Dec. 15

Today our cab came at 5:45, so we were up by 5:10.  Martin helped us bring our bags down the front stairs (thank god!).  The cab was a van, but we were still stuffed.  We sat in the way back of a van, with bags pilled behind us and in front of us.  Since it was early on a Saturday morning, there wasn’t much traffic, so we got to the airport around 6:45ish.  Once we got to the airport, I had to walk to Terminal 3.  The total weight of my bags is more than I weigh, so pushing my cart up hills and not letting it run away going down them was a little bit of a struggle.  I checked in, and my checked bags were just under 50 pounds, so those were ok.  For only the second time ever, the person made me weigh my red carry on, which turned out to be overweight for a carry on (which I did not know was possible), so I had to switch some stuff to my backpack before the lady let me go (which I promptly switched back once I was around the corner).  As I was waiting for my stuff after security (Heathrow still hasn’t gotten faster with searching stuff that gets flagged), I saw Kathy again, which is weird because Heathrow is a huge airport.  She wasn’t on my flight, but the one right before it.  After security took forever, I still had a bunch of time until my flight, so I ate breakfast, read, looked at the store, read more, ate lunch, and then finally got on my plane.  I’m currently 5 hours into my 9 hour flight, so hopefully I can sleep for part of the rest!

Dec. 14

Today I packed more, and then Teresa, Ashley, and I went to the Primark by school one last time.  I saw Kathy Lanser (a DSHA classmate) at Primark, which was super random.  She was studying in London for the semester too, but who would have guessed we wouldn’t see each other until the last day for both of us?  Of course we found stuff at Primark, which complicated packing.  Of course it was pouring out, which Kayla said was “London crying because we’re leaving.”  Later on, I went to dinner with Sam, Kayla, Bri, and Kari, and then we went to Church Pub for the last time.  It was pretty sad because everybody was saying good-bye, especially to people that were not on the group flight (like me).  Christina and Hilary didn’t end up making it, and some people were kind of mad haha.  After I got home, the three of us finished up packing and straightening things up a little bit.  Multiple suitcases had to get repacked, and we all needed help closing one or two.  I ended up going to sleep at 1:15, and I do not know when the other two got done packing and went to sleep.

Dec. 13

Today I only had management.  We only had two presentations (my group went yesterday), so it only went for about an hour.  After that, I went down to Harrods since I never really got a chance to explore it yet.  I ended up wandering around the store for a long time looking at all of the random stuff there.  There’s a spy gear section, and you can buy a life-sized Harrods bear for over 1,000 pounds.  I got lost a couple of times, and one time I ended up at the spot where kids line up to see Santa, which looked just like it did when we were there in 2001.  After Harrods I went up to Oxford Street.  I did one last round of the shops there.  After that, I went home to pack and get ready for the boat cruise.  We all met at Temple Pier at 7:15 for our boat cruise.  Everybody was dressed up, and everybody was there, including the professors and a couple people who were fairly anti-social during the semester.  It was pretty funny because the boat had not even left the pier and people were grabbing cups from the bar to pour the alcohol they brought with them into.  After we had some appetizers we put on music and danced.  It was pretty fun, and people even got some of the boys who do NOT dance to dance.  Every once in a while, somebody would yell out a landmark that we were passing and everybody would run out onto the (FREEZING) back deck of the boat to take pictures of it.  We saw the London Eye, Big Ben and Parliament, and we went under Tower Bridge several times.  It was really fun.  Once it ended, Christina, Hilary, Sam, Kayla, Bri, Kari, and I headed home.  Kayla was super tired and she fell dead asleep on one tube.  We had to wake her up quickly to change trains, and she was so asleep that she took two steps and fell back into the door that wasn’t open.

