Tagged: home

Just Touched Down in Londontown: Carving out a home

By Margaret Waterman, Staff Writer
@mh_waterman

Downtown London's skyline, near where I work and where I live./ PHOTO BY Margaret Waterman

Downtown London’s skyline, near where I work and live./ PHOTO BY Margaret Waterman

When I stepped off the plane at Heathrow Sunday night on our way home from Amsterdam, I breathed a sigh of relief: “We’re home.”

This got me thinking, almost at once: is London really home? At what moment does the line between “tourist” and “resident” blur? Is it when you no longer need to refer to the subway map? Is it when you get used to everybody’s accents? Is it when you start taking your city for granted?

Luckily, I’m not the sort of person the latter can happen to. I still wander around South Kensington, craning my neck to take in every little detail like it’s not all going to be there when I get back. While none of it feels new anymore, it’s still breathtaking in its own right. To this day, I’m in awe that some of it belongs to me — at least for a little while.

I’ve been here for 82 days and I’m still having new experiences all the time. Whether it’s visiting a new place, meeting someone new or learning a new British custom, I’m constantly taking in new information.

Still, I feel like I really do have an established place here — I’ve got my day-to-day routine, my ever-changing schedule and my own little network of people. My job helps with this, of course. Every day, I’m in my office from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. doing tasks, interacting with people, watching projects begin and end. I’ve got go-to lunch places and little jokes with coworkers.

And yet, I’m not convinced that it’s my right to say that London is my home.

Concord is home, for sure — Boston, too. Soon, I’ll move back to Massachusetts and then New York City and carry on my normal life back in the states. However, it wouldn’t be right to classify London as a “pit stop.”

What makes London so homey is not that it’s beautiful or comfortable or even “Americanized” — it’s the people and my life here. It’s having a job in downtown London that I commute to and from every single day. It’s that the people at the coffee shop next door know my order and my coworkers know how I take my tea. It’s that I love my friends here and feel extremely lucky to be with them, both in London and in our travels. It’s that I know where and when to go.

My friends and I don’t talk about our semester’s impending expiration date (which is less than a month away). We don’t want to “go back to reality.”

Isn’t this what this is, though? Sure, we have a privileged life here in London, living in beautiful South Kensington and traveling every weekend, but it’s come to be our own little niche of the city.

For these four months, this is and has been our reality, and I’ll be sad to see it go. Until the end of April, I’m going to keep enjoying it.

Lauren in London: Countdown to Home

By Lauren Dezenski, Staff Writer
@LaurenDezenski

St. Paul’s Cathedral was never very far./PHOTO VIA Lauren Dezenski

I’ll be home in less than a month.

Just as this city has started to really get in under my skin in the best ways, it’s going to be over. It’s made even worse by the realization that I’ve only got one weekend left in London.

I suppose it’s for the best that I’m falling in love with the city as I prepare to leave it.

This all just feels like I’ve had two pints of cider at the pub and upon standing I realize I’m a little more drunk than anticipated…but not too far gone for another pint.

One of my favorite buildings in all of London is St. Paul’s Cathedral. Look back on most of my Instagrams of any sort of London skyline, if it’s not featuring Big Ben or the London Eye (or some combination of me trying to break into a palace or join the Royal Family). St. Paul’s Cathedral is there, sometimes in the foreground, sometimes in the background, sometimes featured in a glass of wine.

I’ve never actually been inside of St.Paul’s, mind you. It’s on my (dwindling) list of places to go, and my friend convinced me to wait to go until next weekend. Ending my London tourist-ings on a high note, right?

It’s hard to explain my infatuation with this building. William and Kate weren’t even married there (though William’s mother and father were). In a city filled to the brim with old buildings, it’s one of the most noteworthy, sure, but there’s just something about the way it rises above most of the other buildings in that majestic way tall things are tall. It’s a crude description but bear with me.

Whether I’m 50 feet or 5,000 meters away, something about that white dome just catches my eye and holds my attention. A friend and I walked around the cathedral on Saturday evening and I couldn’t help but just stare skyward at the beautifully carved exterior, marveling.

Something about St. Paul’s makes me feel centered. I’m by no means a religious person, but the curve of the dome and the beauty that was wrought by Christopher Wren just makes things feel right.

