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Hello Blue Devil fans,

It seems that every time I visit a new city I immediately fall in love with it! Over Christmas break, I traveled to London to stay with my sister Michele and her boyfriend James for about 10 days. Although the weather certainly did not compare to California, the trip was amazing!  After a six-hour red eye flight from Washington D.C., I dropped my bags off at my sister's apartment and headed to Oxford Circus to do some shopping.

We explored St. James's park and also saw The Buckingham Palace, which was beautiful!  We enjoyed high tea at The Dorchester where we nibbled on sandwiches, scones and a variety of desserts. Although it was getting late and I was pretty tired, we headed to the meet James and some of his friends for a 5 v. 5 game of "football."  We played in a small and enclosed turf field. My cleats weren't needed so I wore my high top converse!  It was so fun. I wish there were similar courts in America!

The next couple days I explored a lot of the city with Michele and James. In the mornings we would go on runs along the Thames River and then take the tube to different areas of the city. We walked through Hyde Park and saw Kensington Palace, shopped around at the Christmas markets and Portobello Road, visited the Big Ben, Tower of London and Westminster Cathedral (where Prince William and Kate were married), and sampled some amazing food at the Borough Market.

I loved wandering all throughout the different streets and seeing so many cool houses and apartments. In the evenings we dined at delicious restaurants, saw a few shows including the Nutcracker and The Little Match Girl and relaxed at the apartment. On my last day in London before heading to Surrey to spend Christmas with James' family, my sister and I did some last minute Christmas shopping and then met James to head to a premier league game -- Stoke City vs. Tottenham Spurs.  Although the game was 0-0, it was absolutely amazing!  The atmosphere at the game was unlike any sports game I've ever attended. The fans are so passionate about the game and are such great supporters for their teams.  It is something everyone definitely needs to experience!

On the 23rd we took the train to Surrey to spend the holiday with James' family.  Upon arrival we had a delicious home cooked stew. We spent the remainder of the evening relaxing in the living room. We watched a few movies and were quite entertained by a three-legged Jack Russell Terrier, Freddie. 

On Christmas Eve we hung out at the house and then shared a wonderful birthday celebration for James' grandmother, Dorris at the local pub. When we returned home, James, Michele and I opened our Christmas PJ's and then headed to bed! 

Christmas day was lovely. We enjoyed a delicious early dinner including turkey, gammon, beef, vegetables, potatoes, pigs in a blanket (sausage wrapped in bacon) and stuffing. After dinner we listened to the Queen's speech and then opened presents while enjoying some tea and dessert. On the 26th, James, Michele and I went on a run throughout the beautiful neighborhood.  We had a big lunch with James' family, including his sister's and his brother's families. That night, we attended A Christmas Carol, which was a one man adaption of Charles Dickens' class novel. It was very entertaining!

On Thursday the 27th we said our goodbyes and then headed to the airport. The trip was awesome and I'm sad it's over, but I will never forget the memories I made in the UK. I can't wait to spend more time with James' family in the future. I want to thank my sister, James, Alan, Janet, and Nannie Dorris for an unbelievable trip!

Happy New Year,

Audrey Gibson
Duke Women's Soccer

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