A New Home and New Tunes

March 13, 2010 at 5:48 am | Posted in music | 1 Comment
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A quick link to photos of my new (although only temporary) flat in London – The flat is a bit older than the place I was before but much more cozy. My flatmate has lived there 10 years and it has been filled with books and photos and musical instruments and bits and bobs throughout the years so that everywhere you look there are at least 5 interesting things that catch your eye. It is quite charming in an old, quaint sort of way and I love the clutter and the randomness of it all. The wallpaper is peeling off the walls in a few places and the doors don’t shut all the way and the wooden plank flooring creaks wherever you go, but I am enamored by it. I feel like you could write a whole book just about this one house…it is fascinating!

Coincidentally, when I opened up my WordPress dashboard to write this very post, another title caught my eye  from Kenwoode. You see, I have a strong appreciation for creative/funny/witty/interesting names…books, recipes, songs, companies, pub quiz teams and especially bands. This summer in London at the local pub I saw a flier for perhaps the best band name ever… We Were Promised Jetpacks. I always wanted to see them despite the fact I had never heard their music, but I thought with a name like that they HAD to be entertaining to say the least.

I have since decided that I do indeed like them, but Kenwoode’s blog post title introduced me to a new band I just might develop an addiction to – Mumford & Sons. Turns out they are even playing this very night at Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London….but of course to a sold out crowd.

Check them out though, and all the videos on Kenwoode’s post are definitely worth a watch.

The Important Things From America

February 26, 2010 at 7:10 pm | Posted in food | Leave a comment
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I’m talking about food of course!

Made a quick trip back to the States from London this past weekend to watch the UGA Women’s Swim Team rock it at SEC Championships in Athens, GA. Way to go ladies (and well done to the men too)!  I then traveled onward to my lovely hometown of G-vegas (more well known as Greenville, SC)  for a little birthday celebration and family time.

Happy Birthday to me...cheers!

I took requests for American foods to be brought back to my London friends and I dare say my suitcase contained more junk food and condiments than clothes. The list, as follows;

Peeps

Thin Mints Girl Scout Cookies

Hershey’s bar

Nerds

Kraft Instant Mac N Cheese

Baconnaise

Ruffles Potato Chips

Jif Creamy Peanut Butter

Rainbow Chip Cake Batter

Rainbow Chip Frosting

Old Bay seasoning

Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka

Jelly Belly Mixed Flavors

You can decide for yourself which of those items I kept for myself and which ones I decided to share.

I Love Lucy

February 14, 2010 at 3:16 pm | Posted in food, friends | Leave a comment
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Right, so maybe I have been a bit lax about keeping up with this blog since I have been back in London. I blame it on not having a proper desk for the last 4 months, but it may have something to do with my inability to find time each week/fortnight/month to write. Again, a (perhaps somewhat empty) promise to try to be better in the future.

So short update… I have just moved into a flat in the Bethnal Green area of east London with some pretty awesome people. I am renting a room from a couple, Lucy and Joao, who are going to Portugal to film a documentary. Their other housemate Rubens is an architect/filmmaker. I moved in about a week ago to share the house with Lucy while Joao went to Portugal for some preliminary work on the documentary. Rubens left to go to Brazil for a while and will come back to London this week.

All I can say is that Lucy has been the most welcoming person ever – having dinner cooked and ready to share almost every night I came home! She claims she can’t cook for just one person and I am lucky enough to benefit from the extra. I did contribute back to the foodie community here by baking snickerdoodle blondies and blueberry apricot cobbler the past two days, so I am not a complete moocher.

Tonight is the crowning glory of British food though…. Traditional Roast Dinner. My mouth has been watering for the last two hours smelling the garlic and rosemary and imagining succulent lamb soon to be in my belly!

Eat Giant Cupcake? Check.

July 16, 2009 at 12:17 pm | Posted in food, London | 1 Comment
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My lack of comittment to this blog undoubtedly frustrates a few of you dear readers, who expected daily, or at least weekly updates on my time abroad.

The issue, you see, lies not in the fact that nothing has been happening, but rather that so much has gone on I can hardly take a moment to park it in front of a computer and type out my life for the past few weeks. I would rather be living it.

