Tuesday, April 7, 2009

One More Week? SERIOUSLY??

Remember when I said that I PROMISED I wouldn't wait so long to write again? Hmm....well....whoopsie! I guess my promises aren't worth as much as some of you may have hoped :) So I am kind of in shock that this is my last full week here in london town. Seriously? Where has the four months gone? In some ways, looking back at all that we've seen and done, it does feel like I've been here for more than just a few months; this place has become like a home to me. But it also feels like only a few short weeks ago that I was frantically shopping around new york with my mom, trying to gather all that I would need for what seemed like an endless trip abroad. I remember the first day I arrived in london, completely alone in such a foreign place. I stood in line for a taxi outside of the airport, clutching my purse while awkwardly struggling to roll my two suitcases without tipping them over (don't worry, my mom made me practice with the connector strap for this such scenario). As my taxi pulled up, I remember opening my passport and reading the typed out card my mom had made and put inside (she had printed and stuffed about 30 of them in various pockets/crevices of every bag I had; I'm sure if I'd consented she would've wanted to stuff one in my bra as well...). Even though I had already memorized the address I was to be dropped off at, I read it about 8 more times (mostly because it doesn't even sound like a real address) before telling the taxi driver, 27 PALACE COURT. Yes, this is in all caps because I think I yelled and anunciated it like an idiot, just to be sure he didn't take me to the wrong place or some english ghetto. Although how could 'palace court' possibly be the name of a ghetto? It couldn't. Driving through london towards my new home was surreal. So intimidating and unfamiliar. I remember wondering how long it would take me to shake out of the disequilibrium I felt. Yeah, it didn't take long :) And now it just feels like home. And I've loved it. It's hard to believe in a week I'll be back where I started. Well, not exactly where I started; I'd like to think my time here has added a few little somethings under my belt :)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Ahh, what a LOVE-ly month it's been so far....

Ok, so I'm sure my mom was never expecting me to write another entry after almost a month of nothing. Well here it is. Since I couldn't possibly write about all that has been going on since my last post, I thought I would continue my tradition (can it be considered a tradition if you've only done it once?) of writing a top 10 list of all the highlights from the past few weeks (again, in no particular order...just the order they come out of my head; because I'm real--like J-Lo).

1. Wales--Ok, well this one is bitter-sweet. Wales was gorgeous; the landscapes were unreal (albeit mostly seen from the windows of a bus), we survived our first night in a hostel (and minus the blood stains on my pillow...it was quite nice; or nicer than I had expected at least), we got to stay at an amazing hotel right by the beach--one that Queen Victoria had stayed in...so you know it's legit, and we visited this castle (now let me explain the castle...we had driven for hours and hours, wondering where the bus was taking us in Wales that could be SO important for this hellish treck. Upon pulling up to the side of the castle, its appearance pretty mediocre really, we got pissed. Haha, we walked around the castle moat thinking, "why in the crap did they drag us 6 hours for this?" and I know, you're probably thinking we were the biggest brats...but regardless...we entered the castle and started to hear this music. Singing. Like an echoing choir somewhere within the castle walls. We soon realized that they were singing hymns. We began to venture through winding passages to find these voices, and finally we came to a stone chamber. It was cold and dark and there were several girls from our group standing in a circle, singing together. Without even thinking about it, we joined them in A Child's Prayer. The circle began to grow and stretch while more and more continued to trickle in. Before we knew it, the room was filled with nearly 40 girls, singing hymns together in a giant circle for over an hour. Now, I know you're probably thinking, "come on, this is the most corny EFY-y thing I've ever heard"....and that's ok because I may have said the same thing. But all I can say is that that castle, the one we whined and griped about, turned out to be the most memorable place we've stopped at...and for all the right reasons. I'm sure you understand :) Ok, now for the bitter: you may think I am going to mention the blood stains again. But no, the blood stains were a welcome surprise compared to what happened. And yes, I know I'm whining...worse could happen. But doesn't losing your ipod/headphones (well, Scott's ipod actually...sorry bro) as well as your tube pass in a Wales movie theater entitle me to some whining? Yes, that happened. And the other disappointment from Wales was that we were not able to find an adequate place to buy love spoons before we left. Love spoons are a Welch tradition; they are wood-carved spoons that were given to someone as a symbol of their love. SO...I know that this #1 was about as long as an entire blog entry should be, but come on, it's Wales; it needed proper attention.

2. SNOW!!! You might have already heard that a few weeks ago London received the heaviest snowfall it had seen in 18 years. As someone who loves the snow (even when surrounded by killjoys who hate it) you can imagine how happy I was to be here for it. It was absolutely gorgeous. Everyone went crazy; adults, children, and dogs swarmed the parks. Definitely one of the prettiest snowfalls I've ever seen.

3. Tower of London--I must say the highlight was when we went through the room that held all the crown jewels. I literally was one foot away from the largest diamond in the world (it was like 500-something karats) I want to be royalty.

4. OH...this should've been number one: the BAFTA'S!!! The BAFTA'S are like the British equivalent of the Academy Awards. And since they take place in London, naturally, we wanted to get a front row sight of all the celebs. Many were scheduled to attend (just like the Soapies :) My friends Sarah and Jenna and I waited around in this pub right next to the red carpet where their cars would be dropping them off. One by one they started coming. It was unreal. I don't know what gene it is that makes us go crazy when we get near a celebrity, but it is safe to say that the three of us all have it. Anything to get closer to them, we pretty much did....climbed over chairs, tables, people, etc. Limbs everywhere. But oh was it worth it. We saw on the red carpet, up close and personal, Brad and Angelina, Meril Streep, Daniel Craig, Hermione, Goldie Hahn, Penelope Cruz, Kate Winslet, Shia Lebuff (I didn't see him, but Sarah did). We were twitterpated for the rest of the evening and still to this day actually.

