My love and appreciation of flowers continues to go with each day that I have been studying abroad. Throughout my time in London, I can proudly say that I have been able to achieve my goal of gaining more knowledge about the floral industry. I’ve collected an entire carry-on suitcase full of flower books and have taken probably 300 pictures of flowers. At the beginning of July, I was made aware of a lavender farm by someone who I met at the church I visited during this summer. For three weeks I battled with myself to visit the farm but to no avail. I was always busy trying to do something else like homework or hanging out with the other students from my program. Finally one day after class I decided that I would get up off my behind and go to that lavender farm.
Lavender is only in bloom for about a month so if I put off my visit any longer, I would miss my opportunity. As usual, there was an overcast that hid the sun from making an appearance. After a 9 am class, I was tired so I sluggishly navigated to the farm. It took me almost 3 hours to get there because I didn’t know where I was going but in that journey alone I just had the opportunity to admire the fluffiness of the clouds and the gentle hum of the rain. Even when I missed the train and almost got on the wrong one, stood at the wrong bus stop until I missed the bus I needed (and which wouldn’t come back for another 15+ minutes), I was enamored with the small village that surrounded the lavender farms. It was so communal and quaint. The atmosphere was full of a comforting peace after trying to sort my thoughts on the train.
When I got off the final bus I needed to take, my nostrils surrendered to the fragrance of the lavender. As I hurriedly shuffled to the entrance of the farm, excitement flooded my body. Once inside, I paced around trying to find the perfect spot. I sat down and sketched out a drawing and I just immersed myself in the smell of lavender.I didn’t get many pictures of myself because my focus was on the flowers around me.I’m proud of myself for continuing to take solo trips even though sometimes I would like to go with others. Being alone allowed me the opportunity to stop and smell the lavender instead of being focused on taking photos for social media. While at this lavender farm I got the chance to taste a lavender flavored macaron and lavender flavored ice cream. Both were interesting flavors and I probably won’t have them again but I am proud to say that I tried something new. I also bought some lavender flavored milk chocolate for my aunt. I hope she enjoys it because I know lavender is her favorite smell and flower.
I also visited the Buckingham palace finally. At the start of my time here in London, I thought I was going to visit Buckingham Palace but I bought a ticket for the Royal Mews. The Royal mews is when you can visit the horses and carriages that are used by the Queen and royalty to the travel around. I was kind of disappointed that I was unable to go inside Buckingham palace the first time but it made me more knowledgeable when I saw the carriages and horses being used at the Trooping of the Colour parade the day after. At the Buckingham palace, we could not take photos inside so the experience had to be enjoyed at the moment. I was able to take everything in with my eyes and think about how much history was locked up and secured inside of that palace. It’s amazing how we can keep so many years of history preserved for so long and allow future generations to see how people of the past lived and behaved.
The next day, I went to my first play in London. I saw A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Shakespeare. This play was performed at Shakespeare’s Globe. Before buying with the ticket I had no clue what the play would be about. I just knew that I wanted to see a Shakespeare play performed at Shakespeare’s Globe. Boy did I have a whole new world coming towards me. The play was full of bright colors like red, pink, green, orange, blue, and yellow. The cast was speaking in Old English I had no clue what was going on. I was so confused until the very end of the play but I would honestly say that it was a nice experience tried to see how British plays are supposed to be performed.
Overall I’ve just tried my best to enjoy my time here in London. The time is dwindling faster than I can count and I am just excited for the new memories that I have made and how I will reflect on them as I go back to Gainesville. While I don’t necessarily miss the States I do want to end this era of my life on a high note. I want to go back to Gainesville and become the study abroad ambassador that I hoped I would be at the start of this semester, full of knowledge and wisdom to share to other students, helping them craft the best experiences that they can have for their study abroad semesters.