Wednesday, December 23, 2009
This will be the briefest closing in all time:
If you followed my adventure in europe you know what this all meant to me. you know how much i love my experiences, and my chance to see the world. this was the greatest memory, and i am proud to add it onto the list of memories i already have made. This was the chance of a life time, and i got to take it.
i thank everyone who supported me, and i love you for it.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
WHoops, so last night i passed out at 7 so I failed to write about Paris, so I will tell you about Paris today! I am also going to make my last entry for my 6 days and 3 months abroad blog tomorrow. It will be a great closing. Anyway Paris:
I woke up at 4:30 and got to Paris around 12. By the time we got to out hostel in maumount (i dont think i spelled that right). We decided we would go on the free tour at 6. The tour took us all around the place we were staying. this included: the MOULIN ROUGE!!! The last windmill in Paris, the sacred heart church at the highest point in paris, and many other locations. On the tour we made friends with the two other tourists, a girl from NJ and a boy from Austrlia (i think? he was job training in paris anyway.) the 4 of us went out to dinner afterwards, we got this half a wheel of cheese which they set up to melt out onto a plate. you can put the melted cheese onto potatoes, and sliced meats. It was delicious and filling.
Woke up at 9 to get out free breakfast of croissants, tea, coffee and cereal. We then went on a second free tour of paris that took us through the more touristy area of paris. we saw notre dame, the eiffle tower, the louver, the damage from WW II, where the last temple knight was burned, the bridge that has the faces of Henry 8th drunken friends, the love/artist bridge, were one of the french rebellions started. We saw a lot, the tour lasted for about 4 hours, a little more. After the tour we went back to explore on our own. we went back to the notre dame where allie wanted to go to confession, i waited for her and listened to some really excellent music. we learned how to use the metro, which was exciting.
Woke up at 9:30 and got more free breakfast. Then we went exploring for our last day in Paris. We went to the effile tower again, where we climbed the 700 steps to the first floor and the 700 steps to the second floor. that was a lot of work because we still had out backpacks on, and i dono about allie but mine was really heavy and got heavier the further we walked up the stairs. we only had an hour to spend at the louver by the time we finished that and we got on the train to come hom. we pulled into KING CROSS STATION around 11:30 (i think) and got home a little after 12.
AND THAT WAS MY TRIP TO PARIS... IN A NUTSHELL, HAHAHAHA
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
From the library I got on the train and went into central london. I ended up walking around for 3ish hours, I walked a lot. Also, I ended up getting 15 scarves for 25 pounds... AWESOME and they are a really super good quality! So, it was a killing and I got a free pin with them! It was sad saying goodbye to the Big Ben and the London Eye and Parliament and Trafalgar Square, the west end, the west minister... London in general. It was so sad. But I am not thinking about that.
As i walked through the city i couldnt help but think of a line from gilmore girls, which i thought was really funny, "its not scary anymore." and thats how i felt, it wasnt a scary place anymore. I didnt feel lost, overwhelmed or confused. I knew that if i wandered off my beaten path i could figure out how to get home, even without a map. i knew that i did not need to be afraid and i realize how homey london was to me now. the idea sprung up on me, but i liked it. being independant is not scary anymore.
When I got home, I repacked my already super full suitcase to fit in the scarves and then we had a "family dinner" It was a lot of fun, we did the pork and apple recipe that dad did before I left, and it was really good. Allie cooked, of course, haha. We sat around and had a really good time. There were christmas crackers with the crowns that you always see in movies, and we wore them when we ate. It was fun, i really felt british then. and I should i have lived here for three months.
we played a game called articulate, we being me allie john philipa joe and kia, where you had a word and had to get ur team to guess it. it was kinda like balderdash but without the list of words you couldnt use. joe, kia and i were on the winning team and that was fun. these people are a lot of fun and i am going to miss them a lot. they got allie and i presents which is also packed in my suitcase, i am not allowed to open it until christmas.
i am going to miss everyone so much. even my american friends live all over the usa from cali to north carolina ... like everywhere!
one last night in this home, my english home. how weird.
cant wait to see all you home people!
Thursday, December 17, 2009
2 days till home
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Sorry I wont be writing about Paris tonight either. Instead I will be spending the whole night writing 4000 words for two papers that are due tomorrow. AWESOME. I have never pulled an academic all nighter before so this should be fun.
Love you and see you all in three days!
UPDATE: I realized that i didnt talk about how allie and i had some of our awesome friends over for tacos. it was a lot of fun and we laughed soooo hard, i put some pictures up from the night, it was a ball!
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
Tomorrow i am waking up at 4 so i can get to Paris!!!!!!!!!!!!!! where i will be until Monday. I dono when i will find the time to write about it considering at the end of the week i will be home!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
PICTURE: This is a scene from one of the Elf videos I made tonight! HAHA!
I set my alarm at 8:00am so that I could get up and write my papers. I did end up getting it done, making it be 2,3000 words in two days awesome. One was on Parliament and and the other was on King Arthur. The last two papers I have to write are a comparison of the great David statues, and how I can make showers more sustainable, so if any of you have ideas, I will take them.
I was late to class because I needed to print but then it turned out I did not have enough money to print out the second paper, so I emailed it to him instead. I let him know what happened and he seemed okay with it. In class I doodled a snow scene which everyone loved because, just like me, they all wanted to be in the snow. I did not really pay to much attention in class because I was thinking about all I have to do before I come home. Which is a lot, 2 1,500 word papers, packing, day trips into London, a final, a portfolio and Paris this weekend. It will be awesome. Between jet-lag and recovering from the last couple of weeks I foresee little movement on my part in coming home.
After class I went with some friends, Erin, Stacey, Devish, Kristy and Ruthie to a pub for dinner. Allie wanted to go home and get organized for schoolwork so she did not come with us. It was a lot of fun, lots of laughter and discussion of the party Allie and I are throwing to say goodbye next Wednesday. Its going to be a taco and Harry Potter night, hahahahahaha. That will be a lot of fun and I will be all done with everything by then!
Now I am lying in bed and not doing anything for the first time in a long time. It is very nice, I made a lot of those Elf things on facebook and they made me giggle. Okay it's time to do more nothing!
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
PICTURES: 1) The Guinness Factory, by Allie. 2) Me and Allie standing in a Viking made bridge, by Allie. 3) The View of Dublin from St. Mark's (???) tower, by Allie. 4) Brightly colored buildings, "why did you choose those colors," "because I liked them," OH the Irish haha, by Allie. 5) A view on the Liffy River, by Me!
SO, I am not certain if you could tell how tired I was by my entry yesterday. From the day Seventy Six-Ten.... really... haha I guess I meant to say Day Seventy Six - Eighty, but Seventy Six-Ten has a nice ring to it. I am skipping class today, so I can write the paper for the class that I have to do for that class. It is due next week, but I am running out of time. I will be in Paris all weekend and I have to write two papers for tomorrow. I have decided to stay home today to write my papers, and figure out how to bring everything back home. I may have to mail things. Now here is my entry on Ireland, I hope it excites you!
