The End End – Isabel Garcia

Last night was the final show for Temple@The London Olympics. Words cannot describe the feelings I, myself, and I am sure my fellow participants, are experiencing. After we had the official “OK” from Philadelphia that we were clear, we all huddled together and smiled and hugged. It was the ultimate feeling of success mixed with a pinch of sadness for the work would now be over. The entire time I have been in London, I anticipated time would pass by quickly; it did and it didn’t. From the Big Bus Tour to the James Bond Exhibit, from The Dark Knight Rises to our Olympic Walk, there are an endless number of memories I will cherish for the rest of my life.

I have learned many things in my journalism classes at Temple University, but one of my favorite pieces of advice is that people may not always remember what is said, but they will remember how the story made them feel. In the beginning of this trip, Professor Mooney gave me some guidance which I believe correlates with that advice: “You must focus on living in the moment; live in the here and now.” For someone who plans their day out by the hour, that really stuck with me.

Sometimes I find myself trying to hold on to each moment so that I don’t forget it, but memories do fade. My best and most cherished memories I will take with me from this program will be the laughter. All of us just “clicked” as a group (including Professor Mooney, of course!), and whether it was over family dinner or just walking around London, there was always laughter and smiles.

Isabel Garcia, Hope Janelle Berninghausen, Jake Rasmussen, Ryan Geffert, Quinton Bosman, [Professor] Bill Mooney

As we took apart Studio 8, which had become a “home base” to us, all of the memories rushed over me; it almost seemed surreal, dream-like. The last item we took down was the backdrop. After each member of the London team signed it (in pink, it was all I had!) and I wrote “Original Cast, July 23 – August 13, 2012”, I truly felt like we left our mark. My final thoughts: I am proud. I am proud to be a part of this team and to have worked with the best people in the television news industry. For a final time I will say, “Live from London, I’m Isabel Garcia.”

A Fire Will Rise – Quinton Bosman

I can’t say I knew we were this close to the 20th Century Fox building, but what a fitting discovery for the day! The building is located in the Soho section of the city and to be honest it seems pretty normal. Nothing special, just employees in cubicles staring at pictures of their families.

Today was a more relaxing day, we have set ourselves up for success by doing a lot of our work during the earlier weeks. We got treated to a special showing of The Dark Knight Rises by Professor Mooney today at the Science Museum. Best theatre lobby ever.

Also found this guy at Covent Garden…

¡Barcelona! – Quinton Bosman

In the midst of the Olympic craziness, I decided to escape to Barcelona for a little while. The city known for it’s inventive architecture and beautiful beaches was still buzzing with Olympic fever. There is no escape! Honestly who would want to escape the Games? Everyone was talking about them. There wasn’t a bar or cafe that didn’t have the events on the television screen.

I did notice a large number of British tourists who claimed that they had been country hoping to try to avoid the madness in their hometown of London. I noticed them in the Barceloneta section of the city which featured a dock full of ships and restaurants. It also had an amazing view of the Monseratt.

I couldn’t help but compare Barcelona to London, the entire time I was there. I have always loved Spain, but now England has a special place in my heart. One major difference however is the beach. Nothing beats a great beach. Barcelona has seven. Sorry London.

Controversial Harrods – Quinton Bosman

One of the places that is a few blocks away from our flat is Harrods department store. It is famous for luxury brands, a vast food court and amazing architecture. I have never seen anything like it in my life. I can’t believe people actually buy things from this place, but they have been in business since 1849 so they must be doing something right.

The prices were astronomical. We saw a couch worth $32,000. The mirror below cost $17,000.

One of the most interesting things I found in the store was a small memorial to Princess Diana. In all honesty there are plenty of times where I have forgotten that she is no longer with us. A book was laid out for patrons to sign along with a beautiful statue created in her honor.

Harrods, along with many other vendors, is displaying a tribute to the Korean culture festival with a set of Korean robots in the window. The festival is meant to showcase Korean culture such as art, technology, religion and politics. The robots may have been the strangest things I have seen so far in London. They reminded me of the episode of “Family Matters” where Steve Urkel turned into a robot. The robots in the display were all sad for some reason and they made the slowest, most awkward movements possible.

So lets get to the controversial part…

We all know and love Harrods for their luxury design and amusement park-like experience but what happens when protests begin outside of the beloved establishment? While it is clear that Harrods continues to sell fur in their store, it is unclear how that fur is obtained. Animal lovers around the world will of course side against the use of fur anywhere but even more shocking is the idea of who the trades are affecting. In what protestors call the “bloody fur trade” Harrods is accused of trading with Qatar. Harrods is the only department store in the UK to still sell real fur since it has been banned. Technically the fur is not “made” in the UK so it is still legal, however most stores have chosen not to sell at all.

