Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Afternoon Tea at The Pump Room

The Pump Room is a beautiful, hella fancy restaurant in Bath famous for its lavish afternoon tea and elegant decor. My friend (and Kappa sister! woo #sisterhood) Niyousha and I were so excited to swing by The Pump Room for tea during our visit to Bath. We decided to treat ourselves with the Searcy's Champagne Tea package, which came with a delicious assortment of scones, sandwiches, and decadent desserts. The champagne was crisp, the tea tasty, and all of the food was incredible. The Pump Room also had live classical music which made our afternoon feel like a glamorous movie scene- I loved the sky high ceilings and the neoclassical style of the entire room. Just like the rest of Bath, the Pump Room had me feeling like I'd been completely transported back in time and it was magical. 

(this last photo is kind of creepy because it has other NYU students in it) (sorry guys)

I loved the Pump Room and would definitely go back if given the chance to visit Bath again- they also have a fountain of spa water from the hot springs which is supposed to be quite fresh. Niyousha and I completely forgot about trying the water because we were too occupied devouring our tower of goodies, but we did try it at the Roman Baths (it wasn't that great though). The Pump Room definitely ranks in my top 5 favorite places to have afternoon tea here in Britain so far.

I'm also super excited right now because spring break starts this weekend and our first stop is Berlin! I have no idea what we're going to do there (besides try schnitzel) but I can't wait to see more of Europe with my best friends. Expect a new post soon and lots of photos on Instagram!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

My Day in Bath

Located in the English countryside, Bath is a beautiful little city famous for the Roman baths that are still standing today as well as it's distinctively 18th century Georgian architecture. NYU took us on a trip here last weekend and it was pretty cool to see a different part of England. Bath itself just feels very English, with its cobblestone streets and rolling hills. The city's built in the valley of the River Avon so the surroundings are incredibly lush. Although Bath is rather modern now, with restaurants and clothing stores taking residence in the old fashioned buildings lining the streets, it's still the kind of place that makes you feel like you've been transported in time. Everything just feels old, like there's history pulsing beneath every stone you walk over. Even though I'm not a Jane Austen fan, I could definitely see how living somewhere like Bath in the 19th century could inspire so many novels. Being in Bath made me wish I could stay just a little longer to enjoy the peace and quiet of what felt like the blissful middle of nowhere.

(Pulteney Bridge ft. the River Avon)

(my hair was doing nice things in this picture, good job hair)

"This pig is me" - Niyousha

(just look at how English this place is)

We also visited the Roman Baths which were absolutely stunning- although Roman history is probably one of my least favorites (the Roman Empire was a hue jerk, okay), I loved walking through the surviving ruins and seeing one of the integral parts of Roman life firsthand. 

(One day I'm definitely going to fall while trying to sit on a ledge for a picture)

I definitely haven't been exploring England, or even London for that matter, as much as I should. I told myself I wouldn't waste time watching Netflix while I was abroad but I've accepted that watching copious amounts of TV shows and movies is a part of who I am as a person (lol I'm only half joking). I think I am going to try to do more day trips to take advantage of being here while I can though! Spring break starts this weekend which means the semester's basically halfway through, which is freaking me out because I swear time keeps passing faster and faster. There's still so much I want to do!! Till next time, adios. 

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Exploring Euro Disney

I love Disney. My childhood is defined by The Little Mermaid, Hercules, The Beauty & The Beast, and every other Disney movie ever released. I've gone to Disneyland in Florida with my family twice now, once as a kid and then in middle school- which is nothing compared to this one girl I went to high school with who continues to go multiple times every year- but I think it's safe to say I'm a big fan of Disney. So when I was given the chance to go to Disney in Paris, I absolutely said yes. And it was definitely worth every single damn euro. 

