My life as a working Girl in the city…

I can’t believe I have been in London for almost a month now! I have just completed my third week at my internship and I would say things are going very well.

I am becoming an excel guru! I have successful timed myself and I can complete 15 rows of my spreadsheet in 2 minutes and 37 seconds. Most receptionists add a “words per minute” to their resume and I can add a rows per minute 🙂

I love tea time!They each take their tea differently and have taught me how to make my perfect cup. I have perfected the perfect tea, steeped for 3 minutes, a “slop” of milk as my coworker says, and a spoonful of sugar.

I am making friends in the office especially at tea time! It is always tea time at my office, I have about 4 cups a day. And heaven forbid we run out of milk for the tea,  everything is put on hold for a trip to the store. In the kitchen, I have held conversations from the Super Bowl, to my future plans, to “does America even have toasters?”, to rugby men.

Monday was National Sickie Day: Last year 375,000 people called in sick and there were 3 people that were “sick/taking the day off”  in my office on Monday, out of 13 employees .  I find it comical that the day after the Superbowl was National Sick Day. It is an American event, yet Londoners love to use it as an excuse for a sick day.

London loves their American Football: Unlike myself, London is use to the Superbowl starting at 11:30pm. My coworkers love the game, but aren’t commited to a team. They all rooted for the Patriots, because that is who I rooted for. I find it funny that one of my coworkers took off Monday in advance because they knew they would stay up until 3:30 to watch the Superbowl.

They like nicknames. Many of my coworkers go by nicknames like Jez is short for Jeremy and they call another one Granty. They now call me Izzy, something I am not use to in the workplace, but makes me feel like one of them.

I love the British Accent: It makes my day every time my coworker answers the phone and says “Agent Crawley speaking” in his British accent. It just never gets old. We actually have 12 British and 1 Aussie in the office, so we have fun pronouncing the same words with our three different accents.

Their world revolves around the weather: On Tuesday, one of my coworkers was 3 hours late because it snowed half an inch in her town. Commuting and public transportation is a way of life in London and when it snows and it is mayhem.  On another note, they love asking about the weather. And it seems like the day is dependent on “It is colder/ warmer today.”

My coworkers are very posh: Not only do my co workers dress smart, but they are very posh. I found out that one of my co-workers is a member of the RAC, the royal automobile club and many of my other coworkers travel to other countries over the weekend. One co-worker is out all week because he is skiing in Switzerland.

The RAC club is very posh, you must be a member to even step foot into this building. Many celebrities have dinner at this club and the royal family has been sighted here. I had the opportunity last Friday to go to the RAC for my internship. I could not believe how stunning th

Those walls came from Versailles

Those walls came from Versailles

e building was. The walls were beautiful and I later learned that they came from Versailles. The meal was incredible- 3 course meal. Most importantly, I got to meet some very posh- upper class Brits.  After the meal, I felt like I had a greater understanding of a class in Britain that I wouldn’t normally get to interact with. Not to mention it was quite possible the best night of my life.

There is an open work environment: It still surprises me that the CEO does not have his own office, but rather sits at a desk with all the other co-workers within a 200 foot vicinity. Not only that, but that means when an employee has a question or comment the entire office can hear it. I attended our monthly meeting on Monday and was surprised when they talked about an concern they openly discussed with everyone about a time an employee had made a mistake and how they handled it. They also openly called out someone on a mistake in front of everyone. I was shocked that they handled an issue that way but mainly I am just not use to that kind of open communication.

There are so many things I could tell you, but I am off to Bath and Stonehenge in the morning. It will be my first weekend away since arriving.

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It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas

The minute I got off the plane in Glasgow, Scotland and was walking down  main street, the stores were filled with Christmas lights, sweaters, and decorations.  It seemed weird to get into the Christmas spirit on Halloween. I used to get frustrated that stores would put up the Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving had happened. But this fall, holidays are a little different than normal. 

I celebrated Halloween in Scotland. We went on a Halloween Tour around Edinburgh, hearing ghost stories and past stories of the mofia and criminals in Edinburgh. We found Elephant House, the birthplace of where Harry Potter was written.   The next day we went and looked for Nessie at Loch Ness, a timeless fairy tale creature. I embraced the beautiful fall in Edinburgh, although it was a little colder to my pleasing.

