Day 6: Tea Time

Today we had a guest speaker come talk to our class.  I think I’ve mentioned her before but if I haven’t, her name is Linda Lewis and she is a professor here at Regents and specializes in PR.  She’s been talking about the phone hacking scandal and today she really went into detail about everything.  I was in London when most of the drama was happening last year but there has been many more incidents that make the story even crazier.

To sum it up: the London newspaper, News of the World, has been hacking into phones to get stories.  They have tapped celebrities, the royal family, politicians and some people in the military.  They just recently charged Rebecca Brooks, who was the editor of the News of the World.  It has been fascinating to hear all about the scandal and what not. I think the whole country is overreacting a bit and I think that the only reason this story is big is because the rival papers are continuing to cover the story to put the News of the World out of business.  However, that is my opinion on this whole topic but I still like hearing about it.

We had class and then some of us decided to go to the Victoria and Albert Museum in Kensington.  The main reason for us going was to see the ball gown exhibit and of course, it was not open.  So we wandered around for a bit and then decided to go to the Orangery for some high tea.  Walking around Kensington Park might be my favorite thing to do in London.  I absolutely love that area and so enjoyed just sitting and having my tea.  I always feel so British when I drink tea!

After we finished our tea we came back to the dorm and decided to go out exploring around London to see what the night life was like.  We ended up just wandering around the city which is still just as much fun for me!

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Day 5: Caught in the Rain

If you know me, then you know how scattered I can be at times. This can be proven by taking a look at the things I packed for this trip. I knew that I was coming to London and failed to bring anything that would help me with the weather conditions.  Today, it was freezing and rainy.  I decided to give the cloak a rest because it was getting me too much attention and I didn’t want to make more people jealous by wearing it.  So I wore one of Carolines extra rain jackets.  I would later regret the decision to keep the cloak at home.

I had class this morning and we had a guest speaker who came to talk to us about PR.  My major is advertising so I was not really that interested but she had an accent so I paid attention for the most part.

After that I decided to go with the group since Caroline was off doing her last-minute things before she left.  The group wanted to go to the Sherlock Holmes exhibit.  Big regret. It was so stupid. So after that bust, the question came up as what to do next.  I suggested we go to Buckingham Palace and Green Park because we had about three hours to kill before having to get ready for a play we would be seeing in the evening.  Most of the group decided to stay around Baker Street and do some shopping so Anna Geary (my roommate) and I decided to go see Buckingham Palace and Green Park.  Once we arrived there we intended on seeing the Queen’s Gallery times and prices but ended up going to see Da Vinci’s Anatomist.

This was something I wanted to see because it contained Da Vinci’s work but I had no idea what I was really about to see. My mind was blown.  I knew he was a genius but had no idea just how brilliant this man was.  If only he had published his work, then I firmly believe our knowledge of science and the human body would be so much more advanced than it is currently.  Not to mention his drawings are so accurate! He looked at the insides of animals and assumed how they would be for a human.  He was able to explore the human body on several deceased bodies only to find out his drawings were correct. He searched the body of a man who died at the age of 100 who was perfectly healthy.  He found some sort of liver disease that wouldn’t be discovered until I believe 1920.  I don’t remember if that is accurate but it was something crazy like that! It was unreal! I also didn’t know that Da Vinci was left-handed but wrote from right to left and mirrored because he thought that was easier.

Here are some of the images from the largest exhibit of Da Vinci anatomical drawings

After being completely amazed by Da Vinci, we started walking back to Green Park Underground to head back home to get food and start getting ready for the play.  It was at this moment I regret not taking the cloak.  All of a sudden it started pouring. I had just enough time to get my camera back in my purse and to zip the jacket half way up before little bits of hail started to hit my face.  Then we started running and no that did not help.  It was a good 100 yards till we were safely in the underground.  After that we decided to run into a small diner on the street corner and grab some dinner and try to wait out the rain.

Then we met two “chuggers”.  A man came up to me and asked if I had a pound that I could give for a good cause. I said I had nothing but paper money then he proceeded to ask if I had a cell phone to which I replied yes but it doesn’t work because I’m not from here.  He had a chuckle and said “so you’re telling me you have a phone but it doesn’t work? That’s messed up”.  I said I would donate money if I had anything on me but I didn’t.  He laughed and we said goodbye. I turned around to get money with Anna at the ATM and on our way home we ran into them again.  They then explained that they were known as “chuggers” which means charity mugger.  That could quite possibly be my new favorite name for someone asking for charity money.  Loved it.

