Monday, October 29, 2007
London continues to be amazing, just in case you were wondering.
After I left you and went to the premiere we saw Christian Bale and got his autograph and he even personalized every autograph and asked who it was for! When it was finished Chelsea and I snagged the movie posters they hung up on the fence things,so now I have another souviner from the movie. Which-PS we went to today and it was FABULOUS! It follows the life of Bob Dylan, only it does it bouncing back from past to future to the "6 different" stages of his life, which is played by 6 different actors; including: Richard Gere, Christian Bale, Heath Ledger and the amazing Cate Blanchett. The cineamatography and music was amazing!
But rewind to Sunday. Meghan,Emily and I went to the Spittalfield market. It was a nice change and had alot of booths that were ran by fashion type designers who made bags and jewlery and cute shirts and etc. along with interesting clocks,home furniture etc.
After the market,we met up with Chelsea at the tubestop and went to Greenwich for the afternoon. Where we walked around another market,that was actually alot like the Spittalfield one. We then went and had lunch at a mexican restaurant, one of maybe two I have seen over here and then we went to the Prime Meridian and had to trekk up quite possibly the worlds largest hill ever. Meghan thought it would be a good idea to take a picture with our heads on the line and so we had to lie down,which would have been fine any other time. EXCEPT for the fact that it had rained and so the ground was nice and wet and a bit muddy.
Today I finally got the chance to sleep in and then we went to the premiere.
After the premiere we've just sat around,trying to study for our English mid-term tomorrow :S
OKAY, so we're caught up on London things. Now we're switching gears for a bit.
As, I am a theatre major, who has been self diagnosed with ADD and has the inability to focus on one certain issue for more than 2 minutes and during those 2 minutes is usually thinking about something else entirely already. OR can easily switch topics because one sentence or word will remind of him something and so then he starts thinking about that and then that switches to something else and then he can't even remember the original line of thought and then...oh, wait...see what I mean. Anyway, along with that. I also have alot of thinking time when I'm on the tube or walking to class, my brain tends to wander and think about things and I thought I'd finally thought those things escape the confines of my mind and let them breath, along with making room in my head for the new thoughts will be sure to pop up, probably by the time this blog is finished.
One recent thought I've pondered is why are the most cliche things and sayings we hear all the time so true? You always hear someone say "Well, its really cliche BUT __________" and the like, but the thing is ,they're so cliche and people use them so often because they are in fact either true, or the easiest way to describe something.
For example: "everything happens for a reason", you hear it so often and sometimes it gets annoying because you never know when you're going to realize why something happened until maybe 4 or 5 months later and the whole time your spent waiting to realize why it happened and then you finally do.
Along those lines and this is a bit of a more philisophical type question.
When you go through a hard time in your life and do your best to hold out for the best and have a gut feeling that everything WILL in fact be okay. Do you think that your gut feeling is actually correct? OR is it possible that you just tell yourself that everything will be okay because your one those "oh so romantic-theatre major-everything should be the like movies-i see the glass as half full" type thinkers and it actually won't be? Granted, this is actually alot of more complicated than how I just wrote it,but it captures the essence of the thought. But really, which stream of consciencenous is correct?
Okay, so thats really all I have for thoughts right now. Turns out, my ADD kicked in and as soon as I started talking about these other issues, the ones I had also thought about got lost in the mix and now they're gone. Don't worry though, I'm sure they'll pop up soon.
Anyway,hope all is well!
Saturday, October 27, 2007
My sincere apologies for the lack of blogging, but never fear, the lack of blogging means the lack of exciting news, so you haven't missed much.
In my last update, I talked about our encounter with Tom Cruise and how classes had picked back up.
On Wednesday we had art class at the Tate and we looked at some pretty interesting works and we also got our mid-term project. :S We have to find a piece of surrealist art and talk about how it relates to the surrealist movement. I'm pretty sure I'm going to do mine over a selection of home artistic videos made by an artist in Colorado.
On Thursday we had class and continued to discuss the book "A Room Of One's Own" by Virginia Woolf. After class, I went back to the flat and took a little nap, before heading to Theatre 503.
