Friday, February 27, 2009

Hey Guys!
I haven't written in a while...sorry. I know some of you check this regularly. 

But this week was pretty fun. Wednesday, to my delight, someone didn't show up to Dani's theatre class so there was an extra ticket to Twelfth Night! I was ecstatic and leaped at the opportunity--and for only 10 pounds so roughly $14---not bad! The play was amazing, great actors. We were up at the top balcony but we could see everything so the height didnt matter there. The height did matter because it was a bit higher than liked and my phobia came into view. At one point, I asked Dani, "Do you feel like the chairs are leaning forward?" She just laughed and was like, "You need to calm down." We were at the 2nd or third balcony and it was a rather steep set up so it was not my favorite. But, like I said the  play was amazing, and had some great actors in it.
Thursday, Dani and I went to the Victoria and Albert Museum. Which is just about as big as the British Museum. We didnt even have enough time to see everything before they closed. So we are already planning on a trip back there. I didnt know we would be able to take pictures inside so I have none. But I will put some of Dani's up later. 
And now I am rushing to write this because I am going to Wales for the weekend and I have to leave in about 10 min and I haven't finished packing--oh don't you just love procrastination? I do. So I am going to end this prematurely and fi it when I get back. Check back in for the details on Wales too. Bye! 

Sunday, February 22, 2009

So this weekend wasn't anything particularly exciting but we had some fun. The trip to Wales has caused us to cut down on spending so that we'll have some money for there...some odd attempt at us being responsible I suppose. Friday, Sam, Dani, Mike and I went to a store called Primark. It is this really affordable store that kind of reminds me of Forever 21 from back home. For the Wales trip we were advised to bring a cheap pair of shoes that can get soaked and such for some of the adventures, like coastering (in essence cliff jumping into the Atlantic). This store was our first choice because of its affordablility. We ended up settling on these shoes that are basically a knock off of converse--figured they would be light enough that they wouldn't bother us to swim in. We also thought it would be fun to get funky colors since we are already going to look silly in our wetsuits, life jacket, and helmets. Mike was the only one able to do so and bought some bright green ones. The girls and I didnt have the options of colors so we had to choose black, white, or grey. We also thought these would help tell us apart in pics anyway--different shoes. Saturday was gorgeous and sunny so a couple of us went to Hyde Park and walked around there the entire afternoon. I saw some great scenery along with the famous Peter Pan statue and Princess Diana Memorial fountain. Afterwards we decided to get some ice cream and I tried a scoop of rum and raisin....Let's just say to my surprise there was more rum than anything else in that. All you would need is a bucket of it and some sunglasses and you would be set for the evening. We headed home and today I had a very sad attempt of getting caught up/ ahead on some homework. I have only opened a new word document....3 hours ago...oops.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Today was a rather blah day in the city but I went a little stir crazy just sitting in my room. So, I decided to take the tube down to Hyde Park. I then walked around there for a little while, stopped by the Serpentine, and did some drawing. It was a little chilly just sitting on the bench so I walked around some more. After there, I walked through Wellington Place and Green Park up to Buckingham Palace. As I was walking to the Palace, I was listening to my iPod and not really paying attention. This was my downfall, because I was walking in the cycling lane, accidentally of course--not paying attention to where my feet were, when an elderly man riding a bike came up behind me. I didn't hear him coming until he was a foot behind away. He then scolded and yelled at me for being in the way. After I realized what I had done wrong, I felt terrible and decided to go home. I don't usually get shouted at very often, so when I do I just shut down and get sad. I sulked all the way to my building. I still feel bad/ guilty about it. Oh well, live and learn, right? But it was a nice day anyway. :)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

So I haven't done anything special in the last couple of days but wanted to keep this up to date. Classes went fine Monday and Tuesday. My late night class was cancelled tuesday so that ended my day at 6 rather than 9. Today I met with my film studies group to work on our project. It was just a continuity excersize but the guys i was paired with made it a lot more difficult. Each one wanted to be the leader, no wonder that gender causes so much trouble...

