Several weeks have passed since I last posted an update, primarily because it can be hard to find a moment of quiet respite when so much is happening here in London every single day. Since the last time I wrote, I visited Bath and donned petticoats for a tour of the Jane Austen Centre, I bit the bullet and paid £130 to see half of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (it was totally worth every penny), I explored a flower market and glimpsed gorgeous graffiti in Shoreditch, and last but not least, I spent a long weekend in Normandy, France. It has been a while since I’ve really stopped to take a breath.
Another reason behind my blogging neglect is that I was offered a unique opportunity to write a short piece for my school’s International Programs monthly newsletter.
I was ecstatic to have the chance to write on a new platform for Harding students and alumni, so most of my energy and creative juices have been allocated to making that piece the best it could be. (I’ll include a link on social media once the newsletter is published!)
In the article, I expressed my sentiments on staying engaged in singular moments of my overall experience. This semester I am perfecting the art of being fully present: dwelling on each opportunity in the course of my journey as it comes. With so many constant stimuli seemingly all day every day, it’s easy to feel lost in the current of changing impressions. But I am discovering that meditating on each moment as it passes allows me to interact with this new world with an unprecedented and untethered vivacity.
These are a few of my very favorite moments from my recent adventures in London:
A Day Trip to Bath
After touring an ancient Roman bath house that has been standing for approximately 2000 years, I grabbed a few friends and dashed across town to the Jane Austen Centre. The centre is located inside a building where Austen lived for several months during one of her many stays in Bath. Since Austen’s novels are near and dear to my heart, I geeked out when I realized my feet were traveling up the same flight of stairs as one of my literary heroes. The best part of the experience was the dressing room, where guests could try on Regency era clothing and snap photos with a wax model on Jane herself. I displayed zero hesitation in grabbing a dress, a shawl, and bonnet and posing for pics.
A Magical Evening at Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
There are people who enjoy Harry Potter, and then there are people who eat, live, and breathe Harry Potter. After forking over the equivalent of $160 to see only half of J.K. Rowling’s new theatre production, I think it’s safe to say I fall into the second category (as if there was any real doubt to begin with). I’ve been budgeting really carefully throughout this semester so far, and parting with so much money all at once was difficult to stomach at first. But after watching wizards shoot fire at each other out of their wands, produce patronuses, travel through space and time, and bow over and over again for their endless standing ovation, I didn’t feel one drop of regret in my decision to splurge. Experiencing some of my favorite (and least favorite) characters only a few feet away from me in the very same room was truly surreal.
The special effects alone renewed my belief in magic, and the talented cast brought the wizarding world to life in an unforgettable way.
Weekend Wandering at Portobello Road and Shoreditch
My newfound go-to activity on the weekends in London is exploring the wide plethora of markets across the city. They boast the coolest souvenirs at some of the lowest prices, and the food is fantastic. Potobello Road Market is my personal favorite so far, probably because I managed to haggle my way into a £12 blanket scarf that is quickly becoming my most-used accessory as the weather turns colder. Another fun spot is the flower market in Shoreditch (which is essentially the hipster capitol of London). Imagine every type of plant you can possibly think of sandwhiched between cute coffee shops and pubs, swarming with Brits carrying bushels of bright blooms.
Shoreditch is also home to lots of fascinating street art, ranging from inscrutable graffiti tags to detailed murals. I’m planning on making frequent return trips to this area in the future.
I promise to post more frequently, and next time I plan to share some of my favorite memories from our weekend in France!