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Time April 4th, 2016 in 2015 Fall, College Study Abroad, England | No Comments by

I promised you some more pictures, so by golly you’re getting some more pictures!

Here is me canoeing in Wales on the IFSA-Butler adventure weekend (when IFSA-Butler takes all its students someplace cool for a weekend).


It was a beautiful, beautiful morning, and the sun was just coming up over the mountains, and the tops were all misty looking. The water in the lake was so clear, you could see to the bottom in places. Just gorgeous, like from a fairytale.

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Reflection in Retrospect

Time April 4th, 2016 in 2015 Fall, College Study Abroad, England | No Comments by

Hey there! Well, I’ve been back home from my study abroad trip for a few months now, and I was looking back over my blog, and I was thinking I’d like to reflect back on my experiences, now that some time has past.

First of all, I want to say that my whole experience was absolutely AMAZING. I mean, just wonderful in every way – everything I dreamed it would be and more. I feel like that doesn’t often happen in life. When we hope and dream about something for a long time, it’s easy to end up disappointed. I’m not going to say that my experience didn’t have its ups and downs, but… all in all, it was just so, so wonderful.

So what exactly made it so great?

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The Steam Fair

Time December 18th, 2015 in 2015 Fall, College Study Abroad, England | 1 Comment by

It’s reading week, which means I have no classes. I have so few class hours per week anyway (only 8.5) that sometimes I feel like I basically never go to school at all. I’ll go on that tirade some other day, but anyway, I’m currently sitting around all week with nothing to do except write my essays.

Or not write my essays.

Hey, suddenly I find I feel like updating my blog! Huh! Fancy that!

Ok, ok, ok, just one more post, and THEN I’ll write my essays.

So one day, some of my friends from church invited me to the Stream Fair. Or at least, I thought that’s what they said. It was going to be some kind of carnival. I like carnivals, so I figured I’d pop by.

But it turned out it was actually a STEAM Fair. Ok, that still didn’t mean anything to me. Unless it’s like, steam-powered or something. Ha ha.

No wait, it’s actually steam-powered!

Yeah, a steam-powered carnival!


It’s called Carter’s Steam Fair, and it’s a traveling collection of beautiful old vintage carnival rides. Their crown jewel is this wonderful steam-powered merry-go-round (or “galloper”) from 1895.


And yes, it is complete with a beautiful steam engine, and a big jet of steam flows constantly out of the top.


I don’t usually ride carnival rides, but I couldn’t resist. It was amazing and so beautiful, and I was so happy on it!


My American flatmate Sarah came with me and kindly took that picture. Sarah is secretly a hummingbird and vibrates at 200 cycles per second. Or something like that, because every single picture I took of her is blurry. Case in point:


We had a wonderful time just walking around the fair and looking at all the beautiful, beautiful old machines. Every square of inch of every ride was cared for, and the art nouveau paint jobs were just so lovely. I’m just going to keep saying “love” and “lovely” and “beautiful” because that’s what this place was. It makes me happy even now, just thinking that it exists somewhere in the world.

Here’s a mirror show tent:


A little car merry go round (not steam-powered):


Here’s another ride that had a column of steam rising out of it. It’s big, multi-person swings. Even the bottoms of the swings were painted, and you could see the picture when each swing was up.


And here’s a beautiful 1950s ice cream van. Sarah recognized it from the news. Indeed, Mick Jagger once offered the owner £100,000 for it, but the owner said he couldn’t bear to part with it.


A last look at the glowing fair as we left:



Time November 2nd, 2015 in 2015 Fall, College Study Abroad, England | 1 Comment by

Guys, I need to confess something. It’s a very dark secret, so you can’t tell anyone, ok? I

Wait, no… I can’t do it. I’m not ready yet. Uh… uh… let’s start over.

Hey, guess what? I went to Ascot!

