Friday, May 8, 2015

Amanda and Lloyd in Wales!

Hiya! Alright? Lloyd here and I’m studying “flying” abroad in Carmarthen, Wales with my human Amanda Neff. I’m buzzin’ to FINALLY have some more humans to communicate with because I’m so tired of talking to sheep! They are so annoying! The sheep love to mock my red scales so I scorch their bums with my fire breathing skills, but my human always tells me to behave because they can kick us out of the country! 

Anyhoo, Amanda and I are really enjoying life here in Wales. Luckily, Amanda doesn’t have to go to lecture that often so I see a lot of her! Welsh classes meet once a week and they don’t have any homework or revising except for a couple final papers and presentations, so Amanda and I spend a lot of time traveling from Thursdays to Mondays. It’s so fab when she takes me around our host country. We spent our first few weeks traveling Wales and England with the International Office. We saw awesome sites such as Llansteffan Castle, Whitesands Bay, and the Roman Baths! Although all were equally ace, I think my favorite was Whitesands Bay because my human allowed me to soar through the sky with the lush Welsh countryside below my wings. It was so surreal! I also enjoyed the Roman Baths because we were there on Valentine’s Day and I got to laugh at Amanda and her friends while they swooned over English chaps serenading the passersbys with love songs. Not to mention how brilliant the Baths were!
Me and my human in front of Llansteffan Castle

Selfies with Amanda at Whitesands Bay

Me at the Roman Baths

During the month of April, Amanda had three weeks off for spring break. Her family came over for two of those weeks and she was kind enough to take me along! We went to London, Paris, Munich, Salzburg, and Toledo, Spain. My favorite city was Toledo, Spain because it was so different from anywhere else I’ve been. Spanish architecture is so unique; whereas, the other countries’ architecture primarily stems from heavy Roman influence. I also loved Spain because THERE WAS NO RAIN. Do you know how hard it is to fly while rain is constantly beating down on your scales?! It’s rough people! One of the nice things about living in the UK is that the world literally is at your footsteps so take advantage of it!

Me at Normandy Beach

Me at Dachau Memorial Site

Me with the rooftops of Toledo

The craziest experience I’ve had while being in the UK was when Amanda and I were coming home from Spain. Amanda forgot her school letter that proved that we were allowed to be in the UK so they put us in a holding cell! I WAS SO STRESSED I STARTED BREATHING FIRE. After some trial, Amanda was able to retrieve and online copy of her letter and we were released. Luckily, Amanda and I look back and have a good laugh on our detainment in a foreign country. A big part of study abroad is learning how to go with the flow. Travel does not go as planned. You will get into sticky situations, you will get lost, you will cry about it, and you will figure it out.  It teaches you to embrace a whole new level of maturity and independence. 

My absolute favorite thing about flying abroad is train rides with my human. Although I enjoy being able to spread my wings, I also love sitting on a train listening to the plethora of UK accents while watching the sunset and the rolling green hills. The train also allows a lot of time for thinking, reflecting, and journaling which is what my human loves to do. 

Me on the train

On our last train ride, I asked Amanda to share with me some advice that I could give you upcoming study abroaders. A quote that has been really close to Amanda’s heart the past few days is “Enjoy the little things in life for someday you will look back and realise they were the big things”. Late night walks to Tesco (UK Walmart), castle climbing, arguments over which accent is right, bellowing laughter, nights at the Union, long days in the airport, conversations over tea, these are some of the little things that have become the things that define Amanda’s study abroad experience. Love the little moments. Remain in them. Do not with them away. They are precious. They are special. The little things are definitely the big things.
I’ll see you lot in the G! Taa!


Amanda Neff
Trinity St. David
Carmarthen, Wales
United Kingdom

Monday, May 4, 2015

Kelly and Orwell in Hull, England!

Hello from Hull! Or Kingston upon Hull, if you want to be really specific… but everybody here just calls it Hull, or ‘Ull (that’s what the locals say… the accent is a distinctive one) 

Me, and my dragon, Orwell, love it here so far! This is especially true now that Spring has arrived and the weather has brightened up. I spent a lovely afternoon in a nearby park last week. The English do love their parks. 

Pearson Park

But, Hull is great, even when the weather is not as lovely, as is sometimes the case in England. Despite having been bombed badly during the air raids in World War Two, the city has a rich history. William Wilberforce, known in England for his campaign to abolish Slavery, was born in Hull; I have visited his birthplace house and museum a couple of times, now. Andrew Marvell, the metaphysical poet, was also from the area near Hull. The city’s main Parish church, Holy Trinity, was attended by both Wilberforce and Marvell and was originally constructed in the 13th Century. The. 13th. Century. 

Kelly at the William Wilberforce statue in Hull

Reflection of Hull's Holy Trinity Church

I have had the opportunity to travel, over weekends, and during our three week Spring Break and have visited some wonderful places!  

The Brontë Sisters were from Yorkshire, the English county that Hull is in,  and, being a lover of the novel Jane Eyre, I could not resist a weekend trip out to their hometown of Haworth and the Brontë House museum. The countryside there is beautiful! Orwell thought so, too. 

Bronte Parsonage

Hawforth, the Bronte hometown

I have had the opportunity to visit several other cities and towns in England as well: Nottingham, where Robin Hood is a bit hyped up, but the contemporary art gallery is fabulous. Leeds, which is a great city, and Kirkstall Abbey, right outside of the city, is now one of my favourite places in the world. I have also been to York, Manchester,  Liverpool, and Scarborough, where the beach is beautiful and there’s a castle… oh, how I love England.