Sunday, March 27, 2011

Feb-Present

Mural off of Brick Lane
The rest of February remained pretty uneventful. I visited Steph in London during my reading week, which was a blast. We went for breakfast in Leicester Square, saw a psychedelic drug exhibit at a museum in Euston, and shopping at Oxford Circus. We both found knee high black boots. And we raced up the down escalators at a department store, which is one of my favorite activities. We also found sushi in Soho, which we totally splurged on. It was so worth it. We finished the evening by going to see Just Go With It, then returning to Steph's place and watching TV with one of her housemates. The next day we went into Angel and had breakfast with Tom, then walked around Camden market a bit and got some liquid nitrogen ice cream. I got the french toast flavor.

Back at Kent there was varsity day. It's where all the different sports teams compete against Christ Church--it's kind of wannabe American, which was funny. The thing is, varsity is a big deal but only if you are part of it. Aside from hearing cheers from the parkwood pitches, no one on campus seemed remotely bothered about it at all. Jyoti and I tried to make it to the football match, but it was an away game so we couldn't find the pitches. We tried to find the American football instead, but apparently it wasn't on (even though the website said otherwise). We gave up. I went to the Venue for varsity night with Oli and Josh because it was the end of Haynes's ban--hallelujah. We had a good time, and I ran into a few people which was fun.


Steph and Oli are both participating in lent and challenged me to as well. So I've given up chocolate and taking the bus. Oli gave up facebook and lone dairy products and something else I can't remember, and Steph gave up chocolate, diet coke, and men. She almost gave up drinking, but she and I booked a trip to Amsterdam at the beginning of Easter holiday, and it comes before Easter. Obviously we will both be drinking in Amsterdam, it's a freaking party capital.

I went to London again to visit Steph and we went to an even better sushi place in Angel with Hallie and Roxy. Afterwards, Rox lead us to a place that had incredible creme brulee, and after that we went for hookah. Steph and I also strolled along Brick Lane, which is my new favorite London market. It has a bunch of supercool vintage clothing and record stores, as well as pop-up shops that only come around for a couple weeks.
At Cafe Rouge

It's finally been getting sunny! Roxanne and I went into the centre and sat around the patio of Cafe Rouge drinking beer in the sunshine for a good couple hours before going home to get ready for my night out with the cast (I was in another show). The next day Oli, Steph and I grabbed some food from sainsbury and went for a hangover picnic in one of the parks along the river in town, which was beautiful. We spent this weekend in Yateley and went on a nice long walk around a park a couple of towns over with Heather and Jonny.

Picnic!
Now it's nearly April. What else happened this term? I had another two essays due in that I saved for the last minute because I'm smart like that. I got the post-Freud one back, 72! The other one I literally wrote in one night, and I've yet to receive my mark so we'll see. . . Honestly the only thing that kept me all that busy twas doing a show again. The weird thing about this term as that people just aren't going out as much, I mean everyone. I'm at that point where the term is getting busy again--my show just finished (it went really well!) and now we have 2 weeks left and I have 2 more papers. Time's flying

Monday, March 21, 2011

I'm 21!!!!!!

At the Cuban with a portion of the group


My 21st was easily the best birthday of my life. I went shopping kind of early because I wanted something new to wear, and ended up getting a dress from H&M. Then Roxanne and I went for breakfast at Tiny Tim's Tea Room. We ended up ditching class and shopping around a bit more. After that I went home and skyped with my mom for a bit, then took my time getting ready for the evening. Rox, Martin, Ima, and his friend Xabel came knocking, bearing gifts and singing happy birthday. They got me kinder chocolate eggs (which we all shared), socks, a necklace, and a tiara. They left, I finished getting ready, and then I went to town to meet Jyoti and Oli for dinner at Cafe Boho.

After dinner was the pub crawl. We started at Wetherspoons. People took a while to show, especially Steph because she was coming in from London just for the night. She brought my gifts--a union jack box with 21 gifts inside. Pretty quickly after her arrival, she and Oli made me close my eyes. They shoved a white tshirt on me, crowned me with the tiara Rox had gotten me, and handcuffed me to Ben. They also gave everyone party hats with Oli's favorite photo of me taped onto them. On the back of the tee they had written 21 challenges. I knocked a few out there, then got handcuffed to someone else (one of the challenges was to remain handcuffed to someone at all times). 