I feel small, but not in a bad way. You get close to the building and look up, until you remember to look where you’re going because another tourist almost bumped into you. You remember your feet are still on the ground and you’ve got another place to go.

Maybe it’s strange to have a semi-religious experience thanks to a building’s exterior architecture and maybe I’m just mostly typing nonsense, but I think it all goes hand in hand with my time in London.

No matter what, I’ll always look toward London. It’ll have a place in my heart, for better or for worse, and now I’ll understand a little better what this city actually is.

Just like getting close to the cathedral, I’ve felt small in London. I’ve felt really small. Never before have I felt so outside my comfort zone in so many situations—but it’s also a beautiful reminder of what life brings.

In no way shape or form should I remain in my comfort zone at all times, and I think I best grow when put outside of my native environment.

I think because of all of this, it’s given me a greater understanding of myself. Sure I’ve bumped into a number of tourists (both physically and allegorically), but it’s all made me realize what’s going on around me—and just how awesome it’s been to be here.

The Beat: Country Music Playlist

By Kate Ebeling, Staff Writer
@kebbietot

As the Thanksgiving break quickly approaches, it seems like everyone I talk to has either gone home or experienced some serious homesickness.

October, like everyone warned me, was a very long and arduous month, and in my weakest moments, I turned to something that reminded me of home: good old country music.

As a Texas native, I can tell you that while Top 40 varies only slightly, there was always a Jason Aldean song, Toby Keith or, on a good day, George Strait track thrown into the mix.

For those who are not avid country music listeners I can relate, because before I came to Boston I wasn’t a huge fan. Not until I left and realized how much I appreciated my hometown of Houston did I really being to take a gander on the country genre that at times is trivialized as “songs about my momma, my truck, my beer, my girl.”

While I can’t really try and argue with that, I can attest to the fact that there is an easy-listening factor to country music is infectious and addictive and it’s hard to deny the feel-good factor it has.

For those willing to give country music a try, here’s a list of my top 10 songs to make any week a little better with a Spotify playlist:


10. My Maria – Brooks & Dunn

9. Cruise – Florida Georgia Line

8. On The Road Again – Willie Nelson

7. Gotta Get There – Brett Eldredge

6. Downtown – Lady Antebellum

5. Chicken Fried – Zac Brown Band

4. River Of Love – George Strait

3. Little Bit Of Everything – Keith Urban

2. Wagon Wheel – Darius Rucker

1. All Over The Road – Easton Corbin

Lookin’ Great and Feeling Sexy: Home Workouts

By Erica Schwartz
@ericasalviati

573 calories. Not too shabby for a home workout./PHOTO VIA Erica Shwartz

As much as we all LOVE gawking and drooling over the beautifully-toned men and women that we inevitably encounter while at FitRec, going to the gym to work out and to use their equipment isn’t all that necessary!

If you don’t have the money or the time to go to a gym, that’s okay…but there is no excuse for being lazy when it is very possible to get in a good workout, no matter where you are.

I spent most of last summer in Brazil, where I did not have a gym or weights or anything. I will admit, I looked and felt stupid at times working out on the living room floor. In fact, sometimes my little brother and cousin would sit on the couch right behind, staring at me while eating ice cream (ironic). But I am living proof that it works; I continuously lost weight while in Brazil.

The trick is a mixture of cardio and bodyweight resistance.

Using your own bodyweight for strength is just as, or even more, effective than using dumbbells or machines. And there are such a large variety of bodyweight exercises you can do that you’ll never be bored, I promise.

Start off getting warmed up with ten minutes of cardio.

Which can include…

  • Running (whether up and down the stairs inside your house, outside around the block, sprinting from one side of the house to the other)
  • Jump rope

Then do two sets of three bodyweight resistance exercises, switching off between legs, arms, and abs.

Which can include…

Arms (pick one):

  • 20 burpees
  • 20 tricep dips
  • 1 minute circling arms
  • 20 pushups
  • 20 kickboxing punches
  • 20 bear crawls

Abs (pick one):

  • 40 bicycle crunches
  • 40 whole-body crunches
  • 1 minute plank w/ 30 second side planks
  • 40 leg rises
  • 40 pikes
  • 40 Russian twists

Legs (pick one):

  • 20 jump squats
  • 20 inner-thigh jump squats
  • 1 minute jumping lunges
  • 20 front kicks each side
  • 20 back kicks each side
  • 1 minute jumping jacks

Afterwards, you go back and do ten more minutes of cardio, then two more sets of three different bodyweight exercises for the arms, legs, and abs listed above, and finally, finish off with ten last minutes of cardio. Then you’re done!

