Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Thank You For Giving Me The World - Back in America

So, now that I have been back home for over a month, it is easy to reflect upon my time abroad, and realize what I learned from the experience, and what will stay with me. I cannot stress how happy I am that I decided to study abroad. I realize now how true it is that sometimes the best things in life come out of the worst of times. I was devastated when I found out I wouldn't be playing hockey anymore, but little did I know...that was such a blessing! I never would have been able to have had this amazing experience otherwise.
Hopefully I will always remember this idea for the rest of my life and know that when one door closes, another is sure to open!

I miss being abroad, but I also truly love being home and being at St. Mike's so I cannot complain :) I'm happy that I had something to miss while I was abroad, and I felt lucky to have such an amazing support system back home in my friends and my family. I miss traveling every weekend and having people be fascinated by me and my accent (ha!) I miss the friends that I made, and my students at WASPS. I miss being able to walk everywhere and anywhere, and the laid-back attitude towards drinking and socializing (though I am now 21, thank goodness!). BUT, all good things must come to an end. My time abroad was like a never-ending vacation, and we all know that feeling we get when it is time to leave the vacation and just be home. 4 months in England was the perfect time, and I am not sad because I know I will be back someday. And now I will have some English friends to stay with!

My time abroad has inspired me to want to travel more and move away after college. Not to get away from anything...just to try something new. I conquered leaving home for college, then I conquered leaving the country for a few months. Now, I need to keep challenging myself because I know I can do it, thanks to this semester. I hope to keep experiencing new things that bring me out of my comfort zone, because you never know what you'll find.

I am back to real classes and a packed schedule of class time, homework, work study, and student teaching placements. All of this is worth the time abroad, though! Not much has changed here except my living situation (which I love!), the annoying construction on campus (which I hate), and the fact that my little brother is now on campus! Which I must say...is the best part of coming back. Aside from, again, finally being 21 and legal!

I want to wrap up this blog by saying Thank You to the two most important people in my life...my Mom and Dad. I couldn't have done this without you, and I am so lucky and blessed to have you as my parents! Thank you for supporting me throughout the whole semester, and putting on a brave face for me even though I know I worried you to death the entire time! I love you!!

The Eiffel Tower - Paris, France
Playa de Barceloneta - Barcelona, Spain

St. Andrew's - Scotland

Leaning Tower of Pisa - Pisa, Italy

The Colosseum - Rome, Italy

Piazzale Michaelangelo - Florence, Italy
River Avon - Bath, England (my flat in the background)

Thank you to everyone who followed my blog! I hope you enjoyed it. I am glad I was able to share it with you!



Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Last week was pretty busy for me because on Tuesday we left for Stratford-upon-Avon (Shakespeare's birthplace) with the rest of the program. I have to admit that I was kind of dreading this trip as Shakespeare is not really my thing. However, I have to say that it was a nice couple of days. Stratford is a really cute and quaint town and I loved the B&B we stayed at while we were there. We saw 3 plays and surprisingly, I enjoyed all of them. It was something different, and a place I wouldn't have gone on my own. So I am glad we got the chance to go and see some (free) plays, and learn more about Shakespeare's life.

Shakespeare's Birthplace

At Anne Hathaway (his wife's) cottage

For our last weekend abroad...cue the tears...we went to Scotland! We wanted to go somewhere fairly close since all of our funds were getting low, so we decided that we might as well go to Scotland! It was only an hour flight away, and I am so glad we decided to go. We flew into Glasgow, and that is where we stayed in a pretty nice bed and breakfast. The first day we arrived, we walked around Glasgow and got to see all of the pretty Christmas lights and the town center that was all set up like a carnival. The main street in Glasgow reminded me a lot of church street in Burlington, and it was so nice to walk around and see all of the shops and street performers. I also LOVE the Scottish accent. Even though I sometimes struggled to understand what people were saying, I am a big fan of it.

On Saturday, we headed to Edinburgh which is only an hour away from Glasgow. We walked around the Christmas markets and took in all of the amazing architecture and sights. People who I had talked to said that Edinburgh had the most gorgeous buildings and cathedrals, but I didn't really know what to expect. Well, they were right! The city is so beautiful, and even though we had bad weather, we made the most of it. We went to Edinburgh Castle first and it was pretty much exactly like the Tower of London, but it was cool to walk around and see the old dungeons and the crown jewels.