The next stop was the Hobgoblin, where I kissed a man twice my age. Then Lady Luck, which I CRAWLED to (I looked up and saw the entire bar watching me on my hands and knees, with Josh hunched over because he was handcuffed to me but wouldn't crawl). Luckily the handcuffs broke, and it was still pretty early. After Lady Luck we ended up at the Cuban. I was pretty smashed. I ended up crying (I mixed a LOT of different alcohols, and I had around 21 drinks), we left, they took me to subway, I threw up, they made me eat a sandwich, we walked back to Steph's, I skyped my mom, I slid down the stairs on my ass, I passed out and woke up with the worst hangover of my life. AMAZING night. I almost got all of the challenges, but I didn't dance on a bar and I didn't steal a traffic cone--those will both haunt me forever. The funny things is those were two of the tamest challenges on the list. Should I be embarrassed?


Anyway I'll be legal when I go back to the states--finally. It's going to take a lot to outdo that birthday.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

January-February

I'm going to try to sum up as best I can while still giving important details. Month by month.
Rox's and my victorious return to England

The day before term started I was totally suffering post-break depression. This was in large part because of all of the exhaustion, but I got ended up getting really homesick just before term started again. Steph made sure to knock it out of me thoroughly, though.

The first week back I had a paper due in for Friday. I thought the deadline was a week later, so I didn't end up starting it until Tuesday. I got it in on time, though, and I got a 68 on it, so yay! I also got the final paper back from last term. 90. 90!!!! I have no clue how that happened but that is like an american 130% so needless to say I was over the mooooon.

The rest of January was pretty uneventful. I got pink eye, that sucked. Steph, Oli, and I have started having a weekly dinner, we take turns hosting. It's a nice way to make sure we see each other at least once a week, and it's really fun. Only now it's kind of just me and Oli because Steph went to London for her work experience.

Oli's Gold Day
February was quite eventful. I tried out for the 4th year shows again, and got into Mario and Vicki's again. It was also Oli's 22nd birthday--he threw a gold themed party. For Valentine's Day I went to dinner at Steph's. Lauren and Luke prepared a meal, so the two of them, me, Steph, Lauren's friend Jess, and Laura all at dinner together and I baked vegan blackout cake for desert. Then Steph, Lauren, and I watched the movie Valentine's Day. Crap film, but it was fun.

The best part of Feb was easily my 21st birthday, but I'll save that for the next post.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Part V: Return to England

Me Oli and Jilli at the match


Jillian and I ended our journey back in England. Oli picked us up from the airport and we had just enough energy to stop at waitrose to pick up ingredients to make sandwiches. We then sat around all afternoon and lounged in the living room.


Oli had invited us to see the Ipswich vs. Arsenal football match--Arsenal is a big deal team, so it was meant to be quite exciting. So me, Jillian, Oli, and his dad ate dinner and headed out in our rain gear. The match was really fun, and we had pretty good seats as well. Soccer football is so much more fun to watch than American football--it was exciting! And they didn't stop the clock every five freaking seconds, so it went quickly. Ipswich even won, go team! I'm glad that I've made it to a football match, it's something I can cross off my list now.
J enjoying (?) her pig f**ker

We made it back to Canterbury on Thursday morning. I took Jillian to the Good Shed for a life changing sandwich, then back to mine for a nap. I gave her a pathetic mini tour of campus and town, then we came back to mine and made a giant batch of mac'n cheese. We were going to stay in and watch a movie, but Roxanne, Ima, Mirek, and Martin stopped by on their way to the center for pig f**kers and convinced us to come along. We were so tired, though, we left by 11 so as to catch the last bus back to campus.

Jillian left Friday morning--my cell alarm didn't go off so she missed the coach we'd booked, but she was able to catch a train that would get her to the airport in time. Sad to see her go, but when we got back to England we'd received an email from the guy we are trying to lease from, and he said the apartment was definitely ours and sent us the papers to sign and everything, so we have a place to live next year, YAY!

I spent the rest of break trying to chill out. Rox, the boys, and I went clubbing, and Sunday everyone else got back to campus. It was not exactly a relaxing break, but it was amazing. And now I have 3 countries crossed off my list!

Part IV: Italia

Italy, while very cold, grey, and rainy, was just relaxing. Jillian and I were knackered at this point, and after another early rising to make another early flight, we had another early landing in Milan.
Milan

Riccardo and Matteo retrieved us from the airport and we got back to tiny apartment in a small town a little bit outside of Milan. Riccardo made us a delicious spaghetti dish and took us around the little town, which was charming and beautiful. We stopped in a gorgeous cafe and got mocha espressos, which were straight shots with a chocolate spoon that you stirred in and melted. Delicious.

