: Test.


: Mommy wrote: I spent the rest of the night dreaming I was arguing with Rachel. RACHEL???? She's always been my rock. Perhaps I sublimated her into something else, like maybe the issue of Gretel pulling on the leash. Arrrgh. Rachel pulling on the leash, going off to London for six whole months! That must be it. She doesn't keep a weblog, so it's hard to know what she's doing, and I don't like that.


: After 9 months of having very little privacy, I am now officially roommateless. It's kind of sad...

: Last day at school. I will be glad to go home, but there are certain things I am really going to miss.

: I am home for about ten days, but right now I am feeling too lazy to do much about it.

: GUESS WHO GOT AN "A" IN MATH!!!!! I never got an "A" in high school, I even failed two courses, and I didn't even get an "A" in the stupid class I had to take to prepare me for this one. But I got an "A"!!! WOHOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Luckily, I will never have to take math again (knock on wood).

: Today I took Misty's kitty condo out to the garage for the garage sale pile :( it was a very sad moment for me. I went to Target for about the 50th time this week, and I am one step nearer to completing my pre-departure shopping. Mom had to buy a bunch of stuff in preparation for the ward campout tommorrow. I also found a perfect journal in which I can describe all of my English adventures, so that was exciting.

Last night, while I was reading my "Let's Go: London", I thought that visiting the Royal Mews might be a fun outing for me while I am visiting London solo next Friday. But then, today, while I was reading the description to mom, I noticed that its only open M-Th!! Maybe I will go anyway and demand to be let in... I wanted to see the horsies, "each individually named by the Queen herself".

Susanna is apparantly safely back in Utah, and I have converted her room into a packing area.

: Just got back from the ward campout. It was a sucess, and my mommy did a fabulous job!!! I got a call from my friend Kathy, who is going to London (but not Sussex), and we talked about leaving, etc. Now I am excited, 4 more days!! I still have a lot to do, though.


: well, here is my first entry from england!! yay... i am staying at a pretty nice hostel and i just had a nap, so i am feeling ok, except for having no idea what time it it! my flight went ok, too, except for the part about sitting in newark, nj for 3 hours without moving! a girl on my flight is from uci and going on the same summer program as me! i was really glad to meet someone! we are getting together later today, and tommorrow.

I am actually in London! I can't believe it. I am off to try to call my new friend on my brand new british "moblie phone", i just realized the " key is in a different spot... those wierd british...

i saw an "Alsatian" being walked today and i almost cried!! i miss my puppy!!!

: 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.

: 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.

: 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.

: 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.

: 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!!

: 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.

: back from london, safe but exhasted. i have a feeling my feet will never forgive me. more on adventures coming soon....!

: 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.

: 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.

: 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!!!


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 �20, 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 �10.

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 �20, 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.

: 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?

: 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.

: 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.

: 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.

: 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.

: 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.

: 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.

: 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".

: 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.

: 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...

: 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*.

: 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.

: Am I ever going to leave for Cambridge?

Although, have gotten a good amount of work done in past hour or so.

: 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!

: 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.

: 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...

: *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!

: 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.

: Complete madness.

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

: 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!!)

: 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!!!!!!!!

: 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!!!

: 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!!!!!!!!!

: Back from Ireland, wahoo!!! I had the best time!! It was actually a very relaxing weekend, lots of sitting in pretty parks, church yards, golf courses, beaches, etc. It is a blur of shopping, sightseeing, shopping, meeting people, eating, shopping, walking, and shopping. Dublin is such a beautiful city!!! not very touristy, but that was fine with me. It was crawling with tourists this weekend, though, being a bank holiday, and plus there was a really big gaelic (SP?) football (a cross between football, american football, basketball, and complete randomness) match between dublin and somewhere else, I actually got to see some of it. Fun times! We met this really nice Irish/ Welsh guy named Craig on the ferry and he showed us around the whole weekend. It was soo much fun!! I got to see the book of kells, so that was really exciting, too (Ms. richards class is haunting me a lot this trip). here are some quotes to sum up the good times had by all:

"It's Walish"- Giselle

"I'm not masculine, I'm just the man"- Giselle

"....All 51 states"- Craig "There's 50"- Rachel "51!... Canada."- Craig

On Giselles's potentially dirty nick-name: "I have a shirt with Giz on it."- Giselle "Why didn't you get it cleaned?"-Adam

"Can you see England from here?"- Rachel "No, Wales is in the way."- Craig "Can you see Wales from here?"- Rachel "No, it's misty."- Craig "If it were clear, could you see Wales from here?"- Rachel "No, its too far."- Craig

: heading into town soon to pick up my Let's Go which is finally in, and drop off my gummy pants at the cleaner, hopefully, they will be able to get the gum off. am going to make many observations on the way to the bookstore, in order to make my essay really good!

craziness, but already I am leaving for Edinburgh tommorrow!! tommorrow is also our class walk thorugh the north lanes. should be good. and I definitley going to finish next week's essay BEFORE I leave. and print it out, too.

I love Wednesdays.

: 363. for some reason I thought that my essay would grow longer through asexual reproduction while I was gone. this is not the case. better get cracking.

: Yikes! leaving for Edinburgh (Scotland) in 1 1/2 hours and I still have lots to do. Done with my paper for Tues, though, so thats good! I got a 69% on the one for this week, which, for those of you unfamilair with the English grading system, is equivalent to an A-. All the same, its dificult to get excited about a 69%. Oh well. Had a fabulous day today!! I'm really sad that Sussex is almost over, but bittersweet because soon I will be living in London. Have decided I'm never coming home. (no, mom don't die, not really-wishful thinking.)

: *Sigh* I am steeped in the happiness of catching up on emails after a trip, componded buy the fact that I am exactly where I want to be and this is a segment of my life where everything seems to have fianally fallen into perfect place. I could be content enjoying mild English summers with 4 day weekend mini holidays and a mental state of perma-vaction stacking up student loans for the rest of my life. The only bad news is that, unfortunatley, they closed the computer lab close to our houses so its a long walk now, and I won't be emailing as much anymore, but theres only a week left here anyways, which makes me happy and sad at the same time, because I love it here so much and there is still so much I want to do, but it means that soon I get to go to Paris and Nice and Munich, and then I'm starting in London!! How can anyone possibly be upset about London, the best city in the world? (although, I have newly discovered, Edinburgh during festival season probably comes close!)

Here is my news:

Just got back from an afternoon walk around Lewes, the charming town next door, that I haven't actually made it too yet, with some girls from upstairs. There is a castle and a house where Anne of Cleaves, one fo Henry VIII's wives lives. we just looked at the outside, though, because we wanted to spend out money in the gourmet chocolate shop instead.

yesterday during class break I saw a german shephard puppy. It was the cutest thing ever (besides my own, of course.)!!! I even got to tickle its tummy!!

Last night there was a bond fire in the hills behind east slope. I lost count of how many shooting stars I saw!! atleast 20, probably. The most amazing one, someone said it was a metorite skipping on the atmosphere, and it was bright purple and left a trail in the sky for 5 seconds after. Definetley the most amazing thing I have ever seen in the sky!! It was a good night for shooting stars...

My report on this weekend will be up later tonight, hopefully, and also I will try to send out my address in London.

Oh, and, I had almost given up on going to normandie (which is rediculouly (sp?) close at 20 return and probably 3 hours each way) but I finally found someone to go with!! Beverly from upstairs and I are going this Friday, yippee!

: yay! my pants are fixed! my grey pants are also in the process of being de-gummed. they are currently in the freezer.

Rachel's Adventures in Scotland: (yay)

Edinburgh is an amazing city!!! I was getting a little travel weary and needed a restful weekend! certainly had one- sleeping in late in a real bed, lazy breakfasts, lounging around, watching tv, petting the dog, meandering thourgh town, eating... A LOT!

