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Going to See Plays in London

     For my intro to London stage class I’ve been to see about 4 shows total. The best part about it is that I don’t have to go to see certain shows by myself! Some notable theatre’s that I’ve been to are the London National theatre and the Phoenix theater.

      My classmates all meet up by the library at 6 every Thursday and we set out to see a new play at a new venue every week. It’s interesting because every venue is different in every way. Whether it’s the size, location or even the spectators. It’s very refreshing to be at a new theatre every week for these purposes. Here there is a theatre on every corner, back home I can count the amount of theatres we have on my hand! Anyways every time we go out, I’m always excited to go out and see what’s in store for the new week.

     Last week I went to see a play that was for a deaf audience. It was so interesting to see a play from that perspective. There’s a girl in my class who is losing her hearing and I just love that as a class and theatre community we can all appreciate different audiences.

      The only downside to seeing plays every week (and I know how could there be a downside??) is the money I spend for transportation. I do sometimes get lucky and find buses to the theatre, but I doesn’t happen often. I wish that there were more frequent cheap options available, but I usually have to take the tube or train. It’s fine though because the shows I see make up for it!!

     I don’t even spend time thinking about it because the shows are so good. I think I brought this up before, but yes transportation isn’t cheap here so when I go out, I try to stay out for my money’s worth. Some people leave straight from class and spend the entire evening in central London until the play starts. I should start doing this, but I never can find anyone to tag along from my class. Usually people leave class and eat or do whatever they need to do before leaving to see the play.

     Once I was out at a theatre with my class and I saw Emilia Clarke, she’s an actress in Game of Thrones. I spotted her about 15 minutes after I got to the theatre. After the show, we went to see a one man play called baby reindeer, the whole class saw her. I wanted to go up to her but everyone said it was inappropriate. Big cultural shock for me, but now at least I know! See you guys soon!


Kierra M. Fayne is a junior at the University of Missouri- Kansas City studying theatre performance. Kierra is spending the fall semester abroad with the Missouri-London Semester Program: University of Roehampton. She plans to study theatre in London to seek new techniques and tools that will help her tackle performances with more ease. Kierra was raised in Kansas City, Missouri, where she has made connections that have helped her identify her goals to study theatre performance. She is now ready to spread her wings, find connections, and make new friends in London.

Disclaimer:  Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space. The opinions or statements expressed herein should not be taken as a position or endorsement of the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Arriving in London

     I’ve been in London for four days now and I’m still pinching myself! I still haven’t gotten the chance to see central London, which is a bummer, but I’ll find a way. In my home in Kansas City most people rely on their cars for transportation, but in London it’s the opposite. Mostly everyone here relies on public transit, which is great, but I’m not used to it at all.

Today I missed the opportunity to go explore central London with fellow international students. The jet lag has been real, and has finally caught up with me! When I first arrived in London I didn’t feel tired at all. It was just yesterday that I began to feel extremely exhausted, but I have been staying up very late due to me getting used to new surroundings. Due to that I completely missed out on exploring the city today.

While I’ve only been here for four days, I’ve already met some great people from my flat and orientation. I’m happy to be putting myself out there in social interactions, and meeting new friends. One person who has really made an impression on me is my flat rep Dre. He has been very kind and understanding. Sometimes, I cannot understand a word he is saying but he won’t hesitate to repeat himself!

So far I’ve been to Asda (a “Walmart” like supermarket), a student friendly bar on campus, and a campus movie night. I feel great so far, but missing out on photo frenzy is kind of getting me down. If I didn’t explain already, photo frenzy is a day when all international students go out into central London and explore the town. The University of Roehampton even set up a clue game to have fun finding historical pieces.

It sounds very fun, and I hope to go enjoy the city soon. As I’ve said already i didn’t go into the city so I have no pictures of the city. Instead here are some pictures of my view right now.


Kierra M. Fayne is a junior at the University of Missouri- Kansas City studying theatre performance. Kierra is spending the fall semester abroad with the Missouri-London Semester Program: University of Roehampton. She plans to study theatre in London to seek new techniques and tools that will help her tackle performances with more ease. Kierra was raised in Kansas City, Missouri, where she has made connections that have helped her identify her goals to study theatre performance. She is now ready to spread her wings, find connections, and make new friends in London.