I am going to start on friday, because that is when I left. Allie and I headed to the bus station in central London around 4pm. We had to take the train into Clapham station into Victoria Station where we walked to the Victoria Coach station. This is when the longest part of our journey. We were on the bus for 12 hours, yes 12 hours. There was a 2 hour ferry ride, but whats the difference. We left London at 6:35 at night and arrived in ...
... Ireland at 6:45 in the morning. When we got there we had suffered sleeping on the bus and the ferry. Dazed we walked off the bus, in Ireland to a beautiful old building and a giant stature. While I cannot remember what exactly the statue was of, I remember it being a good entrance into the city of DUBLIN. We decided that the best option would be to see if we could get into the Hostel now and get a few hours of sleep before exploring. Not to mention that nothing is open at 6:35am, so we got to see all the streets completely empty. It was lucky that Allie made a mistake in booking the Hostel for an extra night, so when we got there they let us have our beds. I slept for about three hours, but it felt like 10 after the uncomfortable positions I was forced into on the cold bus. After waking up, we decided that we were really hungry, so the first thing we did was look for a breakfast. We had found a place earlier that morning, and that is where we headed. The had breakfast with 4 items for 5 euros, it was great. While we ate we found the places we really wanted to check out in the city. We circled places on the map and made sure everyone would get what they wanted out of the trip. The first stop we decided on was a free tour, which are available in all major cities in Europe, which was going to take us all over Dublin. It was a three hour tour, yes I sang the song too, and it was the greatest tour I had ever been on. The tour guide was sooooo friendly and informative. The amount of information we learned was incredible, there is no way I can remember it all, but I loved all that I heard. To sum it up: Dublin means the Black Pool, which never existed but it was a name picked up when the vikings came. Dublin was taken over many time by the English, the Vikings. Our tour guide let us onto the secret of how the Irish "loved temporary solution." Basically in every story of their history this happens to be the under lying theme. The funniest of the stories was how they could not fit the safe for the Irish Royal jewels into the building through the door. So, one of the government employees volunteered their desk for the jewels to be kept in until they could get a safe to fit in the door. Seven years later they went to get the jewels but when the man opened his desk, they were gone. So, the Irish Royal Jewels are still missing, haha. We also saw how influential the Vikings were in the city. Their architecture and the artifacts left behind and the name. After the tour we looked for a pub for dinner, which we found in the Temple Bar area (which is bar, after bar, after bar and full of many drunk Irishmen and women, haha). For dinner I had a chicken ceasar salad and then I had an Apple Cumble for dessert, it was delicious. Afterwords we went into another bar and I got a Guinness, when in Rome... haha. On the walk back to the Hostel, we stopped to watch a bunch of Irish boys play their hearts out on the street. They could play any song that was requested, which was funny because all the people walking by were drunk, oh Irish people. They were really good at the instruments and they were really attractive = a really good time. We then headed back to the Hostel. We made plan to stay in a play with the cards I had just bought. However, plans changed drastically. In the lounge there was a crazy crowd of French kids who were drinking and celebrating one of their friends birthday. We had a singalong, yes Allie and I sang aloud in front of a bunch of french kids, it was awesome. It was best when everyone was singing. They soon invited us out to the bar which is where they were headed next and we decided to go with them. On they way one of the french boys got into a fight with an Irishman and the police came, it was really funny but i walked away with a few of the french girls. They were very very excited with the fact i was from New York. No matter how much I tried to explain I was from the state they would just say, "the city, the city!" over and over again. It was a lot of fun. We did go to a bar, but I did not feel like spending money on anything, so I just had a water. The night ended after we made a few more international friends and made it back to the beds in out Hostels. In our room there were 4 sets of bunk beds in a room about the size of Hanna's room back home.
We got our free toast and tea for breakfast and then headed back into Dublin. Its funny, but in one day I could kind of figure out where I was going already. Dublin is an easy and beautiful city to get down. The streets are wide and there is this giant spire statue which is basically like a giant needle pointing out of the ground. It is great marker to pick out where you are and where you need to go, you can see if from everywhere in Dublin. Allie and Erin wanted to go to church and on the tour they saw the one they wanted to attend, Christ Church. The service was a lot like mine back home and they were in the middle of advent, they had the same candles which made me really comfortable. The church was very very beautiful and old. It was constructed by the Vikings who had been converted to Christianity, so I really liked it. In the crypt they held a coffee hour after words, which was very interesting. We went and they had really good coffee. Also, they had a mummified cat and rat which had been found in the organ during one cleaning, it was gross but funny. Next we went to a Viking museum, because I really wanted too. At first it was very silly, but there was a lot of great information. It was also interactive which made it fun. I learned that Vikings did not have horns on their hats, they had many kinds of ships, how to spell my name with their letters and that maybe I should get my masters in Viking art. It was great. Then after that, we decided to become Irish and we took about an hour walk to the Guinness factory. It was time for lunch, but on Sundays nothing is open in Ireland, so we got food once we got to Guinness. Then we started the tour, I learned a lot here too. I learned that the beer is made from water, hobs, yeast and roasted barley. I also learned how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness, I was awesome at it too. It was a lot of fun. By the time we were done we had about 2 hours to get to the bus station on the other side of the city. We knew if we walked there was no way that we could make it on time. So, we got on a horse and carriage that would take us all the way to the Liffy, the river through the middle of Dublin. That was a lot of fun, and we did get to the bus station about an hour early. Which was fine because we got to chill before returning to the 12 hour bus ride. A bus ride which started at 8:35 and ended on...
The ferry ride was fun, we got food and played cards. I taught Erin and Allie how to play pitch and once they got it it was a lot of fun. We did have a few moment where we laughed so hard we cried, we were so exhausted. It was a fun ride across the Irish Channel. The bus ride, however, sucked because all I wanted was my bed and a shower. This bus was really fancy, but not well equipped for sleeping. They seats had a weird bump, and the window wall had a weird extended plastic piece which dung to the bone if you leaned on it. Also, the bus was really cold, so to stay warm you had to curl up, but that was not an easy position on this bus. Anyway, we made it into London around 9:30, so it was an hour longer than it was supposed to be. When we hit the traffic jam, I hit a drastic point of cabin fever and thought I would go insane, haha. It was great to make it back home and the first thing I did was shower and then I slept.
DUBLIN IS THE GREATEST PLACE EVER! I LOVED THAT CITY SO MUCH, AND I CANNOT WAIT TO GO BACK AGAIN! Maybe I will work at the Viking museum.
Now, I am going to write three papers. Awesome.
Monday, December 7, 2009
I will talk to you all soon.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Anyway, when I got back I asked Allie to go with me to the Albert. We went and I got fish and chips, or as the Albert puts is: fresh cod yadda yadda lightly battered yadda and chips. It was fancy-like. It was delicious. It was really nice not to have chicken for the third night in a row and it was really nice not to have to cook tonight.
When we got back home, we went and talked to Philipa. We wanted to ask if we could have another dinner tonight, which they said yes too. Philipa also ended up telling Allie and I how she does not want us to leave and that she does not want new tenants. This made me really sad, and made me realize how I am not ready to leave. I am going to miss Philipa and this home so much. I love my room and my flat, because it is mine. I like saying that I live in London and that England is pretty much my second home. However, Philipa saying all of this made me feel a little more realistic about the leaving thing. Ah well, what am I going to do. Staying is not an option and I do want to see my friends and family again, I do miss you guys a lot. If I could bring these two worlds together it would be AWESOME, and save a lot of heartache.
