You're great, D.C., but London's calling.

You're great, D.C., but London's calling.

The two week seminar in Washington D.C. was great bonding time for the Australian and London Program students. The best part of the seminar in my opinion was that they had us take pictures at various places in D.C. My only criticism is that some of the monuments were a bit random and out of the way. Otherwise it was a great experience!

We had to read a book by Bill Bryson about his travels in England but due to his complaining and negativity I did not enjoy it. I like dry humor, but not when Bill Bryson's doing it. We had a pretty heated discussion in class about if the book was any good. Bill Bryson became a bit of an inside joke after that. Haha.

Bill Bryson would hate me for saying this (inside joke again) but I LOVE England. I also LOVE my internship!! CAPA and the Washington Center did such a great job placing me!! My co-workers are great and I love that I work somewhere that I can use the skills I’ve learned as a designer. Metropolis Group is a great place and I’m honored to be able to help out as an intern!

I know I’m skipping around in this blog entry but so much has happened! The first two days in London are kind of foggy due to lack of sleep and jet lag, but in a nutshell it was mostly orientation lectures and being amazed at my awesome view of The Gerkin and St. Paul’s Cathedral right outside of my window. Sunday and Monday were my quick introduction days to The Tube. It reminds me a lot of the Metro in D.C. only The Tube is actually slower. I was expecting it to be quiet on the Tube as well, but it was so crowded and loud. I mainly heard foreign languages on the tube the first couple of rides. Eventually, the earlier I would wake up and ride The Tube, the quieter and less crowded it was. I prefer it quiet and less crowded honestly, more of a reason to wake up earlier!

Monday I found out what day my interview was for my internship. The next day was my interview at 10:00 so I knew I would have to find where the location was that day so I didn’t get lost. This was the beginning of my individual adventures alone trying to navigate London. My friends and I had limited time to get to our internship spots so we split up so all of us could see our places in the daylight. It was a holiday in England so, of course, The Tube was under construction and I had to figure out the bus system as well as The Tube, on my third day there. Needless to say, it was an experience. I made it to my workplace but it was getting very dark and rainy so I wanted to get back to Nido Spitalfields ASAP. I took a taxi because I was a little frustrated that I had no one to come with me and I didn’t know the area. I’m glad I went by myself though, otherwise I wouldn’t have had a great conversation with the taxi driver and I learned a lot of helpful things, for example, the importance of Lane, Road, and Street. It really matters when in London because there’s so many roads with the same name. If you tell a taxi driver you need to go to Abbey Lane but you mean Abbey Road, for example, he will take you to exactly where you said, not what you meant. I don’t think the US operates the same way with the literalness of the street endings but I think it would make more sense if we actually did.

Wednesday was my interview and first day of work. My interview was a quick introduction of myself and a tour of Metropolis Studio which is an amazing place. Adele, Amy Winehouse and other big names in the music industry have recorded there which is really cool. I love music so of course I love Metropolis! I met the Digital Media Design staff and they are such great people! I was given a design project to work on related to The Beatles so I was in heaven. I had to leave for classes at CAPA and it was the first day of our class on Britain, so that was nice. We were told that we had a field trip to The Museum of London the next day. I got lost again by myself. I wondered what would happen if I took the Tube further than normal on my way home from work and I found out. I made it out of zone 1 & 2 which was covered on my Oyster Card and if I wanted to get back without paying extra I would have to use the bus system, which I’m still figuring out. So I got on the first bus I saw that I thought was going in the right direction and acted like I knew where I was going. I didn’t. I asked the lady beside me where I was and she told me the best stop to get off at to catch The Tube. I tried to use my Oyster Card for good measure in the station, but of course, it didn’t work. So I asked the nice Tube workers what bus I had to take to get where I needed to go. They told me I needed to take a couple of buses to get to Liverpool Street from wherever I was (Abbey Lane was apparently a stop on the first bus I was on) So I got on the bus I was told to take and got off at the stop I needed to get off at. I got lost during the switching of the buses to Liverpool and ended up in this shady neighborhood where sirens were going off every five minutes. I was a bit freaked out that I was by myself in an area like this so I asked a kind bus driver which stop I needed to go to get on the right bus to Liverpool Street Station. He was done with his stops and the bus stop was on his way back so he dropped me off at the station where the right bus was. I was still a bit skeptical about the area, but I waited about 15 minutes and the bus came. I was SO relieved. I rode the top of that double decker bus all the way home to Liverpool and it was a great moment.

Friday was a very surreal experience in London. I went to work and then I left for The Museum of London Field Trip. It was a really awesome place. I loved learning more about the city that will be my home for the next 2 ½ months. At the very end of the exhibit I walked into a room that had many different historical objects and as I walked around more I read something on the wall that said 2005 and I knew what it was immediately. My 3rd cousin James Adams was killed in the London bombings on 7 July 2005. He was on his way to work on the Tube. In the Museum of London there was a memorial book for the people who lost their lives in the bombings. I looked for James and he was the first name.

It was very emotional to read the testimonies about James. I met him once when he visited my hometown Chester and Pittsburgh, when I was a child but I vaguely remember. For not growing up around him it was so striking how many things I felt he had in common with me and my siblings. He was musical, which is a huge Crighton trait, and his love for Politics reminded me a lot of my brother.  I even felt he had similar features to my siblings and me, more so than my close cousins on my mother’s side. It would’ve been nice to have gotten to know him because I feel we would’ve gotten along well. I wish we could have. He was such an intelligent man; the first picture it showed was his college graduation photo. I was crying so I couldn’t fully read all the pages about him, I would’ve been a mess. But I vow to go back and read it in its entirety when I visit the Museum soon. It’s just so upsetting to think such a great person and many people are gone over something so terrible. It really hit close to home that when that happened.

Friday was a bit of a lighter day. We celebrated one of my co-workers birthday with a cake and singing happy birthday. It was fun. I must mention again that I LOVE my internship! I chased down laundry machines at night on Friday; I never realized it’d be so hard to find a washing machine in a building with more than 28 floors! But that’s boring and I know no one wants to hear about that. Saturday a few of my friends and I attended a fabulous birthday party in Notting Hill for my co-workers b-day! It was a great time and I love the area! I will be back to check it out more! It truly is lovely there!

Sunday a group of us attended Spitalfields market and I bought a much needed purse because my other one broke. Afterwards a friend and I journeyed to East London and there was a huge indie scene with tons of vintage shops and cool products. I bought some cute clothes and an amazing little purse that looks just like a pineapple! It’s a place definitely worth going to again. I also tried my first Curry there and it was good. It was Pumpkin and a medium spiciness. At first bite you can’t taste the spiciness but one second later you taste it. Needless to say I would need a gallon of water beside me to finish it. It’s a bit hotter than I’m used to in food. Lol I LOVE London!

I can’t wait to check out other countries around England. I will be attending a trip to Paris, France a couple of weekends from now and I will let you know how that goes. If you have any suggestions on places to see, eat, or concerts to attend let me know and I will try to check them out!

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