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A London Full of Colour

Kristy Giacoman
Kristy Giacoman
Location Hyde Park


"A London Full of Colour" is a project that aims to portray a different reality of the daily life of London citizens. By picturing different scenarios in their reality comparing them to the reality that I choose for each one of them, the audience is able to admire the beauty and uniqueness of the city from a different perspective. I have gone to international poetry competitions and taken painting and photography courses before arriving to college. This project combines my favorite forms of expression through art and hopefully brightens the days of the viewers. The main message I wished to convey is that every single one of us chooses the reality they want to live in, meaning that the same place could be seen as a prison for our souls or a wonderland for our imagination.

Milestone 1

Colourless London
Objective: The goal was to display London as it is and to capture through pictures emotions felt by the Londoners due to the weather. Pictures were taken from different perspectives and represent feelings of an average London citizen.

In the course of two weeks, I researched the weather conditions in the United Kingdom, the origin of the deadly London fog and the relationship between people's emotions and weather conditions. This lead to the visual representation of my findings through a set of pictures taken on the city capturing the feelings talked about in the background. London looks like a majestic city and it's weather just adds to the mystery and enchantment of its beauty. However, people have had a different perspective than mine since centuries ago.
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Milestone 2

Adding Pigment
Objective: The goal was to paint five acrylic surrealistic paintings of the most emblematic sites in London exaggerating the use of bright colors instead of the usual gray palette that is seen due to the weather.

The background exposes six different artists from three different fields; painting, literature, and architecture. From the magnificent paintings of Monet to the Breathtaking structures of Sir Christopher Wren and the stories of Charles Dickens together with Hockney's photographs, London is the birthplace of some of the most breathtaking artistic masterpieces. Unique, mesmerizing and complex, yet with a somehow volatile approach, artists throughout the history of this city have each shared their view through their work. Each one is analyzed in regard to the link between their style and perspective, and their setting and life circumstances. The artists are divided in "Artists from the past" and "Artists from the present" and while the first category shows monochromatic and deep emotions about the scenery in London, the second one proposes a new and brighter perspective to the same issue this city has dealt with for years.
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Milestone 3

Colourful Reality
Objective: The goal was to connect the emotions displayed in the pictures and the colors of the paintings in a creative way empathizing with the people walking by the site as a daily routine. The paintings and pictures are accompanied by a poem of my own writing.

Just as Mathew Arnold said; "Poetry is simply the most beautiful, impressive and widely effective mode of saying things". In this Milestone I explore the same reality from very different perspectives analyzing the lives of four of the most influential British Poets and one poem for each one of them. They all saw Britain grow and they grew with it as well, leaving a written proof of how each person is a master of their own destiny and how life is not about having, getting, and settling but about being, becoming and overcoming. These four authors that lived in very different times and lived in many places all through their lives show their personal view and chosen style through their work. We see through the writing of Mathew Arnold, Harry Baker, Richard Aldington and Don Patterson, different viewpoints about the weather and the sociopolitical situations that revolve around this the United Kingdom. What seems most interesting is the everlasting emotions displayed; everlasting in a way in which they are adopted again and again by newer generations as if the make choices and mistakes were made repeatedly throughout the ages. In this milestone it is possible to visualize the different perspectives of each author comparing them to each other and drawing your own conclusions.
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Activity Journal

The activity journal represents an ongoing log of reflections gained through each and every project activity on the Calendar 2017. The pictures posted were taken by Kristy Giacoman, Chris Tillotson and Sofia Reyes.

Day #1 Westminster Abbey & the Tower of London

Monday May 8th 2017

Today we started the day quite early because we had to meet at the Westminster Abbey for a Tour. It was really interesting to go inside and listen to such numerous and wonderful different stories, some known to me and some unknown. We heard about people like the almost saint, Edward the Confessor, Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens, Elizabeth I and her sister (bloody) Mary, and many more. However, my favorite story remained untold. As we entered the church, I saw the Scouts Movement flag next to the Girl Guides flag but we were in such a hurry that I could barely see what that was about. I then proceeded to ask our tour guide about it and he assumed that there was some kind of memorial to the scouts there but he did not know much about it. It was indeed in honor of Sir Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden Powell of Gilwell and Lady Olave Baden Powell.

After the Tour, we went to the Tower of London, a place full of stories that help us place ourselves in distant times in that same place. The Tower of London is home to the Crown Jewels, and has exhibitions that range from methods of torture to the King’s beasts. About the last one, I thought it was really interesting how when people saw animals like a lynx or an alligator, those seemed as bizarre to them as a unicorn and other mythical creatures. It was also majestic to thing about monkeys, lions and peacocks running around and sadly sometimes fighting for the king’s amusement.

When we exited the Tower of London, Sofia and I took our time to admire the London Bridge and decided that we were going to go back later. Also, we could see “the egg” at a distance and I was thinking on maybe also painting it as well as part of my project. I think I will be painting the London Bridge, the egg, the Big Ben, the London Eye and the Tower of London. I think those sceneries are inspiring, meaningful and represent many ages of the history that London has lived. After that we went to The British Library where we worked on our journals and milestones for the meeting. Professor Constance gave me great ideas about my project and seemed to really like it, which motivated me. I didn't like how late our meeting was though, but that was because we were the last team. Also it seems odd that there are teams of six and teams of four like us. I really like my team though they are all very nice and kind. Christopher is really funny, we have inside jokes and we laugh about them all the time. Trinity is always smiling and she has such a pretty face, so kind and friendly. Finally Ben is so smart! It is amazing how much he knows about everything, definitely a good person to have a conversation with. I am excited for the days to come and to get to know them better.

Day #2 St Paul's Cathedral

Tuesday May 9th 2017

Today we visited St. Paul's Cathedral and it was truly mesmerizing. We woke up at seven to get there before it was even open so we were basically the first people in. The cathedral is so gigantic and with so many details and commemorations of outstanding men and women in the history of England that it is impossible to not enjoy the visit. The dome has three different galleries, but unfortunately the two upper ones are not going to be open until about a month from now. When I was going up the stairs though, it felt like they were endless The gallery of whispers (the only one open) lets you see up closer the paintings about the life of St. Paul. That gallery receives its name because of an unintended characteristic of its architecture, when two people stand at opposite sides of the dome, if one whispers to the wall, the other person will hear it loud and clear. I liked that our tickets included a guided visit with headsets because as I walked through the tombs in the lower level, I was listening to the life stories of poets, writers, military men and religious men and women. What surprised me is that the architect of the church was buried in a very simple tomb in the lower level of the church and that is exactly how he intended it. It was almost as if he was saying, "if you are looking for my monument of commemoration just look around you". He designed and oversaw the construction of other 55 churches in London after the great fire, however, St. Paul's Cathedral was his biggest accomplishment. I listen to every single one of te audios of stories, information and prayers and finished at about noon. Then I went with Ben and Christopher to the gardens of the church and after that we headed back home.

As soon as I got back to the apartment, I fell asleep in my bed, which was absolutely unintended and not very ideal because later that night I couldn't fall asleep until two in the morning. My best advise to future students that come is to be completely booked of exciting stuff to do the first week so you don't have time to take naps and at the same time you don't complain about it. When I woke up from my nap I went downstairs to the common room and cooked dinner with Sofia. It was the first time I ever made chicken all by myself, but I didn't tell anyone about it because I knew it couldn't be hard at all. Little did I know, because the kitchen is in the basement of the flat, it lacks of ventilation and the aspirator was not enough so the fire alarm ended up going off several times while we were cooking. The first time we evacuated the building, the second time we were about to and it just stoped. By the third time it started to go off we decided to implement an alternative method of solution (see picture). The turnout was actually delicious and everyone enjoyed the seasoned chicken with steamed vegetables with cheese.

