Sep 24, 2013


Hello again!

I am happy to report that these first two weeks in England alone have yielded some of the most amazing and memorable experiences of my life so far! So much has happened since I last posted that I am not even sure where to start, but the beginning seems as good as any. Just a forewarning, I have a lot to say, so be prepared to settle in and hear some stories.

The first week brought about a lot of "housekeeping." We had our convocation, and explored the city a bit and got to know one another and a lot happened. Right away, I want to give a heads up to anyone who is ever planning on visiting Worcester. The local music scene is amazing! A group of us went to The Marr's Bar on Wednesday night for their weekly jam session, because one of the girls who came over with us wanted to perform, and it was really fun. Just about everyone who played was really good and the owner seemed genuinely nice. It's not a club or a tourist attraction, so the atmosphere was really laid back and everyone truly seemed to enjoy themselves! Also, there wasn't much pressure to drink, which was good.

Not taken at Marr's Bar, but still a fun place! The Hand in Glove
I made a few really good friends among the people who came from Duluth with me, and even the ones I am not that close to yet, seem like awesome people. It was really good that I made friends too, because while we were out shopping at ASDA yet again, I didn't have enough cash on me to pay for my stuff and both of my debit cards were declined in the store, so someone had to lend me some money. I was so scared that I was going to end up penniless, because I couldn't access my bank accounts. It turns out however, that my cards worked in the ATM or cashpoint, as it is referred to in the U.K., and the only reason that they did not work in the store was because my cards don't have a chip and pin like British debit cards do, and the machine wasn't equipped to read them. But man did that experience get a rise out of me!

I have explored so much of Worcester already, and yet just about everyday I find somewhere new and amazing in the city! Last week, I climbed to the top of Worcester Cathedral through this itty bitty little passage way, and was rewarded with the most beautiful view of the area!

Already, this place has become home to me. Yes, I miss my family and friends, and these two weeks have been hard and I've gotten homesick more than once, but I think it is near impossible not to love this city! I mean, look at that view!

Week two, was filled with even more adventures. I went to a local flea market, and explored my new home even more intently. Then, I got my student rail card and the real exploration began.

Some of my new friends and I decided that a pre-group trip trip was in order, so we packed up and headed out on Thursday to visit a city called Hereford that is about an hour or so from Worcester by train. We explored in town for a bit and toured their beautiful cathedral and then hired a taxi to take us outside of the city to Hampton Court Castle, which was truly amazing. The gardens surrounding the castle were incredibly pretty, and I got to go through my first ever hedge maze! I'm not sure if it is just because it is the first castle that I have gotten the privilege to see in England, but I truly enjoyed my visit! It turns out that the castle was actually purchased and majorly restored in the early '90s  by a wealthy American, which we weren't expecting to learn and made the entire experience even more enjoyable, because we got to exhibit a bit of pride for our fellow Americans!



The next day, our whole group from UMD headed to the Lake District and stayed at the Priestly Center near Coniston for the weekend. Coniston, to no one's surprise, was again breathtakingly beautiful. Our lodge was right on the lake, and we had an amazing view of the rolling hills and mountains. I am not by definition an outdoors person, but even I was ready to spend the whole weekend wandering the area and taking in the fresh air, visiting with the local sheep, of which there were plenty. I still can hardly believe that I was blessed enough to take part in all of it.

The group trip gave me the opportunity to partake in a lot of firsts. For instance, on Friday I went canoeing for the first time and learned that despite what people may tell you paddling a canoe is a lot of hard work. However, it is a lot of fun. Then, on Saturday I hiked up a fricking mountain! A few of the instructors took a group of us up to the top of the Old Man of Coniston, which just happens to be the highest point in the immediate area, and It was insane! I don't know how I convinced myself that it was a good idea, because in all honesty I am not really fit enough to hike up mountains. But I did it. Barely. It was so foggy that I could hardly see, because my glasses kept misting over, and everything was slippery. By the time I made it to the top, I was completely exhausted physically, and by the time I made it to the bottom, I was completely exhausted emotionally, because I fell and rolled a bit right at the beginning of our trip down and then fell two more times! I seriously thought I might die, because I was sure the next time I fell I wouldn't be able to stop myself from going over a cliff or something. It was intense. But, I can now say I climbed a mountain, so there is that!

On Sunday, I was up to physically very little due to some stiff muscles and aching bruises, but I did walk into the village with Julia, who heads the program on the British end of things. And it was great to talk with her and get to know about her life and pick up a few souvenirs before we headed back to Worcester. All in all, I really enjoyed the trip and I would love to return to the Lake District sometime soon!

Now, we are back from our trip and classes are starting. I am a little worried about them all being three hours long, but I am excited to jump back in! Getting in a routine can only help to make me feel more at home here in Worcester, and I am looking forward to seeing what this University has in store for me!

Again, I want to thank you all for your support and encourage you to go out and explore when you have a chance, because even in places you think you know there is always more to discover!

There is so much more that I would love to share with you, from stories and embarrassing moments to pictures and so much more, but I think if you made it this far you have been reading long enough! If you have any questions though or there is something more you would like to know about my experiences and the places I have visited or see more pictures or whatever, just let me know! This blog is for you.

Love to you all!

P.S. I am skipping the "what I learned since my last post" section this time around due to length, but don't worry it will make it's return appearance!

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