Home is where the heart is.


My Last day in London.

As I reflect on the time I spent in the United Kingdom I can’t help but smile and hold back tears. It was simply the time of my life. I learned more about who I am and who I want to be in these three and a half months than I thought possible. I made new friends, explored wondrous places, and fell in love with this rainy island. I could not have asked for a better study away, and will forever be grateful that I was able to pick up my life and live in London-town.

I have now been back in Tacoma for a month, and have been busy getting back to real life. I began work at a local charity that provides scholarships to minority, underprivileged students to go to uni. I work there as the Development and Programs Assistant. It is great experience, and I have been able to bring some of the things I learned while interning with Business Launchpad, UK with me.


Tacoma Waterfront!

Having tried to get back in the swing of things I have come up with a list of goals that I wish to bring into my life from my experience in the UK:

1-To live as a tourist wherever I am. Those of you who have had the chance to experience tourist season in London will know all too well the annoying tourist–the person who will stop in the middle of a moving crowd to take a picture–ya that person. But what I loved about being unfamiliar to London was that everything was new and exciting. All too often I just walk down a street that I have walked down hundreds of times blindly, but to that annoying tourist that street is new and exciting. My goal is to try and see the places I live in with new eyes, and look for the beautiful places that are around me.

2-To go to the theatre. While in London I was able to see 17 plays! If I had to describe my study away theatre would be repeated quite often. Now back in Tacoma I have been searching out for opportunities to go to the theatre. I loved it so much in London, and it is something I want to continue to be a part of!

3-Walk, walk, walk. Living without my car in London was frustrating and also really nice. Not having to pay for gas each week was defiantly really nice! Where I live in Tacoma I am able to easily walk to restaurants, grocery stores, and coffee shops. Walking places allows one to slow down and really take in the sights and sounds that are all around you. I want to make sure that I take any opportunity I have to walk instead of drive!


Rayners Lane Tube Station– My old home!

These three goals will allow me to play homage and recreate my favorite parts of living in London. My time in London went by in a flash, but it will remain with me for the rest of my life. I cannot wait to begin on my next adventure once I graduate from Pacific Lutheran University in December. Who knows where I will end up, but I know that if I live like a tourist, seek out culture, and breath in the environment around me I will be just fine!

Thank you all for the support and love that you have shown me while I experienced this wonderful journey. I will try and update this blog with new adventures as they arise!

Palmer Scholars– http://www.palmerscholars.org
Business Launchpad– http://www.businesslaunchpad.org.uk

“Take me deeper than my feet could ever wonder.” ~Hillsong United


My time in the UK is coming to a quick end, which means my days are packed exploring and revisiting some of my favorite place in London. Over the weekend AHA London Centre took us to Brighton as our final excursion. We could not have asked for a more gorgeous day. The sun was shining as we sat on the pebble beach, ate our Fish and Chips, and let each ray of sunshine soak into our now English white shin. It was a perfect day to recuperate from the tube strike that took place the week before.

Thames River near Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre

I think that one of my favorite activities of my time here as been going to the theatre! It has truly been amazing to be able to see such a variety of productions. Since my theatre blog post I was able to see Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, The Testament of Mary with Fiona Shaw, and Shakespeare’s All’s Well that Ends Well performed by a cast from India. Each of these play were drastically different and equally well done. Titus was a bloody and sad mess, but the acting was on point and by the end I was feeling like part of the production. The Testament of Mary was an interesting and insightful interpretation of the final days of Christ’s life as felt by his mother. Though the ending was tragically unhopeful I enjoyed being able to see Mary in a new light. All’s Well that Ends Well was a beautiful and vibrant production performed in Gujarati! I absolutely loved being able to see how other cultures that are vastly different than my own make Shakespeare reflect their lives. All in all I have seen seventeen plays over the past fourteen weeks! Truly such a blessing.


Back to Brighton! Brighton is known as the pleasure centre of England, and is where many royals, theatre people, and people looking for a good time come to enjoy the shops and ocean. Situated just an hour out of London it is the perfect destination to venture to on a long weekend.

We walked in and out of the winding streets overflowing with tiny shops. In the morning there was a colourful children’s parade. Each group of kids had chosen favorite children’s book and created costumes and props that illustrated the book to the crowd. The energy was invigorating, and it made me want to get out my favorite books from my childhood!


We then were able to visit the Royal Pavilion where George IV created an escape palace for him and his friends. It was decorated in Chinese/Japanese/Indian ways, and was breathtaking! In the main dining room there was a six foot dragon holding a thirty foot chandelier! The amount of luxury and money that went into this exotic building was immense.