Day #3 Natural History Museum

Wednesday May 10th 2017

Today I had a great time at the Natural History Museum. The museum had 5 zones where I saw expositions of very interesting things such as Volcanoes, earthquakes, insects, dinosaurs, birds, sea creatures and many more. It made me think of all the magnificent wonders our world encloses and that we don't have to travel far to unravel the great mysteries of life on earth. I realized that there is the same amount of work exploring little things as minerals and insects, as it is to explore huge things like dinosaurs and distant planets. I love nature, and it never stops to amaze me with its perfect mechanism. Everything is here for a reason and everything that happens comes as a result of something else, like an infinite chain reaction.

When my team and I felt like we were done, we split into two groups, half of us went back to the flats while Ben and I stayed sitting at a cafe in the library enjoying the free wifi and comfortable chairs. We stayed there because we thought it would be more convenient than paying to use the tube to go to the apartments and then for going to St. George's church for the afternoon meeting. This under the belief that St. George's church was a 45 minute walk from the natural history museum. We worked on our articles and milestones and I called my mom because today is Mother's Day in Mexico. At five we started walking to Aubrey's street. It was a loooong walk, but it was also in a pretty fancy neighborhood so I didn't mind it much. When we finally got there two minutes before six, I was exhausted and hungry. Exhausted because Ben is a really fast walker and I had to keep up and hungry because we skipped dinner. To our surprise nobody was there, and the church seemed closed and empty. Then Ben said "let's try the back door" and we sneaked to a private back little garden with pretty benches and all kinds of flowers in small pots. I sat down and Ben pulled his phone out and as he was looking though it he goes, "oh". We were in the wrong St. George's church. We were over an hour walk away from the right one and about 45 minutes by car. "We should tell professor Manzo" I said and he called him and said "we will be there in about half an hour, we will take the tube". We walked for a bit and went through about eight stops in the tube until we finally arrived to the one closest to the actual meeting place. The meeting was almost done and after it we all walked back to the flats to leave our stuff and find somewhere to eat. Sofia and I got lost looking for a specific restaurant we wanted to go and is was a bit scary but we finally found it and it was totally worth it. The irony is that it was 6 minutes away from our flats and it took us about half an hour walking to find it. Still worth it though, still worth it.

Day #4 National Gallery

Thursday May 11th 2017

Today we went to The National Gallery and I was pretty excited for it, but I did not like it at all. I love art but I did not know about the paintings nor the painters there so it was like watching a movie for the first time but with no sound; you can kinda guess what it is about, but it is hard to enjoy the experience. So I went through it, I saw the paintings, I read some info but I wish I had a tour guide like in Westminster Abbey or an audio set like in St. Paul's Cathedral because that would have definitely made the difference. After going through the expositions, I went with Trinity to a cafe in the lower level and had the best banana bread I have ever had, which made the visit a little bit more worth it. Then Sofia met me there at noon and we went outside to take pictures. There we saw Peter and Chris and we walked together to a Chipotle nearby. After eating lunch, we split again and as the boys headed back to the flats, Sofi and I walked towards the Buckingham Palace. We went to like three different parks and took over a thousand pictures. We saw people marching, riding horses, biking, playing with there pets and feeding squirrels, ducks, geese, pigeons and even swans. It was a beautiful afternoon and we had walked about six kilometers from the apartment when it started raining. We took the bus back which also works with the Oyster card and we cooked dinner again for everyone. This night's menu was lettuce wraps with grilled chicken and angel hair, avocados and almonds. It is Sofia's favorite food and I can totally see why. After that we cleaned up and we had an emergency meeting because apparently something happened with some students regarding drugs and alcohol so V.J and Constance reminded us about all the rules we are to follow to keep ourselves safe and sound.

It was so hard to fall asleep though because someone was having a karaoke night with songs like "This is me" from Camp Rock and "Push it" from Jump in and of course the whole High School Musical and Hannah Montana repertoire. It was so annoying, they were not even good singers and were probably pretty drunk, but oh well, it can't all be beautiful right? I hope to get good sleep during the weekend, because these past days have been rough and we have so much writing to do that breaks and naps are not a thing.

Day #5 British Museum

Friday May 12th 2017

Today I went to the British Museum and I am amazed by how great their collection is. They have things of all ages and from all over the world. Chris commented on how as they conquered new territories, they would bring back treasures to offer to the king. I loved to be able to go through most of the exhibitions. We learned a lot about Ancient Rome and Greece and they even had an exposition room dedicated to ancient Mexican civilizations. We walked the museum as a team and I think that made it more fun. We complemented the exposition with fun facts each of us knew about our areas of interest.

I am very happy this week is done though... It was amazing but also very tiring to be walking all over the city and pay attention to all the wonderful places we visited everyday. To then go somewhere and write about everything in the journals and then the daily articles. This week I created an article about Sir Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden Powell of Gilwell, St. Paul, and I contributed to the existing articles of the British Museum, The National Gallery and the Natural History Museum by adding sections to each one of them. This weekend I want to be able to work hard on my milestone background because doing a daily article left me no time to work hard on it. Hopefully this weekend will be enough to get it completely done and go take pictures to the sites to start painting as soon as possible. The supplies are here and I can't wait to start using them. Being able to see London as a non tourist is exciting and I love that I have the opportunity to analyze and represent the reality of London citizens from different perspectives through my project.

Day #6 Vivaldi, Four Seasons

Saturday May 13th 2017

Today I felt pretty tired. But I woke up at nine, showered, did my laundry, made some soup and started working on my milestone resources right away. I found really interesting information and I know exactly what I have to do, I just have to start summarizing and writing the information. I really like my project, which makes it less painful to write about it, despite how much I dislike writing papers. In the afternoon, around three, Sofia and I walked to Nandos to have lunch. I love Nandos. When I was twelve years old, I went to the University of Cambridge to study for a summer and I remember gong to Nandos every single day. I became friends with everyone that worked there and they gave me free food all the time. After lunch I walked to Bedford Pl to dink tea with Professor Constance and discuss the progress I had made this week regarding to my milestone and the articles and journal entries. She is a historian, very kind and interesting to talk to. We had a great conversation and she gave me a book to use as a major resource for my background of the first milestone.

I left Professor Constance's flat around seven and took a bus to Trafalgar Square. I went there to listen to a concert in St. Martin in the Fields Church. It was Vivaldi, Four Seasons by Candlelight. It was a lovely presentation of the Festive Orchestra of London directed by Catherine Manson and with Miki Takahashi in the violin. The music made me think on a lot of things. It was almost as if the melodies guided my thoughts. The ups and downs, the emphasis, the solos and the unions of all the individual melodies that together formed that masterpiece was an amazing experience. Sometimes the music was slow and peaceful and when you least expected it, it “exploded” and turned fast and almost chaotic, but still beautiful. It was almost an allegory to life itself. How life is a masterpiece with its ups and down and moments of peace and moments of chaos. How life, is just as enjoyable in all those situations and it is also a collaborative work between different melodies that represent every aspect of what makes us be the way we are. How, in that same way, sometime we may lean more towards one of these aspects, letting it playing a solo, but we shall always come back to the rest because that makes our lives more exciting. Some pieces in the performance were full of melancholy and some even brought me to tears. It is amazing how art can touch our innermost fibers and how specifically music is able to make our souls vibrate to the sound of its instruments. I very much enjoyed this concert, and though because of it I had to go back home alone at night, I am very happy I went.