Our first assignment was to make a run to "Clapham Junction" to find a flash drive. So, we had a chance to visit a new part of London and walk around. After we got back to the theatre we folded programs for the show. Sarah also introduced us to alot of people that work in the theatre.
We got to see the show finally and it was really good. It was about a filmaker who makes a movie about his friend whos dying of Lou Gehrigs disease. It was pretty dramatic most of the time but fabulous and if you've seen the original superman movie's; the woman who plays his mom, Susanna York, was in it.
Friday, we marketed it up at Portabello Road,but it was actually quite dead :( SO we went to Abbey Road home to The Beatle's, and we got our picture on the crosswalk!
We then went back to Leicster in hopes of catching sight of Ben Affleck who was supposed to have a movie showing, but turns out the movie was axed so instead,we had to settle with getting John Cusack's autograph and a photo with him BUT apparently his publicisit/handler lady thought she had better things to do than take pictures of John and Drew got cut out of the photo :(
This morning, Emily and I went to Camden market and I finally began my present shopping.
Now, we're off to Leicster sqaure to hopefully see: Richard Gere,Cate Blanchett, and a few others for the premiere of "I'm Not Here" which is a biography of Bob Dylan.
I was also hit with a really sad fact yesterday, we only have 35 days left in this AMAZING city! It's so crazy, to think I've already been here 7 weeks! And that I have so little time to do things!!
Hope this blog finds you well!
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Today was quite the learning experience for dear ol' Drew.
We had a workshop in Kennington at St. Paul's church with LEAT, which stands for the London Ecuminical Aids Trust, and they educated us all about HIV and AIDS.
At first I was a bit skeptical and feared that this might be another-well natured and honest try-attempt at working something out for service learning; only ending up like the previous meetings and being a waste of time. Luckily, I was mistaken and I learned quite a bit.
Our workshop was led by a friendly man, named David who was originally from Zimbabwea ,but now works with LEAT and Steve ,who is the director of LEAT. We learned about the basics of AIDS; how its transferred,myths about how it can be transferred,the stages it comes in and what we can do to prevent it. At one point, I was about ready to bust out the mediator whistle because a couple of the participants were getting a bit debatey about wether or not HIV and AIDS is the same thing, the jury is still out on that decision and it really depends who you ask and how you look at it. In this kids opinion,they're different. Seeing as HIV is just the virus (thus the V in the name) but AIDS is the actual syndrome (thus the S) and what people have when they eventually die, not from AIDS,but from such things as the common cold,which would have been killed by the bodies immune system, which is no longer there due to AIDS.
Either way, it was rather interesting, just talking and listening to a persons first hand experience living with HIV. As a global citizen and someone who doesn't live under a rock. I've always known HIV/AIDS was out there,but it was something I didn't ever have to deal with and encounter. So it was rather eye opening seeing how big it really is and what exactly it does to the human body.
I was rather intrigued by the fact that in the UK they have NO rule,forboading gays or "men who have had sex with another man since 1977" from donating blood. Seeing as in the states, we do and I had my own personal encounter with that rule (See Blood donations needed, but not from all - Perspectives for the full story). I think its also important to note, seeing as society currently portrays HIV/AIDS as a "gay disease" that in the UK at least, there are more heterosexuals with the virus/syndrome than homosexuals.
We finally took a break from our educational endeavour to fill our tummies with a delicious, home cooked African meal for lunch, which included: rice,beans,fish,meat,potatoes,bread and fruit.
After lunch we watched a presentation of sorts which was made of dancing,singing,acting and a power point , given to us by a group called WAIT, which is a teen group that goes around educating people about HIV and AIDS,through their Abstinance Only message. While I can't say it was altogether educational or that I learned things I didn't already know. It was entertaining to watch and listen I give the kids props for going out and having the guts to perform in front of strangers by supporting a worthy cause!
After the busy and mentally stimulating day(we started at 10 and finished at 4)! We headed back to the flat.
