I’m back on the web! It has been a long hiatus once again, but I am now ready to continue my London story. Since I last wrote I have done so much! Classes have actually started, and I am now feeling like quite the Londoner. The city inspires me every day and I want to get to the point where it feels like home.

The last thing I wrote was right before I went to the London Symphony for the 2nd time. This time I saw a wonderful concert conducted by Rafael Payare, who is actually the resident conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic (in Norway), and he conducted works by Dukas, Beethoven, and Rimsky-Korsakov. The highlight of the night was definitely Scheherazade, and it was exemplary. I sat in the “Circle” seating at the barbican, and I found that I preferred sitting in the Stalls on the lower level (where I sat the first concert I went to.

The next day, Friday the 10th, I had my performance class for the first time, and it was a general informational session. After that I got to rent out a DSLR camera for the weekend. I was really excited about getting the camera for the weekend, and after I got the camera my friend Carolyn and I went on a quick trip to Greenwich park to take some pictures and enjoy the parks beauty.

I had to quickly get back from the park and head out to the Royal Opera House because I found a ticket to the Royal Ballet for only 5 pounds, and I couldn’t say no. First off, I just want to say that this being my first ballet, I really enjoyed it! Ballet was an artistic medium that I had never experience before so I didn’t really know what to expect, and I was actually really moved by the show. The Ballet was titled “Manon” and is a modern ballet. The music was phenomenal and the royal opera house was simply gorgeous. I had fun at the opera and I’m sure I will be going back there again.

The next morning a group of friends and I headed out to Dover for a day trip. Dover is in the county of Kent, and is a Port town. It is known for being home to the White Cliffs of Dover. We took the bus to Dover and arrived in town centre by about 10 am. We first headed off for Dover Castle. It was situated at the top of a little hill/mountain. Dover castle is one of the main sites in the town. I really enjoyed the castle. It was the first one that I actually went into while I’ve been in the UK. Lot of history to see, and many, many really breathtaking views. One of my personal favorites was at the top of the castle rooftop, which really gave a 360 view of the town from above.

After the castle, we headed back into town to get some lunch. We bought fish and chips, simply because we were in a port town and figured the catch would be good. We were right! Definitely one of the best fish and chips I’ve had. Following lunch we headed out towards the Cliffs of Dover. It was a bit of a hike to get out to the cliffs, but we really caught them at a phenomenal time. when we got out to a point where we could see them, there was a rainbow going right across over them and falling into the ocean. I really enjoyed seeing the cliffs and taking our time to walk around and see as much of the cliffs as we wanted to.

We then headed back into town centre and hung out in a pub, then a cafe, and relaxed until it was time to head back on our bus. It was a really fun day.

The next day we went to a market (Old Spitalfields) and then headed out towards southbank to finally go on the London eye. the market was really fun, and i enjoyed some good food and seeing all of the crafts/goods that people create. And then the London Eye, well, was the London eye. Its an incredible view and definitely something worth doing whilst you are here in London. I would have kicked myself if I never went on it, so I am glad that I did so.

On Monday of last week I spent the day practicing and sort of taking it easy before I went out with my friends. We went to the Ice bar London, and I loved that, and then we spent the night out together and had a lot of fun.

The following day was the day of my first lesson. I had to travel to my professors house, which is in Morden, and it was kind of journey to get there and back but I figured it out. I had my lesson and then came all the way back to New Cross just in time to get ready to head out to the English National Opera performance of Otello as part of my London: The world’s music capital course. I really enjoyed this opera. I was lucky enough to have seen it before in Vienna at the national opera house, but this was a totally different experience. The English national opera is famous because it sings their operas in english, and this was helpful for my understanding of the plot. It was performed to perfection and the orchestra was incredible. Also, I had a really good seat (dress circle) because I didn’t have to pay for my ticket (hahahaha). Lastly, the London Coliseum was a building that was built to perfection. It has to be one of my favorite opera houses that I’ve been to, hopefully my pictures do it justice.

Wednesday I had my music in Film course, Orchestra rehearsal, and then a night out at the BBC. I went with a friend I made here through orchestra. He got these tickets online to be a part of the audience for a recording a comedy show for BBC radio 4. It was really interesting! I got to see the headquarters of the BBC, and tried out some incredible pizza. The show was really good, and even though I didn’t understand quite all of the comedy, I did get the grand majority of the jokes. I had a really good time and it was a nice way to end “hump-day”.

