Sunday, June 15, 2014

Those Final Days

One of these days, I will blog more regularly...

With my exams finally over, during my last week or so in London I set out to do all of the typical tourist things I hadn't yet done, like the seeing the changing of the guard and visiting the Sherlock Holmes museum. I know it seems strange that it took almost all 5 months to do it despite me knowing before I even got to London that I wanted to do these things, but there is just so much to do in London that I somehow never got around to it! After the first few weeks, I felt so at home that I honestly forgot about doing much of the tourist things in favor of more day-to-day things that your typical tourist may not get to. And I'm sure there are still things I may not have done that I will need to do next time.

Fortunately, the weather was absolutely gorgeous. If you weren't able to make it to one of London's many parks, I feel for you. It seems as though everyone was out at Regents Park or my personal favorite, Hampstead Heath, or any park. It was so nice especially after long exams.

Funny enough, when I went to see the changing of the guard, I spotted a man in a Penn State hat. So of course, when I caught his eye, I gave him a good ole "We Are" and he responded with the "Penn State". Both of us, and his (presumably) family had big smiles after. Gotta love finding fellow Penn Staters across the pond!

A few days before we left, CIEE had a farewell tea for us at the posh Royal Gardens Hotel. Everyone got all dolled up for some lovely afternoon tea, finger foods, and champagne. Here it finally hit me that my five months were over even though it felt like I had just landed at Heathrow for the first time. It was hard not to let the overwhelming feeling of sadness creep up at times. Saying goodbye to all of the friends I'd made was so surreal. Some of my friends were staying a bit longer than me because their programs were not over just yet, and listening to them make plans was kinda sad to hear. Although some of those plans were for summer meet ups in the states, so that helped ease the pain of leaving. Or maybe it was the champagne. Either way this was truly the perfect way to end my term abroad.

As a final fun touristy a bunch of us went to Harrods after tea. It took ever little ounce of will power in my body not to go bananas in the makeup and fashion sections. Although seeing the price tags did help to control my shopaholic-ness... At one point, my friend Christina and I made our way to the *best* part of Harrods: THE DISNEY STORE! We may or may not have gone a little crazy... I regret nothing. Disney is the best and who wouldn't want to chill with huge figurines of Woody and Olaf and the rest of the Disney gang? Crazy people. That's who. But our little adventure did mean we lost the rest of our group but also got to have a blast being kids at heart we are and later have a refreshing heart-to-heart, in the middle of Harrods, because why not!

The night ended at Kings Cross. I don't have to tell you what picture we took there, do I? Unfortunately, the wall didn't budge. We must've been too late to catch the Hogwarts Express. Bummer.

I could go on and on and on about how incredibly grateful I am to have had the opportunity to live and study in a different country for 5 months but there truly are no words that would do it justice. I can only hope that I will be able to go back and study for my postgraduate degree or simply to visit as I fell completely in love with the city and do miss it terribly. My months in London were some of the best of my life and I will cherish them for as long as I live.

As a final note, if anyone ever has any questions about the study abroad process or anything remotely related to it, do give me a shout and I will gladly be of help in anyway that I can. :)


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