Packing Everything I Own and Moving 15 Hours Away

For those who don’t know, I recently started a new job as well as graduate school in the good ol’ heartland of America: Missouri. With that came my relocation and moving into my first apartment.

Not since the August of 2015 have all of my belongings been together in the same space until this last summer. Chaos reigned as I attempted to pack up almost everything, trying to figure out what I would and wouldn’t need, as well as donate belongings that I no longer gained joy from. In the video below, you can see what packing up one’s entire life looks like.

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The SURVIVOR Project

Read the true stories of sexual assault and abuse survivors, paired with their portraits. As told by the survivors and transcribed by Arnold, survivors take a stand to voice what they have gone through in hopes of others never having to go through it themselves.

Susan Arnold presents her second published work, The SURVIVOR Project.

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Stop Degrading Liberal Art Degrees

At what point did I, or we, if this applies to you as well, accept the stereotype of liberal art majors? When did we stop defending ourselves? Reading Silva’s essay opened my eyes. I had already known that the stereotype against English majors existed, but I never realized how strongly it prevailed.

As a double major in Photography (an art degree) and Writing (an English degree), I receive double the amount of heat. I jokingly switch between the two depending on the situations I am in. (For example, being with my two very left-brained biology degree friends while they discuss anatomy: “What? I’m an art major!”) The fact that I switch between my majors and willingly degrade myself to those with “harder” degrees, shows just how much this stereotype has permeated into daily life.

In the essay, Silva states “But as far as I’ve seen, none of the stereotypes of a STEM or hard science major undermine their future and choices. That’s exactly what the stereotypes and stigmas surrounding liberal arts majors do.” Throughout my college career, I have had people assume that I want to be a journalist (I do not like factual writing), doubted that my Writing major was a real degree (‘It sounds fake.’) and ask what I plan on doing because neither of my degrees guarantees me a job. When in all actuality, everything that we associate with on a daily basis deals with writing or photography, specifically social media and advertisements.

I believe in the art of storytelling. And I also believe that I can change society, even if that change is small. The moment I stop doubting myself, my abilities and my degrees is the moment that I start to change the minds of those around me.

Week Six in London!

This post is long overdue.

Day One

The social programme took us on a Thames tour. We floated around London for a bit before we went down the river to Greenwich.

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The Tower of London as viewed from the Thames.

I thought it was much further away than it turned out to be, as it was still in London (zone 3, to be exact). We got off the boat and walked up to the observatory, there was even a camera obscura there, which was so cool! #photographygeek

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Check out this view!

The rest of the attraction was rather boring, so Sydney and I made our way down to the town and grabbed dinner before wandering to a market that was closing for the night. At that disappointment, we decided to walk through the tunnel under the Thames. It was so cold down there!

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Under the Thames.

When we came out on the other side, we took the Tube to Little Venice. It was underwhelming, but I guess we only saw a small portion of the canal; it had started to down poor (for the first time since we had arrived) and we quickly hopped on a bus to watch the rain. We took the bus all the way back to campus, which was about a two-hour ride, but we got to see a lot of the city.

Day Two

I started the day by going to see Incredibles 2 with Syd, Caleb and Ashlyn, because if FINALLY released in England. I was so afraid that the movie wouldn’t do itself justice, but it turned out to be SO GOOD. After that, Caleb, Syd and I went out to the Mayfield Lavender Farms. It smelled absolutely amazing and seeing all of the pollinators happy made me happy. We spent a really long time there doing a photo shoot and exploring through the flowers. When we finally left, hours later, we were all craving Pizza Express. I ate an entire pizza. By. My. Self.

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This place was so beautiful.

Day Three

Caleb, Syd and I took the train out to Dover, on the English Channel. We hiked for about seven miles over to the cliffs and along them for a bit. The views were incredible and the castle there was so picturesque. After hiking, yelling at tourists, and eating some icecream, we settled down at the beach. I dove straight into the water and, other than the fact that it was salty, it was pretty much just like Lake Superior…cold. There were jellyfish, too. We were hungry after a few hours so we left the beach but I guess that everything in Dover closes at 4 on Sundays so we had to wait until we got back to London.

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Enjoying the view.

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Don’t let the sunshine fool you, the water was very cold!

Day Four

I gave a presentation in class that was worth 30% of my grade, I think I did pretty well on it. After that, I submitted some final papers for class. Ashlyn, Syd and I went to get high tea. It was so good! I had tea, cake, a scone with some of the best jam I’ve ever tasted, and a smoothie.

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My feast.