Thursday I finished class (Sonic Art Techniques around 1) and then Diego and I headed out to explore more of London. We initially were trying to find some tea houses but we found chinatown and covent garden markets! This sort of thing happens a lot while in London, you have an idea of where you want to go, but in reality you could get off virtually anywhere in zone 1 and have an entertaining afternoon. Covent Garden is a really cool market filled with unique shops, some very upscale, and just proved generally a fun browse among its offerings. That night I enjoyed going to a few pubs with friends, enjoying some time out.

Friday I finished class around 12:30 and then I headed out with a group of friends to go see places in London that are used in the BBC series “Sherlock” I am not a huge fan, but I have watched some episodes and thought I would be neat to see more of London that I haven’t seen yet. We did a lot of walking but some of the highlights for me included Regents park, which included  the rose garden, sculpture garden, and more. We rounded off the afternoon by going to get some quality fish and chips down on Oxford street, then headed home.

The next day, on a very early start to a Saturday I met up with my very good friend Angela! She arrived at Victoria Station and we had a day filled of seeing the sights! We started at Big Ben, then saw Southbank, Westminster Abbey, Whitehall, Horse Guards, St James Park, Buckingham Palace, Royal Arches, Hyde Park, Trafalgar Avenue, and the National Gallery. Then we took a break and saw “Phantom of the Opera” at Her Majesty’s Theatre. That was phenomenal, I’ve never actually watched the story so hearing all the music in the show was really special and interesting! After the show, we went to piccadilly circus, glanced at the British Museum, took a peek at the BBC and walked down oxford street before heading home and getting some incredible indian food for dinner and getting some sleep.

The next morning we started early and headed to Greenwich park, to the Tower bridge/tower of London, and finally Camden. I love showing people Camden town, simply because it might be my favorite place in all of London. Everyone is so happy and the market is the most broad of any of the market’s i’ve been to. Really a special. Then sadly we had to head for the station for her trip back which started at 3:00 pm. It was a quick trip but it was great to show “my city” to a dear friend! I can’t wait to be up in Scotland for her to show off her country to me.

This week now begins and I am trying to enjoy my last week of being a teenager. Plenty more adventures to come this and I can’t wait to talk about it in my next blog post. If you’re still reading, good job. I love you.

Go Royals.

Here’s the #picdump. Peace.

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School, Dover, London, Friends, and Fun

Music Week, Stonehedge, Bath, and Brighton.

Andddddd I’m back. It has been a truly, truly eventful week (or so). From performing a concert, to having a very travel-filled weekend, I have kept myself busy and had a ton of fun doing so.

Last week was what the university called Music Week. Every day we rehearsed for about 5 hours or so. I was in the choir and orchestra (obviously) and I did enjoy singing. The concert was on friday evening and it was actually quite fun! There was a pretty good turnout and I think overall the performance went pretty well. For me presonally, I was just in there thinking that being able to perform here is something really special, so even though it was not the best orchestra I have ever been a part of, I still had a lot of fun.

On thursday night, Diego and I went to the London Symphony. The concert was at the Barbican Centre in “the City” and it was truly spectacular. I sat in the lower right side and saw a concert I will never forget. Sir John Elliot Gardiner conducted Mendellsohn symphony No. 5, as well as the Schumann Cello Concerto and more. One thing that was particularily interesting is that the string sections all stood up the whole time (except for the concerto, and the celli obviously). The sound was different and sort of came at you more. I also wish I sat a little higher up because of this. I will do this for next time.

A bunch of friends that I have made here came out to see the concert, and that was really nice of them. I appreciated seeing some familiar faces out in the audience. After the concert, I got to chat a little bit with the conductor, William Carslake, and it was rather special to be able to share my life story, and what brought me to London, as well as hear what brought him to Goldsmiths for this week.

Another story of the week I think is worth sharing is that the concert attire was just all black. For some reason I did not think to bring just straight slacks, so I only had my tux pants. And of course, I did not find this out until the day before the concert. The day of the concert we did not have a morning rehearsal. I went to a store called Primark, in Lewisham and found a really “well-priced” pair of slacks. Primark is a clothing/home store similar to like a Ross back home.