Disclaimer:  Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space. The opinions or statements expressed herein should not be taken as a position or endorsement of the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Athens

My glorious dream of a spring break trip came to an end with a final stop in Athens. Lori and I met up with the fam, Holden and Dafni. Dafni is from Athens, and graciously offered the three of us housing for our visit. While we used Airbnb to get more of an authentic feel, rather than a touristy vibe, for the whole of our trip, it was incredible to be able to stay in a place that actually felt like family.

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During our     stay, we didn’t actually do too much. The first day was us three Americans going to the mandatory ancient sites like the Acropolis and the Parthenon. The next day we went to the market, and in the evening did our first Escape Room. I had never heard of them before this trip (even though there are a couple in KC), but basically you’re locked in a room with a group of your friends and you have an hour to figure out the puzzle that will open the door. Sounds fun, except for the fact that the clues were in Greek and only three of the six of us knew more than two words.

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We spent a lot of time at Dafni’s house interacting with her family. We ate so much home-cooked food it made me miss my own. We learned a new card game, Tichu, which I bought to take home and have since taught my family. It was a great end to an amazing trip and I will forever treasure the memories.

While the entire study abroad experience as a whole was incredible, the memories I made and the things I got to see and experience throughout the trips I took elevated it. I am so thankful to be able to have these pictures and posts to look back on. Thank you for everything, and I still have a couple more posts to conclude with, so stay tuned!

Xx Jessica

Naples

After Rome, Lori and I headed to Naples. We were unsure of what to expect, we really only booked it in order to take a trip to Pompeii. It ended up possibly being one of my favorite stops on the trip, if not my favorite.

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Our Airbnb host was named Ester, who had the most incredible flat, with a balcony. I almost died when I opened the door and saw Mount Vesuvius from our room. Ester didn’t speak English very well, but was happy to help with recommendations for what to do. She even made a lemon cake for us to have with tea for breakfast!

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Our first full day, Lori and I booked a last-minute tour down to the Amalfi Coast. This, hands-down, was the best decision we made on the entire trip. We managed to get a small, private tour, with just two other couples and their babies. We made multiple stops, with main stays in the towns of Positano and Amalfi. Words cannot describe how breathtaking the views were.

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The final day we went to Pompeii, again on a tour. It was so cool to walk through the ruins of this ancient city, with Mt. Vesuvius ominously in the background. There was also a modern art gallery scattered throughout the site, which juxtaposed the ruins coolly.

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This portion of the trip is something I will always remember for the sights alone. Naples and our detour to the Amalfi coast was the most beautiful place I have ever been in my life, and I hope to make a return trip again some day.

Thanks for keeping up; stay tuned for my final post from my spring break trip coming up next!

Xx Jessica

Solo Travel P. II

Upon arriving in Krakow, I checked my bags and headed into town to make one of two guided tours of the day. The first was of the Jewish Quarter and lasted for nearly three hours. We visited many historic sites, including many locations from the movie Schindler’s List. We ended the tour at the actual factory and were invited to walk through the museum, but because I only had one free day in Krakow, I chose to walk back to the Old Town and start another tour. The Old Town tour I took in the afternoon was interesting and intimate, being only three people and the guide. We walked throughout the Main Market Square and listened to the guide tell us different facts, some of which were about Pope John Paul II. We concluded the trip at Wawel Castle, which is one of the most captivating buildings I’ve seen, architecturally speaking because of the noticeable varied influences and designs throughout the castle. I spent the rest of the evening talking with a group of people staying at the hostel. We all managed to book different trips to Auschwitz the following day.

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My trip to the concentration camp was the only thing I planned for that day, and I could probably write an entire post on that experience alone. This is the second Nazi camp I’ve been to, but Dachau was a work camp as opposed to a death camp. Auschwitz I was our first stop; many of the barracks have been turned into exhibits. After visiting a few, our mini bus took us to Birkenau. The sheer size of the camp was overwhelming and intimidating, with the infamous train tracks leading through the gate. Being in a Nazi camp is like nothing I have ever experienced before and I full-heartedly think everyone should once in their lifetime.

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After an incredible, but exhausting two days in Poland, I left early to catch a flight to Copenhagen. Meandering around the city the first day, my full day was spent on more guided tours. By this point in the trip, my feet had blisters upon blisters and I was sort of tired of traveling alone. But there really isn’t a better place to cheer yourself up than Copenhagen. The people truly are as friendly as they are stereotyped to be. The city is beautiful, so picturesque and vibrant. One thing I suggest anyone who visits is to walk, or enter, Tivoli Gardens at night and experience the magic that prompted Walt Disney to create his empire.