I feel like everyone must know what Ascot is, but that’s probably not true. Everyone in England knows what it is, but you might be in Botswana or something, I don’t know. It’s a big, famous horse racecourse. Probably one of the most famous ones in the world. It’s the one they go to (and sing about) in My Fair Lady, if you’ve seen that. Every year in the summer, the course hosts Royal Ascot, a series of races that the queen comes to and that attracts visitors from all over the world. It’s a giant media event and is especially famous for the fashion and the large, outrageous hats ladies wear to it.

Well, this wasn’t Royal Ascot (it was Autumn Racing Weekend), but attendees are always expected to dress up nicely, and hats are encouraged. I LOVE dressing up, so I got really excited. Here’s me in my hat and vintage dress.


Misa was really excited to come as well.


I purposely bought the slightly more expensive Premier admission because it’s fancier: men aren’t allowed in without suits. As a costume designer, I just love to see everyone looking their best! I greatly lament the general sloppiness of everyday modern dress; somehow, sartorial slovenliness seems to be at an all time high, and it makes my heart cry a little bit. So yeah, I was super pumped up for Ascot. And I wasn’t disappointed. Everybody looked so classy!

Here are some dressed-up dudes accepting one of the racing trophies.


I’ve been talking about fashion so far because I’m me and I can’t help it, but believe it or not, there were also horses racing.

racing moreracing

I sort of thought there would be horses running constantly, but actually there was just one race about every half an hour. The rest of the time you just eat, drink, chat, look around, examine the horses, make bets, etc. There are actually no assigned seats: you just sit wherever you want whenever you want (more areas are available with Premier admission). Misa and I watched some races at the top of the stadium and some races right up against the fence by the track. Here’s a picture Misa took of me right in front of the track.


I wish there had been more races, but I guess they need all that time in between to reset everything and get all the fresh horses in. The moments when races were going on were definitely the best parts of the day. Everyone in the stadium would be so focused during the race, and then at the end, there was always a giant, collective roar. I love moments like that, when thousands of people are all sharing something.

Here’s a picture of the stadium. Is it called a stadium? I’m not sure. Probably not. It’s only on one end of the racecourse (doesn’t go anywhere close to all the way around it). This is the back, so the track is on the other side.


Overall, I loved Ascot. It had all of the British people I wanted to find but wasn’t sure I ever would: classy, elegant, beautiful, polite, a bit posh. Sort of the traditional people that Americans think of when they think of England. Add in hats and horses and the day is definitely a win.

Here’s another picture of Misa and me, happy after a very nice day.


Well, that was a nice post, goodnight! Bye!

Oh. Oh, you wanted to know my secret? Oh. Oh ok.

Well, this is my hat. What do you think?


Well, ummm…


Yeah, that whole white band around the outside is carefully pleated Kleenex, sewn on painstakingly by hand by yours truly. I really did, I wore a Kleenex hat to Ascot, one of the most fashionable places in the country.

The whole time I was sewing it, I was like, “Am I actually doing this? Am I actually going to wear this in public?!” I had tried to buy ribbon, but I live in a tiny, tiny town, and there was no ribbon to be had. The hat’s feathers and netting are a cut-up fascinator from a charity shop (“thrift store” in American).

No one called me out, but then again, no one said“Hey, I just wanted to let you know your hat doesn’t look like Kleenex.”

Just please don’t tell the fashion police where I am.


Random Pictures

Time November 2nd, 2015 in 2015 Fall, College Study Abroad, England | No Comments by

Uh, usually I make a folder on my computer of all the pictures I want to use in each post because I sort of categorize them, but there were still some pictures left in the folder after the last post. So I’ll just kind of unceremoniously dump them here now. You’re welcome!

This is outside the window of my room.


This next one is Misa. Misa is from Japan. We met each other sharing sheet music at the taster (“trial”) session for Absolute Harmony, the acapella group here. Misa is really fun and great. We went shopping together one day and then got lazy walking back to our dorms (it’s like a 25 minute walk). So we just sat down and started eating our groceries like the classy people we are.


This is me. I bought a possibly slightly excessive number of Digestive biscuits.


