Friday, December 25, 2009

Ho ho ho

Merry Christmas!!

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday! xoxo

Monday, December 21, 2009

Snow Storm of ‘09

So you know that huuuuge snow storm that hit the east coast this weekend?  The one that dumped 7.5 inches in Newark, a foot of snow in DC and 16 inches in Philly?

image Yeah, that one.
Funny story. We London study-abroaders were supposed to land in Newark, DC, and Philly on Saturday.
I’d say 7 out of the 19 flying that day actually landed where they were supposed to.
Luckily, I was one of the 7.
I know people who ended up stranded in Chicago, Boston, Newark, and the worst yet, Emily is still stranded in England. (She has a flight home tomorrow though, thankfully.)
We were lucky in that Newark didn’t get hit as hard as DC and Philly did, so our flight wasn’t cancelled or rerouted. It was just an hour late, but hellllo I can definitely deal with that.
Brent was going to pick me up from Newark and drive me back to his apt in West Chester and we’d drive the rest of the way the next day, but the roads were nottttt good, so we decided to find a hotel in Newark. Yeah right—we had to drive 30 min in a freakin blizzard until we could find a hotel with rooms.
We eventually found a hotel motel Econolodge Inn in Jersey City and were able to drive home the next day.

But, moral of the story is….


Fun-filled week of unpacking, last minute gift shopping, and printing pics in time for when family visits. I’m almost ready for Christmas, are you?

Friday, December 18, 2009

London, it’s been real

Well, that went fast.  Seems like yesterday we landed in London, explored our flat and the town and went out to our first pub together. I really can’t believe that tomorrow I’ll be going home! It’s very bittersweet, in that I can’t wait to go home and see everyone and for my life to be normal again, but then again it’s going to be real tough leaving this city that we’ve all grown so attached to.
We’ve spent this last week doing all the touristy things we hadn’t done yet, going back to our favorite restaurants/bars/clubs, generally just trying to fit in as much of London as we can before leaving.
In order to recap the time spent here, I’ve made a couple lists. Some sum up the cool things I’ve seen and did here, while others may not mean much to readers, however will be my way of remembering all the awesome times I’ve had here with my friends.
First, the serious list.
Awesome sites/things I’ve done
  1. Countries I’ve been to

    1. England
    2. Scotland
    3. Spain
    4. The Netherlands
    5. Belgium
    6. France

  2. Parts of England I’ve visited

    1. London
    2. Stonehenge
    3. Bath
    4. Salisbury
    5. Hastings
    6. Cotswolds
    7. Dover

  3. I’ve met people from…

    1. Pennsylvania
    2. NY
    3. Wisconsin
    4. New Jersey
    5. Illinois
    6. Tennessee
    7. California
    8. Holland
    9. Norway
    10. Portugal
    11. England
    12. Australia
    13. Japan

  4. Number of shows I’ve seen in London

    1. 12

  5. Galleries/museums I’ve visited

    1. 7

  6. Concerts I’ve been to

    1. 2

  7. Buildings/Sites I’ve been to

    1. Tower of London (built in 1078)
    2. Windsor Castle  (c. 1070)
    3. Edinburgh Castle (c. 1140)
    4. Salisbury Cathedral (1258)
    5. Notre Dame (1345)
    6. Catedral de Barcelona (1450)
    7. Hampton Court (c. 1514)
    8. Palace of Versailles (1682)
    9. Houses of Parliament (1834)
    10. Arc de Triomphe (1836)
    11. Buckingham Palace (1850)
    12. Big Ben (1859)
    13. Sagrada Familia (1882, still under construction)
    14. Tower Bridge (1894)
    15. Sacre Coeur (1914)
    16. London Eye (1999)

  8. Cool things I’ve seen

    1. Crown Jewels of England
    2. Crown Jewels of Scotland
    3. Gutenberg Bible
    4. One of Shakespeare’s original folios
    5. Magna Carta
    6. Original handwritten Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte
    7. Handwritten Beatle’s lyrics
    8. Mummy of Cleopatra
    9. Rosetta Stone
    10. Mona Lisa
    11. Venus de Milo
    12. Works by Picasso, Turner, Botticelli, Monet
    13. Buildings designed by Antonio Gaudi