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My final stop was Amsterdam in the Netherlands. I only had one afternoon here before catching a flight back to London. I walked through the canals from the hostel to Museumplein, the art district of Amsterdam. I made my way through the beautiful Rijksmuseum and had lunch in the park before visiting the Van Gogh museum. Afterwards, I walked through a street market, as recommended by the receptionist at the hostel and through the city center, making a stop at Anne Frank’s house before heading in for the night.

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When I started my study abroad experience, I never though I would have traveled on my own. Looking back now, this is the best thing I could have ever done, and is definitely one of the highlights of my whole experience. For anyone considering making a solo-travel trip, I could not suggest it highly enough. If you have any questions, feel free to ask!

Thank you so much for keeping up with me, and I really hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about my travels as much as I’ve enjoyed reliving them.

Xx Jessica

Solo Travel P. I

After my Once In A Lifetime spring break trip, I landed back at Heathrow with my three incredible friends. Feeling happy, despite the shock of the disgustingly cold English weather. However, there was one more trip we planned to take, our “family vacation”. But, due to circumstances beyond my control, it suddenly looked like that trip wasn’t going to happen. So, in-between my finishing my final assignments, I planned a ten-day stint starting the day after I was due to submit them. The thing was, none of my friends wanted to go with me, and I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my time and insatiable desire to see the world. So I finalized the details of my solo trip and booked everything within five days of returning to the UK. Now, I just had to tell my mom.

Leaving early on a Tuesday morning, I headed to Gatwick airport to catch a flight to Budapest, Hungary. Never in my life did I think I would have the chance to end up here, or any of the places I visited really. My plan was to spend about two days in each city, visiting a total of five countries. I booked airfare, bus and train tickets, and a guided tour, simply banking on the hostels I was to stay at to provide any other information I might need.

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I remember the sense of freedom I had as I walked through the streets of Budapest that first night (god, how crazy does that sentence sound?). I’ve been lucky to visit so many different places and see incredible sights, but the first time I have ever felt truly free was that night. The following day, was a dreary one, filled with grey skies and rain, perfect company for the walking tour I had planned. I visited so many different sights and learned so much about the beautiful city of Budapest, and even met someone from Missouri!

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The next morning, I left for the bus station which would get me to Prague by mid-afternoon. Prague is one of my favorite cities in the world, and I am so glad I had the chance to return. I revisited some old sites, the Old Town Square in particular, before making my way to some new ones, like the John Lennon wall. I fit in two tours during my only full day there, one focused on art and modern Prague, the other on the effects of the Nazi Regime. One mandatory site I planned when deciding to go to Prague was to see the St. Cyril and Methodius Cathedral, which was prompted by a book I read a few weeks prior, called “HHhH”. This book details the assassination of Nazi leader Reinhart Heydrich and the Czech and Slovak paratroopers Jan Kubiš and Jozef Gabčík who carried out the attack, and in turn were killed, along with a few other allies, in an attempt by the Nazi police to take them. The small cathedral is the site of the altercation between the paratroopers and the SS and houses a memorial and museum dedicated to the soldiers. It was a story I hadn’t heard prior to reading the book, which by the way is a favorite of one of my tour guides, and I was honored to see it in person.

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That night I went to the train station to catch my pre-booked train to Poland. However, I seemed to have booked the wrong ticket. So, having to purchase a new ticket last minute, which ended up cheaper than the original ticket I’d bought, I managed to finally board my train and arrived in Krakow as the sun rose.

Since this post is already incredibly wordy, I’m going to split it up and post the second half in the following days. Thanks for reading; please stay tuned!

Xx Jessica

Barcelona

The next leg of our trip was our final city in Spain. We flew into the city center as the sun was coming up and took time to get settled in. A short train ride later we were in the city center. The Cathedral of Barcelona became our recognition point as it was near Las Ramblas and the beach, amongst other notable attractions. We met up with a few classmates from Roehampton who recommended us doing a bus tour, which is exactly what we did the following day.

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As I mentioned in the previous post, many major cities offer bus tours, stopping at a majority of the main tourist sites. A few from Barcelona’s included the Olympic stadium as well as many of the notorious Gaudi sites.
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The next day, we explored Park Guell, another on of Gaudi’s masterpieces. From here we took in the most breath-taking views of Barcelona.

