United Kingdom: Willy Shakespy and friends

I’m no weather woman (although I did consider it for about a week once) but it looks like a dang blizzard outside. The snow is coming down so heavily and horizontally that I had to whip out my umbrella and carry it in front of me like a body shield. I’m so medieval. Figured it’d be a good time to blahg since I’ve taken cover for now in my cozy bedroom with the KING CAKE I just received in the mail from the world’s greatest grandparents. It sounds petty, but it honestly made my day. And my week. Possibly even my month. I got a whiff as I was carrying it upstairs to my room and literally started running and giggling and couldn’t rip it open quickly enough.

View from my bedroom window as I type.  Brrr.
View from my bedroom window as I type. Brrr.
On the way to pick up my package today. Hi blizzard. Hi weird, umbrella-ed American.
On the way to pick up my package today. Hi blizzard. Hi weird, umbrella-ed American.

Last weekend I visited Stratford-upon-Avon (the town is Stratford, but there are two Stratfords in England, so they clarify the two by saying that this one is upon the Avon river…. Hence “upon-Avon”) which is Shakespeare’s birthplace. I know Shakespeare is one of the most famous guys ever, but I can’t sit here and claim to be a huge Willy Shakespy history or poetry buff. I’m just not. You can’t even get me to read Harry Potter. Or the newspaper for that matter. Regardless, it was kinda cool being in his hood and all. I got to see his house where his dad sold leather gloves out of a window and his grave, which I took a picture next to, but felt bad smiling in. You’re not supposed to smile next to graves, are you? Whatev. So the pic is awkward.

Willy's house. See that window on the first floor on my right?  That's where his dad sold gloves. That's all I've got.
Willy’s house. See that window on the first floor on my right? That’s where his dad sold gloves. That’s all I’ve got.

We also went on a river cruise down the Avon river during which we drank afternoon tea. I really love afternoon tea—but only when I use 600 sugar packets and cream. I’m from the most obese country in the world. From the most obese state within that country. From the most obese town within that state. Of course I make my afternoon tea delicious. Want some?

It was a lovely time, even though the weather was pretty nasty the whole time we were there. It was much less touristy and much more quaint than Liverpool was, which I really, really liked. We even had the most delicious meal I’ve had since I’ve been on this continent that morning when we first arrived at a little café amongst locals. Can’t complain there.

This is a door from Shakespeare's time in the church he's buried in. I'm not really sure what year that was. But, this is a fact: People were short back then. Isn't that awesome. I'm being serious. See how short this door is?! It's the little things. Pun intended.
This is a door from Shakespeare’s time in the church he’s buried in. I’m not really sure what year that was. But, this is a fact: People were short back then. Isn’t that awesome. I’m being serious. See how short this door is?! It’s the little things. Pun intended.

Last night, I went ice-skating and it was a blast. I’m sorta good. Not good, but not terrible. I’m alright. The only time I turn really bad is when someone in front of me crashes. I am not good at turning or veering or stopping shortly. It was cold and there were tons of humans there, but it was super fun. Beca, who is president of the halls (say halls with a British accent and what do you get?…… go ahead, say it in your head… I’ll give you a hint: It kind of rhymes with “bores.” So we say she’s president of the…. Funny, eh?) arranged it per the usual and always does such a splendid job.

Here, meet some of my friends so that when I say their name, you have a visual.
Here, meet some of my friends so that when I say their name, you have a visual.
Here, meet some more.
Here, meet some more.
I went naturale on the afro. Preeeeetty.
I went naturale on the afro. Preeeeetty.

All in all, things are really well. It’s starting to feel very normal here. I do what I do in America, only not in America. Traveling on the weekends and experiencing the new culture, night life, and awesome people, are about the only differences and obviously, those rock. As for during the school week, I’m… in school and it’s very different than school in America. So it’s not all butterflies, king cake, and rainbows. I have a presentation on the liver on Monday, (which I am not too worried about being that the most interesting thing about me standing in front of the classroom will be my Southern American accent and not the facts I have in regard to liver disease), tons of articles to read for each of my classes, group projects and people I need to meet with, and postcards to mail to all you cool folks back home. So while you’re in class or doing laundry or working or taking a nap in the middle of the day, don’t assume I’m not doing the same thing. I mean, doing it in Europe does add quite a ton of pizzazz to the normal daily routine, but the bottom line is that I’m not 100% on vacation. This is sorta my “normal life” for now! Looking forward to doing some more exciting side trips soon, though. YAY! Next on the agenda is York next weekend, followed by Bath and Stonehenge (hopefully) and soon after I’ll be in Ireland for St. Patrick’s day (!!!). Then, taking a mini/not-so-mini tour for 14 days around Eastern Europe: Italy, Netherlands, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria, Switzerland, and France. I feel very lucky to be here and have this opportunity, just in case I haven’t mentioned that. It’s all still so surreal to me. And who knows if I’ll ever have an opportunity even kind of close to this in my life again, so I’m soaking it in, y’all. When in Rome, eh?

tea

 

~ Gabrielle Campos

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