Harry Potter & Football

27 January 2017

Day 18 in London

I woke up and went for a run in Hyde Park and then came back to pay for and join the Women’s Football Club at Imperial College! The organization through which my program is organized by, FIE (Foundation for International Education), has an affiliation with Imperial College. Because of this, we are able to join any clubs or organizations at Imperial. I joined the football club team not only to play some “footy” but also to get out of my American bubble and meet some students that are actually from the UK.

I then took the tube to Soho to meet Sophia at the House of Minalima. The House of Minalima is a pop-up Harry Potter shop featuring graphic art from the Harry Potter films and other works by Minalima. Minalima is an artist duo of Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima. There were four floors, some featuring works from Harry Potter and other floors featured work from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The store is only open until mid February so we knew it was a place we had to check out before it was gone!

The ground floor was the dedicated gift shop containing prints, books, postcards and posters all things Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts. The first floor then contained the graphic art from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Sadly, I hadn’t seen that movie yet, so the floor didn’t mean as much to me as the Harry Potter floors did (don’t worry though, we went back and watched Fantastic Beasts with the flat later that night). Floors two and three were my favorite floors as they held all the graphic art from Harry Potter. From prints of the Daily Prophet newspaper to wanted posters of Bellatrix Lestrange to Sirius Black, I was in Harry Potter heaven!

The house even had some props from the actually Harry Potter movies on loan from the Warner Brothers Studios. Some of these props included original spell books used in the films.

On one floor, there was a fireplace that replicated the scene where Harry receives his acceptance letters form Hogwarts. The fireplace was filled with letters addressed to “Harry Potter 4 Privet Drive Little Whinging, Surrey” on them. AMAZING.

Before we left, I ended up buying a “Harry Potter, Undesirable No. 1” poster. I cannot wait to hang it up once I go home. I was between that or a Sirius Black poster, but I think I’d prefer to wake up everyday and see Harry’s face rather than the photo they chose of Sirius…

Day 19 in London

On Sunday morning, I woke up and walked to Beit Quad at Imperial College to meet the Women’s Football Club. Today was the first day of games that I could make and I was also very excited to meet some non-Americans!

While I hadn’t brought any of my soccer stuff with me, one girl who couldn’t play loaned me her cleats and I was able to borrow shin guards.

We drove in a van to the game which was a 35 minute drive away to north-east London. Not only was it interesting to finally see London from above ground and maneuver in the traffic, but it was also really fun to talk with the girls. They were all very talkative and welcoming.

We only had eight girls from Imperial to play in the 11v11 sided game…Luckily, they don’t have a regular goalkeeper so they were extremely happy when I told them that was my normal position. It was so cool to be playing on a pitch in England (despite it being on turf that ripped up my legs). Because the game was still in the city, the complex we were at had lots of little fields in what they called “cages,” and then also two larger fields with a bit more space around them. It was a very different setting than what I was used to but still a really cool place for some “football.”

We ended up losing the game, but for only having eight players, I think we did pretty well and it just felt so good to be out playing again!

Other Updates!

  1. I finally received my placement for my internship for later this semester! I will be working at a music magazine in Brixton called “Songlines.” The music they cover there is less well-known, but it looks like a quality magazine and is also connected to the music world in London so I am very very VERY excited about this placement! I have a confirmation interview with Songlines in mid-February and hopefully I will learn more about what my day-to-day tasks will be then. In the email I received, it mentioned maintaining their online presence (yay for social media), music research, editing and possibly writing articles, as well as other day-to-day tasks. I’m so excited to start the internship now! It should be a very unique experience and I cannot wait to dive deeper into the music world of London!
  2. My parents sent me a package a while ago and I have anxiously been awaiting its arrival until yesterday! It actually made it to the UK a few days ago, but they hold all packages at customs until the recipient pays a tax on it (price is dependent upon the worth of the contents ugh) and then they release it and ship it to you. The box was basically a Mary Poppins bag as I still have no idea how my mom fit everything that she did into it. She shipped my soccer gear (cleats, shin guards, socks, keeper gloves), a warmer jacket (I’ve been freezing over here in London in just my rain jacket), my beloved Skippy Natural Creamy Peanut Butter, ranch dressing (so I can finally make some spinach salads here), Dove Chocolate (FAV), and of course, I’ve been missing out on my Baked Cheetos and Quakes, which were also somehow squeezed into the box. It was amazing and the greatest early birthday present. Thanks mom and dad!!!