Returning from Brighton I was greeted by a wonderful family part at my homestay for my host brother’s confirmation! A truly wonderful end to an amazing day. Over the last week moments like these have been arising more frequently, which has made me realize how blessed I have been by my time here. The people have made this amazing place become even more special!

photo 1
Kensington Palace

To finish up my palace and castle experiences I decided to take a trip to Kensington Palace situated in the heart of London. Kensington Palace has been home to several monarchs, most famously King William and Queen Mary, and Queen Victoria. These monarchs have helped shape England into what it is today, and their influence is felt in each room situated throughout the palace. Because of my classes here in London I was able to go into the palace with a baseline knowledge of the importance of each of these monarchs, and was able to get a lot out of walking through these magnificent halls. I’m glad I waiting till the end to see this breathtaking palace!

photo 3
Queen Victoria and her children

One of my favorite places in London has been the Notting Hill area. I first went there on my Romantic Movie Walking tour that I took the first few weeks—feels like just yesterday—and have returned a few times. Notting Hill is filled with houses put side by side and colour a variety of pastel colours. Then there are the quaint shops scattered around the area filled with antiques, clothes, books and anything you could imagine. I knew that I wanted to go back one last time, and even though it was raining I still felt blessed by this wonderful area.

Notting Hill

As our final London excursion, AHA London took us on a tour of the BBC! I am personally a huge fan of the BBC, and was really happy with the tour we were put on. BBC is the world’s largest news company, and is complete independent from the government and private owners. Instead they receive their funding from the British households with TV signals and advertising for their world news, which allows them to be as unbiased as possible. We were all surprised by the vast news room that was filled with people running about trying to get the news to the people! We were also able to do a short mock broadcast, and put on a mini radio drama. The BBC was wonderful!!

photo 4

Brighton- http://www.visitbrighton.com
Titus Andronicus- http://www.shakespearesglobe.com/titus
Testament of Mary- https://www.barbican.org.uk/theatre/event-detail.asp?ID=15573
All’s Well that Ends Well- http://www.shakespearesglobe.com/theatre/whats-on/globe-theatre/globe-to-globe/alls-well-that-ends-well
Kensington Palace- http://www.hrp.org.uk/KensingtonPalace/
BBC – http://www.bbc.co.uk/showsandtours/tours/


“Make voyages! Attempt them… there’s nothing else.” ~Tennessee Williams

Hampton Court Palace

Being just a short train ride away from fascinating places is one of the things I love most about living in London. In just under an hour you can be in the countryside or in a little village filled with history! I love spending a day or even a few away from the London in order to appreciate it even more. I am in love with this entire country—city, country, coast, and all!


With a few friends we made our way to the Southwest of London to Hampton Court Palace. Situated in the beautiful countryside Hampton Court Palace has been home to Henry VIII’s Cardinal Wolsey, Henry VIII himself, and King William and Mary. It is a city in itself surrounded by pristine gardens, one of the oldest mazes in the country, and a variety of wildlife. We loved walking in and around the gardens taking in the English countryside.



Hampton Court Palace itself is enormous. When we entered the gates we were taken back by the size of the palace and how it dominated the countryside. Each room we entered was filled with a deep and royal history. As we walked through the hallways we were transported into a world of kings and queens, politics, and religion. Hampton Court Palace was a place where the monarch, government, and God met, and England was shaped.


Thought it was not the main house of any monarch it was a place where they retreated to roam the gardens and discuss matters of state and church. I loved being able to see where the influential people I have been studying lived their lives.


Last summer my brother, Jacob, participated in a Rotary Short Term Youth Exchange program to England. He went to live with the Gray family in Peterborough for a month, and then returned with their son, Will, so we could show him around for a month. Over the weekend I was able to hop on a train north and visit the wonderful Gray family!

Peterborough Cathedral

After a short train ride I arrived in Peterborough and was greeted by David and Sadie! We then made our way to the small village of Stamford where they showed me around the quaint British village. The roads were surrounded by light brown pearly stone, much like what is in Bath, and the tiny shops scattered about the village were filled with vintage items.


We then returned to Peterborough we went for a bike ride through the trees, fields, and lakes. It was so wonderful to be back in the nature again. Living in a bustling city does make you appreciate moments of quiet that come with being in the countryside. I missed being able to bike about so much that the next morning Will and I biked into the city centre of Peterborough to see the famous Peterborough Cathedral- where Katherine of Aragon is buried- and grab a bite to eat. It is neat the ability to create and revisit friends from all over the world.