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One thing we did on our last day in Spain was visit one of Barcelona’s market, La Boqueria, directly off Las Ramblas. We browsed the stalls filled with everything from animal heads to alcoholic popcicles to luxury chocolates. Despite spending the previous days being as touristy as a tourist can get, it was refreshing to see a different side to Barcelona, a more local, realistic view, and a perfect round-up of our time in Spain.

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Thanks for reading; stay tuned for our next stop!

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Xx Jessica

Hakuna Matata

These past couple of days have been super busy and packed and with my parents being here I will be out and about more often than not. As promised this post will include my trip to Madame Tussaud’s, Tower of London and my favorite activity thus far…The Lion King Musical.

Two days ago I started my day early and woke up at 7:30 and got ready to go and meet my parents and go to the Tower of London. The Tower of London is massive and there’s so much to see and do. You can walk around the wall of the castle, go up in the White Tower as well as many others, but my favorite thing was seeing the crown jewels. It’s insane to think that there’s a room that holds a priceless amount of jewels and gold that was worn by kings and queens of the past and present. It’s even crazier to think that all it does now is sit in a room for people to look and admire. I can’t even imagine having that much wealth within my possession.

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After climbing many stairs in the Tower of London and three hours later we got lunch before heading over to Madame Tussauds. Madame Tussauds is so cool and they have so many wax figures of not only celebrities, but world leaders as well. It’s crazy to think how much work they put into each wax figure. They’ve got it down to the freckles on the person’s arm to facial hair and outfits. The wax figures are also the exact height of the celebrities, actors and world leaders, so it was funny to take pictures with them and seeing how tall they actually are in comparison to myself. Madame Tussauds was something I’ve wanted to go to for a long time so I’m glad I finally got to go and take my parents. They were completely blown away by it all.

Once we finished at Madame Tussauds we went to Westfield mall so I could get mini pancakes, ice cream and Nutella as well as my parents getting to see the giant mall that is forty-two acres. We also had dinner at this Mexican restaurant Wahacca. It was pretty good and decently priced. When we finished browsing through the mall it was time to call it a day. We had officially been on our feet for over twelve hours and were all exhausted, so we headed home so we could be well rested for The Lion King musical.

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The next day we met up with my parents and I introduced them to my friend Holden. Everyone had a laugh as my mom taught us personality traits based off physical appearance. It’s hard to explain, but know it’s a real thing you used to be able to study (you probably still can). Once we got to the theatre we found our seats and waited for the show to begin. As soon as the screen went up and the music started to play I instantly got chills. I wish I could give the show justice by describing it, but to say that it was “outstanding” and “the best show I’ve ever been too” (and I’ve seen Les Mis, Wicked and Peter and the Star Catcher) is an understatement. The costumes were beautifully done and lit up the state, the music and singing was on point and oh my goodness don’t even get me started on lighting and stage.

The lighting was superb and the stage…the stage completely blew me away! Every hard thing that is shown in the movie such as Mufassa dying and the battle between Simba and Scar was done excellently! When the scene with the stampede came up I was a little skeptical on how they were going to pull it off, but they did it! They had wildebeest heads on a huge wooden pole, each one in set back a bit and in front of it so when they turned the pole it looked like they were running after Simba and to show depth and closeness they had other actors who simply wore wildebeest heads to show they were getting closer. Everyone was on the edge of their seats at this point.

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When Simba ran away to the jungle with Timon and Pumba the set went from warm, hot colors to cool and peaceful blues and greens. The scene where Simba runs into Rafiki and he sees his dad in the sky was done beautifully. Overall the musical was amazing and not only did it capture everything from the movie, but it made you emotional as well. Many people teared up when Mufassa died. However, throughout the play I couldn’t help but compare it to Hamlet, thanks to my previous Shakespeare class.

Needless to say I rushed down to the main shop and bought the soundtrack. I can honestly say that The Lion King was definitely one of the best highlights of this trip so far. Anyways, I’ve got another day ahead of me, I’m taking my parents to the best Greek restaurant in London and then we’re going to explore some more of this crazy city. So until next time.

<3

Reunited

The countdown has finally come to an end. Two days ago my parents arrived and words cannot describe how happy I was (and still am) to see them. The day after I got back from Brighton my parents arrived in London Heathrow at nine in the morning. I figured it would take them two hours to get to their hotel so I went to their hotel in Putney to meet them with a bag full of little breakfast pastries and goodies.