Chelsea and I grabbed a quick bite to eat before heading to "Theatre 503" to meet with Gene and Sarah and see the current show they are doing " The Last Shot". However, when we arrive Sarah informs us that the show is actually sold out and they already have a reserve list 10 names long, but they'd try to squeeze us in if they could. We weren't too worried and went and met with Steve, who is the Lit. director of the company and visited with him. Since Theatre 503, focuses on new works, they are constantly recieving new plays from all over and part of the process in screening them is having people read them. SO, Steve gave us a couple scripts to read through and make notes about and see how it is, making that our first official assignment for "Theatre 503".
We ended up NOT getting to see the show, but we visited more with Sarah, just about the theatre and where they need help and when we can start. We also got put on the list for Thursday's show, so we will DEFINITALLY be seeing it then and we actually start our volunteering on Thursday as well. So, it looks like a whole day at the theatre, just like back at Simpson. :D
After that, we came back to the flat and its been a night of tv watching, chit chatting and internet surfing.
Hope all is well for you!
Monday, October 22, 2007
SO, remeber that time I told you there was always something to do in London? Well today was another prime example.
I hop on the tube this afternoon, headed for class and open up my copy of "The Metro" (one of the free newspapers they give out here) and Chelsea and I see an ad at the bottom of the page that says "WORLD PREMIERE TONIGHT" and it was for the new movie "Lions for Lambs" starring: Tom Cruise, Robert Redford and Meryl Streel (my personal favorite), and so we're like "okay, TOTALLY GOING".
The paper said that they would start arriving at 4:30, and class ended at 3:00, so we just headed to Leicester Square right after class, hoping to land ourselves a great spot. Well, turns out that Tom Cruise wouldn't be showing up until 6, but we stood around anyway,because really we had nothing better to do and we had indeed gotten prime spots. Finally, 6 rolls around and Tom arrives and people go nuts!! Turns out Mr. Cruise ♥ 's his fans and went around and signed every single piece of paper that was shoved in his face and posed for who knows how many photos, including one with US!!
Of course this waiting didn't come without some annoying pushy super fans, who obnoxiously screamed "TOM" every 10 seconds when he was 20 meters away. Apparently thinking that would make him come straight to them. Or the crazy girl who butted in on our conversation every 5 seconds and the decided to put her 15 pound backpack right in the middle of everyone standing.
We also got right behind two girls who had lovingly made a sign that said "Tom you can make us roar anytime" and so every other news reporter was coming up to them and interviewing them. Naturally(blame it on the theatre major in me), I stood directly behind them and flashed my winning smile for the cameras in hopes that an agent is watching and is now frantically searching for me,because he could tell that I'm Hollywood's next "IT boy".
After Tom finished, alot of the crowd seemed to disappear and we were able to breath again and have some personal space. We waited around for another hour or so in hopes of seeing Meryl Streep or dear Robert,but apparently movie premiers are beneath them.
Right now though is the London Film Festival, so this week and next week is loaded with stars coming and going and world premiers of indy films and we plan on catching some more. Wednesday Hallie Berry is supposed to be making an appearance and on Saturday Richard Gere is slated to walk the red carpert. SO we'll see.
It's just crazy to think though, that this movie premiere thing was a last minute,hey why not event and looked what happened! I got the autograph of Tom Cruise and at any moment my home tele is going to be ringing off the hook with hollywood agents wanting to book me. (hey, a boy can dream, can't he?)
But that was the adventure for today!
I would like to give a shout out to another faithful blog reader, BARB who celebrates her birthday today!
Sunday, October 21, 2007
So, the last 3 days have been glorious and lazy! We got back from grocery shopping on Thursday at probably around 2pm and I didn't leave the flat until this afternoon, when I went to get more Nutella. So, that means I spent about 72hours sitting around the flat and 90% of the time I was in my pajamas and I am perfectly fine with that. It has felt great!
But, alas, all good things must come to an end and tomorrow we have class again, but not until 1 o' clock! Which means I am probably sleeping in. Then after class I have a meeting with Sarah from "Theatre 503" to talk about what I get to do for them and then I think we're supposed to be going to Harrod's.