Last week already?! – Jake Rasmussen

Hello world!

Ryan blogged about our crazy day on Friday. Saturday was long as well! We went on a Sherlock Holmes walking tour, which we got into for free with our Media Credential passes. We saw locations that were used in the stories, the Guy Ritchie adaptations, and the BBC show Sherlock. After eating a delicious brunch, we went back home and I helped Ryan film some of his Olympic pin trading piece, which is airing this Tuesday! Ryan and I are very excited to report this week.

The courtyard of Somerset House

Today, I made a really mediocre pizza that we bought for two pounds, edited my Abbey Road piece for Tuesday, and then watched Anchorman.

In our last week, we will go on a bike tour of Hampton Court, see Dark Knight Rises, and seeing more in London! Oh-and broadcasting our last two shows already! Crazy how fast time flies. Ryan and I still want to film a short video here, and film a short segment for my show The Grog Show on Temple TV as well.

Make sure you tune in this Tuesday and Thursday at 7 p.m. for our last two shows! You won’t want to miss them.

Everyone is telling me to hurry up because we are going to go get ice cream. Cheers!

So Much to Do So Little Time – Quinton Bosman

I can’t believe we are entering the last week of the program. It really only feels like yesterday that we were all sitting in a fancy Moroccan restaurant introducing ourselves to London after a long day of traveling and touring. It is also surprising that we only have two live shows left. The shows have been such a success. I remember being extremely nervous before the first show. We were all on edge due to it being our first live endeavor and a few technical difficulties. Now that it is almost time to go home, of course we all feel like pros. The show, our transitions and communication back home with Philly have all been so much smoother since that first day.

We still have a lot ahead of us. We have two live shows to prepare for, two editorials and of course The Dark Knight Rises in 3D IMAX. Can’t wait for that one. Unfortunately this last week also has a forecast of some pretty bad weather. We are finally experiencing the rain that London is known for. More famous than fish and chips, the Queen and the Beefeaters combined, everyone knows that London has pretty terrible weather. The last time I was here it rained almost every day. It can be pretty depressing. Luckily we haven’t seen too much of that during our stay.

Somehow I forgot to add this picture from yesterday. I came upon a strange globe in the middle of town that looks like it landed there from outer space. I’m not sure if you are supposed to do this but tourists loved touching it. I don’t trust it.

#that’ssoBritish – Ryan Geffert

A map of the London Live festival!

Wow! Friday and Saturday were probably the most packed days that we’ve had since our arrival in the UK.

The zip line shook me up a bit…

It all started with a late morning decision to head to the London Live Victoria Park across from the Olympic Village. There were several enormous screens that showed different Olympic events. Here, we saw Federer beat his Argentinian opponent and a British indoor cyclist beat an Olympic record… so the crowd was super excited making the moment all the more memorable! At Victoria Park, we also found ourselves zip-lining, sumo wrestling, ferris wheeling, ping ponging and tennis-ing … (???) Either way, we had our Olympic fill for the day.

We sumo wrestled…

But the day hadn’t even begun yet! Next we headed towards Covent Garden and Regent Street to meet up with Isabel and grab some early dinner. We ended up catching up with our old friend Charlie Chaplin who put on a wonderful show for about an hour as we sat and watched the crowd’s priceless reactions to the improv comic genius! Suddenly, the hunger began to creep over us again. We quickly stopped by a place called “Fuel” where we had a wonderfully satisfying Italian dinner!

Our dinner!

Following our meal, we decided to continue our night upon the River Thames. We made our way to the South Bank, where we hopped on the London Eye and got a wonderful sight of the City of London and Westminster!

London Live Ferris Wheel

View of Victoria Park from the Ferris Wheel

We then followed the music to the Houses of Parliament where fabulous projections lit up the side of the old government office building. With inspirational music and a great narrative story about the history of the Olympics, the half hour show was near perfection and surely motivational! At that point, we called it a night and let the next morning take us by surprise. The day was truly a full British outing, full of real London sights and unforgettable experiences with a mass of unforgettable characters along the way!