Part of The Castle

The Castle
The Christmas Market

On Sunday, we went to St. Andrew's. It was a bit of a hike to get there, but it was so worth it! We had a beautiful train ride too, as we went past a lot of views of the water and finally had a sunny day! We walked around the small, cobble stoned tow and saw the St. Andrew's Cathedral and the water. It was so nice to walk along the shore and take pictures of the cliffs and the sea. I can see how Kate and William fell in love here! :) We also checked out the Old Course golf course which is famously known for being the first golf course! It was a beautiful day, and a perfect last weekend in the UK.

Well now that it is my last week, I am studying for finals, doing a little souvenir shopping, and spending as much time as I can with my friends that I am going to miss so much when I go home! I will blog one more time at the end of this week to wrap up my semester. Thanks for reading!

xo Sara

Ice Skating at Bath on Ice

The Beach in Bournemouth

Friday, November 30, 2012



This past week was Thanksgiving, as you know, and I was so sad about spending it in England away from my family. It is a strange thing to be in a country that doesn't celebrate the glorified Thanksgiving feast. I had to endure endless tweets and pictures of my Nana's cooking, courtesy of Carter Denton. I'm not going to lie, it was pretty painful working on my final papers and going to class when everyone was at home enjoying their turkey...something I haven't had since I left! However, after my Dad lovingly told me to suck it up and reminded me how lucky I was to be here, I knew he was right. Not only did I get to spend this Thanksgiving in beautiful Bath, but my program set up a Thanksgiving dinner for us that was actually really nice. ASE hires culinary students to put the dinner on for us. Their homework is to research American Thanksgiving and try to mimic it as well as they can, which is a pretty cool idea! I am so happy they did that for us because I may have actually cried in my kitchen that night trying to cook some pasta...that would have ended up overcooked, per usual.So overall, I am SO thankful to have had this semester abroad and thankful for my amazing family and friends.

Anyways, this past weekend I went to Copenhagen, Denmark with two of my friends, Nora and Emily. I've wanted to visit CPH ever since my good friend Savannah studied abroad there last semester. She sent me an amazing list of things to do while there which was so helpful! Our first day, we found a map and made use of the suggested walking tour around the city. We saw the famous little mermaid statue and walked through New Harbor, which is the canal lined with all of these colorful apartments. It was a beautiful part of the city, and I can imagine it is even better on a warm, sunny day (which, sadly, we never got).

New Harbor

Emily and Me

In front of the Little Mermaid

We then arrived at Amalienborg Castle just in time to see the changing of the guards. We had no idea there was a changing of the guards, but the fact that we showed up right at 11:55 made it look like we had planned it perfectly! It was neat to watch as it was far less crowded than the one at Buckingham Palace. After finishing up our walking tour, we headed to Freetown Christiania. On our way there, we stumbled upon this Church with a tower that you can climb. Since climbing towers has been a common theme of mine this semester, we decided to do it. They were the most narrow little stairs I have ever seen, but once we made it to the top, it was totally worth it. We got a great view of the city!

Changing of the Guards

After climbing the tower, we headed to Christiania which was one of the weirdest/coolest places I have ever been to. There are only 3 rules in Christiania: 1) No Pictures 2) No Running 3) Have as much fun as possible. So, as I found out, Freetown Christiania means you can freely buy and smoke weed all around the area, and I'm assuming that's the only reason one would visit. Of course I couldn't take pictures of it, but it was actually a really cool little village with a lot of food and retail vendors. It is called the "green light district". I'll let the rest of that remain a mystery...

After Christiania, we went to TIVOLI. It was one of the coolest places I have ever been. It is basically a huge amusement park situated in the middle of the city that is up year round. Since it was late November when we visited, the whole park was decorated with christmas lights and it was so beautiful! Apparently, Walt Disney was inspired by Tivoli and used it as his example to create Disney World. It was a little pricey (like everything in CPH...) but it was so worth it! We spent the evening walking around and taking it all in. We even splurged and bought a ticket for one ride, which was a blast.

On Sunday, it POURED all day :( So that put a little damper on our adventures. We made the most of it though! We had an amazing Danish buffet brunch, then headed to Rosenborg Castle, which, as castles go, was a little on the smaller side and not nearly as impressive as some that I have seen in England. After touring that, we headed to, where else but the Carlsberg Brewery! I had never been to a brewery before, and since I love Carlsberg so much and needed to escape the rain anyways, we decided to go. It was really neat to learn about all of the history and learn how beer is made - I had no idea! After our tour and about two pints of my favorite European beer, we headed to the Danish National Museum to, again, escape the brutal rain that was coming down.