On saturday, Charlie, Carolyn and myself did a tour of Stonehedge and Bath. We had to get to London Victoria Coach station. Which is essentially just a huge bus stop. We booked a tour with a company called Premium tours. It was a bit lower priced than the one many of the goldsmiths were doing (12 pounds cheaper) and so we were sold on that fact. Anyway, the bus left pretty much on time and we left Victoria by 8:20 am.

This was my first time actually leaving London since I got here, so part of the fun for me was just the travel itself and seeing the countryside. England is so gorgeous, and even though the bus trip was pretty long I enjoyed going and listening to the tour guide and looking out.

Our first stop was at Stonehedge. It had been raining for much of the drive there, but I was hopeful that it would hold up by the time I got there, but it was not to be. when we got off and started to get in line for the bus to take us to the main site, the rain was pretty consistent. It wasn’t just rain, but a cold rain with a lot of wind. It was rather cold, but still when we actually saw the site it was really incredible! Stonehedge is truly one of those sites that is full of mystery but at the end of the day its just a cool thing to look at. There was a ton of people there when we were, but even so we still had fun looking and walking around together.

After that we headed out towards bath, which to me was sort of the meat of the day. I had heard many really cool things about bath, and it did not disappoint. The first thing we did was go to the Roman Baths. It was a really neat little museum/tour, and provided some really unique history and views in the main site. After the main museum, we went into Bath Abbey (the main church) and I thought it was simply stunning. Also, I really appreciated the fact that it was free.

Following the church we proceeded into Guildhall market to grab a spot of lunch, it was quite tasty. We then went outside to absorb some of the views that bath offers. We walked across the river, across bridges, and really just enjoyed the views. The walk was very lovely and we ended up in a garden by town centre, and enjoyed people watching in the beautiful flowers. We took a bunch of pictures and enjoyed a spot of tea.

The trip home was a long one. Lot of traffic and we even ended up in a standstill for about 30 minutes. People even got out of there cars. Eventually we did get back and I needed to rest because the next day it was another early start for Brighton!

So Sunday morning I woke at 6:00 to head out for my bus that left from Victoria again, and I got there in plenty of time. We (Diego and I) met up with our friends and took the bus down to Brighton leaving bright and early at around 8:00 am. The trip down was very smooth, we even got there early.

Naturally the first thing we did was head to the beach. The Brighton beach is quite picturesque, and we noticed right away that this beach was unique because it was made up completely of pebbles. It quite literally was the pebble beach! At first I was slightly annoyed by this, but then when I realized I wouldn’t be cleaning sand out of my toes forever I rather enjoyed it. The water also made an extremely charming sound as it got sucked back into the ocean.

After the beach and the pier, we headed into town a little bit to explore the neighborhoods. First thing we did was head for the Royal Pavilion. There was a museum, and church, and nice palace, etc. Many things things that were easy on the eye, and we had a nice time walking through it all. After that we headed to the Lanes, and then North Lane. These areas consisted of roads that were tightly knit without any cars and so, so many independent little businesses that made a really cool sort of array.

Naturally we all got hungry, so we headed back to the beach to try some of the local fish and chips. We figured there wouldn’t be a better place to try the seafood out than right on the beach. Let me tell you, it did NOT disappoint. The cod tasted as fresh as can be, and they really gave me a “healthy” serving. The restaurant was quite literally right on the beach, so the view of the ocean was really enlightening during the meal.

We then proceeded to relax and take in the sun, walk down the beachwalk/boardwalk and listen to some live music. The afternoon was spent nicely on the beach and then at “The Cricketers” the oldest pub in Brighton and we passed a pint or two. Finally we took in the sunset on the beach and enjoyed each others company until it was time to take the bus home.

So that was my weekend, and I really enjoyed seeing some of England. I know that I want to really explore this country so I feel as though I lived here. I’m looking forward to my Dover trip this saturday to see a different view of the coast, along the cliffs of Dover.

On Monday I went to St Martin-in-the-fields for a free lunchtime concert and had a really unique experience. I saw an organ recital performed by richard moore, and it was extremely impressive. Other than this week was the start of classes and it has been really fun to actually take a class again. This has definitely been the longest summer of my life, and I can safely say I was ready to get back in the classroom.

Tonight I am going to see the Symphony once again, tonights concert highlighted by Beethoven 2nd piano concerto and Scheherazade.

London is truly incredible and every day I am here I feel enlightened. I was speaking to one of my good friends here, Diego, about how I already feel that the experience has grown me musically, and this is because I have had the time to do personal work and research. I feel as though having less class time and required things to do I have the time to spend hours practicing and exploring more music. The school system is very different, but it is effective in a very different way. I will be exploring this more in my time here.

