Summer breeze makes me feel fine.

I submitted my dissertation two weeks ago and am officially finished with grad school. Now’s the waiting game for my final marks, but it’s been an amazing year! The past two months have been an absolute whirlwind of great things, so just wanted to give a quick updated on all my adventures. If you have questions or want more info on a particular event, feel free to message me or leave questions in the comments 🙂

July was great, celebrated the 4th with some friends at a proper American cookout.

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The next week, I was lucky enough to be able to spend a day with my friend Jen at Wimbledon. New-found respect for the game of tennis, to say the least.

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At the end of that week, Jarin and I jetted off to Pamplona so he could run with the bulls (he survived!) and spend a bit of time in Madrid as well.

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We got home and the next day Jarin’s brother and his wife arrived, and that weekend we all headed up to Scotland for the British Open. It was the second year at the Open for us, and just as fun as the first time (if not more so, getting to experience it with family!). 🙂

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I spent the next three weeks at the British Library finishing up my dissertation. It’s nice to be finished, but slightly bittersweet since I don’t know when I’ll be back to academia. Hoping that it’s sooner rather than later!

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Turned in my essay on a Friday, and went straight to the airport to welcome Jarin’s parents to the UK. Spent the weekend sightseeing with them, and then the next weekend we all headed to Ireland and did a road trip around the northern half of the island. Absolutely stunning landscape, I think Jarin and I both really enjoyed the chance to get out of the city and back to familiar scenery 🙂

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We got back from Ireland, and I had a call for a job offer just a couple of days ago. HOORAY!! It’s been an amazing couple months, but I must admit I’m looking forward to getting back into a routine and settling in to my new job (and having a salary again!). What are you guys looking forward to in the fall?

xx

Audrey

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Summer has FINALLY come to London

So I wore shorts today for the first time since…last August. Not exaggerating. I have a new appreciation for why Brits have the bad rep of being extremely pasty (sorry for the people I blinded today). In conjunction with my personal understanding of the pale Brit stereotype, I also have a new awareness of how precious the sunlight here is. Brits (and all of us expats, too) cherish their sunny days and squeeze what they can out of every ray of sunlight. Which means the 7-day forecast for a heat wave has put a summer spring in my step, not the least because 4th of July is in that 7-day forecast. I’m really interested to see what the 4th is like in England…it’ll be an experience, I’m sure. 🙂

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My heart on the 4th. Thanks, Zazzle, for the accurate depiction.

 One thing that has become increasingly charming for me since moving to London is to just enjoy an afternoon in the park. It’s a very European (or rather, non-Midwestern) thing, I think, because in the Midwest usually the only people you see lounging on blankets in a park are families enjoying a picnic. But here, if the weather is above 60F/15C, you’ll see all sorts of people lounging in the park–families, couples, friend, and even people enjoying some solitude. I think it’s due to various reasons:  perhaps because yards are much smaller if not non-existent, the weather is much more mild so when we get a nice day people want to enjoy it and on the other side, it almost never gets unbearably hot here, people are allowed to enjoy adult beverages in public and the legal drinking age is 18 (hellooo Sunday funday), there is a significantly higher number of parks in London than anywhere else I’ve lived, and people simply live in much closer contact here than in the Midwest so getting together with friends isn’t necessarily the drive-across-town production that it can be in the States. And for me, spending time in green spaces is a way for me to feel closer to home when I’m missing the Heartland.

Whatever the reason, it’s one thing that didn’t make sense to me when I first moved here but after a year I fully appreciate the charm of a day spent lounging with friends in the park. And now that the sun is here to stay, the park is calling my name. 🙂

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Enjoying St. James’ Park. And studying. Also, didn’t know you had to pay to sit in those chairs. Word to the wise: bring a blanket for your lounging pleasure, those are free 🙂

Takeaway Tidbit: London teaches you to appreciate the finer things in life, on so many levels.