Day Five

I went to see the Changing of the Guard, and I saw more than I did the other time I attempted to see it, but it still wasn’t much. Then we went to a mac and cheese place that is Facebook famous. The mac was so good! I got the pesto/tomato flavor. Wonderful. After that we went to get watermelon ice cream, which was also Facebook famous. We ended the night by seeing Phantom of the Opera…I wasn’t a fan.

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Some of the best mac and cheese I’ve ever had.

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The icecream was more like sherbert than anything else. I’m pretty sure it was vegan because it’s made out of watermelon juice and lime juice. You can check out the ingredients on Google.

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Sitting in the nosebleeds.

Day Six

I did homework and then went out with Caleb to do a photoshoot. We went all over London. We started in the Spinny, walked along the Thames, went to Soho, the Sky Garden, St. Pauls, and across the river from the Tower of London. In Soho, we went to a vegan pub and I got to try tofish and chips. I was afraid I wouldn’t like it because I usually don’t like tofu, but it was really good! The Sky Garden was awesome and the views were so incredible. Walking up to St. Paul’s, you couldn’t see it because there was a hedge along the street, when I finally entered the green, I was breathless. The building was GORGEOUS.

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Fish-less fish and chips. It was SO good.

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We saw Tower Bridge open while up in the Sky Garden. Apparently, it’s good luck to see the bridge raised.

Day Seven

We went to a ballpit club. It was smelly. I was imagining slides and a huge ballpit, but it was rather small.

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The colors of the ballpit club were really pretty, even though it smelled like B.O.

Day Eight

I packed up my things and finished watching Brooklyn 99. We went to Richmond Park, which was one of the vastest areas of land I had seen in England, other than the countryside. Then we had a potluck of all of our leftover food, so we wouldn’t waste any of it. There was a lot of frozen veggies. I said goodbye.

Day Nine

I woke at four in the morning, took the Tube to the airport and left England. Oddly enough, the first time I traveled alone during the whole trip was on my way back to the States.

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Goodbye, London.

Week Five in London!

Day One

We went to Hampton Court with the social program. It was awesome. We walked all around the palace, saw the King’s apartment and the Queen’s apartment. We went through a maze and saw the magic garden. It was also sweltering hot.

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Check out this fireplace! It’s been used to cook the King’s food since Hampton Court became a palace. Look at the soot all the way up to the ceiling.

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What an average menu would look like for the King.

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This clock, in Clock Court, is based on the moon.

Day Two

Syd and I attempted to see the Changing of the Gaurd, but the city was so packed and it was so hot, that all we saw were the sweaty backs of heads.

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Can you see how many people were there?

After that failure, we tried to find the vegan market and also failed. The market was closed for Pride, which we ended up in the middle of. We sort of gave up after that. It was so hot that I was sitting in my kitchen (using the WiFi) and sweating. I did homework and watched Netflix for the rest of the day.

Day Three

This was one of the greatest days of the trip. The social program took us to Bath and Stonehenge in an AIR CONDITIONED coach! Sleeping and studying on that coach was such a nice time, I never wanted it to end. I wasn’t sure what to expect at Bath, but the museum was really cool. There was an audioguide that explained all of the artifacts, there were the spring and the bath themselves. I even got to try some of the magical healing water. It was so hot! 40 degrees Celcius…that’s about 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Stonehenge was phenomenal. I was expecting it to be underwhelming, so seeing it bigger and grander than I imagined was awesome! If you ever have the chance to go there, I highly recommend it!

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The baths are lined with lead, so all of the water is extremely contaminated. Not only is it too dangerous to ingest, it is also too dangerous to even touch!

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Please, if you are ever able and love history and mysteries, go here!

Day Four

I started the morning booking tickets for the sky garden. My class had a Mrs. Dalloway excursion, where we followed the path Virginia Woolf laid out in the novel. After class, I went to the Barbican Museum to see a Dorothea Lange exhibit and see the famous Migrant Mother. A lot of Lange’s work was phenomenal and some of it was not very good at all. I ended the night by going to trivia night. We didn’t come in dead last, so it was a great time!

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We think this is the area where Mrs. Dalloway lived.

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We stopped at Hatchards, the oldest bookstore in London!

Day Five

I went to class and did some homework before trecking to Camden Market for a little bit and then going to a Georgian restaurant and trying the acharuli khachapuri, recommended by Sydney. Essentially, the meal is a bread boat filled with egg, cheese, and butter. It was incredible!

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If you can eat this, do it. If you can’t find something similar that is allergen friendly.