We got back to the dorm and threw on a dress (and cloak) and headed to the theatre to see Sweeney Todd.  I was not that excited about seeing this but I figured I had already paid for it so I might as well.  The first act went by very quickly, that’s probably because I accidentally dozed off.  The second half was great! I got a mini ice cream and it was awesome!!!

That’s about my day!! Love and miss you all!!

Oh and here are some pictures from before the play!

Day 5: Today I Wore A Cloak..

Today was my first day of class. I fell asleep. Sorry Dr. Fullerton! In reality I only dozed off for a few minutes but it was definitely a nap that provided power! So far the class is really cool! I love Dr. Fullerton and I’m super pumped to get to learn from her for another three weeks.

After class Caroline and I start our journey to the set of Harry Potter.  When I say journey, it was literally a journey.  Several underground and overground trains later, a bus and a quick sprint to the ticket booth, we set foot inside the building that would soon take our attention for the next three hours.

This face pretty much sums up how Caroline felt walking into the dining hall that was used for the filming of Harry Potter. This photo was taken the moment she stepped foot through the door.

This was actually a super cool event. I am not much of a Harry Potter fan but this made me super excited about the movie and completely blew my mind! The entire exhibit is on the actual lot that Warner Bros shot everything.  We got to see the Horcruxes, the Griffindor Boys Dorm, costumes, wigs, Dumbledore’s office, the wands, the monsters and Dobby.  

So since Caroline is a bit of a Harry Potter fanatic, she took her time throughout everything and ended up being behind me.  I would run through everything once and then show her where the really important things were.  When I came across the Horcruxes, I took lots of pictures and moved on.  When I showed them to Caroline, this is what she did.

Today, I wore a cloak.  But to begin with this story, I must take you back to before my trip even left.  I told my mother that I needed a rain jacket because it rains quite a bit in London.  She said that she had a rain coat that would definitely keep me dry but that it was her favorite so I should take care of it.  I tried it on and at the time it seemed fine (and free). Fast forward to today.  It is the first day it has rained in London so I needed my rain jacket/coat.  I grabbed it and went out the door.  Once arriving to the Harry Potter world, I realized that my coat looked more like a cloak. After getting off the bus to enter the exhibit a girl turns and says to me “Wow, you wore a cloak and everything”. I continued to wear my “cloak” because it was cold and because I was getting some weird looks.  Today, I wore a cloak on accident to a Harry Potter convention.

So that was petty much my day. It was crazy cool and so funny! It was a great day with the cloak (thanks mom). After that we headed back to Green Park and had, yet again, Prezzo! Then back to Piccadilly to get a crepe and back to the hotel so that I could blog about this epic day!

Day 2: Stair Confusion

One question that keeps coming up is which side of the stairs are you supposed to be on? I actually had an older man yell at everyone to get on the other side.  It is a serious problem  in my everyday routine and have yet to have a solid answer of which side of the stairs to stay on.

Today, Caroline and I intended on waking up at 8:00 to catch a tube by 9:00 and head towards Windsor palace by 9:30. That definitely did not happen.  We kept sleeping till about 9:45 when we eventually rolled out of bed and started the day.  We had to literally run to catch the train going to Windsor but go there eventually with plenty of time to wander around.

Windsor was beautiful! Even from the train you can tell that it is an amazing palace.  As we approached the castle we saw a flag flying at the very top which meant, the Queen was there.  I’ve seen Buckingham Palace when the Queen was there but this felt different. We go to walk throughout her weekend home.  It was crazy cool! Everything is set up in Windsor palace to look like a home, not a museum.  Only a few things were behind glass and it was cool to see see where she actually has people over.  Another attraction in Windsor Palace is the Dollhouse.   I can’t recall which queen had a love for mini things but she was given this house as gift.  Each piece was created like the original so it is genuine silver, precious jewels and silk.  It was so cool! They had a mini crown jewel vault that had baby replicas of the actual jewels.  I loved it.

Another thing I was not able to do last July was the London Eye.  So of course that was a priority this time.  It was freaking cool! You get up so high and can see basically all of London.  We got up at the very top right as the sun was setting and the view was breath taking! For those of you planning on visiting London, the eye is something that is definitely worth the money.

