This is me. Living life to its fullest.

This is me. Living life to its fullest.
I'm young, single and making the best of life :) Why NOT travel!?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Productive day?

Since I don't have class today hopefully I can get most if not all of this list done!

- Morning jog (on my way out for that one)
- Laundry
- Clean room
- update blog for Rome (sorry, I've been slacking)
- homework (at least try to get one presentation done!)
- go to grocery store
- cook pasta for potluck
- Lauren's potluck dinner

boopity boo. i need motivation to finish my homework. i have 2 presentations, 1 paper and 1 exam next week. i've been in worse situations at UW but i just don't have the right mindset here, i feel like i'm still on a very long vacation....

Monday, March 2, 2009


Paris didn't let me down. It was absolutely gorgeous! What I didn't realize was how huge the city was. Two days is definately not enough time so see everything. I'm surprised we ("we" as in my group of Sussex friends I went with) were able to pack so much into the short time we were there. Its funny because its as if you lose track of time when you're visiting another country, everything is just so breathtaking...BUT because time is so lost easily in the excitement, you do have to keep a close eye on the clock and do some efficient planning if you want to see all the sites this beautiful city has to offer. Besides the different sites, here's some observations about the French I did notice:

- How laid back the French are. From what I noticed no one is stressed or high strung or rushing to work. People just eat and drink wine in the streets. Life is so simple. I also didn't realize just HOW capitalistic America is until I lived outside of the country. My friends and I were having a conversation about how instead of trying to obtain what you CAN'T have, it seems like the French just live life by enjoying what they DO have.
- The people that we asked directions from (Thank you Rosie and Nicole for your high school French skills) were very kind and polite. Although I had no idea where they were telling us to go, they smiled and generally pointed in the right direction and we just followed their fingers. On the other hand, when our group of American and Canadian students (2 of my friends were from Vancouver) some French people looked at us annoyingly. I guess I would understand, because I actually got annoyed at this group of American girls that were in the subway. I didn't notice it within my group of friends because I'm with them most of the time, but once you hear French and British accents, American accents just seem so boring.
- I'm very proud of myself for figuring out this European transportation system. I have British buses and the French underground metro down. Since the city is so huge and the Eiffel Tower and Louvre were on the opposite side of our hostel, we pretty much had to navigate which metro to take and where to get off and where to transfer to and were to walk to get to our destination. Surprisingly it wasn't that difficult- all you need is the name or address of the place you want to go to and the metro line it runs on....which all can be found on the helpful maps the hostel provided us with. It was much more simplier than the regular maps because there were less streets and had pictures of the main attractions with the metro stations near by. That's really all you need, not a billion different street names. I'm also really glad I went with people who knew a little bit of French. My conversations consisted of "bonjour" and "merci", sometimes I added the the "merci beaucoup" to be extra nice :)
- The fashion is also more laid back, lots of leather jackets and boots but more netural colors like khaki, brown, blacks or gray. Fashion colors in England vary from black to purple to bright blue sometimes.
- Although the underground metro is easy and convenient, it is also dirty and smells like pee. My friend Kolby had to pee and was pissed there were no bathrooms anywhere, started swearing and peed somewhere within the metro station...which is probably why it smells so bad. We also saw a rat crawling around in there!
- French guys are way cuter that English guys. My gay friend Clark and I were checking them out on the metro. I don't know what it is exactly, they have narrower faces, more defined jaw bones and for some reason their cheeks are also a rosy pink, maybe they blush really easily?
- Watch out for those scammers that ask you to sign a petition and then make you give them money. Oh Clark, I hope he learned his lesson. Oh, and I would suggest getting a purse that's attached to your body at all times because I witnessed a purse been snatched at the Eiffel Tower. He got away!

The Experience
On Friday night, we took a train out to Central London and was planning to hang out at a pub until our coach left for Luton Airport but apparently all the pubs close at 12:3o which surprised me because it was a Friday night...and it's London! So we ended up eating at McDonalds until they closed at 2am and took an early coach to the airport, where our flight was delayed an hour. When we arrived in Paris, we walked which seemed like miles to find the train into the city and transferred onto a bus to get to our hostel. The train ride view into Paris from the airport was not pretty...lots of trash and grafitti in what looked a dirty industrial district surrounding the city. Its funny how ghetto the outside of one of the most beautiful cities in the world is, but there were actually some intercity parts I saw walking to Montmartre, which is a huge district in Paris and our first stop after checking into the hostel. We also had baggetes for lunch, basically crispy bread which was delicious. My favorite were the crepes and crossiants though, they tasted like heaven! On the way to Montmartre we saw Socre-Coeur (a church) with a lot of people singing in front the stairs [below] , a breathtaking view of the city, some break dancers, some people selling artwork, souvenir shops, and a windmill thing.

After wandering around a bit we found the metro to the Eiffel Tower just as it was getting dark and took pictures of the famous monument. Every hour for 10 min the tower lights up with all these bulbs, I mean literally sparkles and its the most gorgeous site I've ever seen! [see YouTube video below] That's when you're looking at it, not while you're on top of it which is another experience which I will get to in a bit. We had dinner at the French restaurant nearby and I got an omlette with french fries (haha French fries when I'm in France!) and creme broulet but I also tasted escargot for the first time, a french delicacy aka snails cooked in garlic and butter [below].
I pulled the sucker out from it shell, took one look at at and couldn't do it until my friends told me to close my eyes and just put it in my mouth and try it. Maybe its just me, but I can't stand the chewiness- I'm usually like that with squid too. Anyways, that was my first and last time eating snail, but hey, what an experience in France. After dinner we split up. Cameron, Kolby and Sean went to find some beer at a nearby bar while Clark, Rosie, Nicole and I headed to the top of Eiffel Tower. If you know me I'm scared shitless of heights, especially going up on really high towers. But this is Paris and this the Eiffel Tower so I wasn't going to let my fear ruin my fun. So I went up and was shaking, anxious and nervous the whole time up...especially in those lifts (aka elevators) that have the whole view while going up, I clung on to Clark's arm the whole time and made sure I was in the middle. Once we got to the second floor I was freaking out and kept thinking to myself, oh god we still have to take another lift to the top!? But, once I got to the top I was all right and let my excitement take over the fear. The view was beautiful and the whole city lit up at night. And then those sparkly bulbs came on while we were on top and it didn't help my anxiousness so I was done. We were the very last group that went up for the night. Even though you can see more during the day, the wait is longer. Plus I think I would have been more freaked out if I had gone during they daytime. Clark and I made a pact that we would come back to the tower in the future with our own lovers we could make out with since there were some couples there kissing, in fact I think I was in the background of one of their pictures...oops.

The next morning the girls and guys split up and Rosie, Nicole and I went to the Louvre, which is the biggest museum I've ever been to besides the Smithsonian but that's multiple buildings. This is actually all connected....and you could easily get lost. Even with a map we wandered off course and ended up in some exhibit we weren't looking for. You really have to plan out what you want to see because unless you plan staying a whole day there, you can't see everything. My absolute favorite was the Venus de Milo [left], I've seen that image so many times! We all picked something we really wanted to see: I liked the Greek and Roman sculptures, Nicole wanted to see the Egyptian exhibit and Rosie wanted to see the French paintings. Of course we saw the Mona Lisa which hung in this glass cass on its own huge wall with a crowd in front of it hold up their cameras. It wasn't as spectacular as I thought it would be, maybe because we weren't allowed to really go up to it up close and observe its beauty. I kept thinking about Dan Brown's The Davinci Code while I was there...

After the Louvre we walked down by the Seine River [below] and visited the gargolyes and stained glass windows at Notre Dame then headed towards Latin Quarter (named after the students who studied Latin at the University there) for lunch. I had a pizza type thing on a baggete and had a bite of Nicole's crepe with bananas and nutella. The nutella or hazelnut spread here is so delicious! We had some for breakfast too, and I took a whole bunch of packets back to eat with bread or crossaints. We walked off the food and headed towards the Pantheon which was an old church and now the burial place of "Great French Men". We went into the krypts and saw the tombs of Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Marie Curie, the guy who invented Braille and the guy who wrote the 3 Musketeers. The best thing about these the museums in Paris was that it was all free! Yep, free entrance every first Sunday of the month. We got lucky! After a stroll through Luxemourg Gardens we took the metro to the Arc de Triumph [left], in the center of the city. Including all these sites plus travel time walking everywhere (and trust me my feet were KILLING me by the end of both days) and taking and waiting for the metro, we were beat and crashed at the hostel. Even little naps helped, and we needed it to have the energy to meet up the boys for dinner at La Opera Bastille. We were going to find a club but it was too complicated and the metro wasn't running anymore so we hit up an exotic looking hookah bar complete with a separate room with lots of comfy pillows and couches. That was VERY relaxing. The night ended with free Heinekens which we drank by the river near our hostel. It was awesome just sitting by the water, talking and chatting- a good way to end our last night in Paris :) After a day of traveling on foot, by metro, train, bus, coach and plane I'm absolutely exhausted. And I have to do it again this weekend for Rome!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Getting to Paris

So excited I'm leaving for Paris tonight! But it's so complicated to get there. Check out my groups' transportation plan:

Bus to train station ---> train to Central London ---> coach to Luton Airport ---> plane to Paris --> subway to our hostel

Our train is at 11pm and we are going to bum around London until 3am which is when our coach leaves to the airport for our 6am departure. We didn't want to spend more money on a hostel in London when were only going to be there for a couple hours, so we're taking the latest train out to London and killing time at pubs before our coach leaves. It will be interesting walking around the city with all our luggage in the middle of the night.

Thursday night out

Since I've been here, I've been lucky to find such a good group of friends [LEFT: Potluck girls-Nicole, Laurel, Lauren, me. Missing: Isa, Alex and Mei Ling]. Every week (or ALMOST every week rather) we have potlucks and everyone takes turns bringing the main dish, appetizer, dessert, wine...wait why am I explaining this? I'm sure you know what a potluck is, it's not brain science. Anyways, last night I was on the dessert train and was craving ice cream, which we devoured....Vanilla Toffee ice cream...damn that's delicious! This was our 4th potluck already and they are always interesting. I absolutely love our conversations that range from abortion to relationships to art to British history to complaining about how stupid the school system is here. Last night our topics were sibling relationships, the lack of men selection here in Brighton, planning for future travel trips and writing in journals about this study abroad experience....which got me thinking about this blog. Yes, I have my moments where I don't keep up (in this case I missed almost a whole month of my trip) but still its nice to know I have something to look back on when I'm no longer here. It's more than just a blog and I'm not embarassed about writing something stupid and reading it later, but it's a personal account about how I felt in that moment or what I did. God knows how bad my memory is (well for certain things). Sure I don't write about things right after they happen, but as more time goes by you lose those "in-the-moment" feelings and its just nice to go back and look over the experience when it actually happened.