Anywho, keep checking in for more of the exciting stuff.
I will be going to Wales not this weekend but the next, so I am sure I will have some great stories from there.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Liverpool = Beatles Love

Yes mom, I know it's been a few days...
Well this weekend I went to Liverpool with Dani, Greg, and Andrew. Typically there are 2 reasons to visit this city. One, they have their own football team and two, it's where the Beatles are from. We went there for the latter. The trip started off with catching a coach bus at 8 am on friday. It was about a 5 hour trip but I attempted to sleep on the bus, but wasn't very successful--I was too distracted by the scenery we passed on the way. When we arrived we had no barrings to where we were and where the hostel was. A man approached us to take a taxi, and usually I do not pay attention when I get accosted by people on the street, but this was not London, and he was actually a nice guy trying to help. When we found out the taxi would only cost 6 pounds which then got split between the four of us, we decided it was a good idea. We had a very nice driver who pointed out hotspots and what to do/ not do while we were here. We arrived at the hostel and settled in for a bit. We then headed out to walk around the city. Here we saw some great graffitti art, churches, and Chinatown. While we were journeying around we saw the Liverpool Cathedral. It is the largest in the UK, and by the looks of it; no one would debate that fact. It was too late in the day to look around inside so we strolled around the exterior. while we were here we came across St. James' Garden. It looked gorgeous and I knew I had to go and walk through it. The grass was lush and green but juxtaposed with gravestones lined allong the walls of it. It created this very creepy, yet cool, atmosphere. After heading through there and taking boat loads of pictures, we started to walk back to the hostel. It was a great walk that helped me get orientated to the city. After our mini break at the hostel, we went and headed out to get some food and hang out at some pubs. After getting some pizza, we went to Matthew St., which is a hot spot in the city for night life. While here we went to The Lennon Pub which was a karaoke bar filled with people at least 10-15 years older than us. Yep, we stood out but I had a blast hearing some famous songs being belted out in the wrong key. While leaving Dani and I had an encounter with some locals that were old enough to be our grandparents. This old man gave me compliment after compliment in a very awkward way; may favorite being that, "the thing about you American girls is that you always have nice teeth." This man also didn't believe in a personal bubble, to the point where I thought he was going to try and kiss me and with no help from the boys (eh hem) Dani and I were able to make it away in one piece. From there, we went to the famous Cavern Club, which is where the Beatles got there start. It is a really cool place and I can see why loads of people flock there to hang out. I have never seen Greg's smile as big as it was here. After there we went to O'Neil's, an irish club. And might I say the best place to go on the weekend. We instantly became dancing fools when they kept playing some great tunes from our childhood. Here is where we met/ danced with the odd old man that was dressed in a stereotypical german beer garden ensemble thing...anyway he was a lot of fun and never spoke a word. So after we had been dancing for 3 hrs. straight (yes, i know many of you will be surprised by this but it was an amazing place-you would've too) we headed home. We then woke ourselves up bright and early to head to 8am breakfast that was provided by the hostel. It was a traditional english breakfast that was delicious and we were able to eat enough to tie us over for a while and really cut down on the cost of food. This started off, what would be a day packed with the Beatles. We booked the last four seats for the 12 o'clock Magical Mystery Tour! It was an amazing tour that lasted about 2 hrs. It took us all around Liverpool where we got to see all of their homes, Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields, and the Cavern Club. It was a great tour and I would definitely go on it again. Afterwards we went to The Beatles Story which is a museum put together to tell you all about the history of the band. They even had a special exhibit, "The faces of John Lennon." It was a great collection of photographs but really sad at the same time. I learned so much that I didn't know before and am now an even bigger fan of the group. John Lennon is truelly an inspring human being, same with all of them really. Unfortunately no pictures were allowed inside so I can't show you how great this place was. I loved the yellow submarine room so much that I snuck a picture of it-you would've too. After this we took another break and headed back to the hostel for a nap. Then we decided to go out for some night life again where we revisted The Lennon bar and O'Neils and tried out some new places. It was a pretty crazy day, def. my favorite Valentine's Day so far. Andrew even bought these little plastic roses for Dani and I from a person in the street, it was really cute. This rounded up the even and we wandered home. Then on our last day we woke up and had to check out of the hostel by 10 am, so we did that and the hostel held our baggage for us, for the rest of the day--which was very nice of them. Then we went to the Tate Liverpool art gallery which had some amazing works from Picasso, Jackson Pollack, Andy Warhol and many more. It was very exciting we then went to grab some lunch. We stopped at this cafe/ pub called The Beehive where I ate some fish and chips. It was delicious and I think the best I have had so far. When then had a little time so we went to the Maritime Museum where they had all of the fun facts about cruiselines and ships. Probably the most famous is the Titanic. Which did you know that left out of Liverpool? I didn't and easily got absorbed in the displays there. Before we knew it we ran out of time and had to head back to the hostel to get out stuff. We then called a cab which took us the the bus station and we headed back to London. The bus smelled of a bowl of corn flakes on the way home, and that may sound really weird but I liked it. It reminded me of home in a odd, comforting way. Then when we got back to the city, I was so happy. It's weird how much I missed being away from London, I guess have already become attached to this place. Overall, it was a great trip and I would definitely go back and share it with others...thanks for reading, I know this was a long one. Enjoy the pictures. :)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Thanks for staying tuned :)

So, I havent posted in a couple of days and it wasn't until I received an email from my mother, that I knew how devasting this could be for you. So here is a brief update on the last couple of days...

