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Melissa's London Adventure!!

Welcome to Melissa's Travel Page. Here is where I will be keeping a record of my travels for all of you to read. Please feel free to leave a comment for me. If I have time in between discovering new places and meeting new people I will reply to them!

Diary Entries

Wednesday, 07 September 2005

Location: London, UK

Well, it’s been about two weeks since I last wrote, so I thought it was a good time update you all again! Warning: this journal is REALLY really long (Wendy, you know what I mean… =P), and it’s mainly my ramblings, insights about myself, and reflections of my experience in London so far.. If you’re more interested in seeing the places I’ve traveled to or activities I’ve done, skip my journal and just view my photos! .. =D

Thankfully, I’m slowly beginning to adjust to my hectic life here—juggling classes, studying, working, exploring London, going out, and traveling on the weekends. I have to admit, it was really hard to focus and I felt really distracted the first couple weeks here. Many of us on this program likened London to a very loooooong Vegas trip—taking on a “what happens in London stay in London” mentality, and assuming a carefree attitude where we felt as if our actions had no consequences. But, by a combination of God’s grace and protection, realizing that I can’t live my life conforming to this attitude, and the reality of classes and working setting in, I’m now trying to live in a manner which is more enjoyable in the long run—adventurous and fun, yet underpinned by moderation. =)

With that said, I do still love going out to different places and meeting new people—just not every night, which it would’ve been if you asked me a couple weeks ago. In just my short time in London, I am beginning to think London is a lot more diverse than L.A. Whereas L.A. has pockets of various ethnic groups concentrated in different parts of the city, I am noticing that London is more just a hodgepodge of different races all living together. A typical Londoner could be of Western or Eastern European, Irish, African, Indian, Middle Eastern, or Asian descent. And these Londoners are mixed with many foreigners who also live in this big city—including Australians, Americans, Canadians, French, Italians, Germans, Greek, Russian—you name it. It’s such an assortment of people and I love learning about them—not to mention hearing their accents. And, let me tell you, their accents make them that much more attractive! .. =P Hmmm, how come fob accents don't have that same effect?! .. =P haha..

But, being here in London has also made me feel very out of touch and detached with what is happening in the rest of the world, in particular, my own country. It’s partly a product of being consumed so much with my own life and partly a result of having no TV or Internet access at my immediate disposal. With such big news as the passing away of Chief Justice Rehnquist and the catastrophe of Hurricane Katrina, I’m vowing to stay more on top of current events regardless of my unimportant social life or lack of regular TV or Internet access. This past Monday was my first day on the job and since they didn’t give me any real assignment to do, I spent the better part of the morning catching up on the devastation and tragedy of the hurricane in New Orleans. Although I would hear tidbits about it here and there this past week, it really didn’t hit home that hard. Then, my heart dropped in reading about and seeing the severity of the situation while surfing the net at work.

So, yes, Monday was my first day at work and all I did was surf the net and update my travel journal.. =P The partner under whom I am working is out of the office attending Rehnquist’s funeral, so you’ll just have to wait until my next update for the real deal about this job. For now, I am just thankful that I have the opportunity to intern at this huge law firm twice a week. The firm is called Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr and is one of the top U.S. law firms with locations worldwide. In particular, because of my interest in alternative dispute resolution, I am working in their international commercial arbitration department. Although I haven’t done any real work for them yet, I think I am going to love working here because the firm is located in the heart of central London at Picadilly Circus. It’s very close to lots of eating and shopping along Regent St. and Oxford St.—my kind of work location.. =) In addition, I sit just five steps away from the coffee, tea, soda, juice, water, fruit, biscuits (yummy yummy cookies—including Digestives for those of you who know London cookies!!), stocked for our pleasure in the kitchen! So far, the atmosphere at the firm seems relaxed but hardworking, and everyone seems friendly.

In my efforts to not allow London to become merely a long Vegas trip with all discipline lost and priorities out of wack, I’ve attended church these past two Sundays at Holy Trinity Brompton, a church located in South Kensington very close to my school. I love it! Meeting with God with others in this way has been so refreshing, and I plan to continue going during the weekends when I am in London. The church itself is huge with 5 or 6 services. Being an Anglican, Church of England church it has a formal service in the mornings (people have told me Church of England is similar to an Episcopal church), but the majority of its services are more informal and contemporary. The messages are applicable and the worship is great (sidenote: Tim Hughes and his wife are supposedly on the staff of their music ministry)..

Anyways, this update has become quite long—and I still haven’t told you about my trip to the city of Bath and Stonehenge or the Notting Hill Carnival that took place along the street I live. For more on these events, see the pictures I posted. =)

And, finally, with a class schedule very accommodating to weekend travel, I’m taking my first trip outside the UK to Morocco this weekend! I am super excited but a little scared at the same time of not knowing what to expect, since this isn’t a typical vacation spot. But, it’s a place that I definitely want to see, and figure right now is an opportune time. I will be traveling with four others and hope to come back with many exciting stories. Please keep us in your prayers for our safety in traveling there and while on our trip!

