Mon Jul 01 2002 04:42:
we are finally online here at the university of sussex! (note: this means i will be accepting and answering emails, so friends, feel free.) i also have a "mobile" phone and a room phone that works. i dont have the numbers hady, but if anyone is interested, just email and ask for the number. i will be accepting calls from the hours of 2 am to 4 pm, pacific daylight time. as soon as i get my act together i will send out an info email with my phone numbers and and an address handy for mailing letters, postcard, and care packages to.
it is soo beautiful here! weather hasnt been too hot, though, very literally. i have meet atleast 5 people from every uc, but i cant remember any of their names, and also people from minnesota, south carolina, and other various states, toronto, and i believe there is someone from mexico here.
our houses are so nice! everyone has there own room, and half of the rooms are unihabited! which means that its not very crowded at all, and it also means michelle and i have been going around stealing extra things from rooms, we figure- if no ones going to use them, why let it waste? it can just be put back in the rooms where it came from when the program is over! i am slightly paranoid, however, that someone arriving late will end up in a room with no pillow. since all the houses are half empty, i am going to see if i can move into michelle's house; it is alot closer to campus and there is a nice view of the south english county side, as oppose to a phone booth with slightly heavy traffic- so i have to remember to keep my curtains closed if i am changing!
we went into brighton proper last night and explored- it is such a fun town! later, after library and sports center orientation, a group of us are going to the grocery store for supplies. the food offerings here are adequate at best. i cant wait for tommorrow, because orientation will be over and i might actually get more than 6 hours of sleep!
right now i am enrolled in a shakespeare class, but since i took a shakespeare class last quarter and i am taking one next quarter, and they are all about pretty much the same topic, i figure i should take something else. my first choice on my change of classes list is one from 2-5 on mondays and tuesdays... no, really, thats all. it's a creative writing class, so i can write away while i am the train to exciting places... ON MY FIVE DAY WEEKENDS! i think everyone has my idea, though, so the class is probably full, but i would gladly settle for a tues/thurs class.
i dont have time to go into detailed account of my exciting adventures in london, but to tide everyone over until i do, here is a list of headlines (cut and pasted from an email to mom) to give an idea of what i have been up to!:
suitcases and the underground
talking to strangers
the ups and downs of hosteling (and my big scheduling mistake)
the day of "no"'s: buses that dont turn around, guide books that lie
Les Miz on saturday night!
more train adventures involving suitcases
total "Alsatian" (gretel) sightings: 2. i decided i am going to move to england where they let the puppies ride the train.
Mon Jul 01 2002 15:16:
well, its official, i have 5 day weekends! yay, i am excited, should be a fun class.
went into brighton today to get supplies but i couldnt find everything i needed. would you believe they dont have shaving cream at a safeway? amazing. what i really need is a target.
everyone, please notice the new and improved spelling (thanks mom) of the british word for "german shepard": still at 2 sightings, allthough i did see a very german shepardish looking doggie in the park today, but it turned out to be.
planning a trip to london for wenesday to buy more things. i love how i can just say "i think i'll go into london later this week to do some shopping." and really mean it. im going to london later this week, to do some shopping.
Tue Jul 02 2002 11:00:
well, the rain appears to have let up a bit, so it might be safe to trek back to my house. maybe i wont have to use my brand new umbrellla yet after all. i am now sitting in the library, finding books for my new class, which i went to for the first time today! it is going to be so much fun! all i have to do is writing exercises and read. in a beautiful setting with 5 days of the week off. life is soo tough.
Wed Jul 03 2002 12:13:
turns out it wasnt safe to go back- raining hard the whole way! oh well, today it only slightly rained. michelle and i went into brighton and went shopping, and i managed to get most of the stuff i needed. including a nice fuzzy big warm jacket. on sale. yay. i even got a brita filter and a hair styler at a very reasonable price. the one thing i couldnt find, however, was a cd player- they were all atleast 40 pounds, which is way too much!
planing on going into london tommorrow, early evening. then staying for most of friday! the (extremley) tenative plan is to go again next week on saturday to buy doc martens in the street market, then visit scotland the week after. michelle wasnt able to get into my class, so we might put off ireland until next session. well see. i am still hoping to run across extremely cheap airfare so i can go to nice- that is something i am dying to do!
i am still working on getting settled in. i blame my exhastion on recovering jet lag and the severe change in weather. hopefully i will get some work done tonight! i bought a hole puncher to go with my binder- can you beleive that, in addition to different plug, currency, and cell ("moblie")phone systems, they have a different hole punching system! not only that, i discovered when i bought my hairstyler (which convientantly has 2 different plug adaptors), the british electrical plugs are different from the rest of europe! i think they just like to be difficult.
apparantly brighton is not a hot spot for alsatians. although i have seen many cute doggies, none are that special breed, so the count is still at two.
Thu Jul 04 2002 07:08:
happy fourth everyone! it doesnt quite seem like a holiday here... tonight we are going into london to celebrate (wish us luck!!), then staying at a hostel and doing dumb tourist stuff/ shopping tommorrow. during my previous stay in london i didnt allow myself to buy anything because i knew i would have to carry it all over the world along with my other 50 tons of luggage, and i have thought of nothing but the clarks of england sale in oxford circus! bon marche!!