There’s a store near my home in St. Louis that sells international food and has Digestive biscuits, so I’ve actually had them before.

And wait. You need to get ready for the next picture. Prepare yourself for something amazing. Something truly mind-blowing. If I could bring one thing home from the British way of life, it might well be the thing in this picture.


It’s GROCERY DELIVERY. Yes, the grocery stores will deliver all of your groceries. FOR ONLY ONE POUND EXTRA.

That is one of the friendly neighborhood Tesco delivery drivers with his friendly neighborhood truck (he graciously agreed to let the weird, over-excited American take a picture). I get SO excited whenever my groceries are coming. It’s like getting mail except it’s food! The drivers are always really nice, and they will bring the groceries right into your kitchen – even though mine is on the fourth floor and down the hall of our flat! The truck has three doors, as you can see: one for cabinet, one for fridge, and one for freezer.

Besides just being cool, this is so great because it saves about an hour of walking (Tesco is where Misa and I went above). Plus I’m really slow or blind or illogical or SOMETHING because I take absolutely forever in there and use about 10 minutes finding each thing. Each item starts with me circling the entire store and ends with me following some poor employee. Rinse and repeat.


That’s rhetorical because I already know. Yes. Yes it is.


Societies at Royal Holloway

Time October 23rd, 2015 in 2015 Fall, College Study Abroad, England | No Comments by

Just like in America, staff and students alike here say that the best way to experience uni is to get involved in extracurricular activities. So I dutifully went to the Welcome Fayre, where I was slightly overwhelmed by a sea of enthusiastic devotees of pretty much anything you can think of, offering me leaflets and soliciting my email address. Some really dedicated ones were even in costumes, or “fancy dress” as they call it here (side note: this really confused me one time when I was going to a formal occasion and they said no fancy dress). Despite declining the majority of the leaflets I was offered, I came away with far too many. When I asked older students how to choose what to join, they all said the same thing: try everything and see what sticks!

Well, I took their advice to heart, and so far I have tried 12 societies (Americans say “clubs”) and local organizations.

I’ll start with Photography because I have a picture for you. Each week in Photography, they set up an interesting scene or something and then teach us how to best capture it. Their very first one? Fire swinging!


Yes, indeed, that’s blazing fire hurtling through the air on the end of a string! And a lot of it not on a string: as you can see, there were sparks going everywhere!

We set our cameras on long exposures to get the trail effect. The blue dots are from a Circus Society girl who walked by and joined us; she happened to have some flashing glowing lights with her.

Another really cool society I tried is POLO. Yeah, that’s in CAPITAL LETTERS because it’s SO COOL. Polo!!! Yeah, like on horses! It was so, so fun! One of my friends told me that he loves polo because it’s all the best parts of other sports combined: you get to hit a ball, you get a big stick, you get to go really fast, you get to run into other players a bit, you get a HORSE.

Unfortunately, there are no pictures of me playing polo because, well, I was playing polo. And let me clarify that by “playing polo,” I mean I was very excited that I was able to ride the horse slowly and occasionally actually hit the ball a few feet with my stick.

I do, however, have this awe-inspiring picture of me hitting a pretend ball on a pretend horse.


You really have to focus on that imaginary ball, or it gets away from you!

In case for some reason you were wanting to see actual polo players on actual horses playing actual polo, here’s a photo from the exhibition game they did for us at the farm.


So when I was at the Welcome Fayre (I don’t know why it’s “fayre.” That’s not normal. I feel like I have to say that or else you might think it’s British or something. During the first week I was here, I was sitting at a table with some British people, and a horse and carriage drove by, and like three of my friends immediately looked at me and said, “That’s not normal! That doesn’t usually happen! We don’t drive around in carriages!” …I’m sorry, I was in the middle of a sentence there and totally broke off; I’m going to close the parentheses, and we’re just going to redo the whole paragraph, ok?)