Day #7 Mass & Milestones

Sunday May 14th 2017

Today I got up, showered and went to mass to St. Peter's Church. It was nice, I like that it is so close to our flats and then they offer many services on Sundays. Then I went for a walk with Sofia, we went through a path where we had never been before through a residential area. All the Apartments looked the same from the outside, it was almost copy paste and I say almost because they all differed in one thing. All the doors were of different and very bright colors. It was lovely. When we got hungry, we had lunch in a Pret a Manger, resisting the temptation of Five Guys that was just across the street. After that we went to a Starbucks and worked on our Milestone 1, which is due tomorrow.

Day #8 Museum of London

Monday May 15th 2017

Today we met at 9:25am to walk to the Museum of London, which took us less than expected and we arrived 12 minutes early. We ended up spending those 12 minutes and perhaps a couple more deciphering a small monument at the entrance of the museum, where the "s" where "f" or sometimes integral signs but with some exceptions. It was quite interesting, the monument was simulating to be a piece of paper with something written on it. It was a script written by John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Movement. We split as soon as we entered the museum; Ben went with Trinity and I went with Chris. It took us a little bit over an hour to of through it all and overall I think it is really interesting how a city has so much history revolving around it to fill the entirety of a museum. London has gone through such different ages, ideologies and rulers, always being one of the worlds most powerful and influential economies, that it is understandable how it has come to be today such an extraordinary place to visit and to live in. By the end of the museum there is a question the instantly popped into my mind, which is, what's next? How does the present contributes and what does the future hold for the marvelous city? Going through the exhibitions made me appreciate more being here, where so many great mind have contributed to science, music, philosophy, writing, architecture and man other disciplines.

After the museum Chris and I had lunch in a pub that is about five minutes away from our flats, we had a very nice conversation about politics, ideologies and contemporary controversies. It was great and I think we spent more time there talking than at the museum, which is funny. After that we went to my flat and worked on our individual journals and article entries for a couple of hours. Then we walked to the British Library and worked some more before our meeting with the professors. I told them about going to the concert on Saturday and they were very excited about it. On the walk back, Ben was telling Trinity and I his daily schedule... he wakes up at six every morning and starts being productive, no wonder why he is almost done with the milestone work. When I got home, I told everyone about it and we have an inside joke now... "be the Ben you wanna see in the world". So tonight I will try to go to bed early and wake up early tomorrow to work on my milestone, we'll see how it goes.

Day #9 Wicked

Tuesday May 16th 2017

I did it! I went to bed at ten last night and woke up at seven this morning. I had breakfast and started working on my milestone. Sofia and Katherine did the same so the inside joke ended up being a good source of inspiration after all... Today my team had no museums to visit so it was a lot of working on the milestone and doing some research on the places that I will visit this week. I also did some exercise when I felt sleepy and it really did wake me up. I've been reading a lot from the two books I have and I find it really interesting how people dealt with living in the worst times for London. When diseases were spreading and they knew very little about how to treat them, when everything was filthy and fog was so dense mortality rates went up and still, people went on with their lives. They lived, progressed, grew, did art, did music, fell in love, worked hard and prospered to what it has become today. It really is the best time to be alive... and not because we have no problems, but because we are aware of them and people are acting. We are able to learn from the past and improve our future. It was overall a very productive morning, I was very happy today.

As I didn't have any museum visits today, I bought tickets with Sofia to go to watch Wicked at seven thirty in the afternoon, but the theatre was quite far so we left the flats at five thirty and got there forty-five minutes prior to the start of the performance to pick up our tickets. After that we had dinner at a Pret a Manger and I bought a meal for a homeless man that was there. I am amazed by the indifference of some people when another person asks just for food. I understand that I can't feed all the homeless in London, but it takes less from me than what it means to some of them to be able to eat that one meal I give up for them. The play was fun, we really enjoyed it, I feel it was that kind of thing that is just as enjoyable for kids as it is for adults. There was a phrase that really made me think, "The truth isn't a thing of fact or reason. It is simply what everyone agrees on". This has been an issue since the beginning of time. What we call "true" or "fact" is as unstable as any belief. What is the truth? Is there even a truth? What I may believe to be true may not actually be the truth for someone else. And what was called "the truth" year ago is not accurate today. Though this was not the main message of the play, it stood up to me. I have been trying to better myself, lately more than ever. I've been trying to not take things to heart, because the only one affected is me. This quote was like a reassurance of the same message; to not take things too seriously or get carried away by the social rules. Things are what they are and they... happen. it is on us to assign a value to them and if we are wise enough we shall do so to our advantage.

Small steps!! Small steps!!

Day #10 Tate Bitain

Wednesday May 17th 2017

Last night I arrived a bit late from the play, so I couldn't go to bed at the time I wanted to. Consequently, today I woke up at eight, took a shower and started heading out with my team to Tate Britain. We took the Tube because it was over an hour walk, however, when we got there we split up again, Trinity with Ben and Chris and I. This time it happened because we got distracted with the building of the National Security Agency that appears in all the James Bond movies. So we crossed the bridge, we took pictures and I took some shots from the Big Ben and the London Eye. We also walked beneath the bridge and we realized that the little tunnel is just like a scene in the Harry Potter movies, it was fun. It was raining, so after the pictures we walked to the museum. Chris and I had a lot of fun today, we definitely laughed a lot going through the expositions. Then I started joking around and he took some pictures of me in the museum. Some of those pictures came out really cool, others are just hilarious and I'm just glad we didn't get kicked out for being silly.

After the museum we walked to the London Eye and I took some pictures of the parliament and the Big Ben from the other side of the river. On our way there we found a bright orange rose growing in the top of the wall that decided the riverwalk from the street. I couldn't take a good shot of it because the wall was to high, so we kept walking. Later we saw a crack in the wall and Chris climbed it and went back to take pictures of the rose. It was beautiful to see that spot of color growing in the adversity of such a gray day. It got to a point where I gave up on holding my umbrella and we just walked in the rain. It was not too bad though. It is a nice rain that you can barely feel, you only realize it when you're completely wet. My shoes are gross though... and that is not ideal. We took the Tube to the station near our flat and on the walk there we had lunch in a street market. It took us longer to decide where to eat that what it took us to eat our food.

When we were done eating we went back to our flats. The ret of the day was pretty chill, I contributed to the article of the museum with a new section and read a little more of the book "The London Fog". Then I called my mom for about two hours and after that kept doing my article. When I felt like I was done I did some exercise and danced in my room. Sofia laughs at me when I do this, but it relaxes me to be silly, so I do it. I really enjoy talking to her, she is easy to open to and I believe we have a lot in common. We are Aplha Phi sisters, Latinas, smart, fun and hard working at the same time. Last night we had an awesome conversation and we had a lot of fun just in general. I am happy to have the chance to get to know her better this term because we will be living in the same house next year. So far, I've had a lot of fun with her, we also cook for each other and keep track of each other's locations when we're not together. We even got matching lunch boxes for ourselves. When I moved to the US one of the things that I missed the most is the kind of friendships I used to have back at home. American culture is so different, friendships are so awkward and even superficial at times. Latino culture places a lot of value in friendship, my mom always told me that friends are the family you get to choose for yourself and in a family everyone takes care of each other. My day ends by writing this article, it is already ten thirty and I can't believe how fast the day went by. It was a good day though, I felt really happy.