Here is usual pic-dump from the last week or so, and sorry it has taken me so long to post this! Miss everyone back in the states and wishing you all the best!

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Falling in Love with the City, Music Week starting

One thing is now more than certain, I love London. These past few days have been incredible. I know its been a few days since my last post, but to be honest this is probably what its gonna be like from now on. Since my last post many, many things have happened and they have been an absolute blast so I will get right to it.

The next day I spent the morning hours relaxing, getting groceries and basically figuring out some logistical things out here on campus. But the real fun came that evening. I was looking up concerts in London and found that the London Philharmonic had a concert that night, and spontaneously decided to go. I’d heard the orchestra numerous times on recordings and I was sold right  away. I took the bus there and found the Southbank Centre, and the Royal Festival Hall (The home of the London Philharmonic). I went in and got my ticket, i was expecting to pay 9 pounds for just about the worst seat in the hall, BUT they had a student deal where the tickets was 4 pounds and I got the best seat remaining (i.e. not sold yet). I had a seat in the lower part and was more than excited.

I got to the hall rather early so I had time to kind of explore the area. Then is the first time I say the London Eye and Big Ben. I cant really describe the feeling of seeing these sights. Its one of those experiences that is extremely mind-blowing because i’ve heard about it and seen them on tv, the internet, and movies, but seeing it in person was something truly extraordinary. I spent a bit of time walking around and taking my shameless selfies before I headed in to the concert.

The concert program consisted of three pieces: Magnus Lindberg’s “Chorale”, Prokofiev 3rd piano concerto, and Shostakovich 8th Symphony. The first thing I noticed was the conductor speech. I’m not completely sure if it is normal for concerts here in the UK, but I did really enjoy his speech. One thing I felt right away is that for Orchestras here in UK, the Programming of concerts of the upmost importance. Because so much of the population is a concertgoer and classical music enthusiast, they have to program concerts in such a way to entice audience members with interesting but very coherent works that make sense and excite the audience.

The concert was incredible. The playing style and execution of the orchestra was phenomenal, and honestly it was the first concert I had been to in a while that actually left me speechless. I have played the piano concert before, so that was really neat to hear a new take on it, but I had never heard the 8th symphony live, and that is what really took the cake for me. An truly powerful piece and it was extremely awe-inspiring to hear it and see the emotion come out of the orchestra.

After that action packed evening, the next day had even more in store.

A rather large group of friends and I decided to do a self-guided sort of walking tour of parliament and such area, and we ended up seeing many, many of the downtown highlights of London. We started at Big Ben, and then worked our way to Westminster Abbey, and then up Whitehall and to Trafalgar Square and finally ended taking a brief pause of all the sights by getting lunch at Sherlock Holmes Pub – just down the road from Trafalgar Square. The biggest thing about this morning was that EVERYTHING was picture-worthy, and you will see that in my usual “pic-dump” at the end.

After a rather nice lunch, we headed towards the national Gallery; the art museum at Trafalgar Square. The museum was incredible and the best part was that it was free! There were numerous works of all types, even a really nice collection of Monet paintings.

Following the museum we headed out towards Buckingham palace. We walked through St. James park (where which I bought a cup of wonderful tea) and enjoyed a gorgeous walk through the park to finally arrive at Buckingham Palace. The Palace was gorgeous but for some reason I was a bit underwhelmed. I think it was because it really just looked like a building, but not the palace of the queen. Anyway, I still had a great time being touristy and taking some fun pictures.

You would think that would be enough for one day, NOPE. We then proceeded to walk toward hyde park. We found the park and enjoyed another gorgeous and leisurely walk through the park. Seeing numerous gardens and enjoying the water that we saw. We walked towards the Albert Memorial and then I saw it. The most famous music hall ever, The Royal Albert Hall. At first glance, I fell in love. It is just so beautiful, I have not actually gone inside yet, but! I am sure I will blown away even more. Don’t get me wrong the Albert Memorial was extremely impressive as well, but it cannot compare to the Royal Albert. Finally, we all headed home and enjoyed some home-cooked dinner.