Fri Jul 05 2002 08:09:
didnt make it to london yesterday, instead we went to a rather disappointing bbq and then out on the town. but we are definitely going today! the fourth of july aspect of yesterday was anticlimatic, but i really shouldnt have expected more.
relating to national holidays, i think it would be awesome to be in paris for bastille day, but i seriously doubt it will happen.
i am determined if (so far) unsucessful in my attempt to befriend the british. as much as i try, i seem to keep running into the non-befriendable type. but i remain confident i will eventually meet someone nice, friendly, and preferably residing in london or another place of visiting interest.
Sat Jul 06 2002 16:17:
back from london, safe but exhasted. i have a feeling my feet will never forgive me. more on adventures coming soon....!
Sun Jul 07 2002 15:49:
again, i am feeling rushed. i have some assignments to do for class tommorrow, and because of a rather seemingly insignificant chain of events i have to get up at 7 tommorrow to do another assignment for class and finish in time to go to the grocery store and sta in time to come back for class. and i need to do laundry, because i REALLY want clean towels. so im not getting too much sleep tonight, but i think its ok because i slept for about 12 hours after exhasting yesterday. today i accomplished all of buying a calculator (it was only £.49. i hope it doesnt break) and waiting for the bus for a total of about 2 hours. have to work, ill write about london tommorrow.
alsatian sightings: up to 3!! ill be really excited when i see one that looks like gretel. all the ones here have longer hair and darker orange with black instead of gretel's vanilla colour.
Tue Jul 09 2002 12:36:
for some reason i couldnt get on yesterday, so i wrote out all about my london adventures but i left that in my room. so i will type it up tommorrow, if i have time, or thursday.
today has been very sucessful. i went to town in the morning and went to sta and the train info and i got lots of rates and fares and times and stuff. then, i went to class, which was fun as always, and im totally thrilled because my tutor really likes my writing! after that, michelle and i got together and planned and christy came over and we planned some more. tommorrow michelle and i are going to the hastings battlefield and abbey and pevensy castle. we are signing up for the group trip to oxford on saturday and also this weekend we are going to the picturesque english village next door, and hopefully renting bikes!! also on the agenda: next weekend, stratford upon avon and warick castle. coming soon: windsor. yay.
apparently it is possible but very hard to get really cheap train tickets to Edinburgh, so we are also attempting that. we'll see how it goes.
soon i am going to make a real dinner- chicken! i am actually cooking, which is very exciting. i like this a lot better than the cafeteria.
alsatian sightings: up to four!!! yay. i miss my puppy. and i only have 4 bags of cheetos left.
Wed Jul 10 2002 11:33 PST:
Today Michelle and I took a day trip (stepping out!!) to Pevensy Castle and the Abbey and Battlefield of Hastings. It was so beautiful!! I think I really got a taste of historic southern England! The weather was great today, so that helped, too.
First we went to Battle, which is the cutest town, and we explored the abbey and went into the battlefield, then we sat on an old abbey wall and ate our sandwiches. It was so nice! I think the weirdest thing about the whole experience is how the really beautiful and peaceful place was once the sight of such a fierce and important battle! We heard the events leading up to the battle from the view point of different sides, so it was easy to see how a fight resulted. Michelle got some dirt (she has a dirt collection!) and I took a flower! There was a kitty in gift shop, too.
After Battle we went to Pevensy castle, walking through the town of Westham. The town name reminds me of a game we used to play when I was little: "the sheriff or rotting-ham sandwich". It was such a cute town! I think I need to live in Europe. We could see the ocean from the castle and it was a great view. The castle itself was awesome, too. I took a ton of pictures! There were kids riding through on their bikes and I was jealous... hopefully we will go soon. I also want to go horseback riding. We saw some horsies in the English countryside on the train ride. At the castle we saw the dungeon (down some steep and scary steps), the obliette (yikes!), and a bunch of towers, and a pile of stones I assume were hurled over the wall using some sort of catapult. Somewhere it said that the castle had been besieged 3 or 4 times, I think- I dont think I'd like that! Michelle told me it was also used by American and Canadian troops during WWII. Outside of the castle we came across a section of the original Roman wall, the sign said it was uncovered in an archeology dig in 1930 and it revealed the amount of accumulation since Roman times- there was maybe 20 feet of dirt in front of it! Area of deposition, I guess!!!
LONG AWAITED LONDON ADVENTURES:
London was amazing, as always, but this time I barely survived! Our first night there was fun! We checked into Wellington Hall which is actually a residence hall for a college in London. It was a very beautiful building, but we had a double with 4 people, so I didnt sleep very well on the floor. That night we got off the underground at Leicester Square and wandered (its a fairly safe place to wander at night, as long as you have your wits about you) and we actually made some British friends, if only temporary.
The next morning we got up early and had a nice English breakfast, then we headed off to Camden Town and the market there. I found the perfect pair of doc martens that I have wanted all my life for only ï¿½20, but they didnt have my size, so that was very disappointing. I also found a bag I really liked, and I tried to bargain with the guy but he wasn't cooperating. There then ensued a huge battle between my pride and my desire for the bag, and in the end I sent Michelle back to buy it for me. It is a cute bag and I'm glad I have it, but it is not totally worth ï¿½10.
