The London Museum and Highgate Cemetery

Yesterday, we took our last field trip in our Psychology class. We started by traveling to the London Museum. Our primary focus while at the museum was to see the London Stone and look at the mystical things that surround the stone. The stone has been placed at the center of London for may years and has played a main role in many different books and plays, especially one play by Shakespeare. While there, we did some research and learned that the mystical/magical qualities that the stone supposedly holds are actually all a myth. It is a legend that has been passed down; however, it was interesting to see the stone with the thought process of believing that there is something magical and then seeing it without. When I thought there was a magical or mystical quality to the stone, I looked all around, trying to find it and see what was so special about the stone. Once I found out about the myth, I only viewed the stone as a stone and nothing more.

While we were at the London Museum, we also got to go around and explore different exhibits. One of the exhibits included the Olympic Torch from when the Olympics were held in London in 2012. It was amazing to see the torch up close and I was so happy I got to see it in person!

After the museum, we met up with our class and teacher and started our journey to Highgate Cemetery. When we got off the tube, we realized we had a long walk ahead of us. We had to walk up a very steep hill to make it to the cemetery. After the long walk (with a lot of breaks), we finally made it to the cemetery. The cemetery was definitely an interesting and new experience. I have never really been to a cemetery before this experience and it was a little spooky to me. I got to see Anna Mahler’s grave, which was super cool for me. Anna Mahler was the daughter of a famous composer: Gustav Mahler. Other famous people were buried there like Karl Marx, but overall, it was pretty creepy for me. I had a weird feeling the whole time I was there and I was happy to leave. I felt like we should be respectful of those who had died and it felt weird to think of the cemetery as a tourist attraction. It had also rained that day, which made the atmosphere even thicker than on a sunny day.

Overall, our last field trip was very memorable and was full of some new experiences! I had a good time and it’s truly hard to believe that we have already completed all of our field trips!

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Harry Potter Studios and Rainy Days

This past weekend was crazy busy, but so much fun! On Thursday, after classes, I went to the M&M store with my friend Joy. It was so much fun! The M&M store was a unique experience. We got to go around the four floors of the store and see the different set-ups of M&Ms. I even got some delicious M&Ms for a snack for myself! Afterwards, we spent some time in the park at Leceister Square, enjoying the weather and views. Then, we went back to the dorms to rest up for the weekend.

On Friday, Kelsey, Joy, and I went to Neal’s Alley to explore a beautiful little alley with some cute shops and delicious places to eat. After that, we had to go back to the dorms to quickly get ready to head to the Harry Potter Studio Tour. Kelsey, Holly and I had bought tickets for the studio tour months in advance and we were all so excited to go! We got to the studio very early, which was great, because we got to spend about an hour shopping in the gift shop! Then, we anxiously waited in line to go on into the studio. The tour began in the Great Hall and it was amazing! We walked through and saw different props and sets and it truly felt like we were reliving the movies through the tour. Halfway through the tour, we got to stop and have some Butterbeer and rest up for the rest of the tour. The tour ended with the set-up of Hogwarts Castle. It was so beautiful and I just could not stop admiring the work that went into this castle and its creation. I could not stop taking pictures the whole tour and I truly enjoyed myself! We spent more time in the gift shop before we left and got more Harry Potter items. We took an Uber back to the dorms and our driver was fantastic! He talked to us, let us ask various questions, and asked his own questions about our lives in America! It was so much fun to talk to a local about the history and about living in London. When we got back, we all quickly got some sleep, because we were exhausted from the day.

On Saturday, Joy, Kelsey, Kali, Kaitlyn, and I traveled to Liverpool Street to see the market and eat at a crepe place. We walked around, exploring the market and had a great time seeing all the different shops and looking at how people do what they do. Next, we stopped at a crepe place new the market and it was delicious! It was hands down the best crepes I have ever had in my life and I enjoyed every moment. We had planned to visit the Olympic Village and Westminster later that day; however, it began raining pretty hard and we didn’t want to trudge through the cold and rain for everything. So, we went back to the dorms and had a lazy day inside.