After a relaxing morning bike ride we made our way to Cambridge! Cambridge is one of world’s most famous university towns, and The University of Cambridge has been educating students since 1209. There is a river running through the university and people have used punts to get about, and see the town from a new perspective. We did just that. It was lovely and slightly nerve-racking to have David and Will punt us about, but the view was amazing. The area became quiet and there was nothing but green grass between the grand buildings and us. After punting through the city we took a walk around the stone roads, and I was able to take in the atmosphere of the city.


It was delightful to be able to venture around the countryside and Cambridge with wonderful friends! By visiting Hampton Court Palace, Peterborough, and Cambridge I have been able to round out my knowledge and understanding of the English country! Since my arrival I have been taking advantage of every adventure that come up, and have been blessed by each one!

Will and David! Will is just getting the hang of punting!

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players” ~Shakespeare


Over eight days I was able to pack in five plays! Over the course of my time here in London thus far I have seen fourteen plays! Therefore I have come to the conclusion that one of the best ways to take in the culture of London is at the playhouses. Each playhouse is a glimpse into the past as they are all decorated in ornate styles, and have been pillars of the arts in London for centuries. Each actor performing works hard to bring each play come to life in modern, historic, or futuristic ways. Shakespeare wrote his plays to be performed in a way that reflects the time in which they are done.

Picadilly Circus

The first play of my ‘week of theatre’ was Les Miserables! I started out the day wanting to win front row tickets to The Book of Mormon, but did not happen to win. So a friend and I made our way through theatre row, in the West End of London, to see what we could find to fill our night. We went into Les Mis and were able to score standing tickets! So like true theatre lovers we stood for the entire breathtaking and amazing performance!

Next on the list was my favorite play—Wicked! I woke up early to make my way to the Victoria Apollo Theatre where I stood in line for three hours in order to receive me front row and centre seats! I have seen this play three times before, and this was the most amazing performance I had been so blessed to witness! There was nothing between the Emerald City and me! I still have the Wicked songs ringing about in my mind!

I decided to change it up a bit and see a dramatic thriller—Fatal Attraction. This is the adapted version from the famous movie with Michael Douglas about the man who has a one-night stand with a tempting woman who then begins to stalk him and his wife. I was excited to see this play because of Kristin Davis’ performance! As many of you know I love the Sex and the City series, and Kristin Davis plays my most relatable character, Charlotte. It was wonderful to see her on stage playing the cheater’s wife with similar mannerisms as her character from Sex and the City!

Next on my list was a little Shakespeare loving—Shakespeare’s Greatest Hits. This was a fun hour-long production by three lovers of Shakespeare. They chose their favorite plays and songs that related to them. It was wonderful to see a group of people who deeply enjoy and admire Shakespeare’s works! My fifth play would come in Stratford-Upon-Avon!

Stratford-Upon-Avon train station

A wonderful end to my ‘week of theatre’ was the AHA London Centre trip to Stratford-Upon-Avon, Shakespeare’s birthplace! When I was last in England, Stratford-Upon-Avon was my favorite part of my trip, so I more than excited to get back to this quaint, historic town.

Shakespeare’s Grave

We started the journey off by visiting Shakespeare’s grave. It was located in the church where he was baptized, possible married, and then where he was ultimately laid to rest. His wife and daughter’s grave surrounded Shakespeare. Stratford-Upon-Avon has become a place of pilgrimage for Shakespeare lovers. The entire town breathes Shakespeare.


We then visited Shakespeare’s school—the Henry VI Grammar School, which was a wonderful surprise as it not normally open to the public. This school was where little Will attended primary school, and laid the basis for his literary brilliance.

Shakespeare’s Birthplace

We also visited Shakespeare’s Birthplace and where he would live with his wife, Anne Hathaway, for the first few years of their marriage. Each of the buildings in Stratford-Upon-Avon look as if they popped out of a Shakespeare play, and are wonderfully historic.

Anne Hathaway’s Cottage

After a few years of marriage and some success under his belt Shakespeare bought the largest most spectacular house in Stratford-Upon-Avon, The New House! We were also able to see Anne Hathaway’s cottage where she grew up, and where Hathaways have lived for over 400 years.

Royal Shakespeare Company’s Henry IV, part 1

To finish off our trip to Stratford-Upon-Avon we were able to see a production of Henry IV, part one. This is one of Shakespeare’s historical plays that helped bring about much success for William. William knew that his audience loved history, so throughout his lifetime he created histories about many of the monarchs of England.

Stratford-Upon-Avon did not cease to live up to my wonderful memories. I was so glad to be back in this beautiful Shakespearean town!