Anyways, after the serious dinner conversations, 3 pizzas, a bowl of veggies, garlic bread, 5 bottles of wine and 2 ice cream tubs later a couple of us went out into town. Our plan was to stay up all night and sleep all day today since we we're traveling to Paris tonight and need to stay up for 24+ hours straight. Yeah, came home from Casablanca around 3am ish, and failed at staying up and crashed right before 4am. Although I did wake up at 12pm! Thank god I had no classes today. Casablanca was 2 story club, pretty good vibe. There was a live jazz band downstairs [ABOVE] and dj upstairs. I was a little buzzed from the wine at the potluck, but we couldn't resist the vodka + mixer specials and ordered 2 drinks, plus the vodka and redbull I had at Coalition before ending up at Casabalanca. We were supposed to meet up with some friends for a birthday thing, but the people I called were piss ass drunk and I had no idea where they ended up. Oh well, we had fun nonetheless

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Very Interesting Day

Today after studying in the computer lab I met up with some friends to go support our friend Kolby for is bball game. We had an adventure and had to pick up some "recreational board game" before the game and ended up talking to this wierd but awesome guy about politics. Its interesting what the British think of America. This guy went on about how we are mind-controlled and how people worry more about smoking in public then dead bodies and poverty in the streets. He was telling us about how his friend has some land in the tropics and how he's building this retreat/get-away for people of all backgrounds so we can stand united as one. We were already late for the game, but we listened to his theories because it was rude to leave. In a sense, I'm glad we got a chance to listen, because again it opened up my mind to a new perspective on life. We didn't end up getting the "board game" and went to the game [BELOW] where Sussex lost but Kolby made lots of baskets so that was a plus. After the game I rushed home because I was starving and had left over pasta, fish fillets and cheerios. I know, wierd combo but good I tell you.

School issues

Since I'll be traveling the next two weekends and all my assignments aren't until the last week I decided to be a good student and start on them early. Therefore, I've been spending the last 3 days on campus forcing myself to read and start my paper and presentations. Its going all right...I guess you could say. Its just so hard to get motivated when I'm here and then I'm going to be traveling soon! Ah! No worries, I just need to get a 40% to pass my classes, and I'm pretty sure I can handle that. The sucky part is that I had to change my graduation date from March to June for the UW. Since I'm only here for Spring Term and the academic year is usually Spring and Summer term, I still have to turn in 2 major papers in April via email. Even if I did turn it in early, it won't be graded until May which means the grades won't be transferred to UW until then...thus making the possibility of graduating in March close to zero. It's not a big deal though, and after going back and forth with my UW Psych advisor, Sussex Psych advisor, UW international student advisor, and Sussex international student advisor it seemed like the best thing to do. I won't have to register for Spring quarter when I get back and I can still walk in June which is what my original plan was in the first place.

Major Update!!!

Wow. I offically suck at keeping a blog. This is what happens, I make journal and then slack off writing in it. Well ever since the snow all melted, the weather has been on and off between sunshine, cloudy days and a little bit of rain...not as much as Seattle rain, but just to the point where it drizzles.

Where to begin? The month of February has gone by like a blur, and I can't believe its almost over. I only have a month left here, and I'm going to make the most of it. Travel plans have changed instead of going to Bath and Stonehege (both Roman remnants in England), I'll be visiting an old high school friend in Rome. I figured the real Rome was worth the switch, plus I'll be seeing Emma again! This weekend I'll be in Paris with a group of friends- there's 7 of us all together I think: Clark, Cameron, Kolby, Sean, Nicole, Rosie and me....yeah that's 7. Plus some another group is going the same time we are so we might meet up with them. I'm so excited to visit the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the catacombs and Centre Pompido! I still can't believe I'm in Europe, it seems surreal. Most of my friends here are staying the whole 2 terms and will be here until June so they are traveling during the break- Sussex gives 3 weeks off in April. But I will be back at home by then studying for the GRE's, applying for grad schools, getting psych experience, volunteering, working and doing my scholarship project---> which I shouldn't worry about that now and focus on living my life in THIS MOMENT.....finishing school here, enjoying England, and traveling to Paris, Rome and Barcelona at the end of the month after finals week.

Since my absence from this blog I've been watching a lot of online tv...surfthechannel and are my favorites- watching the complete 2 seasons of The Tudors (Henry Cavill who plays King Henry's best friend is my new celebrity crush by the way) and now I'm almost done with the second season of Private Practice. I love Kate Walsh's character Addison! Plus watching the shrink on the show is intriguing because that's what I want to get myself into eventually *sigh*.

Besides gluing myself to online tv, I've been trying to keep healthy. Ever since I got here I've been eating so much and not watching the kind of foods I do eat...which means I feel fat. Since the gym on campus is too expensive and not worth paying for the short time here, I've found ways to work out like cardio kickboxing from youtube, yoga poses, and running around the neighborhood. The hills here actually hurt my feet but I did find a track the other day that seems perfect for laps! I've also been eating lots of whole grain, yogurt, pasta and veggies.

Besides my diet, money has been a bitch since I don't have a job here and figured getting one is pointless since I'm not here that long. I came here to enjoy, not work so that's what I'm doing...its just hard to spend all this money when I have no regular income. I just have to face the fact that I'll be broke when I get home and will need to work ASAP. Most of the spending was my birthday week and week before since I went out a lot, but the experience was worth it: Pre-drinking at my friends house (where I downed a bottle of vodka mixed with some cranberry. yeah, not a good night for my stomach), dancing at Oceana with heels that hurt, dinners for my friends bdays, pre-drinking on campus, the lameness and lollipops at Audio, Font (the coolest bar ever beausse it was originally an old church), and Spanish tapas for my bday dinner.

Hmmm, Saturday was a good day. I met with some friends (Clark, Nancy and Enkrii) to get some afternoon tea in Rottingdean, a nearby town. I didn't realize that teahouse has been there since the 1500's! Crazy how old everything is here! After tea, we explored the beach and took some fun pictures, threw rocks until they shattered, practiced our model walks on the path, and then took the bus back to town and got some Shakeaway (shakes mixed in with any candy). Check out their menu. Oh but the day wasn't over! We went out later that night to a gay club called much fun! I had a blast except for when a drunk guy pushed me off the platform and spilled a drink all over my purse. Not cool at all.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Snow day!

