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Tue, September 8. 2009

class day 2

today i had my british life and culture class. seems like it’s going to be really interesting. we had a 20 minute break during class, so me mel and jeff went to the pub down the street. got a beer. went back to class.


Mon, September 7. 2009

first class

so i just had my first class, and it went so well!  it’s “economic integration of the european union.”  at first i was kinda dreading it because it’s at 9 am on a monday, is 3 hours long, and supposedly you can’t bring any food or drinks to class except water (I NEED COFFEE!).  but thank god my professor is SO COOL and said we can bring coffee as long as we sneak it into the classroom.  she decided to keep class relatively short today, so we were out by about 10:30.  we were told, though, to form groups of 3 and go around and interview random people and ask them how they felt about the UK’s place in the EU.  so now that we finished that, i’m back in my room.  i’m going to make myself a sandwich in a few minutes and then head back to foundation house (where classes are) for my next class that’s at 1.

Sun, September 6. 2009

Things I’ve Learned About London:

So I’ve decided to compile a list of little interesting tidbits that I’ve learned about london while being here.  Since this list is going to keep growing, I figure I’ll just continue it in future posts.  So here goes.

1. a venti at starbucks in london is smaller than a venti at starbucks in the us.

2. the mayonaise here is actually miracle whip. ew.

3. the term fanny pack actually means cooch here. so don’t go to the store and ask if they sell fanny packs. you might get thrown out.

4. hamburgers taste like meatloaf.

5. cars WILL NOT stop for you. they won’t even honk. so try not to die crossing the street.

6. if you say you go to school here, they look at you like you’re crazy because school means elementary school.

7. the british people don’t really believe in air conditioning when it’s hot. fml.

8. when they say it rains everyday, THEY LIE! (of course now that i said that, it’s actually going to rain every single day for the remainder of my 4 months).

9. the plumbing sucks. you may need to flush a few times. nuff said.

10. everything comes here later (movies, music, tv) so the radio has top 40 hits playing from months ago.

11. do not, i repeat DO NOT get pizza off a street vendor at 2 am in the middle of piccadilly circus. they heat it up by microwaving it. kill me now.

12. british people don’t say sorry or excuse me when they bump into you. and i thought new yorkers were mean.

13. you don’t have to tip bartenders!

14. service at restaurants is S O   S L O W . (probably because they’re not really working for tips).

15. the bus system is a lifesaver (especially in the middle of the night when the tube is closed).

16. ribena = AMAZING. thanks kristi! (ribena is black currant juice, fyi).

17. whole foods in london kicks the ass of every single whole foods in the states.

18. starbucks is pretty much the only place that sells iced coffee. not even mcdonalds does!

19. mcdonald’s actually isn’t open 24/7.

20. british people have the tendency to confuse canadian accents and new york accents. wtf?

more to come!

Thu, September 3. 2009

room update

cleaned, legit finished unpacking, and organized.

now i love my room! pics soon.

finally moved in

hey guys. so today we finally moved into our housing. the area that we’re staying in is south kensington, and it’s ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL! we have an amazing view from our window of some gorgeous homes/apartments. we did a walking tour of the general area today, and did a little shopping for things that i needed (extra pillows, more storage, some basic groceries, etc.).  everything is so damn expensive here. it wouldn’t be so bad except for the exchange rate kills you.

this is a picture of the metrogate building taken from the FIE website:

so getting to the actual dorm. the building itself is called metrogate, and it’s 3 buildings that got combined into one, and then became a hotel before it was student housing.  i’m living with mel, and we’re on the third floor in an end room.  the architecture of the building is really cool because it’s super old. the room itself is soooo tiny.  it’s literally smaller than my room at home, plus it has to house 2 people.  there are bunk beds, and i’m on bottom and mel’s on top. i like being on the bottom bunk because it’s not a hassle to lay down (and i sleep a lot as most people know).  we each have an armoire and two tiny drawers. we have a refrigerator in the room, which is good. and we lucked out and have OUR OWN BATHROOM!!!  i think that even though the room’s small, it’ll be nice once we’re totally unpacked and we set it up like it’s our own.  i’m just really happy to have wireless internet.

i started to get a little homesick and miss people, but i’m hoping that once classes start on monday and i have a set schedule, i’ll start to feel better.  i also hate spending so much money, but i think that’ll change also when i’m not going out every single day.

the program has a bunch of stuff planned for us this weekend and over the next few weeks, which i’m really looking forward to.  tomorrow we have 3 orientation sessions in a row, which will be kinda boring, but i also won’t be spending money while i’m in those sessions, so that’s a plus.  we’re going to go out tonight with the au kids that just got here, which is going to be a lot of fun!  i’ll keep you guys posted!