The next day, Friday, I had my Sinfonia audition. I got up early and practiced and then had my audition. It went just fine and they told me some very nice things about my playing, and how they are so happy to have a violist, blah, blah, blah. Anyway, after that I decided to head back downtown and meet up with my friends that had gone on the tour of Southbank, and I got there just in time to join in. I had actually already seen much of southbank on the evening that I went to the London Philharmonic concert, but it was really nice to see it with a tour guide.

The tour ended at a weekend market, again with incredible food and fair prices. I picked my food wisely and thought and got a truly tasty chicken sandwich on ciabatta bread with tons of veggies and such. After that delectable meal we headed out to the Tate museum, which is the HUGE, free modern art museum in London, right on the River Thames. I enjoyed the modern art (some things more than others) and then decided to walk across to the bridge to get a proper look at St. Paul’s Cathedral.

First off St. Paul’s Cathedral is goregous, but let me just elaborate on something real quick. London is praised for being the home of so many incredible FREE museums. BUT they charge a minimum of 15 pounds (!), to get into their churches. I simply cannot believe that, it’s a religious space, and they are making them a museum. This really bothers me, but what can I do right? I’m going to have to go to church services to see the inside.

Anyway, so after that we made our way back home, and enjoyed another home-cooked meal. That night a bunch of friends and myself decided to go on a pub crawl, and we ended up doing the Camden Pub Crawl. I don’t really want to get into specifics of the night, but I’ll just say it was a ton of fun, and met people from all over the world. Seeing the nightlife of London first-hand was something really unique.

On saturday, I finally took it easy a bit. I just hung around, SLEPT IN (which was awesome), and sort of regained my energy. I went to Church that evening in the borough of Lewisham. It was a Catholic church, so naturally I was a bit surprised when the mass was only 41 minutes long. The had no music and they spoke so quickly through everything. The homily was good, but It felt rushed. I will most likely try a different church out next weekend.

On Sunday a group of us went out towards kensington palace. We had read many nice things about the palace, and we decided to go inside (and pay the 12.40 to enter). I really enjoyed this palace. By going on the tour I learned a lot of history about royalties that have lived there, and came the understanding that many of the royals were quite sickly and many deaths actually occurred in the palace. Also, it was quite clear that the King had the best accommodation in the palace. See the pictures at the end for some neat pictures I took inside and around the palace.

After the palace we began to walk towards the V&E museum (Victoria and Albert) and we walked through Hyde park. It was so nice to see so many locals out enjoying the sunshine just like us. So many children, and so much happiness brought to people. It was a very quaint walk and I rather enjoyed it. The museum was quite large and I liked looking through much of the history that was there. One could easily spend hours and hours there, but I felt it enough to be there for around an hour or two.

I wanted to get to the Barbican Centre to buy my ticket for thursday nights concert, so I broke off from the group after that. I got to the Barbican, and I was told how to save money online and I didn’t end up buying the ticket right then. So then I headed home to make some dinner, and get ready for the next days!

At this point, my “Freshers” week was now over, and my study abroad experience was about to begin. I was excited and nervous all the same. So after catching up with my lovely sister Elizabeth, I went to bed and tried to get well rested for Monday.

I woke up today in a daze and had to rush to the Great Hall for Choir rehearsal. Yes, thats right, CHOIR REHEARSAL. I saw the schedule for Music Week, and I was under the impression that all I needed to do was the Sinfonia, but after my friend Charlie informed me that i was in choir I rushed down to rehearsal. So I am in “massed choir” for the week and will be performing on Friday evening in the chorus as well.

After Choir rehearsal I had a tiny break before the first orchestra rehearsal. We are working on Haydn Symphony No. 70, and Bach Magnificat. Both pieces are incredible and I am enjoying them very much after the first day of rehearsal. I had the initial reading rehearsal, and then had a three hour rehearsal in the afternoon with our conductor William Carslake. He is wonderful and I am really enjoying working with him.

Some of my first impressions of British Orchestral work is that they use a different vocabulary for musical terms. For example a minum is a half note and so on and so forth. After a while I got the hang of it, but initially I was thrown off by the new terminology. I really enjoy one thing is particular about the interaction between the conductor and the players; he is brutally honest. This is a characteristic of british people as a whole as well, the sort of tough love kind of attitude that I believe has escaped America in my generation.

Now I sit here, extremely tired on a monday evening at 9pm, getting ready to do it all again tomorrow. I am excited, yes, and am with a mindset of being open to this new culture of music that I fear I have grown to comfortable with in the United States. I cooked a nice dinner tonight of Pork Chops and salad, and I can say now that I really am enjoying cooking.