Day Six

The last excursion for class. We went to Highgate Cemetary and walked around looking at the graves of famous people. After class, I went to the Natural History Museum and the London Museum. I saw the Rosetta Stone, a life-like T-rex, and Queen Cleopatra. I tried bubble tea for the first (and last) time. Then a group of us sought out a place to watch the game (World Cup). Wednesday was the first and last time I really cared about soccer. England lost to Croatia, who I thought played a little bit dirty towards the end.

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The whale!

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The Queen.

Day Seven

After class, I spent four hours in the library writing my papers. Then I went to the gym. Then Caleb, Sydney and I booked tickets to Dover to see the sea, and tickets for Incredibles 2, because it’s FINALLY releasing over here!

Week Four in London!

Day One

The final class meeting for session one. We had a literary scavenger hunt throughout central London. We ran around like chickens with our heads cut off, luckily, we came in second place!

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From left to right: myself, Tyler, Megan, Ally, and Isabella. We were on a mission to win!

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We found St. Paul’s [Actor’s] Church

After the scavenger hunt, a group of us went with Dr. G to a pop-up exhibition of graphic designs that helped create the Harry Potter cinematic universe, it was really cool to see all of the little details that went into creating the films.

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Right around the corner from this little gallery is an all vegetarian/vegan menu pub. I will 100% be going there!

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This place had Hogwarts letters posted EVERYWHERE.

On the way to campus, we ended up at the National Gallery Museum!

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Monet.

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Van Gogh.

After returning to campus and doing my laundry, a group of us went out to find a pub showing England in the world cup and to celebrate for those who were only staying for the first session. Eventually, we ended up at the Toyshop, which we had gone to for the cocktail night. After the game, there was a live band that played until close.

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The squad.

 

Day Two

I slept in for the first time in what felt like months, then went to the library to work on editing some photography with Jeff. After that, Sydney, Caleb, Jeff and I hunted down Abbey Road and Baker Street.

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If you didn’t know, this is an actual road, that gets used. We were literally dodging buses and cars.

We took the bus back from central London during rush hour, it took forever and I think I fell asleep. The day ended with all of us plus Ally and Carter watching Back to the Future in my kitchen.

Day Three

I took another lazy day. I slept in, finished a movie and watched five episodes of Brooklyn 99. Said goodbye to some good friends. Hung out with some good friends; we fed the birds and narrowly missed being attacked by some swans and geese. Then, Sydney made dinner for all of us. I also finally beat level 47 of Mr. Bean, which I had been stuck on for over a month.

Day Four

Caleb, Sydney and I took Jeff out for a goodbye brunch.

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Check out this delicious vegetarian breakfast burrito.

Afterward, we dodge a crowded bus, walked through a park, found a weird Santa toy and ended up feeding the birds again. There is a duck that will eat out of your hand. Sydney named her Stacy.

Day Five

The first day of class for session two. I’m in a writing class titled Hidden London. We explore the city and works about it and then write about London. This class has a bit more demanding workload than the last one, but it still seems fun. Tyler and I grabbed a table in the library after class to work on final papers from the other class and homework from our new class. I said goodbye to Jeff. Then a group of us went to see Oceans 8. It was okay.

Day Six

Had class and spent some time in the library. Then went on a Jack the Ripper Walking Tour with the social programme. This one was a bit better than the one that I went on in my session one class.

Day Seven

Happy fourth to all of my friends and family across the pond! My class went on an excursion to the White Chapel area of London. If you’re ever in the city and want to look at some awesome street art, check out Brick Lane.

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Save the bees.

We also visited the White Chapel Gallery, which was doing an exhibit on Dead Negatives of the Great Depression, focusing on photographers who shot for the FSA.

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The hole in the photos are from a hole-punch because the photos were deemed unsuitable/unusable for the propaganda.

After class, I tried some charity shops in search of clothes that won’t cook me in this odd heat wave (I packed for chilly, rainy London, not 80s-90s, sunny and droughty). I also went grocery shopping, as I had no food for breakfast. Pray for rain.

Week Three in London!

Day One

It was a typical London day, rather chilly. I had caught a cold and this was the first day it hit me. After class, a small group of us went to the Tate. I ran into Jenny again, which was so funny. We were there for an hour and a half before it closed and we were only able to get through one floor. I saw a Picasso and quite a few Warhol’s with my own eyes.

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Picasso

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Warhol. I was so excited to see this because I had studied it in one of my classes last semester!

Day Two

The social program took us to the Tower of London. We walked around and saw some staged kingly rooms (surprisingly, decor from the 13th century reminds me heavily of That 70s Show).

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The bridge behind me is often referred to as the London Bridge, but it’s actually the Tower Bridge.

