Sunday, September 29, 2013

What it means to be a student

Classes have begun and I'm now an "official" British student.....and naturally, I'm doing my homework during the week so I can run off on the weekends.

Two penny. New penny. 

Asked an English friend about this and he didn't even know the answer...

Friend making 101: wear a cool belt.

Lovely sends me updates on the fluffy beasts :)

Cannot wait to see these little goobers when I return!

I finally got my tourist phone booth shot! Kelsey and I went into the city on Friday to explore and hit up a bunch of sights.

So much London in one shot...

The new Victoria's Secret on New Bond Street is absolutely gorgeous.....four stories with chandeliers and great staircase. Heaven.

Our trip down New Bond Street and Regent Street wouldn't be complete without a trip to Hamley's. Naturally, we played with everything.

I was explaining Marshmallow fluff to an English friend who said it sounded amazing but he had never seen it here. Ta-da!

If it didn't cost me over $10 [after conversion] for a jar, I would have bought some....

Classes are so much nicer than in America in that we don't need to go as frequently! And can't beat a three-day weekend! Hehehe

I'm taking a history course on gender roles, British life and culture, area studies [concentration on the Middle East for first term], and international trade and finance. Woot woot! Geeking it up whilst enjoying life.

Not going to lie, that Star Wars belt and my Star Wars shirt [so sad I only brought 1 out of the many that I own] have made for some gooood conversation starters.

I've been able to start ticking off sights from my list of things to see....hoping to go to Berlin soon! In the meantime, I'll be hitting up favourite pub chain.


Thank goodness I walk everywhere.....

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Shakespeare is my man

Exploration into the city....first stop: the Tate Modern Museum of Art

These burning book chandeliers were just incredible much to see in this exhibit but these were probably my favorite of Gaba's.

Lovely view of the Millennium Bridge and St. Paul's Cathedral 

It's the process, not always the final product, that makes the final piece...

Stop at Nando's for dinner. Veggie burger with their hot level sauce. Naturally, I had to try the extra hot for my chips [fries to us Americans]. Delish.

The Tower Bridge. This shot...just looks incredible; I hardly noticed when looking through my pics on my phone. iOS7 has an incredible photo boost.

Off to the Globe Theatre to see A Midsummer Night's Dream!

Although not in the original location [the original was on the other side of the Millennium Bridge, closer to Nando's] and not quite as large, the remake is still magnificent...yeah, I was slightly awe-struck. And that was even before the play began....

I've quite fallen for the city....we had standing seats which made it all the more cool. A play for £5. Can't beat that! And the acting was phenomenal! 

Hello, Oberon!

It was open to the elements, but luckily it did not rain. Beautiful day, beautiful night...

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Of two minds

I love how easy it is to get into the city...

Last night was the Fresher's Ball, marking the end to Fresher's Week and all of the activities....except for today's last excursion to Greenwich. Naturally, I had to go see a few things in Westminster before making my way to the pier.

The clock tower, commonly mistaken for Big Ben, which is actually the bell inside. I'm a stickler for facts and accuracy.

Poor Ben is slightly cracked like our Liberty Bell....


Westminster Abbey in all her glory. The queue was quite long so I did not have a chance to go inside....but I shall return!

I'm hoping to go into the city for a day just to explore, either Friday [because I don't have class mwahahahaha] or Sunday since Saturday I shall be on a field trip.

There's an aquarium across the Thames and of course, the London Eye, which I have yet to ride! I need to get a move on my list....I feel like I'm slipping.

This is the Westminster Pier.

We arrived at Greenwich via [Britishly pronounced vI-a] boat ride down the Thames [during much of which I slept....]

We stopped at a Pizza Express. So I got a hot chocolate and brownie. duh.

I love their sweets over I wasn't hungry enough for a meal.

A lovely view of Greenwich from the top of the hill near the Observatory

Look at me! I'm in two hemispheres at once!

Pit stop at the M&M store in Picadilly Circus!

Princess salute

The smells were just incredible wafting down much to see! I've never been to NYC's Chinatown so I can't very well compare it....but definitely worth a stop

Weird tick about me. I don't generally eat McDonald's in the US, but I like to try McDonald's in different countries. I was hungry and this spicy veggie wrap and Malteser McFlurry were calling my name. Delicious.