On Friday after a nap Anne and her husband took us to Linlithgo Palace where Mary, Queen of Scots was born. it was really pretty, and we climbed to the top for a great view!! there was a wedding there, too. I decided I want a Scottish wedding because the kilts are soo sexy!! haha! Then we had good scottish food for dinner and took the bus into town to find Kristi, which we actually eventually managed to do! In the meantime, though, I bought a cosy scottish wool blanket in thomson camel (aka burberry) and suprises for my brother and sis for christmas! Edinburgh was soo beautiful at night, with the castle all lite up...

On Saturday we went into Edinburgh with Laury, Anne's daughter. we went to the castle, which was great! there was another wedding there, too! *sigh* its time for someone in my family to get married in a year and a half or so *cough* susanna *cough*... In the castle were the crown jewels, which have a very exciting history, don't you know. I thought the exhibit leading up to the jewels was a lot better than that at the Tower. After the castle we walked down the Royal Mile and ate a cafe named after Deacon Broody/ Bradey/ something, the inspiration for the character Dr. Jeckle/ Mr Hyde, which is actually set in Edinburgh. You'd think I would have known that, but you'd also think I would have known that Belgium had a king and queen, so.. what can you do. After lunch we said goodbye to laury and took a city sightseeing bus tour (of Oxford classical trance fame, but the music was decidedly bagpipe-esque). After once around we got off at grass market, hiked up to take our picture with the Bobby Greyfrair's statue (DOGGIE!!!) then back down to eat dinner, where some guy attempted to stranggle me with a pair of panty hose. After dinner it was time for our Ghost and Torture Tour, which was very gruesome at some points but also very good. Part of the tour includes these underground vaults, but the lock to get in was broken, so this guy from seattle picked the lock, that was pretty exciting. he also said I look like Princess Leia, which I have been told before...

Kristi left early Sunday morning, later Giselle and I went into town and went shopping at Jenners, the Harrods of Edinburgh. I thought this was funny because I knew a girl in high school who went by Jenners and I had never heard it before, but who knows, maybe she got the idea from the store.. I bought a package of Turkish Delight because Giselle had never had any and I thought she should try it (this also happened with a different friend today in Lewes) and I was reminded of the time when I had never tried turkish delight, but wanted to know what it was because it is mentioned in The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe, and so my mommy bought me some! Hurrah for Turkish Delight!! After Giselle left I went back to Anne's house, then Laury and I went for a bite to eat and a movie (scoby-doo!)and generally got to be friends.

on Monday I got on late (again) and me and Laury went into Edinburgh. we got some yummy food then walked down the royal mile and met her boyfriend. We decided to see a show and it took us a while to find one, but we eventually ended up at this radio show comedy routine thing. I actually understood quite a bit of it, but there was this one song about a washing machine (swish... *bing*.. welcome to the washing machine) well, I got the swish part, but what washing machine goes *bing*? after the show Anne picked us up and we went out to a yummy chinese place, I picked up my stuff at the house and said goodbye to Ruddy (one of my fav. parts of the holiday was having a dog!) then went to the station and said goodbye to the rest! :(

I had such a great weekend! Laury promises to come visit me in LA, and I think I might go back up. Maybe with mom when she comes to visit me. there is still so much of Scotland I want to see... teh highlands and Invernes (Loch Ness!!!), and maybe go on the west highlands railway thats in Harry Potter!! plus, I'd love to go back suring festival season and just see shows and maybe the Tattoo! yay for Edinburgh!!!

: today was very exciting, not really. class wasnt that great, and somehow I managed to get one of my shoulders sunburnt... yes, friends, it was actually hot in england today! i would estimate, 90 degrees. amazing.

normandie tommorrow, wahoo!!

and, after much ado, I finally got shampoo!

: Soo, the ferry was full, and I'm still in England. Oh well. Its 10:30 and I've been up for 4 1/2 hours, that hasn't happened in a long while. Maybe today will actually be productive. Trying to enjoy my last weekend in Brighton, sadness...

And I'm still not quite sure what to do with my stuff next week, since I can't leave it at the study center in London. The lady there is supposed to email me details about a storage locker place, so I'll probably do that. Hopefully I'll be able to bribe a big strong boy to help me drop it off on Wenesday morning, since I seem to have accquired two times the amount I came with, and I had trouble enough with that in the first place!!!

: Instead, had a lovely afternoon in Brighton all buy myself, shopping in the north laine. I think I was in a pink mood, because I bought a pink dress and a pink sweater. Not baby pink, the really cute, bright MK "pink dream" pink. It was warm, today, too, so that helped me feel summery. Also, I bought: A mini Maglight (maglights are ridiculously expensive here, but I really needed one for trips), a luggage lock, various cosmetic goods for travel such as more stacking jars, frizz ease leave in conditioner, and a new kind of curlers to try! Also, saw 2 things that combined would be a good idea for presents (shhh.. suprises!!) And had a bagel sandwich that was really good and filling, but I didn't get another milkshake from this really cool milkshake shop that we all went to when we were in the north laine for class- you can choose from 101 things they put into milkshakes, such as smarties or chocolate orange- because it was too crowded. I went to this used bookstore that consists of several rooms of book stacked everywhich way and sometimes priced using a dot code system. I found a really cute antique "school history of england" but it was 2 pounds and by this time I only had 1.30 because the shop where I bought my pink dress didn't accept credit cards either, so I bought The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte, which I have never read and was 1. I noticed on my way out they also had Mansfield Park for 1, and I have never read that, either, so I will probably go back.

But seriously, over the last few weeks, I 've realized what a GIRL I am!! Not that thats bad, I've only just begun to realize it. I always knew I was girlie, it extends beyond all comprhension. Exhibits:

No matter what dreadful traveling conditions I am in, I always try to take care of my appearance. (Until the last morning, after an all night train/ ferry/ bus/ flight/ sleeping in the airport/ station/pub...)

The way I dress.

My job.

My music selections: countless CDs of Broadway musicals, Madonna, Celine Dion, Faith Hill, Dixie Chicks, The Corrs, Harry Connick Jr, etc...

My favourite part of any tourist attraction is always the gift shop.

There may be 1,000 gift shops in Edinburgh that sell plaid wool blankets, shortbread, and little stuffed 'Nessies', but I will happily go into everyone just to browse.

With me at all times is my purse, including but not limited to: water, cell phone, diary, travel journal, keys with lipgloss and pocket knife with scisors for cutting split ends, wallet containing up to 3 kinds of currency, 5 forms of ID, 2 credit cards, and picture of dog, portable CD player, pen, camera, sunglasses, eye glasses, and a velocity orange makeup bag of supplies such as a compact, tissues, hair brush and band, cinnimon altoids, hand sanitizer, bandaid, 'beauty blotters', lipstick, lip protector, nail file, 5 different kinds of over the counter medicine, and 4 different kinds of lotion. 4. Why do I need 4 different kinds of lotion? I don't know, but I do. I think its a tribute to my packing expertise (improving weekly) that I am able to use such samll purses as I do!

But don't think I am self disgusted and vowing to change my inner psyche or anything like that. Rather, I see this as a breakthrough in my quest for self discovery. My girliness is an essential part to the whole, and is an enduring character adding to my personality and uniqness... yeah.

: ARGHH! Simply cannot concentrate on dumb paper for class. Also, am very frustrated with little things that keep going wrong, such as my lunch falling on the floor and not being able to find a hotel in Nice.

I still need more information for my dumb paper. Maybe I will back into town tommorrow (by myself, brave girl) and go to the Local Studies Library like our teacher said to. Plus, I can go back to the book store so I can buy the books I wanted and note the name so I can include the conversation I had with the owner about credit cards in my paper. Yeah. Thats what I'll do. Then my paper will be a lot easier to write. Now I'll.... go see what Kristi is up to.

: Can't believe it! only about 2 more days left here... very sad. Soon, however, if I am able to conectrate, I will be all done with school work and just be able to enjoy myself for the next 2 weeks until classes for fall start! I just have to worry about finding a place to stay in Munich (which is dificult sinec I have been having problems calling..)and hope it does not get flooded in the next few days, having transfered my responsibility for getting somewhere to stay in (Somewhere In The South Of France) to Kristi, since she has been there before. Off to work on my paper!!!

