I still cannot believe that I’m back in Fargo, ND. Or, to be honest, that I was just in England for six months.
The whole trip back was surreal, and I think being so exhausted from all of the travel and staying awake (25 hours at the end of it all!) made it even harder to grasp. From the cab to multiple trains to a long day of airports, it was quite the journey. It was pretty cool though, seeing the sun rise in England and set over the US. Here’s a shot I got of the sunset from my final plane ride from Chicago to Fargo:
I’ve been back for about a week now, and the adjustment back into American/home-life is going much more smoothly than I would have thought. It’s been great to see friends and family that I have only been able to contact via Skype and Facebook while I was abroad. I also really missed my car and my bike …and sunshine, so I’m taking full advantage of all of those things while I have a bit of time to relax before getting into work.
I’m struggling a bit to keep in touch with everyone from Bristol, even those who live in the US, but I’m definitely working on it. I’ve completely unpacked my big suitcase and am currently in the process of re-packing my life so that I can move down to Des Moines (where I’ll continue uni in the fall) in about a week and a half. I’m sure the fact that I’m not going back to Bristol in the fall with everyone else won’t really hit me until I settle in down there, or maybe not even until I start up classes again at Drake University. I’ve downloaded an app on my phone that allows me to listen to BBC Radio 1 all day everyday, so at least I’ll be able to keep up with the music and everything going on in England while I’m back in the States. I definitely miss real commercial-free radio…
I’m determined to make it back to Bristol at some point, maybe for post-grad, or maybe just to visit all the great people I met over these past six months. I miss them all so much already! Even though getting back into the swing of things here will be a challenge, I am so glad I got the opportunity to spend the last six months in Bristol, England. It will always have a special place in my heart, and I absolutely cannot wait to go back someday!
It’s getting quite quiet around Durdham Hall as friends and flatmates trickle home. Two of my flatmates have gone so far – Mat to Portsmouth and Hannah to Los Angeles, CA. It’s slowly setting in that I will eventually have to leave, and I feel a bit sick whenever I do have to think about it. I will miss this place SO MUCH!!! I know I will be back at some point, but it certainly feels far away in the future as I am completely broke from studying abroad twice over the course of my uni career so far… Anyway, I have every intention to make my last few days here count.
After my exam last Thursday, (So glad that’s done!) the flat got together one last time to celebrate Hannah and Steffan’s birthdays and also to wish Hannah a safe journey home as she left Durdham at 4am the next morning. Lots of tears, but overall a good last night here for her.
On Friday we celebrated another set of birthdays, and then on Saturday my hall hosted ‘Durdhambury’, a day-long music festival with food, facepainting, and plenty of other fun things to do. I didn’t spend that much time down in the quad as it was raining for quite a bit of the day, but I heard most of the bands from our kitchen anyway as it overlooks the quad. It was a great chance for everybody to see each other one more time before most people headed out on Monday and Tuesday.
Yesterday I finally walked along my running route on the Downs to take some photos – something I’ve been meaning to do for ages! It was a bit cloudy, but no rain!
(The best bit of my running route – when I get to see the Clifton Suspension Bridge in all its glory)
Today my plan is to go back down to the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery to explore a bit more. (Last time I was there, it was mobbed with little kids…) Then I’ll probably grab my last ever Felafel King felafel on laffa (SO GOOD) before I come back up to Durdham to pack and finish a book. Friday will probably be all about packing and saying goodbyes, although I hope to be able to squeeze in a visit to my favorite coffee shop Café du Jour at some point.
My next post will probably be coming from the other side of the Atlantic, which I can hardly come to terms with. It just sounds so ridiculous that I will have to leave Bristol and all of the great people I’ve met here. Wish me a good flight and a good ‘re-entry’ into American culture, and I will be back with an update from the US of A in a few days!
It’s been a busy week for me – I’m definitely trying to make the most of what little time I have left in England! It still astounds me that I have less than two weeks left here. Where did six months go?!
Anyway, this week (despite wind and rain) I got to the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery to see a cool Da Vinci exhibit in honor of the Jubilee. It was really cool, but the museum itself is huge (and at the time it was packed with small children on their half-term) so I’ll have to go back sometime next week. I also finally made it out on my daytrip to Glastonbury! Again, it was super windy and rainy, so that was a bit of a bummer, but I still managed to climb to the top of Glastonbury Tor. The views were STUNNING, and it was definitely the highlight of the trip. Here are a few pictures:
Yesterday, the one sunny day this week, I trekked down to the Harbour to take in Bristol’s Big Market, which overtook a good portion of the Harbour and the older part of the city. I had a great day out – picked up a Nutella crêpe as a late breakfast snack and a copy of Bill Bryson’s ‘Notes from a Small Island’ (highly recommended by Lynne – going to save it for the flight home).
Overall it’s been quite a good week for me – now I’ve just got to really hit the books for my Politics exam on Thursday! Wish me luck!
