Wednesday, September 29, 2010

LONDON: Days 25-28

My job:
Not much has really happened so far this week.  Because I didn't have to work at my internship last week (my boss Tom was on holiday) I volunteered to work 2 extra days this week.  This means I am working Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday with a day of class in the middle.  SO BUSY!  This is technically against the rules because it goes against my VISA limitations of working a maximum of 20 hours/week, but I don't mind.  It's a lot of work though.  I'm not just a stupid intern who gets assigned one or two clerical assignments and then spends the rest of their time checking their Facebook.  My boss gives me a lot of assignments which keep me very busy all day (sometimes I even forget to take a lunch break and he has to remind me) and he even told me that he is going to be away again towards the end of October but he wants me to come in and take over ALL the responsibilities of his job.  This is incredibly scary to me.  But I have about 3 more weeks of practice before I have to do that. 

Some information about my internship:
  • I work from 9:30am-6pm.
  • I have a 1 hour lunch break, which usually involves me buying a sandwich/coffee and sit on some benches by a local park and read.
  • I mostly respond to emails, fill out spread sheets, run errands, watch submitted short films and give my opinion on them, manage parts of the website, and make phone calls (I HATE MAKING PHONE CALLS.  Tom had me make a phone call to this film company asking for the rights to show a film of theirs in our upcoming film festival.  I practiced what I was going to say and had to learn how to dial a European phone number.  I felt very prepared yet put on the spot but in the end when I made the phone call the woman who answered only spoke a sentence of angry German to me and then hung up!  WOMP WOMP.)
  • The boss of the entire company, though not the person I work directly for, was just honored with being #98 out of 100 of the most powerful people in film in the UK according to The Guardian.
  • The company, according to Tom, is in great economic danger and so most of the people who I met when I first started have since been fired.
I also really like the people I work with!  They are all pretty young and really nice and they occasionally ask me to join them at the pub after work for a quick drink.  I mostly go out with Dan and Tom, and twice now a quick drink has turned into a 3 hour drinking session which always seems to get me a bit drunk!  It's so embarassing to get drunk in front of your boss who doesn't get as drunk as you.  I always think that beer is like water and I drink as much as everyone else around me (especially when they buy you rounds and the beer is free!) which is never a good idea.  I don't do anything crazy like stumble or pee on myself, but I definitely just don't ever stop talking.  So, I don't plan on drinking more than a SINGLE beer with them from this point forth.  I need to be a classy American.

Non-work related item of relevence:
Some maintenance staff came over today and told us that we have a mold problem in the flat.  This is not something we find shocking.  Our flat is disgustingly damp.  My towel never dries and even this morning I had it on my head swami style to dry my hair and I smelled something funny.  Turns out it was the towel!  It smells like moldy body odor.  And I only have the one towel thanks to my limited packing.  I may have to buy a new one while I'm here.

Monday, September 27, 2010

LONDON: Days 21-24

CLASS DAY!  2 classes each for a total of 6 hours of class.  They aren't difficult classes but they have yet to really draw me in yet or get me excited.  For my creativity and innovation class we went to Brick Lane for a field trip.  Part of our tuition went to an organized meal at a Pakistani restaurant.  We ate delicious things like curry, naan, samosas, chicken tandoori, cucumber salads, mago lassis etc.  The spicyness helped to clear up my sinuses but after we got back to the flat and took a nap I felt SO MUCH WORSE.  I had to endure my British Cinema class with a case of the sniffles.  I was that girl who jept obnoxiously coughing and blowing her nose while the professor gave his lecture.  OOPS.  But overall, a good day.

This week has mostly been spent being sick and doing absolutely nothing except watch re-runs on Law & Order: SVU on my laptop.  Caitlin helped me feel better by buying me medicine, AKA coca cola flavored gummie candy.  So when I started to feel a little bit better and I heard that one of the guys in our program could get everyone's name on the guest list to a fancy club, I jumped at the chance to go!  The great part about it was that it was a bonding experience for me because EVERYONE went!  So I was able to hang out with people I don't normally hang out with.  The club was called Cafe de Paris and when we arrived (in a huge, obnoxious American group) we went in the special VIP line and didn't have to pay any fees to get in!  Our names were on a list!  So fancy...