We got off the eye and immediately headed to search for food.  On the way we stopped to watch a street performer.  He did a 60 second Houdini lock and key trick but we stayed watching him for a good 30 minutes.  At the beginning of his act, he was making some suggestive jokes at some other woman in the crowd and we couldn’t help but laugh.  As he progressed he made a joke about Americans and then a quick line about Texans.  I shook my head but kept laughing. Well, then I became the center of his jokes.  They were funny and mostly aimed at Texans being arrogant and stupid but he was very funny and very talented.  So after that small detour we need food and fast.

We stopped at Garfunkels and grabbed fish and chips then booked it home to grab our computers and head straight to McDonalds for the free wifi.  It still won’t let me upload pictures but tomorrow when I get to the Regents college I will definitely upload some!

Also!! Something I forgot that happened yesterday (Mom you will appreciate this).  Right as we got home from our long day, there was suddenly a heard of limos pulling up to our hotel.  So naturally we pulled up a chair and proceeded to watch them for a good 30 minutes.  I guess it was a prom or a party but it was so fascinating! I will admit that the girls dresses were not that cute. They definitely need to catch up to American fashion because it was a big struggle!

I can’t really think of anything else that has happened today but I will end on this: the people that show up to McDonalds at 12:30 at night are very interesting! I’ve seen a lady with a tiny guitar, a group of boys literally start a food fight and a group of girls wearing suggestive tiny outfits.  Needless to say, the people watching has been PRIME.

I would stay and write more because I know you guys are so interested in the very specifics of my day but I am so tired and must go to bed! Tomorrow we are going to Hillsong and then who knows what!!

Day One: So Many Questions

My first hour in London consisted of me asking only questions. “Where do I pick up my luggage?”, “Can I buy an Oyster Card here?”, “What trains will get me to Regents Park?” and so on and so on.  However, my biggest fear of getting to the hotel was soon put to rest when I arrived safely at the Marriott.  Everything went smoothly! I did have to pull two giant roller suitcases up several flights of stairs but there were very nice gentlemen that said they would help me!

I arrived in London at like 10 in the morning and that’s when my day had to start.  Even though all I wanted to do was climb into the hotel bed and sleep, I had to keep going!  I showered and quickly went right back to the tube to catch a bus to go see Olympic Park.  Caroline and I were hoping to get a tour but the gates were closed.  We got to take a look at the outside and it is going to be magnificent! I cannot wait for it to be finished and watch everything from back home!

We then went shopping for a bit and then headed back towards Green Park and Piccadilly Circus to wander and window shop.  As we started walking through the streets we found some super cool places.  The city of London is so busy on the main street but if you wander back a few streets, that is where the really neat shops and restaurants are!

One place that we spent a good 45 minutes was the M&M world.  You should know, one thing me and Caroline bond over is our love for crispy M&Ms.  Unfortunately they stopped selling them in the states so we have to wait to come to another country to get them.  I may or may not have bought 16 dollars worth of crispy M&Ms (sorry mom and dad–that’s where your tuition dollars are going).  Needless to say, it was awesome.

We wandered back towards Buckingham palace and through Green Park. Caroline and I decided to go back to our favorite restaurant, Prezzo, and split a pizza margarita.  It was amazing! After that it was WAY PAST my bed time.  I went back to the hotel and passed out! I apologize to everyone that was waiting on this blog, I was in a coma after the long day!

My first day was overall really awesome! I have loved being here and so far (thanks to Caroline) have quite an interesting team (my family will understand the game “YOUR TEAM”).

I can’t upload any photos right now because the McDonald’s wi-fi I am currently using will not allow it. I am so sorry!

The Problems with Online Diagnosis

I am a hypochondriac.  This is not an actual diagnosis but because of websites like WebMD I have decided that I am a hypochondriac.  The issue with being a hypochondriac and having the ability to look up my symptoms online means that I automatically assume I have that disorder or disease.  Most people find this a joke and think that it’s funny when I talk about it but this is a real life problem.

After watching several seasons of Grey’s Anatomy, I came across an episode that contained a woman who was a bit of a hypochondriac and she made a statement that makes the best argument for people like me.

I still think this could be stomach cancer.  And when I get a headache, I think it’s a brain tumor.  And I lay awake at night and feel lumps in my breast and then my heart starts to race and I think I’m having a heart attack.  So no, I don’t think it was just a pimple.  The world is a scary place. And there are a thousand things a day that can kill you. And I don’t see how you don’t see it.