Now the less serious list.
Fun things/memories
  1. Clubs/bars we’ve gone to in London

    1. 15+

  2. Drinks

    1. Magners
    2. Strongbow
    3. Bulmers
    4. Snakebite
    5. Rum and Coke
    6. Screwdriver
    7. Sex on the Beach
    8. Shots
    9. Bailey’s & hot chocolate
    10. SoCo
    11. Becks
    12. Jaeger bomb
    13. Concoctions by Rachel

  3. Roommates with Tylenol for hangovers on the nightstand

    1. 2 out 3

  4. Number of shot glasses Flat 18 started with

    1. 0

  5. Number accumulated

    1. 10

  6. Number of glasses Flat 18 started with

    1. 3

  7. Number by the end of the semester

    1. 12

  8. Number of times at Karaoke

    1. 8

  9. Glasses broken at Karaoke

    1. 3

  10. Number of nicknames we have for people

    1. 10, including Crazy Glasses Girl, Joby, Climate Change, Yuhhhsortoffff, Social Problems, Hagrid, etc

  11. Great stories

    1. Rachel sleepwalking
    2. The 3 roommates sleep talking
    3. Gauguin
    4. Sarah lost in London
    5. Sarah falling in Palace of Versailles
    6. Rachel falling off bus
    7. Me faceplanting
    8. Mark slipping in Scotland (x2)
    9. Mark & I’s walk back from karaoke
    10. Mark and I freaking out in elevator of Eiffel Tower
    11. Racing down stairs playing Spoons
    12. Big dance move
    13. Mark’s roommate’s grocery purchases
    14. Halloween night bus
    15. Rachel’s receipt usage
    16. Sarah’s ticket usage
    17. Rachel’s toilet paper in shoes
    18. Carrots in the purse
    19. Pregaming the breakup
    20. Epic night--The karaoke video
    21. (whispered) “Hi, how are you”
    22. Being twins
    23. Sarah’s goose laugh
    24. “I have to pee!”…Every time.
    25. Social problems, Ozzy & Greek guy at karaoke
    26. Night bus. Full stop.
    27. Strongbow, kebabs, ChopChop
    28. McFlurries
    29. Mark and Rachel’s 3-7 night bus adventure home
    30. Rachel’s late-night cooking
    31. Eating eggs with fingers and noodles with knives
    32. Stealing glasses from pubs
    33. Stealing glasses from pubs with drink still in them
    34. Chatting up random Norwegian guy(Rrrrrrrramon) to get his glass
    35. Whisky tasting
    36. Tractor….red.
    37. Yuhsortofffff and Hair
    38. Sexist Russian
    39. Playing “Turrets”
    40. Black pudding
    41. Eating baby food
    42. Last night of clubbing
    43. Last karaoke
    44. The mornings after

  12. Number of times we made Mark watch twilight things

    1. 4

  13. Number of times Mark felt gay watching twilight things

    1. 4…000000000000000000000000000

  14. Number of meals I can now make

    1. 8

  15. Packs of shortbread cookies consumed 

    1. 25+

  16. Number of guys the flat mates made out with combined

    1. At least 20

  17. Bottles of alchy we went through

    1. 35+

  18. Seminars/lectures skipped

    1. 7

  19. Tube lines

    1. 9

  20. Stations

    1. 30+

  21. London theme songs

    1. “American Boy”
    2. “Down”
    3. “Sexy Bitch”
    4. “When Love Takes Over”
    5. “Blame It”
    6. “Hotel Room Service”

  22. Celebrity Encounters

    1. Jamie Campbell Bower (Caius and Grindlewald), in concert in Hyde Park
    2. Fiona Shaw (Petunia Dursley), in Mother Courage
    3. Henry Melling (Dudley Dursley), in Mother Courage
    4. Kevin Spacey, in Inherit the Wind (with autograph!)

