Going to School Abroad in London: My First Few Weeks

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It’s been a crazy couple of weeks, and immediately after vowing that I’d blog more, I got so caught up with getting settled in London.

School: Going to school in London was a big risk, and the week that scared me the most was the very first session because I wondered if I made too much of a leap. I was stressed over being stressed for classes. How silly does that sound? The first week was exhausting and the transition from undergrad to master’s was so apparent to me. The workload and expectations seem higher, but I also think that’s a good thing. A lot of my friends didn’t pursue a master’s degree, which is totally fine, but it made really feel this enormous pressure to do well and prove that I needed that extra year. It’s definitely not easy, and it’s a big step up from my undergrad, but it’s a good push for me. When I was deciding what school to go to, my friend who came from Europe to the US said I would regret not leaving the United States, and he was completely right!

Transportation/ City Life: The culture shock is definitely something to get used to. Paying with predominately coins is so strange to me, and I still forget to bring my grocery bags with me so that I don’t have to pay for plastic bags. It’s all an adjustment, but it’s so worth it. The city of London is so beautiful. There’s so much to see, and I’m so happy that I’ve befriended people just as adventurous and in awe of the city as I am. One of the prettiest areas was near St. Paul’s Cathedral. I went to a rooftop bar nearby and the view was stunning.

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Nightlife/ Social Scene: When I was in school, I always told myself not to get too comfortable, but I did. I went to the same bars and clubs all the time. I was with the same friends drinking the same drinks, eating the same food, and it felt pretty great at the time. The only time I actually remember going on adventures was when I’d venture to Montreal or Vermont. While I loved my college experience, I’m so glad I decided to go to London and pursue my master’s instead of staying in New York, which was arguably way more of a safer choice in terms of being near to friends. However, every day, I meet people all over the world in areas I’ve never been before. The other day at Oktoberfest, I befriended the DJ and sound guy who were both from Germany. I have friends from Morocco, Ireland and Rome now. Everyone I meet has their own interesting story, and it’s challenging me to grow as a person as well.

 

 

 

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Visiting an Alpaca Farm in the UK

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I recently visited The Alpaca Shop, where I walked the cutest alpaca. When I first arrived in the UK, I needed a few days to shop for university, so with the shopping and traveling that I’ve been doing, I was feeling very stressed out. This was such a therapeutic experience and the whole thing was one of a kind for sure. There were alpacas when we first stepped foot on the farm and they were a little daunting at first, but we had a great tour guide who explained the rules as we continued to see more and more of them on the farm and how to approach them. These animals are so dang cute and have their own little personalities, so I slowly feel in love with them as we continued.

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We walked them a descent amount along a path as each adult got to walk their own alpaca, while children had to share one with their guardian. I think that’s pretty appropriate too considering some of the alpacas were larger. As we walked together, our guide was attentive and made sure we all stuck together. There were times when the alpacas wanted to do their own thing. Mine was named Rosa, and she was constantly pooping and stopping to eat, so it was pretty funny to pick up on her cues and habits. Overall, I loved the experience, and anyone who knows me, knows that I’m obsessed with alpacas and llamas, so this was extra special for me. Apparently, these are popular in the UK, so if anyone ever has a chance to check out one of these farms, know you’re in for a very unique trip.

Also, the coat I’m wearing is from Boohoo, and it was 50% off online at the time, so I scored it for $30. It’s perfect for London weather. The scarf I’m wearing is from a thrift shop from Burlington, Vermont, but I don’t have any other details on it.

 

Visiting Maryland & Thoughts on Traveling

I got to spend the weekend in Maryland for the past weekend, and I loved it. I really want to talk about my little weekend vacation because it made me remember how much I love traveling and writing.