I got most of today's to-do list done...including mailing my postcards, finishing Breaking Dawn (OH-EM-GEE), and buying Paris tickets (Feb 28th-March 2nd)!!!! After a full meal (I cooked rice, corned beef hash with potatoes and eggs for myself) I'm in a food coma and just want to take a nap. I just have 2 articles to read by Thursday. Since campus was closed today due to the snow (stuff I'm pretty familiar with after the blizzard that hit Seattle this past Dec), I played outside like a little kid. I guess I could enjoy it more since I didn't have to drive in it like back at home. My host sister, Mercedes, and I built a mini snow woman (above: I say its a girl because it looks like she has boobs and I got pink lint all over her from my mittens), threw snowballs and the dog Jack (which he caught in his mouth), and had a snowball fight with my host brother, Lawrence, his friend, Lee and my hostdad, Martin. It was a good bonding my moment, because I sometimes feel akward being part of their family.

After a nap, I plan to get some reading done, (I doubt it but I always have time tomorrow, especially if campus closes again), and then I'm meeting up with a friend and WALKING to town for a movie since the buses are down today. It feels pretty far, but my only worry is that I don't fall and slip in the snow...I swear I'm such a klutz, especially in this weather! Mercedes is playing her music really loud downstairs as always (her room is directly underneath mine) and the song is "You down with OPP...ya you know me" haha. Speaking of music, I've been listening to this artist non-stop since I discovered her on someone's myspace this morning. These are my top 2 favorite songs of hers, and I absolutely adore her music...its just so soothing, relaxing and happy at the same time. Just puts you in a good mood :)

We Will Not Grow Old by Lenka

Knock Knock by Lenka

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Snowed in the First day of Feb

Wow. I did absoutely nothing today. Pretty much stayed home and read. I was going to go for a jog in the park but then a snow flurry started mid-day and my plans were ruined. Not as bad as home which reached a couple feet of snow in just a small amount of time, but enough flurries to stick to ground at least. Oh! I did do some kickboxing and a little ab workout since I had to stay indoors, which got me a little bit energized.

Yesterday I explored Brighton with my friend Nancy. I should have known the snow was going to hit today because it was absolutely freezing yesterday, but at least it didn't come down when we were walking along the beach. The wind on the otherhand...I almost froze my hands off trying to take pictures and not wearing gloves. I wonder if its possibls to get chapped hands from the cold because that's what it felt like when I got home, they were chapped and chappped lips from the all-powerful wind. Anyways, we walked around town and the waterfront looking at the Brighton Pier which has its own minicarnival including food stands and rides, the beach overlooking the English channel, and Old Steine which included some fountain and the Royal Pavilion (below) and looked like Aladdin's Palace to me.
For more pics, check out my facebook album.

Its funny here how everyone goes out on the weekdays so Friday or Saturday nights aren't so special, most people actually stay in or do something low key. This past Friday my friends and I were trying to think of something low budget because we had just gone out the night before so we had a potluck at my friend, Lauren's house. It was just chill- pizza, bread, salad, cupcakes and lots of wine. I think we went through like 3-4 bottles, and still wanted more. We're going to try to make it weekly and have everyone bring a bottle so we'll have enough next time. Mmmm...I love white wine :)

Yes so Thursday night the school had this Pub Crawl where we visited 3 pubs and one club. It was kind of lame, everyone said the first one was way better. The pubs they took us to weren't even that busy and everyone wanted to leave after like 10 minutes there already. I did discover a new drink called a Tuaca shot (above: with my friend, Jen) which has smirnoff and some kind of caramel was strong but delicious which means dangerous and getting drunk faster. The club we went to called Funky Buddha, wasn't that great either, but my friends and I made it fun! Dancing always lightens the mood. I totally thought someone said we were going to the "fucking Buddha" and I thought that was so inappropriate to name a club that, especially since Buddha is a religous figure....until I realized I heard wrong. Oops, my bad.

Oh and I got this care package (below) from my mother earlier in the week. Mostly Asian food like noodles and soup. I love my Mom :)

Goals for the week:
- Send postcards
- buy leather jacket (I've been eyeing one)
- buy Paris tickets
- finish reading Psych articles for my Thursday seminar
- Finish Breaking Dawn (which I'll probably end up doing tonight)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

To do list

This may bore you but I'm a visual person and I need to make a list of my to-do's while I'm here:

1. Begin the grad school application process
  • Study for GRE's (I'm planning to take them in May)- my friend Nancy and I already have Mon and Wed study sessions
  • start writing my CV
  • look at prospective schools. I need to narrow it down to like 6-8, but I left my Clinical psych book at home with the descriptions of all the schools :(
2. Schoolwork, since everything is due at the end of term I'll need to pace myself and start researching now for my papers and presentations
  • Clinical psych- paper and presentation
  • Psych of Appetite- presentation and final exam
  • Social and Cultural Exp. of Behavior- paper and journal review
3. Psych lab
  • Encoding with one of the grad students
  • volunteering with Dr. Yuhill
  • weekly lab meetings
1. Travel- my list of places is on the side of this blog: Bath, Stonehedge, Barecelona, Paris. I wish I had time for Rome and Greece too :(

2. Excercise- jogs in the park!

3. Buy souvenirs for everyone

4. Write and send postcards. Yes, I need to get on that.

5. Take lots of pictures for documentation!

6. Finish the last Twilight book! I'm trying to take my time because I don't want the story to end, but I only have a couple of chapters left because its just so freakin' addicting to read. Oh well, at least there's the movies!