I am going to try and motivate myself to do work for the rest of the night. Not sure how that will go but all of those books are staring me in the face and my fingers are tired... I do not know why.
Tomorrow after class, and... packing? schoolwork? creative writing? napping? ... I am going to get on a bus to Dublin. I will be there until Monday morning. This is my plan. Oh and I am going to have to bring a lot of schoolwork with me because I sill have 8,000 words to write. My new story I am working on... I have written 8,000 words of it in the last two days, this is what we call irony.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Meeting Ryan in London was a giant mess of a failure. After speaking to women I did not know her speaking in a heavy German accent and me not really understanding what they were doing. Eventually I figured out that I could meet them at Harrods. However, do to the loudness of the tube I misheard the stop I got off at and had to walk about 30 minutes longer than intended. By the time I almost had got to Harrods they had to leave to catch the plane. I said we could meet a tube station, but he went to a different one than I did. So, we missed each other. It's sad but I guess I will see him in the summer. Also, I am about to see everyone else in less than 17 days so that is that. He sounded happy and good on the phone though, so he is doing well.
After that whole fail of a situation, haha, I ended up taking the tube to the National Gallery. I did have to walk a bit though and it was really wet. I spent two hours there before it closed, and it was great because I am finally seeing all the artwork. Today I saw art my Monet, Manet and Van Gogh... just to name a very small percentage of the paintings I saw. I love looking at all the art wort that is in this museum. I am going to make a list of all the places I want to see before I come home in London and finishing the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery are on that list. It will be great to get to Paris and just step foot into the Louvre. I decided to walk back to Waterloo because I want to spend a lot of time with the Big Ben while I am still here. It was down pouring but I was okay with that.
For the rest of tonight I am going to look over my Visual Arts paper and get an idea of what I have left to add.
What a quick three months!
I am trying to get in frame of mind of being American again and it is weird.
also, i should be meeting Ryan in London today.
Monday, November 30, 2009
My eyes began to close, it was close to nap time. Outside the trees were rustled by a strong wind. I watched as the branches bowed, and as the baby trees below almost snapped in half. No, that was not right, the wind was not that aggressive. Was that a shadow, or a shape? It was too fast to be anything other than the wind. It growled like the wind, so it must be the wind.
He was standing outside my window, behind him dark and massive shapes rocked in the woods. They were not the trees, but I could not make their shape. His glare was just as it had been earlier that day. It was warning me that I should get away as fast as possible. His gaze burnt into my own until I had to look away. I knew I should not be here and he was telling me the same. His stiff posture and his cold face, it was a sign from this whole world that I did not belong and that I should leave before I would not have the option. I lowered my eyes and even though I was no longer looking at him, I knew that his glare had not changed, but somehow he, himself, had. Now standing in his place was a great wolf. Time was telling me that it was almost too late for me to leave before I got sucked into a world that I was not prepared for. A chill wet my back and I fought against the force pulling me towards its now open jaws.
“Emma! Emma, come in the kitchen it is time for dinner!”
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Today Allie let me play her sims 3 and it was a lot of fun! I cannot wait to have it! It will be excellent! Also, her and I watched New Moon... and we had lots and lots of fun making fun of it. I am pretty sure I am team Jacob, but I am still Harry Potter 100% 100% 100%!!!!!!!!!!!! Just to through that out there.
Uh, she made a really good mac and cheese for dinner, and it was excellent.
Yep thats all I have to say, haha. Oh my wall paper background is now a really cute puppy. Wow... I am lame, hahahahahaha.
Tomorrow I am allegedly going into London with Allie for the day. More then!
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
PICTURE: I just thought you guys might want to see what my face looked like after I ran to the Parliament from Waterloo. hahahaha, great times.
It was a busy day, actually... It has been a busy week, as you can see. Today I woke up for class, and it was very hard. I was still sluggish from all the food from Thanksgiving. In fact when I went to eat breakfast I was still full! haha, oh man so wonderful.
In my creative writing class, I had read out one of my pieces. It was fun, and everyone seemed to like what I wrote which was happy. Also, they give me really good comments to help me work on my writing. Which I love by the way.
After class I had to run home and eat a quick lunch because I thought I had an hour before I had to get on a train to get into central London. However, it turned out that I had two hours, so after I ate lunch and got my package from the post office I relaxed for a little. THANK YOU AUNT SANDY FOR THE PACKAGE! Everyone gets really excited for the candy, my landlady including! I relaxed too much however which forced me to rush again.
I ran out of my flat to realize I had forgotten my paper that would let me go into the Parliament, which is where I was headed. I was supposed to go to the Globe in the morning but, class was kind of mandatory and I really enjoy this class so I opted out of the Globe. Because I had to go back to my flat to get my paper, I missed the train by milliseconds. The doors closed as i put my hand on it, that is how close I was. I had to wait 20 minutes for the next train, but this also meant that I would have 10 minutes to get from Waterloo station to the entrance of Parliament that I needed to get too. I paced back and forth as I waited for the train because I was so anxious about missing my chance to get into the Parliament. I have been waiting all semester for this trip.
The train came but it took about 6 minutes longer than usual, because it randomly kept slowing down where there was no station. I walked all the way to the first carriage and as the doors opened I was off. I pulled out my ticket that would let me out the gate and began walking really really fast. As soon as I got through the gate I began running. I ran all through the station and around all the commuters. I ran over the bridge to the other side of the road, all the way down the stairs the park to the London Eye, the tourist filled walkway in front of the aquarium and film museum and across the bridge goes of the the Thames River. Down the road by the Big Ben and onto Victoria Street, past 1/2 of the Parliament building and to the guards. In all its about 1 mile, maybe more and I ran it in less than 10 minutes with my sleek winter coat, jeans, purse and hat. Good news, I did not loose my pants, on the train I tightened my belt to the last notch so I could run freely. As I got to the guards, still running, I whipped out my paper and they waved me by, stopping a guard further on from stopping me. When I got to security they stopped me to take my picture to enter the actual Parliament building. I stopped behind my tutor (professor) and as far as he knew I had be directly behind him the whole time. It was amazing.
Parliament was amazing. The history that has built up in this place, from Henry the Eighth to the current royal family. We were not able to take pictures, so you will have to believe me how incredible the roofs were. The ceiling were elaborately decorated with symbols of the United Kingdom. Symbols that represented Wales, Scotland, England and Norther Ireland. There was painted gold on most surfaces. We saw where they held execution trials, were the only British Prime Minister who was ever assassinated was shot, where women strapped themselves to statues to get the vote, were the Queen walks when she visits the Parliament once a year. We saw were the House of Lords and the House of Commons meets. The Queens actual throne made of 23k gold. Where Prince Charles sits when he visits. Which rooms were blasted by German Bombs during The Blitz. Basically everything, our tour guide was really informed and he informed us really well. The group I was with was really fun too because we felt comfortable asking a lot of questions and it got us a lot of information.