(I took the photo before it got super sunny)
(And then my camera died)
(The struggle was honestly too real)

First of all, instead of Cinderella's castle, Euro Disney has Aurora's castle. So it's pink and beautiful and has these gorgeous stained glass windows inside that depict the storyline of The Sleeping Beauty. The entire place is just adorable and I felt giddy walking through onto the balconies that overlook the park- it's a lot smaller than Cinderella's castle in Florida but I loved how literally every stone in the castle told a story.

We all got Minnie Mouse ears-except for Emily who got her face painted (it was amazing)- devoured an unholy amount of cotton candy, took pictures of everything, and had a really nice time acting like kids again. I'd also been having a small quarter life crisis, basically questioning what I'm studying  what I'm going to do with my life, so being a kid again was exactly what I needed. Disney really is such a beautiful fantasy land brought alive, I loved feeling like I was walking through a fairytale.

The fireworks show at the end of the night also lowkey had me in tears. We almost didn't go because we'd spent the entire day outside at the park and we were all freezing by the evening but we committed to seeing the show and I'm so glad we did because it was incredible. Fireworks are one of my weaknesses, so when it was combined with Disney music, I was completely done. I wasn't able to get a picture since my camera was long dead by then, but I did film it on my phone / GoPro so it'll definitely make an appearance in the video I'm attempting to make of all the footage I have so far from studying abroad. Overall, I had an amazing experience and recommend visiting Euro Disney if you can! It's a completely different experience from Disneyland, it felt like everyone was European (lol) and the park itself just felt very French. The rides are pretty much the same but I definitely think the vibe is different and even a little bit more magical.

A Weekend in Paris

This post is way, way overdue but in my defense, I've been drowning in midterms. I'm officially DONE now- until finals anyway- so I'm trying to catch up on blogging. I recently visited my friend Julia who's studying abroad at NYU Paris and had an amazing time being reunited in the prettiest city in Europe. Together with our friend (and fellow Kappa) Emily as well as Emily's friend from home, we split our trip into two parts. Day 1was essentially what Julia so aptly called 'the Instagram tour of Paris' aka we went to all the major landmarks and museums in a single, exhaustingly impressive outing. 

^I'm 10000000% obsessed with this picture because of how perfect it is, I have no shame. The weather reports told us to expect cloudy skies and even rain so I'm still amazed at how we got a picture with lighting this damn good!! Real talk, this is probably the best photo I'm ever going to have.

Visiting Paris immediately had me questioning if studying abroad at London had been the right choice. The food is delicious (and SO MUCH CHEAPER than London) (pounds are the worst), the sights beautiful, and you just feel like you're somewhere completely European. London's similarity to New York is great but it also means it doesn't always feel quite as magical as Paris does. I tried escargot and actually loved it (nobody is more surprised than me) and when I head back to Paris in May for Niyousha's birthday weekend, I will definitely be ordering a platter of escargot at every meal (no seriously, it's that good). 

Julia was a lovely hostess (thanks again for hosting us!!) and I loved being able to re-experience Paris with two amazing Kappas. We went to the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame, the Louvre (where I had the time of my life using Face Swap on Snapchat with all the artwork), and had an incredible dinner at a cozy restaurant in the Latin Quarter. We also stopped by Laduree because macarons.

The first time (and last time) I went to Paris was on a post graduation trip in high school and so it was a little more than disconcerting to be back and experiencing everything in such a different way. I've been realizing more and more how much I've grown up and this trip felt significant in a way I'm still trying to understand. I think I've just been having a lot of moments lately where I think "I'm so happy to be alive" and it really throws me off because I spent such a long time hurting and being sad. And I don't know if I'm completely okay now, it's definitely not like I can say "I'm fixed now! I'm all better", you know? But I feel more whole than I have in a long time and I'm really thankful for that. 

