13 March 2011

6 months?!?!? REALLY??

I truly can't believe that it was six months ago that I boarded a plane to move to London. My, how time sure does fly!

It's been an incredible six months, in which I've gotten to do a lot of amazing things. Warning: the following post is extremely picture-heavy, so feel free to skip if you're bored of my photos!

When I first got here, I had a couple of weeks to kill before classes started, so I made the most of it and explored my 'new' city again.

Southbank at night just doesn't get old.

I live extremely close to one of the royal parks: Regent's, so I spent plenty fall days there just lounging, reading, writing, and exploring.

Primrose Hill - which is in north Regent's Park. It provides one of the best views of the city:

Also placed in the park: the zoo!

Before I knew it, classes started. This is UCL's main quad.

It didn't take long before I made some truly amazing friends. I couldn't ask for a better group of people to spend the majority of my time with. :)

This is our little group/family, out celebrating our first completed week in our IPP program.

Before too long, it was Halloween, which isn't a big holiday here but we Americans made sure to celebrate in style! I'm on the Social Committee of the International Public Affairs Society (IPAS), and we arranged a Halloween event that was very successful.

A couple of weeks later, my sister got here for a two week visit!! It was SO nice to have family here with me, and I had a blast showing Kellen around this city that I've come to call home. I wasn't surprised that she loved London as well.

Kel and I on Parliament Hill, up in Hampstead Heath.

Self explanatory!

Kellen overlooking London at the top of St. Paul's - another fantastic view of the city!

On one day of her trip, we took a day trip to Windsor, Oxford, and Stonehenge. Here we are at Windsor Castle.

...and Stonehenge.

I was so happy to have Kellen here for my birthday.

We were also lucky enough to take a three day trip to Dublin to celebrate my birthday even further!

Here we are out at the coast, at Howth Peninsula.

In front of St. Patrick's Cathedral.

Down by the River Liffey.

Having my first, true Irish Guinness while out in Temple Bar. Not a fan! Maybe I'm not a true Irish girl?

So Kellen's trip was obviously an amazing two weeks for us. I wasn't thrilled when she left, but unfortunately she has a grown-up job and had to be back.

Our next IPAS event was Pub Golf! Not surprisingly, the North Americans got into spirit the most!

And then a little event of our own: Thanksgiving in London. The American girls cooked (and baked!) up a feast for some of our non-American friends. Our guests represented America, Canada, Great Britain, and France!

The chefs, being silly!

Soon after, Christmastime in London was upon us.

My friend Charlotte and I went ice skating at Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland!

 I did end up going home for the actual holiday, for about three weeks. It was a great decision for me - anyone who knows me knows that I'm a huge homebody, and I missed my family and dogs like crazy. I had a wonderful trip home.

Once back, it was mid-January, and I had to get right back in the swing of things with Term 2 classes starting and event planning that needed to be done!

Our next event was our Valentine's Day/Anti-Valentine's Day party, which was held at a venue in Camden.

Shortly after, term two reading week popped up. I made a somewhat last minute decision to head to Brussels with my girlfriends, and I'm SO glad I did. I had an amazing time with them, and really enjoyed the city.

My favorite part of Brussels was clearly the abundance of amazing waffles.

Most recently, we had a murder mystery party with 20 of our friends, which was a lot of fun.

The class president, math geek, cheerleader, flirt, and first lady; in our respective roles.

As you can see, it's been a really fantastic six months. I just realized how it probably looks like I do absolutely no school work or anything pertaining to international policy here, ha! I can assure you, I do. In fact, term two has been extremely busy school-wise. I can't believe that I only have two more weeks of classes until I have no more! After that, my days will consist of essay writing (for essays due in the first week of May), cramming for exams (mid to late May), and dissertation work. 

There are also so many things that I'm looking forward to in the next six months: my entire family visiting in June, moving into a new flat for a few months, going to Wimbledon, running the Galway City marathon (hopefully! more on that later...), summer in London, and more traveling (including Mallorca in late April, and trips to Prague, Amsterdam, and Spain)! I sure intend to make the most of my time left here, before I move back home in September.

I hope you enjoyed my walk down memory lane this evening. :)

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