However if there is one thing that I feel the need to share, of course it would involve food. And of all the foods in the world, OF COURSE a cupcake would make me pause and warrant a blog post.

Lucky for you a worthy cupcake made an appearance in London’s Covent Garden market today. And this is not ordinary cupcake. Try the World’s Largest Cupcake. And I ate some.

My Slice

Quite a long que (I may have been a bit late back to work from my lunch break!) but a tasty bite of cake that fed over 2,000 hungry mouths left me satisfied. East World’s Largest something? Cross that one off my bucket list.

Meet Me On A Boat In Stockholm

July 5, 2009 at 4:46 pm | Posted in abroad, travel | Leave a comment
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London has been fabulous so far but Europe has a plethora of cool places to visit and I gotta hit up as many as I can in my time across the pond.

I will cross Stockholm off my list next weekend when I go visit my buddy Erin Forster in Sweden. Erin is spending three weeks with her med school program working with doctors in Umea but has worked out a little time to spend with me in Stockholm for the weekend!

beds on the boat

We booked a pretty awesome hostel that is actually on a boat! I had no idea but Stockholm is actually made up of about 14 large islands connected by bridges and waterways. The pictures I have seen look gorgeous with the water and outdoor green spaces and a lot of old awesome architecture.

I speak approximately zero swedish, but supposedly most people speak english so I am hoping getting around won’t be too tough. And I hear the Swedes are a tall bunch so perhaps I can find a tall, hunky, viking-looking type to sweep me off my feet!

I’ll Take A Strongbow Please

June 14, 2009 at 11:50 am | Posted in London | Leave a comment
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A long day of travel and getting settled left everyone itching to see the night life that could be found around our little Islington borough. Apparently many of the pubs close around 11 p.m. or midnight, but luckily a few girls did some research and found a pub just a few blocks up the road that stayed open until 4 a.m. We met in the lobby of our building and marched our way up to The Lexington, eager for local flavor from both the people and the drinks.

Turns out our destination has a “distinct American feel” according the website. I was told this morning that The Lexington lounge bar claims a Texas-style theme, although I didn’t quite get hit with cowboy hats and sun bleached bull skulls from every angle when I walked in. I do remember finding it strange that they had an extensive list of American bourbon and Sierra Nevada on tap, but I stuck with Strongbow (a delicious cider made in the UK).

But no matter about our unfortunate inescapable American bubble. We had a fun time and I got to know some of my fellow interns and a few random locals we met as well. The summer is off to a good start!

At Home in London

June 13, 2009 at 10:44 am | Posted in London | Leave a comment
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My hearty breakfast at Encore London West before trekking across the city to check in for my internship program.

Not exactly a full English breakfast, but this had to do for a sustenance before trekking across the city to check in for my internship program.

I spent the last two nights at Encore West London hotel with Mallari, another girl in the program. We had quite a journey from the hotel over to our housing this morning. EasyJet’s bag weight limit of 20 kg (44 lbs), which seemed a curse while trying to pack, served as a blessing as we walked through subways, up and down stairs, ran after metro trains and stalked the streets of London between subway stops. Mallari, hindered by Delta’s cushy 2 bag/50 lb limit, looked like the quintessential overstuffed American tourist. I helped her as much as I could climbing in and out of metro trains and fortunately we ran into some friendly fellows in London each time we came face to face with a daunting flight of stairs.

 

The goofiest girl I know from North Dakota!

The goofiest girl I know from North Dakota!

We made it a few minutes before check in time began and now I have officially settled into my living quarters at Nido in London!

My room, which I share with one other University of Dreams participant, has two single beds, two closet/cabinets, two desks, a teeny tiny bathroom and a mini kitchen with a fridge, stove top, microwave and (thank goodness!) a teapot. As a spoiled student-athlete at UGA I never had to share a room before, so sleeping and living in such close quarters for the next eight weeks will test my patience and flexibility for sure. And my ability to block out snoring, which I have just been told by my roomie is a likely possibility.

I will post my tales from the last week in Spain later this weekend because I now have full Internet connection. Skype with me too if you please!

The Mad Hostel

June 9, 2009 at 5:23 pm | Posted in abroad, travel | 2 Comments
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Beware of spewing beers when drinking from the vending machine.

Beware of spewing beers when drinking from the vending machine.