(gotta throw what we know #KKG)

As cheesy as this may sound, it's a really good feeling to be moving forward and seeing so much of the world after being stuck for such a long time. Paris was beautiful and exactly the place I needed to re-experience. We also went to Disney the next day, which was even more fun- I'm actually going to get started on writing about that right now so expect a new post soon. À bientôt!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Update on well, everything

For a reason still unknown to me, I felt compelled to post an update on here while in the shower this morning at 7:30. So here I am, about an hour later, sitting in my bed and tentatively typing as my brain tries to decide if I'm really going to write all this right now, knowing I have to go to class in an hour and take a midterm. Apparently the answer is yes because I'm still going- I don't even know where to start though! So much has been happening. Also, please enjoy these pictures from the magical place that is Borough Market in London.

I've realized many people are under the impression that I don't like studying abroad and I want to correct that untrue assumption because I do like studying abroad. I'm just not a fan of flaunting it as being THE BEST TIME OF MY LIFE!!!! to everyone because I think enough people do that and I've always been a fan of just being honest. So here's the truth about studying abroad, for me anyway: it's weird as heck. I've already made so many unforgettable, amazing memories with both old friends and new, and I've also felt lonely and out of place. I love being away and just knowing I'm gone, I literally still tear up whenever I get on a train or a plane (I'm dramatic, I know) and my weekend trips to places like Dublin and Paris have been incredible. I'm much more independent here than I ever was in New York and yes, I love hearing British accents everywhere I go. I'm not going to say it's the most amazing time ever!! though because there are cons that do accompany studying abroad and I think it's silly to pretend that studying abroad is exactly what you see on Instagram and Facebook.

It does take me a long time to adjust anywhere new and London hasn't been an exception. That being said, I love being here. I questioned my choice to come here a lot- should I have gone to Florence? Paris? Should I have even left New York? No, no, and I still don't know the answer to that last question but most days I lean towards yes. Coming here was HUGE for me because I put it off for so long for, if I'm being completely honest, a boy. You know that quote about never making a decision based on a boy? YEAH, listen to that shit. However, I don't regret waiting to leave because I like that I came knowing who I am and being waaaay more grounded than I ever was freshmen/sophomore year, which I think has given me what feels like a much more monumental experience here already. I'm a little sad to be missing Greek Week/ the spring semester in New York in general but I also think being abroad has made New York and NYU exciting for me again. You really do get jaded after a few years and I definitely needed a break from the fast-paced, constant GO GO GO attitude of the city and a lot of the negativity I felt like I was surrounded by.

Another point: I'm happy with London because despite how much I love learning new languages, I absolutely suck at speaking them. Reading, writing? I've got you covered. But speaking? I can't. The sounds that come out of my mouth are barely words when I try to pronounce French. I've never given Italian a try and who knows, maybe I'd surprise myself with it, but at the end of the day, I like being somewhere that's both new and familiar. London is very similar to New York, a fact that disappointed me the first time I visited here about 3 years ago but now it's a fact I cherish. It's amazing to be able to go visit the Tower of London and see so much of Britain's history firsthand, and then pop on over to Shake Shack to enjoy a burger (THERE'S NO LINE HERE IT'S AMAZING).

(also really good in London? the food at Borough Market)

I'm also just happy in general. There were a lot of people/things I feel like I needed to get away from and being, you know, on another continent, has definitely helped put things in a much better, healthier perspective. I've gotten absolutely no sleep in the past 48 hours (had a paper due today and a midterm to study for) but when I went to go take a shower, I almost started laughing because of how happy I felt. Maybe it's actually the sleep deprivation talking but I don't know, I'm doing good here. Really good.

Sooo other quick updates because I've gotta run to class soon: I ended up switching dorms. In NYU terms, I basically moved from the London equivalent of Hayden to Lafayette. Crazy, I know. It was definitely the right choice though, all of my closest friends live here, I have a single (very necessary) with my own bathroom, and I'm just a lot more comfortable. My bed's also twice as big so yeah, I love it. I'm going to see In The Heights tonight and I'm excited AF because it's one of the first musicals I ever watched/listened to fully/LOVED so ah!!!! Okay, okay gotta stop writing now and leave. I'll be posting about my Paris trip soon!