: yay! I have a place in London to store my stuff!! Now I just have to get it there... hmmm. I can't believe I'm moving out tommorrow! This makes me very sad.

Still have had no luck calling Germany, which is a little bit disconcerting. Perhaps it will help to try from France. Also, Munich is apparantly not under water, so we should be safe. Good times.

Must not put off packing until the last minute.

: well, I have a busy day ahead of me tommorrow, including leaving, so nobody be alarmed when you don't hear from me for a week and a day or so...

almost done packing, which is really depressing. had to vacuum pack clothes again. its amazing how much stuff I accquired in just 2 months! amazing. my suitcases are super heavy and I have no idea how I am going to make it to the storage place all by myself.

also, pray for rain so class walk tommorrow is canceled!

: Safe and in Munich!! and having a great time! someone is waiting for the internet, so full adventures will have to wait, but trust me, they're good!!!! (and totally safe, mom)

: a safe hello to everyone from London, the greatest city in the world, where I am now living! yes, I actually survived last week! whats more, I triumphed! except in the area of sunburns, but really, I should no better. almost gone by now, anyway.

I was going to have a super long internet session and type up all of my adventures from the best week of my life, but I forgot to bring along my journal, and there's way too much to try to remember without consultation, so everyone will have to wait a little bit longer, sorry guys! in the mean time, just know that I love London and have never been happier!!

: Wahoo! several days into my livivng in London adventures, and I am still loving it!! Last night me and my roommates cooked dinner (lasgne and garlic bread and salad, yum!) and our friends Rob and Tom came over with dessert (cheesecake!!!) and we had such a fun night! I love living in London!!! Kathy is sitting here next to me, and told me to write that. "yay me"- Kathy.

here are some quotes for you:

"I'm not cynical, I'm realistic. There's a difference."- Kathy. "I'm actually optimistic"- Kathy.

"Oh, Rachel, I'm so glad we're roommates, give me a hug!!"- Kathy. "Me too! We're so alike! It's like we're the same person!!"- Rachel

"Oh, they're kissing!! I wanna kiss!" -Rachel. "Did I just say that outloud?"- Rachel.

"There are two thing you need to know about English history: Henry the VII had six wives, and we always beat the French."- Our tour guide.

Last night I woke up to go to the bathroom and Kathy woke up too and was waiting outside the door, which "gave me a fright". After she went in the bathroom I went back to bed but realized I needed a kleenex, so went back and waited by teh bathroom door, which startled Kathy when she came out! This was really funny when it happened....

LONG AWAITED EUROPEAN ADVENTURES:(this is a long one, go get a cup of *insert favourite beverage here* and sit down!)

PARIS: We had the most incredible luck!!! I think it was karma making up for all of the rotten luck I had when travelling during the program, but this one week was seriously the most amazing of my entire life!! Sometimes I would just sit back and think, how did this happen? For starters, the fact that I was able to actually get all of my stuff safely in storge in London and survive the ordeal is a miricle in itself, and it happened to Kristi, too! whats more, is we both made it to the airport and onto our flight in time! Wednesday night was bittersweet, because I was missing the farewell party and I had to say goodbye to all of my Sussex friends whom I had come to know and love over the previuos two months. However, getting into Paris was exilerating, and even though Kristi and I had no idea where our hotel was and therfore had to pay an extremely large cab fare form teh gare du nord, we were really happy to be there so it didnt matter. our hotel was in a nice area but not exactly centrally located. we tried to find a bite to eat after checking in at 12:30 am, but that wasn't really working so we went back to our room and made a meal of the rice cakes and granola bars and V8 we had brought along, and watched a Barbara Streisand movie in which she pretends to be a guy so she can study (I think?) and ends up marrying a girl... for the rest of the trip, and random moments, Kristi and I both were prone to breaking out into "Papa, can you hear me? I have a voice now!". We had the most amazing day in Paris ever!! In the morning, over breakfast, we met two guys from Irvine, they're everywhere! Fisrt, we went to Saint Denis basilique because Kriti's lab guy had written a novel about it and told here about it, so she wanted to see it. It was really pretty, but of course there just happened to be a group of sans papiers demostrating outside. luckily, it was a friendly, upbeat riot. Then, we walked down the Champs Elysees, which is as beuatiful and charming as ever. It sounds crazy, but Kristi and I noth had forgotten how much we love Paris! Its totally a there in the moment atmosphere thing! We ate in a croque monsieurs in a cute sidewalk cafe, then walked down to L'Arc de Triomphe, and back down the otherside. Kristi bought a Yannick CD in the Virgin Megastore where, years ago I purchased my Pink Martini CD, and this brought back many memories of French class. After the Champs Elysees we saw the ferris wheel in the Jardin de Tuleries, so we headed there. Stoped for yummy chocolate Berthillon glace and again for crepes avec fraise.. yum!! the ferris wheel was great fun, and awesome views! after the ferris wheel, we walked to the Pont Neuf metro, I saw Samaritine and we went inside and took a picture of a harry potter made of lego. This is when things got crazy. We go off at adiffernt metro stop that we thought ould be closer to our hotel, but it really wasnt. we had to ask for directions and ended up taking a bus. By this time we were seriuosly behind schedule, we showed up a gare du nord with 3 minutes to spare before our 1022 train to Munich, and that was a miracle! then, the guy at the information booth informed us that the Munich trains leave from gare d'est, a five minute walk. But, luckily there was a mistake in the timetable I had, and the munich train actually left at 1058, so things worked out perfectly. What are the chances of that happening? God is on our side.

I just decided I have way to many adventures to do them all in one sitting, so look forward to the train ride, Munich, and Nice later on!! Cheers!

: I'm on a short break from class right now, British History, what fun!!! I don't have Shakespeare until next week, but I'm really looking forward to it! So far all of my classes sound like fun, except perhaps the one I don't know what it is yet... Tomorrow I am planning on coming to the computer lab and typing up the rest of my week's adventures... I got pictures back yesterday, and that was really exciting!

"Does the "r" stand for Riverside?"- Marisa

: Wow! I have had such an adventurous day today! First, just as I was finally getting out the door, I was closing the window to leave, and I looked down onto the balcony type thing below and I see something that catches my eye- a picture! I'm looking at it and I realize its one of my pictures! Then I look at the rest of the balcony and I see all 4 of my rolls of recently developed pictures scattered all over!!! Alll 4!!!! They must have fallen out last night through my window- because I had them on the sill and I remember closing my window when I went to bed! Of course it has been rainy and windy all morning! So I flip out and run to get Kathy yelling "My pictures are everywhere!" The only way to get onto the balcony is to go through on of the flats on that level, but no one was home! So we are running down to go through the courtyard and see if we can somehow climb up (this is very urgent because it is still windy so the pictures are still blowing around everywhere and not only have my pictures fallen, but the negatives, too!!) and we see a mantinance guy coming in, so we beg him to let us onto the balcony, which he does even though its illegal, and I eventually collect all of my wet and dirty pictures. Then, Kathy and I head back up to our flat to drop of my renegade pictures and get our stuff to leave, and we seem to be having some trouble with our keys... we keep trying to get the lock to turn until we realize we don't actually have Kathy's keys, but someone else's similair keys that must have gotten left at our flat! After sitting on the ground laughing for 5 minutes we remember our friend the maintinance guy, and go off to find him so he can let us back into our flat! Ofcourse, he thinks we're the craziest people alive, but atleast we got back in! We finally made it to the center to buy our books and we ended up having a long and interesting conversation with the girl in charge!

So, back to my EUROPEAN ADVENTURES, hopefully I have enough time to actually do this, or atleast a good bit of it....