So when I was at the Welcome Fayre, I got a leaflet from the Trampolining Society. And in real life, I was like, “Oh, thanks!” but in my head, I was like, “I seriously don’t need to jump on a trampoline that much.” But then one of my friends went and came back and said it was the bounciest trampoline she’d ever been on and that it feels like flying.

Well of course, I couldn’t pass that up. So off I went to Trampolining, and yes, it was definitely the biggest and bounciest trampoline I’ve ever been on. It’s so bouncy that the first lesson is how to stop bouncing. It’s so bouncy that some talented people, of which I am not one, can do flips on it. It’s so bouncy that you really do feel a little bit like you’re flying. It’s so bouncy that… only one person can go on it at once.

Yeah, I had a turn, and then there were like 20 more people until I could have another turn.

And I got a little bored.

And next door, they were punching people or something.

So then I watched and then I got roped in and then I was doing ninjutsu. With one of the instructors because I made them have an odd number of people, whoops.

Ninjutsu is different from a lot of other martial arts because there’s no competition or sparring, even in practice. It’s only for self defense, so the goal of every single move is killing or severely maiming the other person. And there are no rules of politeness; we kept being told to dig our nails into each other. I felt like I was in assassin class.

I’m a theatre major, so I’ve had some experience with stage combat. And ninjutsu is just like stage combat except you actually beat the other person up. Which was a WEIRD change for me. I kept being like, “Are you sure you want me to kick you? Really? Are you really sure?” And of course, this is to the multi-black-belt instructor, who is probably made completely of steel.

Also, I like to make my stage fighting pretty, so I have a tendency to point my toe or sort of curtsey when I lean over. Which I learned, in real life, would have made me dead in about 2 seconds. The instructor kept being like, “Right, but if you do that, I can just punch you.” “Right, but if you do that, I can just poke out your eyes and put my finger through your throat.”

He was really helpful and actually really sweet, and I definitely had fun, but a career in ninjutsu may not be in my future.

Well, the other societies I tried were nice, but I don’t have anything in particular to say about them. Sorry, that’s a total cop out. To be honest, I’m sure I could blah blah blah forever because I’m a total chatterbox, but it’s 1 am, and I want to go to bed. So I’ll just tell you: the other societies I tried were Textiles, History, Savoy Opera, Absolute Harmony (acapella), and Global Cafe (international students). I also tried a Bible study (which I absolutely love) and two churches, The Journey and Ascot Life (which are also both lovely).

Oh, but no matter how tired I am, I can’t in good conscience go to bed without sharing my obligatory cute animal photo. He was at the polo place.




Virginia Water

Time October 6th, 2015 in 2015 Fall, College Study Abroad, England | 1 Comment by

As one of the Welcome Week events, the school had a free bus trip to Virginia Water, a nearby lake. I and about 10 other students went and had a really lovely time just walking around and looking at the beautiful area. And it was a perfect day to take lots of pictures!

Right away, we came upon these swans with a beautiful view.


One of the girls in our group tried to pet the swans, but they started hissing at us, so we left them in peace.

We kept going around the lake, and eventually we came to a foresty area. And we found this.


The waterfall prevented us from continuing around the lake, so instead, we went further into the woods. We found some nice little trails, some big rocks, a little meadow, and some more great views of the waterfall (which was actually quite big).

We kept going, and then… lo and behold… we found some sort of ruined castle thing!


I’m actually still not sure what it was. Let me google it for you.

Ah ok, Google says these are the ruins of Leptis Magna, a Roman city that was on the shore of the Mediterranean near Tripoli (present day Libya). They used to be in the British Museum and then were transported near Virginia Water on gun carriages in 1826. Cool!

Of course we took lots of pictures.


And who doesn’t love a good ruined castle thing?


It started raining when we were making our way back around to the bus, but it was all ok, because the Japanese students were armed with cute umbrellas.


And you know that it’s not a real Christina post unless I manage to find a cute animal. Well, there were a lot of cute dogs running around the park. This little dude was especially photogenic.

doglady dogwater

There was a cute black dog too, but he ran too fast and made himself all blurry. So I’ll just end with this picture. He’s waiting for trench coat lady to throw the ball in the water so he can go swimming again. Cutie.


