My family didn’t tell me how to live, they lived && let me watch them do it…

SOOOOO today is my birthday, the big 22!

Before I go on to say what my past week of busy midterms has entailed I would like to take a moment to say thank you.  Thank you to everyone who has given me this amazing birthday present of being able to experience England and Europe, a new culture – essentially the chance of a lifetime.  I feel so very blessed and very thankful.  Thank you, as well, for enabling me to handle these new situations and giving me the tools to make it here on my own.  I would not have been able to do it without.  I am so grateful for each and everyone of you, I wouldn’t be where I am or who I am if I didn’t have your influence, and I am proud of everything you have given me :).  I miss you all so much and I don’t think I have looked forward to Christmas and having you all together so much in my life.  I cannot describe the joy that I feel just being in all of your presence, I truly cherish you.  Big, HUGE, ENORMOUS thank you to dad, for facing your fears and coming to see me, for your sacrifices and your love and BIG thank you to Amber for your sacrifices, support and being such an amazing person. Thank you Grandma because literally, literally, I wouldn’t be here without you. They wouldn’t have let me into or out of the country for lack of preparation :). Our five o’clock coffees, Jean and Bob and GRANDPA :), wouldn’t have given me the courage and thank you for that extra push to take this opportunity.  OKAY OKAY OKAY…done being all mushy and gushy and now off to what I have been doing!!!

The last few days have basically been full of studying and writing papers.  I had to study for my Media & UK Politics course as well as my History of London course.  Both exams were 2 hours and on Tuesday, with a lunch break in between.  I have been trying not to go to the grocery store and have been eating a grilled cheese every meal, and loving it :).  I don’t want to leave anything in the fridge or cabinets while I am away.  But I studied, fairly hard for these two exams and afterwards, I was almost angry that they were so easy.  I literally knew so much by that point that I wanted to tell the professor to hand out a tougher exam because I wanted him to know that I really was paying attention!! Haha…but of course I didn’t.  To say the least, I may have had a fairly bad hand cramp from writing, but they went pretty well.

So the two papers that I had to write were for my Theatre class.  One was the midterm paper and we had multiple topics.  I chose to write mine under the statement “To be effective, theatre should engage with the contemporary world of its performance.”  I used the productions Love & Information by Caryl Churchill and The Three Sisters by Benedict Andrews, originally Chekhov.  They were two of my favorites.  The other paper was my weekly paper which just HAPPEN to be the same week as midterms and it was about Desire Under the Elms.  I compared the pivotal scene, essentially the climax, which takes place in the parlor between Abbie and Eben.  I compare the written scene by O’Neill and the production of the scene by Sean Holmes.  Its an interesting paper but I must say that writing theatre papers are much more difficult than research, finance or economical papers (which I prefer).  BUT midterms are over! && off to Scotland at six in the morning, in six hours, no I have not packed, I will, soon, :).


I had to finish my Desire Under the Elms paper this morning. Then I headed over to Jane’s around one to babysit Tarka and Guy.  When I got there they had presents and a card for me :))).  I didn’t expect that at all and I literally cannot express how grateful I was, even more so in the fact that they were soooo very excited to give them to me!!  First they gave me a homemade card and I don’t know how long it has been since I have gotten one, I missed them! They put a lot of work into it as well, on the back are some printed out pictures and all of them have meaning behind them.  One is of Tower Bridge, which I ate by with Jane and Tarka.  Another is of Jack Wills, which is one of Tarka’s favorite stores and we stopped there in Covent Gardens with Sammy to look for a sweater for him.  Another is of Chelsea Embankment, Tarka and I watched some of the reality show made in Chelsea today, it is like laguna beach but in London and he really loves the show and Chelsea – he says he is going to take me sometime.  Another is of Kings Road and it says “we’ll go here” which is a big road in Chelsea.  One of Burberry Brit, we stopped in there when we went to Covent Gardens as well, Tarka wrote “been here, saw purses, walked out” and I chuckled :).  Also Rugby where we saw a tweed jacket and a picture of Borough Market where we got “chocolates” and one of Camden Market :).  It really really made me happy and I am smiling looking at it now.  They also got me two leather cases, one for pencils slash pens and the other with the British flag for change! Also, a calendar and a little adorable London Journal, all the perfect souvenirs!!  For the day, Guy had a friend over with his little sister Abby and their nanny Katie.  We played basketball and football out back for a while and it was nice to get some energy out.  We watched a James Bond film and also walked around the corner and bought candy bars, Tarka so graciously picked mine out for me and then proceeded to pay for it! He chose a crunchie, I have never had one and it is to die for, literally such a great candy bar, I almost tried a wispie and galaxy.  British goodies may very well trump American goodies.

After I left, when Jos got home around 7, I went out to dinner with Lexi, Annabel, Courtney, Rachel and Kelsey.  We went down to Spitalfields Market and into this cute little restaurant called The Real Greek.  It gave off the essence of a wine bar or a vineyard.  There were wine bottles stuck in holes in the wall all over the restaurant and the wood was all a very dark color.  The lighting was low and the booths were set really high, it was so beautiful.  I loved it.  I ordered a Greek Souvlaki, Chicken.  It was delicious and I didn’t pick out any onions or tomatoes, I really think I have lost all sense of being picky here.  Then we decided to get dessert, oh PS I had the house red wine and I may never go back from wine to beer, and I got a Greek Sundae.  When we proceeded to pay the girls would not let me look at the check and paid for the whole meal.  Talk about making some amazing friends because it wasn’t particularly cheap.  I am so very grateful to all of them, I really really am and it topped off a great birthday, one that I could never have imagined having just a year ago.  I am in London, going to Scotland in mere hours for over a week (which, side note, I wont be able to be in touch for that period of time), I spent the day with family that I am so blessed to have met and in my life, I spent the evening with some amazing friends that I hope and believe will last a lifetime and I’m a healthy, happy 22 year old, soon to grey I am sure, lady (that one is for a laugh from you Gram).  PS a big thank you to Grandma and Aunt Jean for the birthday emails as well, I went to go send my final papers in and was happy to have those emails waiting for me :).


A little girl with the world’s best family and support ❤


5 thoughts on “My family didn’t tell me how to live, they lived && let me watch them do it…

  1. Happy Birthday, Sara! Didn’t know where to send the birthday wishes so I’m sending you and email, too. So glad you’re enjoying your time abroad. I’m sure you’ll never forget these times.

  2. You make me smile – love your quotes – here is one you probably have seen in various places in the house, I move it around. But I love it and it gives me thoughtful moments each time I read it. ” Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul; the blueprints of your ultimate achievements.” –Nathan Hill
    Do you know who he is?

  3. Well of course you don’t know Nathan Hill – I meant Napoleon Hill, it is his quote. He was one of those people who wrote on the science of success – I think died in the 70’s but he had some good quotes.
    love you, GP

    1. Wow, two beautiful blogs in one day! I couldn’t help but think how thrilled Auntie Pat McIlrath would be to have you enjoying theatre…her kind of theatre…and getting so much out of it. Grandma Peak would have loved hearing your blogs as well. It sounds like your birthday was a winner, and spent with family and friends in spite of being an ocean away from Grinnell and Knox College. It sounds like you probably aced your midterms…congrats. Be sure to read your email again when you get back to London. I think you missed one more birthday wish. Your dad and Grandma Pat will soon be there with you and you’ll have tons more adventures. Now it’s off to Scotland with you and we’ll miss your blogs for a time, but will look forward to the first one on your return. Be safe and happy. Time is fleeting. Love, Aunt Jean

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