Study habits

What the heck!?
My class schedule is so wierd and confusing! I'm used to a stable, weekly schedule. You know, the one hour lectures M-Th and then quiz section on Fri, or 2 hours lectures T, TH or M, W and quiz section on Fri.....but no its so different at Sussex! I have a different schedule every week, just when I thought I got the schedule down, it changes from week to week! The quiz/discussion sessions here are called Seminars, and they are only every 3 or 4 weeks, depending on the course structure. Also, there isn't even 2 lectures a week, for my Social and Cultural Exp. of Behavior class there was only one lecture this week, I came to class today and the room was dark and empty...then I checked my schedule online and was like wtf there's not even class today! So I basically had 2 days of class week since my Monday class was cancelled and I ususally (that's usually but not every Thursday apparently) don't have classes on Thursday.

Wow I don't know what to do with myself. I'm used to always studying, doing assignments, working, or planning for the Ates. My papers and presentations aren't even due until the end of I've just been so lazy. Maybe I'm just wierd but if I'm on a busy schedule I usually alot myself study time because that's the way I work, but here since I have more than enough time to do homework, I just...DON'T. I think I just work better under pressure. I do need to read for my first seminar next week though...ugh. At least volunteering for my psych lab will keep me busy, I'm getting trained to encode childrens' behavior next week....analyzing their interactions with a computer game, sounds exciting huh!? Lol, not really but it will be good experience for grad school...oh which reminds me I have to start studying for the GRE's, hmmm another task to keep me busy, *sigh*.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


WED 1/21
Sorry I haven't been updating...just been so caught up with everything there. So yes, my room mate left last Wed because she wasn't happy here. I hope she feels better at home. It's harder now that I have to go out by myself and walk to the bus stop at night but the city is pretty safe and I can always take a taxi home if I'm out too late. That's exactly what happened last Wed night when I went out with some friends to a club called Oceana. We did a little pre-funking (everyone made fun of me because I called it "pre-funk" until my friend my Oregon said its short for "prefunction". Ohhhh, they all thought, including me) at a friend's apartment and then headed to the club on the bus. Oceana was pretty big, and the dance floor was amazing...there were chandelier like crystals hanging from the ceiling and god knows how many bars. The music was actually pretty good too, they played a huge mix of songs including r&b, hip hop, pop, techno and rock and some song I didn't know, but it was all good dancing the night away. There was a huge white screen right above the dance floor too so we could watch music videos while dancing. Since its pretty full on Wed nights, I just might have my 22nd bday there!

THURS 1/22
Pretty chill, I don't have classes on Thursdays so I think I ended up running errands...I forget exactly what I did.

FRI 1/23
Class and then watched Slumdog Millionaire in the evening with some friends. The movie theatre was right by Oceana and was huge! We went inside the theatre and I thought we were going to see a play the way the stage was set up with the curtains and the capacity of the theatre, dang! There was about 30min of just commercials before the previews started so it took a while for the movie to begin, but I loved every minute of it! It reminded me of the kids in the Philippines when I went to visit in 2004, so of course I was emotionally moved by the film, not to mention that its absoutely brilliant! Did you know that the 2 out of the 3 kids playing the younger versions of the main characters were actually from the slums!? They pulled these kids out from the streets and put them in front of cameras just like that...and they were amazing! I guess they are getting sent to school and get a trust fund when they go to college, which is a better idea than just giving them straight up money.

SAT 1/24
I took a train into London with my friend Nicole where we bought Wicked the musical tickets in the morning on a spur of the moment decision. We got good tickets too! 25 GBP for student tickets that were originally 60 GBP, that's like $34 musical seats! The show itself was absoutely amazing, I think I like the wicked witch's perspective on the Oz story more than the original one, again I was emotionally captivated in the show *sigh*. The actors were wonderful too! The main characters- Elphaba (the wicked witch) and Glinda were only the standby actresses but I think they should preform everyday. Before the show Nicole and I went inside Westminster Abbey which was absolutely fascinating! I still can't believe I got to see the graves of Queen Elizabeth, Mary Queen of Scots, King Henry VII (I forget where the VIII is burried), King Edward, Sir Issac Newton, Charles Darwin, just to name a few. Did you know there's 3,300 people burried there!? That's crazy, well it IS a huge church. I thought it was going to be one massive hall, but there are so many rooms and chambers in it its crazy, my friend and I followed an audio tour and map and its took us forever to get through the whole thing...maybe because I couldn't stop marvelling at history, about how significant these people were! Wow, their tombs were so elaborate. The only bad thing was that we couldn't take any pictures inside, but I understand how they want to perserve everything, plus that is kind of disrespectful....I could only imagine trying to honor the royals that came before us with huge flashes from cameras everywhere.

SUN 1/25
A group of girls went into this old part of town called Rottingdean and had some real British tea. For almost 7 pounds we got our own pot of tea, finger sandwiches, scones and a slice of cake.....there are no words to describe how delicious everything was! OMG it was just that good...its hard to imagine we could get full of little bits of food but we did. I got some gingseng vanilla tea and it was amazing! Not to mention the coffee walnut cake....mmm.

MON 1/26
My only class was cancelled so I did some chores: cleaned my room, laundry and went grocery shopping. After all the food I've been eating here I also went for a run around the neighborhood, except since the roads aren't flat but rather uneven, my feet were throbbing when I was done. I would go to the gym, but its so freaking expensive here...I wish it was included in tuition like the IMA. The only park that's nearby is a bus ride away, but I've passed it a couple times on the way to school so it seems like a perfect jogging path.

TUES 1/27
Hmmm, today I had a long day at school, Tuesdays are always my long days with 3 classes all in one day and my lab meetings for Psych. After our weekly meeting, I played a mystery board game with some of the graduate students to try to figure out the idea of "concept-mapping". One of the grad students is putting a game like this on a digital table top...the kind of stuff you see on crime tv shows or mission impossible movies with moving images with your fingers on a table. Yeah, they are super high tech here, my lab deals with children interacting with new technology like this....crazy huh!? Thursday I'm volunteering to go observe kids play with some digital game at a primary (aka elementary) school.