Royal Holloway

Time October 5th, 2015 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

Well, I’ve arrived at Royal Holloway!

Honestly, one of the things I was most excited about was getting to unpack my suitcase; it was completely jam-packed, and I could never find anything without exploding it all over the floor of our tiny, tiny hotel room. But I’m sure this isn’t what you want to hear about… you want to see pictures of Royal Holloway!


Here you go! This is the Founder’s Building, our original building, opened in 1886 by this fine lady.


“Vicky,” as she is affectionately referred to. (Queen Victoria)

Here’s Gowar, the residence hall I live in. It’s slightly odd looking, but I’ve decided I like it. It has a bit of a lodge look, I think. Athletes for the London Olympics lived here in 2012. I’m told it might have been the rowers.


I’d wanted to live in Founder’s because I love old places, but I wasn’t the one choosing. IFSA-Butler assured us they were picking good rooms for us, and indeed, we are the envy of the rest of campus. These rooms are NICE. I have a double bed, a big wardrobe, my own bathroom, tons of shelf space, built-in cabinets, and a huge shared kitchen. So I’m not complaining.

Here’s our kitchen.


The first week after you move in is known as “Welcome Week” or “Freshers Week” (“freshers” are freshmen). There are lots of events to go to during this time. There are a few mandatory academic events, like meetings with advisors and informative lectures. But mostly, it’s a lot of fun and social events, like lunches, shows, games (especially trivia or “quizzes”), trips to interesting places in the area, and really big parties.

The parties here really surprise me because in America, I am not even old enough to drink and many local campuses are dry campuses, meaning even adults can’t drink there. But here, there is a school bar, and the school sponsors huge, crazy parties multiple times per week (every day during Freshers Week). They charge £5-10 admission, and there is still always a really long queue (line) outside. I went to one of these parties, but I was pretty bored… I just can’t find any enjoyment in screaming over loud music and squeezing my way through packed crowds in a really dark room. Not to mention watching everyone get drunk. I feel like in America there is at least some stigma about getting hugely drunk and not being able to control yourself, but here a lot of people seem to consider it normal.

I went to quite a few events during Freshers Week and made lots of friends surprisingly quickly. On my favorite evening, I had a girl from Sweden and two Japanese girls over for dinner. We were joined by some British flatmates, a flatmate from Hong Kong, and a girl from Moldova, and we had really great, interesting conversations about our different countries and cultures. And we made great food and had a lot of fun.

A few people have asked me what my favorite Freshers Week event was. Well, I have an answer for you that shows what a sophisticated and learned individual I am.


One day, a day or two before, I was feeling lonely. I’d been told that the sheep outnumber the people in our county of Surrey, so I decided to start walking and hoped I would find a sheep. I didn’t, alas, but I didn’t find a cute little shop that served hot chocolate, so it was all ok.

However, the petting zoo did have sheep! Huge, really, really, really wooly Welsh sheep. SO MUCH WOOL. For some reason, I didn’t take a picture of the sheep. I was probably too busy petting them.

When I first got there, they were still setting up the pens. Someone was leading a pig to it’s pen by holding a box of mushrooms under his nose, ha ha. And then someone started walking towards me with this little guy.


I literally involuntarily dropped everything I was holding and ran towards him. And then I proceeded to sit in front of him and stare at him for half and hour.


You see, in America, we don’t have this kind of white goose with the orange bill. We have only Canadian Geese, which are brown and black. I always see these precious little white ones in drawings, and, I mean, just LOOK at them. LOOK!


The British people laughed at me and said they all hate geese. BUT HOW CAN YOU HATE THIS LITTLE GUY?!

Also, The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale is one of my favorite books, so as well as being cute as buttons, these guys remind me of a wonderful story! I have 8 more goose pictures, but I’ll spare you. I don’t know how I limited myself because I took 34 pictures of the cat in Greenwich.

