Sunday, October 31, 2010

Saturday, October 16, 2010

update and not feeling well

Kings Cross Sation and Stonehenge, England

Blast the London pollution! I feel like I am coming down with a allergy induced sinus infection and feel awful. Also sorry I haven't updated in a while.
I went to the Victoria and Albert museum yesterday with a couple of friends and it was amazing. On Friday nights they stay open until 10pm and it is so nice. If I lived here, that is where I would go for date night because it is beautiful and free! I didn't see half of what they have but particularly enjoyed the plaster casts and the fashion exhibit.

Everything is going well with my host family and roommate except for the fact that they smoke sometimes. Not in the regular areas of the house but outside and sometimes in their room I think, which wouldn't be all that much of a problem but their room is across from mine and it is often very strong (which doesn't help my sinuses!) But I suppose I can put up with that because I have heard some horror stories from some of the others in my class who got stuck with much less accommodating host families.

I have to write an article for journalism by Monday and still have not been able to contact anyone at Kew Gardens for an interview. I would have gone down there today if I had not been so sick. I'm not sure what to do. This is my first attempt at this kind of thing and really haven't had much guidance at all! I would try to come up with another story but I have no ideas and would need something fairly easy because I am not feeling well. I am pretty frustrated.

Oh, well. Scotland is coming up soon so I have that to look forward to if I can just get to feeling better. For now I am just going to put a movie on and get some more rest.

Keep checking my youtube (Lissagirl99) for new videos. I upload new ones whenever I get a chance and am home. I am pretty far behind but eventually I hope it will be a cool visual record of my trip.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Yesterday I went to class like normal then decided to attend Evensong Services at St. Paul's. It is a really awesome (and free) way to hear music in the Cathedral and see the Cathedral in action. It was absolutely beautiful to hear the choir's voices echoing in the beauty of the building. The sermon was actually good too. It pointed out the importance of paying attention to one's conscience and how great things have been accomplished by people who have done that. Went home. Had a nice dinner (similar to a ploughman's lunch) and went to bed.

Sadly, I woke in the middle of the night with stomach troubles so spent all of today in bed. I missed going to the British Library with the group but will probably go again with my roommate so that's not to bad. It just stunk to miss out on one day in London.

Tomorrow is Salisbury and Stonehenge.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

a store, an arch, a fountain, and a vampire walk

Yesterday was going to be spent at home being bored because of a tube strike that had been going on since Sunday night. Lucky for me, my host mom suggested that I go to Primark. Primark is a really large clothing and shoe store that seriously marks down their merchandise. I got a dress for 8 pounds! I just had to take one bus to get there and it was the bus that stops right in front of the house! I thought, the least I could do was get out of the house.

Primark is at the Marble Arch station and there really is a huge marble arch there. And, as it turns out, Hyde Park's Speaker's Corner is just there as well. So, after my shopping, I took a walk into the park. I saw Speakers Corner, the boat house on the Serpentine, and the Princess Diana Memorial fountain. (I have video of me soaking my feet in the fountain which they encourage you to do.) I headed home after that.

Today was a long day in class and we had a Ghost and Vampire walking tour with a local guide who had quite a sense of humor. I enjoyed him, if not the tour, and got some good video of that as well. Check out my youtube (when I get it uploaded). It is Lissagirl99.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Photo at St. Paul's and update

This is a photo of some of my group at St. Paul's Cathedral. I have yet to go in and visit, but when I do, you will hear more about it.

Yesterday was long but the coolest so far. We took a day trip to Canterbury Cathedral and Leeds Castle. The Cathedral had a few really cool things. I urge you to keep checking my youtube for new uploads as I took lots of video yesterday. The Black Prince's tomb and armor rests in the cathedral. And I am really tired and can't remember the rest just now so go check out the video.

Leeds Castle was amazing. It had a beautiful moat and the rooms were set up to make it a very interesting tour throughout. The people that work there are great and I actually stopped and had a long conversation with a lady and a older gentleman. Super friendly. Apparently Edward the 2nd's wife got mad because of his homosexual cheating and had him killed by driving a red hot poker up his anus and stirring it around. OUCH!!!