On Sunday, I went with the group to Windsor Castle. We had to wake up early to travel, but it was an easy train ride over. We got there and ended up having to wait in line for an hour and a half to get into the castle. When we finally made it into the castle, there was a live band playing music, which was so much fun! Obviously, I spent some time listening to the music and enjoying it in the beautiful scenery. Then, we headed into the Castle. There were only 2 parts open in the Castle, which was a little disappointing. The parts we got to see were the Doll House and the State Apartments. Unfortunately, there is no photography allowed inside, so I was not able to take pictures inside, but everything was so elaborate and beautiful! After we finished up in the Castle, we headed to a new place, Nando’s, for lunch. The food at Nando’s was mainly chicken and it was delicious! Another great thing about Nando’s was that there was unlimited refills on sodas at this restaurant, which is a rare find over here in London! After lunch, we window shopped around a little bit, then headed back to our dorms. We made it back to the dorms and just relaxed for awhile. Then, we went out and had dinner at Stax Diner to try some burgers. Stax Diner was delicious and definitely worth the travel and money! The burger and milkshake I had there was some of the best I’ve ever had! After dinner, we traveled back to get our rest for the field trip on Monday.

Overall, this past weekend was so much fun! It was relaxed, which was definitely needed, and full of a lot of happiness and excitement! It’s still crazy that I leave London in just a little over a week, but I’m so excited to squeeze in a little more before I leave!

Tour for Muggles and DreamGirls

Yesterday, our Public Speaking class went on a tour around London centered around Harry Potter sites, called A Tour for Muggles. I was so excited to go on this tour and it was so much fun! Being a Harry Potter fan and Hufflepuff, I enjoyed every minute of this tour! Our tour guide clearly loved Harry Potter and was so happy to take us on this tour throughout London. Ellie (the tour guide) was so spunky and quirky and she was fantastic! We got to go around London and see various filming locations for the movies as well as different places that inspired J.K. Rowling’s books. Our tour guide also took us through a lot of filming locations for Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix (HP #5), which is my favorite book and movie, so I was so overjoyed to see these locations. At the end of the tour, Ellie showed us the inspiration for Diagon Alley and pointed out the burger place that was described as where the Leaky Cauldron was. Kelsey, Joy, Kali and I chose to eat lunch at this place (Byron Burgers) and it was so good! Definitely worth it and I was so happy I got to experience that. Afterwards, we headed back to the dorms to take naps and rest up for our musical experience that night.

We got ready and headed over to the theatre and found ourselves sitting and waiting for DreamGirls. I had never seen the movie nor did I know really anything about this musical; however, I was pleasantly surprised! The whole musical was so much fun. We were clapping and swaying along to the beat of the music the entire time. The musicians did an amazing job and I enjoyed all of the music and actors that performed! DreamGirls was different from what I expected, but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way! I’m so happy I got to see this musical and experience it for the first time over here!

Matilda: The Musical

Last night, I got to go with my Psychology class and see the musical “Matilda.” As a child, my favorite book and movie was “Matilda.” I found it fascinating that a girl could be smart enough to read so much and was able to work her way out of the hardships of her life. Getting to see this musical was truly a dream come true for me! When they announced the musical, I was instantly excited and I have been dying to see it ever since. When we went to see the musical, there happened to be a few tickets for the first row and I quickly grabbed one. It was amazing! The children were so talented and the whole musical was just a trip back to my childhood.

We went to this musical, because of the paranormal elements in the musical. Matilda is able to use her mind to move objects. In our class, we have been talking about psychokinesis and how it works. There are very few people who claim they can move things with their minds, which makes Matilda very unique. Furthermore, throughout the musical, she is only able to move these objects when she has enough energy (typically in the form of anger) to do so. At the end of the musical, we also discover that once she is no longer living with her wicked parents and the evil headmistress is gone, she is no longer able to use these abilities. This is interesting, but also lines up with other cases of psychokinesis in that it does not occur often and requires a good bit of energy. Most people are unable to move objects with their mind and it is very rare to find someone who can do it. Furthermore, in the musical, Matilda kept telling a story of an acrobat and an escapologist. Matilda told of how they performed each night and eventually got pregnant. Unfortunately, the wife fell and died during childbirth of their girl. The man raised the girl, but eventually “killed himself,” leaving his child with a wicked aunt. Later, it was revealed that this story was the story of Ms. Honey, Matilda’s teacher. It seems as though Matilda also had some other paranormal abilities in the way that she didn’t know Ms. Honey’s story, but was still able to tell it to others throughout the musical. Overall, it is clear that Matilda is a unique child and is able to overcome many things before she settles down with Ms. Honey as her new guardian.

