Keep Calm and Carry On (Saying Goodbye)
Hi darlings! Now that I’m settled at home all cozy by my fireplace and recently decorated Chrsitmas tree, its time to reflect. It’s been a wild three months. There have been lots of ups and downs. The second half of the semester was single handedly my most difficult one yet. I think when you spend time in places as exciting as London, it can be hard to slow down, take a deep breath, and be okay with staying in one night and writing that 3,000 word essay (or watching Netflix).
So here’s a list of the things I did in London that stood out to me the most after the break. I’ll try to keep it short and sweet!
THE POPPIES AT THE TOWER OF LONDON
This beautiful installment went up in November, all leading up to the 11th, which in the UK is known as Remembrance Day, an important holiday for British citizens. I was lucky enough to see the remaining parts of the installment before they took in apart. It was a true honor to be around for this beautiful celebration.
SOUTHBANK CHRISTMAS MARKET
FOOOOOOOD! Towards the end of November Londoners are treated to the Southbank Christmas Market, which consists of food stalls, craft stalls, the Rekorderlig Cider Lounge, and circus show, and a carousel. I think it’s pretty clear which one of these got me motivated to come (the carousel, duh). While the Southbank market is smaller than most other European ones, I believe this is a market which values quality over quantity. They have a wide selection of specialty dishes from all around the world. The first time I went I enjoyed an amazingly large Polish sausage (which was like a giant hot dog), and then I went back for waffles, and then I went back for more sausage, and then my life changed when I had some duck fat and truffle oil french fries. I have no pictures because I ate everything too soon to even think about that. Whoops.
HYDE PARK WINTER CARNIVAL
MORE FOOD! The Winter Carnival is massive. It has rides which put my local theme park Adventureland (yes, like the movie!) to shame. I went on some pretty crazy thrills and screamed my head off the whole time and loved every second of it.
Then I treated myself to a waffle.
Good thing I did it in that order.
A new discovery for me this year! Old Street is restaurant heaven and has all the hipster charm of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It’s where I began my love affair with Bill’s, a chain restaurant which has high tea, the best hamburger you will ever eat, and a great selection of fruity drinks containing elderflower.
IRISH FILM FESTIVAL (THE TRICYCLE)
Right in Kilburn, the area of London I lived in, there was a wonderful establishment called The Tricycle Theater, a place which served as both an independent film theater and live theater. On a whim I decided to get tickets for Standby a newly released Irish Film. Little did I know that on that night it just so happened to be the UK premiere and there would be a Q&A with the director and lead actor after! As a Film Studies minor, I couldn’t be happier. It was an excellent film and I can’t wait to see it again when it premiers in the USA.
MOTHER GOOSE (ENGLISH PANTOMIME)
If there’s anything that BADA taught me well, it’s that Pantomime theater shows are a huge holiday tradition in British culture. “Pantomime” is not a show which features a black and white clown trying to escape from his pretend glass wall. Pantomime theater shows are geared towards kids in their stories and appearance, but adults are able to have their fun too. In every Pantomime show, audience participation is essential. They are encouraged to respond back to performers, appalled the heros, boo the villains, sing, dance, and laugh. Even though I hate being told what to do, I still enjoyed myself and had a fun time. It was fun to learn about an aspect of British culture that I never knew before!
SECOND TERM REFLECTIONS
I feel very grateful that I was able to re-visit London. I felt as if I really got to know the city well enough to be a second home for me. When the time came to leave, I wasn’t the sad, sobbing mess I was when I had to leave it 2 years ago. Instead I was proud to accomplish as much as I did, and felt ready to move on.
I can’t wait to see what new adventures I will find next semester as I study abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark! No matter where I go or travel to next, I know that London will always hold a special place in my heart.
Cheerio, darlings. It’s been a blast!