The grounds would be amazing to visit on a sunny day as there are 500 acres of gardens and a maze but it was raining very hard so I stuck to the aviary. I was told by the lady I spoke with that it is a national aviary that breeds the birds and then sends them back to their native country to repopulate the species. I could have spent a lot more time there but had to be back to meet the bus. They had a lot of different birds but I got a few of them on video talking and one of them did a little dance for me. LOVE IT! Someday, I wouldn't mind having a much smaller version of the same. I really enjoy animals.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Marx tour and Curry Night

This post is going to be very short. Today we had a tour of the Karl Marx library for our afternoon class field trip. Our guide was a sweet old gentleman whom you will see featured in the video of the tour (once I get it uploaded). Went shopping on Oxford Street afterward. I love H&M. I have never been there before but they have some really cute stuff and most of it was really cheap. (bras were 9.99 GBP!)
Had group curry night tonight which I loved because Indian food is one of my favorites. Brick Lane was where the restaurant was located and it was interesting to be aggressively approached by people from all the restaurants to come in and eat at their restaurant. I love that area. Really pretty, old, some cobblestone roads, big lovely church. Really close to Liverpool Station (where they shot this t-mobile ad.
Leeds Castle and Canterbury trip tomorrow. 'Night!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Normal Day in London

Hi guys,
Sorry I didn't update yesterday. Blogger was having some issues or maybe my computer, I don't know.
Today was our second day of classes. I am sad to say that I am not really enjoying classes. I feel like I would much rather be out exploring history than sitting in a classroom and I am also finding that the class really isn't my thing at all. The teacher is really talented but it just doesn't seem to fit me and my personality.
Had a really good lunch at the ULU pub today. Chicken Tikka Masala, it was awesome. I had it eaten in less than 5 min! Then went for a really nice walk in Russell Square park. Smelled the roses, lol, and was swarmed by pigeons. I love all the parks here and am going to make it a point to spend time visiting as many as possible.
After classes were over, my roomie and I went for some much needed supplies (hairdryer, allergy meds, crisps! etc.) at Tesco just north of our homestay. It was huge. Much larger than I expected in London but was nice that we didn't have to run all over. We have been trying to get all of our errands done since we got here on Saturday and it is good to be mostly done so we can settle in and focus on class and fun.
My home stay mum is a pretty good cook and made us bangers and mash (sausages and mashed potatoes and peas) for dinner tonight. Last night I had some really awesome Bread and Butter Pudding. I am really loving the food here.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday, Day 2

Transit this morning was a breeze. Between my roomie and me, we had it pretty much down. Orientation meeting was this morning at the University of London. Had a safety talk by a Sargent in local police. He was quite entertaining and made fun of us at the same time. He was hilarious. He warned us about the fake taxi cabs that they are having a problem with these days so I was glad of that. Especially if I am going to go to theatre and get tired and want to take a taxi home instead of the bus.

Next, we had a talk about transit from Sara from AIFS and a talk about our home-stay families and guidelines from Penny. She is a sweetie from what I can tell.
Lunch next. Ate in a cool and really yummy place called Pret A Manger which seems to be a chain of little soup and sandwich places. I don't know how widespread they are but they had natural sodas that were awesome so I hope they have them all over! I had the ginger beer. So yummy!!!

After Lunch, we met up for a bus tour of London which was a bit of a repeat for me of my last trip to London. The cool thing is, this time I get to stay and enjoy it and explore it longer! I took lots of video today which I will post on my youtube (Lissagirl99) hopefully tonight. So go check that out. I don't promise that it was any good and there are a lot of little videos. I am not an experienced editor yet so they may be just awful but hopefully it will help you to see a little bit of what I saw today. Sean was our tour guide and he was very helpful and was mindful of what we as students would be interested in knowing so I liked him.

After the tour, we stopped at Tesco for a few groceries and I hoped to get a hairdryer and some allergy meds but all the shops closed by six so we just came on home.

Ursula is my roomie and she is great so far. We really seem to be getting along and I hope it stays that way. We are both having a great time and I am not feeling homesick yet. I don't know that I really will unless something bad happens and I don't think it will. Love to you all and take care!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

I'm here!!!

Just arrived a couple of hours ago. Getting ready now to go from the AIFS office to my meet my homestay family and hopefully get some rest and most important, a shower! I am super proud of myself because I took the tube from Heathrow to the office. It wasn't hard at all, except finding the tube station in Heathrow. Got a little bit lost on my walk to the office but am here now so all is well.
The flight was awesome. Lots of movies available and every seat had a player. I couldn't sleep so I watched movies all night. They also fed us a ton of food that we didn't have to pay extra for which was really good for my tight budget. Feeling really loopy right now so I'm going to go. But check my youtube channel for some vids.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Packing is DONE! YAY!