The Tower of London, The Book of Mormon and The Jack the Ripper Walk

On Monday, our Public Speaking class took a trip to the Tower of London. We started by going to see the Crown Jewels. We are not able to take pictures of the Crown Jewels, but they are so beautiful! After we finished going through the Crown Jewels, we headed over to catch a warder tour. We had the funniest warder! He told a lot of jokes and was very comfortable in front of us. He took us through the Tower and gave us some information and history about the tower. We finished and took a group picture with the warder then went around the tower by ourselves. Joy, Kelsey, Kali and I went through the torture part of the tower then headed out to grab some lunch before exploring the Tower Bridge. We sat down to pick a place to eat, when suddenly a family with a young boy was right by us. The boy apparently had to use the bathroom and the family thought it was the right time, so they helped him use the bathroom right in front of us! It was pretty disgusting and we were grateful when they left. We decided on a river front restaurant for lunch, ate some great food, then headed over to the Tower Bridge. We had our own adventure walking along the Tower Bridge and taking some pictures. We finished our day with some gelato then headed back to the dorms. Kelsey, Cassie and I had tickets to see The Book of Mormon that evening and we got ready for that, ate dinner and headed to the theatre. The Book of Mormon was hilarious and such an amazing musical! I loved the music and the cast so much!

On Tuesday, we had classes; however, that evening we got to go with the group on the Jack the Ripper Walk. We had a really good tour guide, who knew how to draw us into the stories through his words and it was interesting to hear about the gruesome details of the murders. We got to see a new side of London, which was really interesting and I’m hoping to head back over to the market we ended near at a later date! These past two days have been filled of fun and more adventures and it’s so hard to believe that we are halfway through our trip!

A Weekend of Adventures in London

This past weekend I had the opportunity to stay in London and go to some new and exciting locations! I started by going to the V&A Museum again on Friday. My friend and I went through the Pink Floyd Exhibit there and it was spectacular! We got to see how they created their band and their sound. We also got to see a lot of various artifacts from the band’s history. After we finished with Pink Floyd, we went to the Balenciaga Exhibit to see some of the famous pieces of fashion. It was so cool to see his impact on ¬†fashion and how he made his clothes. Next, we explored a little more of the museum and headed out for lunch. Lunch was good, then we spent the afternoon relaxing, which was nice, since we were both tired! Later that night, we went to a new place for dinner then came back to the dorms to get some much needed sleep. On Saturday, we woke up early and headed to Hampstead Heath – a park that looks out to all of London. We hiked for about an hour and a half in the cold and rain, but the views were amazing! We spent a good bit of time looking over the city and taking as many pictures as possible. Afterwards, we had lunch at a delicious pizza place then headed back to the dorms. That night was the night Kelsey, Joy and I had gotten tickets to see Les Miserables, so we relaxed that afternoon then got ready to go to the theatre. Les Miserables was phenomenal! I had a great time listening to the amazing music and singing, meeting the director of the orchestra, and watching Jeremy Secomb’s last night as Javert. The whole cast did an amazing job and I’m so happy I took the time to go and see this production. Sunday was Kelsey’s birthday! We started the day by going to Platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross Station. We got our pictures and spent some time shopping in the Harry Potter store. Then, we headed to Baker Street to see some Sherlock Holmes locations. We went through a Beatles store, which was super cool, then we went to the Sherlock Museum store. We didn’t have time to wait in line for the Museum itself, but we had fun talking to the police officer at the front of the museum and shopping for some Sherlock souvenirs. Afterwords, we made our way to visit the Royal Academy of Music, which was beautiful! We then decided it was time to head back to the dorms to get ready for dinner. We ate dinner at Zizzi’s, a delicious Italian restaurant and then came back to rest up for the week. It was a very busy weekend, but definitely worth it! I’m so happy I decided to stay in London this weekend, because I got to explore the city some more and go to places I had never been to before!