Les Miserables- http://www.lesmis.com/uk/
Wicked- http://www.wickedthemusical.co.uk
Fatal Attraction- http://www.theatreroyalhaymarket.co.uk/Fatal-Attraction.html
Stratford-Upon-Avon- http://www.visitstratforduponavon.co.uk
Henry IV part one- http://www.rsc.org.uk/whats-on/henry-iv-part-i/

“I wonder anybody does anything at Oxford but dream and remember, the place is so beautiful.” ~William Butler Yeats


Spring has defiantly arrived in London, and hopefully it will stay! In order to fully appreciate spring in London you must go to the gardens. This means having lunch in a garden, taking a nap in a garden, and spending every possible spare moment in a garden. They are all beautifully manicured and perfect for people watching!


AHA London Centre took us on a fun journey to Oxford! Oxford is situated just an hour or so bus ride from London, and is home to the internationally known university, Oxford. University of Oxford is composed many colleges, and we visited the most famous college, Christ Church College. Once you enter the grounds of Christ Church College you are instantly transported into the medieval times. Christ Church was once home to Henry VIII’s Cardinal Wolsey, and was where many scenes from Harry Potter were filmed. Every corner we turned was stunning!


After a tour of Christ Church we headed to the Sheldonian Theatre. The Sheldonian Theatre was built in the 1600s and has been used for music concerts, lectures, and university ceremonies for several decades. The best part of the theatre was the tower you could climb to. Once at the top you had a 360-degree view of Oxford! It was breathtaking. The stone buildings, endless cobblestone paths, and blue sky made you fall in love with this historic city!

Christ Church

After a wonderful lunch from the local markets we made our way to the famous Bodleian Library. The Bodleian Library is the main research library of the University of Oxford, and was built in the early 1600s. The library remains close to its original state and makes you feel like you are in the Harry Potter Library—yes some of the scenes were filmed there! It was wonderful to see the old books, study areas, and beautifully painted ceilings. The library was just amazing!

Christ Church

All the AHA London Centre students got into the spirit of Oxford by having a brunch the next morning at watching… well Harry Potter of course!

Bodleian Library

Oxford overall was a wonderful city, and I can see why so many people love studying there… it lived and breathed the university! Each street inspired you to push yourself to learn and explore as much as you can. I know that my time in England has inspired me to do just that. The world is full of historical streets, delicious foods, and wonderful people to add to my life!

Just a hint on the next blog post: plays, plays, plays!

Christ Church College http://www.chch.ox.ac.uk
Sheldonian Theatre http://www.ox.ac.uk/subsite/sheldonian_theatre/sheldonian_theatre/
Bodleian Library http://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/bodley

“Certainly, travel is more than a seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” ~Miriam Beard

Greenwich, London

Yet again I have had so many opportunities to explore, learn, and be captivated by this amazing country. In between class and my internship- which are both going splendidly- I have been trying to do exciting things! It isn’t hard to find something new and exciting to do in this amazing city!

Leeds Castle

Last weekend I was able to go on a Leeds Castle, Dover, Canterbury, and Greenwich tour with some of the other people in my program. We found a Groupon deal and got the tour for half off—well worth it!!

Inside Leeds Castle

Leeds Castle is know as the Lady’s Castle because six queens have lived in the beautiful castle. Henry VIII’s first wife, Katherine of Aragon, resided in the castle while their marriage was still intact. In the 1920s a wealthy Anglo-American heiress, Lady Baillie, bought the castle and spent endless amounts of money to bring the castle back to its former glory. Lady Baillie used the castle and its some 500 acres of gardens as her weekend retreat. Socialites from all over would come for her Gatsby-like parties, including one King Edward and his love Mrs. Simpson. Upon her death Lady Baillie left the castle and its lands to a trust on the hope that the public would be able to share in the joy that she received from the gorgeous castle.

Leeds Castle

Leaving the breathtaking gardens we ventured to Dover to take a quick photo of the famous White Cliffs of Dover. The sound of the water crashing against the pebbles beach made me crave the ocean! I know I’ll have to make a few trips to the Washington/Oregon coast when I return so I can sit and listen to the waves.


Having taken our photos of the White Cliffs—under the immaculate British skies—we headed to the cutest, most British town, Canterbury. Many will have heard of Canterbury from the Canterbury tales, tales of medieval misadventures by Chaucer, and the famous Canterbury Cathedral. I loved exploring the quaint markets, medieval buildings, and cobblestone streets. After grabbing lunch we were left to our own devices and decided to take a little walkabout before grabbing some tea in a uniqe café. Tea and scones with jam and cream in hand we truly felt British.