Well, I am starting to ramble, but lastly I just want to say that life here is incredible and I am incredibly sucked in by the culture and my opportunities given to me. Until next time!

Here is the usual pic-dump. This one contains a lot to say the least. Enjoy! If you have any questions, as usual just leave me a comment!

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This was my first view of the two sights

This was my first view of the two sights

It’s only day 5, but feels like a month has passed

HEEEllo everyone! I have been dormant on the blog for a couple of days so this post will be a tad longer.

Since I last posted many, many things have happened. The most important thing is that I am in love with this city. It does something to me, I’m not sure what, but it gives me an incredible amount of joy to be here.

Anyway so the next day, Sunday, was the day that I finally tried to get all settled in and went to buy groceries. I went to a store called Sainsbury’s and experienced a bit of what it is like to have to buy groceries in a foreign country. This store is most-likely a chain that is around the UK, and was rather well-priced. Some of the cool things I noticed was that there actually were tortillas for me to buy (!!), and that they do not give you grocery bags. They did, however, sell these rather nice reusable plastic bags for 10 pence each. So i did my groceries and lugged it all back to my dorm and have enjoyed cooking with others that I have met here.

We had enrolment to the school on this day as well. The line was really long, so we (me and my friends) decided to go and walk around and explore the campus and the area a little bit. For lunch I ended up having my first fish and chips! …And it was incredible. I know i shouldn’t be eating that all the time, but it was definitely worth eating during my first days here. Eventually I made it back to campus and enrolled in the school.

That evening a few friends and I decided to go downtown to meet up with some friends that go to school with me back home in Denver. We met up, after some troubles, and ended up spending our evening at a pub called “The Castle” which is right next to Farringdon station. It was a lovely time and it was really neat to see friends from home in a foreign country.

NOW, the real story. Earlier that day I had finally set up my Uk Sim card in my iPhone 5c. I was really happy about that because it gave me access to internet services anywhere i went. On the way home from downtown, I somehow lost my phone. (GASP). I realized this as soon as I got off my final train and it had gone. It was too late to do anything about it. I was pretty, well i was just freakin pissed. Mainly at myself for not paying attention. I learned from the experience and have moved on.

The next morning I went to a discount phone store to get a replacement for whilst I am here. I went and got a Samsung Galaxy s3, for a reasonable price, and have been very happy with it so far. Also, TRUST ME, I basically hold the phone in my hand all the time to ensure that I don’t lose it.

That afternoon we had our first Study Abroad meeting, in which two of the people in charge sort of just talked at us about the program for an hour. Goldsmiths is an interesting school to say the least. To be honest I kind of think of this area (New Cross) as a mix between Berkeley, Santa Cruz, and Guerneville. And Goldsmiths fits that mold completely, as well. They honestly said, “We are unorganized, and things will most likely not work”. And to be honest I found this very refreshing. I felt that at least they know that they are unorganized, and are not trying to act organized (like so many american institutions). the meeting was useful and I got my classes, which was really nice to know finally.

After that I decided to go on my own to Greenwich Park, which was a short bus trip of about 15 minutes, and just walked around in the beauty of the park. The pictures I took were stunning but they could never compare to being there in person. This is definitely a park that I will visit very often.

That night I went to Wine and Cheese event put on my the study abroad coordinator and met some professors and lecturers along with other study abroad students. It was very fun and interesting to hear what they had to say. Some people have lived in New Cross their entire life, and others come from all parts of the globe, adding to the fact that London truly is an international city.

On Tuesday, A bunch of friends and I went on a free tour put on by Goldsmiths to Camden. The tour guide was incredible and led to St. Pancras station (gorgeous, see pictures below), we walked along the Regents canal, and made it to camden and the camden markets. We spent a good amount of time walking around, i bought a few postcards and then we moved on to a part of the market in which there were many, many food stands of food from throughout the world! I tried samples from food from all over; italy, malaysia, poland, brazil, spain, greece, the list goes on and on. I was having a lot of trouble deciding what to go with so eventually i just decided to go with the brazilian bbq’d lamb bowl. Basically Lamb in a salad, and WOW. Every bite was incredible.