The club itself was VERY touristy, which was to be expected since it is in Picadilly Circus (the equivalent of NYC's Times Square).  It was big and plush and resembled an old cinema/circus.  Really nice.  And since I wasn't drinking I spent a total of £0 for the whole night!  SCORE.  I just danced and talked with the flat mates.  There was a live cover band that played songs from Queen, Journey, Green Day etc.  I actually completely lost my voice from screaming along to the music/screaming at the band to "PLAY BON JOVI!" (which they never did.)  It was SO much fun.

When we got back from the club, a bunch of us changed into pajamas and sat around in the kitchen drinking tea, eating toast, and laughing about the night.  It really was a good time.  I'm glad I got to hang out more with the girls on my floor, the 4th floor girls (Danielle, Allison, Michelle, and Ashley-they all love Harry Potter just as much as I do) and the Cellar Dwellars (Justin, Fornwald, and Zack-who all wore suits to the club).

Now I am re-cuperating by drinking lots of tea with lemon and talking to friends from home online.  P.S. HAPPY BELATED 20th BIRTHDAY TESSA LAW!


Thursday, September 23, 2010

London: DAY 22

But isn't it weird that British orange juice has white squirrels on the box?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

LONDON: Days 18-21

Sunday was London's annual Curry Festival at Brick Lane.  I really do love that neighborhood.  It's filled with vintage shops, indian restaurants, and cheap baegels.  We walked around there for a few hours, freaking out about how delicious the foods smelled, how interesting the people were, and how lovely the stall merchandise was.  I bought a giant fluffy pork dumpling, spiced Moroccan vegetables with cous cous, and a Guarana (a popular Brazilian soda that I became addicted to during my summer in Sao Paolo circa 2001).  SO DELICIOUS!!!

Monday I was sick.  Just a little 24 hour cold. But regardless, I spent the entire day drinking orange juice, stuffing my face with food, and watching Skins.  This show is basically Britain's answer to Degrassi.  Full of drama and ridiculousness.  I watched seasons 1 & 2 during winter break, after my cousin Emma introduced it to me.  Seasons 1 & 2 are brilliant.  The cast was fabulous and the characters were tragic and beautiful.  Season 3 is nothing compared to the amazingness of it's predecessors.  You can watch all 4 seasons on youtube for free and I recommend everyone do so.
Tuesday I felt better.  So after doing my homework and skyping with Adam, I dolled myself up and went for a walk.  The weather was SOOOO sunny and lovely.  I walked down High Street Kensington and browsed the shops.  There was a sale at Claire's so I bought a bejeweled headband for £3.  I also splurged a little bit on a new pair of headphones.  The thing with this purchase though, is that it was a necessity.  In the last year, my 2 best pair of headphones have broken.  I also have little baby mouse ears, which don't fit the stadard sized headphones that Apple practically gives away like candy.  I had been borrowing Christine's headphones, but they really just hurt too much to always have to use.  And so, this purchase was a necessity.  Unfortunately, I could only find one place on my whole 2 hour long walk that sold headphones: Urban Outfitters.  And that meant that my headphones were expensive.  Stylish! but, expensive.
(Behold, the purchases of the day!)

Now I am sitting in the common room, eating my microwavable Indian food (cauliflower, fennel, potatoes, tomatoes, in a spicy saag sauce) and browsing the internet.  Good day.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

London: Days 13-17

Lock Tavern

Before ever even coming to London I fantasized about what it would be like to have "my place", i.e. my own pub, bar, boozer etc.  I kind of imagined it being like The Winchester in Shaun of the Dead where you have a tab and the bartender knows your name and your drink of choice and you only have to walk around the corner from your flat to get there.  I've come to discover, that this doesn't really exist unless you're a seedy old guy in a seedy part of town.  Especially in the hoity toity neighborhood where we are.  Most of the pubs are uptight or have creepy bartenders or are super expensive and touristy.  However, even though I do not have the exact "my place" experience, I still think I have found A place that I really enjoy going to.  This place is called The Lock Tavern and we totally came across it by accident on our second day here.  It truly is an awesome place, though a little bit expensive.  On Thursday Christine, Fornwald, Pat, Chris and I went to a free DJ session by Mumford and Sons at "our place."  It was actually pretty fun.  They played pretty popular music and even though not a whole lot of people were dancing, we still danced and had fun.  Also, apparently Laura Marling was there (though I didn't see her) because she is dating one of the guys in the band.  I LOVE LAURA MARLING.  