I waited in the lobby for almost three hours until they came in. I saw my mom from my peripherals first and I got up with a huge smile and said “Hey!” My mom immediately perked up and pulled me into a hug, only to start crying a few seconds later. Thankfully my emotions were mostly in check otherwise there would have been a room full of Scoby women crying. Next was my dad and I gave him a hug as well. It might sound weird to say this, but I didn’t realize how much I missed them until I saw them. Five months is a long time to go without hugging your parents and I don’t recommend it. You need to hug your parents every day, especially when you’ve got such great parents like mine who are willing to travel across the world and visit you in Europe for three weeks. I didn’t realize how much I missed all their little quirks. Things that used to aggravate me are now things that I adore.

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Anyways, enough of the mushy gushy stuff. After they got settled in I treated them to Wagamama’s, which if you’re not familiar with it’s really good Asian food. After getting caught up and we finished our meal they headed back to the hotel to relax (they didn’t sleep on the plane) before we headed to the Shard later that evening for dinner.

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Taking my parents to the Shard was mine and Jessica’s treat. On our way to the Shard we stopped at Westminister so they could get some pictures of Big Ben and the London Eye. After we took a few pictures we headed back on the tube to the Shard. We ate at the restaurant Oblix, and I’ll start by saying you don’t go to Oblix for food. You go for the view. The view was amazing and breathtaking. You can literally see so much of London from that restaurant (it’s on the 32nd floor). Even though the food wasn’t as amazing as I’d hoped it’d be, we all had a good time and were ready to turn in for the night, because my parents had a big day ahead of them.

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The next morning they went to the Harry Potter Warner Brother’s Studio Tour and we met up with them later that evening to take them to Nandos at Westfield Mall. Unfortunately we got there near closing time so we only had time to eat, so we’ll definitely have to go back and explore. The next day though (being today) was pretty busy.

My parents took the bus to Roehampton and from Roehampton we went to Hampton Court Palace. We easily killed a few hours exploring the palace, in complete awe of all the history that was surrounding us. After we explored the palace we went into the gardens and the maze. When Hampton Court was done we headed back to Putney and I introduced them to Byron Burgers. They loved the food, even if the portions were a little overwhelming. After that we called it a night.

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Tomorrow I will be waking up at 7:30am to meet up with my parents and go to Tower of London. After we explore a bit there we’ll be going to Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum. I am so stoked to go there! My last Europe trip I wasn’t able to go, so I’m more than looking forward to tomorrow. I’m sure I’ll have a post about tomorrow’s adventure, but until next time.

<3

Brighton(ed) My Weekend

Three days ago I got back from my trip from Brighton and I can honestly say it was one of my favorite trips I went on. To start with Brighton is a beach town so it was lovely to lay by the beach for hours at a time, even if it was a rock beach instead of a sand one. However, Brighton is known for it’s pier where they have a little carnival area set up. There’s two main roller coasters, a lot of upside, topsy-turvy, spiny rides as well as two giant arcades. The pier alone is enough to keep you busy for a few hours, seeing as how it is one of Brighton’s main attractions.

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Along the pier and the beach front there are many restaurants and little shops to go into. Brighton is a busy town filled with many cool things to see. There’s street performers (we saw a guy playing an accordion on a tight rope), there’s a lot of cute little quirky shops towards the city centre of Brighton and of course, a ton of restaurants.

Most of my time and my friends (I went with Jessica and Holden) were spent on the beach throwing rocks into the ocean. Our hotel was less than a block away from the ocean, so we saw it every day as soon as we stepped out the door. It was nice to go on a little trip that we didn’t have a strict itinerary for. Brighton was our relaxing beach vacation, so we didn’t feel pressured to do everything at once or stay out late. We simply enjoyed our time and each other’s company.

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On our second day in Brighton we found this cute little cafe that had the most delicious breakfast food for a very reasonable price and huge portions. Needless to say we went back there again for breakfast the next morning. Our time in Brighton was short but it was well spent, lazing around at the beach taking pictures or on the pier riding rides or even exploring town and all the cute, little, quaint shops. As excited as I was to go to Brighton I was even more excited for it to end because that meant that the next day I got to see my parents. Jump forward three days and they are now here and have been exploring London! I’d tell you more about what they’ve done, but that’s for another post. Until next time though.

<3