Arthur Findlay Spiritualist College: A Beautiful Place

Last Wednesday, July 12th, our Psychology class took a field trip to the Arthur Findlay Spiritualist College. While we were there, we got to explore the grounds and learn more about mediumship. I learned so much and it was great to be able to have this experience! We learned about the different kinds of mediums and how mediumship works. We also learned about some skeptical techniques of a some mediums and how other mediums work through everything truthfully. We got to take part in some “experiments” where we tried to guess targets and see first-hand how mediumship works. It was interesting to see how it all works and goes together. We had a delicious lunch, then we got to hear a lecture from someone working on a project with light hypnosis. It was fascinating to listen to his experiences with his lights and how he came to the conclusions he has come to with his project. We also got to experience the lights for ourselves, which was so weird, but also really cool! I was definitely skeptical of some of his outcomes; however, I’ve kept and open mind and have found it great to learn more about different things of this subject area. After his lecture and experience, we got to go on a tour of the grounds of the college. It was amazing to be standing in a place that is older than America! It was so beautiful and you can tell that they keep up with everything really well to preserve it. My friends and I went around and took some pictures throughout the place and they turned out great! Overall, my trip to the college was surprisingly great! I was able to learn a lot and make my own decisions about various mediums and how they work in our world.

An Adventure in Krakow, Poland

This past weekend, I got the opportunity to travel to Krakow, Poland and explore the city and surrounding areas. It was a different experience, but it is one I will treasure for the rest of my life. On Friday, me and my friend, Kelsey, woke up extremely early to begin our travel to the airport and ultimately to Poland. Friday was a busy day. We landed, got to where we were staying and decided to go out and get some lunch! It was definitely hard beginning to navigate around the city, because everything was in Polish and Polish is a very difficult language to speak and understand. We ended up at a place called “House of Burger” and we were hopeful that maybe the employees would speak English. We were wrong. Most of the employees were very confused and looked at us funny, but one employee knew enough English to take our order. The food was so good and we truly enjoyed it! After lunch, we decided to walk around a little and explore the “old city” of Krakow. A guy tried to get us to pay a lot of money to do a tour with him, but we refused and found a nice information station with some people who spoke English and could tell us what to do and where to go! The lady pointed us toward a free walking tour and we quickly jumped in. It was so cool to hear the history of the city and I learned so much! After our walking tour, we walked back to our place to rest up for a busy day on Saturday.

On Saturday, we had planned to go to Auschwitz. It was a long train ride over to the city. When we got there, we were confused as to how to make it to Auschwitz. Fortunately, we found a nice couple who spoke English and Polish and they let us walk with them to Auschwitz. When we finally got there, we were able to pay for tour guide tickets and enter. It was a hard and humbling experience. Of course I had heard about the concentration camps, the Holocaust, and all the horrors. However, I had never visited a concentration camp before that day. As our guide took us through it, I was able to see the places I had only read about. I was able to hear about the stories of what happened. I was able to experience the camp. It was extremely hard to walk through, hear about all the horrors, and see all the belongings that once belonged to those people who died. There was a room full of shoes, thousands and thousands of shoes that belonged to the people who were brought to Auschwitz to work and die. There was also a room full of the shaved hair of those who had died. This room was also incredibly hard go through, knowing that this was the hair that was on these people when they died. It was overwhelming. My experience was one of great sadness at Auschwitz. It’s so different from reading about it in books. It’s almost indescribable. So many horrible things happened there and it was just crazy to be there. I’m glad that I had this opportunity to go, because it truly opened my eyes to that time in history. Like I said, there is nothing like actually experiencing the history and seeing what happened.

After we traveled back from Auschwitz, we went on another walking tour around the old Jewish quarter of Krakow. We went around and saw various Jewish Synagogues and Catholic churches, while learning the history behind these landmarks. It was interesting to see these buildings still standing and operating today. Some of the buildings were built years before America was even established, so that was crazy to see and think about! That evening, we went to a restaurant and got some authentic pirogies. The pirogies were amazing! The restaurant made them there and they were so fresh and delicious. I was definitely happy to have such a delicious meal – one that I grew up around.

