Underground Abroad: I Didn’t Lose My Slipper

Daje Walker is a sophomore majoring in secondary education and history currently studying abroad in London.

You know it’s Valentine’s day when you walk into the lobby and see flowers lining the receptionist desk. Love must be in the air.

To celebrate love on this rainy weekend, my friend Kara and I attended The Bootleg Club’s The Masked Ball. It was a 1920s themed masquerade ball. I knew that everyone would dress up, however, I was floored when I walked through the doors. All of those in attendance wore ball gowns, flapper dresses, tuxedos, masks, and heels. This formal event only had a band that played songs from the 20s to Michael Jackson. I creeped on two couples that distanced themselves from the group to steal a dance or two outside of the overcrowded main hall. Five… Six… Seven… Eight. The husband counted off seriously as his wife giggled before he twirled her around the room. A few feet away an older couple took on an older dance. I appreciated the elegance of the ball. Every couple that I could see two stepped their way around the room instead of grinding their way to the floor.

To all of my people of color, this is also a ball for you too. Cinderella comes in all shades. London is one of the most integrated cities in the world. Beginning in the ‘70s people of color began to populate the city starting with men and women from the Caribbean (MODs). I was pleasantly surprised to see that we showed up and of course we slayed. I spoke with Derekston and Anike, a flawless couple looking to try something new this Valentine’s Day. They met on orientation day at University. Derekston walked into the building for his first class while clutching roller blades. Anike happened to walk passed him and clowned him for even skating. As fate would have it, they bumped into each other nine months later and bonded over their passion for skating. I tried to fight it and she won — Derekston. We should all note that she is always right.

My other friend Debra and I took a trip to Kyoto Gardens. This picturesque garden, in a more affluent side of London, will take you back to the 18th century. There is a short maze that reminds me of something that can be found in a Jane Austen novel. While getting a shot of myself near a fountain, I caught a sweet couple taking in the views. There is a small amount of animals that roam around the grounds. I caught a peacock. If you are looking for a picnic location or a place for a nice walk with your dog, find yourself in the luscious gardens.

Girls night this week took us to Wahaca, a hispanic restaurant in Angel. I am not a fan of sweet potatoes, however I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the ones that were served. We ordered various tapas, small portioned snacks usually found in hispanic cities. I had the Chipotle Chicken Quesadilla, Sweet Potatoes, and a Passion Fruit Mojito.

The girls and I made good use of a selfie stick on Saturday afternoon. We explored the Tower of London founded by William the Conqueror in the 1070s. Today this historic building holds the Crown Jewels and the secrets of The Two Princes. The tale of The Two Princes tells of the mysterious disappearance and death of the two heirs to the throne after their uncle locks them in a tower. After drawing our own conclusions about their disappearance, we made our way to the entrance of the tower that holds the Crown Jewels. Queen Elizabeth II is the first monarch to be crowned live to the world at age 25, in 1953. Before visitors enter the first of the jewel rooms there is a continuous loop running featuring the ancient tradition of crowning the next monarch, in this case Queen Elizabeth II. Unfortunately, photography was prohibited in the viewing rooms.

To lose balance sometimes for love is part of living a balanced life — Eat. Pray. Love

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About Dajé Walker (17 Articles)
Dajé Walker is a sophomore studying Secondary Social Studies Education and History at the Pennsylvania State University. Her obsessions are learning about the history of different countries, trying new foods, and improving her very amateur photography skills. She will be studying abroad this spring with the Institute for the International Education of Students (IES Abroad) in London, England. As an aspiring educator and researcher, she hopes to learn from every experience that she has over the course of the semester. She will be writing weekly reflections on her adventures this semester.

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