In our first post, we wanted to introduce ourselves and how we met.
Once Upon a Time, when Britain was still in the EU and the pound still had value, two strangers left on an Applied Research class abroad. Little did they know in just two short weeks they would fall in love and live happily ever after.
…just kidding. But we did become best friends and there is a happy ending 😉
Our friendship blossomed during our layover at the Houston airport before departing for London in an overpriced kiosk. We later found out our first impressions of each other were formed while purchasing our items. Elizabeth thought I was crazy for buying pretzels before a nine hour flight where they were inevitably going to give you “free” pretzels and I thought she was a pretentious butthole (side note, we should warn you now that “butthole”is our insult word of choice) for buying a Foreign Affairs journal. Fast forward ten sleep deprived, heavily-caffeinated hours later and we are finally in London. During the 45 minute tube ride from Heathrow to King’s Cross we bonded through trying to keep our obnoxiously sized pink luggage out of the locals way. Upon arrival to King’s Cross station we were blissfully unaware of everything yet to come.
The Crescent Hotel and all of its inhabitants were also unaware of everything yet to come. The first night we sipped rosé giggling away in our jammies in Elizabeth’s room on the very top floor of the Crescent. A combination of jet-lag, rosé and a 4-hour walking tour of London ensured a good night sleep for the both of us.
The next day, after a full English breakfast – which graciously included our own individual pots of coffee – we jumped straight into researching. Elizabeth’s research consisted primarily of the religious representations of incarcerated Irish Catholic women in London prisons from 1846 to 1870. Her research was conducted at the British Library, The London Metropolitan Archives and the London School of Economics in the Women’s Research Center. My research involved the examination of how Sweden’s trade was affected by the blockade of Germany during the First World War. I worked at The National Archives and the Parliamentary Archives. This was our primary focus during the two and a half weeks that we were in London together. We would spend an average of eight americano-filled hours buried in archival documents and loving every minute of it.
The Hip Hop and Shakespeare event at the British Library was our first time out with our class not in a research setting. The lovely Dr. JSN (pictured in the middle) was the director of the research class. Afterwards, we decided to venture out as a group to explore London nightlife. This is also the night we realized we both had perfected the craft of performing Formation by Beyoncé which led to the inevitable choice of putting on a live performance for our *new* friends – brought to them courtesy of rosé.
While Elizabeth was with Dr. JSN throughout the trip, I went along with Dr. Adamiak (on the left) and Dr. Olmstead (on the right). Despite having LIVED in London, they still managed to get us “not lost” plenty of times, to which I have photographic evidence above.
The London nightlife is something neither one of us had experienced before. Especially during evenings of football games, pubs were packed wall-to-wall with the world’s most diehard fans that filled the room with unexplainable energy. It was during these times that we were able to garner a cultural feel for London. Simultaneously while innocently enjoying our time at the Euston Flyer, I was diabolically giving Elizabeth bronchitis, which is captured above. She had no idea of the pain she was about to encounter 😉 …and pass off to the rest of the class. Continue below for our lovely roster of victims we infected.
Sundays were our free days, which always included laundry and shopping. There is a fine art and science to washing your clothes in a British laundry mat. Friendly word of advice to travelers, just pay the extra few pounds to have your clothes dry cleaned.
Though we had little free time, we enjoyed exploring the multi-story shops. You may not know it now, but you are really missing out on a five story H&M. Both of our favorite purchases came from a cute local boutique, The Warehouse on Oxford Street.
To conclude our research, we presented our work at the Institute of Historical Research in London. For the history nerds that we are, this was a (insert Donald Trump voice)* HUUUUUUUUGE opportunity. I knew Elizabeth was last minute re-working her presentation because of all the stress texts she was sending me. I thought I would help by walking down to the most charming coffee house, Moreish, and grabbing her an americano and the best homemade banana bread known to mankind.
I left two weeks before Elizabeth but during our time abroad in London, our friendship was forged in the fire of Beyoncé, London and rosé, which we have on good authority, is the perfect recipe for a lifelong friendship! We look forward to sharing our future adventures and experiences with you.
– Elizabeth and Olivia
*We, in no way, support Donald Trump. In fact, we think he is a butthole. …see, we weren’t kidding about throwing that word around.