Kristi and I thought we were so lucky to get our own compartment on the train, but we later learn that that particulair car was actully going to Frankfurt, so we had to switch at 4 AM to get onto a Munich car, and that was not nearly as nice. But we made it to Munich alright, and after relatively little confusion made it to the hotel we wanted, which had vacacies for us! Yippe! I loved this hotel because it was only 50 euro a night for our private double room, right in the center of town and next to the train station, and teh staff was soo friendly and helpful. In fact, pretty much everyone in Munich was friendly and helpful! Later that day Kristi and I headed to the castle (whose name I can never either remember or pronounce) build by the "crazy" King Ludwig. I can still remember sitting in Mrs. Cribbs 10th grade English class, staring at the poster, and pretending I was there, so it was really exciting to actually be there! The castle was lovely, but I think the best part was the view (the Alps, yay!) And, being such a huge tourist attraction, there were excessive amounts of tourists, especially the loudy screaming kid kind, which really starts to get on your nerves when you have spent the previous night trying to sleep on a train seat. It started to rain, too, which wasn't really that bad, but it might have been nice to explore some of the hiking trails around. We got to take the horse carriage down! I can't believe that I was going to Germany but I hadn't thought of Baravrian pretzels or German gummy bears... This afternoon was accompanied by much eating! We talked to some more guys from Irvine on the train ride back. By the time we were back at our hotel it was pretty late, so we made friends with our Canadien neighbors and then just went to bed.

The next day we got up early and set off for Dachau, so we had a pretty solemn morning. We spent several hours there, trying to do it justice- there was a lot to see. Its hard to really describe the feelings in a concentration camp memorial... but I think it was a good experience. We were planning on making it back in time for the 4:00 Mike's Bike Tour, but that didn't happen. So Krisit went back to the hotel to try to sort things out for the rest of her trip, and I went sightseeing! I wandered around Munich and got a little lost, just looking at the city. It really is a beautiful city!! I saw the big clock do its thing, climbed up to the top of St Peter's and saw an awesome view of the city! Then I went to get Kristi and we got dressed up and ate at this really cute authentic German restaurant where we had authentic German food (assisted by our friendly German eating neighbors) and our waiter was really cute and gave us free pretzels... yum!! Then we got gelatto ice cream for dessert and were eating it at the fountain where we met these 2 crazy Austrain guys, and we ended up going to a karoake bar in a really 'happenin' area, and that was really fun, so it was pretty late when we finally got back to our hotel, and we had a train at 7:30 the next day!

I set the alarm on my cell phone for 5:30 to give me plenty of time to take a shower in the morning, which I had already done when I looked at my watch and realized that my cell phone was still on England time, so I had 45 min to wake up Kristi, pack, and make it to the station (thank goodness it was right across the street!) Amazingly enough, though, we made it!! And then we got to spend the next 14 hours with veyry loud Italian people. I would have considered it a very sucessful day of scenery and sleeping if we had been about to get our own compartment, or atleast share with someone a little more considerate. Instead, I had a little brat sitting across from me kicking my shins for 5 hours straight. So, after 14 hours, its understandable that we were not in our best decision making state, so our choice of hostel makes a little more sense then it would under better circumstances. What's so funny is that, the next day we found the cutest, cleanest, most centrally located hotel in Nice, and we ended up paying less for our room than we had paid the night before for a smelly shared room atleast 2 miles from the center of town! But Kristi and I decided to just forget about our temporary lack of judment and enjoy our last 2 days together.. in Nice!! This is where our luck turned, because we had teh most wonderful day, shopping, sitting on the beach, wandering around in Vieux Nice. Then we put on our dresses and ate dinner and a cute red and white checkered place by a fountain we had found earlier that day, and dessert was across the street at a gellato place with about 500 flavours! It was soo good! Kristi and I both had sorbet and we could really tell it was made from real fruit! Very impressive. It was Monday night, so there wasn't much going on, we found a student place where a small band was playing live, but it was really mellow and we were falling alseep, so we left to wander the streets for a while. There were lots of restaurants and shops open until 12 or 1(very unusual in Europe!), so we still had plenty to do.

In the morning we woke up and went shopping! Then we bought sandwiches and ate on the beach, swam, laid, fell asleep, and decided next time we came to Nice we would go parasailing. After the beach we went back to the hotel and I got my stuff and we walked to the train station, shopping along the way. Saying goodbye was sad, but its wasn't really goodbye since Kristi is coming to see me in London, so we made it not too bad. It was mostly sad because my vacation was over and we had such an AMAZING time!! The train ride to Paris was a good time to gather my thoughts and enjoy the view- Provence is absolutley beautiful!! Just like you would picture it. I escaped my seat in the smoking car and found an empty seat next to a nice French guy from Paris who had done the same- its great that I can actually hold a coherent conversation in French!!

About Nice- I really think I may have found the most perfect place in the world!! Nice, I said to Kristi, is like California in Europe- the best of both worlds!! If I didn't feel this inexplicable tie to England, if my family didn't live in the States, I could happily spend the rest of my my life in Nice! It is so beautiful, so amazingly beautiful, that I don't have words to descibe it! I just kept wandering around, wondering, how does a place like this just HAPPEN?

Kristi and I have decided to open up a shop, in Nice or one of the smaller towns on the Cote D'Azur, called "Rachel and Kristin's favourite things" or <>, <> for short, where we sell things that are really cool loke clothes etc, stuff for houses, antique French tourism posters, and music. We even worked out a compilacted scheme on how we could get the business set up, the move on to become doctors and lawyers, but still have the shop run for a year at a time, by girls like us!

After getting to Paris, I had some adventures getting to the airport, lets just say that if there are 5 nice people in Paris, they all helped me that night. But I made it, and I met 2 British guys (both named Paul) on the train, and an Austrailan named Meagan at the airport,all on my flight, so I stayed up all night in Charles de Gualle chatting and playing cards, perfectly safe and sound. Even if I was a bit smelly, worn, and edgy (not to mention sunburnt, but that was a result of Nice) by the time I got to London.

Memorable Quotes:

"Are you a soprano or alto?"-Rachel "Oh, you used to play the violin?"-Kristi, "Your name in Ucla?"-Crazy Austrian Guy, "Do you ship?"-us "Yes"-them "Ok, we'll take it"-us "Take what?"-them "The whole thing"-us "The whole what?"-them "The whole store..."-us, "We saw the hills that were alive!"-Kristi.

: Yesterday we went down to Greenwich and took pictures straddling the Prime Meridian line after eating a very filling authentic English meal of pies!! That was very fun. Here are some interesting quotes: "Oh, is that LONDON??"- Molina, "It's easier to be a father than it is to have a nice ass"- Sam, on David Beckham, "Is that Big Ben?"- Marisa, pointing to an old church.

Today we went to Hyde Park to meet Laura's authentic English cousin, and tonight we are going to clean, bake chocolate chip cookies, plan our trips, and read about The History of London. I have my European Union class for the first time tomorrow! And, hopefully, Kristi makes it to London today... We'll see!!

: Yay!! Kristi is here and safe. We are still trying to figure out what to do tomorrow. There is a service at St Paul's, which I think would be nice. Its very odd to be away from home at a time like this...

I went to Buckingham Palace yesterday, which was very impressive. I also read 30 pages in my HUGE History of London book... only 110 more to go before tomorrow!!

: I just spend 30 on books! two books, to be exact. And I still need another one... for that class!! Not to mention the two other clases I still have to go book shopping for. This city is too expensive!

Shakespeare has been postponed, so I am killing time before heading to the Globe.

: I just spend 30 on books!! two books.. and I still have more to buy.. for some reason I did not figure this into my budget. But I think I'll be ok, since most of the time I thought I was going to spend out doing fun things will actually be spend in my flat reading. yay.

Yesterday was quite adventurous. I saw many famous people and was homesick a lot. And I think I bought more books. More on that later.

: I forgot what I was going to say yesterday before I left in a hurry. It's very inconvienent to have your computer so far away! In fact, my computer is probably one of the things I miss the most!!

I was going to do some solitary exploring today, but instead Kathy and I are going shopping. I still need a really good day of doing nothing but reading all those really expensive books I bought. Soon... There is a festival along the Thames this weekend, that should be fun!

: Try as I might, I can't seem to get away from being a loud American... a perfect example is singing Britney Spears while walking back from the train station(from Brighton, which was fun, I had a Twix milkshake). Also, Malini and I picked up some 'beer' filled glasses we saw on a street corner because there is a serious lack of glasses in everyone's flats, but my roommates refused to allow them inside, even for the intetion of sterilizing, so they are both in Malini and Marisa's flat.