I also got to pet the pig, some bunnies, some goats, two donkeys, some ducks, and some tiny chickens. It was great.



Orientation Week

Time October 2nd, 2015 in 2015 Fall, College Study Abroad, England | No Comments by

I had a vision. A vision of orientation. And in this vision, I sat for hours and hours in a stuffy conference room where old men plodded through powerpoint slides and admonished me for future misdemeanors, and I was really jet lagged and really hungry. Now fortunately, this wasn’t the prophetic trance kind of vision because then it would have come true, alack. Nope, it was just a vision of unnecessary pessimism.

Orientation was great!

Ok, yeah, there were powerpoint slides, and conference rooms, and old men. But the old men were all pretty cool. We got Andrew, a jolly Welsh guy who told us about how weird Americans are (they wear neon and talk to random strangers and are all good at sports, the WEIRDOS). We got David, a friendly London policeman who schooled us on not getting mugged (which is a very useful skill!). And we got Lord Taverne, a very dignified and very funny member of the House of Lords who chatted about current politics and events.

There were a couple of other meetings too, but orientation week turned out to mostly be a time to explore London! Yipee!

(Boring but informative side note: this was the orientation from IFSA-Butler, the study abroad agency that my American university contracts with. It was me and about 200 other students, who are all going to various London area universities through IFSA-Butler’s programs. IFSA-Butler has orientation so we can get a little bit used to England before moving into our schools. Ok, end of boring but informative side note.)

One of our tour guides told me that no one will believe I actually went to England unless I have pictures of Big Ben and Westminster. So I guess I had better post those now and alleviate your doubts immediately. I really am here! In England! I promise!


You also get the red double decker bus for good measure. I’ve always seen those busses in drawings, but I wasn’t sure if they were tour busses or charter busses or something of old that isn’t actually here anymore. But it turns out they are the official city transit busses and they are everywhere!


A fun fact about Big Ben: the first bell they had cracked, so they got a new one from the Whitechapel Bell Foundry. Two months later, this one also cracked, but they didn’t want to replace it again. So it’s still cracked, which is said to give it a distinctive ring. The Whitechapel Bell Foundry also made another famous bell. Can you guess which one?

Oh yeah, it’s the Liberty Bell.

On our first day in London, my roommate Juliana and I decided we should go to a pub, since that’s a very English thing to do. We walked around looking for a cute one that would serve us dinner and found this one, the Cambridge.


Juliana doesn’t like fish but felt that it’s pretty much compulsory to order fish and chips on your first day in England.


Unfortunately, traditional or not, fish is fish, so in the end we both ate my macaroni and cheese.

We stayed in the St. Giles Hotel off Oxford Street, so we were in an excellent location for exploring. I saw lots of cool and unique places, like this umbrella store from 1830. It was lovely inside and full of very beautiful but very expensive umbrellas (I saw some for £100). A tour guide later told us that you know you’re a real Englishman when you have umbrellas to match all your outfits.


And we saw Convent Garden, which is currently featuring this fun balloon installation. Julianna and I ate in a really cute crepe restaurant in one of those little hidey holes in the lower level. There were musicians playing outside, and the whole place was very sweet.


All of the IFSA-Butler students got to see shows in West End, and my group went to War Horse. The puppetry in this show was just astoundingly amazing. Half of the main characters in the show are horses! Played by giant metal framework puppets with three puppeteers each! And actors actually ride them! And the movement of the horses was so realistic. I started cringing and could barely watch when some of them started dying. It was worth seeing the show just for these puppets. As for the rest of it… I liked the happy beginning and happy end, but the vast desert of despairing bleakness between the two was just a little too much for my sunny disposition. My favorite parts of the show were the singing and the COMIC RELIEF DUCK. There was a DUCK PUPPET. Oh my gosh, it was so cute!!!!!!!!!!!! They didn’t allow photos, but you can see one online here:

On our last day in London, we went to Greenwich. We visited the Maritime Museum, the chapel and painted room at the Old Royal Naval College, and of course the Prime Meridian at the Royal Observatory.


