Hi, everyone, it's Sam. Let me catch you up on a little bit since Iceland. Following our stay in Reykjavik, we flew into London Luton Airport on the early morning of Friday, June 1st and then left for our homestays in groups. I had the pleasure of staying with my friend James, one of my best friends from middle school who lives in Bishop’s Stortford, right outside London. It was so great to see him and his family! After arriving in Bishop’s Stortford with Kevin, Sang-o, and Patrick, we all had our first authentic English pub meal. I dined on a delicious beef and ale pie with a heaping portion of gravy and classic British chips (to clarify: in the UK, chips are thick-cut fries, fries are thinner versions of chips, and crisps are what we think of as potato chips). British pub food at its best is not remarkably complicated but has a hearty simplicity that makes for a really enjoyable dining experience.
After spending most of Friday getting settled into our homestays, the Dins all met on Saturday to depart for Oxford, where we spent the rest of the evening. The city is made up of intricate and beautiful stone buildings, some dating as far back as the Medieval period. The combination of the historic architecture with modern commercial culture makes for an aesthetic blend of old and new that is really intriguing. After briefly exploring the city, we got dinner with the Oxford Gargoyles, a jazz a cappella group from Oxford University, and then had a joint performance at the Turf Tavern. To celebrate, we had an after party on the grounds of Oxford University, which included the most intense game of Twister I have ever played in my life. At the end of a very fun, albeit late, night, the Dins made our way back to the Gargoyles’ dorms, where we were hosted for the night.
The next day, we headed back to London and enjoyed a free day of sightseeing. I was in a large group that visited Buckingham Palace and on such a clear day, the gold on the gates and the statues was almost blindingly bright. Afterwards, I broke off from the group with Sang-o and Kevin, and visited Westminster Abbey. Although it wasn’t open for the day, we really enjoyed exploring the grounds and viewing the abbey from the outside. While we were exploring Westminster, another group of Dins visited the London National Gallery to the world-famous Monet exhibit. That night, we had dinner with our host families that included bangers (sausages) and yorkshire pudding with gravy.
After more sightseeing and free time on Monday (which for me included a trip to Covent Garden and lunch at a fantastic British curry house), we performed at the Lansdowne Club on behalf of the Harvard Club of London. The building has a rich history - the Treaty of Paris was signed there in 1783! We performed for an audience that included members of the Harvard Club, an alum of the Dins who surprised us during Sh’boom, and our generous host families. That night, some of us went out to dinner and ate Fish & Chips with mushy peas before packing and heading off to bed.
We woke up early the next morning to perform at the Falkner House, an all-girls school in South Kensington. We performed two small sets: one for the girls in the school, and one for students from a local all-boys school nearby. It was such a pleasure to perform for the kids and their parents, several of whom hosted the Dins. After a great performance, we rushed to Gatwick Airport where we caught our flight to Dublin. Stay tuned for more details on our trip to Ireland!
To Din-finity and Beyond,