My spring break here in Rome was held over Easter weekend, for obvious reasons. Since Rome is a place of pilgrimage for Catholics, it can get pretty crazy over Easter. So, I decided to meet up with my friends Annika, Jack (both studying in London with IES and CIEE respectively), and Grace (studying with IES Dublin) in London for the weekend. 

What a refreshing deep breath that was! The entire weekend, we couldn’t help ourselves from smiling and saying something like, “Can you believe we’re in London with all of our college friends right now?!” It was really, really amazing. 

For starters, London is a cultural breeze compared to Rome. It felt like going to Australia where the culture really isn’t all that different from the States. Plus, London has one of the best public transportation systems in the world… And it shows. No waiting twenty minutes for an ATAC bus, no no! Five minutes was the longest we waited for the tube. FIVE. Incredible, thank you London! 

This weekend was punctuated by the kind of dancing you only do when you’re with your best friends––the freest kind that makes you feel invincible. That, and a lot of junk food. Yes, maybe we did get Papa John’s delivered to Annika’s dorm. What of it? It felt, just for a moment, like maybe we were back at good ol’ Hope College!

Luckily, we didn’t need too much of that. London kept us busy and entranced enough. We had high tea and felt oh so fancy with our tiny cakes and fancy plates. We stood with our feet touching the stage at The Globe and saw Macbeth. We celebrated Annika’s 21st birthday. It was more than any of us could ask for. 

More than that, what a privilege it was to see Annika in her city, truly blossoming. She’s going to get A’s on her finals next week and she rocked her internship. She truly made London her own, and it was so beautiful to see. That’s the most special thing people overlook when visiting friends from their home university abroad. It’s really amazing. 

If you and your friends are looking to go abroad, you really need to save up to go and visit them in their respective countries. It is worth every penny (even the ones I spent on a copy of A Streetcar Named Desire that I bought just because I missed the play. No other reason.) The Hope students in Dublin leave for the States this weekend, and I’m really sad I didn’t get to see Grace in her Dublin element now. It’s something I had no idea I was missing out on. 

All smiles!
All smiles!

Moral of the story this week? I love my friends. I am so, so grateful for them. We would’ve had an incredible time together anywhere in the world, even cooped up in a Phelps dorm in Holland, Michigan. Still, I’m grateful we got to do it in London, which is truly one of the greatest cities in the world. 

Published by kathrynsmith

Class of 2023 Communications Major, Writing and Theatre Double Minor IES Rome, Italy

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