Projections on Parliament – Olympic Rings

Projections on Parliament – Union Jack

Projections on Parliament – Michael Phelps

And then there were two… – Isabel Garcia

The team has been here for about a week and a half now, and I just cannot believe there are only two shows left. It seems like it’s been such a whirlwind of an adventure, but I am trying very hard to take everything in, and keep it! Memories are funny though – you can remember certain parts of a trip or event, but it’s always best when someone else can jump in and add that extra detail that made it special. We’ve all truly grown together as a team, and it’s a great feeling knowing that everyone has your back.

Visiting London has honestly been a dream of mine since I was about 11 years old. As cliched as that sounds, I was noticing all of the London-items I have in my room right before I left: a sign on my shelf that says “LONDON”, a mannequin for necklaces with “London” and fashion figures, a Stonehenge key ring, and even a teapot shaped like a traditional red “tele” booth.

Big Ben is the bell in the clock tower.

My favorite experience so far has been seeing Big Ben. I’ve seen pictures of the tower before, and I had felt like I’ve seen it a hundred times – there was nothing so spectacular and so real than to be standing next to the physical Big Ben. Pictures don’t do much justice for a city with history oozing out of every street corner. The architecture is absolutely breathtaking, and the buildings, streets, and even Underground tube are incredibly clean.

The sites, life, and culture of London have been nothing short of magical. Though there may only be two shows left, I definitely plan to take advantage of the time that remains in our last two weeks in London!

Accomplishments in London – Jake Rasmussen

  • Held an Olympic torch — it wasn’t that heavy
  • Kicked Ryan in the middle of the night — while sleeping
  • Ran into an Australian rowing athlete: Warwick Draper — in a toy store
  • Got McDonalds — twice
  • Ate Moroccan food — it was tasty
  • Carried groceries in the rain — a true London experience
  • Listened to “Take on Me” by A-Ha — about 5 times
  • Watched the Olympics on TV — but missed Michael Phelps winning 19th gold
  • Visited Science Museum — disappointed in lack of space ice cream in gift shop
  • Converted Celsius to Fahrenheit — on an iPhone app
  • Revisited my childhood — at the Lego store
  • Listened to “Take on Me” by A-Ha again — while writing this blog post

Next week, we are planning on going on a Harry Potter tour, seeing Shrek the Musical, going to The Dark Knight Rises (Anne Hathaway in IMAX 3D), riding on a bike tour to Hampton Court, and possibly going to Cardiff to see the Men’s Football Quarterfinals!

Currently, I’m sitting on this firm couch in the flat with the Olympics running in the background on the “tele”. Isabel and Hope Janelle just came back from shopping, something that I am not good at. They gave me pictures of wedding dresses to look at and told me to pick the best one. For someone who has great difficulty picking the best paint color from a handful of those colored sample cards in the Home Depot, I just didn’t know how to answer. So I didn’t, and they gave me a candy necklace. That whole paragraph was live blogged.

Dinner is being cooked, so I am going to help out and prepare to eat. You will hear from me again though! Xoxo

ABOVE AND ABROAD! – Ryan Geffert

Though the Olympics are dominating the London news, us Temple students are finding plenty of ways to have a grand ol’ time overseas! My personal favorite spot has become Covent Garden, and with its daily street performers always topping yesterday’s, it’s clear to see why the area is the hot spot in central London.

As seen in Jake’s music video and Quinton’s blog post, we have been collecting Apple pins because of their worth in the states. Interestingly enough, I am in the process of developing a video about the mass following of Olympic pin trading, so now I am feeling like a fellow pin trader with a few to add to my collection! But I digress… Each day we try to go to the Apple store in Covent Garden and help ourselves to a few complimentary pins, followed by some entrancing street performances and often live music … and all over a delicious lunch of Spanish paella!

The day usually ends fairly quickly, as we are usually tired out by the early afternoon from our late night editing sessions. However, we manage to get our postcards and various UK authentic souvenirs for friends and family back in the states!

Serving paella to the masses!

Aside from souvenir shopping, we have RSVP’d to several media access only events through the London Media Centre (LMC). Some of these events are: discount tickets to the Harry Potter Studio Tour, discount tickets to a bicycle tour through Henry VIII’s Hampton Court Palace, discount/free theater and musical tickets, (specifically Shrek the Musical) and a walking tour of Sherlock Holmes mysteries across Londontown.

… his accent still needs a little work.

All in all, the gang is having a blast abroad. With each day growing shorter and shorter however, we’re already beginning to feel the pressure of fitting everything into the next two weeks! Despite the growing pains of leaving this great city, the personalities of each crew member have truly taken to one another and the beginnings of lasting friendships are growing more and more apparent. But then again, maybe it’s just the jet lag …