Since I have done nothing but sit around the flat, I've watched alot of TV and movies and realized that over here, they barely have any commercials. It's fabulous! ITs because though, they don't have basic TV over here and you pay for anything you get :(. Right now though,we're getting ready to watch Dirty Dancing on tv!! I haven't seen that movie in the longest time.
But, that pretty much covers the news since our arrival.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
I've been in London almost two full months now and have now traveled the continent. During my travels, I've come across some great finds,not so great finds and everything in between. This got me to thinking the other day about things like; why I like London better than home, why I miss home,my favorite place to eat in Europe etc. etc. So I've compiled a few lists to share with you.
- ALWAYS book your hostel in advance;this will lead to not having a stressful night where you out until 12:30 in the middle of Rome going to door-to-door of hotels trying to see if they have 1) a room and 2) aren't 200euros for the night.
- English is everywhere! While this may not come as a surprise to you and it wasn't a 100% surprise to me. When you think about though, isn't it odd how probably any European country you can go to will have a majority of its people bilingual in their native language and also know English,while you can come to America and probably 3 in 10 people know another language?
- Some people really do we think we're stupid Americans; now, this goes back to my blog from Belgium, and how our taxi driver considered dropping us off in the middle of nowhere, because he knew we'd have no clue what was going on because we're "young americans". Or, I can tell you about a few different times when sitting on a bus or shopping in a market you see and hear the workers talking and pointing. Now usually, when I see this I don't get all paranoid and think "they're talking about me" "I just know they're talking about me" BUT,when they're ovbiously pointing at you and you hear words like "americana" you tend to wonder.
- I miss the old days of family vacations; So maybe this is more a realization then something I learned and yes, a bit sentimental *bust out the kleenex now*,but I realized how much I enjoyed the old days when I was young and cute, and went on family vacation every summer. My family wasn't the flying kind either. EVERYWERE we went we drove; Florida, California, Niagra Falls, Massachusets, South Dakota, Virginia and the list could continue. And while at the time,a 20 hour van ride with mom,dad,and the 2 little sisters was less than ideal, now looking back, I wouldn't have had it any other way. Sitting up front co-piloting with dad at 2am, rolling into a seedy hotel in a small town at midnightso we could get up at 9 and keep going, or making the random stop to see the "worlds largest man made well"(it's in Kansas, just in case you were wondering) . I couldn't tell you how many times I thought back to those days while backpacking.
- Italians definitally aren't known for their customer service; now I will admit that there were a couple of times we had GREAT customer service while in Italy. For the most part it was horrible. One great story is when I was ordering at McDonalds and began to order my food and the guy working just walked away, and so I stopped talking,thinking he'd come back. But, he just turned and motioned with his hands and told me to keep ordering,while he walked around and did other things. Or how everyplace I got change it was pretty much thrown at me. Or, while I can't expect everyone to know English, you would hope that they would at least try and work with you on communicating, BUT NO. At the post office,when I was trying to send a letter, the lady would just respond in Italian and not even try. Of course, I may be a little of a stickler on the good 'ol customer service after working in retail, as a waiter and on summer conferences.
5 reasons I miss home
- The countryside; I surprisingly miss seeing open fields,open roads,green grass, and the sky. I didn't realize how much I missed it until I got out of the city and saw fields and grass and clean sky again.
- Sigma Alpha Epsilon; even though I have enjoyed every minute of my time here in London and sharing it with the friends I have on this trip. There's still nothing that compares to sharing a memory or a great time with a fraternity brother. Also, I miss Sally's cooking.
- Having my car; while public transportation is great. It can get crowded and annoying. Especially when trains/buses run late or quit running. You don't realize how nice it is to have your own car and being able to jump in it whenever you want, until you don't have it.