Day #11 Victoria & Albert Museum

Thursday May 18th 2017

Today I woke up and went to the Victoria and Albert Museum, I woke up relatively late so I did not eat anything at all. We took the tube on our way there and then had to make a huge line because, as usual, we got there before the museum was open. We went inside, walked around a bit and did not really enjoy it to be honest. Chris and I got tired pretty quickly so we took some pictures and notes for the articles and left. I told him I needed to go to Harrods to take some pictures for my milestone and he was down so we did. Harrods was just a couple of blocks away in the same street. We went inside and it was just a lot, since the second you step in, it feels like you walk into a movie, or a book. It feels unreal, everything is so luxurious, so expensive, and they sell everything you could possibly want. From a tomato to chocolate with gold, or really expensive clothing, or home decor, or sportswear; they even have a Disney store in there. The store has six floors full of things that an average human would have to sell a kidney to afford, still, it was full of costumers. We spent more time there than what we spent in the museum. We explored the store and admired the articles sold there. It was almost like looking at an exposition because some things were so different, so unique. I wonder how the lives of people that were buying there are, I wonder if their worries are the same as mine. I wonder if I will ever be able to become one of them. I wonder if most of them worked for what they have or just inherited the fortune. There was a sign in one of the top floors that said “Just spend 300 pounds and…”. What?! I don’t even remember the end of the sentence. I want to be able to do that someday, to be like “Oh yeah JUST 300 pounds” like an everyday thing. The main stairs in Harrods have an Egyptian art theme and cost 20 million pounds. Also, the decoration in the store changes with the seasons, it is like a modern art display that is never the same. I ended up buying some Adidas sneakers for my sister because I know she has been wanting a pair for a long time, and my parents only let me buy one pair because of how expensive they were, so I got them for her. We took the tube on the way back and then had lunch at EAT, which was just like a Pret a Manger.

The rest of the day was pretty boring and I felt really tired. We had a meeting at six at the church so we headed out at around five thirty and started walking there. It was raining, which was not ideal, I wish the weekly meetings could be on my flat. I wouldn't mind and I think everyone else would appreciate it. But well, honestly it being in the church is not that bad either. The meeting was tense at times, or at least that is how we felt it. I think most of us are doing a pretty good job and I am personally really proud of those who are passionate about their projects and find a meaning to it beyond getting an A. I can't believe tomorrow is Friday, week two is almost over.. what?! No! it can't be! it feels like we just got here, we are just so busy all the time that days go by too fast.

Day #12 Tate Modern

Friday May 19th 2017

Woah! So much happened today! I went to Tate Modern and on our way there it started raining. I’ve come to the conclusion that I need new sneakers for myself, because London rain has destroyed my blue converse. Also, Ben and Trinity walk so fast! Hahahaha or maybe I am just really slow and Chris feels bad for me… Anyways, the walk there was very nice in spite of the rain. I took pictures in the way there and we walked under the bridge on our way to Tate. The building looks like a former boat garage according to Chris. The expositions were really engaging, full of meaning and full of feeling. I saw one in which the artist built a map by making a collage of pictures taken in London, and then did the same with the city of San Francisco, California. It looked like so much work but it was so amazing too! I loved how they had interactive expositions, in which the way you enjoy the piece depends on you too and not only on the artist. For example, Chris built a tower with some wooden blocks and then destroyed it on top of a castle that was built by someone else, we recorded it at it was really fun. Another exposition I loved was one that involved 40 speakers each one with a recording of a single person singing and all together (in a circle), made one of the choral melodies of Thomas Tallis. I love his music and sometimes I listen to it while doing work, so this exposition was exquisite for me. After we felt we were done we went to the tenth floor of the building to get a magnificent view of the city. Chris commented on how amazing it was to see how far the city expands in all directions from Tate Modern, we took some pictures of each other and bought some bread with chocolate inside and ate it up there. In the gift shop I bought three books; “How to walk”, “How to relax” and “How to love”, hopefully to expand my wisdom and reflect a little during the weekend. Since Sofia is leaving me tonight to go to France to visit a friend and Chris’s mom and sister are coming to visit this weekend I will be pretty lonely. So I might go to a park or a garden and read my books, perhaps drink some tea. I just want enjoy being in London and not think of all the work I have to do for a couple of hours. I feel like I need it, which is why tonight I will not go to bed until I’m done with my to do list.

When we went outside from Tate I was a bunch of giant bubbles floating around and I went running to them. It was so beautiful to see them floating above the Thames and all around the people walking by. Also, there was a boy singing and playing some covers of Ed Sheeran on his guitar. He was really good, and quite good looking as well. Consequently, there were a lot of teenage girls around him enjoying his music and the bubbles. When Chris caught up to where I was he commented on the demographics of the people attracted to the boy and I told him it was just because us girls appreciate more talent; we both laughed. I felt once again, extremely fortunate to be in London. I am in love with this city, so obsessed with the people, the atmosphere, even the rain, I think it is wonderful and I sing and dance on the streets all the time. After enjoying a few songs, we walked to Borough market, such a colorful, busy place. I got a taste of every single free sample offered to me and was not hungry by lunch time at all. Chris was pretty hungry though, so we bought some fish and chips from the place that is supposed to sell the best fish and chips in the whole country, according to some award. However, Chris and I agreed on that they were pretty average. On our way back I took great pictures of the Tower Bridge from the London Bridge. We also went to St. Paul’s Cathedral and passed through the gardens, the roses there are not only gorgeous, but also smell wonderful. I had never in my life smelled anything similar to those roses. After that we entered some shops just to wander around and Chris ended up being some fake mustaches. As a personal social experiment, we put them on and walked through the streets of London with the mustaches on. The reactions of people were priceless! They could not help but smiling at us and you could tell some people tried to resist it but couldn’t. One man that was on a suit walking on the street just bursted laughing as soon as he saw us, his laugh made my day, and I’m sure we made his. Also some homeless people laughed at us and a woman in a wheelchair told us, “nice look, I like it” and smiled. Then a short, robust man that was frowning while crossing the street, couldn’t help smiling back as he passed us by. Even the construction workers that are making the building near the flats enjoyed our look. It was so great! I should do it more often, it is such an easy way to make people smile, and who doest need some silliness in their lives every once in a while.

When we got back to the flats, I started working on some stuff and called my mom, while Sofia was packing. Then we went to a shop nearby to buy some food. Sofia was really hungry and wanted to show me a gourmet pasta shop so she made me accompany her wearing my pajama shorts, my alpha phi sweater, my flip flops and my hair in a messy bun. I had never gone anywhere caring less on my looks. The guy that was on the counter of the store was really nice though, he was an old Italian man and after we bought our supplies he gave us two huge slices of chocolate cake for free. We came back home, cooked the pasta with a delicious sauce and ham that we also bought on the shop. It was the best dinner I have had here so far. Today was a great day, again, I am really happy.

Day #13 Work Work Work

Saturday May 20th 2017

I worked on my Milestone all day. I just really want to be done with it as soon as possible. I enjoy my topic but I don't like spending my days just working on this in the flat. I am in London and I would like to be wandering around more and having fun in places I want to go to. Instead, I am always working on my Milestone, and still I always feel like I am behind on schedule. I think of things I could be doing to have fun here but I always stop my train of thought to go back to work. I feel that the things that I have done to just have fun like going to parks, walking around the city, going to concerts and to plays are things I can't afford to do without sacrificing working time and consequently falling behind on schedule. Don't get me wrong, I am immensely happy to be in London, I just would like to have some more time to enjoy of the city without having to write an article about it.