High Tea
I saw my childhood friend Layla twice this week.  She really is quite a character.  The first time we met up we just walked around my neighborhood and ate sandwiches.  But the second time we hung out I met her in her neighborhood to go back to Bea's of Bloomsbury.  Once again, delicious scones and tea.

Notting Hill
Walked around Notting Hill today with Caitlin and Christine after a failed attempt to go to a friend;s rugby match and a second failed attempt to experience London's Open House event (basically a lot of archtectural structures are open for free to the public one weekend a year).  We took photos in phone booths, ate gelato, browsed book shops, and explored Marks & Spencer.  Marks & Spencer has the NICEST packaging ever.  We ended up finding these really interesting wines and cheeses.  My wine is called Lemony White Spicy Mulled Wine Zesty Fragrant and it is recommended that you serve it warm with a slice of orange.  Tonight we're going to attempt to dress fancy and have a wine and cheese tasting by the Thames river...but knowing us, we'll probably just drink wine and eat cheese in our pajamas while watching British television.

Last night we attempted to go out to a club with other people from our program for the first time.  And it was actually pretty fun!  The club was right around the corner from our flat and they played pretty good music and we just had a crazy dance party for a few hours.  However, when I say they played pretty good music I mean they played music that I liked to rock out to in middle/high school, i.e. Panic! at the Disco, Blink-182, Something Corporate etc.  But those DJ ladies looked at me like a crazy person when I went to request bands like Outkast, Major Lazer, Dexy's Midnight Runners, and Bon Jovi.  HELLO!?  Best bands to dance to EVER.

It must seem like I go out and drink all the time according to this blog, but I assure you that this is not the case.  I am more of a dancing machine than a beer guzzler.

Friday, September 17, 2010

LONDON: Personal Reflections

 (This is a pensive post, so here is a pensive picture of me near the London Eye/Big Ben.)

Everyone kept telling me, "Oh London!  How wonderful!  You're never going to forget this experience!"  But I never really thought about how much I was going to reflect on this experience or how it will indeed be something I never forget.  I mostly just thought about how much fun I was going to have.  Lately I have had more time for reflection on the matter.

Since coming to London, I've been feeling a little disconnected from everyone else.  Not just native Londoners but even from my close friends in the program.  I wasn't quite sure why.  I blamed jet lag and culture shock.  But those things are behind me now, for the most part.  Maybe I was just being too judgmental or over thinking things.  I didn't really want to meet new people on my own because it had been so long since I had had to make that effort.  These days, my mutual friends introduce people to one another!  But in London, I have no mutual friends outside the program and I wanted to meet some real Londoners.  But I found people didn't want to come and talk to me unless I already knew them.  Was I being standoffish?  Do I look mean?  I went on my artist's date yesterday and decided to think about things.  An artist's date is an assignment for my Creativity and Innovation class.  It is where you take 2 hours ut of your day to just be by yourself and explore your inner-self while exploring the city... I realized that I really like to be by myself.  Mostly this consists of me sitting around the house in my pajamas while everyone else is out doing things.  But for my artist's date I decided to get out of pajamas and walk down the street to check out the local library.  I ended up spending about 4 hours there reading, browsing, signing up for a library card (it has dinosaurs on it!) etc.  And while I was there I kept thinking about the past 2 weeks.  I realized that as a New Yorker and Philadelphian, I naturally give off "don't come near me" vibes as a survival mechanism.  As a 4'11 girl in a big city, you need survival mechanisms!  And by having this natural inclination to appear unapproachable, I was appearing unapproachable.  So I made the conscious decision right then and there to be more approachable.  And it worked!  When I came back from the Library I sat with some of the girls from my flat who I don't usually talk to and we had some pretty fun conversations.  And later that night I went out with some friends and a couple of real Londoners struck up conversations with us!  It was a small step for me!  By the time this trip is over I will have created a built in switch in my brain that will allow me to be approachable or unapproachable at will.