We learned how they vote for things, which is a really interesting process. The are basically required to vote with their party, two of which are the Labor and the Conservative. They have people called the Whips who actually will act out physically to make sure that all members of a party vote the same answer as the rest of their party. That is such a bizarre idea. Also, they do votes physically, so there is no secret who is voting for what. They have the option to walk through two different doors, the 'no' door or the 'aye' door. Then they are counted this way. There can be no possible mistake. They also publish books of the votes, so the public will always know exactly who voted for what. I think there are some good ideas and some very strange ones, but with my imagination I easily saw some very dramatic situations that could ensue from the voting process.
Also, they have two boxes where the members are required to swear an oath to the Queen every year. The tour guide had me place my hands on the very box full of religious texts that the government officials used. I put my hands on the very surface that Churchill did when he was Prime Minister and involved with the Parliament. It was really incredible. Every room was so beautiful. I am sooooo glad I ran as fast as I did so I could make it.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
This is a really great day! Busy with classes, got another presentation and some schoolwork out of the way. After busy, busy class time I ran home to make an apple pie from scratch. Oh boy.
So basically I did not have real recipe, so I kind of made it up as I went along. I started the crust, with flour, salt, butter and water. Then I worked on the apples with the apples, sugar and cinnamon. Then I kind of made it up as I went along, it was a lot of fun. I ended up being covered in flour, much like the rest of the kitchen. However I did hit a snag. By no ones fault but my own, I ended up turning my whole pie face flat on the kitchen floor. It was like slow motion, and all I could do was laugh. Erin was very apologetic, apparently she thinks it is her fault. Its not! Don't worry! It's mine! But yeah, I laughed and then began making pie number two an hour before we had to be on location for out THANKSGIVING DINNER.
The second pie, not to toot my own horn, was amazing! Though at one point it did have me saying, "when did I get so domestic!" The second pie, do to my rush ended up having a very thick crust, it was not flaky but more like ... a soft cookie? That tasted like apple pie crust? There were not many apples left for the inside and they did not cook very long, but it became like a filling between the pie crust much like an apple tart in nature, but the apples were still tangy. It was delicious, and I can never make it again, because there was no recipe.
Thanksgiving was a lot of fun. I got to see all my friends and sit a a table with the coolest kids ever. We were from all over the US: west coast, east coast and the mid-west. We had a great time filling out what we were thankful for on post-its and reading them too each other. They were really nice and sweet comments. It was so loud being surrounded by American's in a social context for a very long time. It was not overwhelming, it was home, haha. European's are so quiet. It was a lot of fun, and really filling. The people at my table, my friends, are such good cooks. We were provided the turkey, ham and mashed potatoes. We provided green bean casserole, rolls, biscuits, homemade cranberry sauce (!!!), stuffing, apple pie (mine), pumpkin pie, cookies, oh man... I cannot even remember there was so much. We were very full by the end of it, and very happy.
I am not ready to leave anymore. I am scared to leave, because it will be so hard to come back, financially. Philipa told me I am always welcome to come back and they would keep me in their home. It's weird that this place I have called my home for the last almost 3 months is going to be the hardest place to get to once I leave. It has been the place I ran to after long journeys, when I was homesick, when I needed a break from the stresses of being how I am. It's weird.
ALSO, a friend of mine met Tom Felton! Aka: Draco Malfoy. Apparently he was in the Wagamama's (chain restaurant) here in Kingston. I wonder what brought him here, haha. I am really jealous, but still I have never been so close to a Harry Potter star before! His picture is above ^
<3 you. Happy Thanksgiving!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
PICTURE: This is an image from the musical, you can see how artist it set-up was. It is beautiful. Also it is the longest running musical in the world! (http://www. delfon tmackintosh. co.uk/images /uploaded /AugLes Mis1.JPG).
Well, I am tired. It is almost 1:30 here, or at least it will be when I get done with the entry. Today I finally got my plans down for the next three weekends. This weekend on Saturday I am going back into Wales, Cardiff to be exact. The following weekend I am going to Ireland and the weekend after that I convinced Allie to go with me to Paris! So, I am going to be busy up until I go home. This also means I am going to have to do a lot of work on the weekdays, so I am going to be very busy. However, I can go this so, wish me luck. Also, I will play anyone 10 bucks for every 300 words of the papers I have to write. Any takers?
After that, we had class, which was fun and then we spontaneously went into the theater district of London to see a musical. We did not have any plans so we tried Phantom first but the tickets were expensive. We ended up at Le Mis and it was so so so so so great! The way they set up the scenes were like live action paintings from the french revolution, it was beautiful. So beautiful, the scenes were dark and misty. The singing was powerful and the acting was heartfelt. I loved every minute and every talented person on the stage. It was nice to finally see the songs I have been singing for so many years in their natural habitat. I can finally connect all the songs together and understand the meaning behind all the lyrics. It really changed my perspective of the music, you should watch me sing it now! Seeing this musical was a great evening to a great day.
I am going to be tired when I make it home in three and a half weeks, but it will be well worth it. I apologize for the long sleeps and grumpy-ness that will ensue when I get home, haha. I realized today that I am not ready to go home and I really love it here. I love how easy it is to travel and to take a train into London to see a musical. I love how you can talk to someone and they can be from all over the world. In one day I can talk to americans, danish, russian, french and italians. It's really incredible. I am sad that I have just adjusted, and I can firmly say that I must come back. A few of my friends will be coming for their masters, so I am going to have to come and visit them. Maybe, I can get my act together and work for the National Gallery for a few years/months.
<3 you all lots and lots!
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Okay, so I am going to stop messing around online and get to work. Today, I did get one presentation out of the way, which makes me feel better. On Thursday I will have the second presentation out of the way. I have finished everything for that one, so it is nothing I have to worry about now. Oh man, schoolwork.
Yeah, I did work on my presentations all day, so I really don't have anything else to say. I do have to make an apple pie for a Thanksgiving dinner. I also have to help make cake-art for a centerpiece. Also, this sat I am going to Wales. I cannot wait to come home so I can have a break from all this traveling and international schoolwork. Hahaha!
<3 you all!
OH also, I do want to make a new backdrop, but my photoshop stopped working, so I cannot make an awesome one. I am going to revert back to an old one for a change up. Hope that's fine.
UPDATE: I forgot to mention, because it makes me sad, that I lost my hat. My favorite wool hat that I got from the craft show in Cooperstown. As far as I know it is somewhere between here and Amsterdam. I have no way to get it back. I still hope that I may stumble on it in my room, but I have looked. Maybe I am looking over it. This is sad news folks.
Monday, November 23, 2009
PICTURES: 1) The seaside town. 2) One of the canals in Amsterdam. 3) The flat land of Europe. 4) The seaside town.
The DAY TWO entry is not suitable for youngsters, due to the habits of Amsterdam, haha. However, One and Three are fine, Enjoy!
