Chronicles of Londinium

Now it’s time to say farewell Londontown!!

I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since we set off on our year abroad in London. It’s been an incredible journey and one that has and will continue to change my life!

It’s hard to describe how I feel about starting the journey home, but if I HAD to use one word, it would be bittersweet. I’m sad to be leaving the life and friends we’ve made here, but there’s no place like home!

Thank you for coming along on this journey with us. It’s been so wonderful sharing with you and we will be forever grateful for your support.

I’m not sure what the future holds for us in Boston, but I’m hopeful with a little faith, trust, and pixie dust that we will find our way!!

Lots of love and see you on the other side!
–Maggie

 

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It’s our final week in London

Well folks, this is it! Our last full weekend + week in Londontown! I can’t believe it’s happening, but we have a really fun week planned so it’s hard to be sad.

  • Friday – BBQ with Natalie and Ed and Big Night Out Club Crawl (What an epic first and last club night in London, thank you!!)
  • Saturday – BBQ with Maryann, Ged, and Wilson (Thanks for a wonderful night!!)
  • Sunday – Notting Hill Carnival and Todrick Hall “Twerk Du Soleil” (No words to describe today!!)
  • Monday – The Royal Day Out and dinner with Matt & Megan
  • Tuesday – Nadia’s Turn In Day for Dissertation and Celebration!!
  • Wednesday – Lunch with Tina, Pi Phi handover with Jill, and maybe a West End Show?!
  • Thursday & Friday – finishing selling the rest of the items in our flat, and finish packing
  • Saturday – Say farewell to London!!
  • Sunday – set sail for America!!!

It’s a busy week, but we’re very excited to see what it holds!

Stay tuned,
Mags

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In case you’ve been keeping up with our bucket list, here’s an update:

Experiences:
Eat ice cream at the interval of a Broadway Show
Take a pic at Abbey Road
See the Changing of the Guard
Take a spin on The London Eye
Attend London Pride
See the execution site at Tower Hill
Take a pic at Platform 9¾
Have a picnic at Regent’s Park
Visit Twining’s Tea Shop
Go for a run in Hyde Park

See one member of the Royal Family – still keeping my fingers crossed!!

Day/Overnight Trips:
Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham
Kew Palace/Gardens
Hampton Court

Museums/Tours:
Royal Observatory
Museum of London
Tower Bridge Experience

The Royal Day Out: Buckingham Palace exhibit, Royal Mews (for Dawn!), Queen’s Gallery

London Eats:
Monmouth Coffee Company
The Breakfast Club

All in a day’s work

As I’ve mentioned before, Nadia and I are very lucky with the job we have in London in that it give us the ability to see and do things we normally could not or be able to afford. This past summer, we have seen and done many things with the student’s onsite, but today I want to share two of my favourite things. First up – our ride on The London Eye!

London Eye

Since opening in March 2000, The London Eye has become an iconic landmark and a symbol of modern Britain. A breathtaking feat of design and engineering, passengers in the London Eye’s capsules can see in all directions. The Eye is the vision of David Marks and Julia Barfield, a husband and wife architect team and was used as a metaphor for the end of the 20th century, and time turning into the new millennium.

 

Many of you might know that Nadia is TERRIFIED of heights so getting her to commit to coming along was an event in itself. Once we arrived at Westminster Pier and jumped in the queue, we spent most of that time re-convincing Nadia how safe it was, that it’s only 30 minutes, and that there is a sit inside for her to sit on the entire time. In my opinion, I don’t feel that the ride itself is as scary as trying to get into the capsule on the ground.

 

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The Eye is a continuous ride, meaning it DOES NOT stop and like many rides at Disney World, you have to be ready to jump on. Here’s a video of what I’m talking about:

 

 

After the initial fear of getting on safely, Nadia found a seat and we were off!! It was a cloudy day in London and the views took your breath away. Once we arrived at the top, Nadia felt safe enough that she started moving around and we were able to capture this picture of us at the top!