Road to Rio: First Stop, Chicago

Road to Rio- First stop,

Today, Saturday, July 9, I traveled down to Chicago with my family to attend the United States Women’s National Team game versus the Republic of South Africa. I’ve always wanted to go to a USWNT game and this is the closest that they have ever played to the Milwaukee area. When I first heard that the US would be playing at Soldier Field, I immediately asked my parents if they would be up for going, and luckily my dad is also a soccer fanatic, so this was the perfect excuse for a family trip to Chicago.

Today’s game versus the Republic of South Africa was the second to last game before the USWNT departs for Rio and the Summer Olympic Games. Their last friendly match before the Olympics is to be played in Kansas City on July, 22 against Costa Rica.


The USWNT is currently ranked number one in the world, meanwhile, the Republic of South Africa is ranked 52nd in the world. The US did not have much knowledge about RSA prior to this game—the RSA only qualified for the Olympics for the second time ever this year. With that being said, this game was critical for each of the players to show their skills as they each vie for a position on the Olympic Team. Head Coach Jill Ellis is to release the 20 woman roster on Sunday.

Fam Selfie

Enough about the stats though, let me tell you a bit about my experience in Chicago today. The day began with my family and I parking in a lot next to the Marriott Blackstone Hotel. When we stay overnight in Chicago, we normally stay at this hotel, as it is only a short walk away from Soldier Field. (I’ve attended my fair share of concerts at Soldier Field and therefore the Blackstone has become a favorite place of mine to stay.) This is important because we made a quick pit stop in the hotel for a bathroom break before walking over to the stadium, and who do we happen to see, but the Republic of South Africa National Team loading up onto the bus to head over to the game. They stayed at the Blackstone and it was funny to see a few stragglers sprinting to make the bus. Almost late to their own game!

From there, we walked over to Soldier Field through Millennium Park. There were families and many, many young girls decked out in their Team USA jerseys filling the pathway to the stadium. Once inside Soldier Field, we found our seats near the midfield line in the 12th row (shout out to my mom for these fantastic seats!).

The pregame warm-ups began with the goalkeepers from both teams coming out first. Then the rest of both teams came out a few minutes later. The USWNT warmed up directly in front of where I was sitting which was amazing to see. Especially since it was Carli Lloyd’s first game back since being out for her knee injury. Megan Rapinoe also was on the sideline but did not warm up with the team.

Crystal Dunn scored in the first half to put the US ahead. While the second half brought many chances, especially once Carli Lloyd was put in, the scored ended 1-0 with a US win.

With the 1-0 win, Hope Solo posted her 100th shutout and became the first goalkeeper ever, man or woman, to do such a thing. She was recognized for this amazing feat after the game. As a goalkeeper myself, this made the game even more special to be there for. After they recognized Hope, the team made their way around the field, waving to the fans and signing a few autographs. During this time, a few of the South African players went up to Carli Lloyd, Hope Solo, Becky Sauerbrunn, Meghan Klingenberg, and youngster Mallory Pugh to take photos with them. It was so cool to see the young South African players asking for photos and to see that they were as awestruck as I was to see these great USWNT players.

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Needless to say, today was quite the experience and I am so thankful to my parents for taking me to the game. It is a day that I will never forget and will most definitely stay with me as the United States Women’s National Team makes their Olympic run in Rio at the end of this summer. Today also reminded me about how hard work and dedication can take you anywhere you want to be whether it is in school, a job, or a sport. As I continue to play club soccer this summer, this game will stay with me and push me to play at my highest level just like the women of the USWNT do every day.

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