London: Camden Markets, London Trains, Buckingham Palace, Shakespeare Globe Theater (standing), Big Ben, Tate Museum of Modern Art, Biking Fail, Richard III Play, Yummy Pasta, Lawn Chairs, Salvador Dali, Picasso, Matching Chanel Shirts.
Amsterdam, Netherlands: Heart of Amsterdam hostel, projectile vomiting, canals, coffee shops, House of Bohls, Van Gogh Museum, Swings, IAmsterdam sign, Red Light district, Noms for days, Hot peppers, bomb pasta, Dam Square, interesting clubbing, hipster stores, hipster view next to canal, belgium waffles.
Edinburgh, Scotland: An amazing hike in the Scotland Highlands, Dungeon Pubs, Rainy, Scottish dancing, the National Art Museum, CastlexStaduim, Deep talks with KCV, yummy buffet cafeteria food, University of Edinburgh dorms, Fountain Abbey, Town of Richmond, Afternoon tea, Cathedral, Adam Smith’s grave.
First off, I AM A COMPLETE FAILURE WHEN IT COMES TO BLOGGING. Believe me, I tried very hard to get myself to blog. The only thing is that for some reason I had zero amount of time to do so. When I did have free time I would have to use that time to study since during Module 1 of PKP I had 3 classes and weekends were dedicated to traveling.
It’s crazy how 4 weeks has gone by so fast. So far, Cambridge has been extremely good to me. I’ve met tons of interesting people, learned some new things about myself, and have felt the euphoric bliss of traveling to new places and having my eyes and mind open up to exotic sights, sounds, and people. I’ve also never felt so independent in the sense that i’m literally living on my own and booking/planning most of my weekend trips. It makes me feel as though all my life i’ve been pretty sheltered and have had things taken care of for me, even in college. Even in berkeley. Anyways I feel extremely thankful to have the financial resources to travel. I think if it’s one thing that makes me the happiest, it’s the warm and exciting feeling that rises in my chest when I get off the plane or train and take the first few steps out of the airport into the middle of a completely foreign city square or airport. I literally have a huge silly smile plastered on my face and I probably look extremely weird to the locals. Anyways, they were right when they said you need to come to Europe at least once in your life. There’s so much history in every building and every alleyway. Everything is beautiful. Even the most desolate and seemingly unimportant streets have some sort of charming allure to them.
So, it’s been 4 weeks into the program and basically the weekdays are dedicated to going to classes, the occasional night out at a pub, plenary lectures (went to one about Cambridge and the Olympics) clubbing, or a formal hall (basically a fancy dinner where you dress up and have a choice between 10 eating utensils). For the weekends here is the breakdown of where i’ve been traveling.
Week 1: Scotland (July 5th - July 8th)
Week 2: Amsterdam (July 13th - July 15th)
Week 3: London (July 22nd)
Week 4: Stratford Upon Avon, UK for Global Gatherings
this is the weekend itinerary for the rest of the trip:
Week 5: Rome and Pisa (Aug 4th - Aug 6th)
Week 6: Nice and Villafranche, France - (South of France) (Aug 10 - Aug 12)
Week 7: Barcelona, Spain (Aug 19th - Aug 22nd)
It looks like I won’t be able to visit Paris :/ but that’s all of more excuse for me to come back to Europe in the future. Anyways, I don’t think I can explore Paris in just one weekend.