  23. Tweets from London

    1. 200+

  24. Levels completed in Farmville

    1. 22

  25. Times we had to call maintenance

    1. 5+

  26. British foods I’ve tried

    1. Black pudding
    2. Chicken and leek pie
    3. Sunday roast
    4. Ciders
    5. Cheese & tomato sandwich

  27. Number of bad nights between the four of us

    1. 5

  28. Number of great nights between the four of us

    1. Too many to count

  29. Number of languages I saw New Moon posters/books in

    1. 4*

*see: DSC02828 London Underground
DSC03962Bruges, Belgium
DSC04064  Barcelona, Spain

DSC04916 Paris, France
This whole trip has been so so cool and an amazing opportunity. I think when I go home it will feel so surreal that I actually lived in London for almost 3 months.  I’m so glad I did it though, because it’s not something that everyone has the opportunity to do. I learned that I can in fact live in a city (although still not sure if I actually want to!) and I learned a lot about different countries and their different cultures. I will never ever take LVC for granted (London Met sux!!) and, as much as it pains me to say it, I will never take Wal-Mart for granted either.
I’ve seen some amazing places and made some awesome friends. As you can see from the lists above I have so so so many great memories I’m taking back with me that I don’t think I’ll ever forget. London, thanks for the amazing semester!

Next post will be from the states! For the comments: If you want me to elaborate on a “great story”, pick one or two in the comments, and I may or may not answer it. Depends which one it is.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

J’adore Paris: Days 2 and 3

I have finished all my final papers, so I can continue my Paris post! Hooray.
Day 1 (con’t)
Here’s a super short vid I made of the Eiffel Tower from the first day in Paris.

