Saturday, 8 September 2012

If This is a Dream... Don't Wake Me Up!

Life on the other side of the pond. 

You know those dreams you have that are so real, you usually end up on the floor of your bedroom? You know, when you're in this mystical land riding your bike and all of a sudden a tree jumps in your path (something like that) and you're swerving out of control, only to in actuality, make a jerking move towards the floor of your bed? No? Yeah, me either. At any rate, if all this has been a dream, don't you DARE wake me up! There's really no simple way to definitively describe what an impact Harlaxton has had on me so far.

Home, Sweet Home :)
Everyday feels like a Friday here, because you never know what adventure awaits you. Not a day goes by that I don't stop in a hall, or look outside a window and think to myself "Wow, this is MY life right now." I REALLY live here!!! So bare with me as I attempt to walk you through a few of the most memorable moments from the last couple weeks!


Let's first talk about how I've never had to wake up earlier than 9AM for, oh let's see, ALL of my college career so far! I have never taken an 8:30AM class, let alone it being the subject of History, as I can't even name dates of anything past last year. And for those that don't know, there is a 6-credit British Studies course that's mandated for all students here. And surprise, surprise, it starts at 8:30AM. Reality check #1. Not to mention, I can't miss my beloved breakfast! So you have to tack on another hour earlier, so I can wake up in time to look somewhat presentable in this beloved facility of grounds I'm far from worthy to walk on. To the right, is an idea of the many alarms I have to set just to get myself up in the morning and ready to function on a day-to-day basis. 

The Conservatory
Speaking of class, you have to check out my favorite rooms in the manor. The Conservatory is by far the most relaxing place to be. You have an amazing view that overlooks the backyard garden and can catch the nice breeze through the openings while still having an indoor feel.
The Gold Room

The Gold Room to the right is where my Contemporary Leadership seminar is held with Professor Dan Harris. Between lectures, I often find myself gaping at the ceiling, hunting down the many intricate details of the artwork and inner architecture. I mean, the chandelier alone is enough to keep a toddler entertained for a couple hours. I'm sitting in a room fit for a king, worth more than Justin Bieber my life's savings will ever accumulate. Remember, I still kinda feel like I'm dreaming.

Now the picture on the left are my new friends Chelsea and Sara doing their best impersonation of a typical "American Tourist". We joked about how easy we are to spot as we carry these life-sized maps with us everywhere, staring at them, trying to interpret the foreign language of tubes and routes. In the middle picture, that's us having dinner at a cute and quaint restaurant off High Street Kensington called BALANS. And even though we were aware that in Europe, service charges are already added to our bills negating the need for gratuity, we thought it'd be nice to tip anyway since our waiter was so fun and accommodating. In the center, we included an American penny for them to either throw away given its uselessness, or cherish forever with the memories of those awesome Americans that came by -- probably the latter.

Oh and here I go again on the left; doing my best statue personification of the 2012 London Olympic Games Mascot. I could spend a good 30 minutes arguing the combination of animals this creature probably represents, but I don't want you to be taken back by my vast knowledge in zoology. So I'll spare you. And of course, one can't simply go to London without taking multiple pictures with the classic RED TELEPHONE BOOTH! I picked this up in Ways To Spot An American 101 ;-). Also, whatever Einstein-decendent decided on these helpful "Look Right" and "Look Left" street signs, you have saved more lives than you know! Everytime I crossed the street, I found myself looking the wrong direction, since their roads are the complete opposite of the U.S. So I started making it a habit to either look both ways, double-check the ground, or get behind a local and follow their lead. Needless to say, I'm alive thanks to those 3 strategies of foreign pedestrian survival. Holla!

Speaking of locals, man are they a pleasant bunch of people! Even as I'm roaming the streets, in my own little world, dazing at the breath-taking architecture, I'm getting honks, waves, a thumbs up, and all types of friendly gestures from random drivers and cars. As creepy as that may sound, it was about 13:00 in the afternoon, which is 7 hours earlier than the prime creeping hours (please do take note and commend my use of a 24 hour clock as the transition has been rough). I don't even remember how many times I stopped a local to make sure I was going the right way, or ask about a local attraction, and they completely dropped what they're doing, answered my question, offered more advice, and then engaged in some small talk. Who does that? Brits apparently! That type of hospitality is a rarity these days; once again restoring my fluctuating hope for humanity. And then I found it hilarious how some pointed out that I had such a strong accent. I thought to myself "actually YOU, SIR, are the one with the accent!" Fascinating how intrigued some people were with the "American dialect", and it was a mutual perspective as I can't get myself to call french fries (CHIPS) to save my life. Despite my mental lapses, I do know that whatever they do to their potatoes to make their fries chips come out so amazing, I. Am. Hooked! YUM.

Another highlight from my weekend in London was getting a chance to attend a Paralympic Event at the North Greenwich Arena -- something I will proudly share with my kids (assuming I don't go the 70 cats route). When you think about a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, it's so surreal until you're actually there. I was so inspired by all the athletes, not only physically, but mentally as well. It takes a certain type of person to pick up a pen and write a new chapter of their life, despite pages being torn or the cover of their book being destroyed (catch my drift here). These athletes didn't let their circumstances define their greatness. I left completely amazed and with a greater appreciation for the Paralympic Games. Now for the sake of your eyes and my fingers (mostly my fingers), we shall come to an end... for now at least. Thanks for reading, be sure to leave some comments so I can connect better with you all! I look forward to sharing more and I can't wait to continue this journey of non-stop excitement, thrill, and adventure. The picture below is pretty self-explanatory and now that I think about it -- you can go ahead and wake me up, because at this point, my reality is better than my dreams anyway ;-)


Cheers!
Glo

12 comments:

  1. Glo! You were right! I did enjoy this. I can't wait to see what other adventures you stumble upon. Have fun!

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    1. Thanks so much, Hannah! Meeting up with your friends next weekend. Should be a good time! :)

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  2. I'm so glad to hear from you! It's good to know you're enjoying yourself and I hope you have a really great semester. It's too bad you don't have me to be your alarm clock lol. I'll be missing you from the states. Love you tons!

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    1. Hahahaha! I miss you more than you know! I didn't think I was fully functional without having you to call, bang on my window, or knock on my door to wake me up and remind me of the next thing I had to do. Lol, love you and talk to you later! <3

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  3. Love the blog, Glo! Keep em coming...I can't wait to get there!
    Kathy Allen

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    1. Oh Coach Allen, the fun you will have, the friends you will make, the places you will go! Limitless! Congrats on the huge home win this past week! :)

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  4. Your post brought back many fond memories of Harlaxton for me, the simple wonder of waking up in a manor house. Of learning to tell 24-hour time -- which I still do all these years later. Your exciting visit to London; and if I may say, you've chosen a stellar year to live in Britain. Congratulations! Don't ever forget the wonder.
    Maria Day
    Annapolis, MD
    Harlaxton fall '87-spring '88

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    1. Hi Maria!
      Glad I could help you relive your glory days! I don't know why, but I'm already worrying about the day I'll have to say goodbye! This place is seriously too good to be true! Thanks for stopping by :)

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  5. So excited for you - and yes, more than a little jealous! Savor every moment and keep the blog entries coming - love it!

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  6. I enjoyed reading this Glo!Glad you took advantage of this great opportunity..Keep livin it up!

    Nick ATL Williams

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    1. Thanks Nick! More to come! Can't wait to come back and share more stories in person :)

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