There are still many things to think about and questions to ask.  For instance, I'm here with some of my closest friends from home.  Would this experience be better if I was going solo and had to meet all new people?  I'm in an English speaking country, would the experience be more fulfilling if I were to attempt to learn a foreign language?  I am currently in a serious relationship back at home.  Would I be enjoying myself more or less if I were single? 

Whenever I ask myself those questions, I always have to remind myself that everything happens for a reason.  I am in London right now because I am supposed to be here.  It is a good city to be in and to learn how to live in it.  It is good to be away from the people you love because it makes you love them even more.  At this point I don't know if I want to learn to fit in or stand out (though I have been asked for directions 3 times now, so I guess I look like a native).  3 months isn't a whole lot of time to become a full on Londoner, so why try too hard to fit in when I can just be myself and do my thing?  I just want to have fun and enjoy myself this semester.  When the homesickness comes and all I want is to be cozy and warm in my bed from home while my cats crawl all over me, I will just travel!  I already have plans to go to Amsterdam with my roommates and even 1 new friend from our flat.  And when Adam visits in 35 days/11 hours/45 minutes, we're going to Paris!  And there are possible trips to Germany and Italy somewhere over the next few months.  I'm fighting homesickness and despair with my natural born wanderlust.  It's going to be awesome.

So I guess what I've learned so far is that every experience is determined by your own attitude when going into it.  I am deciding to have a good time while I'm here.  That doesn't mean I have to have a good time all the time.  But I am going to have the best time I can have overall because it's my decision to have the best time.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Photobooth Pics: London Edition

Us being pretty.

Us being babies.

Us feeling so sick.  We think we are dying.

Us with something in our eyes.


Us straight cheesin'.

Us being Ugly. (My favorite part is Caitlin's face.)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

LONDON: Days 7-11

Well I've been keeping busy!  So much going on.  Going to pubs/clubs, exploring different neighborhoods, etc.  For the first time in a really long time, I truly feel like I have no real down time.  Today was the first time I took a nap in about a week (and I had weird dreams about living in a hotel that was in a grocery store and both my mom and grandma were dying) and I don't even have time to paint my nails or pluck my eyebrows anymore!  I'm just going to be a hairy un-polished mess by the time I get back to the states!  OH NO!!!!!

Portobello Road:
Portobello Road is in Notting hill.  It's a street lines with hundreds of adorable little shops but on the weekend it is a full on flea market.  We were supposed to wake up early to go but ended up sleeping an extra 3 hours than we were supposed to.  It was way too crowded at that time of day and it also started to rain only about 20 minutes after we got there.  But they sold a whole bunch of delicious foods and cool trinkets.  We're definitely going to try and go back sometime soon.

Brick Lane:
(First of all, on our way there we bumped into what we believe was the set of the new X-Men movie.  My friend's Justin and Zack spent an entire day earlier this week trying to find the set and never really found it and we just found it by accident!  So good.)  Brick Lane was rumored in one of our guidebooks to have delicious Jewish "beigels".  The guidebook made these bagels sound like the most amazing things ever but when we went and got them, they really tasted like normal bagels.  But the nice thing was that a beigel with cream cheese and smoked salmon was only about £2 and most bagels with cream cheese and smoked salmon sold in NYC cost about $10.  Brick Lane itself was lovely.  Full of vintage shops and Indian restaurants.  It reminded me a lot of Williamsburg, BK.  We looked at a few vintage markets/shops (pretty expensive) and were harassed by some Indian restaurant employees.  I will DEFINITELY be re-visiting Brick Lane sometime soon. 

Speaker's Corner:
Woke up early on sunday to walk through Hyde Park to where we thought Speaker's Corner (a place where "people come to exercise their Democratic right to free speech."  Basically a place for crazy people to scream about crazy things.) was located.  Turns out, we don't know where the real Speaker's corner is.  Instead we wandered to Marble Arch, an area with a large arch based off of the arch of Constantine.  My guidebook said that the area we were sitting in had been a place where people were often executed up until the year 1739.  CRAZY!  It really is weird to be in a place that has a documented history that is so much older than the US.