We were able to see the crowned jewels. There was a diamond the size of my palm! We saw many other crowns and precious jewels and swords and batons as well. After the crown jewels, we saw some Royal Guards. I felt bad, gawking at them like they weren’t even human. Some kids were miss behaving and making fun of the guards and climbing on the fence and the guards screamed “Get off the fence!” and it was the only sounds they made. I think the kids peed themselves.

Sydney and I had to leave before we were able to see the torture chambers (😢) so we could make it to our train to Paris (😀) on time. The trip to Paris, via bullet train, took only 2.5 hours. We went with a group of ten, which eventually split to a group of six and a group of four. The hostel we were staying in was a five-minute walk from the train station. We could see Notre Dame and the Effiel Tower from our room!

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The view from our hostel window! Notre Dame is on the right and the Effiel Tower is in the middle.

Day Three

We did almost all of Paris.

In.

One.

Day.

I don’t think my feet have ever been so sore. I started the day at the hostel desk, purchasing a ticket for the Catacombs. The catacombs took a while to get through, due to the line and the stairs. The staircases up and down were spiral and there was so many of them that I actually got dizzy each way. Walking to the bones required walking through ancient passageways; they were constructed so long ago that I actually felt tall in them. There was a room that was full of informational posters, and then you walked out the door and…bones. Skulls staring at you from all over. The air actually got heavier. It made me think of how many people have lived on this planet before me, and how many of them will never be remembered.

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Can you smile while getting your photo taken surrounded by a bunch of skeletons?

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This is only a small portion of the catacombs. There are 6 million bodies in there.

After the catacombs, my little group hopped on the train (London public transit is much better than Paris, I’ll have you know) and took the two stops to Notre Dame. It is right next to the Seine. The building is massive and incredibly beautiful; it baffles my mind how something so intricate could have been built by hand. The inside was just as, if not more, beautiful than the outside because you could clearly see the stain glass windows. There has been a building on that site since the eleven hundreds.

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One of the giant stained glass windows of Notre Dame.

After Notre Dame, we grabbed lunch at a little cafe. Then we decided to walk the twenty minutes to le Louvre. Do to having an appointment at the Effiel Tower, we were only able to be in La Musee du Louvre long enough to see the Mona Lisa. Honestly, she was not as impressive as she could have been, but that might have just been the mob around her.

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I managed to get to the front of the mob to grab this photograph.

When we finally figured out how to get out of the Louvre, we decided to walk to the Tower…45 minutes away. We high-tailed it across town, probably clocking 15 miles of walking by the end of the day. Our tour group of the tower met at 5:30 (we ended up leaving the tower at 9:30, four hours later…the lines were really long!). We climbed 700 stairs to check out the first two platforms. The first platform had a glass floor, which was awesome to look through! From the second platform, we were able to take an elevator to the top. Being at the top was amazing! We were able to take an elevator all the way down, praise the lord. When we finally left the tower, we grabbed dinner before the tower was supposed to sparkle. Sitting on the grass, staring up at the tower sparkle and lit against the night, it was simply magical.

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While running to the tower, we accidentally found the love lock bridge!

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Day Four

We went back to Notre Dame for brunch. It was the most expensive meal I’ve ever had, but I thought I’d better get everything I wanted to try in Paris because I doubt I will go back. I got a crepe, a latte, a hot chocolate, a small macaroon and a glass of champagne. I sipped and ate and listened to the bells of Notre Dame.

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A deliciously expensive breakfast.

Our train back to the hostel was delayed for around ten minutes. When we got back to the hostel we checked out and walked to the train station. After the English Channel lost power, the station was evacuated for 45 minutes, and a 2.5-hour delay, and approximately one of the most stressful days of my life, we made it back to London.

Day Five

I went to class and then went grocery shopping. London is going through a crazy heatwave, so I went to the gym to just be in an air-conditioned building. After the gym, a group of us went out to a trivia night.

Day Six

My class went on a Sherlock Holmes walking tour. Our guide was the sweetest old lady who knew so much about the detective that it blew my mind. When I got back to campus, I did my laundry and found a stray cat who let me pet it for approximately fifteen minutes, it was perfect. Then, the social programme took us to see Wicked! It was incredible. I 10/10 recommend it.

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St. Paul’s (Actor’s) Church, as featured in Sherlock Holmes as well as The Rivers of London!

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I was so excited to finally see Wicked! I’ve wanted to see it for years!

Day Seven

I pretty much took this day for myself. I’ve been so go-go-go that I needed a day to watch Netflix and Youtube for a few hours.