When I returned to campus, I practiced for a while then had my Music Department Induction. The way British Schools work is that each department does its own thing and most students only study in one department. I am only doing music, i.e. one department (unlike most study abroad students here). The meeting was extremely informative, and I was very impressed with all they had to offer here! Hopefully it all pans out. I ended dropping one class and adding performance (which is obviously necessary) and that is how I will receive my lessons and be able to perform in their performance classes and such. I also finally found the music department and the PRACTICE ROOMS, yay! All in All it was a successful afternoon and I got very excited about all the greatness to come.

One of the really neat things that I learned at the meeting is that next week I will not have any actual classes but I will have Music Week (what they are calling it). Basically for me it is going to entail of orchestra rehearsal every day and then a final concert on friday. We will be performing Bach Magnificat, and Haydn 70. I am looking forward to this very much.

Last night a bunch of friends and I decided to go to an event we saw online called London’s Fashion Night out. We got all dressed up and checked out the sights downtown and eventually got to another pub and hung out and talked, we spent it very nicely in downtown london (down by oxford street) took the bus home after and saw the sights from the top of a standard double decker London Red bus.

I feel as though I have done so much since I arrived here that I need a day to sort re-coupe so that is kind of the plan today. I will of course post my normal “Pic-dump” below so please enjoy my pictures. If you have any questions , just leave a comment below and I will quickly respond. Love you all!

St. Pancras Station St. Pancras Station St. Pancras Station St. Pancras Station St. Pancras Station St. Pancras Station St. Pancras Station Regents Canal Regents Canal Regents Canal Regents Canal Regents Canal Regents Canal Regents Canal Regents Canal Regents Canal Regents Canal Camden Camden Camden Camden Camden Camden Camden Camden Camden Camden camden Downtown Downtown Downtown Downtown Downtown

Arriving, settling in, and seeing a bit.

The London Adventure has begun!

I got in Yesterday, and had to take the Tube (London Underground) from Heathrow to my school. The trip was rather simple, and the only hard part was tranferring at the stations. Sooner or later I made it here with both my bags. I was really hot, and the toughest part was just trying to find a water fountain.

My room is really nice. I am living in a single room and even have my own bathroom. After settling in I went out to dinner to a pub and met some really cool people.

Today my friends and I went to a bunch of Markets. I can’t remember all the names of them, but Borough Market was definitely the most unique and large. I didn’t get to see all of it but it was pretty incredible over all. We walked ALL OVER the place and even though I did not exactly know where I was at, everything was incredible. Just seeing all the sights and building was very enthralling.

First thoughts about London:

The people are extremely polite and kind

Everyone is very accepting of the fact the we are Americans, and TRUST ME, they know.

The tube is the best underground system I have seen in my life.

Every shop I see I want to go in a try it.

Pubs are really fun.

Here are some picture from the first days here

First View of Goldsmiths Royal Albert New Cross Market Church Borough Market Borough Market Borough Market Thames River

The beginning. Genesis. Ok, I’m just waiting for my plane.

When I decided to create a blog for my study abroad trip, it seemed such a simple task, one that would require me simply spelling my experiences out on the web to share with family, friends. However, as I think about how to start (as I have been for a couple of days now) there never really seemed a good point.

It might as well be right now.

I am currently waiting for my plane to begin boarding. That’s where my journey truly starts. I am truly going on this with a mindset of “lets make it happen” with – for the first time in my life – no real plan or expectations really.

I do not want this to sound lazy, but for me it creates a unique opportunity to be completely open-minded and eager to see what this new experience has to offer.

A little background.

I have wanted to study abroad since I was a boy. My mother talked about it all the time and how it was the pinnacle of her “college years”. It was something that I looked at as a child as an adventure of lifetime, and almost a right of passage, if you will, in the Grishaw Household. My sister studied abroad in Vienna, and now its my turn right?

I chose London because it is a place I have never been. I have had the incredible opportunity to see much of the world already, but London because I wanted a completely new experience. Also, London is the center of the musical world, and if you’re actually reading this you definitely know how much music is a part of me.

Denver University became the only option the closer I got to deciding on my university for three reasons: My private professor Basil Vendryes, the location of the school, and the opportunity that the school offered a very high opportunity for their students to study abroad.

Well, there you have it. The day for me to study abroad has now come, and I couldn’t be more excited. I take with me two suitcases, and my viola.

My viola.

The instrument which has shaped my life. Just thinking about the fact that I can, I mean, I am going to be playing in the United Kingdom, gives me total joy.

Time for the journey to start, and I think I’m getting a little long-winded here.

Next Stop: London.