don't have anything of the building or dorm I'm in, but in the grand scheme of things it's nice, and the location is perfect. We're an extremely short walk to Kensington High, where you can pretty much find anything you want, and right by Hyde Park which I need to spend a day exploring. 

The flight over wasn't bad at all! There were about 8 of us from the AIFS program flying out of Cincinnati to Dulles, then probably 15 more that we met up in Dulles. It ended up being a great way to get to know people before you were even in London. In the last few days we've just had a lot of information given to us, trying to prepare us for the semester ahead. We took a walking tour of Kensington as well as a bus tour of London. It was all a little overwhelming, but so exciting at the same time!

My roommate Katie and me with Big Ben!

We saw all the very touristy spots, which was definitely fun, but there's soooo much more to do and see in the upcoming months in terms of traveling around London. Some of us are planning days to just pick spots on the map, ride the tube in, and spend the day wandering around. 

Outside Buckingham Palace

We haven't adventured outside of Kensington yet at night (still trying to get our bearings around this area before we tackle the night buses), but it's only the second full day, so we have plenty of time for that. There are some nice pubs really close to our dorm though, so we've been able to go out, hang out and meet new people.

Some of us out at a local pub/nightclub in Kensington
The people in the program are tons of fun, and everyone is already starting to find their groups of friends. Katie and I were joking that it's like a sped up version of Freshman year of college. You only have four months, so you're making friends as fast as possible! There are people from all over, California, Washington, Minnesota, Virginia, Alabama, New's a great mix and totally crazy what random connections you have to people you've never met before!

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Tomorrow is the day!! I fly out of Cincinnati and head to Dulles, then it's off to Heathrow! I have absolutely no idea what to expect, but I am sooooo excited, and so ready to head out!! 

Packing was a little more difficult that expected (I tried to bring as little as possible), but hopefully I have everything I need and am not forgetting anything important...

My four months worth of belongings

Of course I had to show both a little Virginia Tech and Alpha Delta Pi love on my and maroon ribbon, and blue ribbon with white polka dots!


ADPi headed to London <>

Missing all my Hokies and Ladypi's. Good luck with the rest of recruitment girlies, can't wait to stalk all of our new Alphas, I know they're going to be amazing! 

Well, I'm as ready as I'm going to be..... BAHHH LONDON HERE I COMEEEE!!!

Ohhh, and I almost forgot!! Emma Schmitt, here's my plane outfit :) 

Hope you approve hehehe!

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Countdown Begins!

It is January 6th, which means one thing....10 DAYS UNTIL LONDON! The program I am going through has begun to send a lot of emails as well as a pre-departure packet with itineraries, plane tickets and luggage tags, all the basics and essentials. It's finally really hit me that I'm leaving everything and everyone I know, bahhhhh!! Blacksburg, I'm going to miss you!!

I still can't imagine what it's going to be like missing almost four months in Blacksburg, away from my best friends in the whole wide world. I have to be honest that I get pretty sad thinking about not moving back into my room in the Alpha Delta Pi house, missing out on Formal Recruitment in the upcoming weeks, and everything that Spring Semester of junior year has to offer! Colleen, Ellee and Claybaybay, hold down the fort while Em, Mina and I are away! And little bebe Mick, get me a good g-baby....keep that "A" Fam tradition going ;)

Missing all of you already!!

And of course, you two crazy girls who have been my best friends since about the tenth day of college...MELINDA AND EMILY!! We haven't been separated this long since the summer after freshman year (and I do not like it one bit). No more Alpha Chi house dates with the three of us crammed into Melindy's XL Twin bed, watching the Kardashians on E! and eating pints of ice cream. Sooooo saddddd :( :( But no worries, because we will be having weekly skype dates so we can keep updated on each others lives (this is not an option so don't try to get out of it...). I know we will all have plentyyyy of stories to tell.

Perfect definition of our friendship

For anyone reading who doesn't know either of these two beauties, they are two of the greatest people I have ever known and I am so blessed to have them in my life. We are about as different as you can get, and yet we are, as Emily would sing to the tune of Alan from the Hangover, "the three best friends that anyone could have". There are so many stories to describe our friendship, but I still think one of my favorites is from freshman year, shopping for Emily's Halloween costume. The store owner was helping the three of us, as Melinda and I harassed Emily about her indecision, when he asked how long we all had been friends, and since we'd only known each other since August, we all answered about 2 months. His response was perfect, "Wow, you girls seem like you've known each other forever!". And trust me, that's how it feels. I can't imagine life without them. I love you girlies, as you well know, and I'm going to miss you like crazy!

Ok, I promise all my posts won't be this sappy, but I just needed to get it out of my system before I head out on my adventureeee! Stay tuned for my first post from LONDON!!!!