So, packing went really well this trip. I actually did most of it yesterday and have been fairly organized. I am finished now and will be going to bed before 3 in the morning so that is a definite improvement! Also, I am bringing a small video camera on the trip and plan to update my youtube channel regularly. Here is the link to today's video. I look horrible but I was packing and got rained on and was wearing old clothes that I didn't pack so whatever.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

New Laptop for London

My awesome parents have arranged for me to have a new laptop to take with me to use in London. I am on it now. I am trying to figure out how to make it do what I want it to and get used to it enough before I leave in less than 2 weeks! Yay for cool parents!

Friday, September 10, 2010

countdown update

Two more weeks to go from today!!! I feel like I have a ton of stuff to do and I'm trying to get 5 plus novels read before I go per my teacher's request. I don't even have all of them yet because I can't afford them all until payday. Well, I will do my best.

I will be spending Thanksgiving break in Ireland this year. I am super excited. I booked my flight from London to Dublin last week and got what I think is a really good deal. Now I need to find out if I can afford to rent a car.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Pre-trip update!!!

Had London Study Abroad Orientation yesterday down at Edmonds Community College. Stayed up too late the night before and was tired. They had coffee (which I don't drink) and proper English tea (apparently brought over from London, which I tried. I guess I have never had that kind and could only manage to take one sip because it was one of the most bitter things I have ever tasted. Guess I should have realized that it isn't herbal (which I love, peppermint is my favorite and chamomile is a close second.)

A lovely lady from the AIFS office in London flew over just for our orientation so that was nice. She was a frank, entertaining, and tell-it-like-it-is person.(and had awesome taste in shoes!) I hope all of the others are similar and we will get along just fine.

I felt like quite a nerd yesterday once I realized that I already knew most of what they were telling us in the orientation and found I had done way more research than anyone else there. I'm the nerd that read all of the material before hand (including the student manual). ugg! Oh, well. I really can't blame myself. I have been really excited and to pacify myself until September 24th (the day I fly out!!!), I have been reading, watching, and listening to anything that might possibly be related to my trip. I know what sights are open and when, the basic makeup of the government, and even have planned to meet some people from the travbuddy website. But the point is, I felt way over-prepared once I got there but will probably still keep up the research. I like knowing what I am to see and most importantly, how to save the most money. (I am going to have a lot less money than I was planning on while there and my budget is almost unbearably tight!!! I am really worrying about it. But I am sure it will all work out if I plan well.)

Up next...the joys of packing for 3 months and fitting it into a little suitcase!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

planning nerves

So I am actually getting a little bit nervous about planning what I will see during the program. I am really quite prepared. But I think the problem is that I want to see it all and there is really no way that is humanly possible. My other constant worry is lack of funds. I really hope I can get a part-time job this summer to make some extra fun-money. I am waiting to hear what will happen with my work study position and they are dragging their feet which is kind of upsetting me because I can't make plans for another job until I know what days/times I have free. Maybe I will just apply and they will have to deal (but that really isn't like me at all and I love my work study job.) Well, I have lots to do right now as it is the week before finals. Take care all!

Monday, May 17, 2010


So, I am not sure this really pertains to study abroad but I feel like it was a step. I took the motorcycle safety class over this last weekend and passed with flying colors. I was the only girl to pass in our class and one of the high scorers out of the whole class! What an amazing high! And it has done wonders for my confidence level. I just couldn't stop smiling all evening Sunday and most of this morning too (even though I was incredibly tired and sore.)

This just makes me want to tackle London even more. I can do anything! Woo hoo!

That's my sweet little Lifan 200 up top.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Getting Started

Right now I am in the process of preparing for the study abroad program in London for fall 2010. I have to take this moment to thank all of the people who have helped me, encouraged me, met with me numerous times (and probably will continue to do so), given me great advice, and just been really supportive. Thank you so much!

Study Abroad has been a dream of mine since I first heard about it in my French class during my 8th grade year. All of you that know me, well, you know I have had some struggles and difficulties since then, especially after high school. This is a dream that I had given up on long ago because I didn't think it was possible for me. Now it is happening and I am so happy but still can't believe it! So thank you again! This really means a lot to me!

(I am also collecting addresses from people who would like me to send them postcards. So if that is you, contact me and we will work it out!)

Cheers everyone!