Jolly Ole London Town

I’m not really sure when it started, but I have a blushing problem. It happens specifically when I hear accents, British accents that is. There’s something about hearing a British accent that gets me incredibly excited, which somehow triggers a blushing response. But whatever the reason, I’m prepared to be completely red-faced for at least the first two weeks I’m in England until I get adjusted, starting …

TOMORROW. Today’s the day! In just a few hours I’m leaving for London! I’ve wanted to go to England for almost as long as I can remember. That desire grew much stronger once I started obsessing over British literature. Of course, I’m fully aware that going to England because I love Jane Austen is like a foreigner coming to America because she loves Mark Twain — it really won’t mean anything to anyone who lives there. But still, I’m incredibly excited for what lies ahead.

Of course I’m nervous. English food doesn’t have the best reputation and seeing Oliver and humming the catchy “You’ve Got To Pick A Pocket or Two” has made me very aware of little thieves. I also have a nagging fear that my suitcase(s) will get lost. I’m not very good at directions, and given my past “first day” experiences, I’m a little wary of what this one will be like. But in the grand scheme of things, these are all little fears that will quickly go away.

Luckily, I have a great support system. I have constantly been reassured by a wonderful network of people who are genuinely happy for me to venture across the pond. I have a great list of must-see places from friends who have already been abroad (lucky ducks) and well wishes from those who know how much this trip means to me.

There are plenty of reasons why I’m excited to go to England! Here are just a few (this is by no means an exhaustive list):

1.)  To LIVE in London! I’m going to wake up every day in foggy London town and see double decker buses drive down the street. I’ll splosh through London rain puddles and wander the streets of one of the greatest cities in the entire world.

2.) The free museums! Yes, I’m a nerd, but I’m so excited that admission to all museums is free. There’s so much to explore in the British Museum and National Gallery (to name a few).

3.) The Globe Theater!

4.) Going to Jane Austen’s house (I mean, duh. Also it’s the 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice this year and the exhibit is staying up all year long at her house, so this was clearly the year I was meant to study abroad).

5.) Working as a journalist in London. I’m interning at TNT Magazine, which is a travel, news and entertainment magazine “for Londoners and travellers.” I’ll get to talk to Londoners themselves, all while learning how to be a better writer.

6.) To figure out how I take my tea! Maybe I’ll even be converted from Diet Coke.

7.) To explore the rest of Europe. I’m not sure where I’ll be heading just yet, but London is a great jumping-off point.

8.) The palaces, the gardens and the parks (which I’m going to see rain or shine).

9.) Touring different London newsrooms (including Conde Nast UK) as part of my internship class!

10.) The unexpected. As much as I like to plan everything out, I’m so excited for the journeys to come.

This semester is going to be one big adventure. As much as I’m sad to leave my friends at Mizzou and my family at home, I’m ready to challenge myself to embrace every opportunity and make the most of my four months abroad.

I know in these four months, despite the best-intentioned wishes from friends, I will most likely not meet my Mr. Darcy. I’m more than ok with that. This trip is about self-discovery. About finding out more about myself through a wonderful new world around me (and all the rest of that cheesy stuff). And I promise to post frequently with my updates.

London, I can’t wait to meet you.

Cheers,

Allison

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