Plans for the week!? Tomorrow I have to finally catch up on some hw. My friend Nancy and I are having a GRE studyfest. I'm trying to stay on budget so a couple of my friends and I are having a potluck on Thursday night, just time to chill and bring food. Friday maybe Circus de Soleil or a new club? We'll see...still the budget thing. I might have to get a part time job while I'm here.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

sad face

my room mate is going home so now i'm all alone here :(

Monday, January 19, 2009

Samies, chicken and beer= too much sleep!

Wow. I just woke up from my supposed "nap". I wanted to rest my eyes for a bit before I read for hw around 7pm and slept until 12am...then I woke up groggy and decided I couldn't focus on reading and went back to sleep...woke up at 3am and then woke up again at 6am. My sleeping pattern is wack now, we'll see if I ever get used to the schedule here.

Anyways, yesterday I forgot to say I went to this cafe around the corner for brunch. It's a cute place and apparently really popular because when I got there 1) there was a sign that said they were already booking for valentines day and 2) there was a photoshoot going on, so I just sat in the corner watching photographers take pictures of these models sitting next to some pretty food. He also snapped some shots of the owner by the bar...they all looked pretty sleek in black. I got a bacon and egg samie (aka sandwich), which was absolutely delicious! For dinner I was supposed to go to a Mexican restaurant in town with some friends but it was too far and I didn't want to bus it in the cold and dark weather alone, plus I thought I was going to get some hw done at the yeah the pub around my block sounded like a better plan. I ordered a chicken burger asking if it came with a drink and ended up getting a huge glass of beer with my meal. I still don't like the taste of beer, so I think I took like 3 sips before I was done eating. Ughhh...maybe the taste will grow on me here? You never know....

1st visit to London town

I'm just going to stay right now how difficult it is to type on this stupid keyboard...the buttons are off, especially the shift one so i'm probably going to give up on capitializing anything in this post. i'm currently at the library after my one class today...clinical psych. it was pretty interesting, the guest professor for this week (yes they change weekly apparently) lectured about different adult mental health services, i didn't know how many were involved with treatments! the actual lecture room had stationary desks, well more rows of wood and the seats folded out, so that's something i'll have to get used to. tomorrow i have 3 classes, sigh....tues are going to be my long days. since i have the rest of the day to do nothing, i plan on going to get my money exchanged at the town centre, grocery shopping and catching up on some reading.

i finally downloaded skype! unlimited calls for $12 a month, and i'm only here for 2 and half more months, so not bad! it works pretty well compared to the paying as i go plan on my cell i got yesterday. i brought my phone that my auntie gave me and just got a sim card and "topped it up" with 20 pounds, which is basically putting credit on my phone so i can use it. im so lucky the phone works here, the phone company the campus uses rips students off...most of my international student friends got the cheapest phone and they still have to pay as they go, around 5 pounds a minute to the u.s.! that's like $7 a min, that's insane...thank god i only have to pay 20 pence per any network. that's where skype comes in, i only plan on using the phone so people can get a hold of me here in the u.k.

so friday i ended up watching pineapple express with my room mate on my laptop and then falling asleep again until we went to a pub on campus that night. it was pretty fun and chill. i've discovered a new drink called cider black which is basically a weaker version of beer, yes i am now a fan! saturday was my day trip to london, pics are on facebook but i guess i'll post some on here eventually to accurately document my trip. it was absolutely amazing! my tour guide was halarious, she was so cute and random but i did learn a lot from her. some random facts:
- london was first discovered by the romans in 45 b.c. they thought the culture was too uncivilized and left, but then came back to settle by the thames river
- they called this city londonmetrium or something like that which means, city by the marsh and shortened it to london later
- the City of london, with a capital "C" refers to the original city and now that's where all the business occurs
- London is huge! but central london is where all the tourist spots are
- there is about 7 million people living in the city
- the great fire of london started in a baker's shop. there was a memorial put up in the city with a gold ball on top and stands exactly 252 feet high because when you lay the tower on its side, the ball is exactly where the baker's shop used to be

anyways, aside from all the educational facts i got see all the tourist spots-big ben, london eye, london bridge, westminster abbey, trafalgar square, buckingham palace, thames river and more....there was a group of us international students that just stuck together and walked around. we only had a couple hours on our own but we actually covered a lot...i plan on going back to actually go inside these places, because we only did an outside tour. we had lunch at this deli right when we got to town because everyone was starving! so that lasted the whole day including travel time, its about and hour away from where i live in brighton.

yesterday explored brighton on my own and took the bus the town centre. i think i got off way to early and ended up and some market. i was on a mission to find this phone company store called orange because it was reccomended to me, plus it has the best deals. i just kept asking everyone at the market where the orange store was, well after wandering aimlessly for 15-20 min i found the can't miss it. the town centre is called churchhill square and its a couple blocks of shops and stores plus an indoor mall. after i got my sim card activated i went shopping at h&m because they had some good deals...i got 3 hoodies and a sweater for 12 pounds, that's like 16 dollars! after exploring the mall i found this 1 pound store (like a dollar store) and bought some decorations for my room. the fashion here is so european! i am absolutely in love! i hope i can bring this stuff back that i buy here, i might i have to ship some stuff over early in box...but yeah...european fashion :) i was supposed to go to dinner with some girls i met on the london tour but i couldn't get a hold of them so i stayed home and played with my phone instead. talked to justin the dinosaur on the phone and then video chatted with my family.

i couldn't really sleep last night, its been like this the past couple of nights actually. i'm so tired i crash around 12am and then i wake up every 2 hours and end up waking up at like 6am...its wierd, i think its just the time change. i talked to some people on skype this morning so that was good. oh and i met lawrence's (martin's son that lives with us) one year old daughter the other day...she's adorable, pink cheeks and big blue eyes! ok that's all for now, will update later...