This week was an exciting week for all Bristolians! On Tuesday evening the Olympic Torch made its way into the via the harbour. I was lucky enough to be able to take part in the festivities going on that night in Millennium Square, and of course to show my Team Great Britain spirit! Here are some photos from the evening:
Then the next morning, the Olympic Torch Relay continued – from College Green, across the Clifton Suspension Bridge, finally making its way up to where I live. One of my flatmates joined me early (relatively speaking) that morning to see the action in person. It was a blast to see everyone out there lining the streets and waving their Union Jacks! We scouted out a great spot to see the runner go by:
In other news, as you can probably tell from these photos, summer has FINALLY arrived in the UK! It has been sunny and gorgeous all week! Later today I’ll be heading out to the Downs for a BBQ and some frisbee with friends as a break from revision. Hopefully the sunshine sticks around for my last few weeks in Bristol!
Currently, I’m sitting in an adorable little café across the street from my hostel, enjoying chai and a rocky-road-cookie-bar-treat, waiting for my friend to arrive on her train from London. Oh, and I’m in Edinburgh. !! This is by far the farthest trip I’ve taken from Bristol, and I’m so stoked about it! The train ride through the Lake District was stunning, and not too crowded so I got my own table. (Small victories.) Yesterday I arrived in Glasgow in time for a lovely dinner with an old friend at an old-theatre-turned-hipster-restaurant called ‘The Bookclub’. Had the most amazing pumpkin & pea risotto of my life. Spent a fun rest of the night at an Open Mic Night in a laid-back pub around the uni district before calling it a night. This morning my friend took me on a little tour of her neighborhood and city center before lunch at Hula… and then I was off to Edinburgh! Trekked from the station to a really cool little neighborhood where we’re staying at the Budget Backpacker’s hostel – which is kind of awesome. So far an amazing start to the Edinburgh leg of the trip! Much more to come as I’m here until Saturday - check back for pictures and perhaps a video as well!
Already one week into the Easter Holiday and I am thoroughly enjoying both the unseasonable sunshine and no classes. My goals over this month are a bit different than those of most of my fellow study abroad students: 1) Run as much as possible (as I have a 10k to run in Bristol in mid-May), 2) See as much of Bristol as I can, 3) Spend as little money as I have to. I suppose that last one isn’t that shocking to other study abroad students. What is is the fact that I don’t intend to leave this little island over break. I intend on getting to know this lovely city I’m living in and go on a few daytrips here and there around England, Wales and Scotland. A week ago I visited The Smallest City in England, Wells. Had a lovely day exploring the city, especially the GORGEOUS cathedral! Possibly the coolest I’ve seen, and I’ve seen quite a few cathedrals… This past weekend was spent not-so-cheaply (unfortunately for my bank account) in London with a friend from my home university. We had a lovely time despite the return of chillier weather. I hope it warms up again, but looking at the weather that may be a bit far off. More photos and stories to come as I head to the White Cliffs of Dover on Wednesday and Thursday. Then I’ll be in and very close to Bristol over the Easter Weekend.
P.S. In regard to the post title, my flatmate Mat decided that whenever I use ‘Spring Break’ instead of the English term ’Easter Holiday’ he would yell ‘Wooooo!’ in either celebration or protest of the term’s ‘Americanness.
Wow, I can’t believe it’s already been a month since my last post. Time has just been flying!
This month alone I have ventured across the border to Wales twice, and I’m already planning my next trip. What a beautiful country!
Early this month my flatmate Steffan invited us to stay with his family in Cardiff – obviously we accepted his generous offer. (Oh, and by ‘us’ and ‘we’ I mean me, my flatmates Becky and Hannah, and another friend of the flat Mat.) Through many public transportation struggles we managed to all make it there and back, having a lovely time along the way and meeting some fun people. Steffan started an attempt to teach us Welsh, or at least the Welsh alphabet, but struggled… Here are some photos of Cardiff Bay, one of our last stops before returning to Bristol – so lovely to see some ocean!
Then later in the month I joined the rest of the IFSA-Butler students and staff for an Adventure Weekend in Snowdownia. In all honesty I was quite sore from the hiking and rock-climbing activities for a few days after the trip, but the beautiful landscapes we saw over the weekend have inspired me to make a return trip up to the north of Wales for a little bit more adventure-ing. I’m hoping to head up to Angelsey in May when I have another break from lectures and exams. I have a ton of photos from my hike alone, but here are a few of my favorites:
I was also able to make it on a short excursion to Llandudno, a cute seaport town. A few friends and I had fun just strolling the pier and eating ice cream before the long train ride home.
More news on Bristol and my upcoming Easter Holiday plans shortly!
Here’s a little video-slideshow I made about my daytrip to Bath a few weeks ago. If you can’t see it, just put this address in a new tab and it should pop up for you: https://voicethread.com/share/2759155/