Monday, 27 April 2015

I'm In Love with London and I Feel Fine

Leaving my mark on the Abbey Road Wall.

By Elizabeth Alvarado

Okay, the title might be a bit of an understatement because I feel more than fine. But I really wanted to throw in a Beatles song reference to make this seem more exciting than "My adventures in London" or some other boring title like that.

Signed John Lennon guitar, I'm not making this up!

And a signed Paul McCartney guitar that used to be at the Apple offices.

For as long as I can remember, London has been the one place I've always wanted to visit. England itself seemed like such a magical place and I know that sounds really cheesy but I don't know how else to describe it. I've always been so drawn to this place. So you can imagine my surprise when I was accepted to a study abroad program in London through my university. Finally I was going to visit the one place I'd always dreamed of going. Ten glorious weeks in London. It seemed so unreal. Honestly, being here still seems so unreal.

I arrived in London on March 23rd and everything has been so insanely amazing. I can't remember the last time I felt this happy. As a huge Beatles fan, this is the ultimate pilgrimage to make (apart from Liverpool of course) and it's still beyond me how much better London is than I thought it would be. Yes, this is really mushy and full of clich├ęs but this is what London has done to me.

The second week I was here I went to see "Let It Be" which is a musical on the west end about the Beatles. It's basically a tribute band singing over 40 Beatles songs. The guys looked nothing like the real Beatles (surprise, surprise) but I was far enough way that if I squinted and turned my head to the side I could trick myself into thinking they looked just like them. It was actually really fun - the show not pretending they looked like the Beatles. The show ended with "Hey Jude" and I swear that song might just be the closest thing we have to magic. The way it brings people together never fails to amaze me. Throughout the show much of the audience had been reserved and casually nodded their heads along to the music (unlike me who was screaming out every song and probably (definitely) embarrassing myself) but once "Hey Jude" started everyone was on their feet screaming out the lyrics and it was great. If there’s one thing I love, it’s not being the only person embarrassing myself through my horrible singing. 

The Bag O'Nails Club!

The next day I visited Abbey Road and I was so overcome with emotion that I actually started to cry. I mean, I pretty much cry at everything but I really wasn't expecting this. I'd seen Abbey Road Studios in so many pictures and to actually be there was quite an experience. After signing the wall with possibly the lamest message ever, I took approximately 6,384 pictures. (This is a joke, by the way - but it was a lot) Finally I was going to cross that famous crosswalk. It didn't go as smoothly as I'd hoped considering that cars would pass by in a hurry and honk incessantly, but I finally did it. None of the pictures came out too well but I'm not sure whether that's my fault for being so awkward or my roommate's for being the worst photographer ever. 

*Insert Heavy Fan Girl Breathing Here*

Don't know what I'm doing with my hands but I felt SO happy here!!

Me, trying not to cry and smile at the same time.

Obviously the next stop after Abbey Road was Paul McCartney's house. Luckily, no one else thought to visit Paul's house so I was alone with my photographer and yes, I started crying here too. For some reason, I kept remembering this thing I'd read in a book once about how fans would stand on overturned flower pots to peek over the gate and they'd be able to see Paul in the bathroom. Yes, in the bathroom (!!!). As I was standing outside the gate I kept thinking about how great it must have been to be a Beatles fan in the 60s. Just to see Paul in the bathroom.

People walking by gave me weird looks for taking a photo of the sign but I didn't care, I had to get one!

Paul's house. Unfortunately, no overturned flower pots so I could peek over the gate. 
This past weekend I went on a Beatles walking tour and it wasn't as bad as I'd expected. Sure, the tour guide spit a lot when he spoke but he was nice and seemed really enthusiastic. I kind of wish he'd been younger though because I seriously think we could have been soul mates. He majored in journalism too and he loves the Beatles. And obviously those two characteristics are the only ones needed to qualify as my soul mate. After the tour, I went back to Abbey Road and just leaned against the gate hoping and praying I’d magically be transported back in time, but alas, nothing. While I was standing there an old man approached me and gave me a flier advertising his Beatles shop down the road. After a few more minutes of wishful thinking I followed the directions on the flier to the shop and while it was tiny, it was overfilled with tons of Beatles merchandise. There was even original memorabilia from the 60s that the owner has been collecting for years. I had a nice chat with him about his collection and then I left with my purchases which included a Beatles pen, shot glass and mug – three things I obviously need.

A costume from 'Help!'

Just in case I haven't made it obvious enough - London has been everything I'd hoped for and much, much more. I wish I could just stay here forever and ever. Do you ever have those moments where you feel as if you're dreaming? Because that's exactly how I feel right now. And I never want to wake up.


We'd like to thank Elizabeth for graciously taking time out of her adventures to do a write up for us here so THANK YOU and we encourage you to check out Elizabeth's writing at: