I’m not exactly sure how to do it, but I’m going to give it my best shot. By the way, sorry I haven’t posted in a couple of days! I’ve been incredibly busy and it’s difficult to find free Wi-Fi in London (especially near the place we’re staying). So here’s my attempt at bringing everybody up to speed!
As most of you know, Friday was my 20th birthday! I have to say that it was probably the best birthday I have ever had in my life— although I definitely missed celebrating with my family and friends back home. The day began pretty much like all of the other days at Oxford with a plenary lecture and a delicious tuna baguette at the Undercroft. Then I received the best birthday gift I could’ve possibly gotten while in England: 70s on BOTH of my papers! That means I finished my two summer classes with first-class honors. My tutors also had fantastic things to say about my writing and my participation in class. I was so happy.
The birthday celebrations started with our final formal dinner at Oxford. We enjoyed champagne at the reception and then had another five-course meal with two kinds of wine and coffee at the end. During the speeches after dinner, one of the summer program’s student advisers announced that it was my birthday and led the entire hall in “Happy Birthday”! It was one of the most surprising parts of the night. We ended Friday by going out to a club with Lulu, dancing for about an hour, and ordering one last round of chips and cheese from the kebab man. Thank you to everyone who helped make my birthday incredibly special and memorable!
Saturday was a day of travel for Howard, Layne, and me. We left Oxford at about 7:30 in the morning and made our way to the train. The entire journey into London was exhausting (no surprise there) but we finally arrived at Kings College perfectly intact. The rest of the day was spent exploring the area around the borough we’re in— Southwark— and meeting up with Savannah, Leigh, Mary, Stephen, and Michelle outside of Westminster for one last farewell meal. I still can’t believe we’ve already said goodbye to them, but I’m sure we’ll be seeing each other in the future.
Today Layne and I hit the ground running with our London Passes in tow to take advantage of as much of the city as possible. We started out at Shakespeare’s Globe, where we enjoyed some of their exhibits about Shakespeare before touring the new reproduction of the Globe. Our tour guide was pretty funny and the entire experience was awesome. We then decided to take a chance and go to an attraction we knew very little about: the London Bridge Experience. For some reason, both of us thought it was going to be some sort of exhibit about the history of the London Bridge. We were totally wrong. It ended up being the UK’s top-rated terror attraction. I can’t even begin to describe how thoroughly TERRIFYING the entire experience ended up.
After the London Bridge, we had DELICIOUS Portuguese food at a restaurant called Nando. Later in the afternoon we explored the HMS Belfast, a World War II ship that’s now a super cool museum. I enjoyed wandering around the ship but there were a million ladders we had to climb and I was absolutely exhausted. We also stopped by the Britain at War Experience before crashing for the afternoon in our room, but it was nothing to write home about and I wouldn’t really suggest it to anybody. Tonight we headed back toward the Thames for a delicious meal of fish and chips by the river and a stroll by the Tower Bridge in all of its lighted glory. We got some awesome pictures!
Now Layne and I are sitting at the Dover Castle late bar and hostel, listening to some AWESOME music and taking advantage of the free internet access. Hopefully I’ll be able to post tomorrow, but that all depends on how exhausted I am after going to Westminster Abbey, Churchill’s War Rooms, the London Tower, and the London Eye.