Day 2
We started out day 2 by hiking up Montmartre to see Sacre Coeur, a well-known cathedral. 
DSC04644 It was pretty cool looking on the outside and inside. Unfortunately, it started pouring while we were up there. Lamespice. There was a great view from the city from the top of the hill, where on a clear day you can see every landmark of Paris (except the Eiffel Tower).
It wasn’t the clearest of days, but it was still a cool view.
Went back down the hill and saw Moulin Rouge on the way. Sarah forgot her umbrella and rocked the poncho.
She didn’t realize she was standing on a vent until her poncho smothered her.
Love the lady in the background.
Also love when Sarah couldn’t get it off.
Next stop was to see Notre Dame. If you’re wondering if I’m posing as a hunchback in front of Notre Dame, the answer is absolutely.
DSC04707 This cathedral was wayyy cool. The outside looked awesome (and they had a Christmas tree up!) and the inside was huuuuuuge.
DSC04735 There’s no way you can capture how big this place is in a picture. Way cool.
After Notre Dame, we had some time to kill so we went down to pose for pics by the River Seine.
DSC04764Ummz, can we talk about the angle that Emily is leaning right now??
emily's angle
130 degrees! Dayum girl.
Next, the four of us took an excursion to the palace Versailles.
DSC04857 I’ve been to a few palaces in England, but none were as ornate as this one. Crazy gold gilding, tapestries everywhere, huge paintings on the ceilings, etc. The Hall of Mirrors alone was pretty impressive.
The only bad part was that they didn’t have many rooms actually open to tour. The ones they did have were awesome enough though.
We got back to Paris and were determined to eat at a French restaurant. We found an awesome one by Notre Dame, called Le Chat Qui Peche.
DSC04898  Ps. I have no idea what that means.
They had a special for I think 12 Euros where you got an appetizer, main dish, and dessert. Awesome! I had (French) onion soup for my appetizer and it was amazeballs.
DSC04889Om nom nom!
Also ordered steak. The place was so cute! We definitely had a great time eating there. Except for the fact that we all ordered a drink because it seems in Europe they never give you anything for free…and after we ordered our drinks they came with complimentary water. Gosh darn it. Especially sucked for Emily, since she had ordered bottled water. Whoops!
Spent the night walking around a big Christmas market, which looked nicer than it actually was. There were tons of different shops, but like I’ve encountered in other cities the stuff they sell is just … crap. Oh well! The lights were pretty.
Day 3
Our last day in Paris was spent in a visit to The Louvre.  Since it’s free to everyone on the first Sunday of the month, we had to wait about 50 min in line to actually get in. 
The tour guide took us straight to the main attraction, Mona Lisa.
What you can’t see in the above picture are the throngs of people trying to get a picture of it.
DSC04951 This painting is protected by first a barrier holding the viewers back, then by a second wooden barrier, then covered in glass. Srsly!?? #1, You can’t even get close enough to appreciate the work of art, and #2, Even from far away…it doesn’t look that great!
We next looked for another famous piece of art housed in The Louvre, Venus de Milo.
DSC04957 This was preeeetty cool, since this sculpture is uuber famous.
There is no way that the 2 hours we had in The Louvre were enough to actually see the place, I think we saw about 15 out of 100+ rooms. Ridiculous. Wish we could have had time to stay longer, but had to head home!
Soo, story time about bus ride home. After eating lunch, Emily and I wanted a snack to take back on the bus with us. We looked in a convenience store, and saw these liquid fruit packets next to yogurt.  They kinda looked like the squeezable yogurt, so we got them. When I checked out, the lady gave me a weird look, but I disregarded it. I bought it and unscrewed the lid, commenting that the top was awfully child proof. Took a sip….and it was most definitely positively absolutely baby food.
DSC04960 Dude, where’s the baby on the packaging?!? How was I supposed to know this packet (entirely in French) was baby food? I looked at the packaging again, and in tiny tiny small print on the back was:
Tenir le bouchon revissable hors d la portee des enfants de moins de 36 mois.
Which means, this is suitable for children up to 36 months. Gahh! It was the most liquidy, sicknast applesauce I’ve ever eaten in my life.
I ate the whole thing.
All in all, I absolutely loved Paris! Most definitely my favorite city I’ve travelled to so far. May also be my favorite trip…It’s tied with Scotland, which was a totally different kind of trip so it’s hard to compare. I definitely want to go back sometime!
So, I actually only have 5 days (woww) left in London, which is absolutely nuts to think about. These past 2.5 months have been so surreal and I don’t want to think about leaving this place I’ve grown so attached to and have had so many awesome memories in. However, on the same note I cannot wait to get home and see my family, Brent, and friends.  Look for a post in the coming week recapping my time here in London town.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

J'adore Paris: Day 1

Since I’m attempting to write 2 papers by this Friday, I don’t have time to write a complete Paris post. But instead of keeping you waiting, I present to you: Day 1!

This past weekend, Sarah, Emily, Mark and I took a 3-day trip to Paris!

DSC04784 Although we left London at 6:05 am, we didn’t get to Paris until about 6 pm. We checked into our hotel (which was pretty nice, except for some open-shower water-spraying-everywhere problems) and then took a bus tour of the city.  It was dark, but luckily Paris looks amazeballs at night.


Ummz, I don’t remember what this building was. But I know it didn’t have any windows. 

DSC04450 Christmas (? maybe? or maybe it’s always there) Ferris wheel and the Obelisk

DSC04471 Arc de Triomphe

We next took a night river cruise down the River Seine.

From the water, we had an amazing view of the Eiffel Tower.

DSC04554 After the cruise, we braved the cold and waited in line to go up in the Eiffel Tower.

eiffel tower Terrible camera positioning…

While waiting, a French security guard heard me speaking English and his face lit up and he asked, “English!?!?” And I said “…Yeah!” and he proceed to vigorously shake my hand and ask with a heavy accent “How are you doing?” and I answered “Good! How are you?” but he had nothing more to say because that was the extent of his English. Good times.
After about an hour and half of waiting, we were able to buy our tickets and get on the elevator.  I didn’t know that I was afraid of elevators until I got in it and could see out and see how high were were going and I freaked out a little lot. I’m not afraid of heights—just elevators dropping me from heights. However, they were safe (hurray!), and we made it up all 990 feet of it. And the view was entirely worth it.