The massive bottle collection at the brewery

Nora and Me at the Brewery

Overall, I loved my trip to Copenhagen! The Danish people are very, very good looking. The Kroner is the weirdest currency I have come across. In order to find out how much USD I was spending, I had to divide the amount by 6. So strange!

It was a great trip! Now, I am done with classes and just enjoying some day trips around England this weekend before my program heads to Stratford-upon-Avon this weekend. Shakespeare's birthplace...I'm a little nervous! It will be something different at least. I can't believe that classes are over and my placement at the elementary school is over. On my last day, I got to teach them a lesson all on my own and it went so well! I am going to miss them so much!

Until next week,

Sara xo

Our trip last weekend to Cardiff, Wales

Beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Mom and Dad come to the UK!


So I had an especially good week the past few days because my parents came to visit! Everyone who knows me knows that I love being home and I love spending time with my family, so I was SO happy that my mom and dad were able to come visit me here in England. The past 11 weeks were the longest I had gone without seeing them and I couldn't have waited any longer!
My parents visiting was the perfect excuse to be a tourist in the city that I have been living in since August. Bath is most well-known for the Roman Baths (hence the name). I'm so glad I finally got around to visiting them because they were really cool! The baths date back to B.C. and have been preserved ever since as a tourist attraction. The Romans used to go to the natural hot spring baths to relax and be cured by the goddess Minerva. You can't touch the water now (as it is very unsanitary looking...) but it was amazing to see that the water is still steamy hot and bubbly. I'm so glad I finally got to see it!

Dad and me at the Baths!

Mom and Dad at the Roman Baths
While in Bath, we also went to see Bath Abbey and the Royal Crescent. And of course there was lots of tea drinking, bar hopping, eating, and window shopping! It was so fun spending time with them in the town I have been calling home!
On Saturday, we headed to London. The first thing we did was go to the Tower of London...something I hadn't gotten around to visiting, so it was perfect that my parents hadn't made it there either. Touring the tower took about 4 hours, there was just so much to see! My favorite part was seeing the amazing crown jewels, and touring the rooms where the royal prisoners were held.

We were also able to get a good shot in front of Tower Bridge! Then we went to the London Eye at night! I had been on it during the day, so it was awesome to get so see the city at night when everything was lit up. I think I liked it even better at night!

The 3 of us in front of Tower Bridge

The view from the London Eye

The next day, we got up pretty early and headed to Windsor Castle! I hadn't made it there yet, so I was so excited to get to go! It is about an hour away from the center of London, but it was well worth the trip! The castle is set in the middle of a really cute town, high up on a hill. We couldn't take pictures inside the castle, but it was decorated so beautifully and all of the state rooms were so elaborate and fancy. The best part was when, just as we were about to leave, they switched the flag to signal that the Queen had just arrived home!!

We also got to stop by Westminster Abbey and see all of the Remembrance Day poppy's laid out. Then we took a double decker bus ride around town - another first for me! We rounded out our day with a trip to the covent gardens, a popular shopping and tourist district! It was already all decorated for Christmas, which was really nice! I love that Christmas starts so early in England. Guess they can do that when they don't get to celebrate Thanksgiving first!

It was the best weekend! I loved getting to explore Bath and London more, while spending time with my two favorite people! : ) Thank You again Mom and Dad for coming!!! It meant so much to me, and I am so glad I got to share this with you both! And thanks to my Nana and Papa for watching the boys so they could come!

Well, I cried on the train ride home to Bath after they went to the airport to go home, but I know I am going to be crying even harder when I have to leave the UK...in just 30 days!! I'm going to try to pack these next 4 weeks with lots of day trips and weekend traveling, so stay tuned until next time!



Mom and me in front of Bath Abbey

At the Tower of London with our new friend

St. Paul's Cathedral


Mom and Dad in front of Big Ben

Mom and me on the Eye
Dad and me on the Eye

Big Ben, London Eye

Also... A BIG HAPPY BIRTHDAY shout-out to my two little brothers, Jake and Luke!!!! They are 17 today! Love you both so much!