- Coldstone Creamery;while Gelato is quite delicious,you can only really find it in Italy, and I've yet to find a delicious ice cream place in London,besides the BK and McD's down the block. It doesn't compare to the rich creamy ice cream and amazing mix-ins you can find at Coldstone Creamery. Whether its my personal favorite; Berry Berry Good or just chocolate w/ brownies. I miss my good 'ol Coldstone and miss the random trips that often turned into mini-adventures to the wonderful ice cream shop I often made with Steve and Chelcee this summer.
- The American dollar; I liked knowing that when something said it cost 1 it meant 1 dollar, 4 quarters, 100 pennies etc. Not, here where when it says 1# and I'm like, "Oh thats cheap" its actually 2 dollars. It's one thing thats hard to do when shopping. Is trying to not do the conversion and think "oh, this t-shirt says 10 pounds...WAIT thats 20 dollars!"
5 reasons I ♥ London
- Public Transportation; Even though at times its crowded and doesn't work. I LOVE being able to hop on the tube and be just a 20-30 minute ride to anywhere in the city at most! I love that I can hop on the bus and get around when the tube is broke,its great not having to worry about gas or parking or directions. Just hop on the tube and go. PLUS you get to people watch!
- Crunchies and Nutella; Crunchies are the most amazing candy bar ever that tastes better than anything you could imagine, almost better than ice cream! Nutella is an amazing invention, combining chocolate and hazlenut and considered a breakfast item that you can put on toast or graham crackers or if you're like me, you just eat it by the spoonful.
- It's easy to travel; Any European country is so accessable here! Belgium is a 45 minute flight, Germany is a 2 hour flight. Plus backpacking is the thing to do here and you can find hostels for 10euros a night!
- Global and Self awareness; so maybe that isn't the correct title for what I like about London, but it is to an extent. I've become so much more globally aware since being over here. You realize how much everyone else knows about the US, but how little the US knows about everyone else. My fall break made me want to minor in a foreign language, now that I see how useful it'd be and as far as the self awareness. I've leared alot about myself. About how stupid I was about things in the past, how much I miss my family and so much more, and I know it wouldn't have happened if I wasn't over here, away from my cozy little world I'd created.
- Ethnic food; its so easy to try new foods here. On Earls Court Road alone we have: chinese,italian,indian,thia,halal,American(McD's and BK), and a noodle company.
My London Favorites
- Favorite ice cream- hands down it was the gelateria in Florence, VERY GOOD (okay,so itts not in London, but)
- Favorite coffee place- its still Starbucks
- Favorite Tube Line-Picadilly
- Favorite Grocery Store-Tesco, its big and cheap and has EVERYTHING!
Those are just a few. There's a few least favorites, like my least favorite Tube line is the District line, its rough and usually late or broken.
Naturally, there's more to add or things might change as the time continues in London,but I just thought I'd blog about something fun and not my boring adventures backpacking through Europe.
I also learned something VERY sad today, we only have 42 days left in London! It just seems crazy because is July I was excitied and counting down from there and now its not so exciting.
Anyway, hope all is well in your life!
Friday, October 19, 2007
Here's what you've anxiously been waiting for.
The photos from fall break!!
Thursday, October 18, 2007
WOW, its hard to believe it was just two weeks ago that I left my little flat here in London all giddy and ready to go on a big european adventure. Now, Im back home(ps thats also weird, to think of London as being "back home") exhausted and broke. But a different person as well.
First, I'll catch you up to speed.
Luckily our ride from Florence went off w/o a hitch,unless you count the twenty minute delay. But we did make it to the right station and did fine finding it.
When we arrived in Milan we checked our bags in at some lockers and spent the afternoon walking around the city, beacause our flight for Brussels didn't leave until 9.
So, we explored the dirty,busy and smog infested streets of Milan, realizing that we were in one of the fashion capitals of the world,looking like a vagrant in my dirty jeans,sweatshirt and scruffy face.
We need to search for an i-cafe so we could try and book a hostel for one of our nights in Brussel's. GO US and being on top of things again and had the worst luck ever. I think a big reason was because it was so last minute but all the internet sites kept saying that they didnt have anything or that there was a high demand,which I totally knew was bullox since it was the middle of October and a wednesday. But we finally found a cute little hotel in one of the nearby cities.