'Title'? What is this? : Just got back from the International Festival on the Thames. To say one thing about the English, they can put on a good show. I was slightly worried when 20 minutes after they were supposed to have started we had seen nothing but boats slowly floating along the river spewing fire (which was quite impressive for the first 5 minutes, but after that it got old) and heard nothing but Jim, Kathy's English friend, descrbing people jumping around and waving sparklers in the air. We were begging to think that 'fireworks' might turn out to be one of those cultural differences, but we eventually got the show we came for, and it was very impressive!! And I finally got my fireworks fix which I have been missing since the 4th of July.

Also at the festival was lots of yummy food (Laura and I made friends with the doughnut man) and I bought a cute ring. I think my roommates have realized the value of taking glasses from street corners, so we have decided that next time we attend a large event we will bring along a large plastic lined tote for this purpose.

Earlier today I was complaining that my sister got her package but I haven't gotten mine yet, then someone pointed out that Utah is alot closer to California than London is, which is a very valid point. But I still want my package!

Everyone else is sticking around to watch Braveheart, but I haven't got the emotional energy for it, and I've got to go back and read about the European Union, anyhow, so lucky me!

Midnight Laments: It's dark and scary out there, and the buses stop running regularily at 12, so I decided to wait out Barveheart and go back with the rest. In the meantime I am reading Malini's book, all about postwar european intergration. I've had two diet cokes today (which, btw, I am now addicted to) so I should be able to stay awake. Tomorrow I am going to finish A Midsummer Night's Dream, which shouldn't be too hard since I still have large chucks of it memorized.

: Guess who's going to Madrid!!!

Tonight my roommates are going to dinner at the Bush (band not US Pres) guitarist's house, so Marisa (who lost the coin toss) and I are bonding and eating Kraft Macaroni and Cheese courtesy of her birthday care package. There was some discussion about which side of the penny was heads and which was tails, but I thought it should have been obvious.

Mommy and Leonard are really coming to see me, which is very exciting, although I am a little upset that Susanna refuses. Although, its probably just as well, because if she comes and manages to sneak Gretel with her, I'll have seen my family 3 weeks before I am due to come home, so I REALLY won't want to leave.

Now I think I'll go drop off my film and spend more money on books, except that I forgot my book list so maybe not. But my eyes are starting to strain because I forgot my glasses, so its time to go.

This weekend's adventures: Yesterday I went on the tour group to Bath and Stonhenge, which were both a lot better seen in early fall as oppposed to freezing cold winter, but Stonehenge was still unimpressive. Bath was great, but despite my best intention's I didn't make it to the Jane Austen museum. Some day...

Last night we ordered yummy pizza and listened to hip hop and pretended we were back in 'Cali', which was great. Ate way too much!!!

Today after a very late start we went to Camden Market and I bought a pair of Doc Martens (brown ones, not the ones I have been looking for, but I am still determined). They are really cute, and Marisa bought a pair also, and we made friends with the guys in the Doc Martens stall after spending an hour there while they tried to find the mate to Maria's shoe. I really wish I was a size four. I also bought a fuzzy hat.

Tonight we are going to watch Bridget Jones' Diary and eat the yummy flammin hot cheetos that my mommy sent me in my care package! I still have lots of yucky reading to do for tommorrow and Tues, but tomorrow is also Princess Diana appreciation day, so we'll see.

On Break from EU Class: Thats about all I have time for. We're learning about the Common Market and early European integration. It's all very exciting, but you might say I'm just a nerd.

: I have many complaints about the stupid program, and because of one of them I have no time to go into further details. I would just like everyone to know that we had Princess Diana apprciation day and went to Kensington Palace to see all her dresses, which was lovely. Also, the roommates and I had a private tour of Southwark, I didn't make it thru the performance of 12th Night, and I have been running around crazily recently and wish I didn't have this stupid class that I have to go to now!

Free Time, At Last!!!: I am now going to spend as long as I want in the computer lab. Then I am going shopping. Hurahh!

: My friend Janet told me that if you cut hair with any scisorrs other than hair scsiorrs (I do not know how to spell that word!) ie the scisorrs on your swiss army pocket knife, you'll end up getting more spilt ends because the cut isnt presice enough. This actually makes since, and might explain why I have so many split ends, so now I am paranoid, and have only cute off one spilt end with my swiss army knife scisors since them. Must go get hair cut!!

I just finished Bridget Jones: the Edge of Reason. I think that Bridget Jones is every woman! If anyone has not read the books, I urge you to do do at once! you will be glad you did! Everyone was making fun of me yesterday because I refused to put the book down and at random moments would burst into fits of uncontrollable laughter. Of course, everyone one who had read the book said "dont worry, I understand" and wanted to know what part I was at. I couldn't sleep until Bridget and Mark Darcy were happily back together! *sigh* Mark Darcy. What a perfect ending! Now, it is absolutey necessary that 1) Bridget Jones #3 is written and published and 2) The Edge of Reason is made into a movie!

Laura, Marisa, Rob, and Tom are off to Scotland, so the rest of us are going to hang about London and maybe go on an exciting day trip. I have big plans for this weekend, inlcuding: all of my reading for next week, sorting thru the big pile of stuff (mostly clothes) on my floor, joining the gym, getting my deposit back from the bastards at Safestore, planning stuff for Mom and Leonard's trip, finding a place for Mom and Leonard to stay, planning my trip to Madrid, sending out postcards, going shopping, brainstorming for the book(s) I am going to write, and just in general figure out what I am doing. Oh yeah, and get my hair cut. Maybe I will buy a pair of hair cutting scisors so I can engage in my compulsive habit with out worry. I wonder if they sell them at Boots?



: This isn't too hard to figure out, but its difficult for me to make it to the study center for emails, especially on the weekends, so I hope that nobody is worried (mom) because my entries have been on the sporatic side latley and probably will be for the rest of the semester.

I've been super busy. yesterday I went with Laura to visit her family in the suburbs and they feed us good food and we watched a movie and played with the dog, that was really nice. This morning we went to see this impressionist collection in somerset house because its free on mondays (I reccomend) and tonight we have front row tickets for My Fair Lady! Then tomorrow we are going on tour with our program of Westminster, and sometime before Spain I have to write a analitical essay on Mary Poppins!

The Best News EVER!!!!: I got into UCLA!!! Wahooo!!! This is all very exciting. Things are working out quite nicely. Now I just have to figure out where I am going to live! Which should be fun, considering I am 6,000 miles away from LA for the next 3 months....

Other things to look forward to: trip to Spain in a week, Mom and Leonard's visit for Thanksgiving, and Harry Potter movie #2 coming out in Novemeber. I love my life!

: It's raining. I guess I should get used to that...

Friends went to Camden Market today, but I came here to work on my paper instead (which I have not yet gotten to...) I guess it is just as well, considering the rain. Yesterday was Stratford Upon Avon and Warwick Castle, which was fun. Stratford was a really cute town, but the whole Shakesperare's Birthplace was kinda overrated and I would have enjoyed it more if we had gone to a Royal Shakespreare Company play. The castle was really nice, though.

Speaking of Sheep...: Our tour guide told lots of funny stories about sheep while we were driving through the cotswolds (sp?) on Saturday. Involving chewing gum, a wedding, and lots of snow. Apparantley, sheep are always eating. Unless they are sleeping, or dead. Am I a sheep? Notable Quote: Rachel: lets go get some handmade soup! Baaaahhh...

One thing I have noticed about English grammar is that, is a series (such as apples, banannas, and oranges) they leave out the last comma (so it reads apples, banannas and oranges). At first I thought this was an error and was tempted to fix it like my mother used to, but then I realized thats just how they do things. One of those cultural differences, I guess.

: Now I'm mad, because I came to work on my paper and I realized I forgot a stupid disk! I guess I could email it to myself.

Hurrah!!: Have come very far on my paper. Almost done, in fact. Go on, ask me about British society in Mary Poppins. I dare you.