I woke up at 5:30 to catch a train. 30 minute train ride, 2 hour bus ride, 2 hour ferry ride (in which i got really seasick, so my aspirations to be a pirate are over), 3 hour bus ride and we made our first real stop in Belgium. There we were able to get dinner. I had a legit Belgium Waffle and their dinner of french fries. It was great, unhealthy but I figured it was okay because it was my first meal since breakfast at 7. Basically I was really excited. I bought some Belgium chocolate to bring home as well. Then I believe it was a 3 hour ride to our final destination. Our hotel was a four star beauty and with my tired exhaustion I took a long shower and fell into bed. That was day one, basically traveling and watching movies. On the bus we watched a lot of movies; Big Daddy, The Hangover and others that I cannot remember any more. We ended up watching 4 movies.
I woke up at 8:30 because we were going to a seaside town in Holland. It was called Volendam. It was beautiful. It was early so the mist from the sea was still hovering over the town giving it a haunted feeling. The sun was pushing its way through the misted covering. While we were there the sun came out and open up the sea to a point. In the edges of the cloud sailboats floated by and herons were flocking around the shore. It was full of quaint shops, fishing ships and little Danish homes. I loved it there, it was really nice. We went back to Amsterdam and our tour guide took us on a small tour through Amsterdam. The very first place he took us was the red light district, where the prostitutes. It was a very interesting concept and it became even more so due to the great views of the city. Amsterdam may possible be the most gorgeous city I have ever been too. With its old historical homes, buildings, random mini castles and canals the place was a fairy land. If you walk down the alleyways with red lights in them that is where the prostitutes are. Because it is legal, they are required to have check up ever two months and they have to hold passports from the Netherlands. It is a very strict business, and very bizarre. Not to mention that every corner you walk around the smell of weed is strong in the air, making you dizzy whether or not you partake (which I did not). They have cafes for people to go in and behind the counter all types of pot for the costumers to choose from, it was so weird seeing people being able to drink marijuana tea and knowing that they would never get in trouble for it here. A lot of the locals you could pick out easy, with their long, unwashed hair and vacant expressions. Other than a constant source of income for a country who really needs that support, I am not certain legalized pot is a good thing for the locals. However, it seems like the prostitution is not hurting anyone, they are constantly checking on and making sure their girls are healthy. After our tour, me and my new friends went to the Anne Frank house. I did not know she had lived in Amsterdam until I got there. Her house put such a real note on the Holocaust, it was sobering and inspirational. I truly enjoyed the house. They kept it as it had been, in every way. The pictures that Anne had glued to the walls were still pasted in her room. The lines that marked the progressive height of the children were still drawn on the wall. Otto, the father and only survivor of the family, did not want them to put the furniture back in the house. I found that decision to be very symbolic and very right. I actually loved the bare rooms, it really emphasized the situation in its somber light. After that we just walked around the beautiful city. I got pizza, made some new friends and saw the city at night. It was a lot of fun and I am very happy to add this city to my list of places I have been.
We woke up at 8:30 so we could get breakfast before we loaded the bags onto the bus. We were not leaving until 12, so until then, we found a park. We played on the playground like we were five again and it was a lot, lot of fun! They had lots of different slides and bridges and sheep! It then led into a park which was very scenic and it was nice to be in the fresh air before our forever bus ride. Once we started traveling at 12, I did not make it to my home on 11 Queens Road until midnight. It was a lot of traveling. I got seasick again. We also stopped at a chocolate store in Belgium and I bought nearly 20 euros of Chocolate. It's a lot of chocolate. I did buy myself a chocolate moose. It is literally a chocolate in the shape of a moose, and I do not know if I will ever be able to eat it. haha!
I slept in forever, and then I went to work on a school presentation for the second official meeting. We are presenting tomorrow, yippee! So, that should go over nicely. I tried to get organized a bit, but I have a lot more do to. This coming weekend I may go to Wales. Also there is a change of plans and rather than Paris I may go to Ireland instead, which I like a lot better!
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Average day of group projects and hilarious British Life and Culture class. Oh we had a pop presentation in that class, and I decided to wing it. I ended up talking about a boy in Canada who went hunting and got stuck on a chunk of ice with a mama polar bear and her two babies. He ended up having to shoot the mama polar bear so it didn't eat him. There you have it ladies and gentlemen, my presentation... you're right I am good at spontaneously coming up with things to say. It's a good thing I read the newspaper right before class.
After years of watching Billy Elliot alone in my room, I was finally about to see it on stage! Not only that but on a British Stage as well! For those who don't know the plot of Billy Elliot it is about a boy who grows up during the coal mining strike in Wales. He wants to be a dancer, but his father and brother are very anti their son/brother becoming a ballerina dancer for all the reasons you would guess. He ends up getting the support of his father and other coal miners in his town because it becomes his chance to get out of that dying industry. He auditions for the Royal Academy of Ballet and if you want to know if he gets in read the book, rent the movie or best of all get you butts to Broadway and watch it on stage.
It was incredible, the kids were so very talented. At first I was comparing it to the movie, which comes without the great songs written by Elton John, and that was a bad thing to do. Once I stopped the comparison in my head I saw it for the talented children that were acting, dancing and singing their hearts out. My favorite part was during the audition interview scene the little boy actor, he is about 11ish, who was playing Billy Elliot did this incredible dance number. He was doing back flips and twists threw the air. He ran up a wall and flipped over backwards. The kid was dancing from his very heart and it showed. When he finished the crowd went ballistic and we all screamed and hollered for his performance. The cheering did not die down fast either and as he stood with both arms in the air he broke character. His face lit up and he laughed, he was clearly not expecting our reaction. He looked at the man who was playing his father and just had the biggest smile on his face. It made the cheering grow to enormous proportions, and that kid was so happy. It was the most genuine and brillant scene I had ever witnessed. The excitement that kid must have felt for being on the London stage and then being about to go home and say I am really good and the people really like me. Oh, I am proud of him and I do not even know him.
Also, the play ended with coal miners doing a tap dance, so you know it was a great show. What a terrific evening. My friend Ruthie and I want to go to either Le Mis or The Phantom of the Opera next Wednesday.
Love You All!
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
I slept longer than I wanted to today, back into my old tricks apparently. Or maybe my body is just realizing that it is not going to relax this weekend because it will be trudging around AMSTERDAM! This will be very good times.
In class I learned how I can help the world as a designer. I never thought about it like this before, but as I tell anyone who asks everything is designed. I usually mean it in I can find a job when I graduate, and buddies, I really can. The system for families visiting their relatives in jails is designed. The system for fair trade is designed. I could go into rural areas in India and teach them how to organize and run their artisan business. This is an awesome idea, and maybe I will start looking into this instead of the Peace Corp. Side note: The oldest person that has joined the Peace Corp was 86 years old! Anyway, who knows where I will end up next fall. For the first time in my life I have no idea what I will be doing in a year. Usually I could just say, Oh I am going back to school. So this will be weird, I think.
For dinner I made a hamburger, chips (big french fries, and yes I cut my own potatoes), and a salad. I am getting awesome at this cooking thing, because I kind of had fun making it! It was very yummy.
For the rest of the night, I am going to work on my presentation.
Also, I got two packages from home. Thanks Mom and Dad. Philipa says thanks for the chocolate. We had a postal strike, so one of the packages was held back a little bit, but I did get them both today.