We found a pet store during our exploration of the icty and played in ther for awhile. Making "friends" with some of the animals there. We met (and these are our names for them): Spycat-a pretty gray cat who Dana figures fights crime,steals jewels and is going to take over the world. Grey cat-an ugly little persian cat who liked to play with our fingers. Princess-another ugly persian with gross fur who played with our fingers. Special-a cat who was a persian and once again ugly but seemed to have a little issue playing with our fingers or even sitting up. There were also some cute little puppies in the window.
We then headed back to the train station to catch our hour bus ride to the airport.
We went through security fine and then once again, Ryanair is late and our flight was like 1/2 hour late. Its funny,because they claim to be "the on time" airline,but i've yet to actually fly with them on time.
We get into Belgium and catch a taxi to our lovely little hotel. Turns out the town is farther than I thought from the airport and I started to get worried,because we were going down all these side roads and dark and windy roads and I was just wainting to get lost or get dropped off in the middle of nowhere. WHICH PS, turns out the guy wanted to do. NO LIE. He was joking w/another taxi driver on their little walkie talkies in french about dropping us off in the middle of nowhere and we would have no clue since we are 4 young americans and Chelsea understood him because she understands french.
BUT he doesnt and we get to our hotel safe and sound and checked in. The next day we catch a taxi to Brussels and wander around the city.
We first visited the chocolate musuem and learned all about the history of museum,how its made and where it comes from. We got to see how chocolate is made by hand and had some quite tasty samples.
We went and had some delicious belgian waffles, i had mine covered in bananas,chocolate sauce,and whipped cream.
After lunch we went and visited another museum and then looked at a bunch of chocolate shops.
We spent a majority of evening at a tavern eating and talking,trying to waste time before we caught a train to the airport,where we were spending the night before our flight back home.
Our slumber party in the airport was fun. When we went to check in and told the lady we were just staying the night she gave us a really awkward look and asked why we would want to do that, before pointing us in the right direction. The girls who checked us in where very non friendly, probably just tired and ready for home.
But, we got checked in and camped out in the airport. I made a nice little nest under a row of chairs and it was actually quite comfortable and I slept better than I had in some of our hostels!
The flight back was uneventful and it was so great when we landed in London.
It was back to seeing everything in english and knowing what was going on and most importantly,where I was going and what I was doing. It was kind of weird realizing that I was really comfortable in London and knew what I was doing and felt at home.
But that brings us up to speed and since this blog turned out to be a mini novel thats where I will end today.
Monday, October 15, 2007
So, when we last left off, our group of weary travelers were in Rome and had finally found a hostel to call home for the next 3 days....or so we thought.
So,we head to Hostel Ivanhoe to check in and arrive to find out that actually have no rooms for us and that he had e-mailed Chelsea (shes the one that made the reservation) and told her, but we knew that was a BIG FAT LIE because we had just come from an I'cafe(group slang for internet cafe).BUT, he was sending us to another hostel that wasnt too far away and just a block from the train station and we were getting the same price etc. and he promised we had rooms there.
Turns out we got the better deal. The hostel was neat and we were in a room with 10 beds, so we were sharing with 4 other people, but we also had free breakfast and free itnernet. The breakfast was tasty, crossiants with chocolate in the middle,cereal, and bread to make toast with jelly and more chocolate spread. Apparantly chocolate is a breakfast item over here.
We found a great place for meal, no clue what it is called but our waiter was from Puetro Rico and we made besties with him and he asked me if I was from Puerto Rico and when I told him my dad was, he pretty much fell in love with us. BUT he kept trying to talk to us in Spanish and I made the most of my four years of Spanish (which consists of knowing the basic sentences and a few choice naughty words) and pretended to know what was going on. BUT, for just 10euros you could get two courses, a pasta then a meat and a side dish. The girls took advantage of this offer. I stuck with my trusty pizza and had a delicious calzone one of the days.