After that we split up, Michelle and Char heading off to the Tower, and Me and Emily off for more shopping. We got off at Oxford Circus and wandered around there- found a cafe to eat in where I threw away my travelcard in the bathroom (typical). We shopped some more (topshop= overwhelming) and ended up wandering down what wasn't Regent's Street, back tracking and going down what was Regent's Street to find the Clark's sale. By this time I was desperate to buy shoes simply because my feet in my boots hurt so bad! I got a cute pair of black slides for ï¿½20, a very decent price for Clark's, and it turned 4, the time we had arranged to meet Char and Michelle at the trusty Auntie Anne's in Victoria Station if we hadnt gotten in touch. They hadnt called, so we headed there, and had been browsing the drug store a few minutes when they did call. We arranged to meet at the hotel, so thats where me and Emily dragged ourselves. At this point, tired and sore, we decided to head back to Brighton Saturday night instead of Sunday. We waited at the hotel, and talked with a few guys from Tennesse or somewhere who got annoyed because I keep forgeting and saying they were from South Carolina. Michelle and Char called again and asked us to meet them at the Pizza Hut across from Victoria Station, which actually turned out to be the other Pizza Hut down the street from Victoria Station. Kristi had joined us, after we ate we went back to the hotel, got out stuff and limped to Parliament Square to oooh and awe at the sights. In the end, they headed off to go out, and Emily and I got on our train and FINALLY! made it back, I was so tired! But it was fun, a trip to London is always worth it.
Wed Jul 10 2002 17:17:
I just booked flights to Brussels for £5!!! Well, actually, it turned out to be more like £20 with the taxes and all, but that's still a ridiculously cheap price. I hope the other people I'm going with don't mind, since when I woke them up yelling "We're going to Brussels for £5!!!" I didn't mention anything about airport taxes.
Yay! I'm going to Brussels!!! What's in Brussels?
Fri Jul 12 2002 09:21:
My eyes are kinda hurting, because I don't have my glasses and I need them for computers. I have been bad and not worn them since I got here, but I will as soon as I remember to bring them to the stupid computer lab. It was so much easier when my "computer lab" was my desk. I miss my computer!!
Michelle, Char, and Emily went off to Stonehenge today, but I declined because, frankly, I wasn't that impressed the first time, and I have no desire to go agian. Plus, I needed a homework day- tommorrow we are going to Oxford and there is a free beach party with Fatboy Slim!
I went into town yesterday with Michelle and we shopped for essentials. I bought a CD player that was the best deal I could find (but since I have now decided to live in England I considered it a worthy investment), hangers (yay- finally found them!), and a dishpan type thing that will be usuful for clothes-washing and pedicures! I already used it today- washed this weeks clothes by hand, only took about an hour and a half. It was relaxing, though, and better then paying a million pounds to use the laundrette that doesn't really work. I need to go back in town, however, and buy more hangers ( I underestimated my hanger requirements) and this thing that I saw in a shop window called a "neat tidy" which is kind of repetetive, and different from a "quick tidy" for your nails. It is difficult to describe, but now that I have seen it I don't think I can live without it.
Ever since I got home with my new CD player, I have been listening to my music and singing along, pretty loudly, and it occurs to me that since the walls are pretty thin, this might bother my flat mates, if the were ever in their rooms. I wonder if they think I am gone as much as I think they are gone. When I went up to the kitchen this morning someone had thrown up in the trash can. It was disgusting. Luckily, by the time I went back up for lunch someone had taken the trash out so the smell was only slightly lingering. I think tonight for dinner I will have my other chicken breast the same way I had the first- fried in olive oil and "herbs de provence" over spagetti with mozerella and tomatoes. Yum! But this time, I will remember to cut it in half so it cooks all the way through.
The cleaning people came this morning again, but this time I was prepared. I had my sink all cleaned off so the guy could clean it, and my floor was picked up so they could vaccum if they felt the desire. They didn't vaccum, though, Michelle and I decided they come in secretly to vaccum because our floors seem cleaner than they should have been. I appreciate the fact they didn't say anything about the extra duvet cover under my bottom sheet that makes my bed sleepable- of course I could always say I asked the porter's office for an extra.
I think I have decided what to do with a law degree once I get one. Surely there must be a company that offers advice and assistance to American companies taking the plunge into European markets. And if there isn't, someone should start one. I had this epifany while contemplating the fact that Mary Kay has yet to expand into France (although I am told it is planned for) and I firmly believe that Express would be very sucessful in Europe. Also, it bothers me that they have a million McDonald's here, but no Inn and Out. I don't think America is being fairly represented by the selection of American companies in Europe.
Fri Jul 12 2002 15:43:
Reading Briget Jones's Diary as 'model' for diary project in class. Am trying not to be annoyed with loud drunk people in computer lab- unsucessful. It is apparantly necessary to read emails aloud to entire room and respond, speaking to sender in baby voice.
One last venture into the night to check email, hoping for departure time info for tommorrow's Oxford trip. Also, as mom is returning tommorrow from girls camp and brush sets will likely have been delivered during the week, send finalized lists of requests for packages. Am wishing I could call, but used up all mobile phone money on hold with train company.
Disgusted with self for eating bag of cheetos after promising to eat only dinner. Puzzeled as to why I cannot cook the middle of my chicken breast, no matter what.
PS: remembered glasses.
Sun Jul 14 2002 12:41:
Yesterday was terrible! Woke up by phone call approx 20 min before bus was supposed to leave, although it did not leave for another half hour. So, I got ready in a hurry and sat on the curb waiting for longer than it took me to get ready!
