Friday, July 13, 2018
Bonjour! Week 2 is now over and it was just as eventful as Week 1. In class, we continued to watch advertisements (adverts as the Londoners call them) and dissect the insight behind them and determine if it was effective or not. We also created a brand manifesto which can be a slogan or story that captures the brand’s essence.
Monday, July 2nd: My friend Alexis coordinated a small dinner with friends at a very fancy and popular restaurant called Sketch. Sketch is well known for its unique interior design and aesthetic as it is a great place to take pictures. It has great artwork through the restaurant and the best part was the restroom which were egg shaped stalls and had a bar in the middle between two staircases. The food was definitely expensive but Alexis had told us before she invited me and made the reservation. I got a fancy piece of beef which was unfortunately small yet still pricey. It was still very good but it wasn’t worth the price for me. I also got a chocolate raspberry dessert which was really delicious. Overall, it was a good time hanging out with friends all dressed up and taking pictures. I’m glad I decided to splurge a bit but I went back to budgeting!
Tuesday, July 3rd: What a MAGICAL day! We got to go on a Warner Bros Studio Tour and see the sets and props from the Harry Potter movies. The studio had multiple sound stages and there was just so much to see and take pictures. It was really cool to see how some of the moving props in the movies operated like the brooms and floating cars. We got to be in the Great Hall where the students ate, the Forbidden Forest, Platform 9 & 3/4, the train, Diagon Alley, and so much more! I even got to try Butterbeer ice cream which was really sweet and delicious. Overall, seeing how much effort was put into all the movies was mind-blowing. Every single prop like a book, poster, or painting had to be created by artists. The tour gave me a new perspective into the Harry Potter series that I grew up with and loved.
Wednesday, July 4th: We got to tour Scoop, a pop-up ice cream exhibit sponsored by the British Museum of Food. We got see the history of ice cream, smell the different flavors through holes in the wall that you would push a button to shoot out some scented air, and create our own ice cream by using cream, ice, salt, and shaking. I worked with my friend Ray and we chose the bubblegum flavoring to put in. Ours came out soupy and did not taste good at all but we had so much fun shaking it. We then got to see our brains on ice cream. They put a device on your friend that monitored your brainwaves (which were flat) and then they let you try a piece of ice cream and then wild waves would appear. We also got to try glow in the dark ice cream which tasted like vanilla but when exposed to a blacklight, it would glow. It was really interesting to see how ice cream was made back then and also how different flavors were created. After the tour, a group of us went to the Tate Modern Museum which had a lot of great pieces as well as some funky, weird ones. I got to see the lobster telephone by Salvador Dali which I had researched in my art class.
Thursday, July 5th: One of our company tours rescheduled so our teacher Carol took us to Crystal Palace Park where there was a small maze. Ray and I completed the maze VERY fast (he just ran in a direction and I chased after and we made it to the center.) My peers were having some trouble but everyone eventually made it to the center. It was good time just enjoying the weather and the beautiful greenery of the maze. Afterwards, my friends and I went with Carol to an Italian restaurant and had delicious pasta. The upcoming weekend was the free weekend where there was nothing university-sponsored going on so we were free to explore. A group of 15 of us got permission earlier to go to Paris. We already paid for the Airbnb and the train. I spent that night packing and preparing myself to going to a new country once again.
Friday, July 6th – Sunday, July 8th: I boarded my train at 8 and after 2 hours, I was in Paris. First thing I noticed that was different from London was that it was way hotter and the train (in Paris. they call it the metro instead of tube) was always packed. We got settled in our huge Airbnb and changed out of our sweaty train clothes. Our group had our first authentic French meal, a croque madame, which has a ham and cheese sandwich with a fried egg on top. It was delicious and well needed after that train ride. We went to the first item on our bucket list which was the Eiffel Tower. It was a magnificent piece of architecture but I wasn’t excited about all the fencing and construction around it. I was expecting a lot more greenery but nonetheless, I got lots of great pictures! That night, we went to another restaurant and I got chicken and mushroom pasta and authentic crepes for dessert. We went to see the Eiffel Tower all lit up at night and got some more awesome shots. At midnight, we saw it flash lights which was beautiful!
On Saturday, we made our way to the second thing on our bucket list, the Louvre. Words and pictures could not describe how breathtaking and huge the Louvre was. All the statues, paintings, and ceiling art was so aesthetically pleasing. I got to see the Mona Lisa which I did not expect to be as small as it was. After the Louvre, we went to a restaurant and I got the beef bourguignon, a type of beef stew. Later that day, we went to our final stop, the Arc de Triomphe. It was so crazy seeing all the cars drive around it at once without any traffic lights. We stopped by the Eiffel Tower one last time that night and just celebrated our time together. Sunday was a rest day. I slept in a bit before I had to pack and board my train back to London. Overall, I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to see another city/country on my bucket list. Through this study abroad, I have been able to visit both London AND Paris in a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Stay tuned for more!