Day #14 Mass, Milestone & LSO

Sunday May 21th 2017

Same activity as last Sunday, same feeling as yesterday... I just need to find a way of putting the pictures from my camera to my computer and upload them to the wiki to be done with my Milestone 1. I feel relieved, more than actually happy. Still not ready to start all over again by doing Milestone 2. In the afternoon Mary and I walked to Trafalgar Square to listen to the Open Air BMW Concert of the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) and honestly did not expect it to be as crowded as it was. Still, it was beautiful. The music so perfectly performed and with such precision and strength. Also it was a very beautiful sunny day today. Who doesn't enjoy of a free concert with such a nice climate. When we got there, we passed the first filter but not the second one so we had to limit ourselves to watch the performance through a screen with a los of other people. Soon after us they didn't let anyone else into that area anyways so it could have been worse. In the screen they kept focusing the pianist who played with a lot of passion every single one of the pieces; he moved and shook and turn red at times, always very focused in the piano. I love that this is posible here, to come to a free concert of the London Symphony Orchestra and that so many people are interested to attend. As a fun fact, the LSO has recorded the music for The Danish Girl, four of the Harry Potter movies, Superman and six of the original Star Wars movies. For this concert, they performed music of the composer Sergei Rachmaninov, whose hands were so big that they could stretch across 13 white notes on the piano (the average span is nine). The event was estimated for ten thousand people to attend and it was sponsored by BMW and the presenter announced that their goal was to bring classical music to the hearts of the people of London. It was not only for the classical music lovers but also for people that were listening it for the very first time. I thought that was a fantastic idea, I could see people of all ages there, I saw families, young couples, old couples, groups of friends and people that just went to enjoy the concert by themselves. There was a little boy dancing to the music with his brother that honestly made my day. I also saw people tearing, maybe recalling some memories with the music. It was fun to look at how each person enjoyed the music in a different way. I listened to most of the concert by myself and honestly I think I would have liked to have someone to share it with, someone that's could have enjoyed it as much as I did.

I did not like this concert as much as I likes Vivaldi though. That one felt more personal, as if the performers were playing just for me. I am really happy to be able to listen to more than just sound when I listen to music. I feel privileged to be touched and that some melodies evoke the most vivid emotions in me. I feel it as a complete experience, as such a magnificent way of expression, something that not only "not everyone can do" but also something that not everyone is able to appreciate. And it is such a shame, I feel bad for those that don't let themselves enjoy the journey of a good classical music concert. Anyways, when it was over Mary and I walked back home and made ourselves some dinner. At night I received really bad news from back home and it was impossible for me to be done with what I wanted to be done with for the day. However I am just really grateful for the friends I have and how willing they are to support me in rough times. Claire, Sebastian and Andre made my day and I love them. They made me realize that I'm not alone and how important their friendships are for me. Also that sometimes, you don't even ask for anything and people are just placed in the right place at the right time. Love might come from where you least expect it, but it will always come when you need it. I love how much I've been learning this summer, inside and outside of the London HUA Program.

Day #15 Imperial War Museum

Monday May 22th 2017

Officially so tired of Museums... hahahaha I don't know where to store more information about the history of the United Kingdom. I think I have received more information about historical events these past two weeks that I have in all of my school years. Today I woke up and did my makeup! For no particular reason, I just wanted to look pretty today. I went with my team to the Imperial War Museum (IWM) and we got there a little bit late because Chris thought is was somewhere it wasn't. He took us near the Churchill's War Rooms, the positive side of it is that we got to see a reversal of the National Guard from afar. I asked a policeman that was near and he explained that they are rehearsing for the parade that happens each year on the queen's birthday, which is the first week of June. Now I am really excited for that to happen. It will surely be quite an experience. We walked from there to the IWM and I think it is amazing how many artifacts are preserved in that place. There are enough to fill the five IWM that are in the UK, three of which are at London. After we were done walking through the exhibitions, Chris and I sat in the cafe and contributed on the Imperial War Museum article on the wiki. I wrote about the Model of the Royal Navy Battleship HMS Hercules that is displayed on level 0 in the World War I Galleries. It was a great thing for sure, so much engineering everywhere. There were signs everywhere about "Fighting for Peace" and it just made me think about the irony contained in that phrase.

After that I went back to the flat by myself to meet Sofia there, we went to have lunch at Nando's and then we made a list of 50 things to do before this term is over. We are both really excited about it and we'll meet later to schedule our activities so we have enough time for doing our activities, the museums, the articles, the meetings, the journals and the milestones. It will not be easy but I will not sacrifice neither my quality work nor the opportunity of being in London with a friend. Good thing I have this activity journal so if anyone wants to follow the list, they have an easy way of doing so.

Day #16 Horniman Museum and Gardens

Tuesday May 23th 2017

Today I woke up to a lot of missed calls of my friends from back home because they heard of the bombing in the Ariana Grande Concert in Manchester and they were worried about me. 19 people died and there are about 56 injured from a suicide bomber terrorist attack. Terrorist attacks are so scary, so sporadic, so random. There is no way to prepare for it or way to avoid it, you're kinda just living your life until it hits you. But anyways, back to the activity; it was such a long way to the Horniman Museum and Gardens. We took two busses and in both we sat at the top front of it. I love the double deckers. They let me see the city as if I was looking at a show, from a different level, a different perspective. When we got there we saw an exhibition of directed animals and, woah, nature is so amazing. After that we went outside and Chris and I wandered around the beautiful gardens and we saw a great variety of birds and bugs and we climbed trees and ran through the fields and we also saw some rams, sheep, goats and alpacas. It was a beautiful day too, perfect day to spend out in the gardens. There are some spots where you can see the whole city and the view is worth admiring. The place was also packed with little kids and I love how happy they looked, they were laughing and running around and sob were we. After that, Chris and I went to the cafeteria and ate some brownies, muffins and ice cream while we were doing our articles in our laptops. Then we took the bus back and we had a really nice conversation on the way back, which was a long way.

The second Milestone's outline is due today and mine is almost done but Sofia just told me she wants us to do it together so I might start my third one first and leave the second one for the end. Which not only means I am kind of behind but it all means I ned to start writing poetry and I will just say it has been a while. I love poetry but it is not easy for me to share what I write. As you can see if you've been reading my journals, I tend to get really personal in my writing. It is hard for me to limit myself when I write and I also know that some of my ideas differ from other people's ideas. It is certainly going to be an interesting thing. I want to keep very present the reason why I am doing this though. I did not choose this project because it was going to be easy or to get a good grade at it but I chose it because of what I want it to mean to me and maybe for other people too. Each one of us has the power to live the lives we want for ourselves, and it is on us to make the best of the time God gives us to be here and to help others do the same. So I want this project to be a reminder of that, that no matter what I go through in life, I can always love a colorful reality if I decide so.

Day #17 Hampton Court Palace

Wednesday May 24th 2017

The way to our destination was a little longer than what we expected it to, well, at least it was for Sofia, Chris and I. It all started when almost arriving at Farringdon Station I asked Chris, "You bought your ticket right?". At first I thought he was joking but then he started running back to the flat... I couldn't leave him so Sofia and I stayed and waited for me as the others boarded the train to Hampton Court Palace. When he came back, Sofia was guiding us and we boarded a train she told us to. Little did we know that train was on its way to Bedford and took us way south. When we realized we went down a a station that was an hour away from our destination. Then Chris took the lead and we changed platform to talk to one of the workers if the train that was about to leave was the one we should take. But the worker ignored us and blew his whistle as he signaled "all clear" to another worker. Then the train started beeping and Chris ran through the door, without even thinking about it I jumped in after him having the train's doors closing behind me and in front of Sofia. The train ws starting to move away from the station and away from her... "Oh my god" was all I was saying as Chris was calming me down. As I later talked to her through the phone she told us that the worker had told her that we were not in the right train. "Its ok, we'll go down in the next stop and figure it out from there"..... What?! The next stop was to the other side of the Thames, Blackfriars Station which was the one right before Farringdon. Long story short it took us another hour to get to Hampton Court Palace from Blackfriars Bridge. It was quite an adventure, quite a story to tell.