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After celebrating Halloween, I feel like it is now acceptable to get into the Christmas spirit. So, the next day I bought my grande Latte from Starbucks (in a red Christmas cup of course). I embraced all the lights and christmas decorations and sweaters in the store. And as soon as I came home from Scotland, I noticed all the Christmas lights were put up around Granada.

So for now, I am embracing Christmas: the music, the movies, the lights and the holiday spirit.


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12 hours and 3 modes of transportation later…

So we had an idea of how we were gonna get to the airport to make our 9:05 am flight. The original plan was to take a double decker bus from our current location (Woburn place) to Liverpool station however all the night buses just so happened to be out of service to a night construction project. Just our luck.

The morning started with a lovely 4am workout. Alicia and I walked 2.3 miles to the Liverpool street station to catch our 5:30am bus to the airport. The directions got a little confusing because it wanted us to take back roads/ shortcuts but Alicia figured out how to get us back on track. We made it to the bus 25 minutes early and we were glad our motto for the day was be early because the bus left 15 minutes early. From there it’s was smooth sailing, I napped (went back to sleep) for the 1 hour bus ride.
We ended up arriving at the stansted airport 3 hours before our flight, however we felt relieved because the security line was huge. Yeah we may have been a little too early but after our hectic trip to Manchester last week Alicia and I decided being early to everything was a better way to travel.
Once through security I found a boutique coffee shop and ordered a grande Carmel macchiato. Yes I may have splurged a little and gone the America route (cough cough Starbucks) but we walked this morning and that saved up a couple pounds anyways.

I sat at a table in Starbucks journaling and we spotted Christian from afar and spied on him for a solid 10 minutes before getting up and sitting with him.

Next up was a 3 hour plane ride to Malaga. Which was actually nice because us three say next to each other and I journaled and got a lot of sleep.

When we arrived in Malaga we had to catch a bus to the bus station. Then we had to buy a ticket for the next bus to Granada which wasn’t until 3 so we had an hour to kill at the station. At 3 we got on the bus for a 1.5 hour bus ride to Granada. Alicia and I watched Princess Diaries on my iPad which helped pass the time.
Once in Granada we had to catch a city bus line 10 to get into the center of town to walk home.

12 hours of traveling later and 3 modes of transportation later I was finally back at my host momma’s house and ready to fall asleep. Whew what an exhausting day and classes started the next morning.
I forgot how long traveling takes when you don’t have a car like I’m used to back in the States. Although I must say the bus system in Spain is very good!

The Ultimate Tourist

For the second half of my  vacation, I decided to go to London with Alicia to visit one of my good friends Jordan Langer. She was so sweet to offer her floor and navigating skills so we could have the best experience. She wanted me to see all that London had to offer so asked me to create a list of all that I wanted to do. Let’s just say my list was short and included all the typical tourist sites.

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2) Fish and Chips

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3) Big Ben Tower

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4) ride a double decker Double Decker

With Jordan we accomplished all four items in about 1 hour. To many I think Alicia and I may be a little two laid back of tourists but honestly I love it. I think it is what makes us such wonderful travel buddies. We hit the main stops to get our picture and then we get wonderfully lost in the city.

Jordan was a wonderful tour guide. She took us down scenic routes so we could see some other main attractions that were not on our list. Like Picadilly Circus, Buckingham Palace, The London Eye, Westminster Abbey, and much much more.

Picadilly Circus with my girl!

Picadilly Circus with my girl!

Jumping for Joy knowing the queen is here!

Jumping for Joy knowing the queen is here!

However, my highlight of the trip is when Jordan took us up to Camden to visit the markets. (side note: when she asked us if we wanted to go I proceeded to answer like the markets in What a girl wants). Throughout the whole trip I could not stop thinking of What A Girl Wants, possibly one of my favorite childhood movies. Camden market was probably my favorite because it was outside of the normal tourist attractions and showed me more of the culture in the city that Jordan calls home. While at Camden markets I learned that London is the only place that you can wear whatever you want without being judged. As told by my wise friend Jordan “

DSC_0066If you can’t find it in Camden you don’t need it nor will you ever find it” The other thing I love about Camden is that you can find any type of food from around the world. We got some great Chinese food, something that I was missing from Spain.