My favorite TV here is definitely the reality kind.  And my favorite show is called Jedward Let's Loose.  It is actually the greatest show of all time.  Jedward is/are a set of twins with pineapple heads who won the UK X Factor.  As far as I can tell, they don't actually sing or dance or do anything.  But they are so much fun to watch because they are like giant gay babies who aren't actually gay (yeah right! and they do everything together and talk like idiots and eat bowls of jelly beans for dinner every night.  They even have a body guard who is more like a babysitter.  The whole thing reminds me a lot of Very Mary Kate.

Mayor's Festival:
The Mayor's Festival is located on the Thames river.  It's this amazing huge festival full of food stands, goods for sale, live music, parades, performances, and FIREWORKS!  Crazy amounts of amazing fireworks over the river with double decker buses and German tourists occasionally obscuring your view.
 (Lauren, Chris Fish, Wiggle, Garbage McCann)

The most exciting part of my week involves my job.  IT IS AMAZING!!!  I LOVE MY INTERNSHIP!!!!!!!!!  BEST EVER!  Before I even got there I was expecting a fancy office with people in suits and a lot of modern Ikea furniture.  But when I walked into the office I was greeted with a spacious loft full of light and a bunch of hipster-y dudes wearing flannels and skinny jeans.  I am basically the personal programme assistant of this guy named Tom.  And I spend my day (9:30am-6pm) watching short films and responding to emails.  It is THE BEST.  The company is called Future Shorts and is a short film distribution company as well as an organizer of short film festivals.  The first day I watched compilation DVDs of 3 of their festivals so I could get a better idea of what level of content they were looking for.  The second day I took notes and watched the short films that people sent in and had to reject all the ones which were not up to the company's standards.  It's a long day's worth of work, but totally fun.
After my first day my boss asked me if I wanted to join him and the other co-workers for a pint (we were all warned that if asked to do this, you DO this because it is a social necessity).  So I went out to the pub and had all my drinks paid for by my co-workers and I met the girl who I am replacing at the company and we had drinks in honor of her leaving the company.  Everyone was SO NICE!  And my boss is particularly awesome.  Just really easy to talk to and super friendly.  He looks/acts like Simon Amstel.  He really liked my enthusiasm and attitude and only ever asked one other intern out for drinks before and that he had a good feeling about me and my work ethic.  WOO HOO!

(Some of the short films/music videos I watched during work: Luv Deluxe, Heart Breaker, Midnight EP Trilogy, The Lost Tribes of New York etc.)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


All I ate today was tea and pastries. Seriously unhealthy, but probably pretty thrifty? But I'm not even hungry after that meal and it was hours ago!  We went to afternoon tea in a really cute business-y area of London. The place was called Bea's of Bloomsbury and they were AWESOME. They totally served us a billion cupcakes, raspberry marshmallows, scones with clotted cream and raspberry jam, brownies, blondies, and meringues for only £9. We (Caitlin and 2 other girls from the program) also each ordered little personal pots of tea (I got the vanilla black tea).  SO FRICKIN' GOOD.  Then we went to a house museum which was built by Sir John Soane (the first Tuesday of every month, admittance is free).  He was this famous 19th century architect who was basically a hoarder of all things Italian and artsy.  He has one huge Egyptian sarcophagus and the museum goes underground and is 3 houses wide and is lit only by candlelight to keep the authenticity of the place.  Apparently this dude was a pretty well known architect and professor who had mad beef with his sons.  So before he died he drafted a will that gave his property and all of his positions to the city of London.  And according to one of the docents there, he began his collection during a time of great social poverty and allowed his students to tour his home museum just for inspiration!  It was really cool and the architecture was just amazing.

After our big day out, Caitlin and I bought some wine to relax.  It's especially a "I need to relax" kind of night because I have my first day of classes tomorrow and there is currently a tube strike.  This tube strike caused quite a few tiring travel woes today.  But don't worry, we sorted it all out.  Apparently, by law, tube strikes can only last 24 hours so it should end by 9pm tonight. 

Also, on Thursday it's the first day of my internship and I have to take 2 different tube lines to get there.  I'm still getting used to the public transportation here.  For the most part it's incredibly reliable and easy to follow, but because London isn't on a grid system, it CAN get pretty confusing.  


