From Missouri to Manchester

I’ve been back in the UK for a while now, and I think I’ve finally readjusted to life on this side of the pond.  It’s been amazing seeing all of my friends and family again, but there are so many things that I really miss about life in America, which I just don’t experience in the UK.  My accent is no longer a catalyst for conversation with wonderful strangers.  I can’t say “parking lot” or “sidewalk” without someone raising an eyebrow.  There is an upsetting lack of burgers in abundance. Waiters no longer fill up my empty coke glass with free refills.  And, perhaps most upsetting, when I yell M-I-Z, no one yells back Z-O-U.

The last few weeks of my time in the US were definitely some of my favorite (note to self; must start spelling correctly again), and gave me experiences that I know I’ll never forget.   Finals week came so soon after Spring Break that we barely had a chance to catch our breath. The Americans deal with exam stress in a much better way than we Brits do.  Instead of dedicating a traditional family holiday to hours and hours of revision, the Americans stop classes on a Friday known as ‘Stop Day’ and celebrate the end of the semester by going out, throwing parties and, in our case, by organising a free gig which JoJo headlined .  After this weekend of fun, finals week flew by in a blur and before we knew it the semester was over and the campus was emptying of students fast.

Myself and a friend from Manchester, whom I met whilst at Mizzou decided to go travelling to some of the major North-eastern cities after our time at Mizzou, starting with Chicago.  We left Kansas City airport in a tiny 6 seater aircraft which felt like having our own private jet, and landed in O’Hare airport in the late afternoon.  We were only in Chicago for 3 days but we really made the most of it by walking to the Bean, the pier, through Grant Park, down Michigan Ave, through Chinatown and Greektown and up to Lincoln Park.  We also were able to enjoy a meal at the Cheesecake Factory and went up to the Willis Tower Sky deck where we were able to admire the city and the beautifully bright blue Lake Michigan.  We were both struck by how beautiful and modern Chicago was and I really hope to go back there one day.

The next step on our tour was New York, where we spent 4 days and were joined by another student from Manchester whom we’d met at Mizzou.  Being in New York was so surreal as I’ve spent so much of my life watching films and dreaming about what it must be like.  And I have to say, it didn’t disappoint.  Of course we did all of the traditional touristy things; Liberty Island, Ellis Island, the Lincoln Centre, Times Square, the High Line, Chicago on Broadway, the Met and watching the sun set over Manhattan from the Empire State building.  However, I have to admit that one of my highlights was going to Levaine, which has to be the best cookie bakery in the world!

From New York, I took a Greyhound to Boston to stay with some relatives for a few days.  Even though I’m a huge fan of public transport, choosing to use Greyhound may not have been the best decision as we broke down twice and the journey took over 8 hours.  Luckily I was sat with some really interesting people so it wasn’t too painful!  Boston is a gorgeous city and I was able to look around Harvard University and ogle at their amazing boat houses, as well as stroll down the Freedom trail and the African American History trail.

Flying back to the UK via Reykjavik was an experience full of mixed emotions.  On the one hand I was so excited to be flying back to the motherland, on the other hand I really didn’t feel ready to leave the US.  Calling America my home this year has been a truly unforgettable experience, and I’m so grateful that I was given the opportunity to do so.  I made some amazing friends in Missouri and some unbelievable memories, but for now, I hand my blogging baton on to my good friend Beatrix Freeland who’s starting at Mizzou this week.  I know that she’ll have as incredible a time out there as I did and I can’t wait to hear all of her stories.

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