We then headed back to her flat to get ready for the night. We got all dressed up in our little black dresses because we had a hen party to go to. One of the girls in the London program had a ring that looked like an engagement ring, so she decided to throw herself her own fake bachelorette. We straightened out the story, she was engaged to Ben Archibald  and then hit up the London nightlife. I must say this was a very fun night and was like faking your birthday at a restaurant only on steroids.1380716_10200705579938639_1679778434_n

On Sunday, we did some more touring with Jordan, but first we had to grab a morning coffee from Starbucks. Trust me I love the cute cafes in Granada and the coffee machine at my school, however I’m not gonna lie I have missed Starbucks. In Granada and most of Europe they drink little espressos and I have missed my big grande coffees.

It has been fun having her as a tour guide because she is great at navigating in the city so we can take in all the sites instead of having our noses in the map.

In the afternoon she left us to go do some homework and it was the dynamic duo again exploring/ getting

lost in a new city. We went to a museum because they are free here and went to the famous Hamley’s toy store. We found PRIMEMARK, possibly one of the greatest and cheapest(relatively since we are talking pounds here) stores.

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That evening I got to meet up with another friend, Emma Grager, that I have known since elementary school. She is studying in London as well and it was so great to grab coffee with her and just catch up on each other’s life, relate to similar struggles and joys over here, and hear how we can pray for each other.  I loved hearing all the stereotypes about London that are true as well as telling her all the stereotypes in Spain are true as well.

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It’s hard to say goodbye to London as I had such a wonderful time, but I am ready to go back to Spain and sleep in my own bed.

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Well goodbye for now, I’m off to Hogwarts for the next few days!

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PS: Remember how I said that we all got piercings the last time we were together, well we went a little tamer this time and got matching “dainty friendship bracelets” at Camden market

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Hit list: UK

Traveling to the UK for this long weekend turned out to be the greatest blessing in the world. Although there were some bumps along the way, as comes with most traveling, this weekend was absolutely amazing. Traveling to the UK was on my short hit list for this semester for 2 reasons. First,I have always wanted to go to London. But second and most importantly, I had many friends that had or were currently studying in the UK and I wanted to see the place they called home. I have found over the years that although traveling to the tourist locations is fun, it is when you travel to places with significant meaning that are the most enjoyable and memorable.
So after a long week of traveling in Morocco, I got a good night sleep in Granada and yummy paella in my stomach and it was off to the airport for a crazy long weekend in the UK. Our first stop was Manchester as I was meeting a friend from college there before heading up to Bangor, wales together.
Unfortunately my dear friend got very sick on the plane (I’m thinking it was the water in Morocco) however this was our first experience with RyanAir and I must say they were so sweet and took care of her the whole flight. They even offered to call in an ambulance for her to take tot he hospital which she strictly said no as ambulances cost a boot and an arm. After a long night in the hostel we were able to meet up with my friend Kris. The timing worked out Perfectly as he was traveling to Scotland for his YWAM program and had a couple free days to go to Bangor with us.
My friend still wasn’t feeling good so when we arrived in Bangor we decided to take her to the hospital. She was able to see a doctor and get some medication and then head back to a friend’s flat tog rt some sleep. No one ever wants to go to a hospital especially while on vacation however looking back on it if there was a time to ever get sick it was the Perfect timing and place. First, health care in the UK is free even for foreigners (hence why they wanted to call her the ambulance in Manchester) except in London. Second, central college has a program in Bangor so we were able to contact a program director easily. Third, we had friends in Bangor so she could sleep in a real bed instead of a hostel. Plus most people can’t say they went to a foreign hospital and it was free. Yes the hospital wait wasn’t fun but I was just glad it wasn’t in London and she was feeling better.

Bangor is hardly ever on a tourists hit list as it is in the middle of nowhere and is quiet small, however for me it was because many of my friends called this place home for semester, including Kris. Walking through the uni, sleeping in the flats, and experiencing the pubs in Bangor really helped me to visually picture all the stories I had heard from my roommate, Mariah, over the last year. And let me just say I learned that cider is absolutely delicious.
On our second day in wales, we decided to go on a short hike to roman capital overlooking the city. Wales is absolutely beautiful and to my right I saw the isle of Anglesey, where Prince William and Kate use to live.
Bangor was fun but I was ready to hit up London and see my friend Jordan. I realized the last time us three were together: Jordan, Alicia and I were together we all got piercings so watch out London.