This Train Terminates At: Waterloo (short update)

Hello!!!

It’s been roughly a month since I returned from the UK and I miss a little piece of it with each day. Although I’m happy to finally be home with my family and dogs, there’s nothing like being able to walk anywhere you want to go.

Yes, most places I needed to get to were at least a 20-minute walk away, but it was possible in England’s glorious weather. I almost faint just walking to my car in Mississippi! It was 100 degrees the day I arrived but it felt like every bit of 110! On the bright side, my water intake has increased significantly!

I’ve begun my final semester of school and all of my emotions are settling in. I’m conflicted in every way. Do I leave my family and head back to England like I’ve always dreamed? Should I stay in the States to attend graduate school? Should I stay at the same university for graduate school? Do I even want to go to graduate school?

These same questions race through my mind every day. I feel like school has only prepared me to be a professional student and the fear of what comes next is building as graduation approaches.

Don’t get me wrong! I am excited to have made it through school and I can’t wait to walk across that stage. I’m sure it’s just the senior blues catching up with me during the first month of school.

Anyways, I was unable to write for my school’s newspaper this semester because of complications with another on-campus job, so I am blogging my way through this semester! You can keep up with me on Twitter as usual, or you can follow me on my new blog!

Thanks again for following me through my European adventure!

Cheers,
Karyn

 

Wingardium Leviosa!

Hello!!!

I traveled to the Warner Brother’s studio Monday to go on a Harry Potter tour. It was an excellent end to my trip in Europe.

Just getting to the studio was a process in itself. My tour time was at 6:00, but I needed to leave Waterloo by 3:45 to get to the proper train station in order to get to the studio. My classmate Darrin and I arrived at 5:15 and thought that we were way too early, but as it turns out we didn’t get to the front of the line to enter the tour until about 5-10 minutes to our scheduled time.

I thought it would be a quick 30-minute-tour, but it wasn’t. I spent THREE hours touring the Harry Potter Studio and it was “wicked!” (Yes, I just quoted Ron Weasley. Get over it.)

 

The tour began with a short intro by Daniel, Rupert, and Emma. It set me into a nostalgic mood and I began a mega Harry Potter fan all over again.

 

 

The tour was full of staged scenes from the movie such as when Ron and harry first met on the Hogwarts Express and when Nagini (Voldemort’s snake) attacked a woman at Malfoy’s Manor. The tour reminded me how dark the films actually were and how huge of an influence they had on my childhood. One of my best friends and I met in 6th grade because we noticed that we had matching Harry Potter folders.
The studio was filled with people of all ages. Both parents and kids were excited about the tour. I feel sorry for the kids who weren’t able to grow up with Harry Potter the way I did. It’s amazing to age with both the characters and the actors. Touring the studio reminded me of how obsessed I was with the series! I can only imagine how psyched I would have been if I’d gone on the tour 5-years-ago.

 

Dean Thomas’ bed!!!

 

The adorable animal actors of the Harry Potter series!

 

Off to Hogwarts on the Hogwarts Express!

 

There’s no beer like butterbeer!

 

Where it all started.

 

Ahhh! Aragog!!!
Buckbeak, my favorite Hippogriff.

 

The best newspaper ever.

 

 

Hogsmeade. The red shop is the Weasley’s shop!

 

 

 

I am so happy I made the time to tour the studio. The Harry Potter series is what started my obsession with British culture and I probably wouldn’t have signed up for this class if it hadn’t been for it. I think I’m going to go and have an HP movie marathon now…

Cheers,
Karyn

What I’ve Observed About British Media #4

Hello!!!

London Evening Standard

The Evening Standard has every bit of news you could possibly need for the day…really the week. There’s a political section, a celebrity news section, fashion, etc.

I usually don’t enjoy reading newspapers, but the Evening Standard is a lot more appealing to me than the usual paper. I believe it’s because the paper uses more color. There’s color on every page of the Evening Standard.

The paper was designed for you to read from start to finish and not skip through the pages. It starts with breaking news, of course, slowly transitions into celebrity news and gossip, goes into hard news, speaks of the royals, and then you have sports. It’s a really great balance. It helps me not to grow tired, or even depressed while reading the news. Newspapers in the States have entertainment as well, but it doesn’t seem as balanced as the Evening Standard.

I’ve also seen that some papers include a venting column where individuals can write about someone to saw on the tube but didn’t have the chance to speak to. I love it! There’s a column on Reddit like that, but it’s nothing like having a venting column in print! I love it!!! It’s a lot better than reading about the “mugshot of the week.”

Cheers,
Karyn

 

What I’ve Observed About British Media #3

Hello!!!

The media has tried to create personalities for each member of the Royal Family, particularly Prince Harry and Prince William. I’ve noticed that now that William is married and has started a family, the media focuses more on his children than him. Also, Prince Harry is starting to be portrayed as more of a serious person since he has turned 30 and his brother is married.

I’ve compared older articles and interviews of Harry and William to more recent ones, and reporters like to focus more on Harry’s positive side nowadays. The media no longer has the ability to create stories along the lines of ‘Good Brother vs Rebellious Brother,’ which has previously been its money maker. It also feels a little as if Harry is not really involved with the Royal Family anymore. There are mostly articles about the family and then articles about him serving his duty as a prince in Africa, continuing his mother’s legacy.

I’ve just found it amazing how much Britain is obsessed with the Royal Family.

Cheers,
Karyn

 

What I’ve observed about British Media #2

Hello!!!

I’ve observed that newspapers are a lot like magazines here. Also, tabloids hold the same status here as a newspaper would back home. There’s a lot more celebrity gossip columns and color involved in British newspapers.

