IFSA Orientation: Part 2

Oh my gosh, tonight is blog catch up time. And this was a while ago. I don’t even remember all that happened. I think I met up with Grace again at breakfast. It was nice having a breakfast pal. Then I headed back to my room for a little bit. The first event of the day was a chat with a Lord from the House of Lords, which is kind of like the Senate. He was funny and like all the other speakers throughout orientation, brought up how the United States allows the right to bear arms (which all the English think is crazy) and also Donald Trump. It does worry me how the majority of what goes internationally about the presidential election is Trump. Then we had a talk about the different student services and events that we get through IFSA-Butler. Essentially they provide some pretty cool events. The one I’m looking forward to the most is the Adventure Weekend in Wales sometime in October. It’s a 3 day trip where we get to choose two activities to do (like a full day hike, or a trampoline place that’s actually a cave. They strung trampolines across a cave so you can look below and see the bottom of the cave 300 feet down).

Then we went for lunch, which wasn’t as nice as the day before. I was able to sit with Grace, even though we didn’t get to lunch at exactly the same time. I got cannellini, or at least that’s what I think those tube noodles filled with cheese are called. I also had some veggies and potatoes. I left without dessert as I wanted to have a short break before the afternoon session. As we had gotten out late from our previous session, we only had about 30 minutes after lunch until it all started up again. After lunch was our university specific session. Unfortunately our representative was late because of a mix-up with timing. And traffic. But it was all pretty routine.

Now comes the exciting part of the day. I had a chance to run upstairs to get my camera and brought it down for ourWalking Tour 2 hour walking tour of London. Luckily I was in the same group as Christianne and Grace. Sadly Lauren got split into a different group. We saw a bunch of different sites. The hotel is in a prime location close to most of the touristy places. We saw Trafalgar square, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, the Prime Minister’s House, Chinatown, and more stuff I don’t remember.

A line of double decker buses.
A line of double decker buses.

I was taking pictures with my big DSLR like the crazy tourist I am and enjoying every second of it. But it was quite tiring and our group was so large that we got split up a lot by accident. I’ll let the photos tell you most of the story of our tour.

 

Pink carpet setup for the European premiere of Drew Barrymore's "Miss You Already"
Pink carpet setup for the European premiere of Drew Barrymore’s “Miss You Already”
Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square
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The statue in the center is part of an alternating exhibition. Every few months a different statue is placed in Trafalgar Square.
One of the few photos of me during the walking tour.
One of the few photos of me during the walking tour.
I took a picture of Christianne taking a picture of me.
I took a picture of Christianne taking a picture of me.
This helps to emphasize how you cross the road wherever in England. You even wait in the middle of the street for the next lane to clear up so you can cross.
This helps to emphasize how you cross the road wherever in England. You even wait in the middle of the street for the next lane to clear up so you can cross.
In the background is Buckingham Palace.
In the background is Buckingham Palace.
The House Guards Parade area. Twice a day every other day there's a changing of the guards, but with horses.
The House Guards Parade area. Twice a day every other day there’s a changing of the guards, but with horses.
A peek of the London Eye in the background.
A peek of the London Eye in the background.
I completely forget which building this is....
I completely forget which building this is….
Big Ben!
Big Ben!
A DSLR selfie with Grace and Christianne in front of the River Thames and the London Eye.
A DSLR selfie with Grace and Christianne in front of the River Thames and the London Eye.
The London Eye.
The London Eye.

We finished close to the New London Theater, which was where we were going to see War Horse at 7:30pm. However, the walking tour ended at 5:30, so we still had a good amount of time before the play started. Lauren, Christianne, Grace, Travis, and I decided to get food together beforehand. We took a long time to decide. We were all so exhausted from the activities of the day and all the walking. At first we were thinking pub food, but it was really expensive. We found a second less expensive pub, but then couldn’t find seating inside. Which was probably a blessing in disguise as we ended up settling for Pret A Manger, which is a sandwich chain shop. I got a tuna toastie (just about the same as a tuna melt, just called something different) for £3.25, which was really cheap.

As we were eating, Travis kept looking over to our right and thought that the guy sitting there was Andrew Scott, who plays Moriarty in the TV show Sherlock. Unfortunately I haven’t seen all the episodes of Sherlock yet and it’s been a while since I last saw it, so I didn’t remember what he was supposed to look like. Just in case I walked past him to go into the back room where I saw a bunch of other IFSA-Butler kids. I told them about the possibility of Andrew Scott being in the front, and another girl said that she had also thought it was him. Two opinions was enough for me. I wanted to try and sneak a photo as I walked back to my seat, which took me right past him with a view of his face. But I was way too shy and chickened out. The girl from the back however went up to him and introduced herself. I went over and asked “wait, is it really the guy?”, which was such a smooth move as I was right in front of him. She said yes, and he put out his hand and introduced himself. At that point I’m like, “stupid fangirl who isn’t as big of a fan as the other IFSA-Butler kids around me” and said “I’m Nicole”. Then I proceeded to rant, “I know this is complete fangirling, but could we take a photo with you?” He kindly agreed, and I ran over to where my stuff was to get out my DSLR. Because since I now have a nice camera, of course I want to use said camera for awesome celebrity sighting photos. I was going to take a picture of Andrew with two of the other girls so that I could ensure the settings were correct, but the girl he was with offered to take a picture. I tried to set up the shutter speed to get the correct exposure, but that meant a really slow shutter speed because of the low lighting.

Meeting Andrew Scott (Moriarty) in Pret a Manger!!!!
Meeting Andrew Scott (Moriarty) in Pret a Manger!!!!

So when I got the camera back, it was blurry. He was already leaving though and I was so frustrated and embarrassed with myself. It had taken me so long to get my camera out of the bag in the first place that another girl was about to use her cell phone, but then I got it out just in time. Her cell phone photo would have been better quality. Grrrrr.

I ran back to the hotel to drop off my camera bag in case the theater didn’t allow cameras inside. It wasn’t a short walk, taking about 20 minutes, and that was with me rushing and darting through rush hour traffic. It was really fun though. Fast walking and being all business-like around other business-like people is awesome.

Our seats were really good for warhorse. We were in the stalls, which is the same as orchestra, and I was in the left wing but close to the aisle, and about 10 rows back. The puppetry for that show is incredible. It’s about a young man (16) and his horse as WWI tears them apart, and their journey trying to find each other again. The show almost made me cry.

The horses were actually giant puppets controlled by three actors. Two were bent over inside each controlling two legs, and another was next to the horse controlling the head and making all the sound effects. I highly recommend the play. We were completely knackered (tired) after the play got out and went straight back to the hotel and collapsed.

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