: Spain tomorrow, yipee!!! I will be back on Tues (which means I miss my EU lecture, a point of great sadness to me, so maybe I will ditch Shakespeare and go to the Thurs one. Maybe it's nerdy, but I really look forward to EU lectures!) and I have a midterm Wed and a paper duee Thurs, yikes. But I am going to have a great time, anyway. It's almost time for class and I haven't had time to transfer the revisions from the hard copy of my paper to the computer, ahh!!

: I love Spain!!!!!!!

: Ackkk!!! Midterm!

: Paper turning in time!!!!

Tonight in Shakespeare we are getting our scene assingments. I'm really excited!!

: Just got back from Oxford Street where Laura and I were shopping. There was a sale at Topshop but we only ended up buying underwear (but I got a 20% discount for students in the month of october, so that was good). We ran into Laura's cousin in Topshop- "Seven million people in this city and I run into my cousin", but then I pointed out that it IS the world's largest fashion store.

I think I am having issues finding housing for Winter Quarter, so all you Bruins out there keep an eye open for me!!

We have been trying to eat healthy and so far are doing pretty well!! Today for breakfast I ate Oats so Simple, which is just like Cream of Wheat except oats, and a bannana. Laura and I both like Cream of Wheat despite people making fun of us for doing so. Then for lunch we had organic tomato and basil soup with a fresh roll, yum!! Last night for dinner we had a salad based on the BBQ chicken salad from CPK. It has black beans on it, but they apparantly don't have canned black beans here, atleast not a Sainsbury's, so we had to go thru this whole process of soaking overnight and cooking for 2 hours just for a few beans to put in our salad!!! It was really good, though.

If anyone is coming to England, please bring me canned black beans and Cream of Wheat. Thanks.

: Nothing to say, really. let me think. oh yes, notable quote- Austrialian Guy: "Your lipstick matches your shirt. Did you plan that?" I love how people assume that when I match, it's never planned.

Oh, and if you are interested in what I did in Spain, I had an awesome time and Jennie took very good care of me. We saw lots of cultural stuff like famous musems etc and that painting by Picasso, Guernica I think is how you spell it. I also bought cute shoes for very cheap and various other cute stuff. And now, I have a newfound desire to learn Spanish!

: Just got back from the V&A and I'm feeling very cultured! We'll have to go back, though, to visit the Versace exhibit. My only disapointment was they took away the stained glass exhibit.

They say that education completley changes your experience of things (well, I'm pretty sure they do) and I think it's true; ever since learning about the importance of South Kensington (museum area)- amoung other things- in terms of the emipire, I have been paranoid that everywhere I go I am being brainwashed with Imperialistic propaganda...

Yesterday I went to Camden Town with Laura and we spent way too much, but I got really good bargains for my money, including 2 pairs of Doc's. One of the pairs are tall black boots, and I know I already have tall black boots, but there are those who understand that them being Doc's makes all the difference (right mom?) They were a steal compared to what I would pay in the stores, not to mention I looked in the stores and couldn't find them, having wanted these shoes for some time. So I'm very happy with my new boots. And I think the guys at the Doc Martens stall are very happy with me, too.

Notable quotes: Laura: "I don't care if we see the man of our dreams and he costs 10p, WE CAN'T SPEND ANYMORE MONEY!", Rachel: "I got it at Express for 70% off of 50% off!" Tom: "So that's... 120% off!"

Pictures: nevermind

Let's try this again: check out:

hmmmmm: I don't think I like computers... I dunno, maybe it worked?

People keep bumping into me as they enter the computer lab and its really annoying. What, am I invisible?

French Invasion: Actually, it's just a national holiday week or something, and with Eurostar's specials they all decided to come to London. It took me a while to figure out this seeming phenominon. I have been asked directions many times recently, which is very flattering because it means I look like I know what I'm doing.

Which I don't really. I have no idea where I am going to live when I get bac, or how I am going to register for classes, or attend the mandatory orientation! I'm sure it will work our eventually but right now it's a big mess.

My ambivilence increases as December approaches and the time starts going faster and faster. Why did God make England and California so far apart? Why?

: Actually, that entry was for yesterday but I was having troubles....

Well, its paper time again and I have sucessfully put it off. Atleast I know my topic: EFTA and Europe at 6's and 7's. Should be lots of fun to write. Assuming I ever get around to it. Tommorrow my roommates are going to Paris, except for Kathy because she is sick, so actually that makes just Laura going but Marissa is going too and she is a psuedo-roommate so she counts. Anyhow, with them gone there will be less to distract me and I will be able to concentrate on my school work for once and get it all done so I never have to worry about it again!

Tonight we are going to Primrose Hill to see fireworks in celebration of Guy Fawkes Day (which is actually Nov 5). There have been fireworks going off for several weeks now- they must believe in celebrating early- but although we can hear them quite well we have never seen them, which is kinda frustrating, but if tonight is anything like the fireworks display at the Thames festival it will more than make up for it.

: Well, I didn't work on my paper, but I did a lot of inbox cleaning out. unfortunatley, yahoo is having problems uploading my file I am trying to send to mylself since I forgot a disk.

This is supposed to be a very rainy weekend, joy.

musings on Harry Potter (or, procrastinating my EU paper): Right now I am reading Madonna, an Intimate Biography. It is interesting, if poorly written. However, (Laura and)I must also re-read the first 2 Harry Potter in preparation for going to see "The Chamber of Secrets" next Friday (yay!). I don't know how I'm going to do this, since I don't want to buy them, the FSU library doesn't have them and I don't know if a public library is going to let a shady American borrow books. I am trying to devise how I might steal one of the Harry Potter posters that are populating the Underground, but they are all encased in glass and I have this fear of getting arrested. I might have to settle for taking my picture with the huge billboard on Tottenham Court Road. Wouldn't I love to take home a 38 bus with a Harry Potter poster on the side of it? Don't think it would fit in checked luggage, though.

Using my difficult to obtain computer....: There are about 20 odd computers in the labs here at the FSU building in London, study center to probably a thousand students. (These are the same people who told us not to bring our labtops, because we "wouldn't need them".) It's paper time, which means that there is atleast a half an hour wait, unless you want to come and 3 in the morning which is slightly impractical for those of us who live a mile away. I was hoping everyone else would see the logic, too. This does mean, however, that I am actually working on my EU paper!!

The weather here in London is tempermental at best. It was nice and sunny when I left my flat, thinking to myself that I should be enjoying this nice day. I even took a detour! Right about the British Museum it started raining, then hailing. By the time I got to the study center 2 minutes later I was soaked... Why didn't I think to bring an umbrella? Although I doubt it would have made much of a difference!

Observation:: If you thought Anglo-European relations weren't complicated, you were wrong.

Quick Quiz: Do any of you Americans out there know what the term "special relationship" is referring to? Just curious, thanks.

: I have approximatley 3 hours before EU class, but it doesn't matter if I finish my paper because I can always turn it in on Thursday. It would be nice to have it out of my hair, though.

Speaking of hair, I finally got my hair cut!! I was so nervous, after having numerous friends tell me horror stories of their experiences in British hair salons. I was so scared my hair was gonna get chopped off! I felt like I was putting my life into Bertha's hands, but she did a very good job and only took off an inch. (I think she got the hint after I said "Please only take off an inch" and "I really like my hair long" about 50 times.) Then she blow dried it straight so it actually looks longer than before! Its all nice and shiny and healthy looking, in fact it probably won't look this good for a while. I'll be sure to take pictures.

Here is yesterday's account: Hours spent watching the news for glimpes of the Harry Potter premiere(took place in Leiscester Square, I would have gone to gawk myself had I known about it earlier): approx. 3 (not good) Number of times it occured to me that the under-aged Daniel Ratcliff is actually very hot: 6 (very bad) Progress on securing perfectly legal access (library card) to Harry Potter books to read in preparation for the Big Night: good. Progress in securing access to Harry Potter movie poster, legal or illegal: not good. Top news stories of yesterday: Posh Spice kindnapping plot (Kathy I agreed that it was weird how the British adore the Beckhams to such an extent, its like the second royal family... not long before we find ourselves falling into the same trap!), the Diana butler verdict, and how the Queen should pay for the trial, which is estimated to have costed the British tax payer 1 1/2 million pounds, the funerals for the school children who died in the quake in Italy (very sad), and of course, the Harry Potter premeire!! Progress on EU paper: getting there.