Monday, September 6, 2010

London: DAY 5

After a lovely night playing Hinkle Finny Duster in the basement, the girls and I woke up early (no easy feat after a sleepless night caused from too much strong English tea) to go to Primark for some shopping.  I bought a sparkly black umbrella (which became useful today when it rained), a peacock feather hair barrette, seam-up-the-back black tights, and a gray satchel...all for under £15!!!

Then I went with Justin and Fornwald to Camden town to explore it in the day light.  SO MANY WONDERFUL shops!  And market places galore with ethnic foods for cheap prices and other fascinating odds and ends.  We came back to South Kensington by bus, which took about 45 minutes, due to the tube strike.  It is predicted the strike will last until wednesday.  I really hope everything gets resolved by then because my internship starts on thursday and I really want it to be an easy commute.

Tonight we're going out with some of the girls from our program to a local pub called The Prince of Wales.  Should be fun.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

LONDON: Day's 2 & 3

Day 2:
During the day we had orientations for our academics and internships.  Around 4pm though we went with a bunch of the guys to a pub called The Goat's Head and split a pitcher of Pimms.  I actually became a bit "pissed" as they say.  Not really drunk, but rathhherrrr tipsy.  We also took a lot of naps.  2nd night there, first night out.  IT WAS PRETTY GREAT! We went to SoHo which is the hip area of london? (More like tourist central.  Picture Times Scquare with a bunch of British people drinking on the street)  We walked around for a bit trying to find other people from Temple but we decided to just do our own thing and went into this pub called Waxy which was what I imagine every house in the lord of the rings is like. There was a tree growing in the middle of it and they only played fabulous 90s music which we sang very loudly to all night (Bon Jovi, Journey, BSB etc.)

We met and hung out with a few British/Irish people who were super nice!  Glenn, Warren, Luke, Sam, Mary Anne etc. They reccomended we go to Fabric and Tiger Tiger (super expensive cover charge$$ though.  Not into that.)  And we spent most of the night discussing the differences between American and British culture.  People were fascinated by how large our food portions are and about how American culture is very FOR binge drinking. It was a very interesting experience. Pubs close around 11pm-12am here so we hung out there until we were kicked out and then we wandered the streets looking for a club to go to, but everything was really expensive and touristy and the Irish/British friends we made were being a little creepy so we left.

Um, let me just say.  That night, I HAD NEVER HAD TO PEE SO BADLY IN MY LIFE! I can honestly say I have never had to pee as much in my life as I did tonight.  But nothing NOTHING nothing was open and I almost peed on the streets a few times but I would pull down my pants in some shadows and then I would see some security guard guy in the distance or a car coming around the corner and i would chicken out. so we took the bus home while I quietly cried in pain and then we finally got back and I peed and it was amazing.

DAY 3:
Today we woke up early to go on a walking tour of our neighborhood.  It was really cute and our tour guide was pretty awesome.  Totally rocked the color blue, blue dress/sweater/shoes etc.  Pimpin' it up.  I wasn't feeling well so after I ate my tuna sandwich with cucumbers and lemon vinaigrette (YUM), I took a 4 hour nap.  This caused me to skip the bus tour but I definitely needed the nap.  Afterwards I felt so much better. 

Night 3 was pretty low key. We haven't done a whole bunch of bonding with the people from our program.  Just with the people we already knew before we came here. So tonight the girls and I plus Fornwald and his socially retarded/serial killer from the future roommate Patrick went to Camden, which is the punky area of London.  We bought hamburgers for dinner and then we walked around and went to this bar called Lock Tavern which was definitely hipster central and was pretty fun. Not AS FUN as last night because last night we were a little bit more drunk and we went to a more toursity pub where people were more talkative. We did strike up a conversation with this really nice lady named Ruthie who thought we were 25.  She was a political photo-journalist and she travels all over the world and was very interesting. 

We left early enough to catch the tube home but we got on the wrong one and were lost for a little while but now we're back! Tomorrow we're waking up at a resonable hour to go this thing called Speaker's Corner in Hyde park. It's where "british citizens exorcise their democratic rights." Basically people talking on soapboxes about politics and religion. Tessa says it's more along the lines of "a bunch of psychos ranting incoherently."  We also plan on going to Topshop and Primark and other shopping locales.  EXCITING! 