This describes perfectly how every person who is a hypochondriac feels.  It’s fear.  We are afraid of having the worst possible situation happen to us.  For me, I am mostly an optimist.  I look on the bright side of almost every situation except when it comes to my health.  I will always come to the worst possible situation as I am waiting for my test results to come back. I Google symptoms like it’s my job and I can almost always come to the conclusion of having a tumor or cancer because that’s what all WebMD diseases lead to.  I’ve done better at not jumping to conclusions but it is not easy!

This week I have been to the doctor twice being treated for a common cold or at least what I thought was a common cold.  Monday morning as I was waiting for the test results to come back, I started to panic.  Thoughts of mono, strep, tonsillitis filled my head as I sat there alone just waiting.  When he came back he told me it was just a bacterial infection. I was okay with that yet still slightly panicked at the fact that I am sick.  However, Monday night came and my fever spiked to 103.6 which sent me over the edge.  I thought my brain was going to fry and that I would start seizing and no one would be able to help me.  I automatically assumed my brain was going to turn to mush and that I was going to die.

This is not the best example of my minor tendencies to diagnose myself but it is the most recent.  I assume that I am going to die of a fever or that I have cancer because of a dark freckle or that a simple cut on my leg is going to result in amputation.  I can’t explain why I feel this way but the best reason I can find is that I am scared.  I am scared of the doctor. I am scared of surgery. I am scared that I will get sick and won’t be able to be surrounded by the people that I love.

So to all of those out there that sometimes jump to the worst case scenario or quickly diagnose themselves on WebMD, you are not alone!

The Dreaded Holiday Party Question

I know it is a little early to be talking about holiday parties but the anxiety is already starting to kick in.  I have a large family and we are all very close.  I am close to my cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents.  We have awesome family gatherings and I love every moment of them except when we have family reunion type parties.  Occasionally we have extremely large parties with family members I’m not even sure how I’m related to them.

When I was younger, I was extremely tall for my age. So the reoccurring question at the “family get-together” was “So do you play basketball?”. My reply for many years was “No, I’m a cheerleader and that’s all I really spend my time doing”.  The next year I would get the same question most likely from the same people and because I wanted to humor them I kept replying, no.  Eventually this got quite frustrating, so one year I decided this had gone on for far too long.  When the time came for this holiday party, I greeted everyone and that’s when the questions came like clockwork.  Since I was a cheerleader I knew all of the stats about the games and how they were doing in regards to playoffs.  So when asked, “Do you play basketball?” I quickly responded with “Yes and we are doing so well this year. We had a game this past week against our rival school and it was a close one but we won! We should be going to play-offs and we are all really excited!” Luckily he bought it and went on his way to the food table.  Those were the easy days.

Then I got older, more high school and college age, and the questions got awkward.  They ask the easy questions sometimes, “What are you majoring in? Where do you want to go after college? How do you like Oklahoma?”. Then they spring the slightly more awkward questions, “So Jennifer, are you seeing anyone?”.  That is the million dollar question.

Like I mentioned earlier I have a big family. Part of that is having two female cousins exactly the same age as me, one on my mom’s side and one on my dad’s side.  In high school they both had long-term relationships which lasted through several holiday parties, I on the other hand, didn’t have a boyfriend or had a different one every holiday party.  So this made this particular question super uncomfortable since I was almost always standing near my cousins.  Now, this is not supposed to be a blog making you feel sorry for me. It’s intended for you to get a glimpse of my awkward life.

Sometimes I just reply with, “I’m focusing on my school so not much time for boys”.  If I’m talking with my grandfather or someone I know really well I usually try to brown nose a bit and throw in “I haven’t found anyone as great as you so I don’t want to waste my time”.  After I’ve received the question several times it gets old so I just say “Nope” and head straight to the food table.

I don’t have a problem with being single.  I have a problem with the fact that everyone in my family is dying for me to be in a relationship.  It’s like because they are of an older generation that they expect me to get married right out of college and the concept of me pursuing a career is crazy.  Now, this isn’t everyone in my family but this is true for several. I do appreciate them being concerned for my well-being but there are hundreds of other things you could ask me that don’t involve my relationship status.

And I know I can’t be alone in this because they make movies about people getting this question so I can’t be the only one. So for all of you who are single and get this same question, how do you respond? The holiday parties are about to begin and I have not come up with a witty comment.

Please, I’m begging you. Feel free to leave a comment and help me out with this one!