For lunch, I told our tour guide that I wanted to eat somewhere “good and local.” He said, “Oh, what you want is pies and mash!” He directed Juliana and I to this lovely restaurant, Goddards, which has been there since 1890. It was perfect!


The staff and the food were both really lovely. The first things on the menu were “pies and mash,” “double pies and mash,” “pies and double mash,” and “double pies and double mash.” The food was very simple but so pleasant and homey. I learned that “mash” is mashed potatoes.

I got apple pie for desert, and they asked if I wanted custard. “Oh,” I thought, “I know what that is. It’s ice cream!” So I ordered it. Nope, it was this:


It was served steaming hot and was strongly vanilla flavored. I liked it ok but didn’t eat all of it.

While we were touring around with the tour guide, we saw this cat, and everyone stopped to take pictures. Our tour guide laughed at us and said, “I’m showing you all these famous historical sites and the best thing you see all day is going to be a cat.” But it was a really pretty cat.


Before I end this post, I would like to impart to you a very important lesson I learned during orientation week: Some things shouldn’t be made into legos.


We saw this in a toy store. I wish I could convey to you the skin-tingling, nightmarish creepiness that grabs your soul when you are suddenly confronted with this. I feel like they don’t look that bad in the picture, but when they are towering over you with their jagged skin and beady eyes… ugh. I kept thinking they would be perfect Dr. Who villains.


Hi there!

Time September 24th, 2015 in 2015 Fall, College Study Abroad, England | No Comments by


Hi hi hi hi hi hi hi hi hi hi hi!

I’m Christina!

And guess what?!?!


Guys, I cannot even express how excited I am. I have been wanting to do this FOREVER. England seems so super cool, and I’m basically just bouncing off the walls with excitement!!!

I’m so happy and honored that you’re interested in reading my blog! I’ll be posting about my adventures once every week or two and hopefully we can learn some cool stuff and explore together – you and me and my camera!

I’ll be attending Royal Holloway University (part of the University of London) in Egham and studying with the British students there from September until Christmas break.

This is my face right now: *^_^*

Well, actually this is a photo blog, so instead of emoticons, I should probably give you some photos.

Here’s me. I should probably post one of my glamorous headshots (did I mention I’m a theatre major? No I didn’t. Whoops) but instead here’s a candid picture of what I actually look like when I’m traveling.



Oh yes, I like small animals. Prepare yourself to see a lot of photos of adorable small animals.

Like this French chicken I saw over the summer. LOOK, IT HAS A BUILT-IN HAT!!!


I seem to be getting distracted here. Let me post some pictures of my house and my family so you can see a little more about where I come from and the cool stuff I’m leaving behind. I live in Ballwin, Missouri, which is a suburb of St. Louis, which is basically right in the middle of America.

I walked around our house and took pictures of whatever everyone happened to be doing. Here’s my house:


Ok, and here are my family members. It ended up that they were all doing something super typical of themselves, which makes me smile.

My dad is fixing his vintage moped. He has two vintage autos which are constantly broken, but they’re his babies so he can’t get rid of them. The people at the auto repair shops know us reaaaaaaaaaally well.


Behind him, you can see the front wheel of the other one, a 1980s Volkswagen camper.

My mom is working on drying the laundry outside. We have a dryer, but some of our clothes aren’t supposed to go in it. My mom is great. She’s Chinese, so I’m half Chinese.


My brother Kevin is spending a million bajillion hours studying and doing his homework. He seems to get about 5-8 hours of homework per night. That happened to me in high school too. Not cool.


And… my little sister is glaring at me because she wants me to do chores instead of taking pictures. She thinks I’m not going to mow the lawn before I leave, and then she’ll have to do it. Thanks Amy, this is a great picture.


Ok well, FINE, Amy. You win.

Looks like I have some lawn mowing to do… Bye for today! Thanks and hope you come back soon!