I Couldn’t Find Pumpkin at Sainsbury’s

We celebrated Thanksgiving two days early because we’re flying to Oslo on actual Thanksgiving day, so post-turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes I’m still thinking about what I’m thankful for. In a year of change, there’s certainly a lot. (Warning: it’s about to get cheesy over here.)

1. Jonathan. I’m so thankful for my best friend who encouraged me to apply to schools out of the country and was excited for to move abroad. I literally wouldn’t be here without him.

2. My parents and my brother, who helped us move out of our apartment and let us live with them for the summer so we could take on this adventure. And for their texts and emails and Skypes to remind me that I’m not so far away.

3. My friends, who Facetime us into Halloween parties and send photos of their cats so we don’t feel like we’re missing everything. For wanting to be pen-pals and letter-writers.

4. This might be lame, but technology. I feel like I’m finally getting over being homesick and I wouldn’t have made it this far without being able to call, text, email, Skype, Facetime, Bitmoji (obviously the most important one).

5. The privilege of being able to move abroad to go to school, to travel while we’re here, to make friends from other continents, to invite our family and friends to visit us. I don’t take that privilege and all that comes with it for granted.

6. Dark chocolate Digestives. Because they taste so delicious, especially when dunked in tea.

(You didn’t see that last one coming, did you?)

 

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My Favorite Places in London (My Very Expert Opinion)

I hoped to be consistent and post yesterday, but it was one of the busiest days in our adventure in London. That’s because (*squeals with glee*) the day started off with an early morning bus ride to Paddington Station, where we met our favorite world traveler Janell. After breakfast with Janell in Hyde Park, a surprise (for me!, Jonathan planned it) trip to the oldest bookstore in London, lunch at the National Gallery, and class, I finally got back to the flat and had used all my brain power for the day. 😉

ANYWAY. While we were having breakfast with Janell, she asked what each of our favorite place in London is so far. So I thought I’d take it upon myself to list MORE of my favorite places.

Without further ado.

1. The moment on the 3 bus when the bus turns out of a south London high-rise neighborhood to a bridge over the Thames and you can see Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, and the London Eye as you cross over.

2. Hyde Park, anywhere. I love nature when it’s surrounded by urbanity for that very contrast, and Hyde Park is huge and beautiful. (I will mention, however, that there are loads of geese, which I loathe. Why are some of them so tall?)

3. While we’ve only been there once, I really like St. Paul’s cathedral, specifically during Evensong. There’s just something about Evensong that resonates with me. So old and so untouched. Maybe it’s the consistency that I long for.

4. Roasted Bean, the new coffee shop in our neighborhood. I wrote my first paper there over the last two weekends and their coffee game is legit. We don’t have a way to make anything other than instant coffee (though that changes when Jonathan gets back from Argos today!), so their real coffee has been a treat every weekend.

5. Probably just for the Christmas season, but currently I’m into Regent Street near Piccadilly. The lights are up! Christmas is here! It’s festive and happy and all the stores have holiday displays in their windows. It’s the one year I’ll start celebrating Christmas in November.

When I’m feeling homesick for Philly, I tend to think about these places to remind that London is pretty cool too. And there are still so many places we haven’t visited yet. In two months I could have a completely different list. 🙂

What I Learned in Berlin

Oops. It’s been a week or two. What can I say? My elementary school diaries are consistent but somewhere along the way I forgot how to write down my life.

Last week was reading week, which means no classes (didn’t I just start??) so Jonathan and I went to Berlin. Berlin! I didn’t know a lot about Germany before visiting and while I was there I realized there was even more to learn than I thought. A few things:

1. During the Cold War, Berlin was divided into the East and West. Right, most people know that. The Wall, etc. What I didn’t know is that although West Berlin was separate from East Berlin, it was actually surrounded by East Germany. That made life a little trickier. East Germany would keep their mail, monitor their trips out of West Berlin, and generally attempt to convince them to become part of the East.

2. Berlin was reunited as one city in 1989, but the Wall didn’t start to come down until 1990. And even then it would take years for the Wall to be demolished. There are still sections standing 25 years later.

3. Berliners are some of the friendliest people I’ve met.

4. I anticipated eating lots of currywurst in Berlin (I know, I’m not a consistent vegetarian either), but the real highlight was spätzle. I’ll just need to find someone in Philly who can teach me how to make those egg noodles.

5. Again, I underestimated what a fascinating city Berlin would be. The tumultuous history is paired with an obvious desire to moving forward in understanding. I’d like to see what Berlin is like another 25 years from now.

If you get a chance, visit!