While I was in college, I somehow lost my desire to write about my travels even though I had some pretty fun adventures in places like Jamaica and Montreal. I got to attend Igloofest, which was one of the coolest events ever, and my phone died before I could capture what it was even about. That’s not usually like me. Traveling is something I’m sure all 20 somethings want to experience, including myself. If you have the opportunity to do it, plan it before it’s too late. So many people my age are settling down already, and while not that’s not necessarily a bad thing by any means, I think everyone can agree there is so much of the world to experience.

This weekend, I went to the The National Harbor. It was such a nice spot to relax, eat some great food and shop around. It definitely had a boardwalk feel to it, as the harbor was surrounded by unique shops and tons of seafood eateries. The first spot we checked out was a restaurant called The Walrus Oyster & Ale House. There were a ton of seafood options along with a great selection of drinks to choose from, including a separate Happy Hour menu with $7 frozen mojitos and margaritas.

Oysters are one of my favorite dishes to eat, so I was excited to try different types of oysters for $2.50 each. The oysters are divided into three categories: sweet, briny and salty. I chose one from each category, along with a single crab cake as a side. Even though I love oysters, I’ve always thought they all tasted the same. However, the sweet one was buttery and light. The briny one had a nice savory bite to it, and the salty was my favorite, so it’s interesting to see how my opinion shifted once they were divided on the menu.

Next, we went to Ben & Jerry’s for something sweet and decided to go on their ferris wheel. The view was beautiful, and we were able to go around four times to really appreciate it.

We walked around after, and that’s when my brother found The Pepper Palace. This place is so cool. You walk in and it’s sample heaven. There’s a ton of different salsas, dips, and BBQ sauces to try for free. Additionally, there’s a station to try their hottest pepper called The End (there was another to try but I cannot remember the name). I was hesitant, but I also wanted to say that I tried it so we signed their book, got our stickers and tried their pepper sauce. They put a single drop of sauce on a little plastic spoon, and that kind of scared me even more.

We tried it, and at first, it wasn’t that bad. It felt more like an instant spice, but then it faded. However, there was a pain in my stomach that I couldn’t explain. I thought it would go away, but it didn’t. I tried to down some milk, but that made it worse because I don’t usually eat or drink large amounts of dairy at once. I’m not going to get into detail, but the pepper upset my stomach so much, that I ended up puking behind a Rita’s Italian ice truck. Do I regret it? Kind of. I assumed tons of people try it, so I could too, but it did not agree with my stomach at all. Moral of the story: Be careful when doing some of these food challenges.

Anyway, those are a couple of the highlights from our trip, and tomorrow, I leave for London for a year! So with that being said, I plan on writing about all my experiences. Hope you enjoyed this post!

Reflecting on My College Experience

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I will be moving to London for my master’s degree in journalism, and I am so excited that this article I wrote got published on Thought Catalog. It’s the perfect little goodbye to my undergaduate studies and experiences. It’s a reflection on everything from friendship to academics to my own personal growth, so I’d love for people to give it a read. You can check it out here !

Also, if you want to see more college related posts, leave a comment or DM me please!

Netflix Review: Alex Strangelove

Before I begin my review, I have never seen Love, Simon, but I imagine that there are some similarities. Alex Strangelove definitely has a different premise and I imagine a different vibe as well. But I won’t be able to compare the two movies, although there have been iterations similar before like GBF.

Alex Strangelove is about a young teenage boy and his girlfriend making plans to lose their virginities to each other. He’s been putting it off for quite a bit despite his girlfriend being his dream girl. Things take an interesting turn when Alex meets an older guy named Elliot who recently graduated from high school.

The two hit it off at a party and Elliot starts hanging out with Alex. It’s a tale about sexual identity, and it definitely feels very modern with identity being talked about way more freely. I remember the days when I’d watch Degrassi, and it was so taboo to have a gay character talk about his or her sexuality. The fact that Alex can so freely talk about his identity to his best friend is refreshing.

The story is somewhat predictable and definitely has the formula for a coming of age plot. It has the love interest, the two quirky best friends, the classic high school parties and the under water revelation to tie it all up. It’s cliche for sure, but in a lot of ways, it’s a lot more unedited. Some moments are incredibly awkward and hard to watch, but it mirrors how life is at that age.

