Beautiful London

I haven’t been blogging on this as religiously as I shoud have from the very beginning of the summer, especially when it comes to Europe.

There was just so much to do and see every day that I truly never had the time to sit down and write out everything I did. I mostly did videos and just capturing every moment whenever I could.

But to say it was life-changing would be an absolute understatement. I have never experienced so much in such a short amount of time.

There was so much rich history hidden in the nooks and crannies of the beautiful London. Three weeks there was no where near enough to explore every inch of the city and what it can bring. No matter how many walking tours or bus tours you do, it is not enough.

The transportation was also very different to the suburb living I am used to. I have obviously been to New York and Philadelphia but you could always drive there and if anything, take a train and subways to get around the city.

In London, driving is not as common (at least not for the Americans who only come to study abroad). So the major modes of transportation were buses, trains, and tubes. We never used a black cab when we were there (they charge by the minute which gets very expensive with city traffic). Oyster cards become your best friend. Especially when you are traveling every single day into the city and into the diferent zones in London.

The food wasn’t too hard to get accomodated to but I did miss a lot of my favorites from home. If you are a Sprite lover like me, just know that the Sprite that is carried in the UK is sugar-free and tastes like absolute crap. Because of this, I am now a Coke lover which I never thought would ever happen. Thats the soda that they had most readily available and sometimes was even cheaper than water!

Another thing, dining out is a lot different than America. Most of the time, you have to seat yourself and ask for menus. You also do not tip like we do in America since in Europe they are paid good hourly wages (that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t leave a bit of a tip for the good service). You also have to always ask for the check or if you need something, they don’t check on you every so often compared to America.

These were just a few things that stood out to me most when it came to comparison. I could just go on about all the amazing things in London. From the places to the beautiful souls I met throughout the whole experience.

Without the amazing people I met in my program, I don’t know how everything would have went. They were truly friendships that I know will always remain because a bond is made like no other when you travel to another country, knowing absolutely no one.

If you are still reading this and considering studying abroad or just overall exploring the UK yourself, I highly suggest it. It will absolutely change your life and the perspective that you once held.

Love,

Youtube links to all of the other videos I made:

 

My FAVORITE PLACE:

A Whole Other Level of Happiness

To think that only a few weeks ago I was just getting out of surgery to the present, where I am at the most beautiful city is completely insane.

So much has changed in just the little bit of time and I couldn’t be happier. I have only been in England for a total of 5 days and have experienced more than I ever thought possible.

I have met the loveliest of people. All of the people I have met from this program are so kind and loving. We all just have this want to explore and travel as much as we can.

Honestly, I was completely apprehensive about doing this program because I was going alone. But I am so happy with the choice I made. There’s this new level of independence and responsibility that is starting to grow on me. And I wouldn’t have been as open to getting close with other people.

I just scheduled a flight to Scotland with three other amazing girls! How crazy is that?

All of these beautiful people were brought into my life from this experience and have already changed it; I couldn’t be more grateful.

We have done so many things within London and I will go more into detail in the next post but for now, here’s the video I made from the past few days!

Love,

in London, England

The Hard Times

All I could feel was shooting pain in my abdomen and chest as I awoke from my drugged daze. It felt as though I couldn’t breathe and I started gasping for air.

I had oxygen pouring through the cannula in my nose yet it felt like every breath was not full, the pain resonating through my body leaving me in tears.

I looked around me to see someone I loved or knew. I was so scared. All I remember were seeing the doctors and nurses talking, telling me to relax and that they will give me more medication to help with the pain. Then darkness.

The next time I woke up, my mom and my grandmother were by my side and I had never been more appreciative than at that moment.

It’s when you go through the absolute hardest things in life, you realize who truly has your back; the people that are willing to be there no matter what difficulties you may be facing.

I was and am currently going through one of those very rough times. I am in excruciating pain because of my gallbladder surgery. Getting the surgery done has also affected my lungs which have led to an endless amount of coughing and crying in pain because of it.

Recovering from a surgery results in a plethora of time with yourself and your thoughts. It’s easy to feel isolated when watching through your phone, the lives of friends, family, and acquaintances living their life. And it’s easy to feel even more isolated when some of the people you love don’t reach out nor try to lend a comforting hand when you are going through those hard times.

Yes, I am strong and can deal with many of life’s obstacles with a smile. But that doesn’t mean that I am not suffering or in need of support time after time.

Living with a life-threatening illness, there’s this heartbreaking moment that forces its way into your life. The moment where you realize the people you thought would be there for you through absolutely everything, wind up letting you down.

In a way, it narrows down the people who truly care about you and the people who don’t.

It also makes you appreciate the amazing people in your life. Those that hold your hand through the ups and downs. Those who wipe away your tears and tell you that everything is going to be okay.  Those who run to get you your favorite food at Chic fil a. Those who send you mail filled with love and prayer. Those who come over just to lay down on the couch with you and watch movies.

Those are the special people and I am lucky enough to have them in my life.

It’s also through these hard times, that I have seen an outpouring of love. From people sending me messages to Facebook posts to getting me little gifts that make me smile. So many amazing people that have honestly made recovering easier and has given me the most positive outlook.

So this is for all of those people who have had my back and have supported me recently (and always), thank you so so much. I honestly don’t know what I would do without all of your love. I appreciate you more than you know and I will always remember how you were there for me.