The next day we slept in super late before taking a small walk around the town again and just hanging out--we took it really easy. Then that evening Riccardo was having people over for his birthday, so along with his girlfriend Viola, we all got together and made pasta from scratch, and Jillian and I provided dessert.

Sunday Riccardo took us into a nearby town that had a fancy plaza. We strolled and admired the shops, and people watched all the fancy Italian ladies in their fancy furs with their little dogs. Then we strolled further through the market, and stopped to sample a million delicious cheeses, breads, olive oils, and wines. We ended the day with some dinner at a small restaurant--the server made us each these long paninis with brie, prosciutto, and cocktail sauce. Molto delizioso.

On Monday we went into Milan. It was sleeting, which was unfortunate, but the city was beautiful nonetheless. Riccardo and Viola gave us a tour of the university, which used to be a hospital, and walked us around the rest of the city. The grand finale was a walk down a skinny little street that had all of the designer shops, with window displays meant to allow window shopping. Dolce & Gabbana, Herm├ęs, Chanel, Cavalli, they were all there, taunting us. That night Riccardo drove Viola home and we ate insanely yummy authentic Italian pizza.

We spent our final day strolling around Riccardo's town some more. We returned to the cafe he first took us to and each got a few of the mini pastries for breakfast--it was hard to pick, there were so many options and they all looked amazing. Then we went for lunch at another random spot we found that had an easily-interpreted lunch special. The wait staff didn't speak a word of English but we managed to get our two course meal of spaghetti pomodoro and mozzarella with tomato. They even gave us a plate of the best tiramasu I have ever had the pleasure of eating, on the house.

That evening Jillian and I made chipotle dinner for me, Riccardo, Matteo, and Viola. Then we grabbed some gelato (we were stuffed, but it was our last night and I had yet to try it--it was amazing), went and watched Riccardo's band practice, got a couple drinks at the pub, and called it a night.

Part III: Ireland

Everything about Ireland is lovely--the scenery, the buildings, the people. I loved it all.
Cork Sunset

Jillian and I landed in Cork at around 7 am. We hopped the bus into town and made it to our hostel just as the sun was rising around 8. A very nice man named Liam was working at the front desk, and we were able to check into our room immediately. We considered going back to bed since we had gotten up at 3 the night before to get to the airport by 4, but we decided to get food first because we were both starving.

Because New Years fell on a weekend, the following Monday was a bank holiday. So Cork was a ghost town. Granted it was only 8 something in the morning, but still it was a bit weird. It took quite a while to find anywhere open for breakfast, but finally we spotted a bagel place and happily inhaled sustenance.

Blarney Castle
We went back to the hostel and passed out for a few hours before going back to the front desk to ask Liam's advice on where to go. He gave us a pamphlet with the top 10 places to see in Cork and helped map a little route for us, starting with the city gaol, which was supposed to be the coolest site. So to the city gaol we went. And it was one of the most simultaneously depressing and hilarious things I have ever seen, mainly because of the audio tour. The Irish narrator told the story of Mary Sullivan, a single mother who ended up in jail because of her drinking habits. Her children were sent to work in factories, which in theory would have been good because they'd at least get regular meals, but probably gave them the plague. Oh well. The rest of the tour was similar, with presentations of hope that were abruptly stomped on before they got too believable.

Blarney grounds lake walk
While in Cork we also went to a couple pubs that had live music. The pub scene was really nice, very friendly and generally chill with folky music and a mixture of younger and older people. We also went to Blarney Castle to kiss the stone, and walked around Rock Close. We got lucky with the weather, it was beautiful and it made all of the views and the nature walks that much more stunning.

View from the bus on the way to Dublin
The next day we got on the bus to Dublin. Dublin was alright but it was just kind of generic--it didn't have a unique quality that makes it one of a kind the way that Paris or London do. It was still nice though. We skipped the gaol there and instead went to the Charles Beatty museum, Trinity College, and O'Connel street. The best day though was the one where we got a little lost. The weather was pretty nice because the sun was shining, and we ended up in this beautiful park that looked like the park from 101 Dalmatians. Then we saw both of the big deal cathedrals before getting back on track and going to the Guinness Brewery. We watched the sunset over our free pints at the top of the viewing gallery, then went for dinner and walked around the boutique-ey street to find the fake archde triumph. We didn't really get to do the whole night life thing because we were running out of money--we McDonaldsed it on more than one occasion.

Dublin
I will definitely return to Irland. I want to go back to Dublin and party it up, and I definitely want to make it to Galway and Wicklow Park. Next time.