Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Welcome to London

I have been overseas a little over a week! The time has flown by since I've been here. There is so much to do and see. People everywhere! The weather has been perfect, overcast but sunny with the perfect amount of chill. Perfect cardigan weather...which is always my preference. However, I am looking forward to my beach trip when I get home! 

Annie and Bo have a teeny tiny flat. I'd say 500 sq feet is a generous estimate. They created a nice makeshift bed for me at the foot of their bed. They graciously gave up their mattress pad, which I have doubled over for a pallet. I am using a mattress pad cover and a towel as a blanket. But let me just say, it is rather comfortable! I sleep better here than I do at home. 

On a typical weekday Bo goes to work. He has a great internship that he really seems to be enjoying. He is full of facts about the city from all the reading he does. Annie and I appreciate having someone who likes to do the research around as neither one of us keeps up with current events or the local interests. Annie and I patiently wait for Moneybags to get home and then we head off to explore. 

This past week sister and I took a trip to Ireland. I have been dying to go there and finally got my chance! We decided on the cheapest travel option, a 12 hour overnight coach ride. We thought that would be an easy 12 hour sleep in the bus...but we didn't think about Ireland's island status which would require us to cross by water. We were awoken in the middle of the night to go through customs and board a ferry. We sleepily arrived at 6 am in the Land of Leprechauns. We had the whole day to explore and we were starving. However, the Irish don't wake up that early. In fact, breakfast places don't even open until 8am. Guess they have too much fun the night before...
So, we decided to work on our Old Glory list while we waited. 
We stayed in a hostel while in Ireland. Believe me, I had my reservations, but it really wasn't bad. It was very affordable and clean. We were in an all female room with 7 other girls from all over Europe. We made conversation with some of our bed mates, one from Holland and one from Australia. It was really cool to hear their perspectives on things. They know so much about America, and we know so little about their countries. We all spoke English, but it was fun to find differences in our words. We discussed cultural differences and social norms in our countries. Very enlightening conversation, but it made Annie and I that more aware of how great America is. I'm not ready to come home yet, but I'm thankful for the freedoms we have in our country.

I longed to run along the coast!
Malahide castle
Our favorite experience in Ireland was going through the countryside to Northern Ireland for a castle tour. Such a welcomed change from the hustle and bustle of the cities. 

Back in London, we have enjoyed some relaxing time. Yesterday was Bo's birthday, so we went out for mexican food at a restaurant that had been recommended to us. It was delicious! Best meal we've had yet, I'd say. No matter where we go, we can't survive without the mexican food! We have seen some of the great sights of London, but we are saving most of our sightseeing for the arrival of our parents. They will be here tomorrow and they want to see everything. We are resting up now knowing it will be non-stop exploration once they arrive. They have planned a surprise day trip away for us on Saturday. That should be a blast! 
The last time I was in London was four years ago. I was studying abroad as a college student. It's amazing how different the experience is when you are traveling for leisure. A lot has changed in my life in those four years, however, the city remains very much the same. I went back to the place I lived last time and walked the streets reminiscing of those experiences. In many ways, that trip shaped my love of travel. It gave me the confidence to go off on my own and make memories for myself. So, fast forward four years, and I am doing just that. One day at a time, documenting new memories for the future to come.
Trafalgar Square

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