Tue, September 1. 2009

sugarcane and redstripe

Today was the Notting Hill Carnival, aka the biggest street fair in Europe!  And they weren’t kidding when they said that it’s literally insanity.  We woke up and walked like down the block and people were already running around the streets with drinks in hand by like noon.  So we followed the crowd and got to the street with the parade.  Let me tell you, this parade was insane!  There was music and dancing and elaborate costumes.  After the parade we headed back to Westborne Grove, which is the main street by our hotel, and got a few drinks and just wandered with the crowd.  We stopped by our favorite bar Harlem and our favorite bartender was there and made us drinks.  We had this delicious rum punch and headed toward Notting Hill.  We followed the signs toward Carnival and there were street vendors everywhere.  One of the food vendors had authentic jerk chicken with rice and beans, and it was absolutely amazing!  So a few drinks and A LOT of dancing later, we headed back to the hotel to relax for a little.  Then we went to this chinese restaurant for dinner.  While we were finishing up dinner and paying, there was a fight outside between this girl and this guy, and the guy came running into the restaurant to like protect himself from the girl because she was holding an empty bottle to like bash over the guys head.  It was crazy.  We got some delicious gelato and headed back to the hotel.  I fell asleep but just woke up about 2 hours ago and now we’re watching Knocked Up.

Tomorrow we’re going to Harrod’s for high tea!  Very excited for the rest of the AU people to get here on thusday.

Sun, August 30. 2009

A Few Days Later…..

Cheerio from London!  It’s been quite an intense few days since we’ve gotten here, so I’ll do my best to recap them as quickly as possible.

Flight:  Literally the biggest plane I’ve ever seen!  Double decker. We were on the first level though and didn’t get to go upstairs.  The flight was less than 6 hours, which was really nice.  So I watched a movie on the plane and listened to my ipod.  As we were descending, we flew over the london eye, big ben, parliament, and a lot of other beautiful landmarks.  So we land, and no joke it’s a beautiful 65 degrees and sunny, not what I was expecting from London weather.  Customs were a breeze, we got our luggage, and off we go.

Getting to the Hotel:  Okay so here’s where things start to get interesting.  There’s a train that goes from the airport to the Paddington tube station, called the Heathrow Express.  It was beautiful, clean, and nice and cool.  So we took that to Paddington, which is only one stop away from the Bayswater stop (where our hotel is).  So we’re thinking that this is gonna be a breeze.  Nope.  There’s no elevator or escalator at either one of these stops.  So picture this: the three of us trying to lug 7 pieces of luggage up and down these stairs.  It was miserable.  So finally we get on the train, get off at our stop, and walk to the hotel, which is pictured below.  Cool.

At the Hotel:  Oh wait, except for the fact that it’s 11:30 am and we can’t check in until 2.  Here we are, all wanting to nap and shower, and we can’t.  So the hotel says they’ll hold our luggage for us and we decide to go for lunch.  When we get back it’s about 1:30 and we beg to be let into the room, so they let us.  Funny story though, the halls that go to the room are only wide enough to drag one suitcase at a time.  So we made about 23423423 trips back and forth.  Now let me just tell you about this room.  Some genius decided it was a good idea to split the room into 2 floors (yes, like an upstairs and downstairs) and make the kitchen the size of a closet, and have no room to store luggage.  Whatever, we’ll deal.  So we go take naps.  Mel wakes up and has to pee (obvi) so when she goes to turn on the faucet in the sink, water starts spraying up from the pipes underneath.  So she turns the sink off to go back to sleep.  We finally wake up, and our entire room is flooded.  Our clothes that we had out got soaked, and luckily our computers weren’t in the room.  So we freak out and get the front desk to give us another room.  So once again, we have to shlep our bags to the opposite side of the hotel, because god forbid they make it easy for us.  We get into our room, it’s one big room thankfully, and I fall asleep again.

We wake up, shower, and I can’t get my flat iron to work, so I wound up just buying one yesterday because I can’t live without that shit.  We went to Picaddilly Circus, which reminded me a lot of Times Square, so I felt at home.  Then last night we went to this bar called Harlem.  It was so much fun!  We talked to the bartender and he gave us all this advice as to where we should go clubbing and stuff like that.  We walked back, made grilled cheese on the bagels I brought from a&s, and passed out.

So now here I am, day 3 in London, and things are finally AMAZING!  I can’t wait to see what else this great city has to offer!

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