Oxford itself was very nice, charming, and everything I expected it to be except on one account. Shopping itself wan't as immpressive as it had been made out to be. I did find one place of interest: Alice (of Wonerland)'s Shop, 10 min before we had to be back on the bus. The bulk of time in Oxford was spent on a open top bus with audio tour that provided for our listening pleasure classical trance music in between the informational blips. I had it switched to french for w while, but couldn't understand much so switched back. Must visit France for a weekend in order to brush up. It took a while to get on the bus at first, but luckily we ended up on one with a slightly less grumpy driver then the one we couldn't get onto because it was too full. (He tried to hit people that were apparently standing in the way of him parking because they were waiting to get on.) However, all of the buses seemed to make this scary, loud, grinding noise when they backed up. The tour itself was somewhat interesting; we could see most of the 5 billion colleges from the bus, and the weather alternated between sunny and cold, and we keep getting hit by trees. A favourite pastime of the day was to keep score between us and various forces of nature that seemed to be out to get us, for exapmle: trees,2, us, 0 (until Kristi started fighting back). In general, I believe that England is leading by about 500. After we got off the suicidal tour/disco bus, the remainder of the day was spent wandering the streets and eating.
Return bus ride was v. interesting. Kristi and I, determined to not become sick, elbowed our way to the front. Becasue of the concert/ beach party, thw way to Brighton was "qued-up" and the was home took 3 hours. I think the real party was on the freeway, though. Our bus driver knew a shortcut, as we drove by lanes to Brighton the cars were all at a standstill and there were people sitting on, leaning out of windows and sunroofs. Must have seen 5 guys on the side of the road peeing. Bus driver rolled down his window slowed down next to some v. white, entusiastically waving, shirtless guys, and yelled "are you going to the gay festival?" Oh, the looks on their faces, it was the greatest thing! our bus driver! Kristi and | laughed so hard!
By the time we got back into town it was late and the traffic was still terrible so we took a train to Brighton, which was also very crowded. The whole town was packed with people- it reminded me of New Year's in London. Took our time eating at an Indian all you can eat buffet, which was good, and by the time we fought our way to the beach, they announced the concert was over. Can't believe it, we misses the whole thing! Gets much better. In the confusion of 100,00 people leaving the beach all at once, Michelle and Kristi got seperated from Emily, Char, and I. We spent some time looking for them next to a police van, while Kristi was looking for us from the top of a porta potty, both of which had recntly been used as dance floors. Eventually we went back to the last place we had been and waited for a few minutes before they came too. This was when the tragic decision was made to take a bus home. We waited for a 10 or 15 min to get on our bus, then spent the next 3 hours barely moving. We would literally move a few feet, then sit perfectly still for 10 min. It was unbelieveable! Amazed by the fact that we had not only missed our whole perpose for going into town, but had gotten stuck in the worst aftermath, I spent most of the ride home in a state of limbo between sleep and abject misery. We eventually got home (it took 3 hours!!! to go about 3 km! That only 1 km per hour!! Not even a mile, a km!!) and cancelled our plans for the next (same) day, and I limped to my bed where I stayed for the next 14 hours.
Weather-wise, v. nice day today. I was actually warm in pants! yay! And all of my clothes dried! Too bad bike riding didn't out.
Have removed petty comment from Friday's entry. Will try to be more objective as quest for self-improvement continues. Also: gym... soon.
Mon Jul 15 2002 09:32:
Am brilliant lawyer. Will prepare defense statement for Medea from 50 books checked out from libaray today. Right, must hurry and discuss plans with friends before they leave for Cambridge tonight.
Mon Jul 15 2002 17:13:
have discovered essential items missing from provided kitchen utinsils: garlic press, potato masher, and electric mixer. Most disappointing is the last one, as makes pretzel making next to impossible. Considered buying handheld mixer, but realized have already spent too much on UK appliances. Hair styler was easily justifyable, as can be used on all future trips to Europe, and even at home, as comes with handy converter plugs. Cd player is also necessary, as would go insane with out music, and almost pays for itself by replacing the batteries I would use by blasting music from the tiny headphones on my portable cd player (that wasn't working very well, anywasy). Also, can be used when living in Europe, and even at home, as also can be battery operated. However, a handheld mixer is unlikely, unless I find one for a veyr good deal, such as less then £5. Also, must resist temptation to buy hairdyer and/or curling iron as already have bought cross between two and therefore do not NEED either.
Can blame lack of potato masher for flavorless mashed potatoes made today (possibly over compensated by ooking too long so they would mash easily with a fork). Emily rescued left over mashed potatoes by turning them into potatoe pancakes, which were very good, and flavored by sudden chunks of garlic (lack of garlic press).
am very tired. must sleep.
Tue Jul 16 2002 14:50:
Am bit distressed about booking arrangments for rest of trip, need for Eurail pass to be delivered to my door by next tues, lack of response to email to family friend in Edinburgh thus creating need to make and pay for living arrangments as well as expert advice and friendly faces while there, general anxiety that comes from booking airfare, and most of all problems with UC application. On bright side, found very good return airfare to Paris for week off school, during which will travel around continetal Europe, using said Eurail pass. Also, found v. cheap hostel for stay in Brussels, only (expresses consternation at last of Euro key on key borad)13 per person per night. Have feeling Brussles will be a better luck country. Us,2, Brussles,0. Hurrah.
Today was v. happy day, as got first piece of mail. V. exciting! made me happy all day, a cute letter from my sis! Yay. Actually went to gym induction thing today, go me. Am getting up early tommorrow to go work out, then to town to make further travel arrangments. Estimate 5 hours of work on class assignments and will be done forever. Decided to argue that Medea did not kill children, but only let Jason to believe that she did, thus coming to the perfect solution of punishing him greatly and herself not at all. One of the best kept secrets of greek tradgedy.
