The London Diaries: Buckingham Palace and Windsor Palace

We hear so much about the posh side of Great Britain that, after being in the country for over a couple of weeks and having not yet gone, I was pretty eager to finally get to see these notorious estates that Britain is known for.

I don’t think that I have ever felt so inferior and small than when I was walking the gold encrusted grounds of Buckingham Palace. I felt like if I were to look at something for too long I would soil it with my peasant eyes. I remember repeatedly gawking at the fact that people actually live like this, and how I could never imagine myself waking up in an estate worth 5 billion dollars. BILLION. This place was so grand and lavish and, to be honest, a bit over the top in my opinion. Still, I can’t deny the fact that it was absolutely stunning.

As you can imagine, you can’t take pictures inside the palace, which was a bummer because it truly was unreal. But we were still able to take fun pictures here and there on the grounds of these gorgeous castles.

Buckingham Palace

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The London Diaries: Stourhead

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Okay, okay… I realize that I have been back from my study abroad for, oh, 5 months now and yes I STILL have not blogged everything… but hey, better late than never, right?

(And this place was way too gorgeous not to post about.)

On one of our day trips we went to Stourhead gardens. I honestly didn’t know much about the place except that parts of the Kierra Knightley Pride and Prejudice were filmed here.

So basically all I needed to know in order for me to become ecstatic.

DSC_0139I was blown away by how breathtaking this place was. The weather was perfect, which is pretty rare in England, and the workers kept telling us how lucky we were to get to see the gardens on such a beautiful day. DSC_0140DSC_0198This place is where the scene was filmed where Mr. Darcy tells Elizabeth that he loves her and asks for her hand in marriage, but she rejects him.

To this day, I still have not watched that scene without swooning at Mr. Darcy’s adoration for her, while simultaneously internally fist pumping at Lizzy’s response.

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6500b438593cfa7784f24e1ee2e3b2db.gifDSC_0236DSC_0239DSC_0244It’s safe to say we were pretty stoked about it. DSC_0249DSC_0252DSC_0257DSC_0303DSC_0307DSC_0359DSC_0364We also may have taken a moment to pull up the movie and watch that scene while we were there. No shame. DSC_0183.JPG

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The London Diaries: Brighton

Our first Saturday here we decided to take a train down to Brighton. It was a super last minute decision but it was honestly so worth it. Brighton is beautiful. It’s a cute and quirky small town full of shops and markets. On top of that you have the gorgeous seashore and pier.

I loved everything about the town…except the birds.

I have never really had a fear of birds until I came to Brighton. We were warned beforehand that the birds were extremely aggressive, but I didn’t think it would be that bad.

Oh, how it was.

The seagulls would basically circle the pier searching for food. And when someone would accidentally drop some of their food, or when some kid would throw them some to eat… it was war. The birds would swarm in on the food like it was a million bucks. I have never seen birds act so insane.

I started getting really paranoid of these birds whenever I would eat because as soon as you would pull out food they would start moving towards you.

Also, this little girl  next to us got her sandwich stolen right off of her plate by a bird, and so that didn’t help my anxiety either.

Besides the seagull situation, I loved Brighton so much. It was so fun to walk around the small town for a day. I would definitely consider going back… if I ever work up the courage to face those psycho birds again, that is.
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The London Diaries: Tower Bridge, Graffiti walls, and Borough Market

In one of our classes, we are required to take walks around the city that spotlight different parts of London.

It’s so rad.

We get graded on going out and seeing the incredible city that we already love. It’s cool to get to see different parts of London that we probably wouldn’t get to see if we were just visiting for a few weeks. We already get to see the tourist-y places like Big Ben and Oxford Circus just by being here, but on top of that we also are getting to know the lesser known places like certain neighborhoods and back alleys.

Okay “back alleys” is not the right word, but you get the idea.

On this particular day we saw the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, London Bridge, Southwark Cathedral, and St. Paul’s. While going from sight to sight we saw gorgeous sceneries and some stunning architecture.

Basically a 19 year old girl with a camera’s dream.

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Tower of London
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Tower Bridge

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Borough Market

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The London Diaries: Hello London!

My first couple of days in London were unreal.

I constantly had to remind myself that this wasn’t a dream, and that one of my lifelong wishes were actually coming true.