Of two minds....very much so. I love different aspects of America [such as using my own phone because, let's face it, this Nokia sucks], but England feels like home already. The culture is definitely one in which I would wish to live...I'm not even sure how to describe it. I should be adventurous and want to move on to grander, more exotic places [which I will in years to come], but I could definitely see myself living here for a time some day....

I don't want to leave....I would love to go home for a semester and come back for my last semester. There is just so much to see and do and the friends I've made....I don't want to leave them! I've literally made acquaintances and friends with people all over the world, even some pretty cool American girls.

This is me wailing....don't wanna gooooooooo

In the meantime, taking advantage of all of my time. Stonehenge and Bath on Saturday, Paris in October, Amsterdam and Brogue in many trips and memories to come :)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Brighton beach

I made it to the beach this year! We pulled into Brighton and this is what we see......

First thoughts after sleeping on the hour long bus ride: Where the hell are we?!

The Royal Pavilion was built with an Indian influence on the outside, but many Chinese touches on the inside...or rather, what the prince thought the East resembled. Some stereotypical artsy things as he himself, nor his decorators, had ever been to either place. 

They had an exhibit of really fascinating furniture in here before all of the seemingly same old, same old exhibits on Egypt and whatnot...the gift shop had a mini Henry like our flat's vacuum cleaner!

Just all smiles...

I had a terrible migraine, but the day ended quite well with a milkshake from Moo Moo's. Mmmmm

From London with Love

Although I'm not directly in central London, I guess Surbiton is alright....

I am quite enamored by's such a lovely place!

Surbiton Station where a scene from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II were filmed. Oooooh oooh!

The inner child in me is beyond excited.

I went on a Harry Potter walking tour through London to see where some of the big HP scenes were filmed. Here is my first view of the Tower Bridge :) It was an authentic tour in that it rained poured.

It was perfectly acceptable to be a tourist that day. We already stood out in the crowd with our massive crowd clogging the walkways. St. Paul's Cathedral is just there behind me. It took 35 years to build!

The epitome of the trip...the whole reason for going....Platform 9 3/4

Traditional English meal of fish and chips and peas! I'm not generally a big fan of fish, but it was delicious. I may reconsider now...mmmm

My friend Kelsey and I didn't get a chance to tour Buckingham Palace since we were short on time, but we did get a few pictures of the palace. It was just beautiful...absolutely beautiful. I'm hoping to see the Changing of the Guard at one point. Fajer said to definitely make sure I get to experience it. 

The night ended at the Apollo Victoria Theatre to see Wicked. Wow.

Quickly falling in love with London.

It's just not the same as NYC no matter what anyone says....NYC is fun and exciting but definitely not a place I could see myself living. London has a much better appeal...interesting people as NYC has, but it's more of a livable city to me. I feel more at ease and less of a tourist albeit I know my way around NYC much better!

Hopefully I'll be a pro London navigator by the end of the semester...I seem to have already become the navigator here.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Drizzle, quid, and pants

Pants are underpants, like briefs.
Trousers are pants.

I knew about the trousers, but not the pants...

Still getting used to the slang and accents, but meeting loads of new people from all over the world. It's pretty neat actually, albeit confusing in stores at times when I'm looking for something specific.

There are the easy ones, like biscuit=cookie, pub=chill meeting place with a bar, quid=British pounds. But sometimes I forget and mix up crisps and chips and fries! P.S. crisps=potato chips, chips=French fries.

C'est la vie.

Thus far, I've successfully navigated around Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey, and Surbiton....or at least on my one trip. So many of the streets tend to look the same so I think I'm going the right way, but end up walking an extra 2 miles. My legs better be slim and trim by the time December rolls around...or I may shiver off my fat. 

I've heard so many languages being spoken and I haven't even been to London yet! Oi bugger, right now it's raining....surprise. It's like Annville ha

They have quite a few brands and stores/restaurants one might see in the US: Baskin Robbins, Pizza Hut, Virgin Mobile, bloke told me he loves Domino's Pizza. Gag. But that's merely personal taste....

I keep getting told I'm pronouncing my English incorrectly and I have an accent. How water. We say "waDDDer" and they say "woter." Fun, light-hearted arguments on English haha

Cleaning today and picking up my Oyster card....if it ever stops raining and the maintenance man comes to fix my heat and water.

I'll be updating when I go to the common room to pick up wifi to upload pictures from my phone. I have a shisty little Nokia 100 on the O2 network for here...poor iPhone 5 :(