Love,

Toronto, Canada (Day 3 and 4)

The journey continued into our two final days in Canada. The third day was spent exploring Toronto as much as we could. While the fourth day we squeezed in one more sight before heading back home.

On the third day, we went through the Fashion District, Kensington Market, and the Distillery District. The beginning of the day was spent in the Fashion District where we went in a bunch of different antique places and vintage clothing stores. To see all the different fabrics and designs dispersed through the clothing of different stores was fascinating. We were always welcomed with big smiles and questions as to where we were from.

From there we went to the Grafitti Wall. It was below zero but we were able to get a few pictures and tried to admire the artwork as much as we could. We also spent some of our time at one of the biggest malls I had ever been to, the CF Toronto Eaton Centre.

Our next stop was the Distillery District that had a plethora of shops and art. We had stopped in a building filled with art that had four floors. There were artists that had their doors open so people could come and admire their work. We talked to a few artists who explained their pieces to us.

The final night came to an end in a Mexican radio bar with Modelos, quesadillas, and some churros. We packed the car ready to leave for the next day. Upset that we couldn’t spend more time in a place where we made so many memories and laughs.

We woke up at 7 am prepared for the long drive but of course, we had to go to one last place to adventure; Niagara Falls.

Let me just tell you, if you have not been here before, it is a must that you go some point in your life. It was the most breathtaking view I have ever seen in my entire life. Driving up the road to see the very edges of the falls and the blue hues that resonated, was astounding

It was so beautiful.

We walked our way through the path, eager to see Niagara Falls in its entirety. All you could hear was the crashing of the water. You felt complete and utter peace. The water was an unexpected teal blue with darker hues interwoven within it. An eerie mist arose from the falls and made it even more breathtaking.

After seeing that, we picked up a few things from the souvenir shop and continued our eight-hour drive.

Canada, thank you for all of the amazing moments you gave me. You were the first place I traveled to without any supervision. You were the place that truly threw me into needing to travel as much as I can.

Don’t worry, I am coming back. Whether it’s this summer or next year, I can’t wait to make even more amazing memories with you.

Love,

Toronto, Canada (Day 1 and 2)

I have never done so much nor had so much fun in just the bit of time that I have spent at a place like I have here.

My cousin, her two college besties and I, road tripped from New Jersey to Canada with only knowing where we were staying.

Not a day was planned out. We obviously made a list of things we had to see and do but other then that, it was all up in the air and I absolutely loved it.

The trip to Toronto, Canada started at 4 am and ended around 12 pm. I was only living on three hours of sleep so I could barely keep my eyes open but we made it (thank god).

It was actually kind of peaceful, driving. Everyone else was passed out while I just played my jams cruising down the winding roads (which I didn’t realize how dangerous they could be even if you tried to stay at the speed limit).

The car ride was spent either sleeping, stopping at Dunkin, getting gas, gossiping, jamming out, or searching up what to expect when we got to the border.

Right when we got to Canada, we screamed our heads off because we couldn’t believe that we actually did it.

Us, 19/20 year olds, going to another country all by ourselves. It was a pretty big deal to us at least.

After driving further into Canada, we went to a restaurant around our Air B and B called Loose Moose. They had the best burgers ever and it was super artsy.

After that we got to our Air B and B and slept for a few hours since we were all pretty exhausted.

We woke up, made more food, and went out to the town. We looked up different bars we could go to and went for it.

The first bar we went to wasn’t really for the younger crowd but we still hung around and had a good time.

The next bar was called the Underground. It was covered in different colored lights and bras were strung across the ceiling like decorations. Music blasted from the speakers and from the moment we stepped into the place, we couldn’t stop dancing.

We had an amazing time meeting very different kinds of people. The night ended with a visit to Tim Hortons (which is kind of like a Dunkin Donuts mixed with a Wawa). As we tripped and stumbled our way back home, we couldn’t stop laughing and talking about everything that happened earlier in the night.

I didn’t know Kristina’s college friends all that much but we definitely got to grow closer from all the memories we made. They are the sweetest, most kindest people.

That was just all the first day and the second day would be even better.

We spent the second day going to the CN tower, it was so beautiful to see the city and everything that surrounded it. We also went to Ripleys aquarium that had a 360 view of the shark tank which was pretty awesome.

For dinner, we went to a restaurant that Drake, the rapper, had been involved with (he named it). It was so delicious and a bit more expensive than anything else we ate in Canada but definitely worth it all.

Our day turned into a night spent at a Harry Potter themed bar called, The Lockhart. If you love Harry Potter (even just a little bit), you HAVE to go here. From drinks to the posters and art that covered the walls, it made you feel like you were truly in Harry Potter.

We only have two days left here but I plan to spend all of them the right way. I can’t wait for more memories to be made. I feel so lucky to be able to even experience this and do it with amazing people who truly bring out the best in me.

Love,

Here is the video I finally got done:

I Want To Travel The World

If there’s one thing that I want to do in life, its to travel the world.

I want to experience every culture, see every country, and be in the shoe’s of others lives.

I want my perspective to change and grow.

I want to be amazed at all the beauty that lies within the roots of humanity.

To see how different we are, yet how similar.

To meet people who influence my mind in ways I didn’t even know were possible.

I want my breath to catch at the sight of something so magnificent.

I just want to live life so fully that I look back later in life and say, “God damn, was I lucky”.

I want an endless amount of memories from my travels, no matter how far or close they may be.

I am ready to take on this world and travel across it, as much as I can.

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