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  • Writer's pictureMaria Vandenburg

SummerTime... and the Livings Easy... in the UK

With the close of my contract position at the end of June, I had a summer full of travel. After a brief stint in San Francisco, I was off to the UK for the wedding of one of my closest friends. The whole trip was filled with love, joy, and of course a bit of pain.๐Ÿฅณ

Kayla, Albena and I at Rachel's Wedding
Kayla, Albena and I at Rachel's Wedding

First Few Days of London-Town

I arrived a few days before the wedding and stayed at a spot right on the water in Battersea. What I did not know before arrival? It was right next to the F*cking Helioport! so my first few days were spent like this:๐Ÿคช


Was that King Charles? Or a Foreign Prince? Or Celebrity? Probably not... but it was fun to pretend. I also met the bride-to-be. For some reason, we both thought seeing one another the morning I arrived would be a BRILLIANT idea.๐Ÿคช


I don't sleep well on planes.. I was happy to form coherant sentences ๐Ÿ˜‚

๐ŸŒž It was fabulous to have some 1x1 time with Rach and of course, greet Sekhmet.


Statue of Sekhmet at the British Museum
Statue of Sekhmet at the British Museum

After catching up on sleep, I met an old roommate for dinner and treated myself to Moulan Rouge.


No autographs please...
No autographs please...

Moulan Rogue in London
Moulan Rogue in London

I wasn't adjusting well to my place in Battersea. I have learned over the years, how valuable being vulnerable and asking for help can be. My friends Ashley and Kevin took me in immediately. Photo evidence of us at Hamilton. Can you tell I have a passion for musical theatre? ๐ŸŽญ

Ashley and I at Hamilton
Ashley and I at Hamilton


The Wedding of Mr and Mrs Plant

The weekend brought the reason I flew over to the UK in the first place

Mr and Mrs. Plant waiting to greet their adoring guests
Mr and Mrs. Plant waiting to greet their adoring guests

I met Rachel (and Ashley, and Albena and Kayla, and Emma, and Jim and Rob...) as a result of my Executive MBA Program, and immediately fell in love. I had a very abrupt return back to the US in 2020 (which you can read about here):


Blog: Finding the Need to be Gentle with Myself


Fast forward to the present moment, and the stars aligned so I could attend the Plant wedding.๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™

I will forever be grateful I got to be there in person to see Rob and Rach officially say I do

Rachel and Rob cutting the cake
Rachel and Rob cutting the cake

And of course... We all are well aware of the fact that the gorgeous and lively bridge knows how to get down on the dance floor ๐Ÿงœโ€โ™€๏ธ


The evening ended with me... catching the bouquet... AND spraining my f'ing ankle trying to brag about it... on the dance floor. ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ Beyonce's if you like than you should have put a ring on it MAY or May not have been playing ๐Ÿคฃ


London-Town Part Two

It's back to London after the wedding, to see two of my University Mentors for my Executive Board MBA program. It started with Michele Williamson visiting the Globe Theatre; a first for us both. We saw a Mid-Summer Nights Dream which I loved as I played the Abbess in Highschool

Michele and I at Dinner
Michele and I at Dinner


Taking my Crown... at the Globe Theatre
Taking my Crown... at the Globe Theatre

The next day was spent with the incredibly powerful, wonderful, wise, and kind Katalin Illes. I am so grateful our path crossed at a pivotal point in my own life. My only regret? Dr. Illes and I neglected to take any pictures ๐Ÿ™ˆ


Adventures in Folkestone

The British sea-side called as I went to visit my friends Clem, her husband Jon and their gorgeous daughter Mabel. I like to call Folkestone, England's version of Dubai as there is SO MUCH development going on (much to the chagrin of local residents). It was amazing to get to the sea for a few days, and catch up with a family that means the world to me.


Jon, Clem, Mabel and myself having hot chocolate
Jon, Clem, Mabel and myself having hot chocolate

We visited Mabel's favorite store (the hot chocolate shop. She had insisted we go even before I arrived ๐Ÿซ๐Ÿคช๐ŸŒˆ


Wandering down the waterfront, a carousel had magically arrived the very week before. Coincidence? I think not ๐Ÿคฃ

Carosel in Folkestome
Carosel in Folkestome

Folkestone Harbor and Lighthouse
Folkestone Harbor and Lighthouse

Final Days visiting my Godmother and Surrogate Family

SPOLIER ALERT: To come in my next blog... this experience (focusing on previous moments of happiness) has helped me to have hope in our present moment. My intention is that this blog helps you to remember some moments of peace and calm admidst the chaos of your own life ๐Ÿฅฐ


Sending lots of love, Maria Vandenburg


Interested in learning more about my personal journey?




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