Wed Jul 17 2002 17:05:
Am faboulous! Go me!! Finally went to gym today (and am feeling it). Went into Brighton to eat at an overpriced for the portion size Chinese restaurant, then I ran across the street to buy dessert from a French patisserie we saw was closing from the upstairs window, which was also over priced but unlike the Chinese food well worth it. Waitress had six fingers, have never seen that before, I don't think. Stressed over booking tickets to Ireland and Scotland, but atleast it is over an done. As of now, am pretty much all set for the rest of my trip(or the "sussex portion". anyway). Yay. Have wonderful mother. Another main accomplishment of today: purchased HUGE suitcase for only £30. V. good deal, will come in handy. Although have not tried it yet, do not doubt could fit self in said suitcase. Have found secret to (semi-) good hair in England: hairspray from Frizz Ease called "Moisture Barrier".
Fri Jul 19 2002 03:50:
here is my schedule:
this weekend, Cambridge
next weekend, Brussels.
session 2, week 1, Ireland
week 2, Edinburgh
week 3, day trip to Leeds castle, possibly Normandie
week 4, done with summer school, yay! fly into Paris and travel around France and Germany for 6 days with the Eurail pass my wonderful mother bought for me!! (my friend Shayan, the guy who is from UCR and going on both programs, like me, got the same flights as me and we are going to stick together... most of my friends are going to Italy after Nice, but we both wanted to go to Germany, which is good because before I didnt have anyone to go with, but anyways, almost everyone I know who is traveling after is going to be in Nice at the same time, so we will all have to stay in the same hostel and just have tons of fun!! Isn't that nice? hehe. )
after I thought the whole planning mess business was over, I went to the train station with my friend/ flatmate giselle so she could get tickets to Edinburgh and so we could both get tickets to the ferry sailing point. The guy in the ticketing booth told giselle she had to go to the travel center to buy her tickets, which is ridicoulous because I bought mine in the ticketing booth yesterday, but it turned out to be for the best. We were helped by the friendlist, most helpful person I have ever met in a train station, much less working in one! He kindly explained that it was cheaper to buy a ferry and train ticket all in one, even cheaper than just buying a train ticket. Also tried to help with my train ticket to Edinburgh, which had turned out to be something wierd which I still don't understand, but he said it would be ok, and I believe him. Anyway, he reserved seats so me and Giselle could sit together, and on the ferry, too. This was all puntuated by a brief rushing adventure back to the university so I could get my Edinburgh tickets and try to fix it, and for us to see if we could get a refund on our Irish Ferry booking, which we could, and did. Our second time in the train station we ran into Michelle and Char, who were buying their tickets to Edinburgh, too, and he helped them get on the same train and do the ferry thing too. Unfortunatley, it was his last day because after 10 years in the rail service he is leaving to persue a career in teaching (grade school, I asked), so he won't be there to help in the future. He is going to make a good teacher, though, he was very patient and understanding. Atleast I am or mostly done buying tickets for the rest of summer... whew!
right now am trying to get as much finishing my portfolio done as possible before leaving for Cambridge.
Fri Jul 19 2002 05:06:
Am now officially in the "walking into history" class I wanted- hurrah! I wonder if it will count for some credit at.. wherever I end up... I have so many random credits, I will probably be in school forever because none of them are good for anything. They should be, though. I am learning what I want to be learning, so I guess that's all that matters. I'm sure it will count for something. All those lower division humanities I have to have for European Studies major... should have those knocked out with this summer and fall... yay! Maybe i will be able to take another geology class for science breath requirements, that would be nice...
Fri Jul 19 2002 05:12:
More good news!! Just looked at my bank account, I finally got my finacial aid! The program is half over, I finally get the money I was supposed to have 10 days before it started. Am very pleased with the Univeristy of California right now *sarcasm*.
Fri Jul 19 2002 08:37:
Wasting time waiting for Kristi to get out of lab so we can take off to Cambridge. Should be working on portfolio, but we know how that goes. In a little while, anyway. I got pictures developed, which was very exciting. Some of them are super cute! I have a message on my phone, but I don't know how to check it. You would think it would be in the menu, but also you would think keylock would be in the menu, and it isn't. Just one of those things you have to know, I guess, or read the manual. Maybe I will read the manual when I get back. Could be an important message. I wonder what it says... I've won the lottery, or just got a role in the newest Harry Potter movie, or Tony Blair wants to discuss my opinion on... uniform electrical currency and plugs. Yes, that's definitely it. Will read manual when I go back.
Fri Jul 19 2002 09:39:
Am I ever going to leave for Cambridge?
Although, have gotten a good amount of work done in past hour or so.
Fri Jul 19 2002 09:46:
Have given up trying to work more, and am going back to my room where I can check my message and more effciently wait. Occurs to me that the message may be from Kristi saying what's up. Everyone, I am (allegedly) going away for the weekend, so do not be alarmed if you do not hear from me until Sunday. Cheers!
Sun Jul 21 2002 07:07:
Cambridge was so much fun! Atleast, I tricked myself into believing it was so much fun. The funny thing is, every weekend gets more and more ridiculous. We went punting, which is supposed to be this relaxing thing where you sit and get floated along the river and eat bagettes and brie (or brie and cheese, as Char would say. She didn't even realize- the guy asked her: "you want brie and cheese?" and she replied cheerfully "yes!" Goes well with bagettes and bread, I hear.) and have a jolly ole time. However, we picked to go on a day with tempermental weather, and at a time when it started pouring while we were in the middle of the river. Quite literally in the middle, too; by the time we got to a bridge we were soaked and the rain was letting up. May as well have fallen in. Our punter's name was Harry. He had managed to convince us he was some kind of expert punter, but then later admitted it was his first day, after he lost his pole thing (Kristi called it a stick and got yelled at). He was very charming, though, and we managed to turn the whole thing into a funny aventure. Really, with the way things have been going, shouldn't have expected anything less. Can't wait for Brussles! Sadly, Emily is leaving on Tuesday...