Leeds Castle, Dover, and Canterbury are all situated in the County of Kent. The County of Kent is known as “The Garden of England” and it truly was! We drove through orchards, rolling hills, and hop gardens (hop that goes into making beer). It was great to see a new side of this country especially one that was so beautiful even on a cloudy day!


To finish our tour we went into the borough of Greenwich, known for its influence in maritime innovations. There is a beautiful Maritime Museum located in Greenwich near the old Naval Hospital. I am definitely going to need to take an afternoon to go back and explore this wonderful part of London!

Outside the old Naval Hospital, Greenwich– if you notice this is one of the sites from Thor!!

We then hopped on the London Transport Water Taxi to get back into Central London. This was the perfect end to our day of exploration as it took us around London through a different light. London waterfront became a new place, and I have come to the conclusion that going by water taxi is the best way to beat London traffic!

Tower Bridge from water taxi

Not only was I able to see a new part of England, but I was able to get my Shakespeare fix for the week! With AHA London Centre we took a guided tour and workshop at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre today stands a few hundred feet from its original location.

Tower of London from water taxi

The original Globe burned down in 1613 during a performance of Henry VIII, was rebuilt shortly with a tile roof to prevent fire, and was again rebuilt by American Actor, director, and producer Sam Wanamaker completed in 1996 a hundred feet away. It is now a place for Shakespeare’s famous plays to be done in an authentic playhouse, and for people young and old from all over the world to learn about the genius that is Shakespeare. More about Shakespeare to come as I will be going to Stratfor-upon-Avon, Shakespeare’s birthplace, at the end of the month!

Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre

My Shakespeare experience did not end there as last night I was able to see Othello at the Leicester Square Theatre! It was a very intimate performance as we were all squeeze into a room in the basement of the theatre, sat directly along the stage composed of a sheet taped to the floor, and had our personal bubbles invaded by the spirited cast. Each of the cast had to be at their best as there was no stage magic to hide behind. Overall it was a wonderful experience and a great way to become part of Shakespeare’s Othello.

Smallest stage I have ever seen!

Leeds Castle- http://www.leeds-castle.com/Visit/Castle+and+History
The Canterbury Tales- http://canterburytales.org.uk
Canterbury- http://www.canterbury.co.uk
Shakespeare’s Globe- http://www.shakespearesglobe.com
Othello- http://www.grassrootsshakespearelondon.com/Othello.html

“I wandered everywhere, through cities and countries wide. And everywhere I went, the world was on my side.” ~ Roman Payne

My heart has truly been stolen by this country in more ways than one. I was fortunate enough to go on an amazing spring break trip around Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, and Wales.

Inverness, Scotland

I was able to see the unique culture that is spread around the British Isles and Ireland. From the rolling hills of Scotland to the shores of Ireland me and Denae who is also studying at AHA London Centre sought out adventure with the purpose of seeing the places we had learned in our Britain Today class. In Britain Today, a wonderful class taught by one of the AHA London Centre professors, we have learned about the complicated relationships between the English people and their conquered territories of Scotland and Ireland.

Aberdeen– “The Granite City”

Our first stop was Aberdeen, Scotland. Aberdeen is in the northern part of Scotland and is now the closest city to the oilrigs and is the largest seaport in the northeast. Aberdeen is home to one of the busiest heliports in the world, the city is nearly completely comprised of buildings made of granite, and was an interesting place to try and search for strong Celtic traditions. We learned all bout the strong ties to the sea at the Aberdeen Maritime Museum- well worth a visit if you are ever in the area. It was an amazing museum that visually demonstrated the city’s influence on ships, oil rigs, and other sea related activities. Though we came up short in our search for a traditional Scottish traditions we were able to learn about the influence the sea has on the Scottish people in the area.

View from the Aberdeen Maritime Museum

After a beautiful train ride through the highlands we reached our next destination, Inverness! Inverness is right on the edge of the highlands and is the town closest to Loch Ness. The city was centered around a beautiful river and in between lovely rolling hills. It was nice to be in the country, away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and able to enjoy the peaceful nature that loomed around.


We took a ferry ride around Loch Ness, and were amazed how much it reminded us of the Puget Sound in the Pacific Northwest. As we entered the ferry and started our trip around the loch the sun began to peek through the clouds. On the edge of the loch is situated an ancient castle ruins, Urquhart Castle, where several ancient kings of Scotland resided. The ancient ruins mapped out the transitions the areas have seen during the fight for Scotland.

Loch Ness — crazy similar looking to the Puget Sound area!

Loch Ness is most famously recognized for the Loch Ness Monster who is believed to have been residing in Loch Ness for several centuries. The monster has brought tourists and hunters from around the globe to search the deep waters of Loch Ness.