Hampton Court Palace was beautiful, mesmerizing, lovely. I know quite a few facts about King Henry VIII so I very much enjoyed the "museum" side of that place. Very interesting and intriguing story, once you start to pay attention to the history about the Tudors it is impossible not to, as Professor Constance would say "Drown in Tudor waters". But my favorite part of that place were definitely the gardens. We took lots of lovely pictures there and I am in love with every single one of them. We had a lot of fun despite our little inconvenience at the beginning and also because of it, e were the last to leave. Right before that, we ran through the gardens, lay by the shade of the trees, had lunch in the palace, smelled the perfume of the rose garden, saw ducks, geese, swans and deer and ran through the maze of the castle.

On our back we were all falling asleep and trying to keep each other away with jokes and anecdotes. We decided to go directly to the station nearest to the church where we meet each week. It was still too soon though, so we started a quest to find somewhere with wifi where we could work on our articles of the day. It was harder than we expected, because Starbuck, which was the only place with wifi, was full and then all the other cafes and restaurants did not have wifi for the costumers, which was annoying. We ended up in a Pret a Manger getting wifi from (I think) a hotel nearby. This week's meeting was very short and efficient, with a lot of good vibe from everyone, the only thing is that nobody commented nor asked questions about each other's projects. I like to think that is because maybe now we talk more to each other so we already know what the others are doing and how it is going.

Day #18 Museum of London Docklands

Thursday May 25th 2017

Honestly this was the best planned museum of the week. The Museum of London Docklands is set in such a creative way and it has costumes for you to wear in almost each exposition and also fun activities to do like painting and building things. Alright, maybe all those cool things were actually meant for kids but I will just say it was the best part of the museum for me. I love having fun as a little kid, and being silly and laugh and smile and making strangers laugh at my silliness. The museum was amazing, but I feel like every museum I go to it just becomes more and more difficult for me to enjoy the next ones. It is so much information already!!! Bt there is no greater gift than knowledge and wisdom, so even though I may feel a bit tired, I a mostly grateful. Today I was really happy, I was joking around and singing and dancing all the way to the museum and back. People often tell me I am "extra" and honestly I take that description with pride. I love being called extra, because that is exactly what I strive to do in every way. I want to put an extra effort, do more, help more, love more, laugh more, enjoy more, in general I want to live more. After the museum, Chris and I met Sofia at Nando's and we had a lovely lunch together. After that we went back to the flat and I worked on my article as Sofia packed for the weekend. I will visit some family friends at Bedford but I'm leaving until tomorrow. I will have time to go to other countries once the term is over and I see my parents and little sister. I miss them so much, specially my little sister, she is a little spark of joy in my life. She has always been and I am very inspired by her and her wisdom, despite her young age.

Day #19 Bedford

Friday May 26th 2017

Today I woke up pretty late, at eleven o clock, and got dressed. The flat was so quiet, almost everyone was already gone. Actually, I thought I was all by myself until I went down to make myself something to eat. Nicole told me that she was going to stay in the flat all through the weekend. After I ate, I packed and listened to some music, some Ted talks and some poetry. At four thirty I walked to St. Pancras International Station and it look me way less than I thought. I am glad I walked because in the way there I saw two car accidents and a huge traffic jam. When I got there I bought my ticket and went to Starbucks to wait for my uncle to arrive. He works in London and goes back to Bedford every day, so I met him on the station and the my aunt picked us up when we arrived. They had a barbecue in their house and invited some friends, the food was good and the people were really nice. We had a great time, telling jokes and anecdotes and playing some cricket. Later, when it was darker, we made a fire and we sat around it.

Day #20 Cambridge

Saturday May 27th 2017

Today I woke up and went to Cambridge. I studied English there when I was thirteen years old, I stayed there for two months by myself. Still today I think that was one one of the best summer experiences I've had in my life. I learned so much and grew so much, I feel it was more than an academic growth, an eye opener. It was the first time I got the chance to interact with people from all over the world, all in one place, same age. Going back there today felt nice, I ate in Nando's and then walk around in the market and the stores. For dinner I made pasta and garlic bread for everyone and it was really delicious.

Day #21 Mass & BBQ

Sunday May 28th 2017

I woke up early today to go to mass at eight and I realized that the church almost only had very old people going to mass. After that, I came back, had breakfast, changed into sportswear and went for a walk around Bedford. It was such a nice walk, the sun was out and there was a fresh wind blowing. I walked by the river for a while and saw a lot of beautiful swans and ducks, lots of them. When I came back I took a long and nice shower and got dressed because we were going to a barbecue at the house of my uncle's friends because their eldest son was turning eighteen. They are cubans, so latino music was playing most of the time, I got to talk to some guys my age, which was nice and the food was delicious and abundant. I had fun and then when it was over, we walked back to the house and went straight to bed.

Day #22 Back to HUA

Monday May 29th 2017

Today I woke up pretty late, and worked on my journals for the weekend and on my first milestone. I think I am pretty much done with it, but tomorrow I will talk to the advisors and see what they think about it. I need to work hard on the second one this week to also have it done and start paining as soon as possible. I think I will have a lot of fun doing that. I came back to the flat at around and I bought tickets for the Secret Cinema, I will be going with Sofia on the 7th and I couldn't be more excited! We're children of the revolution, and my character is a poet, which is super cool. The theme is Moulin Rouge and as Sofia had not seen the movie, we started watching it before going to bed.

Day #23 Walk, Concert & Milestone

Tuesday May 30th 2017

Today Sofia and I woke up at eight and went for a walk, we found a lovely coffee shop that was full of books and we had breakfast there. Then we went to an Oxfam shop and bought out outfits for the Secret Cinema. It was very fun to shop there, they had really old things and it was really cheap too. After that we walked around and entered expensive shops that we obviously can't afford just to look at things we really want but can't have, quite sad right? After our session of self torture, we walked to St. Martin in the Fields and listened to a free lunchtime concert of classical music. It was fuller than I expected it to be, but still lovely. In Trafalgar Square there was a huge crowd of Nigerian people waving their flags and dancing to some music that was playing. It was a patriotic display in memory of Biafran martyrs. As we walked by the National Gallery I saw a sign of a library and we followed it and found a really nice place to work on our milestones where we could access and even borrow about 20 books at a time. We don't plan on taking them home though, because we both agree we are way more productive working elsewhere.

Day #24 Milestone

Wednesday May 31st 2017

Today it was not as productive as I would have wanted it to be in terms of progress within my milestone, however, I did my budget for this month and it is the first time I have ever done that so it was really cool. I felt like such a grownup and I realized I have spent a lot of money on food, which I partially regret. This is a great learning experience and it is getting me ready for next year when I will not be living in the dorms anymore. On our way to the meeting today, Sofia and I took the 55 bus to the opposite way and took us a little to realize so we got 25 minutes late to the meeting, which was not ideal. On our way back we shopped some groceries and made dinner. Then I finished some work for my first Milestone and replied to some emails before going to bed.