Friday, January 16, 2009

Day #1

So my first day here in the U.K. was very I had no energy at the end of the day and still went out because everyone was saying the best thing to do is stay up until at least 10pm so I can get into a routine schedule here. So yeah, like my previous blog said, I got here around 6am through plane, and after a train and taxi, I arrived to my home stay house around 8am. I met some of my host family but its weird because they aren't really the typical host family I was expecting. Martin is a single dad (I consider him my landlord) with 3 kids around my age. His oldest daughter who's 23 lives at home along with his son's friend. His son and other daughter are back and forth between here and their mother's house. They are really nice, but in and out of the house all the time.

Here's some pics of my room:
1) my own mini fireplace and mantel! 2) a wash basin (aka sink) in my room 3) my desk/night stand and window 4) my bed, i love my really thick comforter!
I told you, it reminds me of an old fashioned hotel haha, very "quaint"

Anyways after I got settled in and unpacked I took the bus to campus with Sarah my roomate...dang its pretty far, it takes me probably around 20-3o min to get to school, its like a 10-15 walk to the bus stop and another 10-15 bus ride to campus. I've walked to the bus a couple times now though so I guess it'll go by faster once I get used to the routine. I got a weekly pass to ride the bus, its like 10 pounds but a deal compared to the 3 pounds you would have to pay every day. On campus I explored and got lost for a bit. Funny, I was in the Psych building trying to find the office to talk to my advisor but the fire alarm went off and we stood outside for while. The buildings here are so confusing! Its not just the outside layout but inside too, I swear I walked around the Psych building like 5 times before I found my advisor's office. And the room numbers are like Pevensey 1 1B08, so its like you have to find the right building because there's 3 buildings under the same name, then the right room number with the right letter prefix and more random numbers attached, wtf!? We'll see if I can find any of my classes on Monday...wish me luck!

Anyways, after getting some business taken care of I ate lunch with Sarah before she went off to her next class, checked out the library (where they have no bathrooms side note), and met with Sarah again to head back home. We stopped by the grocery store on the way back called Sainsbury's. It looks huge on the outside but looks like any other grocery store on the inside. The brands are so different, there's not much of a food selection but Sarah and I decided to make a huge Thanksgiving-like dinner one night because we're both missing home-cooked meals. There's a Starbucks there which reminded us of home so Sarah got some chai and we sat for a bit until I started falling asleep. Back home I took a 2 hour nap which seemed like forever when Sarah woke me up to get ready to go to a party. Her classmate invited her to a girls 21st bday so we headed over there even though I was about to knock out again but I pulled myself together for the sake of meeting new people. On campus we met up with Byron from Boston (aka Sarah's classmate) and got lost trying to find the party. It was in an apartment-style dorm on campus. There were tons of people there, mostly international students. I met a couple people from Boston, Colorado, Texas and Chicago. I was also introduced to Balmer's, some alcoholic cider drink that's way better than beer (since that's all they seem to drink here)! After a game of flip cup and chatting, we all left for a pub in town called Font (lol even though my room mate called it Script haha). There was like 30-40 of us that all piled onto a double decker bus...I felt sorry for the driver because a whole bunch of drunk people took over the upper deck haha. We got into town where a couple of us girls ran around frantically looking for a bathroom until we found a small restaurant to go in. The pub was pretty nice, it was a mix between old fashion and modern, two stories and very intimate...and by that I mean there was a couple making out on one of the couches when we got upstairs. The birthday girl Heather, had some rounds and we made a toast to her. I felt like the old one because everyone there either just turned 21 or wasn't there yet. After an apple sour shot and a sex on the beach, Sarah and I went back home and stopped by a Subway to eat.

So yes, that was my first day. Sorry so lengthy! Today I'm planning to watch a movie with Sarah, head over to campus for another advising apt. at 4pm, and then back to campus for another gathering and maybe more pubs tonight. I'm not planning to stay up too late because I have to get up around 7am tomorrow morning for a day trip to London! It's really hard adjusting since I'm not in a group of people in a program or living on campus, but I'm glad Sarah is here. She's having a hard time and missing home a lot, but I hope we can get through this together...I don't know what I'd do without her here :( I'll end this blog with some pics from the party and pub last night and should update later.

1) Flip cup- the game got pretty intense! 2) With Jen and Lauren, both from Colorado 3) Toast to the birthday girl, Heather 4) Toast with my roomie, Sarah 5 & 6) inside and outside of the pub

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Greetings from the U.K.! Already adjusting....

So I'm finally here after a one week delay of not getting my visa, 3 flight reschedules, one car trip to the airport, a 12-hour flight with a 4-hour stop over in Atlanta, a train ride and a taxi cab ride! Ugh I got motion sickness towards landing but the trip and finding the place wasn't so bad- all I had to do was follow the signs...thank god they were in English! The hardest part was definately carrying all my luggage, I had 2 huge suitcases to drag around and that was NOT fun. One of them even got stuck in the security gate while I was leaving the train station to find a taxi, it beeped at me until the security guard had to help me :( Now I know why people reccomend traveling light!