I saw a car that had a "Harry Potter premiere car pass" sticker in the window parked on the street on the way back to the flats from Budgens, but Kathy and Kay wouldn't let me stick around to see who it belonged to. It could have been J.K. Rowling herself!!

Here are the problems with studying/ writing papers in my current situation: Limited access to computers at study center. No desk at my flat, forcing me to study at the kitchen table, which I associate with eating. Proximity of refigerator to kitchen table. Proximity of Off Liscence to flat. Presence of remaining bags of Cheetos and Belgium chocolates in Mango shopping bag underneath bed. Proximity of TV to kitchen table, even if there are only 5 channels. Excitement re: Harry Potter on Friday. Split ends in hair that need cutting off. Appox. 1 million other things in London I would rather be doing. The fact that I know I can turn in my paper on Thursday. I think that's about it.

: HARRY POTTER TONIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Um, so I didn't read the books or watch the movie, but I did get a library card, and lose it 5 minutes later, so I had to pay 1.20 for a replacement. All the Harry Potter books were checked out. Maybe I will go by Borders and read a chapter just to get in the mood, but I don't know if I have time because I have to go to the post office and Sainsbury's because we are having mexican food tonight. Plus, I found out I register on the 21st, so I wanted to go try to decide which classes I want to take. I think I'll have to pick out about 50 because won't get into any of the ones I want. Its going to be very hard to go from having priority registartion. Oh well.

Oh, and I got an A on my core midterm! 74 is actually a very high score in England.

I'm sure there are other things I mean to be saying about since Monday, but I can't think of them right now, so I'll get back to it!!

: Just spent hours on my.ucla trying to figure out which classes I should take, proving difficult since they haven't put up all my transferring classes so when I do a degree progress report it says I need everything, but I know thats not true, I just don't know what do need, and I don't know which French am in. Oh well, I just hope they hurry up.

: So, its been a while, and I have nothing to blame except the lazy spell I have been going through where I had no compelling reason (class)to walk all the way to the study center for almost a week and so didn't. This also means that I haven't been the the grocery store so the contents of my cuboard consist of: a jar of olive oil, half a package of spagetti, 3 packettes of instant oatmeal, and a can of soup. Its pretty sad. Hopefully my lazy phase passes soon enough for me to get my act together on the 3 papers I have due in a few weeks!

Despite my laziness, this past week has been very eventful and fun. First of all, Harry Potter was adventerous and awesome!! The book, of course, was 500 xs better, and I actually got to read it because we borrowed them from Laura's aunt! (We went over for Sunday dinner at their house, and I even got to go swimming!) Then, on Monday Laura and I went to see a play called Mrs. Warren's Profession by GBS which was really good and some guy said "I love the way you lot talk". Tuseday I didn't leave the flat or my PJ's except to go to The Globe. On Wednesday we had class at the V&A, the boys were back from their weekend in Amsterdam, and we enjoyed wrecking havoc on the interactive displays (I designed a lovely bookplate). I think Tom missed Laura because he randomly tackled her in an intersection near High Street Kensignton. They both went down but luckily were unharmed and people driving by in taxis seemed very amused. Yesterday, after watching St Lawerence do their secnes in the FREEZING COLD, we had our first rehearsal for Shakespeare which went very well. Today I am going grocery shopping.

It's amazing how time flies. 5 weeks from tommorrow I'll be going home! 1 week from yesterday Mom and Leonard are coming, the day before that, Wednesday, is our big Thanksgiving celebration, and we have our friends from Spain staying with us until Tuesday. Crazy. crazy times.

Here are some notable quotes: "Way to Djahonaly (sp?) Gallery"- sign in V&A "How do you say that word?"-Marissa "Diagonally"-Rachel "Oh, is that how they spell it here?"-Tom. "Toot your support"- sign outside our firestation "But I don't have a tooter!"-Rachel. (While crossing the Millenium Bridge)"Is it safe to drive the boats when the tide is so low?"-Rachel "It's probably the Coast Guard, unless they're on strike to!"-Laura.

Just so everyone knows, esp. those who are planning on coming for a visit soon, England is going through a peroid of relative civil unrest. The firefighters are striking, and so various other groups are also striking either to show their support (as is the case at UCL) or because they think it's dangerous to work while there are no proper fire fighters on duty (as is the case in the Tube). Although the tube had their own strike a few weeks ago, so I don't know. The monarchy is getting a lot of criticsism because of this Diana Butler thing, but I really don't understand any of that and I think I missed a big revealation or something because all of a sudden there are all these inquiries and they are talking about how the Prince of Wales is selling off official gifts and I really don't see how that relates. Not to mention, most of England doesn't want to join the Euro or this dumb war the Americans are starting, but a few of them think for various reasons that they should. I think that Tony Blair is the man to sort it all out, even if the firefighters don't.

: I just got a bunch of very special emails which should keep me happy for a while, atleast until I realize I came here to work on my papers... But the reason I am working on my papers now instead of waiting until the last possible moment is because Mommy and Leonard are coming on Thursday(!) and I want to spend this weekend with them, not in the computer lab!!

Other good news: I got a spot in the dorms, so now all I have to worry about is parking. Hmm. Oh yeah, and registeration. Marissa is in Granada this weekend visiting a friend, and she called to say there was a Zara there, she thinks they have my jacket and if they have a small she is going to buy it for me! I fell in love with this jacket in Madrid, but I have yet to see a small. I did find it in the shop on High Street Kensignton, but the thing that Zara does in regards to their price tags and euros vs. pounds, they change the currency sign but not the actual price of the item, so it's silly to buy anything from them in England.

Friends from Spain are here right now, and we are having a great time! Yesterday we went to Camden Market and today they went to look at rocks, then tonight we are taking them out on the town. Tommorrow night we are seeing Measure for Measure for Shakespeare (last night me and Laura watched the Kenneth Branagh -who is also in Harry Potter!- Much Ado About Nothing to do our reviews on, bringing back memories of high school) then on Wednesday is our big Thanksgiving dinner (a bit early if you ask me) and on Thursday I get to see my family (or 2/3 of it)!

: So... according to my.ucla.edu, its 76 degress in Westwood right now. Hmmmm.

: Please see previous entry about difficulties in writing papers here. I'm hungry and want to go get a be good to yourself cajun prawn wrap and be good to yourself rasberry farmhouse yogurt from Sainsury's but I know if I leave my computer I'll have to wait for hours to get another one. There was only one other person in the lab when I got here early this morning, so I got a nice chair, fast computer, AND a mouse that has a little rolly thingy on it. So I'll probably just ignore the hunger for a while. I keep checking my email, but its 3 am in California, so thats pretty pointless.

: Does anyone else think its funny how they say "River Thames", instead of "Thames River", as is stardard for all US rivers, as far I know?

: Have now resorted to cleaning ou inbox and writing long overdue emails. (That's productive, right?) There is no food whatsoever in my bag.

YIKES!!!! : Family is coming tommorrow, and today is shot. However, not as shot as their today is, as mom pointed put, because they lose 8 hours of it. Or perhaps that 8 hours lost is floating somewhere between today and tomorrow, I'n not really sure how that technically works.

Yesterday I walked all over London and was very productive. I would have felt sucessful if I hadn't been so worn out. I am having housing issues, and I have to register tomorrow, with still n idea what to take. I think I am developing a complex about the study center. All this stupid security is driving me up the walls.

: Just so everyone knows, family is safely arrived! Outings to the British Museum and who knows where else tommorroww! Had a bit of an adventer when I bought groceries to leave at their flat for them, but couldn't get into the building. I ended up leaving them on the window sill.