Couldn't get to sleep last night (after all that!) so I was up thinking about a route to take on my tour de France and Germany in between programs. Am thinking: Nice, Strousburg, Munich, castle nearby(forget the name.. its really famous), possibly followed by train route of the romantic road, then back to Paris from either Munich or Frankfurt. Am v. excited about this! Also, borrowed Let's Go; Europe from kitchen upstairs, and was looking for things to do in Brussels (besides royal pavillion I read about in King Leopold's Ghost), and apparently the musee royale des beaux arts is home to The Fall of Icuarus (sp?) amoung other things, then I remembered the poem we read in Ms. Richard's class and I decided I needed to go see that! Also, there is the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. Yay! For our day trip to Germany I am thinking maybe we can go to Bremen or Hamburg or Franfurt, and stop at Aachen, which is right on the border, and was Charlemagne's capital. The sad thing about Frankfurt, that I was reading, is that all there is to see is the cathedrale and memorials, because everything was bombed during WWII.
Right, now I am going to work on my creation diary. And my defense statement for Medea. Can't believe fist session is almost over.
Sun Jul 21 2002 14:42:
Half of my class is in the computer lab right now, fun times! well, I took a break after writing half of my diary and went back to eat, then instead of coming back and finishing, I went to sleep. hmmm...
Sun Jul 21 2002 17:14:
*yawn* Perhaps will go to bed and do defense statement in the am. Will have to really get up early, though. Hmmm... yes, will go back to room and brainstorm, then get up early and type it up. Am done with diary, it is v.g., I think. Lots of fun to write. Am sad about class being almost over. Right, am getting up at 9:30 tom., no later!
Tue Jul 23 2002 17:21:
Am leaving for Brussels tommorrow! this is going to be so much fun! also on the adgenda: Amsterdam for the day, so we can see the Van Gogh museum and Anne Frank's house. yay!
today was the last day of class, and I was kinda sad because I really enjoyed it and it went buy super quick! However, we all promised to get together for lunch next week. our tutor is so awesome! the techer/ student relationship here is a more casual. Oh- fun fact! Guess who is the chancellor for the University of Sussex? None other than the actor who played the old grandpa, Hammond, in Jurassic Park! apparently he is a really cool guy.. I hope I get to meet him!
Got a call from Anne Paterson, mom's friend from Edinburgh, today. I get to stay with her when I go up there. I am so excited, not only about getting to see Edinburgh, which I have heard nothing but good things about, but by actually going up to see someone, which is so much better than being a tourist. Especially since I have been and will be a tourist for every other weekend this summer- what a nice break! yay!
So, yeah, I'm going to Brussles tommorrow! I bet I will get to use my french.. yay! I'm going to bed now.
Sun Jul 28 2002 17:09:
Returned from Brussels/ Amsterdam approx 12 hrs ago, most of which were spent sleeping, and I think I will go sleep some more. Be reassured that I am safe and (I think) whole. Coming soon: adventures.
total Alsatian sightings (have lost count- not v. many- but for this weekend): 4
Mon Jul 29 2002 16:43:
I'm still recovering from my trip... as soon as I am on my feet again you will all know my many adventures and misadventures.. in the meantime, be suspensful. Also: tommorrow: first day of new class! hurrah! (if only I knew what time it was...hopefully not 9!!)
Tue Jul 30 2002 13:57:
Faith in mankind has been redeemed, just in time, by stranger in the train station who gave me his ticket because he bought the wrong one and it was the one I needed. Its the little things that keep us going. Just realized I still, after 15 years of education, don't know when to put an apostrophe in "its". hmmm.
Promise to return later tonight with adventures from Brussles/ Amsterdam. Flatmate Giselle and I have big plans for tommorrow including a trip to town to take care of mostly Ireland business, and an evening picnic in Strammler Park to which all are invited. So please, feel free to come!
Had my first day of class today, have a feeling it is going to be just as much fun as the last! I'm excited to be learning about Brighton. We have our first walk on Thursday. Also just realized I am taking almost the exact same class except about London in London.
I'm going to Ireland in 2 days!!!! yipeee!!!!!!!!
Tue Jul 30 2002 15:43:
Long Awaited Weekend Adventures:
Brussels: waffels, 3
Brussels was amazing! I absolutley fell in love with Belgium! Our first night, we checked into the hostel, settled in, and went to the handily situated restaurant down the starirs from our room. The food was great! Then we went down town because someone said that's where we should go, and got into a taxi who insisted on showing us around! We finally got jhim to let us out in the middle of an entire street full of Greek food restaurants, and then we walked into the most description defyingly beautiful square (Le Grand Place)I have ever seen! Sttod around amazed for a while, the asked someone to take our picture. Afte rthat, some French/Belgium guys came up to us and asked to take a picture with them.. we weren't sure if they wanted to take a picture of us, or if they wanted us to take a picture of them, but I think we got it figured out.. We hung out with them for a while, Kristi and I were thrilled to have a chance to speak French, wandered around, and then took an (honest) cab back to the hostel.