Sorry I don’t have time to finish the post, days 2 and 3 coming soon!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


As predicted, November was crazy busy, what with friends and The Boyfriend visiting, along with trips every weekend…but since I have a wee bit of free time (and since Mom is demanding it) I’m making time for a new post!
Two weekends ago (sigh…getting behind is the worst) I took a trip through a tour group to Amsterdam and Bruges.
The trip took forrrevvverrrr to get there—we drove by coach to Dover, took a ferry to Calais, France, then coached through France and Belgium to the Netherlands.  We left London at 6:15 am, got to Amsterdam around 6:15 pm.
Arrived, checked into the hostel, and discovered it is located smack dab in the middle of the red light district, which was grosskies sicknast interesting. We took a red light district tour that night, and were introduced to the joys that are hookers in windows and coffee shops selling “space brownies.”
The next day we went to a Dutch heritage center where we saw wooden clogs being made and lots of windmills.
We came back to Amsterdam and took a canal cruise (if you didn’t know, Amsterdam has tons of canals, hence all the blue…)
amsterdam_map_bigThe cruise was pretty neat, as it gave a pretty awesome view of the city.
DSC03899  After the cruise, some people with the group and I visited the Van Gogh museum and the Anne Frank house.
In short…
The Van Gogh museum was not worth the €12.50 I paid for it.
The Anne Frank house was well worth whatever I paid for it—it was amazing, completely in tact (save for the furniture, which was removed at the request of Anne’s father) and was very moving.
The hostel we stayed at was pretty cool; the bar was banging, and so were the murals in the rooms.
DSC03783 (Although falling asleep with this above my head was a little weird.)
Also, the hostel had a cute black cat :)

Left Amsterdam Sunday morning to head to Bruges, Belgium.
DSC03967Bruges was a really really neat city and they had a Christmas Market going on in the square which was fun.
I couldn’t go to Belgium without trying some Belgium waffles.
  DSC03961 The waffles and hot chocolate were amazeballs.
I think I would have rather had a day less in Amsterdam and an extra day in Bruges; the city was much nicer to explore and a lot cleaner (i.e. no hookers or pot brownies).
DSC03973 DSC03970 
Another thing that kept me busy was The Boyfriend came to visit!!
I mished him.
I took him to see all the cool sites in London, as well as all my favorite spots to eat, drink, have fun, etc. We packed sooo much into the few days that he was here, but we had a blast.
As I mentioned in a previous post, Brent and I had booked plane tickets and a hostel for Barcelona to see Muse play there. Unfortunately, they had to change the concert date, but Brent and I still went and made the most of it. We decided to make a vlog of the trip!

Overall, the city was pretty cool, although it just didn’t seem very friendly, which was kinda lamespice. I’d like to go back in the summer sometime, because it is a beach city (we didn’t have time to actually see the beach) and apparently the city is just rockin then.
Sculpture down by the docks.
You can just see the city through the trees.
 DSC04165 DSC04200
Two buildings designed by Antonio Gaudi.
Catedral de Barcelona
 DSC04260 DSC04276
Sagrada Familia, by Gaudi. After over 100 years, the cathedral is still unfinished. Services will be able to be held in 2010 (I think), but the entire cathedral won’t be finished until 2030. The detail on the building was amazeballs.
Along with Brent visiting, two of the LVC besties visited over T-Giving break as well—Erin and Sean! It was awesome to see them.
Other things of note from the past week:
Saw Ingrid Michaelson in concert for the third time! She was amazing, as always.
Saw New Moon!!! Yeah. Amazeballs.

This weekend will be my last big trip in Europe to Paris. Going with Mark, Sarah, and Emily, so it should be a good time! Will post about it when I get back.