This week started off on a more somber note, I waited in line for over 6 hours to watch Queen Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor the second’s funeral followed by her procession. Many people were mourning her majesty and the sacrifices she made for the United Kingdom. I was going to visit her lying in state memorial, but the queue (the term for line in Europe) was over 30+ hours. We were unable to wait for that long period due to college classes. My friends and I streamed the funeral service live and heard the audio playing over the speakers in Green Park. The streets were lined with people crying during the procession and it was quite an emotional moment to witness. It opened my eyes to see how many people are royalists and value the power of the monarchy. It was a significant cultural moment for me since I haven’t seen a dynamic even similar to that of the Royal family in the United States government system.
I was given the opportunity to see the new King Charles and the entire Royal family like Kate, Meghan, William, Harry, and the children. I was able to do a project about this and talk about it in my intercultural communication course with my local professors. It was nice to hear their take on this event as well. I collected newspapers with information about Her Majesty’s passing for keepsakes and for a memory to take home to share with my family.
The next day we went to Camden Market, and I got some yummy steak tacos! Also, that week was my 21st Birthday in London. I was able to spend that time with the friends I made while studying in London. We went to dinner in our local city (Kentish Town) and my friends decorated my dorm room with balloons and sunflowers. It was so thoughtful and lovely to be able to celebrate my birthday away from home for the first time. My friends made me feel warm and made my birthday special even while being abroad.
Finally, I spent my weekend in Oslo, Norway. I saw the Royal Palace of Oslo. I got free coffee from a local coffee house. I went on a fjord boat tour in the rain which was a memory I will never forget. Additionally, I saw the original scream painting in black and white in the Munch Museum. I saw the Oslo Opera and Ballet House lit up and ended the trip with a visit to Vigeland Sculpture Park. It was a fun way to conclude CIEE Block I. I have memories I will take with me forever and I cannot wait to tell my family, friends, and you guys about my experiences.