The next day we vowed to get up early to go to th Musee des Beaux Arts, but that didnt work out. Instead, we rolled out of bed at 10 and were grumpy until we found a Euro dispensing ATM (this is misleading, all the ATMs in Brussles dispense Euros, the finding part was refering to the ATM itself, the Euro refering to our previuos lack of Euros due to England's isolationist policy when it comes to the commom currency, which actually makes since because the pound is like the strongest currency in the worls, and the Euro isnt, so.. anyway) and waffale stand/ Once we finally found a bookstore, I saw a big flaw in my plan to buy a Let's Go: Europe in Belgium (having previously realized my mistake in thinking I could do without). (BTW- the flaw is they were all in FRENCH! and they didn't have a Europe one, anyway.) We ended up back at the grand Place and ate at a Yummy Pita Place, and tried to call the guys from last night so we could meet up and they could show us around. However, I was leaving a message, trying to speak loudly and clearly in English because I was never any good at French numbers anyway, and especially not on the spot, but an accordian player ran to our table and was playing loudly on our ears as soon as I got on the phone, leaving as soon as I was done with the message (figures), so that definitley explains why they never called back, right? We kept asking directions and eventually made it to the Musee, which was incredible- I saw a lot of stuff I loves, including a view of Brussles, and the oh so famous Fall of Icarus-yay! From there we went to the palace, and the gardens, which were actually a parc but used to be the gardens. Apparantly, and this was news to me, Belgium has a King and Queen! Why have I never heard of them before? I mean, the modern ones, of course I have heard all about evil King Leopold the III or whatever numeral he was... But why isn't the Belgium monarchy exploited on the international tabloid market as is the English, Monacan, and Jordan, even the Spanish and Sweedish? I found it difficult to belive that even I, a self proclaimed Europhile, did not know Belgium still had a monarchy! So difficult, in fact, that I thought maybe I had misunderstood something one of the French guys had said. I restrained myself from asking for clarification because of the risk of coming off as the ignorant American I am trying so hard not to be. Ignorance was confirmed, however, when I came across postcards with nto only the King and Queen, but the Prince and his finacee. Hmmm. Also, a quote from the gardens: "I'm not an idiot. This isn't my first day collecting dirt"- Michelle.
We wandered around Brussles some more, found the Mannikan Pis because Kristi had her heart set in seeing it. The Mannikan Pis (sp?) is a foot high statue of a little boy peeing into a fountain which for some reason or another is famous. There are several legends about how the staue came about, but they are all so ridculous none of them can possibly be true. I bought a Mannikan Pis T shirt anyways, because it was cute and only €5. Bought and ate some Belgium chocolates (friuts de mer... mmm) and a waffle with strwaberries and whipped cream... mmmm... went back to our room and took a nap, then got more salads for dinner at the restaurant downstairs, and went to a fun carnival!
The next morning when the alrm went off, Michelle said "I have a great ideam guys, lets sleep in and take a later train to Amsterdam." So we didn't make it to Aachen, but that's ok. Validated our Eurail passes and got on the train!
Wow, is all I can say! it is really sad that, amoung the my aged travelers atleast, Amsterdam has the reputation it does. The name is synomymous with prostitutes and weed and the craziest red light district in the world, so I was not at all picturing the beautiful city that we found.
the train ride in was beautiful. Even though I was tired, I didn't sleep because I wanted to look out the window. We got into town, and immediatley realized our mistake at not booking ahead because we soon learned that all teh hostels were full!! We ended up paying a reasonable but more that we would have liked amount for a nice hotel in the center of the museum and shopping areas- it was nice to be able to walk to everything we wanted to do! So we dropped of our stuff in our room, freshened up, and found a yummy bakery for dinner! then we wandered around a bit, I bought a nice windbreaker for only €5!, and took a canal boat tour- which was tons of fun!! After that, we were in for a disappointing night. Esecially for what I had been hearing about the nightlife in Amsterdam, but I guess if youre not into 'that' kind of thing... the highlight was when we took a pita break, eating falfels and sitting on an intersection cement block, completley random, and two guys yelled at us from the window at us (but in a not creepy way- a rare occurance!) and asked us if we wanted drinks to go with out food! then he lowered cokes from the 3rd story window in a grocery bag on a rope! It was sooo cool! how often does that happen? So after that we kept looking for some cheesy euro techno or trance to dance to, but it just wasn't happening, so me and Kristi (who was coming donw with a cold) decided to head back to the hotel (or try, anyway)while Char and Michelle decided to persevere. We wandered around until we were completley lost, were pretty sure we were on the right street but must have turned the wrong way and it kept getting scarier, so we got a cab and he had a hard time helping us because we had no idea where we were, and we just kept driving in circles! the trouble was, all the street names were in Dutch, so we couldn't remember. I think I actually said "It's something-straat" haha. The best part about getting lost was- I actually had the hotel card in my purse (actually, the case from my umbrella, which handily doubles as a purse in a pinch, aren't I resourseful*) and I TOOK IT OUT (like it adds weight!!) saying "I'll remember where the hotel is!" Eventually we got back by having the cad drive back to the centraal station, then follow the tram line we took to get to the hotel in the first place, and we finally realized where we were. We set a realistic goal for getting up in the morning. Turns out Michelle and Char got lost, too, but even worse. They were in the cab for an hour and a half, the driver turned off the meter because he felt sorry for them.