Monday, November 16, 2009
After the meeting Allie and I went into Kingston and went window shopping and then actual shopping. We had a pastry for lunch and then walked around the German market which comes every Christmas. There was a really beautiful amber necklace for 28 pounds and I really want it, but I did not get it. My guilt complex on spending money, someone tell me if I should buy it. Thanks! Also, we went into Primark, which is a cheap clothing store. I left my only belt in Norway, so I had to buy another one. I got a new belt for 1 pound! Also I got a hat, leggings, post earrings and all for under 9 pounds. That's a great shopping day.
I also finally went grocery shopping, so I have a lot of food to eat, opposed to the food I didn't have. So, that will be awesome, that I can eat something besides Chinese and cereal.
I had a great weekend I think. Relaxing, sleeping, writing, buying food and clothes and... yeah relaxing. I have a busy two weeks coming up with presentation and essays. Also, I am going to Amsterdam this weekend so, that will make things more difficult but I am really excited. Kat and I are making plans to go to France the weekend of December 5th, and I think that I will be done with traveling for my life in England.
UPDATE: After a delicious meal of duck prepared by Allie I ended up buying 5 pounds of Oreos.... hahahahahah!
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
There was an Office marathon on today as well so that was really happy. It was a very good day. I got to sleep in and relax and do everything that makes me feel less stressed. I think I will go to bed early tonight, and hopefully the exhaustion will be over forever. Or at least until the next trip.
Now, I am going to get a class of milk and eat Oreos which I bought today. Awesome.
Friday, November 13, 2009
This morning I had class, which was fun. I really enjoy the students that are in my creative writing class, as much as I hate the disorganized nature it is conducted in. After class I got some books for one of my group project, all art history books about consumption. Well they are not all about consumption, but they have bits in them. BTW if anyone had an opinion on consumption relating to art, email it to me. That would be awesome.
Then I spent the rest of the day relaxing. Relaxing because this weekend I will not be relaxing. I will be doing a lot of school work. I have lots of research, writing creatively and informatively and ... uh more. I cannot remember currently.
Yep, so that was basically my day, awesome. I enjoyed it!
Oh also, day sixty... guess that means I have been here 2 months?
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Okay let's do this:
It was an very interesting travel experience. My walk to the train station was awesome. The train ride to the second train ride was smooth. The ride to the second train station was smoother, and then it got rough. First I could not find the bus station so I walked around the station block twice looking for the signs. When I found them, I ended up standing in line for nearly and hour. A man from Turkey kept me entertained by talking about politics, religion, the creation of the world, philosophy and the Matrix. Once I got on the bus I met another man I wished I never met. He was from Somalia. The night I spent in the Stanstead Airport was not a sleeping night. For the first time on purpose I managed to stay awake all night. I had a cup of coffee and a chocolate muffin to help. Also, I kept going on random walks to keep the blood pumping.
I got on the airplane, and made another new friend. She was a girl from Norway and is now my friend on facebook. I gave her a Hershey Bar, haha, so basically I am the best friend ever. I slept the whole hour and 35 minute flight and was really disorientated when I woke up. As I walked through the passport control, I was asked if I spoke Norwegian because I had a very Norwegian name. He asked in Norwegian and I understood, which was exciting! However, sadly I had to say no. Helene met me at the airport, later she told me she was very nervous, but I ran over and gave her a hug. I was excited to see any kind of family no matter how distant or no matter that I had never met her before. She had brought her friend Toni (that's how she pronounced her name, I don't know how to spell it). In the car we had a really good conversation, and then I fell asleep on them. We stopped a few times, because I was looking for a winter jacket and they were looking for... stuff? I did not find a winter jacket because they are very expensive in Norway. I saw a lot that I liked though, so now I know what I am after when I get my new one. We got lots of candy for the car ride, which I did not end up eating. I am not much of a candy person to begin with, but they also have salt candy in Norway. Yes... a sweet candy covered in salt. I tried it, I did not like it. Helene did buy me a drink called Yule Brus (I think that's how it is spelt) which is a drink that only comes out for Christmas. It tasted like orange soda, but not as sweet. I liked it. We went back to Helene's home and I got to take a shower and then we traveled back to Toni's home. There we had dinner, tacos, and I feel asleep on the couch as Helene and Toni got ready to go to a party. A Norwegian party is basically a High School dance where the whole town gets together. The only difference is that they only swing dance and that they also serve alcohol. It was fun watching them all, and listening to the live Norwegian band, but it was very late at night and I was too tired to physically participate. I was taken back to Helene's brother's home where I waited for them to pick up two more people after the party. Again, I feel asleep on his couch, but he soon woke me up to feed me pizza. He showed me a nifty trick of putting ketchup on your pizza, surprisingly delicious. Also, it is important to note that I did not starve in Norway.
After sleeping in a very cold room, we went back to Helene's home. I had slept with my sweatpants, two pairs of socks, two shirts, a cami, my long sleeve shirt, my sweater, my rain jacket, my wool hat and my gloves and I was very comfortable. Norwegian mattresses are really comfy, they were basically like giant foam pads, so I slept very well. After showering and eating at Helene's, we went to my 2nd Counsin's, which is Helene's grandmother, for a late lunch/early dinner. We slept for a very long time, around 1ish, and we had to be at her house by 2. She fed us stew, meatballs, chuchabur (I don't know how to spell it, but the little red berries), and very thin crackers. It was delicious, it tasted as if I was home. I was very happy. I could not really take part in the conversation, because I do not speak any Norwegian, but I was still very comfortable in their home. My 2nd cousin showed me pictures of her cabin up in northern Norway and allowed me to take the pictures, so I can show you all when I get home. She also gave me a few other gifts for myself and for my family, but I am not going to tell you because they are going to be surprises for my family when I get home. But I promise you will love it, they are really thoughtful and wonderful gifts. After lunch, we went to another relatives home, but I cannot remember how. Their house was beautiful. It was an old Norwegian home, but it was designed for a big family. It was very comforting. They had a little black dog whom I loved and I played with it a lot because I miss Ko. It was not the same as playing with Ko, but it was fun all the same. Here we had dessert and I met a lot more family. This family may come visit me here in London before I go home. I have to work that out still. I told them all about America, cause they asked, and about the Bergene family back home, because they did not know all the details. Next we went back to Helen's and just relaxed for awhile. We ate hot rolls and brown cheese for dinner and it was the greatest dinner ever.
This was my last day in Norway. I was allowed to sleep in, and take a long shower and eat a slow breakfast. Then we headed off for a shopping day. Helene had to go to work, but I was left with my 2nd cousin and the relative that I cannot remember how they are related to me. I got a jacket with them, and I really like it. It's a stylish jacket and my family in Norway is so generous, it was the only thing I was allowed to buy while I was there. Helene also gave me some marsipan before I left her. Me and my 2nd cousin went to get my other relative and after some shopping we headed to my Great Aunt's. She was Grandpa Toby's sister and I was very excited to meet her. It turned out she was very excited to meet me as well. We had light sandwiches and although she could not speak English, my relative translated for us. It was great to hear the stories and talk to her about everyone. A lot more family came to meet me at her home and that was a lot of fun. I told them all about all of us back in the states and made them family trees so they know how many relatives they had. They were surprised that Grandma had been born in Norway, apparently they did not know that. I loved sharing stories and hearing stories. For example, Grandpa Toby called his sister the night before he died and spoke to her in Norwegian, but he had never spoke to her in Norwegian after he moved to America. I had a really excellent time. She gave me many gifts, many surprising gifts. Again I will share this when I get home. Though I did accumulate a lot of chocolate from them, which I am bringing back. On the plane I was very unhappy because I did not want to leave family. I read my book, but I kept thinking of my time in Norway. The trip back home was not so nice. I got stranded at a train station, and had to take an hour long bus ride back home. That was not fun, but I am resourceful now, haha.