For the Scotland, London, GG, and Amsterdam trips I will be “make-up” blogging for them through picture posts. For the rest of my trips for the 2nd half of the program I will be sure to make time to blog about them in detail, along with random blog posts dedicated to the weekday. I have 2 classes this module so I will definitely have more time to spare. Better late than never! :)
BTW, (I guess this is my first weekday post) I have contracted stomach flu over the weekend and it’s been pretty hard on my health (chills, dizzyness, throwing up, fever). Despite this, i’m slowly recovering by staying in (like I am right now in bed and writing this post) and drinking lots of fluids. I went to “surgery” (British people’s way of saying nurses office) this morning and the nurse was extremely helpful. She gave me some medication and told me which fluids to drink. Apparently, coca cola is good for restoring sodium and potassium! I also can’t eat any solid food for the next 2 days. It’s funny though I walked by like 4 bakery’s today on my way back from Pembroke and felt my mouth salivating. Story of my life right now: never take health OR food for granted. Hopefully i’ll be better in a couple days though. This will be a good excuse for me to stay in and do readings plus the foreign policy analysis essay that is due Friday. Italy is this weekend so I MUST nurse myself back to health. Anyways, that’s it for now! until next time <3
Before I start this post I just want to put it out there that I am extremely jet-lagged so please excuse any writing mishaps. Actually being tired will probably be a common if not inevitable feeling underlying most of my posts. However, the commitment I made to document my experiences at University of Cambridge and around Europe shall overcome such petty human weaknesses!! (unless I really need to sleep, then i’m going to sleep and write in the morning lol)
DISCLAIMER: Poor iphone quality + lighting and Fatigue-induced Writing Ahead
After experiencing a range of emotions - from sadness towards leaving friends and family to bubbling excitement towards embarking to a land unknown - I said goodbye to the Bay Area. My flight non-stop to London from SFO was a total of 11 hours. I watched two pretty awesome movies on the flight: Wallstreet (original version) and Jump Street 21. I really loved Wallstreet and elicited multiple “life lessons” from its content, but i’ll save that for another post. Upon landing in London, obtaining my student visa was a lot easier than I expected and I sailed through border patrol and baggage claim. Luckily, I was able to encounter individuals heading to Cambridge by the National Express Coach, so it made that leg of the journey a lot less frightening. I also struck up a lively conversation with an older high school teacher named Peter instead of doing my pre-reading from my Business Innovation class at Cambridge. We talked about everything from favorite books and TED talks, to life philosophies, to the antiquated education system. These kind of conversations are a part of what make life meaningful to me. Here are the books he recommended to me and wrote down for me. I will definitely put these on my “to-read” list:
Upon arrival at the National Express bus stop at Cambridge I made the tiring trek from the station to my hostel, lugging behind me, a 50lb luggage and any self-dignity in “blending in”. I most definitely looked about as touristy as one could possibly imagine. 2 things I learned. 1: Cambridge roads are not luggage friendly. 2: Cars don’t stop for you like they do in the US. I learned my lesson about the latter revelation when a car almost skimmed me when I was attempting to cross the street. Anyways, after arriving at Trumpington Street Hostel, I was quite pleased with my housing (considering the fairly low price i paid). High ceilings, white and pastel yellow paint, light tan furniture, small cozy space, and blue bed sheets and curtains. My window also opened up to the busy Fitzwilliam Street below, right directly across the beautiful Fitzwilliam Museum - which looks like something out of Ancient Greece.
Here is another street shot:
After going into downtown, where all the shops are located, I came back with the cheapest pre-paid phone i could find and an overpriced adapter (except mostly everything in Europe is expensive). I also walked by some interesting sights such as a guitarist singing in a trashcan, hoards of tourists from all over the world, the most beautiful architecture I have ever seen (King’s College), and familiar shops such as TOPSHOP, Zara, H&M, and not so familiar shops that were beckoning my wallet…
After using a good amount of willpower in resisting to shop (ha ha) I arrived home tired and dove straight into a nap. After not sleeping for the past 15+ hours it’s amazing what 26 mins of napping can do. According to a scientific study I cannot source at the moment, 26 minutes is the perfect duration for a brain to fully rest. So far this trip has affirmed this notion.
26 awesome minutes later I woke up and took a shower in the hostel’s communal shower and proceeded to walk to Cambridge for the welcoming banquet. It was pretty darn epic to walk into King’s College “banquet” hall. I felt like I was Harry Potter about to get sorted at Hogwarts. The only thing removing me from this fantasy was that the numerous paintings on the wall were not actually moving :/ During dinner the place was packed with PKP students and I met some pretty chill people. Most people I met were from Berkeley, Yale, or Harvard, and I am looking forward towards engaging with everyone in an academic and social environment. Food was also pretty bomb dot com except I somehow didn’t quite have a huge appetite. Probably because my body was mad at me for the past day of “wthek is going on”.
Here are some photos:
After dinner I met up with Crystal and Viv and some other peeps to find a pub that was showing the Euro Final Cup between Spain and Italy. After 30 minutes of relentless searching and meeting up with other groups also pursuing the same end goal we found an Irish Pub that was packed with people and I was able to order my first beer legally with Christine! During that period of searching I was also able to snap some beautiful shots of Pembroke College.
Anyways, what a memorable first day in Cambridge. I have a feeling I’m going to enjoy the next 2 months very very much!
So as the program is coming to an end i have started to think about what i loved most while here. If you ever visit Cambridge make sure to take a look back at this blog post. These are in no particular order because i think they are all equally important to have done while in Cambridge. A lot of…
“But it’s hard to stay mad when there’s so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I’m seeing it all at once and it’s too much. My heart fills up like a balloon that’s about to burst. And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life.”
— American Beauty
This blog is to document my study aboard experience at Cambridge and traveling adventures in Europe.
4 words so far:
I will be living at Trumpington Hostel - a 5 minute walk from King’s College, Cambridge:
and be taking the following classes:
Creativitiy and Business Innovation, Foreign Policy Analysis, and Good Life or Moral Life? (Philosophy class)
more to come later~