We visited all the city sights during our 2 days there. We walked around the ruins but passed on paying 11euro to go inside the Colesseum(remember we are poor college students!) We went to the Trevi Fountain and threw in a coin and made a wish, and if the legend is true, at somepoint in my life I will return to that fountain.
Saturday morning we caught our 11 o clock train to Florence. It was a nice break from having to hassle with airport security and go through ticket lines and making sure I had no liquids and etc.
We arrived in Florence and had finally caught on to booking ahead, SO we already had a hostel waiting for us. This time we were staying at a place called "Camping Michelangelo" Which has a great view of the city and is in an olive tree grove. We're living in glorified tents, a step above the tent in Germany, but a step below the bungalow we had in Venice. They're nice and enlcosed and have locking doors (however, the covering of the tent velcros off the frame,so really the lock is pointless) and a hard floor and NO electricity. But the beds are comfy and its a place to stay. The only downside is the 168 stair (yes I counted) climb we have to make twice a day.
We met up with Emily, another student from Simpson who happened to be in Venice at the same time and walked around the city and had dinner and saw the sights, and it was a pretty calm day.
The next day we walked around the city and paroused the markets and haggled with the illegal street vendors. They're fun to watch. The purse and belt vendors have all their goods displayed on blankets and the sunglass dealers have their goods on cardboard and whenever the police come they just fold everything up and walk away, its a sight to see when it happens.
Today has been the same, just walking around the city seeing the sights and enjoying the markets and of course the gelato.
Our first night we discovered a great place called "Very Good" which has amazing flavors;twix,snickers,nutella and others. Its probably the yummiest I have had so far!!
I think thats about it for our Italian adventures, tomorrow we catch an EARLY train to Milan where we spend the afternoon before heading to Brussels, which is the last leg of our journey.
As much as I have loved seeing everything and living out of a backpack wearing the same two pairs of jeans and 4 t'shirts for the last week and few odd days, I'm ready to go back to London and have a choice of outfits,kitchen to cook in and good solid bed.
I would like to give a couple shout outs in this blog.
HAPPY LATE BIRTHDAY to my baby sister Maddy, who turned 13 yesterday!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to one of my loyal blog readers Sally!!
Hope all is well in your lives!
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Venice was absolutly phenomenal!! I thourghouly enjoyed it!
We ended up finding a great hostel called "Camping Jolly" just outside of the city and we had this great little cabin type thing, and we had our own bathroom! The showers were very hot and amazing and it was great to finally sleep in a bed again, instead of on a mat in a tent!
Tuesday was our first full day in the city and we caught the shuttle that our camp offered and spent the whole day in Venice just wandering the streets. It was so beautiful and the weather was great, I took PLEN TY of photos and will put them up when I return to London-town.
Tuesdy night we sat around the campground and talked with a bunch of other backpackers who were staying there. It was neat, 3 of them were from Canada,1 was from Kentucky and the other guy was from Oxford.They were all just backpacking till their hearts content and didnt really have an internary, which would be amazing to do someday.
Wednesday we spent walking the city again, only we had to lug all our stuff with us because we left that night for Rome. We ended up sitting in this little square for probably like 1/2 an hour just playing with the pigeons and this cat we've named "Mikey". Then we walked some more and sat around on the waters edge and just relaxed,because it sucked carrying our packs everywhere.
So, once again a commuting adventure .We arrive at the airport and are looking on the call board thing for our flight and we can't find it. So, Paige went up and asked someone and it turns out we WERE AT THE WRONG AIRPORT so we had to hurry and catch a cab to get us to the other airport that was 20 minutes away. But before we get into the cab, we get stopped by a guy who tells us that he'll get us a cab. He brings up to the 1st level and says wait here, and then ditches us. So, we leave him and find another cabbie. Who tells us that that guy isn't a cabbie but some random dude, who does it all the time. Anyway, we ended up making it to the airport just fine and making it to Rome A-OK.
