Not Goodbye, See You Later

Night time at Tower Bridge

So, this is it. I began my adventure in London ten weeks ago and in some respects it feels like just yesterday and in other it feels like lightyears ago. London has become a second home for me and I don’t know how I am going to leave without leaving a piece of me here. My friend who studied here earlier this year, the same one who came and visited a few weeks ago told me when I first got here that someone told her, “Once you come to London, you never really leave.” At the time when Michaela shared that with me, I had only been here for five days and so it did not really impact me but now that I think back about my time here, I know exactly what that woman meant when she told Michaela that. Although it was only ten weeks, I feel like I have grown exponentially in a way that I would not have been able to at home.

Being in London has opened my eyes to so many new things and new people. I have made lifelong friends who I would have never met otherwise. I have realized what is really important in life and by living so far away from my family and friends, I now know how valuable they are to me. Not only have I had the opportunity to immerse myself in London and British culture, but I have been fortunate enough to go to Barcelona, London and most recently Amsterdam. Having these countries within two hours traveling distance has really opened my eyes to the world and I feel so lucky to have had the chance to see so many beautiful things.

Hanging out at the IAmsterdam sign.

I went to Amsterdam last Thursday after class and to say that I was in awe would be an understatement. I have seen many pictures of the canals and I have always wanted to see them firsthand but what I actually saw was even better than I could have imagined. I have a friend who lives in Amsterdam so I was able to stay with her. Booking my flight on Monday and arriving on Thursday is one of the most spontaneous things I have ever done and I am so glad that I did! When I got there, we went for pancakes. They were not just breakfast pancakes though, they were for dinner! I ordered a chicken and cheese pancake and I was pleasantly surprised. We walked around for a while after and seeing the canals at night may have even been better than seeing them during the day. Lights illuminated the tunnels of the canals and my friend and I longed to be sitting on one of the house boats that are stationed there.

Canal from our paddle boat.
Vondelpark

The next day we went to Vondelpark, and let me tell you it was like a scene from a movie. The grass was green, the flowers were vibrant and everything was peaceful. Rittenhouse Park is nice, but now that I’ve been to Vondelpark, I don’t think I will ever feel the same about parks again. Right near the park is the Van Gogh Museum so we went there and got to see his work. To see things in person that I have only learned about was amazing and I am happy that I had the chance to appreciate his masterpieces. After the museum, we ate waffle cookies and went to see the “I Amsterdam” sign where people were climbing and taking pictures. We decided to try something different and went paddle boating and trust me, it looks a lot more fun than it actually is. The sun was shining and I was peddling my heart out, trying to avoid hitting other boats and the walls of the canal. Although it was a tiring experience, I worked up my appetite for the next part of our night which was a pizza cruise. At first when another group of girls from Drexel told me about it, I didn’t think that it was something that I would want to do but it ended up being relaxing and I was able to see more of theĀ canals and the city that I had not previously seen. To finish off our very packed day, we went to the Anne Frank Museum. Of course reading and learning about the Holocaust is very sad and unimaginable, but actually being in the place that the Frank family and others hid for two years was eye opening and a bit traumatic for me.
When I returned to London, I was faced with the realization that it would be my last week here and although I had finals to study for, I wanted to make the most of my time. Monday was a bank holiday here so we did not have class and I spent my day walking in beautiful Sloane Square. Wednesday night I went to a launch party for the clothing brand of one of the stars, Caggie Dunlop from in Made in Chelsea. I won access on Twitter and was able to spend the night feeling like a VIP. There, I made friends who live here and I felt as though I really belonged. My amazing night only made it all the more real that I am leaving soon and I can’t even believe it. I’m going to keep the mentality of “It’s not goodbye, it’s see you later,” because I know that I will be back at some point.

Made in Chelsea star, Caggie Dunlop and I at her brand, ISWAI’s launch party.
Some of my new British friends and Proudlock from Made in Chelsea.

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One comment

  1. Hey Lisa – looks like you've had a really great experience! I can't wait to hear all about it in person when we get back to Drexel. I have learned similar things by being in Italy, and I really think being abroad is a life-changing experience!

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