Well Monday and Tuesday consisted of attending classes and thats about it. Tuesday I have class from 10:30 am 'til 9 pm so it was quite a long day, I doubt I will ever be able to squeeze something exciting in on tuesdays. Oh well, I get a five day weekend so I shouldn't complain.

Wednesday I slept in and then decided to wander down to Oxford St. which is comparable to the "Magnificant Mile" in Chicago. Pretty much a huge street of shopping opportunities. I planned on not spending any money and just looking around and surely that didnt work out. It started when I found a pair of plastic aviator sunglasses. I owned a pair of these, you may remember them. Well, they broke early in the summer and I have been devasted since, so when I found them for 1 pound, I had to buy them right? Well i did which led me to also purchasing socks, a necklace, and 3 scarves. I couldnt just purchase the sunglasses that would've looked silly, but I still spent around 11 pounds shopping so that wasn't a huge dent to the wallet anyway....

And today, Dani and I, went to The National Portrait Gallery. It is connected to the National Gallery but has seperate displays. Some were really cool and I bought a print of John Tunnard's self portrait from the gift shop. Look it up.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

As suggested by Caitlin, I stood on the red carpet of the BAFTAs today. They are basically the British Oscars and a great opportunity to see some stars. I woke up at 6 am this morning so I could go downtown in attempts to acquire a wristband which was needed to enter the gates and stand in the public pens. I waited in a queue for 2 hours to recieve one and this assigned me a number for later. We went home and came back at 2 as they told us then they began listing off numbers that were allowed to enter, they did them in groups of 10. Even though this numeriocal system was in order people still felt the need to push and shove, which was rather annoying. After in the pens, we waited 'til about 5. This is when celebrities started showing up but the ones I was interested in waited 'til 6 or later. I got to see some great people; Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Ron Howard, Goldie Hawn and many, many more. Some were very sociable and attempted to sign as many things as their publicists would let them, while other were not my favorites. Sharon Stone was bordeline rude, but I didn't expect much from her. It was crazy as these celebrities were arriving. People were shouting and pushy not the greatest atmosphere to get a smile from a celebrity. And this is where my Brad Pitt story comes in. I was able to get Brad's autograph and shared a moment with him. You may be wondering about the latter so here it goes...and the risk of sounding like a little school girl here's what happened...Brad and Angelina arrived and everyone went nuts. They tried to sign many, many things and stopped for pictures. While Angelina didn't really come by me, Brad stopped directly in front of me. Best day ever. After he signed a couple of things I gently held up my notepad, he signed it, and then looked up and saw me. He paused and smiled back and then continued may sound pretty lame. But he sure is gorgeous when you look at him in the eyes. I do have witnesses to this amazing event; Dani mentioned it to me a little later and said she had saw it. So I am not crazy. Unfortunately, I kinda wish it was under circumstances, like when I wasn't drenched and looking sloppy. But, I guess the best way to get his attention to not shove and shout but rather stand and smile. But I couldn't have shouted if I wanted to, I was so awe struck all I could do was stand there staring/ smiling at him. I didn't really even get a picture because of it....It was a pretty great day I must say def. a highlight. Oh and I also got signatures from, Emma Watson (Harry Potter), Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire), and Jonathon Ross (a british TV host that I love). Enjoy the pictures, I only posted the ones where you could see the people...

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Went to the National Gallery today and it was amazing. It houses hundreads of paintings from the 13th to the 20th centuries. They have some really famous works there and it was great to finally see some of them in person. I saw pieces from all the ninja turtles, van gogh, sauret, turner and mantegna. It was great, really. Sorry there were no pictures allowed so I have none to share with you.

Friday, February 6, 2009

So, I don't have anything special to report, except that I have caught some sickeness in this city. I do not feel the best and am ODing on some drug to hope I get better. It is leaving me very unmotivated and pathetic....