Bazpackers Hostel– amazing!

The area around Inverness was rejuvenating and breathtaking. Not only was the area beautiful but the people were some of the friendliest I have ever met. We were blessed with a hostel filled with adventurous and kind people willing to sit down over a cup of tea and share travel stories. Not only did we get our fill of Scottish highlands but we were able to hear some raw and wonderful Celtic music!

Urquhart Castle, Loch Ness

After two amazing days in Inverness we took another train through the Scottish highlands down south to Glasgow where we spend just over twelve hours. Glasgow was not as unique as Inverness but did provide us with a wonderful meal of Haggis- traditional Scottish food! I’ll leave a link at the bottom if you want to know what makes up this tasty meal!

Snowy hills of Scotland

Woke up early in Glasgow, made our way to the airport, and after a short hop across the water were in Belfast, Northern Ireland! Many who know me personally know that I love Titanic! Belfast was where the Titanic was built and has strong ties to boat making, having built many of the largest, fasted ships of all time! After walking down the Titanic trail we ended up at the Titanic Belfast museum and spent over two hours going through the amazing museum that told the history of Belfast’s ship building, Titanic’s creation, and its sad sinking.


The museum helped take Titanic from the big screen into reality. It hit me that so many people in the United States, Europe, and even more so in Belfast were affected. The people of Belfast spend years imagining, creating, and perfecting Titanic just to see it fall to the bottom of the Atlantic. Thousands died that day and their memories are not lost to the people of Belfast.

Titanic Belfast

In the afternoon we explored the now modern city- found a wonderful hamburger and milkshake shop, walked around the shopping area, and Denae even tried out for Britain’s XFactor! Though it wasn’t a successful audition it was great fun to interact with the Belfast people!


The next morning we were off to Dublin! As many know Northern Ireland is disconnected from the Republic of Ireland and have been since the mid 1900s. Ireland has a long history of discontent and hatred towards the English. The English often dominated the lands of Ireland, claiming them for their own, and you can tell there is still some hatred between the two lands. Northern Ireland has remained with the United Kingdom due to their protestant beliefs. Ireland is a majority Catholic state and because of the religious differences between the north and south were separated.

Trinity College, Dublin

It was wonderful to be able to compare the two parts of Ireland! Our time in Dublin was most definitely a walking time. We walked everywhere! It was a wonderful way to see the city and try and take in the unique culture!

The Temple Bar, Dublin

Temple Bar is a wonderful area in Dublin known for its traditional Irish pubs that nightly have Celtic performers. We went to the most famous bar, The Temple Bar, had a pint of Guinness and listened to a wonderful group of guys who entertained us with the best Irish music!

Cafe perfect for people watching!

After a satisfying night of Irishness we went back to our hostel and got a good nights sleep to help us rejuvenate for our full day in Dublin! We woke up, took a stroll along the river that runs through Dublin, and then took an amazing guided walking tour of Dublin! We had an enthusiastic guide that helped bring the history of Ireland and Dublin to life.

Dublin Waterfront

As we walked through the streets of Dublin he made us feel like we were stepping into a historical time bubble! This tour made us see the beauty in what could have easily been seen as just another European city. Dublin came alive and our eyes were opened to an Irish history we had never known about, and I know I will continue try and discover.

Outside Dublin Castle

After two days in Dublin exploring Irish culture we hopped on a ferry, met wonderful, extremely friendly Irish people who made us feel so welcomed and sad to leave this country, and made our way to our final stop Wales!

Welsh Countryside

Our time in Wales was a travel time. We took two trains and a bus and were able to see the Welsh countryside. It was beautifully green, the meadows were filled with either sheep, mini horses, or different wildlife, the hills seemed to go on forever, and it was overwhelmingly peaceful. This travelling around the Welsh countryside was a wonderful end to an amazing adventure!

Dublin High Street

Once we got to Cardiff we were more then ready for dinner and then a short wait to get back to the city we had come to miss so much—London! It is true when people say that absence makes the heart grow fonder. My spring break trip overwhelmingly amazing.

Celtic Pub

I was able to explore the United Kingdom and Ireland—a culture that I have come to love so dearly. I was able to meet people who genuinely loved to explore this amazing world we live on, people who love the culture they were born into, and people who were ready to take moments out of their day to share a piece of themselves with a traveler like me. I’m excited for the next few weeks I have left here in the UK and cannot wait for my next adventure!