Day #25 London Science Museum

Thursday May 1st 2017

Woah, today was so much fun! Sofia and I woke up early and got ready for the day because we were going to the same place today. We met the rest of my team plus Sam at 9:30 and we started heading over to the London Science Museum As usual we split up as soon as we got there, but this time we were four; Sofia, Chris, Sam and I. We walked through the lower expositions and the things we saw there were amazing, Then I found some stairs and decided to go explore. The upper levels of the museum are like a gigantic free arcade. Instead of giving you pictures to look at and information to read, it is full of interactive screens and mini games, each with its own story set to teach the player the topics of each exhibition. It is genius! I loved it so much and we all spent quite a while just playing in the different floors of the museum. When ew were done, we went to the gift shop and it was as cool as any other exposition, however, the only purchase was an "astronauts ice cream" that the boys bought which was like an ice cream sandwich shaped cookie that dissolved in your mouth.

After our adventures in the museum, we went to the statue of Saint Augustin and decided to go to the nearest convenience store and have a picnic at the park. So we walked a couple of blocks through a very fancy neighborhood with really fancy cars parked outside until we got to a street with several restaurants and other stores. We bought two pizzas and some snacks and walked to Hyde park. The weather was so nice; sunny with a fresh breeze that made the trees dance. We ate and chatted for a bit and then we proceeded to explore the rest of the park. Our plan was to chill at the Princess Diana's memorial but when we got there it was full of little kids running around and playing in the water. So we sat in a cafe nearby and worked on our journals, articles and milestones. After that we walked to Harrods and explored the store again because Sofia and Sam had never been there before and I just love that place.It was fun to walk around that expensive store, plus, every time I go I feel like I discover a new room where I had not been before. This time it was the "millionaire's gallery" with all kinds of things framed and signed by famous people in politics, sports and art. It amazes me how much people are willing to pay for an autograph, it is insane.

When we left Harrods, we took the tube to the Piccadilly Circus and took some picture there, to me, it looks like a mini version of Broadway, smaller but just as crowded. Then, to complete our list of 50 things to do in London, we took the tube to Liverpool Street to go to a secret bar hidden behind a refrigerator door in a restaurant called "The Breakfast Club". We got there and Sofia told me "You do the talking" and a waiter came and asked me "What may I help you with today?" I glanced at the restaurant and it looked almost absolutely empty. "We sat to go to the bar" I said, then he looked at me with a puzzled face and said "What? excuse me what bar are you talking about?" and I said "the bar behind the that refrigerator". I don't know how he could keep a straight face but he didn't let us in until I said the name f the bar which appeared to be the password to enter. The name of the bar is "The Major of Scaredy Cat Town". When we went through the refrigerator and downstairs, the bar was completely packed. We ordered standing and then we were bitted at a table in the corner of the bar. We ate some wings and nachos and talked for a bit until we decided it was time to go back home. The day was amazing, from the science museum, to the picnic at the park, to Harrods, to the Piccadilly Circus, to the secret pub. It was full of fun and a lot of walking and I want more days like that.

Day #26 The Wallace Collection

Friday June 2nd 2017

Today was incredibly productive! I woke up at seven and finished my journal from yesterday and worked on my articles. Then I had breakfast, showered and met my team at 9:30 to go to The Wallace Collection. It was interesting to go there, we walked around for a while and then worked on journals and articles. Sofia and I worked together on all the West Galleries and West Rooms and some other rooms such as the Boudoir and gave proper format to the rest of the article. We did so many contributions to the wiki and we worked really fast because we did it together. Also we started talking to one of the ladies there in the museum and she told us the story of the place. It used to be a house where four generations of a very rich and renown family lived. Four males inherited the house with all the collections, however the last one has and illegitimate son who didn't get his last name. That man was Mr. Wallace who married a lovely lady but died childless. When his widow felt her time was near she made the proper arrangements to give the house and the collection to the British Nation under some conditions. The house must remain with all the original items of the collection and they shall not be mixed with any other collections, so the Museum will always remain the same and it shall be free of charge. Finally the collection was to be named under her husband's name and not under the other four generation's name. I thought it was a very interesting story and I'm glad she shared it with us. It is also almost unimaginable to thing that people lived in a house with so many rooms and such expensive items in each one of the rooms.

I still need to upload all the pictures I have from each day to my journals and do some of the background for my Milestone. After the Wallace Collection Sofia and I went to Baker St. and ate at Chipotle. Then we went to the library near The National Gallery and worked there for a few hours. I love that library, it is free and it is so quiet and the people that work there are so very nice, (unlike the lady that works in the British Library). However, every time I work on my Milestone's background time goes by so slowly and I get tired so quickly. It is hard, but I want this project to be something I can be proud of so I will work as hard as I am able to. After our work at the library, we walked to the Big Ben, to the London Eye, to St. Paul's and finally back to the flat and met the boys, then we walked together to a burger place and we had milkshakes and dined.

Day #27 Shoreditch, Urban Food Fest & BallieBallerson

Saturday June 3rd 2017

Today I spent all my morning uploading pictures to my journals, hopefully not in vain... Also I proof read some of them and corrected some typos. Then I did my hair and makeup and Sofia and I planned the rest of the evening. We took a bus to Shoreditch St. and had a whole photoshoot with graffitis on the street. I wouldn't recommend going there alone and a girl friend does not count. I had never been so cat called in my life, it was very uncomfortable and awkward but I guess that we were not in the prettiest area of London. However, it was early and the sun was out, so we were safe. The pictures came out really cool and after that we met the boys at the Urban Food Fest that happens every Saturday during the summer. There was music, giant jenga in the tables and lots of food and drinks to try. We ate there and then we stared to head to BallieBallerson. The 25 pounds you pay to get in are worth it, because it is not only a giant balls pool but it links like they light up with led lights at the same beat of the music. Plus they have a guy that paints your face with neon colors for free inside and they look lit with the black light. They also have a good variety of drinks and dancing in the pool of balls is so much fun. At the end of the day we're all bigger children. The scary part is that in the middle of the night there were another two terrorist attacks in the Tower Bridge and in Borough Market. Which is really scary, because we're not only living really close but also those are places we could have totally been at that night. Again, there is no way to prepare for a terrorist attack. I got a lot of messages from friends asking about my wellbeing. Thank god everyone in the program is safe and sound. Takin out the terrorist attack it was a great day and a great night, tomorrow will be another mass and milestone day and honestly that is all I want to do. I need to work hard.

Day #28 Mass & Milestone

Sunday June 4th 2017

Today I woke up at 9 and started working on my Milestones, I am so behind it worries me, so Sofia and I schedules work times for this week so hopefully we will catch up with the schedule. This week we are going to Stonehenge and I couldn't be more excited. In the afternoon we went to mass, then had dinner in Nando's and went back to the flat. Then I video chatted with some friends and went straight to bed. I realized today that I have been eating terribly lately and it kinda shows, so I need to get on that as soon as possible.

Day #29 Library & Meeting

Monday June 5th 2017

Today Sofia and I woke up really early and worked on the Milestone in the flat for a while, then we had breakfast, I did some exercise and we got ready to go to the Library. We took a bus to Westminster Reference Library and worked there from eleven until five. I read a lot about David Hockney and Sofia about Monet and we each contributed to the Milestone we are doing together. After that we went to the British Library and had our meetings with the advisors. Then we walked back to the flat, had dinner and went to bed.