I’m always looking over someone’s shoulder on the tube and I find that they are reading a humorous article about a celebrity or reading random entertainment news. It’s always bizarre because the person holding the paper always looks serious and unconcerned. I noticed a man reading about Daniel Radcliffe rapping an Eminem song and he didn’t seem the least bit amused.

There’s plenty of news concerning the royals in the paper. There’s barely any news about the First Family back home, but everyone loves to talk about the royals here; Especially since Princess Charlotte just had her Christening and the pictures of Queen Elizabeth as a child circulated.

Cheers,
Karyn

 

 

 

Other things I’ve observed #5: Ben and Jerry’s and Other Ice Cream

Hello!!!

Every major pizza chain will deliver a pint of Ben and Jerry’s with your order! I am in Heaven! This would be perfect if they had my favorite flavor, Americone Dream. Ben and Jerry’s is my favorite ice cream brand and it seems that the company sponsors every theater and cinema here. It’s beautiful! I haven’t seen any flavors over here that aren’t offered back home, but I’m keeping an eye open.

There’s also ice cream and gelato on every corner. I don’t see how the people here stay skinny. I understand that they walk a lot more than I do back home, but there is no way I could be around this much ice cream permanently and not be obese. I’ve slowly seen more and more Dip-n-Dots machines in theaters in the U.S., but the day that we start selling Ben and Jerry’s at the concession will be the happiest day of my life! I have a serious addiction to ice cream. I know I need help. I don’t need you to tell me.

…just a few things I’ve observed.

Cheers,
Karyn

 

Cultural Visit: Portobello Road Market

Hello!!!

I decided to do some last minute shopping at Portobello Road Market. It was a delight!

My first stop was at a delicious underground place called Notting Hill Cafe. I had pancakes, bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs and chips. It was delicious!!!! I didn’t think I would enjoy pancakes and fries for breakfast, but they made it work.
The most enjoyable meal I’ve had seen being in the UK.

 

I bought a few necklaces as well as an Oxford Uni hoodie and a Hogwarts pullover. There were so many cute things there, but my suitcase is nearly out of room so I couldn’t buy them. There were so many cute doggies and I couldn’t help but image myself shopping with Maxx and Roxxi. I would love that so much.

Portobello was pretty crowded and people don’t mind standing in your way, so I’ve learned to move them out of my way. I’ve tried saying excuse me, but it seems that no one here knows the meaning of that phrase when they’re shopping. It’s annoying.

The market is filled with hustlers who will gladly try their mightiest to pressure you into buying from their stands. There was a man at a Rasta hat stand that brought of safety, inequality, and police brutality and privilege within the U.S. I don’t know if he was just making conversation or trying to find common ground to get me to purchase one of his hats.

 

 

 

I wish I had more room in my suitcase. There were plenty more shops that I would have loved to purchase from.
Cheers,
Karyn

Other things I’ve observed #4: Food/ No preservatives, how many sandwiches can I possibly eat, and England’s Indian food is like the South’s Mexican food.

Hello!!!

  • I’ve probably eaten more sandwiches since I’ve been in London that I’d ever eaten prior to coming. There are sandwiches everywhere and they’re super cheap.  My favorite sandwiches are from EAT. Yummy!
  • I’ve also noticed that the Indian food here is delicious whereas it’s a bit mediocre back home. The exact opposite applies to the Mexican food here. It’s bland and back home it’s my favorite food! Could it be a geographical deal? Probably. I’ve also noticed that nachos aren’t so great here. I know it technically goes into the Mexican category, but how does one mess up corn chips and cheese? I do not understand. The food here is pretty, but it just doesn’t hit the spot. I honestly would prefer Taco Bell of most of the Mexican spots here.
  • I knew that England doesn’t use nearly as many preservatives, if any, as the U.S., but I was not expecting to have to buy food daily because it would spoil so quickly. I love fruit. I could eat it all day. Most of the fruits in the markets here expire the very next day or say that they are still edible but are extremely soggy. I miss waking up early in the morning and grabbing a handful of firm grapes. It’s the little things we take advantage of.
…just a few things I’ve observed.
Cheers,
Karyn

Other things I’ve observed #3: I’m not as in love with British accents as I once believed.

Hello!!!

I fell in love with Daniel Radcliffe when I was about 10-years-old. I was the biggest Harry Potter nerd ever to walk this planet and I knew every random thing about England that a 5th grader could know. I’ve always wanted to be here, and I’d always had an obsession with British accents…until I arrived.
It was cute to hear them everywhere for the first week. I especially enjoyed hearing men talk! I even noticed that a few of my classmates were developing accents. A little into the second week the accents grew old and a little annoying. Possibly because I heard them most while on the tube, which in itself is one big headache. I hope this doesn’t sound too mean, but I adore a British man’s voice, but I can not bear to listen to most British women for more than a few minutes. It could be that most of the ones I’ve heard are high ranged voices and they’re usually talking extremely loud about nothingness.
A group of annoying women sat right in front of me while I was trying to take a nap on a 30-minute train ride to Oxford. They decided to play a game where one of them asked the others questions about their friendship. This was at 8:30 in the morning. I couldn’t care less about their friendship! I just wanted to sleep. They had the squeakiest voices and it was driving me crazy. This encounter is frequent on the tubes after 19:00.
I have noticed I prefer lower ranged voices, so it may not be the British accent. I enjoyed listening to a few of the women who hosted my class visits. They were all British, of course, but they had a lower voice than women I usually hear around the city.
When we traveled to Edinburgh I discovered that I adore Scottish accents. I can barely understand them, but they are so pleasant to listen to.
…just an observance I’ve made.
Cheers,
Karyn