The actors did a pretty good job, specifically Madeline Weinstein who had to play the confused girlfriend trying to understand her boyfriend’s mixed signals. The actors who played Alex and Elliot, Daniel Doheny and Antonio Marziale have great chemistry throughout, which easily makes them the couple to root for.

I really loved the ending of this movie, mostly because it’s sort of unfinished even at the prom, which is typically the wrap up scene in teen movies. Instead, the movie ends with a great friendship moment.

Thoughts on Recent Bachelor News

Let’s talk about this season. There was a new episode of The Bachelorette, but aside from the Jean incident, there wasn’t that much to talk about other than I think Becca was sooo into Garrett, and he’s definitely a front runner. She could not stop gushing over him. I’ll get more into why I’m not totally loving this season in a bit.

Today, I’m gonna talk more about what’s happening in Bachelor Nation because there’s way more tea to spill in that department.

  • Let’s start with something wonderful. Ashley Iaconetti and Jared Haibon are engaged! I am so happy for Ashley. I listen to both her podcasts, and she’s just so relatable when it came to her dating life, so I’m so happy she got her happy ending. I’m also glad that Jared admitted he had harbored feelings because I was tired of the whole Ashley is obsessed with Jared gimmick when I knew they were close friends and it was way more than that. Congrats to the couple! I guess we’ll see it all go down in paradise.
  • Speaking of paradise, filming might be wrapped up because there was some Twitter drama between Bekah M. from last season and Raven. Basically, Bekah posted a photo of Colton and Tia, kind of accusing them of planning to be together despite Becca being the Bachelorette. Then, because Tia couldn’t defend herself, her friend Raven, chimed in and told Bekah she wasn’t being a good friend to Tia. The whole thing was a mess, and you can check out the thread by simply Googling it. Bekah recently apologized saying she didn’t have to go about everything is such a petty way. Honestly, I love that Bekah is so forthcoming, but I do think it was unnecessary for her to go into Tia when she knew she couldn’t defend herself at all. Also, isn’t this a spoiler? Like is she even allowed to do that? I like my paradise seasons unspoiled, but it’s so hard to stay spoiler free these days. With Raven, I get her defending her friend, but I kind of feel like both girls just didn’t have to contribute anything because it all escalated into Raven blocking her. It could’ve all been avoided. Nothing gets accomplished on social media. We rarely see Twitter feuds ending well.
  • In other news, Lincoln should have never been on the show. Last week, Lincoln pleaded guilty of indescent assault and battery on May 21. Charges were filed back in 2016. I’m so shocked that someone is actually in some legal trouble, but even more shocked that this is something that wasn’t brought up in casting. That’s truly terrible, especially for Becca’s sake.

I’m not gonna go into the episode because I was a little bored in all honesty! I loved the second and third episodes, but the Jordan drama just isn’t cutting it, especially because I would find a lot of his antics funny more so than disrespectful like Colton and Chris.

Yeah, next week looks a little more promising, so I’ll delve into the season more next week. To me, everything is about social media this season. From Garrett to Twitter feuds to this stuff about Lincoln, hopefully, the season gets a little more focused.

#livingLIVELY

I recently became an ambassador for Wear Lively! They are a clothing brand company inspiring women to live both passionately and confidently. They were nice enough to send me these stickers, which I’m probably going to stick onto my laptop.

I love anything that sets out to empower women, which is why I decided to check out the brand in the first place. These stickers and sayings might seem cheesy, but I love the idea of bringing women together whether it’s through a slogan or a bathing suit. Their bralettes are also really comfortable and perfect for off the shoulder tops and sweaters.

Check out the website and Instagram for their awesome selection of bras, bathing suits and panties: https://www.wearlively.com Also if you have tried any of their clothing, what did you buy and think?