In Madrid with my brother. The hostel advertised a bar in the commons room. It is a vending machine with 1 Euro beers in it. Me encanta Espana.

Hola From Barcelona!

June 5, 2009 at 11:52 am | Posted in abroad, travel | Leave a comment
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As I write this I am sitting in the gorgeous home of Kelley’s au pair family in the beautiful coastal village of Llavaneres, Espana.

I arrived yesterday morning after a nine hour flight from Atlanta to Barcelona , a 45 minute train trip from Barcelona to Llavaneres, a quick bus ride from the train station to the town center and a ten minute (uphill) walk to the house. Quite a journey but I have already met some amazing people and had a few funny encounters. 

Free wine on the plane? Yes please, I will take two.

Free wine on the plane? Yes please, I will take two.

 

I flew with a few UGA swimmers who are competing in the Mare Nostrum meet this weekend so it was nice to have them as my buddies for the flight. A good thing they were there too because being the organized genius that I am I managed to leave all directions Kelley had e-mailed me for taking the train from the airport to her town in my house at Athens. One of the guys saved the day and I was able to give her a call from his phone and have her talk me through what I needed to do.

The challenges were not over yet though. Once I got to the train station the kiosks to buy a ticket did not accept any of my credit cards. I had no euros on me because Kelley had told me it would be easiest to just buy it with a card so I would not have cash to be stolen with me.

So as I stare at the ticket kiosk, frustrated and lost, a worker from the station comes up to ask if I need help. We try my cards again and none of them work still. But I think I must have just looked so downtrodden and disillusioned with my first experience in Barcelona that she did the most amazing thing. She takes out a train ticket and just give it to me and tells me to use it! I could not believe it – this woman was an angel. I had nothing to give her in return I told her, and she said no, it is a gift. So my bad experience in Barcelona turned into a positive one and now my duty will be to “pay it forward” and pass on the good karma!

On the train to Barcelona from the airport I chatted with Thomas, a young Delta employee from Cincinati getting his pilot’s license. He decided on a whim the day before our flight left to come to Barcelona and was planning on renting a bike and cycling his way though Barcelona sampling all the food there was to be had. It sounded like the perfect adventure to me and made me briefly consider a career in Delta on another airline to subsidize all my travel. 

Today, my second day in Spain, Kelley and Ricard (the 2-year-old Kelley watches) took me to Mataro, the city next to Llavaneres. Kelley suggested seeing Mataro before Barcelona since it is bigger than Llavaneres but much smaller than “The City”. We shopped around for about an hour and ate churros before heading back to her town. Everything in Spain closes down from 1:30 p.m. to about 5 p.m. for the large lunch that is traditional in this area. Kelley said it takes some getting used to because if you sleep in until 10:30 a.m. (like I did this morning) then you have to hustle to even get anywhere to see it all before it closes down.

 

Kelley and Ricard having some fun at the playground.

Kelley and Ricard having some fun at the playground.

 

Kelley has the weekends off of work so we plan on visiting some of her friends in the city. My excitement to see more of the city and the area grows every time she talks about it so I will surely have great stories when I next get to post.

Ciao for now!

**I will add pics to this post soon…my computer is not getting the internet at Kelley’s house.**

Update: Pics added…enjoy!

The Brits Finally Decided I Wasn’t A Terrorist

June 3, 2009 at 5:04 am | Posted in abroad, travel | 6 Comments
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British Flag
After 6 weeks, three trips to Atlanta, $750 dollars and two Visa denials the United Kingdom has granted me access to their wonderful country for eight weeks!

I recieved my passport back just yesterday morning, cutting it a little close to my departure date for Spain within 24 hours, but I like to live on the edge.

I have been waking up and going to bed a few hours earlier to adjust to Barcelona time but I still think I will be exhausted once I get there. I am not worried because I know my excitement will carry me over! Now if only my excitement could help me learn Catalan so I can speak the language of the place I am going. Also, I was told everyone there is small and tiny. I am looking forward to being the tall awkward American girl, who probably looks lost and confused. Excellent.

I am heading to Spain for a while to meet up with my friend Kelley and my dear brother, then off to London for the summer for my internship with International Collective. I will give updates as soon as I have access to a computer again!

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