London Bath Stone

Hello-o-o-o, freedom! Sorry it’s been a wile, but my brain’s been on overload for a while. When I last wrote, I was dreading the three weeks to come. By May 10th, I had to give two 10 minute presentations, write 4 essays (or 10,000 words), and help design a website. After a month traveling around Europe, the thought of doing any school work seemed like some kind of cruel joke. I seriously contemplated flying back to the US and calling it quits (not really, but the thought did cross my mind a few times). However, after daily 8 hour visits to the library, I did it. I finished everything, and yesterday, the final deadline, marked the end of my sophomore career.

To tell you the truth, I don’t know how I did it. You see, Leeds University is set up differently than the UW. At Madison, there are constant deadlines throughout the semester; a series of midterms, papers, and daily assignments. The classes meet a few times a week, which makes procrastinating an entire semester’s worth of work almost impossible. At Leeds Uni, especially for non-science majors, the hours spent in the classroom are minimal. Each of my classes met once a week. Nothing is turned in or assessed until the very end of the semester. So, I’d be sitting in class in January, and the professor would say “Yes, so remember this for when you write your essay.” And I would think, “Yeah, for the essay that’s due in MAY!” and then I would laugh.

Well, I certainly wasn’t laughing when May actually rolled around. Because when nothing is due until the end of the semester, you don’t do anything until the end of the semester (or at least that’s how it works for me). While some people might prefer to be relaxed the whole term, and then be exponentially stressed for a few weeks at the end of it, I don’t think its for me. Plus, I have absolutely no idea what kind of grades I will get in these classes, as I have no frame of reference to judge my final work. I never thought I’d say it, but I cannot wait to get back to the daily grind of UW-Madison. What I would do for a few mid-terms or an essay every other week. (Note: ask me if I feel the same come September).

But now that is all over, and I am done, and it is summer! Although, it certainly doesn’t feel like summer, here in the UK. At one point, it poured everyday for 2 weeks straight. (Which was more than slightly detrimental to my half marathon training). In the last week, the sun has peeked through the clouds for a few hours a day, but you can always count on the rain to come down eventually. A word of advice: if you plan on visiting/studying/living anywhere in the UK, invest in a very, very nice umbrella and have it with you at all times. And don’t buy one of those cheap, Target umbrellas with a cute cheetah pattern on it, either. Trust me, once the wind starts blowing, it will be virtually useless.

I still have three weeks left in Leeds, but most students are revising for their exams (British word for studying). But lucky me, I only had to write over 10,0000 words in place of taking any final exams. However, this leaves me quite lonely, as it is “revision week” here in Leeds. Yes, that’s right, students get a whole week to prepare for their finals. Unlike that one “study day” we get at the UW, (which usually ends up fallin on a Saturday, anyway). So, most people are spending the week, and then the following two weeks, studying and taking their many, many final exams. As for me? I’m going to have a little holiday in Madrid. But first I’ve got that half marathon to run…
….I feel a bit guilty telling you guys that I was doing non-stop school work for the last three weeks. I did take a bit of a study break…and a very exciting one at that. Fellow Badger, Katelyn and I decided to book another spontaneous trip to London. We took the 7 pound, 2 am Megabus, (seriously so much cheaper than a train), and headed south to London for two days…

I don’t know if you’ve noticed from reading my previous posts, but I am quite the Harry Potter fan. So, we booked a tour to the newly opened, Harry Potter Studio Tour. This is where all the magic of the Harry Potter movies happened. While it’s advertised as being in London, the studio is actually and hour and a half bus ride outside of London…so the whole trip probably cost the same amount as a day at Disney World-but let me tell you, this was way better than any “It’s A Small World After All” ride…

You know how I went to Oxford, and saw the Great Hall, which was the model for the one in the Harry Potter movies? Well, this is me sitting in the ACTUAL Hogwarts Great Hall.

Oh, and Dumbledore was there.

Even for non Harry Potter fanatics (*ahem* Katelyn) the tour is amazing. It was incredible to see how much work that went into making all 8 of the Harry Potter movies. We easily spent a solid 3 and a half hours sipping Butterbeer, riding the Knight Bus, and hanging out at Number 4 Privet Drive.

I wish they sold butterbeer at Trader Joes.
The Knight Bus! Take me back to Madison??
Just knocking on the Dursely’s door. “Is Harry home?”
Oh, and we also bought all of our Hogwarts gear in Diagon Alley.

The following day, Kate and I took a tour to Stonehenge and Bath. One of my flatmates said to me before I left, “Babe, you’re going to be so bored at Stonehenge. All it is, is a pile of rocks.” Sure, maybe that’s all it is, but it’s a pretty cool pile of rocks, if you ask me.

How come the rocks in Wisconsin don’t look like this?

Unfortunately, when we arrived in Bath, the rain wouldn’t stop coming down. The city is beautiful, though. Even in the pouring rain. We explored the Roman Baths, where England’s only hot spring is, and took a walk across the Pulteny Bridge (only 1 of 3 bridges in the world with shops on it).

Me at the Roman Baths, umbrella in hand-wouldn’t expect anything less from England.
Swimming in the hot spring...lucky ducks.
The Pultney Bridge. One of the other 3 bridges is the Ponte Vechio in Florence-so I’ve seen 2 of the 3!
The beautiful (and very wet) city Bath.

I’ll be home in less than a month, and I’m torn. Part of me cannot wait to go back to the US. I miss so many things there-my family, my friends, my animals-the sun! But the other part of me feels so at home here and doesn’t ever want to leave. I wish I was Hannah Montana and could have the best of both worlds. (Sorry, terrible metaphor). But I guess the only thing to do is savor every last moment I have over here…until next time…!