Props to you if you’ve gotten this far in my little travel update! Haha.. Yes, yes, I know I can be very long-winded at times.. =P Well, hope this lets you in on a little of what I’ve been up to--- PLEASE, email me and let me know how you are doing as well.. I would love to hear from you and will try to respond to you personally.. I miss you all very much!!

Tuesday, 23 August 2005

Location: London, UK

I LOOOVE LONDON! These words ring in my head every time I get the chance to take in the scene around me -- whether it be a walk through Hyde Park, a stroll around Covent Garden, or being pleased at myself in finding my way along the Tube routes! I can't believe I've only been in London for a little over a week! It feels as if I've been here for longer already! This past week has been a mixture of both highs and lows. The dimmest parts were definitely the stresses and frustrations brought on by hunting for a flat. I've never in my life had to find myself a place to live in such a short amount of time, dish out so much money in such a short amount of time, and make quick but wise decisions under such time pressure. But, thank God, all things have worked out, and I'm living with 3 other girls who I am definitely looking forward to becoming better friends with. Some of the highlights have been the EATING (of course), the exploring around London, meeting new and different people, and hanging out with my flatmates.

So, my flatmates and I found a cute place in an area between Bayswater and Notting Hill, about a 20 minute bus ride or two tube stops from my school in South Kensington. The flat is cute with two bedrooms and a spacious living room with a balcony that overlooks the street. Bayswater and Notting Hill are both really cute areas with boutique shops and really good food all within walking distance! I have yet to eat something that wasn't good!!

As far as the eating---I've eaten some of the best Indian food and Thai food in my life, and have tried Lebanese food and Cornish chicken pasties (almost like handheld chicken pot pies). Can't say too much about the English food---I've still yet to eat some real pub food like fish and chips, but I know I'm not missing much. Back in the US, I was already a huge fan of Indian food. Being here has made me love it even more! And, there are some great places right across the street from my flat! The other night we went to this place called Churchill Arms--famous b/c it's a pub that also serves Thai food. And, it's not just any Thai express type food---but good quality Thai food that rivals Saladang in taste!! It was really really good!!

I'm sad that school started yesterday and reality set in that I'm really here to take my classes (and hopefully, do some traveling when I can.. =P).. But, before that, I have seriously been out to a bar or club every single night. Winson--you would be happy.. haha.. Londoners are crazy. It's not even that they party hard, but they love chatting it up in their pubs. I don't understand how they can drink so much and smoke so much. Most pubs are pretty low key, just a place to hang with friends.. but it's just so smoky! .. These days, I don't care too much that I smell like smoke, b/c I know I'll end up smelling like smoke by the end of the day anyways. And what's weird, is that most pubs close at 11pm, so that if you wanted to stay out later with friends, you would then go to a bar or club, which usually charges cover. It's definitely been fun going out every night, though, as I've gotten to know the people in my program better, and even gotten to know some foreigners as well just from being in these places.

It's also been great hanging out with my friends more, especially outside the context of law school. It's funny, b/c my flatmates have expressed that they are surprised in seeing the more "wild" side of me when we go out!.. =P ----to which I reply that I've always been like that, they've just never seen me outside of law school! .. haha.. But, I think my energy to go out almost every night this past week has seriously been intensified by Becca, with whom I share a room (and double bed, since the room is too small for two singles). So, even if I didn't know her too well in law school, now we're really getting to know each other...=P But, we get along well. She is a really sweet, down-to-earth, sincere Texan, who is always up for partying, having a good time, trying new things, eating, and late night munching!! Hmmm, many of the things I like to do! Yes, it's been great hanging out with all my flatmates. Christy is one of my good friends from school and is like the mom of the group, who's always looking out for us. Kelly, my other flatmate, is the baby of our group and the flirt...who's always gets hit on by foreign men! .. haha.. I'm really enjoying the time I get to spend with all of them.

So, yes, to say the least, London has been fun! .. Sadly, school started yesterday, so I'm sure my partying days will be curbed somewhat. I'm still trying to adjust and want to get on a routine. It's been really hard to concentrate and focus when there's so many better things to do than read for my classes! This is something you can definitely keep me in prayer for..

Also, if you remember, please pray for my quiet times. Amidst all the running around, flat hunting, hanging out with people, I haven't set aside time to "hang out" with God, and I miss it. =\ So, please pray for me regarding that.

One item of thanksgiving, however, is that as I am meeting more and more people in my program, I am finding that there are several others who regularly attend church. One of my concerns in being in London was that I wasn't going to have people to attend church with or others interested in checking out churches. Now I'm realizing there are a handful of us here, so please pray for these new friendships as well!

Ok, friends, I MISS YOU ALL! .. i will try to update again soon! .. i've got to go to class now! .. talk to you soon!

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Recent Messages

From johann
this page is SOOOO COOOOL!!! thanks for posting it!
Response: haha... no problem---it was really easy to do.. i'll try and update you guys regularly.. =P