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“I already feel like I’m going to be so sad when I leave here”

How has it not even been a week yet since I’ve been in London? It feels like I’ve lived a lifetime in these past 5 days but still have so much left to do.

The first few days were harder due to homesickness/not knowing how to shop in Sainsbury’s (thereby causing some serious hunger withdrawals)/not falling asleep at the proper time, but now I’m beginning to feel acclimated here as a “South Londoner.”

Wow so much to recap (I’m trying to do weekly posts, so get ready for some nice little refreshers of a week in the life a girl who can’t see the London Eye from her window but does have a sweet nook in which to sit and formulate her prose).

SO: Friday we went to the British Museum and had the most wonderful tour guide on the planet (I want to take her everywhere) named Ruth Polling. She made every artifact sound like it had an engrossing narrative and made all the sites we saw after her introductions seem all the more meaningful (than they already are, of course). We saw the Rosetta Stone–3 different languages, pretty dope–and had a FABULOUS afternoon tea.

I could eat scones every day. Clotted cream/jam optional. I love them, and they bring me joy in my tummy. Honestly don’t even care what exactly I’m putting in my body this semester as long as it’s delicious since I walk a week’s worth of my usual strolling ventures in 1 day here!

The next day our lovely pro tour guide extraordinaire Ruth took us on a bus tour around the city where we drove through/made quick stops at


Photo courtesy of photography aficionado Nicole Pippert

all the major sights like Buckingham Palace, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and Piccadilly Circus (which basically means busy intersection, learning new things and I haven’t even mentioned class yet!). Post-tour, my darlings Claudia and Ellie were cool enough to help me fulfill my desire to return to Hyde Park after 5 years and WRITE IN MY JOURNAL. I WROTE IN MY JOURNAL. IN HYDE PARK. Bliss. Until it started raining. But in a way, it couldn’t have been more London, or more perfect.


So many of my friends possess photography skills, such a boon

Claudia and I later ventured to feast on our very first England fish & chips at “The Mayfair Chippy.” Very cute place with newspapers lining the bathroom walls.

We also had some rosé to class it up. We made a toast to making more memories like that very one 😉 All of us also tried a bar that night, but considering it was a Friday, the amount of people there was pretty sparse. It’s all good though, because we totally danced the place up to songs like our fave “I Took a Pill in Ibiza.”

Sunday was our day for b

ooking our first trip to DUBLIN woo!!!!!! So happy everyone was down to participate in the Game of Thrones tour with me. I am dying I will be seeing Winterfell right before my eyes. We then ventured over to Neal’s Yard (hi there, fanciful wonderland) for some Homeslice Pizza (shout-out to Gabby for the excellent recommendation). We split the “Margherita,””Salami, Rocket (aka arugula), & Parmesan,” “Mushroom, Ricotta, Pumpkin Seed, & Chill,” and “Chorizo, Corn, & Coriander” on two giant 20-inch pizzas that were magnificent (obviously we ate every last piece between the 6 of us). We then wandered along to Udderlicious (yes, you read that right), where I got some yummmm Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt ice cream. So fun finding fun shops to pop into!


100% will be back (and it’s on the way back from class!)

Monday we took the train to Brighton (pro tip: the train also takes you to Gatwick airport, so will probably hop on this one when we go to Dublin!)

So, for reference, I’d heard of Brighton before and heard it was a beautiful seaside town in England near London, but the most prominent memory I have hearing of the fair beach haven was from watching Angus, Thongs, and Perfect Snogging where Robbie’s band The Stiff Dylans have a gig in Brighton, and Robbie refers to Eastbourne as “the new Brighton.” I watched that movie every year before the first day of school for approximately 3 years and probably gave me some unrealistic expectations about British schooling but……”Ultraviolet” is the greatest pump-up song, and I invite you to deny me.


We found fun alleyways to walk down and browse (sort of like Venice and a more upscale version of Santa Monica) and I got awesome avocado toast


Would highly suggest going to Bill’s to fulfill your brunch cravings

(who says you can’t eat in England?) We stopped by the Royal Pavilion and did some major dog-spotting (thanks to Taryn). The Brighton Pier was great, and I went on this super high roller coaster-ish ride that makes you flip upside down but had Kristy and me sitting ever so high above the pier simply looking at the vast seafoam green waters below us. It was beautiful, and I’m so glad my MO is to say “yes” while I’m here in Europe. When else would I be able to go on “The Booster?!”

I should also mention that yes, even though it was a Monday, we had NO CLASS because we only have class THREE DAYS A WEEK. WHAT. Tuesday-Thursday. Yay ACCENT and USC. So last night, our crew also checked out Mahiki’s (despite my struggles on finding something London club-appropriate, but no worries, I succeeded). Again, very cool vibe, but think it will be better once London universities’ terms begin session.


People on the Tube love us

Still, can’t believe I went to a club on a Monday night and went to class today (with a pre-packed lunch!) Hey parents, look at me saving money!!!

We had Comparative Media: UK and the US with Margaret Coffey and guess what! My homework is to CONSUME MEDIA. See mom, you DO learn something from watching TV (at least that’s in the BBC’s mission statement). Very psyched to get my Great British Bake-Off on.

Today after class we also checked out the British Library (as recommended by the woman who I wish to one day become, Ruth Polling), and of course, it was as

glorious as she said it would be. We went to the Treasures Gallery and saw Jane Austen’s writing desk, an early edition of Persuasion, The Magna Carta, a letter from Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII to Cardinal Wolsey, Beowulf, and John Lennon’s handwritten lyrics of “A Hard Day’s Night” on the back of a card for his son. I also listened to a lovely recording of an extract from Jane Eyre that made me so happy that I had to text Mrs. Rizzolo to tell her about it!

Bonus: it was right next to King’s Cross, as in Platform 9 3/4 King’s Cross. Obviously will be back (as this will probably become my new study spot anyway!)

I’m already loving being a “South Londoner,” and as I told my friends while sitting at Mahiki’s, I already feel like I’m going to be so sad when I leave here. And I think that’s a good sign, isn’t it?

Also, I would be remiss not to mention the wonders of Primark (H&M meets Forever 21 meets Bed, Bath, and Beyond meets Target). It’s AWESOME and my go-to for home goods and cute pj’s.

We’re going to Borough Market tomorrow afternoon and to see A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Shakespeare’s Globe at night. So psyched! I honestly feel like every day here is like a full life in itself, and I’m so grateful to be partaking in this experience (even though it does get hot at night at times….)

Cheers, Tara xx

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