It has been awhile since I wrote, even thought about my Spring Break adventures. With the stress of finals, the light at the end of the tunnel (semester) seems still so far away and Spring Break seems further in the past to recall what I did. But I will do my best to remember.
Over Spring Break, I traveled to Amsterdam and Paris for a TAMU Study Abroad trip. I was ecstatic to be in these countries for the first time, but I also craved more freedom to venture to other European countries. I mean you are in Europe. Spain, Italy, Germany, Portugal, Greece, England are all a hop, skip, and a train ride away from each other. Why not? Right?
So, I did what any young girl should not do (yes, I said should not do), I asked to extend my trip for 39 hours to go to London, England. After watching too many horror movies of why girls should never travel alone, I was honestly terrified at this idea, especially when my professor said, “you are completely on your own after Friday at 09:00 am.” Those words will forever ring in my ear and invoke fear, but the risk was so worth it!
In those 39 hours and with the help of two of my ‘mates’ in London, I was able to experience wonderful London. I saw Big Bend Tower, Buckingham Palace, Shoreditch, and the Tower of London. I even had my own self-guided tour through the streets where Jack the Ripper seduced his victims. This international wonderland was so captivating, I didn’t want to come home. In fact, I researched how to move there! I even got to experience London’s famous Indian food. Outside of India, London is said to be one of the best places in the world to eat Indian food. I may be biased because it was my first time eating Indian food, but I stand behind this statement. I. loved. It.
And not only is the food out of this world, but the experience alone was worth walking up and down Brick Lane. With the endless Indian restaurants up and down the lane, promoters/managers from each restaurant stand outside trying to get your attention. They will approach you and ask if you want “the best Indian food in London” then offer you free bread, rice, drinks, and/or discounts on our final bill if you come in. As you continue to walk, the neighboring prompter will also approach you and offer you an even better deal if you go into his restaurant. This haggle from restaurant to restaurant continues down the winding cobble stone of Brick Lane. But it doesn’t only apply to Indian food, no. It applies to the countless boutiques, art stores, and chocolate shops intermingled. Just put your haggling hat on and make them work for your money. It was worth it!
So, what I have learned from the Spring Break travels… haggle; extend that trip; doing something outside of the school itinerary. It’s scary at first, but worth the memories! Next on deck, Iceland.
Jenna is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Educational Psychology