I Must Be Dreaming

One month down. Two more to go. Time is moving far too quickly, and like always, I wish it would slow down a little bit. Sure, I have done a lot of exciting and fun things, but there is so much more I want to do than what I have time for. Can’t forget about the school part of this, can I?

Nope. Which is why I have spent a lot of my time tapping my way through Dracula and brainstorming ideas for my final project for my screenwriting class. And why I hate have to get up to blow my nose every five minutes. Really, being sick within the first month of moving to a new country is not the business. Good thing Vitamin C tablets and tea are a thing here. I would be thriving far less without those two things in particular.

The “Honeymoon Phase” is still upon me, fortunately, though, the “sickness” part of the “Homesickness Phase” has hit me. It has probably been because, even though I have been through two full weeks of school, I have not stopped jumping from adventure to adventure. Whether it’s a night playing Ride the Bus at the Coronet or taking the train to Brighton for the day, there is always something stopping me from sitting in my bed all day. Of course, that is exactly what I have done today, but I am trying to catch up on homework and such. My mom would be proud. Probably.

So what have I been up to since you last heard from me? Loads.

A Day Trip to Brighton

I met Amy and her friend Jac at King’s Cross/St. Pancras (not “pancreas,” as I keep referring to it as), and we were off on a few hour train ride to Brighton! We knew it was supposed to rain, but I wanted an adventure. I thought about studying in Brighton (and was quite set on it for a while) before applying to study in London. Let me just say, this place it so cute. It reminds me of SLO, in a way, as a small coastal town.

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The three of us walked down to the beach–which was very different from California, starting with the fact that it’s not a sandy beach. It’s all rocks. No, not rocky sand. Stones, pebbles, actual rocks. It was much more difficult to walk around in than sand, for sure. And it was louder.

We took a stroll on the pier, which was very Santa Monica-esque. There was a big arcade, carnival rides and games, and donuts. You will be disappointed to hear that I did not indulge in my favorite dessert. I know, I know, but it just wouldn’t be right when I know I would be overpaying for something incomparable to SloDoCo. But the search for worth donuts (or the Krispy Kreme I know is around here somewhere) continues…

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A late lunch and a little window shopping followed. The Lanes is chalk-full of little restaurants, shops, and people. We didn’t go into a lot of stores, but we hit a few cute ones with fun trinkets inside. There was an abundance of jewelry stores, and I was mesmorized by them. I decided against going inside, though, since I had just bought a new Pandora ring on Regent Street, and I know I was already going to go back for a new charm for my bracelet. Another time, though…

We ended our little trip with gelato on the beach in the rain–I got to break in my new umbrella!–and tea at the Blueburd Tea Co. I got one called Pandalicious Liquorice, and it was boooooomb. And magical. I felt like I was cured of my sickness right away. You think they deliver to California?

Wicked

Speaking of magical things, Becca, Jaci, and I got Wicked tickets for only twenty pounds. Twenty! I have seen the show twice before–once when I was ten or eleven and then senior year of high school in Nashville–but this was by far the best. I got to enjoy it with two of my favorite people and just soak in all of its glory.

Rachel Tucker as Elphaba was absolutely wonderful. I cried during “Defying Gravity.” As soon as it started, the tears came. Her voice is fabulous and I love her. I hadn’t realized that she was in the cast still (I thought she was in the run before–also didn’t know she was British…), so when I saw her name up there, I squealed. The excitement was so real.

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We are still talking about how great it was.

(And if you were wondering just how fab Rachel Tucker is, check this out. Featuring Aaron Tveit, the love of my life)

A long day of seeing Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, and Oxford

And when I say a long day, I mean it. Twelve hours, most spent on a bus. We were off at nine to check out the Queen’s favorite castle–she was there when we were! No, we didn’t see her, sadly, but…actually, I really don’t have a “but” to that. We did not see the Queen, and I was very sad about it (though not surprised).

I wish we could have stayed longer so we could walk around the town. It was too cute! I wanted to spend more time at the castle, as well. I feel like I didn’t really enjoy it as much as I should have. I hope I have time to go back before I return to the US.

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Then it was back on the bus towards Stonehenge. I guess I did not have too high expectations for this one, but I definitely wanted to see it. I was not disappointed! The rocks were, well, rocks, but we took a bunch of group selfies and GoPro videos to capture it. Plus, it sparked conversation about conspiracy theories about how the Druids created the formation (aliens!). The whole landscape–gorgeous, green, and open–made the trip worth it.

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The final stop on the trip was Oxford. Our group walked around the campus and saw all the buildings. We got to see some filming spots for Harry Potter (!!!), which was very cool. While it started raining during our walk, it only made all the old buildings look more beautiful to me. Everyone talks about what a downer the rain is, but I have to say I love it so much.

The tour was short, so we got to do a little shopping. I didn’t buy anything, but we had tickets to see the Warner Brothers Studio Tour on Monday, so I would be back for my souvenirs. To be honest, I just liked being there. There is so much history in this country, and my little history-loving heart is so happy.

img_9499Beautiful, right?


I will spare you all from the even more massive photo dump that was the Harry Potter Warner Brothers Studio Tour–and if you follow me on Snapchat, you already know what a wonderful time that was. I won’t spoil it for the rest of you.

Each and every day I am more grateful for this experience and this opportunity I have in front of me. I am more than happy to take advantage of the fabulous humans and gorgeous city I am blessed with and jump from memory to memory. Sometimes I am too busy to take pictures, and while my mom and gramdmother are not too excited about that, I could not be happier. The best memories are the ones you make when your phone is put away.

((But the GoPro can definitely stay out, Jaci, don’t worry.))

xx Ashley

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