Well, my last week was quite eventful. The day after I last posted(Wednesday, December 14), my house was robbed. Our landlord’s son left a window open on the 2nd floor of the house and someone used a ladder from the back yard to climb in. They got away with quite a lot, including my landlady’s car and all of the laptops in the house (including mine). It was quite shocking. Before that, I had never been robbed or even pick-pocketed. Luckily, I had saved a final “assessment” to my Huskymail – I had just finished it and it was due Friday. Whew! One of my housemates was not so lucky. Tip: Save backups of all of your work somewhere that cannot be stolen – don’t count on flashdrives or external harddrives (mine were stolen along with my laptop). Also, do not leave any windows open. Our neighborhood was known for being very safe, and the window was on the top floor – stuff happens.
But, I did not let our bad luck get me down. Thursday, Eric and I went to Central London for the last time. We started off at Hyde Park’s (finally made it) Winter Wonderland. It was pretty great. It was like a Christmas-themed county fair combined with a Christmas market. We then walked from Parliament back to Waterloo station so we could see some of the big sights one last time – Big Ben, Trafalgar Square, the London Eye, and Hungerford Bridge. When we got back to Kingston, we went to Frankie & Benny’s one last time with some of my British friends. It was supposed to be in celebration of our friend, Sofie’s Birthday. Sadly, she could not make it. Instead, they decided to celebrate my Birthday again. Tip: If you go to Frankie & Benny’s and tell them it is your Birthday, you get a free main dish and dessert. Yum! We celebrated Sofie’s Birthday Friday, instead. Our friend Ellie bought her a yummy cake. It was a lot of fun to hang out one last time. I am really going to miss all of them.
I then spent the weekend in the library on campus typing up my final assessments. I finished four short essays and two long essays in three days! Now, I get to enjoy my break without having to worry about writing essays or mailing them to the UK. Tip: At Kingston University, you need to submit both an electronic copy and a hard copy of all assignments. Some professors will let you e-mail them your “hard” copy, but most require you to mail them to the appropriate office if you are not able to turn it in by hand. Although, if you ask the Study Abroad office, they may let you e-mail them a copy and turn it in for you (they offered to do that for us this year). You will just have to ask. But, it is easier to do your assignments before you leave the country.
Our flight left early Tuesday morning. When we got to the airport, we found out that we had to change airports in Washington D.C. This meant going through Customs, collecting our luggage, taking a taxi to the other airport, rechecking our luggage, and going back through security. Luckily, we did this at a low traffic time, so we made it to our gate with time to spare. Again, whew! Tip: To me it seemed silly, but apparently some travel sights will book you changing airports during transit without warning you. So, make sure you check your flight itinerary thoroughly before you book your flight. Flying at the holidays also made the airports madhouses and all of the flights were totally full. But, after 17 hours of travel and a few bumps in the road, we made it to Michigan safe and sound with all of our luggage.
I am now home and resettled. It has been odd dealing with snow (it’s snowed almost constantly since I got home), my puppies, and driving for the first time in 3 ½ months. I will definitely miss my new friends, British music videos, easy access to Starbucks, and the greatness of London itself. It was a great experience that I will always cherish and never forget. But, I am happy to be home – eating mac & cheese, American Chinese food, and Mountain Dew (oh, how I have missed you!).