On Saturday, first on our list was Anne Frank's house. I insisted we go there first because I didn't want to miss it, I would have been so mad if I was actually in Amsterdam and didn't go see it. "I don't care if it costs €50 and I have to wait in line for 10 hours! I'm going!!" It was soo touching! I could hardly believe I was actually standing where she lived and all that happened (and pretty recently, too, unlike the Battle of Hastings) Michelle had never read the book ("Did you grow up in America? Did you grow up... anywhere?") too bad we couldn't take pictures, but I have a feeling that is something I will never forget. I WAS ACTUALLY IN ANNE FRANK'S HOUSE!!!
From there we split up, because Michelle and Char wanted to go to the Heninekin Factory, and Kristi and I wanted to go to the Van Gogh museum. It was amazing!! I'd seen a lot of the same paintings when the exhibit came to LACMA, but I did get to see some new stuff, plus its not really something you get sick of seeing. After the museum, Kristi and I got baguettes and ate in a parc outside, where there was a lot of grass and a big fountain, and lots of people and dogs. It was pretty warm- maybe even like 85, so it was really summery and nice and we just laid there for a while. We talked about how much we wanted to live in Europe, and the problem with the 6 month quarrentine in England, and the necessity of dogs, in general. After tha, we stubled across an amazing united Colors of Bennetton sale where the entire store was 75% off! I bought 2 shirts and a bathing suit for €30!!! yay!!! then we said goodbye to Amsterdam to begin our 20 hr. trek back home.
After we arrived in brussles, we wandered aound to find the ineffiecnt bus stop, only to learn that we had missed the last one by 1/2 hr., and would have to wait until 4 in the morning, so our plan of sleeping the the airport was completley shot. We dumped out stuff in teh train station lockers and headed back to our trusty friend the Grand Place. First (and last) good idea was chicken pitas, then we just sat in the square for a while, but it was getting later and sacrier and more and more random people were coming up to us, so for lack of better refuge we ended up in an irish pub where:
1. I fell asleep
2. Kristi threw up
3. Michelle and Char wandered off to use an ATM and got attacked
Eventually, the pub closed so we took a cab back to the station, the driver tried to speak to us in Italian(I think), which is ridiculous because a. we're obviously American and b. we're in Belgium. He also joked about us taking a taxi from London... got stuff, got on the bus, passed out, got to the airport. By this time we were all definatley tired and cranky. the only good thing that had happened since Amsterdam with the exception of chicken pitas is I discovered cheetos in teh train station vending machine. not flamming hot, jsut normal, but baby steps. After checking in we slept on the airport floor unitl we could go thru security. was actually jealous of the guys I saw with their backpacks and sleeping bags on the airport floor. wiated gloomily until they told us to line up, then stood there for 20 minutes and watched the plane we had thought was ours be loaded by another group of passengers while 2 loud annoying women yacked in my right ear (had to restain self from physically harming them). To make things better, once we finally got on the plan our stewardess was a dragon lady!!! Don't remember any of the actual flight because I slept through the whole thing, but after landing we were told to prepare to get off (similair to getting on) and then the door shut and we stood there for a few minutes before they said to sit back down, which we did for about 20 minutes, and then we exited (through the front only, and of course we were sitiing in the back). I don't even know how long we were waiting for our bagage because I was passed out on the floor. The ride to London Victoria was uneventful, but when we got there we discovered that due to an 'incident' all southbound tarins were delayed or cancelled. I ended up sleeping on the floor in Victoria Station in front of teh departure terminal announment board for an hour while we waited for a crowded train to Brighton, where we had to wait another hour (I didn't sleep this time) for a train to Falmer in a station crowded with rude people who apparantly had no better reason to be there then it was a hot summer sunday. After finally getting back, I slept for 20 hours, which I think is only fair, 1 hr of reparation for every hour of stressful return. Added my bed to my long list:
Train, Amsterdam to Brussles
Corner, Oreily's Irish Pub, Brussels
Bus, Brussles to airport
Floor, Brussles Chaleroi airport
Plane, Brussles to London
Floor, bagage claim, London Stanstead airport
Floor, London Victoria
Despite all, had a wonderful time and have decided to pretend entire way back and later portion of friday night simply did not happen, and am looking forward to Ireland trip!!!
Wed Jul 31 2002 15:31:
Writing my 500 word description of an area for my class... the bad thing about measuring length of papers by words is the word count is actually something to do, and therefore more distracting then simply looking at the length to see how long it is, like the equivalent of switching to page view everytime you check the length of your paper. so far I am at 283 words, so more than halfway done.
went into Brighton to pick up a few things I needed for the trip, including my Let's Go, which wasn't there so I have to get it tommorrow before our walking session, but I ended up going full on shopping, but i got a bunch of really good deals (Karma making up for the way back from Amsterdam?) so its ok. EX: 3 skirts and a shirt for £10, cute trainers for £9, a nice little black backpack for £3, and sunglasses for £1.49. I did pretty well, I'd say. plus I found some exciting stacking travel jars at Boots, where I also bought a quick drying travel towel and turned in my application for an advantage points card. I love Boots. I'm going to miss Boots a lot when I go home.
I got a letter today!! Also, belated excitement because I recieved only just before i left for my continental adventures, I got a package form my mommy! (containing cheetos, makeup, gretel pictures, ranch dressing packettes, and other necessities) Red doggie is doing quite well, thank you. However, he is a bit lonley from being left behind because I am afraid my adventures would be too much stress for him. However, I think he might be able to come to Scotland to see Anne.
We booked a hostel for this weekend. I'M GOING TO IRLEAND TOMMORROW!!!!! YIPPEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!
© 2002-2010 Rachel Richardson.