Thursday, December 18, 2014

Finale

Monday and Tuesday were spent taking finals. I would just like to say I do not think there is any feeling quite at great as walking out of your last final. Can I get an amen? The relief and pure joy felt is unreal.
We took four finals in London; Shakespeare, Humanities, British History, and Church History in the British Isles. It went down much as finals do on campus. Hours and hours of studying, reading over notes, looking over the class slideshows, and asking every person who walks by what they are studying because there's just so information you have no idea where to start for a thirty question test. Half the Centre was up well into two am together holding reviews and talking over Shakespeare's plot lines and characters as well as the last three thousand years of Britain's history. They went well! I think? I guess I will find out when grades are released. Either way WE WERE FREE!


Wednesday we had the whole day to ourselves and our dear city of London. Me, Ellen, Addie, Zoe, and Lexie decided we wanted to see as much as possible so starting lunchtime we walked essentially the entire city. Beginning at Marble Arch we walked all the way down Oxford St. admiring the lights and window shopping as we went, then through the back streets around Tottenham Court and Charing Cross. When we reached Trafalgar Square we went inside the National Gallery one last time. Inside we just sat in front of Monet's Water Lilies and let the impressionist art in the room speak to our souls. I love art. I walked through a couple other rooms to say goodbye to Constable, Renior, Van Gogh, and Lorrain's beauties. Walking out of the front doors of the National Gallery is one of my favorite scenes in London. It gives you a view of the whole square and all the way down the street is where I caught my first glimpse of the beautiful Big Ben.




In Trafalgar Square we had the genius idea of climbing on top of one of the Lions for a picture.
Needless to say this quickly turned disastrous when I ripped my pants climbing up. *insert annoyed and embarrassed face here*. They were my favorite pair too... Lucky for me I was wearing a long coat that covered said damage because we had ZERO time to go back to the Centre and change or even buy a new pair. At this point we were supposed to be meeting at the London Eye in the next fifteen minutes. Whoops. Haha. (No fear everyone; I found the same pair of pants in my size on clearance yesterday so I once again have my favorite pants.)

*picture wasn't worth the pants, just fyi*

We walked from Trafalgar down to the Houses of Parliament, Ben, and Westminster Abbey. We snapped a last picture and walked across Westminster Bridge to the Eye.
last visit to Ben <3
There we met up with the other 10 ladies of Room 2 for our farewell ride over London. We timed it PERFECTLY. With a pod all to ourselves we watched the entire sunset over our city. It was absolutely perfect. I wouldn't want to watch my last sunset in that city any other way. We were able to see essentially everything and get one last view of the place we had the privilege of calling home these last four months. Obviously it was a little bittersweet, but we kept it light hearted by having a dance party to Imagine Dragon's "On Top of the World" at the top. Ha, it was only near the end of the song that we realized the pod next to us had been watching and recording us... Glad we could improve their experience on the Eye I guess.




isn't he perfect? 
Following that we just went together up the South bank a mile or so. We strolled through Christmas markets and walked under light-strung trees taking in the magic of London until we reached our favorite Millennial Bridge. That took us across the Thames to St. Paul's where we hoped onto the Tube for a stop or two to Covent Gardens and then walked to Leicester Square where we had dinner at THE BEST indian restaurant. It was a Michelin Star restaurant and had a line outside the door so we knew it had to be good. We only ended up waiting about fifteen minutes for a table due to a cancellation. That is what we calling winning at life, folks. Our waiter did not realize we were familiar with Indian food; he kept warning us that things would be "spicy" and told us the right half of the menu was probably too "heavy" for us to handle (admittedly we did not order from that half. BUT I did get chicken labeled spicy and it was not anything spicy like the last spicy indian food I ordered).




After dinner we split up because everyone had a different idea for how they wanted to end their evening. I headed alone (don't tell my parents) all the way to Tower Bridge. I wanted to see it one last time all lit up against the black sky. The excursion did not disappoint in any sense. The overwhelming feeling of love and appreciation for London I experienced as I sat on a bench outside the Tower of London cannot described. Visiting the Tower of London was our first 'London Excursion' on study abroad and therefore my first real taste of the city. It felt just right for it to be my last view as well and have a sense of closure about leaving.


I took the long way home just so I could walk one last time down Oxford Street because it is pure magic at Christmas time. 
At 22:00 (10 pm for those of you who are following along at home) we all reconvened at the Centre to head to our last Snowflake Gelato run up the street. I went big this time and got TWO scoops (and then immediately realized why I normally get one... They're decent sized scoops. Oh well. YOLO). I got their signature Snowflake flavor, coconut, white chocolate, and vanilla perfection with mixed berry that was absolutely heaven. The combination of sweet with tart goodness? Killer. Ten out of ten, would recommend. We took over the whole joint and overwhelmed the poor italians one last time and it was so bittersweet to all be together one last time.


Late that night the whole Centre said goodbyes and then spent half the night packing. I was up until 3 am and then woken up at 4:30 by a girl leaving, then slept again from 5-6 am and then I could not sleep any longer and I was up until after 8 am the next day by the time I made it home!

London fam selfie 
my wonderful professors and their wives 
Packing and packing and packing all the night long + my photo wall at the foot of my bed.

It's hard to believe my adventures in London are over (for now). That city will forever hold a part of my heart, but lucky for me I took so much more away from it than I left there; it has changed me and my life for the better. London, I love you.

last view of Palace Court before jumping in our taxi..
Love Always, Aimee

goodbye for now, England :( xoxo - Aims 

Lucky for me, Hanman was on the same flight home! And how else can you leave school in England except by reading Harry Potter the whole way home? 

(This is just from the mentioned finals above.. Sometimes it hits 2 am studying and you may or may not feel like your brain is going to explode so the only solution is to take a break and give the professor's son cornrows. Nice to know if I fail out of school I can fall back on a solid hair-stylist career, right?)