OKAY, so that was my trip to Norway. It was a great experience and I am very happy to have reconnected with them. It was a surprise to me but Dad had been sending pictures to my Great Aunt and I used them to share about our family. We have a few more people to send Christmas Tours too! They also really want everyone to come and see them, and I promise you will have the best time.
NATIONAL THEATER: NATION:
Last night I was required to go to the National Theater to see a play for my British Life and Culture class. At first I was unhappy because I was still tired from my trip and I was very stressed by the amount of work I had to do still for this week and next week. However, me going was the best decision I have ever made. Not only did I get to see London at night again, which is my favorite thing to see in this country, but I also saw the greatest play I have ever seen. The first few minutes were startling for two reasons. 1) I have not seen any modern theater and 2) I had no idea what was going on and it started really fast. The play was not modern, but it did have modern elements. Plot: It was about two young people on individual journey's that have been brought together. The girl was on a ship that sunk and she was washed on a island. Her demons was the guilt she felt by her mother's death while giving birth to her little brother and them not being buried together. The boy was a native and he was on a quest to become a man when his whole tribe was killed, so there was no one left to tell him that he was a man. Also, he lost his faith in his people and his religion which was a problem he faced by the end. He ended up becoming the leader of the survivors and they made their own nation and she helped him. It was a great quest story and I am doing little justice to how well it was done. The acting was so believable, as was the story I felt it was very much real and that I was apart of it. At one point a gun was pulled on the boy and I squealed out loudly I was so terrified. The set was beautiful. The costumes were beautiful. The creative edge put into it was imaginative, clever and brilliant. It is based off a novel, a novel I am going to have to find. If I could I would go an watch it again. I loved every minute, say for the first few, of that play. And even now thinking back, I even love those first scenes because I understand how they fit into the play and how they play was set up for the audience. So yes, I loved every minute of that play. Brava.
Today, I was stressed because of school work. I did meet a girl going to New Paltz, so I gave her my email address if she had any questions. Also, I discovered that the British find the thought of Peanut Butter and Jelly to be a disgusting idea. Weird, right? That made me laugh, because they were talking about cheese and honey on toast, but peanut butter and jelly was gross. Funny. I saw all my English friends today too and that was very good for my social stress relief.
Fun stuff, LOVE YOU ALL! I hope you enjoyed my trip and adventures and stories!
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
The reason this is the case is because i spent the day trying to get all my school work done. I wrote 1,500 words of deep and creative writing. I met with a group, but we have no idea what we're doing... it is a very broad topic. I am meeting with another group for that group project tomorrow. I also have four more papers to write for different classes and all of them are very important for my grades. I only have five weeks left for this all to happen. Both the presentations are due next week though so that will be done.
I also have to fit in time for my newly discovered relatives to come and visit London. .... I dono whhhhat i am going to do at this point. Cause i still want to get to Autria, and Justine still wants to come here, so... dammit I am running out of time!
Oh also, i wanted to make a new header of the Norwegian landscape... busy times.
Love you all!
Friday, November 6, 2009
Tonight, around 7:30, I am going to take a train from Norbiton to Clapham Junction to Victoria Station. Then I am going to follow the signs to the bus station, which will take me to Stansted Airport in a bus ride that will be about 2 hours long. At that point I will spend the night in the airport, awesome, and take my plane at 6:30 am to Torp airpot in NORWAY! Helene is going to pick me up at the airport and then we have a 2-3 hour drive to her home. So basically I have a 14 hour travel time. I am going to be drinking a lot of coffee.
Talk to you all when I get back!
Thursday, November 5, 2009
I woke up and finished a little but of home and then quickly headed into London. I met up with Allie and her little sister Helen, who has come to visit. We met up in a little cafe just down the street and up another street from Trafalgar Square. It was nice just sitting there and feeling like a local, at the secluded cafe. We did meet a Canadian and some french speaking people sat next to you. I also believe our waitress was something like Hungarian. I had a tuna melt, with avocado in it. It was delicious. The three of us finished off the meal with a delicious cake. It was chocolate, and raspberry and something that was like cheese cake with chocolate shavings on top. It was delicious.
After that we went to the National Gallery. It was going to close at 6, and we got there 2 hours before that. It took me 2 hours to go through the 16th century rooms. I still have many many many rooms to get through. It was really great though, I really enjoyed looking at the paintings. By listening to those around me, I realized how much I know about art history, so that made me feel really good. I would laugh a little every time I saw a piece that I had studied back at good old Oneonta, it made me miss it.
It was a really great day, London at night is really the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. It's my favorite part of living here. Taking the train into central London and then walking back through it at night. Looking up at the lit up Big Ben, London Eye and Parliament. The lights in the river. It's so great.
<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Also, my homework made me want to read Harry Potter!
UPDATE: I am going to need to get a winter jacket for Norway, IT'S SNOWING THERE!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Though my flat is really cold. Hmm, I want Ice Cream.
I am going into London, so I will have more to say then!
Monday, November 2, 2009
PICTURES: 1) This is the Caerphilly Castle. 2) This shows you guys how pretty everything is in Wales. 3) One of the houses from the Wale's Museum. 4) Me standing in an old Abbey which is located in the Wye Valley. 5) The old Roman Amphitheater. (THESE PICTURES ARE NOT IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER)
I hope you enjoy my new header in dedication towards my time in Wales!
DAY ONE: I woke up at 6:20am to meet up with my tour group at 7:15. I only had to go to the Penryhn Road campus so it was not to far of a walk. We stopped at several other campus' in the area to get more students and by the end we had picked up about 51 students who were going on the tour. It was about a three hour bus ride, and I slept basically the entire way. We arrived at the Roman Ruins first. They were really interesting, we learned that they would fit 8 men in what had to be a 7x7 square. Keep in mind that they are burly warriors. Those rooms had to be a mess. It was also nice to be in the real country air again, and the grass was so green, which you can see from my pictures. A few feet away was the Roman Amphitheater, which was huge. This is where they would do their gladiator fighting, battling with anything from other men to wild boars. They even fought with domesticated cows when they were exceptionally bored (I don't know about you but I can't really see excitement in that last bit... cows?)
