Being abroad as a USC student is fantastic! Not only did we have an orientation that included free dinner and a play, but we have an all-expenses day trip AND a free weekend trip designed to help us explore the UK.
Last Saturday, we had our day trip Didcot Railway and Oxford! Didcot is essentially an engine yard, where railcar after railcar are restored and displayed for people to see. We had an adorable old man giving us a guided tour, and his enthusiasm about these engines was catching. I enjoyed learning about the varying paint colors of the Great Western trains, the way in which they used water to cool the engines, and all the other information he gave.
After learning as much as possible about trains as the cold weather would permit, we hopped back on the nice warm trains to go to Oxford. Such a cute town! We visited Christ Church College to see the Great Hall and staircase from Harry Potter; though honestly, all of Oxford looks like Hogwarts, so it was pretty magical. I didn’t have the chance to see the Restricted Section of the library, so this will just give me an excuse to go back there! We finished up the night with Spamalot… I’m glad I added it to my musical repertoire, but it’s not quite my sense of humor. Hey, at least I gave it a shot!
A few friends from USC who are studying in Edinburgh decided to spent the night in our dorms in London, so we took them to Chinese New Year celebrations on Sunday. Everywhere from Trafalgar Square throughout Chinatown was completely packed, and little poppers littered the streets. A huge stage with performances was set up, so we watched those for a bit before going on a mission for food. In the meantime, we passed a wishing tree, where you threw beanbags while making a wish. If the bags landed on the tree without falling, your wish would come true. Fingers crossed this will actually work! Though the much-awaited fireworks show was more like a bunch of sparklers (such a disappointment!), standing under lanterns in Chinatown with large dragons coming through was definitely a neat way to ring in the Chinese New Year!