On Sunday, we found another authentic place to eat breakfast. It was also delicious, as so many of the places in Poland were and we had to head to the train station to head back to London. We walked around a little bit more, soaking in as much of Krakow as we possibly could before we left and started our journey back to London. Although it was a whirlwind of a trip, it was one I will take with me for the rest of my life. I’m so happy I got to go and I can’t wait to see what other places I go to while on this trip!

The Science Museum and The V&A Museum

On Monday, July 10, our Public Speaking class visited two museums in London: The Science Museum and The V&A Museum (AKA Victoria and Albert Museum). It was a pretty hot day and neither of the museums had air conditions, which made our experience a little unpleasant. We were still able to visit and see a few things so it was enjoyable! Before we started our trip, we started at Caf√© Nero, a local coffee shop, to get some fuel for the day. Next, we went to the Science Museum. We were each assigned an area to investigate for a later assignment, then we were allowed to wander around. My group was assigned the Constellation exhibit and we were fascinated with what we learned! Afterwards, we looked around a few other exhibits and learned so much about the development of communication in out world. There was even a display with old cell phones that included a lot of my previous phones! After we grabbed some lunch, we trekked over to the V&A Museum. They’re doing a few special exhibits and I’m actually going back on Friday, which I’m super excited about! At the V&A, we took a tour through the theatre portion of the museum. We were able to learn about how theatre started and heard about the history of various costumes, posters, and other artifacts throughout this section. It was really interesting to hear all about it! After our tour, I got to talk to the tour guide about music places and museums around London and I’m so excited to go to some of those places while I’m here! Our tour guide was great – he was well-spoken and really cared about helping us get the right information. After our tour, we were hot, sweaty and tired so we decided to head back to the dorm to get some needed showers and rest. It was a great day and I am so happy I got to experience The Science Museum and The V&A Museum!

Arthur Conan Doyle Collection: The Impact of Spiritualism

In the Victorian Era in the U.K., many people became fascinated by Spiritualism and it became one of the most talked about topics of the time. Many people felt it necessary to take part in Spiritualism throughout the country. Some people sought out ways to prove that Spiritualism was not real, others became involved in Spiritualism by either leading Spiritualistic activities are becoming sitters of these Spiritualistic activities. Many people wanted to find ways to make sense of the world around them. They wanted to find various ways to connect to loved ones who had passed away or find ways to make the world around them make sense. Although Christianity and other religions were prominent, many people wanted to find ways to learn more and make sense of the world around them. I think people also wanted to discover new things. They wanted to find new things and creatures in the world, which is why they wanted to believe fairies and other spiritual creatures.

Arthur Conan Doyle was very curious about spiritualism and wrote a lot of literature about spiritualism, including a lot about fairies and other magical creatures. Arthur Conan Doyle’s interest in the fairies included a lot of pictures with fake fairies to try to prove their existence. He also wrote a few pieces of literature about fairies, trying to prove their importance and existence. Arthur Conan Doyle’s interest in fairies and spiritualism was very logical, similar to that of Sherlock Holmes’ mysteries. There are also a few books with spiritualistic themes that show Arthur Conan Doyle’s interest in spiritualism.

We went to Portsmouth last Wednesday, July 5th and it was so much fun! When we got there, we got to get some fish and chips and eat by the sea. The fish and chips were so fresh and delicious! Our time at the Arthur Conan Doyle wing of the Portsmouth Museum and the Portsmouth Library was fascinating. It was amazing to see various artifacts and props from Sherlock Holmes and Arthur Conan Doyle’s life! We got to go through the wing and look at all things Sherlock and Arthur Conan Doyle and it was so cool – I’ve attached some pictures. While at the Portsmouth Museum, we also got to see a gallery about a bombing that occurred in World War II. There were cards with people who wrote about their experiences in that time and it was amazing to be able to read about that part of history first-hand from people who were there. Overall, it was an incredible time and I’m so happy I had this opportunity to go to Portsmouth and experience a few things there!