Dec. 11

Today I had my art history final, and then in history we did a “pub quiz” as our teacher called it.  Rochelle, Teresa, and I were the Ally Pally Babes (since we live around the Alexandra Palace Park), and we won so our teacher gave us little pins that were American and British flags intertwined.  Tonight was our last cultural event here in London.  We went to the Nutcracker.  The dancing was really amazing.  It was funny because a girl on our trip had never been to the Nutcracker, so she thought that it was another musical and was waiting for the people on stage to start talking and singing.  Another girl in our group had been in dance for years, so she would randomly applaud when the dancers did something that might look like just another move, but she knew that it was really hard.  At the end, people just kept clapping for about 20 minutes, and the dancers kept coming back for curtain calls.  It was funny because just as the clapping would slow down, people would come back out so you would have to clap again.  It took place in the opera house in Covent Garden, and it was really pretty (you could tell it was really old).  It was pretty as we walked back to the tube after too because Covent Garden is all decorated for Christmas.

Dec. 9

Today we all wanted to do some last minute souvenir shopping.  Hilary went to Petticoat Lane Market and Spitalfields Market, and Christina and I went to the Camden Market.  We each had specific things to look for, but of course we ended up with other souvenirs too.  I got a wine/bottle opener, a telephone booth door poster, a piggybank filled with tea, and a keychain for a total of 7.50.  We went farther down the main street than we did when we went to the Camden Market the first weekend we were here, and we figured out that we had not even seen half of the market stuff there.  The Camden Market on a Sunday would definitely be something to do next time I go to London.

Dec. 8

Today I woke up, did some homework, and then Christina, Hilary, Kayla, Sam, Kari, Bri, and I went to a chocolate market down by the London Eye.  It was really crowded, but it was really cool.  They actually had real chocolate, unlike the British “chocolate”.  The British chocolate is pretty bad because their standards are not that high, so it doesn’t actually have to have much cocoa in it to be considered chocolate.  After the chocolate market, we went to a souvenir shop.  After that, the other girls went home, and Christina, Hilary, and I walked across the river to a phone booth where you can take really good pictures with Big Ben in the background.  After that, we went home and did some more homework.  That night we just went to Church Pub.  Some people were going to a club that was supposed to be really cool called Ministry of Sound, but it was expensive and SUPER far away, so we didn’t go.

Dec. 7

Today I got up and met up with Ashley and Teresa to go to Abbey Road.  I already took pictures there, but I went again.  It was pretty funny.  We took turns doing two at a time, and we had the everything down to a science.  We waiting for no cars, and then walked out across the crosswalk coordinating our steps.  However, the other people trying to take pictures there also were not so coordinated.  Since those people kept messing things up, it took us a while, but it was pretty entertaining.  After that, we headed to Bond Street.  We walked down and back all the way from Oxford Street to the bottom of Bond Street, which was actually about 3 blocks from our hotel over midterm break, which I wish I had known then!  Bond Street has all of the high end stores, including Prada, Gucci, Tory Burch, Ralph Lauren, Burberry, Missoni, Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Tiffany and Co., De Beers, and tons of others.  We went into a few, including the Coach store.  Inside the store, they had a little display with vintage bags in glass cases, and one of them was the one I was carrying!  The salespeople got all excited when they noticed that, and one girl told me that they had to wear special gloves when they touched the one in the glass cases.  We also went into a HUGE four story Victoria’s Secret.  It was really really cool.  The whole store was decorated in an over the top way with black, pink, glitter, and mirrors everywhere.  The bathrooms were super nice too – the paper towels were all printed with “Victoria’s Secret New Bond Street” and all of the perfumes were in there to sample.  After that, we headed over to Leicester Square to go to M&M World.  That was also 4 stories and cool.  They had an area where you could make your own mix of different colors of M&Ms and different types.  Weirdly, the only types they make over here are regular, peanut, and crispy, which is weird because the crispy ones were discontinued in the US a long time ago.  After that, we went over to Wok to Walk before ice skating.  Our group has a certain amount of money from St. Thomas to do a group activity here.  We decided on a dinner cruise, which we are doing on Thursday. We had extra money, so we used it to go ice skating at the Tower of London.  Almost everybody from our group showed up, and it was really fun.  It was hilarious to watch people fall and guess who would be next.  The first person to fall did probably 15 seconds of what looked like graceful acrobatics before landing on his butt.  It was also cool to see the people who obviously learned to skate as soon as they learned to walk and were really really good.  Other than some minor injuries, everybody did ok.  After that, 6 of us went to a pizza place and then headed home.