Loch Ness Monster- http://www.nessie.co.uk/htm/the_evidence/sight.html
BEST HOSTEL EVER! http://www.bazpackershostel.co.uk
Haggis- http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/haggis
Titanic Belfast- http://www.titanicbelfast.com
Temple Bar- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_Bar,_Dublin
Amazing Walking tour Dublin- http://www.vikingpubcrawl.com/viking-free-walking-tour.html
Miniature Horses! http://www.bmhs.co.uk

“Study the past if you would define the future” ~ Confucius

History flows out of every part of this amazing country. The only way to truly appreciate and understand the complex history of the United Kingdom is to see it. With the AHA London Centre I am able to learn by experiencing the street of London and visiting places around the UK that we are learning about in the classroom. This week has been an exceptionally exploratory.

Banqueting House

The Banqueting House has been apart of the London skyline since 1622 as part of the Palace of Whitehall. Inigo Jones designed the Palace of Whitehall in 1619 for James I, and in 1649 King Charles I was executed on a scaffold outside the Banqueting House in front of his kingdom created the Palace of Whitehall. After King Charles I execution England became a parliamentary government without the monarch. This was done because the monarch be lived they were divine rulers that could make any decision they wanted without concern for others. Oliver Cromwell, a brave soldier and ruler, became head of parliament and England had 40 years of parliamentary ruling. After Oliver Cromwell’s death the parliament decided to reinstate a monarch that would have little rule, and the parliament would have control over. In 1689, William and Mary accepted the throne in the Palace of Whitehall, and the kind of monarch control we know today begun.

In 1698, the Palace of Whitehall burned down and only the Banqueting House remained. It was used for dances, theatre productions, and entertaining rulers from around the world. It is now a beautiful example of the rich history of the United Kingdom.

Later in the week I was able to go to Portsmouth to learn about the naval history of the United Kingdom. Portsmouth is on the south coast of England and was a significant naval port. We went in and around the Mary Rose, and ancient ship found on the bottom of Portsmouth Harbour, HMS Victory, Nelson’s battleship, and HMS Warrior, the largest ship of her day. The British Naval force was not one to be reckoned with, and being able to see the ships that drove the force was amazing.


HMS Warrior


HMS Victory

More exploring is going to happen later this week as I take my Spring Break trip to Scotland, Ireland, and Wales!

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Banqueting House: http://www.hrp.org.uk/BanquetingHouse/
Portsmouth: http://www.visitportsmouth.co.uk

“I just try to live every day as if it was the final day of my extraordinary, ordinary life” ~About Time

The one month of my arrival has come and past and the clock is ticking towards my departure in two months time. I have happened upon the unfortunate fact that time moves rather too quickly. Since coming back from Edinburgh, Scotland my time has been full of great new adventures. From meeting up with my Grandpa during his layover, to going to see Simon Russell Beale in King Lear, to taking picnics in the park, I have been living every moment to the fullest.


From concerts to palaces, Bath to the London Eye, from going to the theatre to the movies- all in between classes and interning- I scarcely have a time to just sit and relax, and you won’t hear me complaining at all! I have been given so many amazing opportunities to explore and learn that NO simply is not part of my vocabulary. Below are outlined some of the few things I have been able to do over the last two weeks!

The Fray concert— An amazingly talented group of guys that I got to see from the front row! Their drummer was off having his baby, so every song was acoustic and raw. We were given the chance to have a once in a life time performance that no other audience would hear again.


Lambeth Palace- Home to the Archbishop of Canterbury. With my Britian Today course I was able to take a scarcely given tour of this historical palace that has housed Archbishops of Canterbury for hundreds of year. The Archbishop of Canterbury is the head of the Church of England, and works some what like the Pope to spread the love of Jesus and lead the Church of England.


Bath- The Roman city situated outside of London coined the city of leisure and pleasure. If you are a Jane Austen fan you will remember reading of Bath in many of her novels. Back in the early 1st century the Romans discovered a hot springs and built a temple, baths, and leisure centre around the hot springs. Believed to bring healing powers the hot springs baths soon became the place to go for relaxation and healing.


Much later in history the British people turned Bath into a city that encompassed the Roman Baths, and centered on the social season. People of all classes would come to bath, rent rooms in fabulous palace looking apartment buildings, take part in glorious parties, and treat themselves. Bath became a place where no matter your class as long as you could pay you could take part in the festivities.