The plane ride from Atlanta to London was interesting. I felt like it was an episode from Lost...there were so many interesting people sitting around me with different backrounds, or maybe I'm just very observant. I originally sat next to this girl who introduced her self as Cassie, she was from Tennessee just visiting London until April. She found out she was in the wrong seat and had to this other lady sat next to me. Didn't catch her name but she was from Alabama and worked for some plastic company traveling for business. The guy in front of me had a learning disability and stuttered and repeated the same questions but he had an English accent so at first I thought his stuttering was sounded very rhythmic, so that was cool. The man behind me was complaining to the head flight attendent about how much the service sucked and how he lost his bracelet and he kept getting up throughout the flight and stood directly in front of me and stunk really bad. The other lady next to me had a kid which she kept calling a baby, but he cearly wasn't...he was like 3 or 4 and running and screaming up and down the plane. She reminded me of Posh spice and her kids for some reason. Oh, and last but not least, these English guys sitting a couple of seats away screamed "Oh my gawd. Final Destination!" (in their accents) when the planes lights dimmed down for landing. I thought it was amusing haha.

Anyways, sorry about the random people tangent, but I really felt like I was on Lost, except with out the plane crashing of course (knock on wood). Back to I took the train from Gatwick airport into Brighton and a taxi to my home stay house. The best word to describe the place is "quaint". I have my own mini fireplace and sink (aka washbasin here) so that's kind of cool, it reminds me of an old fashioned bed and breakfast but more simplier if that makes sense. My host family is very nice. Martin is the Dad aka my landlord, and he has one of his daughters, his son, and his son's friend living in the house too. The house isn't very big, just tall and compact. The houses here remind me of san francisco, all stuck together and we live on a hill. Sarah, my room mate from UW, also lives in the house and she's been really helpful...even before I got here. She's feeling homesick so I hope my being here makes it better, we're already making plans to go to a party on campus today and the pub tommorrow night.

All I can say for now is it is very different here. I'm currently in the library typing up this blog after I roamed around campus and got lost a couple times trying to find my advisor's office. The buildings are all brick, but the campus feels like its enclosing and not really open...maybe I just have to get used to the layout. There's a court here though that reminds me of red square, people passing out flyers and everything! I haven't met anyone on campus just yet because my classes don't start until Monday again, but everyone is just so mellow and independent. Oh and mostly everyone here smokes, including my host family which I don't like....its all over campus! Hmmm, what else? The weather is just like Seattle and they have double decker buses that I have to take to campus daily. My brain is super tired right now because I haven't gotten any sleep these past couple nights, plus the jetlag and time change so if this post doesn't make any sense I am so sorry! I'll make sure to post up pictures soon...

Monday, January 12, 2009

Almost there

Finally my advisor emailed me back! I'm registered for the following classes:
- Clinical Psychology
- Psychology of Appetite
- Social and Cultural Explanations of Behaviour

I've been emailing back and forth with my room mate who's obviously already there. She's from UW too, so it'll be helpful to have someone go through the experience with me. She seems really nice and has been a great help so far, so I'm glad she'll be living with me! We've already planned some trips together including Spain and France and of course enjoying the the night life in England...we'll see what these pubs have to offer haha.

I packed and cleaned my room all day least I made some major progress! I just have some last minute things to take care of and people to see :)

As promised in my previous post, below are some pics from Kona Kitchen.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Packing sucks

I hate packing! It involves me throwing stuff onto my bed and then eventually into a suitcase. I have no idea what to bring because I usually change outfits like 5 times before I decide what to wear for the day. I wish I could just bring my whole closet in one one suitcase. Closet in a bag. I wish!

Anyways bon voyage get-togethers went well. Last sunday I had a little gathering at my house and to my luck the snowfall came down! But despite the snow, people actually showed up to bid me safe traveling. I guess my friends do really care ***aw, tear ***. Last night I had dinner at Kona Kitchen, and thank goodness the weather was just fine. We lingered there for a couple hours, so I hope the people at Kona didn't mind. Here's a couple pics from my house gathering below...
Guitar hero world tour. Great party-starter.

Spoons- another great game! haha

I'm going to miss all this Filipino food! Especially my parents' cooking :(

The whole album is posted on my facebook. More pictures to come from Kona Kitchen....

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I'm going crazy!

I think I'm going nuts....STA Travel called today saying that Delta had a flight change. I could keep my flight for the 14th and stay overnight in Atlanta and get there really late on the 15th OR change my flight to the next day and get a $100 refund. So I chose the second option. Ughhhh I'm getting so ansy to just go already!

Final (let's hope) departure time: 6:05am on Wed, Jan 15th from SeaTac

Good news though...I FINALLY GOT MY VISA! Once they opened it, it only took them 3 days to get it back to me, crazy huh? I mailed it to them overnight 2 weeks ago and its just been sitting there that whole time, and NOW they just send it back in 3 days! Well I guess they understood my emergency, too bad I get it the day I'm originally supposed to leave. Ya, I fault for not getting it in sooner.

So while everyone is getting settled in, I'm still at home trying to keep myself occuppied until I leave.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Plan B

Wow I love how everyone misinterprets this...Plan B actually means my backup travel plans in this case haha.

Anyways....GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR! a@@%$$sv*o!!!! I guess this is my fault because I didn't get my visa in on time. Even when I sent it to the British Consulate express, they didn't open it until AFTER the holidays. Lesson learned. I blame the holiday mail. Oh well, I can't do anything about it now except work around it. The actual review process only took a day though, maybe because they saw my urgency in the application. So now that it has been issued, its on it way back to me! 

I had to reschedule my flight twice :(
Original flight- 6:55 am on Wed, Jan 7th (Orientation was the 8th)
Rescheduled to- 7:30am on Thurs, Jan 16th (this was before I got the confirmation it had already been issued)
Rescheduled to- 9:30am on Tues, Jan 14th 

... which means I'll be missing the first 3 days of classes and will still need to register when I get there. What a mess! I'll be so relieved once I get to leave and get settled in.

Well, at least this gives me more time to pack, finish errands and spend time with friends and family before I leave.  I was really rushed for my original flight tomorrow. 

***BIG SIGH***