By doing this, you will effectively be doing 30 minutes of cardio and six different bodyweight exercises, coming out at around about 400 calories burned.

Do keep in mind though that it is only 20 percent fitness and 80 percent nutrition, so just following this workout alone is not what will result in your weight loss! It’s the combination of working out and eating healthy. But keep at it and YOU will be the beautifully-toned person that everyone gawks at.

My Adventures in Seoul

By Seline Jung, Staff Writer
@selinejung

Strolling by the lanterns on display in Seoul./PHOTO VIA Seline Jung

Being back in Seoul, South Korea – my home – after the past year in Boston has been so many things. It has been simultaneously wonderful, comforting, boring, frustrating and more.

As I write this, I am honestly still in “wind-down mode” from my crazy semester, the worst of which came in the last weeks of April, just as it was for thousands of other Boston residents. Due to this current state of mind – coming down from the rush of the last few weeks of school – I haven’t been able to think about much, even less so about the past school year and what I may be doing in the future.

I personally made a decision to have no internships this summer. I’m basically a hermit lounging around the house all day. I appreciate doing nothing on some days and loathe it on other days. I’m eating all the good food I missed, and my soul feels complete because of it. I’m catching up with old friends I haven’t talked to since high school and spending precious quality time with my family for what may be the last long summer before I graduate and start a career (or at least try to).

Although, since I was nonstop busy all throughout the past nine months with school, work and an internship, I also feel restless and uneasy about doing nothing all day. I feel like I should be doing something or be somewhere else! It’s a reoccurring personal problem: as soon as I land in one country, I want to be back in the country I was in. As a constant wanderer, I can never settle.

But then I quickly realize how lucky I am to be here and how beautiful my home city is. I missed the hustle-bustle and buzz of a big city, something I never felt Boston could give me. I missed the smells, the spice in everything I eat and the familiarity of these streets and neighborhoods.

Once again I am trying to teach myself the same lesson I have been attempting to grasp for the past few years: appreciate and love where you’re at. It doesn’t matter where you aren’t, it only matters where you are.

Christmas is wherever home is

By Sanah Faroke, Staff Writer
@sanahfaroke

Despite finals week quickly approaching, I cannot help but constantly think about my winter break back home. As a transfer student, this is my first time away from my family, and yes, I may slightly sound like a baby, but okay, fine―I do sound like a baby, but baby it’s cold outside, and I’m so ready to go back to my 80-degree weather and palm trees. Things that I have despised about my former city of Miami have now become characteristics of a place I’ve longed to be apart of again.

Miami Christmas

Chirstmas in Miami / IMAGE VIA imaginelifestyles.com

I’ll admit, Christmas in Boston is probably more of a classic white Christmas. It’s something I’ve always wanted, but never experienced, and this cold weather really is wonderful. When it does snow, I feel like I’m walking in a winter wonderland, but home is home. Wouldn’t you agree? No matter where home is, that’s where your Christmas is as well. It doesn’t have to be snowing where I’m going, and I don’t have to walk by bare trees, either.

What is getting me through these final weeks of school is the image of walking off the airplane ramp, collecting my luggage and being embraced by home. The Spanish of Miami, the warm wind, the carefree atmosphere, my mothers’ hug. It’s home.
I think going home for the holidays is keeping everyone as sane as possible. Unlike Thanksgiving vacation, not everyone was able to fly home either because of ridiculously expensive flight tickets or living internationally, but for this one time, Boston’s student population will desert this city and fly back to the coop.

So while I’m stuck in my room wearing baggy sweats with my hair disheveled, a textbook in one hand and a jar of peanut butter in the other, my mind drifts back to the homeland. I just keep reminding myself there’s only ten more days till I return home. Wherever home is for you, it will have cheerful, holly feel, filled with chess nuts, candy canes, mistletoe, home cooked meals (yum!) and an ever-present love for your loved ones and love for your hometown. Keep that in mind to keep you going.