Sunday, April 20, 2014

Voldemort Voldemort ooh Voldy Voldy Voldy

Some highlights of one of the best weeks of my life: 
Our first night in Cambridge we found out how much more fun Bachelor parties are in the UK, and also who "banana man" was. 
Eating by the river in Cambridge was a great way to do our book discussion of Wind in the Willows. 
Eating where the inklings aka Tolkien and Lewis met, while leading a book discussion for the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. 
A casual box that is older than America that they only deem important enough to hold paper. 
Throwing my sorority hand sign in front of a breast cancer awareness banner in Cambridge, which is also my sorority's philanthropy. 
Posing like Roald Dahl at the museum in his hometown. 
Matilda the musical was such a great choice for entertainment and also had so many parallels to Harry Potter!
Working up my entire life to finally being Hermione. 
 Finding a broomstick at the studio and bringing out my athletic Quidditch side.
Posing in the Great Hall. 
 What I want the most in the mirror of Erised: myself at Harry Potter Studios right now. Wishing I was back!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Quite Simply, We Pottered

Thanks to the "convince financial aid to send Lionel to England for free" spell that Chief Witch Troseth so expertly wielded, I was honestly blessed with this opportunity to get abroad with some great people. Interestingly, I have actually been on an England Harry Potter trip before, so this was a great chance to compare my experience at 10 and at 20.  While not everything was new to me, the experience was so different that it may as well have been.

I enjoyed my chance to lead a discussion on Wind in the Willows, and was glad to get a primer on such a range of classic literature.  I don't get to read fiction as much as I like, so this was a nice change of pace.

While it's hard to imagine that I was alone in this, The Eagle and Child was a real highlight for me.  It feels like the US tends to rope off any building over 100 years old, while England's landmarks are instead still used for their original function.  I guess it would be impossible to just rope off every building.

A major development in my life, as well as in the timeline of global photography, is the creation and implementation of the Meta-Selfie.  While the debate rages, I have come to the expert conclusion that a selfie with multiple people should be called an "usie", while a picture of one person taken by another should be a "yousie".  A picture of multiple people taken by another should be named the "y'allsie". 

While my normal cantankerous self would not have stopped to take a photo, the groups decision to sojourn made my participation unavoidable.  As such, I was left with no option but to school all of the haters, which I believe that I did.  While I did not buy the professional print, the gift shop attendant did compliment my form, which of course means a lot to me.

If I may for a moment be a bit more serious, the American cemetery in Cambridge was quite the somber experience.  It was, from the grandioseness of the statues to the religious pervasiveness, a great stimulus for reflection into what the military means in American society.  It was also the first time that I got to have a great conversation with Dr. Troseth, which I really relish.

While the issue was probably my expectations, I am thrilled that our London trip was able to blow even my wildest ideas out of the water.  I made a number of great friends that I will continue to value, and I was able to revisit some wonderful sites.  I would love to thank Drs. Troseth and Pendergrass for such a tremendous trip, as well as our TA's.  

Friday, April 11, 2014

My trip across the pond

I don't really know what I was expecting from this trip... maybe a little Harry Potter discussion and the occasional bus tour at the most. I never could have guessed that I would have so much fun and make so many friends in such a short time period while managing to learn even more about the books I love so much. Here's a glimpse into my week in England.

Just the view I woke up to every morning while staying in Oxford. 

The building was beautiful alone, but that tree just blows me away. 

I can't believe this is a college campus.
Harry Potter's great, but visiting The Eagle and Child was a definite highlight for me.

His legacy lives on, probably forever. It's humbling to reflect on death and worth.


"Magic is might"
Here I am, calmly flying over the Quidditch Field.

It's the door to the chamber of secrets. Look at that excitement.

So this was a model of the Harry Potter grounds. It was enormous and really cool.

Julie and I trying our little wizarding outfits on.


The museum had other cool stuff too. 

My last night ended with a view of the Tower Bridge. (And a Jack the Ripper Tour)

Friends. Gotta love em.
Possibly the best thing I saw in England was this little quote in a bookstore. I haven't stopped thinking about it since.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Potter Withdrawals

I can vividly remember the moment that I finished reading the last Potter book and suddenly realized that there would be no more. Harry's adventures were over, and with them ended a huge stage of my life. I used many different coping strategies to get over this sudden loss, including repeated readings of the series, dressing up for movie showings, and even resorting to the reading of fanfiction at times. Anything I could do to keep the world of Harry Potter alive inside of me.
This semester I found the best way to bring Harry back. I joined a Harry Potter class. I thought that it would be a fun way to experience the world of magic one more time, but it became so much more to me. Not only did it involve yet another reading of the series (they told me to read one of the books, but who can stop at just one??) it allowed me to delve even farther into the story, and to look for real world applications in the realm of child development. This not only  gave me another chance to read the books, it allowed me to get even farther into the world. I was given to opportunity to learn more about the books and to GO TO ENGLAND. Yes. I got to experience Harry Potter in England. I walked through the doors into the Great Hall and spent a good portion of my day (and my money) exploring the world for myself.
Now suddenly I find myself back in my everyday life missing Harry even more than I did before. And now I also have the friends I made and the experiences we had together to miss as well. So yes. I can admit it. I am having Potter Withdrawals. But I can take the pangs of longing and the disappointment every time I say Lumos and a light doesn't turn on. Because it was all worth it.

Yes I miss Harry
But he taught me it's okay
To hold on to love

Monday, April 7, 2014

A Week in the Life of a Tourist

One of my favorite parts of England was just walking and looking at all of the fantastic architecture. This was just a piece of GORGEOUS Cambridge. 

One of the colleges of Cambridge University! Couldn't resist so much beauty in one picture! 

 The Church of St. Mary the Virgin - one of Oxford's most iconic places, and SO beautiful!!! I also love trees in the spring and this was a fantastic purple flowering tree!!!

WOWZA. Oxford from the top of the Church of St. Mary. It was a lot of stairs, but definitely worth the  trek and four pounds to see the city from up top! 

Oxford's BEAUTIFUL library from a bird's eye view!


Getting some classy English afternoon tea at desserts at the oldest coffee 
shop in England! (or so they say...) 

SUCH a fan of Roald Dahl - one of my favorite parts of his museum was hearing about what the original drafts of his stories are like! 

 Not to mention I LOVED the chocolate doors - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is my childhood companion, second only to Harry Potter. 

OBSESSED with the set of Matilda - and the rest of it! Like Lionel, I have been shamelessly listening to the soundtrack constantly.  

I got a picture with my favorite elf! 

 In the GREAT HALL!!!

 Nothing beats the sound of awe from 24 Harry Potter freaks coming around the corner to see this :D

It may be an evil place, but I'm still FREAKING OUT to be at the door of the Chamber of Secrets!!!

PREACH, Rowling.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

My Favorite Things

Just a few of my favorite moments from our trip to England!
 The Eagle and Child

 The best view of Oxford!

 The Great Hall at Christ College

 Matilda the Musical!

Platform 9 3/4