I can’t believe it’s here – the last week of classes. I feel like I just got to London, and now we’re all packing up and getting ready to leave. This truly was the best semester of college I have ever had, and I am infinitely grateful that I was able to have this opportunity.
Last Monday, after our trip to Barcelona, my roommates and I decided to go to a club called Tonteria. It was a small, Mexican-themed venue with amazing music. We had trouble finding our promoter at first, so we were on our own for the first part of the evening. We got some margaritas, and took in the atmosphere. The employees were all wearing Day of the Dead themed clothing and there was even a guy with a giant skull dancing around! We finally found our promoter, who got us a table right at the center of the club. At about 1:00 AM, two girls stood on a stage and did an amazing fire show, where they performed various tricks with fire torches. We had an awesome night, and left really happy that we got to experience another famous London nightclub.
On Wednesday, our roommate Melanie was celebrating her 21st birthday. We went out for our first ever roommate dinner with all nine of us to this restaurant at the Heron Tower called The Drift. It was perfect for Mel, as it had a beachy theme! Throughout our experience abroad, I’ve been asking my roommates to tell me about the best, worst, and okay parts of their day. At first, I was met with a little bit of resistance, as they found it to be a tedious task to think about everything they had done that day. But now, it’s become a habit for all of us to do, and we’ve even started writing some of them down! At our roommate dinner, I asked everyone to think about their best, worst, and okay parts about their entire abroad experience. It was an awesome way to reflect on the past few months we’ve all spent together, and learn more about each other.
After our dinner, we went to a club called Libertine to celebrate Mel’s birthday. This is another club that not all of us had been to, so it was nice to check off another place from our list.
We’ve all been looking forward to Thursday for a while, as we had reservations to tour the Harry Potter Studios. I’m a huge fan of the movies, and have always been amazed at the cinematic skill that it took to produce the films. The studio itself was tremendous, with the entire tour lasting over three hours. We started the tour by watching a short behind the scenes movie about the production of the Harry Potter films, narrated by the story’s three protagonists. We were then led into the iconic Grand Hall where dozens of scenes were filmed, such as the sorting hat ceremony. I was surprised at how small it was in comparison to how it is portrayed in the movies, while it was still a large hall, the movie made it seem like a massive gathering area. The tour also took us through several different sets; where we saw all of the original objects that were used in the movies as well as costumes, design sketches, and some of the animatronic elements for the magical creatures.
My favorite part of the entire tour was seeing the model of Hogwarts. It was a massive replica of the entire castle that was used to shoot some of the aerial shots in the movies. The massive room had lighting that changed to reflect the different times of the day, and guests were able to walk around the entire castle to get a complete panoramic view of it. The gift shop at the end of the tour completely blew us away. Every possible Harry Potter trinket was there, from the Marauder’s Map to the wands of every single character in the series – it was all there. I bought a couple souvenirs for some of my friends back home, and a postcard for my journal.
That night, our promoter friend Amy invited us to another dinner at Mason House. She’s moving to Chicago this week to shoot a movie, so this was our last chance to see her. We had a lot of fun at the dinner, and got a chance to see one of London’s newest up and coming artists as a part of their Mason Unplugged series, and while we didn't exactly recognize any of the songs he was singing, it was still cool to see a live performance.
Our Friday and Saturday were unfortunately painfully uneventful as we spent all day studying for finals. Kate Middleton gave birth to her daughter, Charlotte, and all of our friends were going crazy waiting outside of the hospital for hours in hopes of catching a glimpse of the royals. We weren’t too keen on going to that madness, but instantly regretted it after one of our friends told us that the hospital where Kate gave birth was actually right down the street from us.
Sunday was our last big hoorah of abroad. A large portion of the people in our abroad program bought tickets to go to this daytime club called Church. The venue hosts a big themed party once a month on Sunday afternoons, hence its ironic name. This month’s theme was “Circus Freak Show,” so my roommates and I all bought matching mime outfits. We planned on having a few people over before we all went to Church, and we were faced with the classic scenario of inviting ten people and having forty show up the day of the event. Although it was overwhelming to have so many people in our apartment at once, it was a really fun day, especially since we rarely get together with so many people from our program.
Luckily, Monday was a bank holiday for us, so we had a nice buffer day between our fun Sunday and exams. We spent the entire day studying and catching up on work. It also hit us all that we officially have three days left until abroad is officially over. I’m going to be extremely pressed for time as during these three days, I have to study for and take four exams, pack up my apartment, and finish planning my trip to London with my mom next week. While it’s going to be hectic, and not exactly the ideal way to finish abroad, I never want this week to end. I’ve grown so close with my friends this semester; we’ve all become a small family. It’s going to hard to be apart from them after spending every waking moment together for the past four months.
After my exams this week, I will be traveling to Geneva to meet up with my mom and our family friend, Ana. The three of us are taking a road trip to Milan to see the Expo Milano, an annual universal exposition that displays beautiful art and architecture in the theme of feeding the planet. Afterwards, my mom and I will travel back to London and spend a week here before I finally go back to the States next Saturday. If I have time to blog between now and before I leave, I’ll write a short reflection about abroad and my last week here. If not, I’ll include it all in my recap of my trip with my mom.