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Grandma would be happy

So today Dani and I didn't really have anything in particular planned out so it was great when Jack stopped by this morning to see if we wanted to go check out St. Paul's Cathedral. He definitely didn't have to ask me twice and off we went. We finally found it after some wandering and you really cannot miss it. It's huge! We walked around the exterior and took some great photos of it, even though it wasn't the best weather. It's been misting all day, very wet. We then ventured in to see how much it cost and it was a bit more expensive than we guessed but the cashier gave us a student discount that cut the cost a bit. As soon as we got through the barrier I was in awe, it looks even bigger once you are inside. The ceiling is gorgeous, I don't think I would be able to describe it properly. But imagine gold mosaics practically glowing in the light. We found a stairway which allowed us to venture up (257 stairs) to the Whispering Dome. It is pretty much as it sounds if you sit up there you can hear the conversations across the way. Really great acoustics. I could sit up there for hours if they let me. The paintings made my jaw drop, I have never seen anything like it really. We then went up (~170) stairs to the outdoor balcony which had an amazing view of the city. Spent time up there taking pictures and slowly made our way back down. Now these stairs, let's just say they wouldn't fit any regulations in modern society. It became a task to make sure you didn't take a tumble down them. After we left we headed to a restaurant/ pub, called All Bar One, down the way where I tried bangers and mash for the first time. It was delicious! I would definitely recommend it to others.
oh and you will see that we weren't allowed to take pictures inside, so sorry I couldn't share my eyes with you...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Yesterday I had my first classes at London Met. I was pretty nervous and excited. My art class sounds like it will be my favorite for the next four months, the others, I could do without but I guess they will have to do. I made some friends in my film studies class which helped with some anxiety....I was afraid of being a dumb american so pretty much didn't open my mouth (surprised?) all day unless a question was directed only to me. But it should be a fun semester.
Then today I ventured out and went to the post office and waited in a rather long queue behind some not so intelligent people. After there, I wandered to Carphone Warehouse to buy my mobile phone for here. And what a doozie that turned into. I got lost again, and I still have no idea how it happen but I basically walked into the opposite direction for 10 min. I then wandered the streets in what I hoped was the correct direction and did eventually make it home, I was pretty proud of myself. But that's what I get for walking aroud London without a map or stopping to ask for directions. All in all, I walked around for an extra 30-40 minutes.
But to make up for it, Dani came back from her theatre class with an extra ticket for a play tonight. So now I am going to go see A Midsummer Night's Dream...which is one of my favorite Shakespeare plays. Big smile on this kids face! What a day.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Snow Day

Today was supposed to be my first day of classes. I was excited, got ready and headed off. After topping up my tube pass I jumped on the Piccadilly line to North campus. To my surprise, when I arrived I was told that classes were cancelled today do to the adverse conditions. I was shocked. It is snowing in London today and apparently they haven't seen snow likes this in 7 years--a local man informed us. London is beside itself, they don't know what to do. Half of the cities transportation is shut down and the people don't know what to do. We a saw a man clearing his walkway with a broom. We were told that the snow doens't usually stick and stay in London. Right now I would say they have just a couple of inches really, maybe 2 or 3, but I have always been terrible at estimating it. Nevertheless it is nothing by Wisconsin standards. So I guess I have one more day to realx.

Oh and tacks here are not the same. Tack is actually sticking blue adhesive, we think they call tacks push pins....I confused the a store owner today when I didn't know really what else to call them.

The Weekend

Well Saturday we decided not to do a typical touristy thing and went down to Camden Market. It was this great little neighborhood with tons of shops and vendors. We stepped out of the station and it was easily the most crowded station i have been to yet. The street was filled with people walking up and down looking at the little shops. This area is the trendy, punk-goth, vintage area. Which made for some interesting people. On the main drag you had all these goth kids with piercings and tattoos. So we walked down a ways to try and get off the beaten path and found a few side streets that were a real english market. It had brick walkways still and too many soips squeezed into one area. After a little bit we spotted this shop that all of these amazing leatherbound journals, sketchbooks and diaries. I bought a sketchbook that is amazing--it was hand made in India and the paper is hand made...there are still leaf particles in the pages. We moved along and saw that there is still this great little canal that runs through part of it and had a brick bridge over it. It was a gorgeous sight. I didn't really want to leave but it was cold. So we headed home and took a break and then decided to go out to Soho and find a bar. the one that we had originally planned on going to was packed and there was a line 'til the end of the block so we decided to go to this place called Thirst. Then we headed home and some other went to a local pub but I was way too tired for this and hit the hay.
Sunday we went down to Leicester Square to take part in the celebrations for Chinese New Year. This was amazing as well. They had live performances of singing, dancing, and drum playing (my favorite). They had some little shops set up where they were selling little souveniers....I ended up buying a paper dragon and an ornament with an ox on was holding a fish that apprently is a symbol to bring money--quite appropriate for this trip, I thought. They had a fireworks display at 6 o' clock. These were gorgeous and I was almost certain that they would set the square on fire. I guess the British don't worry about setting fireworks off in the middle of some trees. After these, we headed home and spent the night bumming around Nido. At about 11ish here is when they were airing the Superbowl so a bunch of us squeezed into the cafe to watch. I stayed up until half time and then had to get some sleep.