Day #30 Library & Shakespeare

Tuesday June 6th 2017

Today Sofia woke me up at seven in the morning, and I took a long and nice shower and started working. I completed my journals and then did some research for my second Milestone because I have not finished it. Then at ten we headed to the Westminster Reference Library, however, we stopped at an Oxfam so Sofia could buy his outfit for the secret cinema. After that we bought some food for later at Salisbury. I bought curry chicken with rice and honestly just hoped for the best. Then as we walked to the library we saw an M&Ms World Store and Sofia asked if we could please go inside, so we did. I was kind of worried I was not going to have enough time to work but going into the store ended up inspiring us to choose color schemes for our paintings based on the combinations of colors in the M&Ms. So we took pictures and then we finally got to the library and worked there until itwe were hungry. I finished the part of the Milestone about Charles Dickens and felt really glad and relieved about it. Then we went to St. Martin in the Fields to use the toilets and eat. The curry chicken ended up being way more delicious than I expected. After that, we used the internet in St. Martin to load the map to the globe theatre and we headed out. on our way to the station, however, we made a few stops in a couple of stores and I bought a birthday present for Chris and a gift for my mother. Going to the Globe was probably the hardest thing we did today, yeah, harder than the Milestone... even harder than having to use public toilets! We had no clue how to get to the Thames river from St. Paul's, and we needed to cross it through the Millennial bridge to get to the Globe. Oh, and it was raining. When we finally found the way towards the Thames, we had to go through a really sketchy way under a tunnel and then realized that the stairs to go over the tunnel were closed because the walk way had fallen. So we had to keep walking parallel to the Thames for a while until we got to the bridge to the other side of the Globe. When we finally got to the entrance and got our backpacks checked, it took me like fifteen minutes to find my ticket... still under the rain. We had standing tickets, so we were supposed to watch the whole play standing in the rain, however, Sofia and I know better so we stood on the right side, under the roof where we were able to watch the scenario and stay perfectly dry. It was still pretty cold outside though, and the play was two hours long.

Now, about the actual play... It was not what I expected, not my style and not the most enjoyable version of Romeo and Juliet I have seen. After the play, however, the view while crossing the millennium bridge made me tear up. I felt so happy to be here. Grateful for all the things that had to happen for me to be here. Thinking about all the things that could have possibly gone wrong, even being here, and yet did not. Happy to appreciate the view; the people, the night, the stars, the breeze and the beautiful St. Paul's Cathedral that means so much for England and has now come to mean so much to me. So my major takeaway from today, rather than the play, was the walk back from it to the flat.

Day #32 Stonehenge

Thursday June 7th 2017

Woke up early, did my make up and got ready for the fantastic day ahead. I love to have the opportunity to visit a place so full of mystery and "magic". We were all worried to be late, because Professor Manzo said that whoever got there after 8:30 would be left behind and the rest would depart without him or her. Ironically, professor Manzo and Professor Constance were the last to arrive. The tour guide was really good and really funny. Also he made a good effort to remember all of our names so that definitely made the trip there way better. During the day we went to Stonehenge, Bath and Lockhart. I learned that the druids were not the ones to make Stonehenge, unlike common belief. The rocks there were put five thousand years ago. They were already here even before Jesus was! Three thousand years before him indeed! That is almost unbelievable! It was really rainy, windy and cold, but that didn't keep Sofia and I from taking great pictures of each other. We spent almost a whole hour doing so, and the rest just wandering around the very expensive gift shop. Bath was alright, we barely had time to eat, I did not like my food and then we did a walking tour. The tour guide started talking about the Tudors and it was funny to realize I knew a bit more than him about the story of his country. He gave some facts wrong like saying that king Henry VIII asked Cromwell to make his marriage to Catherine of Aragon invalid. He actually asked the cardinal Thomas Wolsey, and killed him after he failed. Apart from that I enjoyed the tour guide's stories. There're natural springs in bath, however, if you try to bath in them you're likely to die because of the sulphuric gasses that come out and the many bacteria that proliferate in the environment. I saw several homeless people in the city, and I can't hep but to feel sad every time, I wish I could do so much for them. After Bath, we went to a "secret place" were Godricks Hollow was filmed in the Harry Potter movies. So we looked at the church, at "Harry's house" and we walked around for a little bit before heading back to London. We arrived at eight and we went directly to Nando's to celebrate Chris's birthday that is tomorrow. We stayed there until eleven and we had lots of fun chatting and eating some peri peri.

Day #33 Off to Scotland

Friday June 7th 2017

I washed all my clothes and cleaned the mess that my room was. I also finished one of the paintings for my milestone and I'd say it turned out pretty well. I also got a new SIM card and now have 12 GB to use all around Europe for a month. I also went to print our train tickets, I wrote my journals and packed. Emily, Sofia and I left for the platform at ten and got there way before time. It was quite hard for me to sleep during the journey, but still I am very excited to be in Scotland. A new country to add to the list of "visited".

Day #34 Edinburg

Saturday June 7th 2017

Last night I almost couldn't sleep because of the train seats... they're so uncomfortable... I would wake up and change positions every couple of minutes because one of my limbs would go numb. Anyways, we are in Scotland!!! We got here at seven in the morning and we walked around through the gardens near the station and took pictures with "the important monument" which we later realized is in honor to Sir Walter Scott. Then we went to the hostal to leave my luggage and it seemed way better than the pictures online. Also, it was really cheap; it's name is Safe Stay and it is located near the Mile which is also absolutely convenient. The Mile is the Main Street in Edinburg and it is actually longer than a mile. We walked around and had breakfast in a great place. Sofia and Emily got waffles and I got a baguette, it was delicious and gave us energy to keep going. We went to a free tour and it was really interesting to know a little it of the history of ancient kings and queens which, just as in England, it was full of drama. The tour guide also talked about Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling. Turns out she got a lot of ideas from things that actually exist in Edinburg. Some names from the cemetery and the four houses from a school that is right next to the cemetery, that have the exact same colors as the houses from Hogwarts. Even the Quiddich stadium was inspired by a structure put right next to the Edinburg castle. When we got hungry it was really hard to find a place to eat, because Sofia is 17 and you have to show your ID before sitting at any pub in the city. You can't even just eat and drink nothing but water there, it is simply not allowed and they're very strict about it. After we ate , we went up the "important monument" and woah! there were not only a lot of stairs, but also they were extremely tight. The view was worth it though. We got to see all of the city and even the sea on one side and the mountains on the other. By the end of the day we hiked up to Calton Hill and had dinner there. We ought some fruit, sandwiches, juice and wine and watched the beautiful sunset from there. We also took lots and lots of pictures (of course) and then we walked back to the hostel. Sofia says that she wants to live in here someday, she is obsessed with the city and fingerling because of a series she watches named "Reign" that is set here.

Day #35 Back to London

Sunday June 8th 2017

Breakfast was good in a little local run y two young sisters. We hiked Arthur's seat, I was wearing a dress. It started raining and Scots are lazy and most stores were closed because it was Sunday. We walked around and couldn't get a mars bar. Then we went to the train station and on the way back to London I called my mom for most of he time. Looking outside the window was really pretty. When I got back I was really really tired and just wanted to go straight to bed. Sofia arrived two hours later because of problems with her ticket, and when she got here, she was just as tired as me.

Day #36 Windsor Castle

Monday June 9th 2017

We got there a bit late but it ended up working out perfectly because we saw the change of guards from the font row. We took lots of beautiful pictures and I fan-girled with all the Tudor stuff. Like WOAH!!! I stood over Henry VIII and Jane Seymour and I took a picture with the tomb of the Duke of Suffolk who was also one of King Henry's bffs. It was amazing and the views were majestic. I loved the castle and Mary's dollhouse was truly a work of art. It is a shame we could not take pictures in the apartments though but it is understandable I guess. y the end we met a Chinese woman that did not speak English at all but took amazing pictures of Sofia and I. We communicated through hand signals and she told people to move away from the background of our picture. She was so nice and sweet when we said goodbye we hugged her. So adorable, so nice, these people are like chicken soups for my soul. After that, we went to Nando's and then back to London to make it to the meeting at the Library.

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