Nadia & Maggie

 

I know it was a lot to ask of Nadia, given her fear but it was an amazing experience for both of us and I’m so glad we were able to do it!

 

The second item I wanted to share was our Afternoon Tea at Fortnum & Mason’s in the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon. This was a special occasion because it was Nadia’s first Afternoon Tea and what a way to do it in style! F&M is a London establishment through and through and has been serving tea for over 300 years. The ritual of afternoon tea owes its origins to Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford. In the early 1800s she lived during a time when it was common to eat only two main meals a day, with breakfast scheduled early in the morning and dinner occuring late in the evening. Weakened and irritated by hunger pangs, she decided to schedule time to take tea and snack each afternoon. This private ceremony was firstly done furtively in her bedroom, but over time well-heeled acquaintances joined her and the Afternoon Tea began!

 

First, we each picked a tea from a HUGE list of teas, Nadia chose the Queen Anne blend, while I chose The Wedding Breakfast Blend to commemorate the marriage of Will and Kate.

 

 

After your tea is poured and enjoyed the three-tired tray of goodies is brought out! Today our treats included (from bottom to top) tea sandwiches including egg and cress, cucumber, salmon, and ham and cheese; plain and apricot scones; and many yummy cakes to share!

 

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It was such an enjoyable experience and feel so lucky we were able to do it together. I’m hoping once we return to the States we will be able to enjoy Afternoon Tea for a special treat!

 

These two experiences were just one of many that were made possible because of the path our careers took this year. It has been an incredible, rewarding, and challenging experience that will live with us for many years to come.

 

2 weeks to go!!

I’m writing this post on the journey home from our #lastenglandtrip so my apologies for not using my usual flair!

We just spent a week traveling to Manchester, Liverpool, and Birmingham!! We had a great week and ended it by seeing our good friends Dave & Tracy one last time before heading back to the States in two weeks!! Two weeks?? Can you believe it?! Two weeks from today we’ll being saying farewell to our year in London and staring our two week journey to Boston. But before we go, we have a few more items to check off our bucket list!! Here’s an update on where we stand:

Experiences:
Eat ice cream at the interval of a Broadway Show
See one member of the Royal Family
Take a pic at Abbey Road
See the Changing of the Guard
Take a spin on The London Eye
Attend London Pride
See the execution site at Tower Hill
Take a pic at Platform 9¾
Have a picnic at Regent’s Park
Visit Twining’s Tea Shop
Go for a run in Hyde Park

Day/Overnight Trips:
Brighton
Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham
Kew Palace/Gardens
Hampton Court

Museums/Tours:
Royal Observatory
Museum of London
Tower Bridge Experience

National History Museum
Wedding Dress Exhibit at the V&A Museum
The Royal Day Out: Buckingham Palace exhibit, Royal Mews (for Dawn!), Queen’s Gallery

London Eats:
Eat lunch at the Duke of York Square Saturday market
Monmouth Coffee Company
The Breakfast Club

Cheers to our last two weeks!!!

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30 days to go!

Writing this update feels odd. It’s exciting and sad, but I feel like our time in London is coming to a natural close. Our friends have started moving back, we’ve been checking off our bucket list, we’ve started the apartment purge, and we’ve started training the new director at work. But some days I feel sad to be leaving because our life here has been great! The city is amazing, there are SO MANY THINGS TO DO, and so many different people!! But it’s time. It’s time to close this adventure and start our lives back in Boston. With that being said…..here’s where we are on the bucket…….