Back in London I have been fortunate enough to see two vastly different and equally wonderful plays. The first, The Duck House, a play about the MP expense scandal of the 2010s that was riddled with jabs and laughs about the British MPs, their behaviors, and the repercussions that did not receive. It was like watching a wonderfully, hilarious British sitcom live! Secondly, I was able to witness pure genius by the actors in the National Theatre’s King Lear. Having studied the play before attendance in my Shakespeare course I was able to appreciate the underlying meanings that spill from the pages onto the stage. Simon Russell Beale was perfection as King Lear and was supported by a group of grossly talented actors. The despair and frustration of going mad while your kin leave you naked in the middle of a storm was told beautifully and supported by a wonderfully creative set. I am still in awe of each work that I have seen performed, and am blessed that these will most definitely not be my last.

Me and some of the other people from my program at The Fray! I hope you take a moment to appreciate the people in the background!


The Fray: http://www.thefray.com/us/
Lambeth Palace: http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/pages/about-lambeth-palace.html
Bath: http://visitbath.co.uk
The Duck House: http://www.vaudeville-theatre.co.uk/The-Duck-House.html
King Lear: http://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/king-lear

“To be, or not to be: that is the question” ~ William Shakespeare, Hamlet

Edinburgh Skyline from Edinburgh Castle

The Scottish people are facing an important decision this coming September, and I am in the unique position to be able to see first hand the events that are leading up to the vote. I am able to partake in the discussion, learn directly from Scottish people, and visit the Scotland while it is still part of the United Kingdom. If you are unaware, Scotland has put up a referendum to be voted upon in September on wither or not to stay with the United Kingdom. If they vote yes Scotland will become a nation apart from England and Northern Ireland, and will be in control of their own government. The Scottish parliament will take over full control of all things Scottish, such as the welfare and monetary systems, which are currently controlled by the Westminster Parliament in London. They will continue to be under the monarchy in what is called a Union of Crowns, and Queen Elizabeth will be the Queen of England and Scotland. The Scottish people have a monumental decision to make, and I am able to be witness to the happenings leading up to the September vote!

View from Calton Hill

Last week I was able to take an excursion with AHA London Centre to Edinburgh, Scotland to see for myself the similarities and difference between Scotland and England. We visited the Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh Castle, and Scottish Parliament Building, walked up and down the Royal Mile, and got a good taste of Scottish life. Below are pictures of the places mentioned, and some photos of the amazing landscape of Edinburgh. I love the combination and intertwining of natural landmarks and manmade landmarks. The city is mixed between the two so beautifully, and makes for some amazing views in and above the city.

Holyrood Palace

Holyrood Abbey

Edinburgh Castle

Atop Calton Hill

My highlight of the excursion was going to the Scottish Parliament Building and listening to a Parliament question and answer session take place. Scottish Parliament is split between three major parties—The Scottish Nationalist Party (YES for independence), The Labour Party (NO for independence), and a combination of the Conservative and Independent parties. All were present during the discussion along with the First Minister, Alex Salmond. One of the major questions asked that has just recently affected the vote was related to the British Pound and wither or not Scotland will be able to use. Westminster Parliament is currently in control of the treasury sector, and they announced that if Scotland were to vote YES on independence then they would be unable to use the British Pound for their currency. This subject provoked a lively debate during the Scottish Parliament discussion. The Scottish National Party is pushing for an independent Scotland, so that Scots can govern Scots and they can decide what is best for their nation. The Labour party is pushing for a NO vote because it would be too difficult to cut ties with the United Kingdom and they are able to be prosperous in their current situation. The Labour and Scottish Nationalist Party are sticking to their NO and YES votes, but it will ultimately come down to the Scottish people. Come September Scotland could be an independent nation, and Scottish Parliament would gain full control.

Edinburgh Skyline

After visiting Edinburgh I was surprised by the major differences between Scotland and England. Their histories are often intertwined and they have been in a state of union since 1707, but walking through the streets of Edinburgh I can tell that the sprit of these two nations are not the same. It’s hard to explain the differences, but I can see why this unique nation is pushing for their independence from England. I have been given the opportunity to be living in the midst of a peaceful fight of independence. Reading about the brutal fight for independence happening in Ukraine I am in awe at the respect that has been shown here in the United Kingdom. Scotland peacefully come into Union with England in 1707 and has shown the same grace while pushing for their disunion. They understand their shared history, love and respect their Queen, and want to continue into the future as Scots. Though the public pools are leaning towards a NO vote on the referendum I believe that this will not be the end of the discussion. I foresee a new nation being introduced into the world—a nation of kilts, haggis, and bagpipes either this year or in the next twenty years.

Monuments Atop Calton Hill

Scottish Independence: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-26273556
Alex Salmond: http://news.bbc.co.uk/democracylive/hi/representatives/profiles/25366.stm
YES Campaign: http://www.yesscotland.net
Better Together Campaign: http://bettertogether.net
Ukraine Fight for Independence: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-26248275