Although I was exhausted, I got lost almost immediately, and I felt extremely overwhelmed at the amount of brand new people I was going to be living with and the general unfamiliarity of the environment, I was mostly just stoked to be there.

It was crazy to think to myself that I was actually studying abroad in LONDON, something I had dreamt of for as long as I could remember, and here I was living that dream.

DSC_1289 DSC_1286DSC_1251 DSC_1259 DSC_1262 DSC_1273 DSC_1266Noteworthy experiences of my first few days included:

1- Getting off on the wrong tube station after leaving the airport and having to trek 4 miles across hyde park with all of my luggage…  I was sore for days, folks.

2- Seeing platform 9 3/4 on September 1 (Harry Potter’s 1st day at Hogwarts: A historical moment for Harry Potter enthusiasts everywhere.)

3- Discovering that ice cream is ten times better in Europe.

4- Discovering that jet lag is a real thing.

5- Seeing Big Ben, Oxford Street and the London Eye for the first time.

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The London Diaries: Why I chose to study abroad

I’m a firm believer that travel is an investment that is well worth the cost.

Through travel, you gain so much more than just getting to see a couple of cool places. Engrossing yourself in a new culture expands your viewpoints of the exclusive world that you have always known. Through it, you gain memories, experiences, and life lessons that, in my opinion, are so much more valuable than materialistic possessions. Of course, I would be lying if I said that I didn’t spend some of my paycheck on those materialistic possessions- i’m human. But if I were given the option to spend $10,000 on a shopping spree, or to spend $10,000 on traveling, I would pick travel in a heartbeat.

And I honestly think a lot of people would do the same.

But there always seems to be obstacles that get in the way of traveling for so many people. I decided a long time ago that i wasn’t going to let anything get in the way of this dream of mine. I would like to think that if I were given one month to live, I would spend a good fraction of that month traveling to new countries and experiencing new cultures. I want to grow up and be one of those people with a huge world map on their living room wall, with markers indicating all of the countries they have been to. And yes, you can bet your life savings that that map will be as full as possible.

So why London, you may ask? Well, without hesitation I would respond with “why not London?”. London has always been at the top of my very long list of places I want to visit in my lifetime. I have always been captivated by London; by the diverse people, the beautiful architecture, and the enchanting city life. London is consistently one of the top fashion capitals of the world and it’s one of the most talked about, and visited cities in the world. These reasons alone were enough for me. The idea of not only getting to visit this amazing city, but to live here for a few months was too good of an opportunity to pass up. I get to live here in London until December 7th, which will have be 3 and a half months all together. Of course, deciding to study abroad here in London was not cheap, and a lot of sacrifices had to be made in order for me to get here, but it’s already so worth it. I have already gained so much weight many amazing experiences, and I can’t wait to see what else in in store for me while I experience life here in London. I don’t even want to think about leaving because it is amazing. Absolutely breathtaking.

One of my favorite quotes says:

“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.”

My greatest fear is to die with regrets, and It would be a huge regret of mine if at the end of my life I didn’t feel like I fulfilled my dream of traveling. I want to spend my life traveling the world, and I want to do it with the people I love. Life is short, and the world is a pretty big place. So I guess deciding to study abroad was my way of taking initiative to start living my dream, and I can’t think of a better place to have started.

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Tibble Fork Reservoir| 7.17.2015

On Friday night a few of my friends and I decided to drive up to Tibble Fork Reservoir up in the canyon. I had never been before and heard that it was incredibly beautiful and a fun place to hang out.

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Unfortunately, it took a little longer than we expected to get there. We managed to drive up the wrong canyon and we didn’t realize it until we were about 30 minutes in. We couldn’t get a hold of anyone in the other cars because no one had service, and so everyone else was pretty worried about us and we had no way of letting them know that we had just made the rookie mistake of not thinking to use Google maps beforehand. ha. My car also had all of the camping chairs, fire equipment, food, and blankets (p.s. thank goodness for the food because we were starving during that drive up..). We ended up showing 40 minutes late, and while it was quickly getting dark, I managed to get in a few shots of the stunning landscape and my equally stunning friends.

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At the end of the day, everything worked out fine and we had a pretty good laugh about it all. Hey, you live and you learn, right? 😉