 

Experiences:

Eat ice cream at the interval of a Broadway Show

See one member of the Royal Family

Take a pic at Abbey Road

See the Changing of the Guard

Take a spin on The London Eye

Attend London Pride

See the execution site at Tower Hill

Take a pic at Platform 9¾

Have a picnic at Regent’s Park

Visit Twining’s Tea Shop

Go for a run in Hyde Park

 

Day/Overnight Trips:

Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham

Brighton

Kew Palace/Gardens

Hampton Court

 

Museums/Tours:

Royal Observatory

Museum of London

Tower Bridge Experience

National History Museum

Wedding Dress Exhibit at the V&A Museum

Sherlock Holmes Museum & Pub

The Royal Day Out: Buckingham Palace exhibit, Royal Mews (for Dawn!), Queen’s Gallery

 

London Eats:

Eat lunch at the Duke of York Square Saturday market

Homeslice

Monmouth Coffee Company

The Breakfast Club

 

We are getting there and this last month will go by faster than we can keep up!!

 

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The start of our Summer in London

During our last 100 days in London, we will do 7 airport arrivals, 7 orientations, 7 London city tours, many excursions, and 7 farewell dinners for our students in our summer programs. It’s really chaotic but it’s always exciting and challenging. One of the best parts about our job is being able to experience London through the eyes of someone else and that’s exactly what our students do. Every Sunday we will be doing our weekly cultural outing visiting some new and even old things in london. The first of the summer brought us to Hype Park on a beautiful London day. We packed a picnic in our new USA inspired gear and set off! It was a special day because our friend Chris was in town for business and we were going to give him a tour after our picnic. 

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After our picnic we showed Chris around the most iconic sites in London – Big Ben, London Eye, House of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, and Buckingham Palace. After touring, we traveled to our favorite London Pub – The Mayflowers!

It was so nice to see Chris on our side of the Pond! It was a lovely afternoon and a great start to our Summer in London!

Off to the theatre we go

During our time in London we have not really taken advantage of seeing the theatre side of London, but over the course of two weeks in May, we saw two plays and one musical!

 

First up, we traveled to the world famous Globe Theatre for the tragedy Titus Andronicus. Titus is thought to be Shakespeare’s first tragedy and is set during the latter days of the Roman Empire. The  fictional story tell us of Titus, a general in the Roman army, who is engaged in a cycle of revenge with Tamora, Queen of the Goths. It is Shakespeare’s bloodiest and most violent work and it did not disappoint. At every performance they are 700 £5 standing tickets in the yard, and they truly offer the best views of the stage. Due to the graphic nature of the play and many people getting killed in very bloody ways, we opted to stand back from the stage! There were no pics inside, but the one below gives a good view of what the seating is like.

 

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It was an excellent play and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of standing in the yard!

 

 

 

A few days later, we traveled to the Noël Coward Theatre to see Imelda Staunton star in Good People. Set in South Boston, sharp-tongued single mother Margie (Staunton) will do anything it takes to pay her bill after losing yet another job. So when she hears that an old boyfriend who has made good is in town, she decides to seek him out. Before the show started we were discussing that we hoped to understand the English accents from the actors. It was such a surprise to hear Staunton come out guns blazing with her most amazing South Boston accent!! It was such a treat to hear all about Boston and we were one of few that laughed at EVERY JOKE THEY MADE!! It was such a magical evening and so glad we jumped on the discount tickets from Time Out London!

 

 

Last but not least, we watched our second musical in London, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The dark tale of young Charlie Bucket and the mysterious confectioner Willy Wonka was on the top of Nadia’s list! Our friend Jordan purchased the tickets for us at the TKTS booth (Thanks Jordan!!) that morning, and when we arrived at the theatre we were told we were upgraded! We settled into our new seats and watched the story of Charlie winning his golden ticket unfold. Even though it wasn’t the tale we had seen in the movies, and only included one original song, “Pure Imagination,” it was still an amazing performance and Nadia loved every minute of it! The second best part was crossing an item off our London bucket list – eating ice cream during a West End show intermission! Thanks again to Jordan for an amazing evening!!

 

 

We hope this is the start to seeing a few more shows before we leave, but it seems like time is moving so fast! Either way I’ll keep you updated!

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