We got back on the bus and next traveled to the Caerphilly Castle. It was huge and I was really excited when I walked down the path and then it was just there. I had been sleeping so I had no idea where we were going, haha. It was beautiful. We learned a horrific story about the royalty that used to live there. There was the King and Queen (I cannot remember which one) but the King had a favorite man. Apparently in this age favorite meant their lover, so the King had a gay lover. The Queen was not happy about it, and the favorite man was gotten rid of. It did not take long before the King found a new favorite man and the caused his wife to act against them in force, a battle of sorts. The King and his lover fled, leaving the lover's son to guard the treasure. The Queen won and told the son she would not kill him if he gave her the treasure. He gave her the treasure, she killed him. Later the King was killed as well, in a not so pleasant manor. Anyway, haha, the castle was really fun to run around. The pictures I took came out beautifully, those with a facebook can see them. It was in this town that I began to realize two things. 1) Welsh accents are fantastic and now it is my new favorite. 2) The Welsh people are really friendly people.
After the Castle we headed to the Welsh Museum, which was basically like a Farmer's Museum. They did have a row of houses showing the progression of the Welsh home from way back in the beginning to present day. I liked being there because it was like being at the Farmer's Museum or Williamsburg, only everyone was Welsh. The funny thing was how small all the doorways were in the old Welsh homes, I almost had to duck to get through them. If I did not duck I felt the top of the threshold brush my hair, so they were around 5 feet 5 inches tall, really short for a doorway. It was here I bought my Welsh gifts. It was also here that I realized I had left my debit card in Kingston, haha. Luckily my friend Ruth helped me pay for my food, also luckily enough I had enough cash and change to pay for all my gifts. So, all you with a Welsh heritage, expect a gift.
At the end of the day we ended up in the city of Shwayze which is on the coast of Wales. Our tour guide told us that it was the last major civilization before you hit the Wilderness of Northern Wales. Also, I would like to point out that I asked a Welshman and he told me that our ancestors came from Northern Wales. If I get the opportunity I will be trying to find them and get to them, it may be a very long bus ride. Also, they may speak Welsh there, so it could present a problem, haha. In Shwayze we went to a pub for dinner, I got Fish and Chips, and as we sat there Halloween appeared around us. People kept coming in dressed up and it was a lot of fun watching them. By the end of the night I had been spoken to in Welsh and we had made a few new friends. These people are so friendly. Also to all who care, Welsh boys are the most attractive boys I have seen sense I have reached this country. I definitely went to the wrong country, hahaha. I was sad that I did not have my own costume, but it was okay in the end. That night it was hard to sleep though, because they were partying on the streets until 4 am, and my bed was right next to the window that was on the street that they were partying in. Oddly enough, I was not upset I could not sleep. I was just so happy I was in Wales.
"We are on the bus right now, and you can see the reminiscent shadows of once great castles, estates and abbeys. It is like a fantasy land, Wales is beautiful."
"There is something majestic and exciting to stand where histories and legends took place. Their (castles) history goes further back than any structure that we have in the US."
DAY TWO: I woke up at 7:00 so I could take a shower before breakfast. We got a free breakfast at the hotel and that was really awesome. As soon as we got on the bus everyone fell silent but I began writing about day one diligently in my journal so I would not forget what happened so I could put it in my blog. It was an hour and a half drive to the Big Pitt. The Big Pitt is a coal mine which has been closed down as a working mine, but opened up to the public as a museum. I thought it was really important to see, and I was right. As we headed down into the mine, my stomach flipped, it was a scary cage (that is what we were told to call it). One thing that was fun about it was that we got to wear those headlights, which I really enjoyed, hahaha. In the mine we learned all about the horrible working conditions and we were kind of able to experience how the conditions were as they worked. The tunnels went from low to high randomly, I hit my helmeted head a few times, and the floors were slippery with the water that came down from the surface rain, though I did not slip because of my awesome castle running shoes. Our tour guide was really funny, and a great singer. He actually was once a minor, he told us that if you dad was a minor no matter how much education you had, you would have probably been a minor as well. We could have been minors. Also, the tour guide reminded me a lot of Uncle Steve, haha, cept with a Welsh Accent and older.
We got back in the bus and after a very long and scenic ride, full of sheep, we ended up in the renown Wye Valley. It was the place people would go from all over the UK for its picturesque views. A very talented and well known artist Turner spent a lot of time in this valley. We were headed for an old monastery that lay in the valley. It came up very suddenly and I was immediately taken back by how large and beautiful it was. One thing we learned that I found very interesting was that all the Monks had taken vows of silence. It must have been an interesting experience to be surrounded by 80 people and not one of them spoke, that is what I would consider an awkward silence. We got to explore it grandeur for awhile, it was quite large and then the tour guide took those of us who liked to explore up the side of one of the mountains to get a bird's eye view of the place. It was a long, slippery, steep climb up but at the top we found an old church and graveyard. It was very haunting. Many of the stones were dated very far back, but I did not explore them too much, because I felt as if I was intruding.
Then it was time to get back on the bus to bring us back to Kingston. I did not want to go, I almost wanted to intentionally not get on the bus so I could stay. But, I did get on the bus and as we drove away it got darker, kind of like how I felt inside. Wales is a great country. I was so glad to experience that part of my heritage, and I am really happy I have that. I am now thinking graduate school in Wales? hahaha, I guess I will see.
A few points to note: The Welsh are incredible singers, so that explains a lot coughunclestevencough, haha. Also, all you Jones, you are all very, very Welsh looking! You represent yourselves well! Which if you take the comment I said before about the Welsh being very attractive... well there you go, haha.
Hope you enjoyed the recount of my adventure in Wales! <3 you guys!
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
I had another, 'you're american?' experience today. In class she was checking our assignments, and could not read a word because I spelled it wrong. I told her what it was, and the boy next to me said, "well, it's fair enough, english isn't your first language so really your doing great." I looked at him and he continued, "your from Denmark right." I could not help but laugh right in his face, which became very red as I said, "I am from New York." At least he knew there was a state of New York, hahahahahah. Ladies and Gentleman, I am now from Denmark. I am not sure whether to take it as a compliment, as I apparently seem European, or an insult, as he said that English was not my first language. Oh man, great times. I am making good friends in that class, so that is a lot of fun.
After class I went to the library with one of my new friends and we rented a book that was highly recommended by a fellow classmate, and American! I found one in the class I thought was all English, he never spoke in the beginning. I have that now to read in my travels to Norway and Wales.
My later afternoon was not so hot, I had a little trouble with college issues, and I became very upset. It was quickly remedied when some other new friends came over tonight for dinner. I did not even know they had arrived because I had fallen asleep on them, don't worry though because Allie played host.
We had a very nice dinner which Allie quickly put together; pasta, roasted veggies and our friends brought a salad. We had a nice time visiting and eating and then we began watching Harry Potter. My friend Ruthie apperntly knows all the places in London that they filmed/based sets off of/important locations from the Harry Potter. Next week we are going to go on our own, basically free, Harry Potter Tour! I have seen the Great Hall, I have seen the Library and now I will find everything else that is in London for Harry Potter.
That was pretty much my day. I am heading off to Wales tomorrow, as I have mentioned multiple times in this entry, so again I will be going off into my hand written journal. Like Italy I will take snip-its from the journal and share them with you on my blog Monday... or Sunday night depending on where I am.
Love you all! Talk with you when I get back from Wales.