Live Life By the ABC’s: Adventure, Bravery, and Courage

Still playing a bit of catch up with my blog posts, but I would like to mention a few of the smaller day trips and Wroxton events that have occurred since our trip to London.

One of the interesting things that we had an opportunity to do was to see a soccer game: West Bromwich Albion v West Ham United. Now, my sister is a huge fan of soccer, and plays quite a bit and quite well. She would have definitely have gotten a kick out of the game, especially with how close we were to the field, and how interactive the fans were (although with some of the language and gestures used my parents might have been a bit weary of her being there). Not that I don’t enjoy soccer, but it is definitely “her thing.” However, I found myself to be very involved in the game, and the crowd hyped me up so that I was jumping and cheering with them. The “home team” that we were cheering for, West Brom, ended up winning the game, much to the dismay of the West Ham fans in the section next to us, and to the delight of a young soccer team that was lined up against the barrier in their West Brom jerseys, watching with anticipation and excitement.

We also saw the ruins of Kenilworth Castle, the Castle that housed Queen Elizabeth in her travels throughout the country-side. The ruins themselves and the gardens were gorgeous, and it was fun to spend the day exploring with friends. In the gift shop, we were able to taste different types of mead and wine.

One of my favorite Wroxton events by far has been the Medieval Banquet. To be honest, before the banquet, I was unsure if I would be into it and enjoy myself, and contemplated whether or not I would rent a costume. I ended up renting a costume (partially because many of my friends decided to as well). I would have definitely regretted it if I hadn’t. I felt transported into a different time with the music, costume, and wine and mead served. We ate with our hands, and cheered to our “lords and ladies.” I am so appreciative to all of the Wroxton staff who worked hard to made that night so special for all of us.

The last thing that I’ll talk about in this post is our first trip to the famous “Moomoos” in Banbury (at least famous to Wroxton students in the past). Moomoos is a club in Banbury with a couple of different rooms to dance and buy drinks.One of the interesting things that I noticed was that there were older people and younger people there at the same time. Another thing that surprised me was that the people tended to be apprehensive about approaching “strangers”–even people our age. At first, my friends and I found it difficult to meet new people, however, once we realized that we would have to start the conversations, it became a bit easier. All in all, it was a great night out with friends.

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“A reminder that dreams are meant to be lived”

I apologize for the delay of this post, but I have been extremely busy the past few weeks with schoolwork and travel. Although it was a few weeks ago now, I would like to talk a bit about my weekend trip to London.

Honestly, going into this trip, we didn’t quite know what to expect. We had barely adjusted to life in Wroxton, and now here we were, going off to stay in London for the weekend. Exciting… but definitely intimidating. When we arrived at our hostel, there was a lot of confusion. We split up the cost of the room between the eight of us, but the man at the desk lost one of our payments and we had to pay extra for the room. Luckily, by the end of the night, he had realized his mistake and we all got our money back!

After we had settled into our room, we headed out to explore the city. My friends Liz and Zoe and I headed over to the iconic Abbey Road to cross the street and take cliche pictures. The Beatles fan in me was absolutely living out my childhood dream!

We looked for something to eat and found an Italian restaurant that was a little pricey (but what isn’t in London) but absolutely delicious! Then we saw all of the typical tourist attractions, such as the Big Ben, the London Eye, and the Tower Bridge.

That night, we went on a Jack the Ripper Tour. Our tour guide brought us all around Whitechapel to some of the most infamous spots involving the mysterious Jack the Ripper case, and afterwards, we all had a drink in the pub that still stands from when Jack used to go to prey on his victims, The Ten Bells.

ten-bells

The next day, my friends and I headed over to Market Street to check out the shopping and amazing lively markets. We were also able to see Platform 9 and 3/4 at King’s Cross Station. That night, we met up with more friends at Warwicks, a bar in Piccadilly Circus. After eating and having some drinks, we decided to explore the area and then head back to the hostel.

Sunday, Liz and I took a walk in the gorgeous Hyde Park, and then we headed back to the coach to return to the Abbey.

All in all, it was an incredible weekend. At times there was tension among our group, but we had a great experience and learned a lot from it.

“Adventure waits for no one”

I have officially been in England for more than a week, and what I can say with confidence is, not only does adventure wait for no one, but neither do the Brits. I have always struggled extra hard to be punctual, and my internal clock runs about 5 minutes behind. I have worked double extra hard to be punctual here, as the British seem very personally offended if you are late to something. Five minutes early is on time here.