10 things I have learned about London so far

10 things I have learned about London so far:
1. Brits don't hate Americans.  They actually rather love them as long as they are friendly and outgoing.

2. Guns are illegal here, so I don't have to worry about being shot.  Ever.

3.  Rape is prevalent here, so I have to worry about being raped.  All the time.

4.  When going out, girls tend to dress up like Temple Freshman attending Frat parties i.e. 5 inch heels and bootylicious dresses.  This means I usually look like a casual midget in bars.

5.  People in London are REALLY tall.  The girls are tall because of the aforementioned 5 inch heels and the guys are tall because they are actually half giant.  They probably hang out with Hagrid a lot.

6.  Electricity here pretty much sucks and fuses get blown all the frickin' time for apparently no reason.

7.  House parties do not exist here.

8.  Due to a recent law that is trying to crack down on binge drinking, bouncers must check the IDs of anyone entering the bar who may look 25 or under and the bartenders are supposed to check IDs too even if you are already in the bar.  This results in having your ID checked about 3-4 times per night.

9.  They sell liquor in cans here (gin & tonic, whiskey & coke etc.)

10.  The tube is wiggety wack and confusing.  Lines split into 2 and you have to go and change back and some other stuff.  Pretty intimidating.  But other than that, their public transportation system is beautiful, punctual, clean etc. and SEPTA really needs to learn to be more like the tube.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


So after arriving in Heathrow 1 1/2 hours later than originally anticipated by the airline and after going through customs, I get greeted at the baggage claim by the lovely Caitlin and Fornwald.  They had even been so nice as to fetch my luggage for me before I had even arrived (I had described to them earlier just how hideous the shade of pukey olive green my suitcase was and, sure enough, they found it.  So then we found our way to the tube and made our way to Gloucester Road.  (When I went to pay for my ticket, I  tried to use these pound notes my mom found in an old purse, but it turns out they were expired!  The guy at the counter gave me such attitude about it too!  Whatever man.  In America, dollars are dollars and they be dollars 4evah!  Just kidding.)

So we arrived at our stop (fun fact: in London, you have to keep your ticket with you during the whole trip because you need it to swipe in AND out of the stations) and were assisted with our luggage up the stairs.  Then came the long an grueling walk to our check in area.  My hands are still sore and calloused from that long haul with my 64lb. suitcase.  After checking in and receiving our keys (Caitlin, Christine, and I are all sharing a room-1C!!! C FOR HARD C's!!) Caitlin and I unpacked and waited for Ms. Fisher to arrive.  Unpacking seriously took about 15 minutes.  I feel like I brought no clothes at all.  After packing we browsed some of the other rooms on our floor (an all girls floor, with a few bathrooms, a kitchen, and a study lounge for sharing).  The boys are in the basement and I swear Fornwald has a bloodstain on his carpet.  CREEPY. 

After we finished unpacking and Christine arrived, we decided to walk around and find some food to help keep us awake.  None of us slept on the flight over (instead I watched the TERRIBLE movies Letters to Juliet and The Losers) and to avoid jetlag, we're trying not to nap (although Caitlin is currently snoring above me on the top bunk, so that might not have worked out as planned).  For food we got Starbucks and Sainsbury sandwiches.  I can already tell that grocery shopping is going to be really fun here.  There are so many things I want to try and all of the packaging is WAY CUTER than it is in America.  It's going to be tough not gaining 300 lbs. while overseas.  We also bumped into Mike Rehrig (who is studying here this semester) and his bf Joe Weidman (who studied here this summer) on the street and we made tentative plans to hang out at a future date. 

Now it looks like Chris Fish is napping too.  Fornwald just came in the room to invite us to a pub but I guess we'll go later.  Though in all honesty, I'm not in the mood to drink right now.  Unless that drink happens to be coffee.

I wish I could show pictures of the room but my camera is out of battery and I still have to buy/borrow a UK adaptor.  We basically have 1 bunk bed (I snagged the ridiculously low ceiling-ed bottom bunk) and 1 single bed, 3 wardrobes, 1 dresser, and a bulletin board.  It works for us.

Upsides include:
1. we are all in 1 room
2. we have wifi!

Downsides include:
1. it's pretty cold in here
2. we don't have our own bathroom