Today was our last rehearsal for Shakespeare, and by the end it was coming together quite nicely, despite several initial mishaps. Our practitioner described my and Malini's enterance as 'smashing!'.It will come together even more after we get together tomorrow! Come Tuesday we will be performing on the Globe stage, if that's exciting. I also learned a fun fact about Shakespeare today, if anyone is interested.

I am sucessfully registered for 2 classes at UCLA: French 14 Culture and civilization, and Philosophy 21 Skeptcism and Rationlaity. Leonard helped me register and he even took Philosophy 21 with the same professor! How exciting is that! I have a couple leads in the apartment hunt, one of which sounds awesome, so everyone keep their fingers crossed for me!

: I just got back from shopping with mom! which was great fun. Soon I have to go to EU class and I haven't really done papers because I'd rather hang out with my family or read HP. But I am going to work really hard tomorrow all day.

The housing search is.. well.. going, and I'm a bit busy and overwhelmed at it all but soon I'll be on top of things again, hopefully! I can't believe we have like 3 1/2 weeks left. I don't think I've been keeping up with my post it countdown....

: Shakespeare tonight. Should be interesting... seeing as how a member of our group left for home this morning and another is apparently still in Amsterdam.

Last night, as predicted, I read HP #3 intead of writing my papers. oh well, they'll get done eventually. As soon as I pass through this phase where all I want to do is lounge around the flat in my pjs drinking Diet Coke and reading. And when I do leave, I go shopping... Hmmm. Yesterday while shopping with Mom I discovered the top floor of Muji. How this managed to go unnoticed until now, I have no idea. Soon I will make up for it though. I didn't buy anything.. yet. I am excersising great restraint by not going back. And I saw a cute hat in Dorthy Perkins. Well, I'll get my act together today! Must finish stupid journals, then I'll get to work on my review and my analysis. If only the thought of coming to this Godforsaken place didn't give me the heebygebbies! Yeech.

: Well, we survived our performance, and I got recognised in the Apple Tree, oddly enough, and I got about 5 compliments on my hat yesterday! Macbeth was good, too. Shakespeare is over, except I still have to write my dumb papers...ugh. Mom and Leonard went to Cambridge today.

: Tonight I am geting serius about the apartment business. My jeans are at mango getting hemmed, and yesterday was productuve, too. Me, tom, and lauar went to the Imperial War museum and tried a new restuarant!

: Yessss!!! After much perseverance I am now enrolled in all the classes I wanted for next quarter. Except for French, because apparantly I havn't completed the prerequists, but really I have, they just don't know it yet. I am enrolled in French 1 to hold the place in my schedule. I'm sure the French department will understand the silliness of that! I really need to start taking French again this quarter because it's already been 9 months and I'm getting a bit rusty, despite attempts to keep my French usable by holidays in France and other French speaking countries (another one coming up soon!).

Laura and I went to see Windsor Castle, which was very impressive. Windsor and Eton are pretty much the same town (but neither of us knew, which is kinda silly because Laura went to the Eton open day with her English family, and its kinda hard to miss a castle that big when it is on a hill right in front of you. still, I guess if you dont know what to look for...) so we went there, too. Laura gave me a mini tour and we climbed on The Wall. It was all very Hogwarts-esque, with houses and headmasters and prefects and young children running around, but I guess that's just the British public school system.We kept half expecting to run into her cousin, too, but we didn't. We also ate lots of yummy traditional English food (yes, it can be good!), saw Sir Christopher Wren's house from the outside, ran away from scary geese, and wandered around. Very cute and very pituresque.

"But Rachel, no one wants to take the classes you need."- Laura, on my registration problems. She's right, there's only 8 people in the French class I need. Apparantly the reason we get along so well is that I'm a Piecses (sp?).

: At the request of certain family members, I have decided to publish a Christmas wish list of things I need. Here it (so far) is:


I have about 5 socks that have no mate, and another 5 pairs that have holes in them which will be abondoned in London. Leaving me with... approx. none. Maybe I will go hunt in the laundry room to see if any of my socks have escaped to there. Ten points to the first person who tells me WHO ELSE wishes for socks for Christmas!

: One last check in before leaving! France tomorrow, very exciting! Seems like we always have to leave at ungodly hours for these holidays, this once is, believe it or not, semidecent at 4:40 to catch a 5:02 train from Farringdon. I was hoping to be functional but it looks like I'll be up half the night making phone calls so maybe not. Can always sleep on the plane, hopefully I won't be sitting next to a screaming 2 year old this time! So, anyhow, don't worry (mom) and I'll be back on the 10th, maybe, depending on the airport strike situation.

The countdown begins: 9 days.... : Well, yes, I'm back and safe. The airport strike was called off, but future ones are still at stake (I may be swimming home). Laura and I had an awesome time in Nice, I'll tell more about it when I have the time and inclination (never... so if youre really interested, look for details in my book to be published sometime in the distant future).

Bits of good news: I am no longer homeless (except for that one day in London, but I'm working on that) and my roommates sounds like loads of fun (talked to them on the phone)and it feels great to look forward to an apartment instead of worrying because I don't have one! Also, my history professor says I have a 'sensitive intelligence' which is the nicest thing anyone's said about me in a while, and all I have is 1 more class, 1 essay and 2 finals and then I'm DONE with school until winter quarter! Yipeee!

I'm really looking forward to warm (comparativley- its the arctic chill here in London, when we landed in Luton it was one degree celsius. one. ONE!!) weather, wearing flip flops, driving to the grocery store, cheetos, catching up with old friends, gretel, new kitten, christmas, new apartment, new classes, new school, getting back to work, new friends, etc etc.

I'm really going to miss wearing scarves, going to Camden Market, hearing British accents, Sainsbury's, Boot's, walking in London, writing London in my return address, shopping on Oxford Street, being able to casually drop in to see famous works of art on my lunch break or plan a mini holiday to Europe with relative ease and little expense, the suprised look on people's faces when they realize they've asked an American for directions, the Harry Potter posters on the number 38 bus (although they took the billboard on Tottenham Court Road down, now its something Christmasy) and probably most of all my London friends, even though actually they're all from California so I'll be able to see them all the time!

7 days : Yipee! I'm in a very good mood...

"But Marisa, I don't see what Harry Potter has to do with it"- Tom, "I wouldn't mind if you guys want to go BOTH days"- Marisa, "Are you sure you don't want to get some more sleep before you go to Camden?"- Marisa, "I like names"- me (I said this and for some reason my roommies thought this was really funny).

Our blinkey-signal light that I philfered (SP?) burn out, so last night I got another one, but this morning Laura threw it from our third story window. It did not survive.

5 days!!!: Last night was our goodbye/Christmas party, which was really cute and fun. This morning I woke up early (we are all catching Laura's insomnia)and we cleaned up our flat then Laura made scones and we had roommate morning gossip. I'm really going to miss that. Afterwards I went to talk to our friends upstairs and then we all went to Camden (for the last time, I swear! I'm getting a little tired of the people who run the stalls teasing us for coming so often. it was a sad moment, though). Now I have a paper to write, but I really dont want to so I'm thinking maybe I'll just go back and study for EU, but then I don't think I'll really study. Atleast I resisted the temptation to go to Borders with Laura and read HP 4 while she did researh.

3 days!!!! : Just finishing up my history paper, taking a final at 2, then I'm done!!! and I'll be free to enjoy the 2 school-free days of London! I can't believe I am going home. I just can't believe it.

still 3 days...: I'm done with my paper, yippee! Just have to survive core final. bleah.

I'm back!!!!: Yeah, I'm back. Its nice to be home. I had Inn&Out last night!!!!!

: My room is a mess of unpacking (and I only have half my stuff!!) and I have a paperwork pile stacked 10 feet on my desk. plus christmas presents. Plus one more suitcase arriving tonight. We're leaving for the movies soon! (Lord of the Rings, but we get to see Harry Potter later!)

Gretel just escaped the house, jogged around the block with me and Leonard franically chasing her, then ran back in the front door. I think she wanted attention.



© 2002-2010 Rachel Richardson.