5. Valentine's Day--First of all, it's just a great holiday in general. 2ndly, when you get flowers and chocolates sent to you from someone you love all the way across the ocean, it makes it even better. But there are other reasons why Valentine's was great this year. A few girls and I went with some locals out to dinner (Indian food...yum) oddly on the same street where our Jack the Ripper tour took place. Then later that night all 40 girls had a Valentine's party. It was 40's themed so everyone dressed up and did their hair "Notebook style" complete with bright red lipstick. It was an adorable party and we had treats, dancing, and a secret Valentine gift exchange. The night ended with us getting down and dirty in the servery, me in shorts, tights, and my new boots...yeah, I may have looked a little stripper-esque...then making a drink/treat run with Sarah and Jenna. Perfect ending if you ask me.

Ok, I know this was supposed to be a top 10 list, but 5 will just have to do...I've written enough for one post :) Love you all; I promise I won't wait so long to write again!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The 2 Week Mark

I have now been in London for 2 weeks. In some ways it feels unbelievable; in some ways I feel like I have been here for months. In this seemingly short time I have already done so much in this beautiful town. For length's sake I will make a list of my top 10 favorite things (in no particular order) I have done so far in London. Some will be culturally justified, while others will be....well, you read my first blog post--I found it necessary for my first entry to describe the soda situation here in London. So...enjoy :)

1. Saw Les Miserables (maybe order can be applied to this one....#1 for sure)2. Went to Cambridge....absolutely beautiful; everything a campus should be (bought a sweatshirt so maybe people will think I go there) Yes, Connie and I almost got hit by a bus on the way to Evensong, but that happens to everyone a few times in their life, right?
3. We have become regular speedwalkers/light joggers/brisk walkers in Hyde Park.
4. Became regular customers at a few of the local pubs (have you noticed I'm all about becoming a regular at places?....some things never change) the King's Head, and the Phoenix. The King's Head was the meeting place of some new Norwegian acquaintances.....ahh, the Norwegians; Marios, Marcus, Petter, etc.....they of course made my top 10 list.
5. Portobello Road Market. Picture a saturday at a swap meet.....but times that by 20 and add antiques.
6. Bath (the town, not an actual bath.....i'd rather die than take a bath here). The town was gorgeous, rustic, elegant, etc. So much so, in fact, that Nicholas Cage found it a suitable place to reside. Just kidding, that holds no credibility.....he actually detracts from it; worst part of that town for sure....I wanted to deficate his doorstep.
7. Patisserie Valerie.....OH my gosh. Amazing. The best desserts I've ever had. Obviously things of this nature (sweets in general) are very important to me.
8. I must say, one of my favorite days here was when I put on my ipod (Muse was playing) and took a walk around Notting Hill. I was trying to find a park to write in my journal, and happened to find the park from the movie.....just like Hugh & Julia found, it was gated, covered in vines, and only available to residents of the complex. But unlike Hugh & Julia, I decided not to hop the gate....maybe another day.
9. Madame Tussaudes (wax museum). Oh wow, the closest I will get to

being one with the celebs. My only regrets--they are 3-fold: 1. Will Smith was getting a costume change so we were unable to meet and get jiggy w/ it. 2. I posed with the incredible George Clooney, only to find that whoever took the picture in fact DID NOT take the picture. 3. I did not see, therefore did not get to meet and take a picture w/, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliff); the wizard must have disapparated on me, haha (well I thought it was funny).
10. Ok, I know I already mentioned this, and it may ashame my parents that I would add this to my top 10 list, but I have to be honest with myself--Melvin's (the market where I first discovered DP0) has to be one of my favorite parts of every day. Not only am I well acquainted with all the 3 staff members (Melvin, Hamid, and the big lady who I have conversations with about various Reeses treats), but they have made a committment with me to ALWAYS have a regular stock of DP0, as well as my Hit (Hit cookies--coconut edition....I'm so obsessed with them that Connie has given them the worthy name of my cocaine-nut Hit....very clever, she knows). The point is, I have made some loyal friends in Melvin, Hamid, and the big lady....and they understand me. So if that's not worthy of a top 10 list, I don't know what is.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

So my first week in London has already proved to be everything I hoped it would be and MORE. I can't believe the architecture around here; it's the most gorgeous city I've ever been in. The buildings, the tubes, the shops, the parks...I could go on and on. And I think I will because this is my first very own blog and apparently on blogs you can say whatever you want.

So my first major concern when I got here came up as I went into convenient store after convenient store failing to see any Diet Dr. Pepper. As anyone who knows me could guess, this wasn't just a minor issue. I alerted all the girls on my floor to keep their eye out, and LO AND BEHOLD....a few days later my bunkmate Connie rushed into the room to tell me that she had found me Dr. Pepper Zero!!! Now, it's not like I'd every heard of that or anything, but the prospect of it was like a glimmering ray of hope. Now, I tried not to get my hopes up in case it turned out to be that sugary nonesense. I was fully prepared to be disappointed when I went into that choice convenient mart and took a swig of the foreign dp0, masquerading as my beloved ddp, but guess what?!? IT TASTED AMAZING!! Like, all of a sudden I felt like I was home again, filling up my 32 oz. mug at crest or conoco. How could life be any better?? I have since become a frequenter of that mart (obviously) and I can already tell that Melvin (the check out dude) and I are going to be great friends :)