 

I had the chance to go to Oxford last week, and it was a great trip. I got to spend the day with a new friend, Liz, who is studying abroad from another campus who also goes to Wroxton. We got lost a few times, but we got to know each other well. The churches and architecture were absolutely stunning, and we ate lunch in a quaint cafe. My sister was very pleased to hear that I found a Nando’s, although disappointed that I haven’t eaten there yet. The weather was a bit gloomy, but as is typical in England, it rained for about 15 minutes and we were able to stay dry the rest of the day.

Two main differences noticed so far: tipping and BYOB. And by BYOB, I mean, bring your own bag. When you go shopping, unless you bring a bag, you have to pay extra for a plastic one at the store. And as much guilt as I felt as a server not tipping, in Britain they typically don’t tip at restaurants, unless the menu says ‘services not included’.

 

Classes are run much differently here, and even compared to American university, you are expected to be self sufficient as far as reading and keeping up with the material. Most of it is not outright assigned, but assumed. Most classes run tutorials every week, which are small groups in which you’re expected to discuss and debate on the subject in more detail.

 

Some other notable things were: ordering Dominos (different from America, but delicious), booking a hostel for the first time (for our weekend trip into London), being out in public (Americans are loud!!), and nightlife. We were able to go out to a bar in the nearest bigger town, Banbury. The bar we visited was called Also Known As. the drinks were great, the bartenders were really friendly (we even got free drinks because it was Liz’s birthday), and the vibe was really cool.

aka

Stay tuned for an upcoming post about our weekend trip to London!

Featured image credits go to my lovely friend Zoe 🙂

“Life is about courage and going into the unknown”

The unknown is a scary place. Human nature dictates that we stay in the realm of familiarity and certainty. Yet there is something in us all that urges us to explore. So despite the fears and doubts in my head, last week, I packed up my suitcases (and unpacked and repacked a few times trying to get everything to fit) and headed off for 15 weeks of the unknown.

 

When I met my friends at the airport (after a 25 minute lecture from my parents about all the ways in which I should be safe and cautious), they were all as uncertain and excited as I was. I had spent weeks saying my goodbyes but that day held the hardest ones– my dogs and my family. But with courage, I said goodbye and boarded the plane and set off on my (very uncomfortable) journey. Of course I barely slept on the plane, between the excitement of seeing my friends and going out of the country, along with the uncomfortable position of trying to sleep on an aircraft.

 

 

 

Driving to campus, it didn’t feel like things were that different from New Jersey at all. The weather was a little more overcast and cool than we are used to, and they drive on the left side of the road, but other than that it seemed like the plane hadn’t gone far. How wrong was I to assume that that’s where the differences ended, but that’s another topic for another post.

 

When we arrived, I was already tired. The problem being, it was 10:30am in England, so I still had a full day ahead of me. The best way is to just power through and hope that your sleep schedule falls in line after the first day. The Abbey was absolutely gorgeous (pictures to come), but we didn’t have much time to appreciate it that day. We got our room assignments (I was lucky enough to be paired with my roommate from last year, who is my sorority sister and friend), ate lunch, and went straight on into a ton of meetings about how everything works and fire safety and things of that sort.

Surprisingly enough, after we ate dinner, I convinced my friends (and myself) who were just as tired and jetlagged as I was, to visit the local bar, or as they call it in England a pub or buttery, White Horse. The owners were very nice and friendly, although our campus took up all the space in the bar because my friends and I were not the only ones with the idea to come check it out (especially since the wifi on campus was down).

 

Once I hit my bed, I slept better than I have in a long time. I was exhausted, but happy. A little uncertain about things to come, but hopeful for what the future held for me.

Welcome

This is the excerpt for your very first post.

Hi everyone! My name is Rachel. If you know me, you may know that I am studying abroad this semester. If you don’t, well, I am staying at Wroxton College in England as part of a study abroad program at Fairleigh Dickinson University. I’ve been dreaming about this opportunity all my life, and have been anticipating this particular experience for a few years now. Well, its finally here, and I just can’t believe it.

 

If you’ve seen the giant header at the top of my home page, you might be curious what it means and what it has to do with this blog, or even what this blog is. It’s a quote from the movie, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. ||”To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life”|| This quote has always stuck out to me for a number of reasons. I’ve always wanted to travel the world, meet new people, and to really live. I’ve always felt there was a greater purpose to life than the 9-5 routine. This captures the essence of what I feel and what I am wistful and hopeful for– to make incredibly strong bonds and connections with humanity, and to truly take life on by the horns and live with passion.

 

I can only hope that in my time here at Wroxton, I will be able to embody and embrace that. This blog is here not only to share my experience with others (especially other students at FDU who are interested in the program), but to remind myself of why I’m here and what I hope to gain from this experience.

 

If you’re still reading… thank you. And I hope you enjoy.