We arrive in Rome at around 8 o clock and were like , OKAY, lets go find a hostel. Turns out,people are right when they say book ahead, because it took us forever to find one :( All the good cheap hostels were either full or 30 mins out of the city and in order to get to it you had to take bus A, which would bring to bus stop 10 then you walked 50m to get to train Z that you rode to stop H then you took a shutttle that ran every half hour to finally get to the campsite. So, we found a hotel in town, dropped our stuff off and immediatly went to the internet cafe to book the rest of our weekend. So, today we're headed to "Hostel Ivanhoe" which looks promising and then when we get to Florence we are staying in a great little hostel in the city for super cheap! So, things are looking up. I can't lie though, last night got a little stressful. Not being able to find a place to stay. Knowing it wasn't going to be cheap. It being 11 o c lock and I was tired. But we're safe now and I'm ready to go explore the city.
I've fallen in love with gelato since I've been over here and it doesn't make it any easier when its only 1 euro for a cone,so i've explored the different flavors and trust me, they are DELICOUS!
Okay friends, think that brings us up-2-speed on the European Tour.
Hope life is swell for you!
Monday, October 8, 2007
WOW Fall Break has already been amazing and it has only been 3 days!
We left the flat on Thursday night, and planned on sleeping in the airport so we could catch our EARLY flight to Munich.WELL we get there and they tell us the airport is closed.SO we ended up sleeping in the train station type area for 5 hours, it was definitally the experience. Some kindly older gentleman asked us if we were okay and brought us water while we were sleeping.
Our flights went great and we arrived in Munich Friday afternoon. It was culture shock right away. Being somewhere where English is the second language it gets minorly frustrating at times. So, we trekked alittle and found the "hostel" we were staying at. Its called Weis'n'camp and was just a big football type field with rows and rows of tents. So, I dont go camping at home, but i had to turn around and do it on fall break in Germany. It wasn't too bad though.
We decided to go and explore Oktoberfest and see what it was all about and once again MAJOR culture shock! All the signs were in German, everyone was speaking German, the menus at the food tents were in German and it was just crazy. Luckily people everywhere spoke english so it wasnt too difficult. We waited in line for 3 hours to get inside one of the tents that had a band and it was ridiculous. People were cram jammed against eachother in line and it was insane but after we got inside it was so worth it. People were everywhere singing and cheering and dancing and O to the MG it was great!!
That was what we did Saturday and Sunday too, just hung around Oktoberfest. Its actually alot like the state fair. It has food everywhere and rides and games and fun houses and it was just a really neat experience. Because people from all over where there. We made friends with people from: Russia,Holland, Italy, Germany and of course we found some fellow Americans!
This morning we woke up early :( and caught our flight to Venice. The security people were ridiculous and very thorough and it was minorly annyoing. BUT reassuring at the same time.
So, yea, we've been in Venice for about a couple hours now and are trying to find a hostel for the next two days. Its so beautiful though!! With the canals everywhere and the buildings and the weather is FANTASTIC!!!
So, that minorly brings you up to speed on our tour of europe. I'll try and give more detail at some point,but im on a time strain :(
OH, and if you're reading this Mommy, sorry I haven't e-mailed BUT this is the first time I've been on a computer and it wont let me access my e-mail!
Hope all is well for everyone!
Thursday, October 4, 2007
I thought I would take a break from blogging about my fabulous adventures in London and talk a little bit more about Simpson and my experience while on campus.
You'll always hear when you visit Simpson's campus that the professors here care about you both in and out of the classroom and that they're always ready to talk about class,life,tv, whatever and you probaby always think: "yeah, right" "Loras,Luther and Central all say the same thing." Well I can tell you from first had experience that at Simpson it is most definitally true and I have two perfect examples.
It was near the end second semester and almost time for dead week, it was a Tuesday night. I had been dilligently working on not one but two portfolios that were due that week as well as a speech for my speech class. I decided to take a break and go out to eat with some of my fraternity brothers up at Buffalo Wild Wings in Des Moines. We eat, hang out in Des Moines for awhile and come back. I get back and continue to work on the portfolios. One was for a mock start up theatre company for my Stage Management class and in it I had to have: a budget,goal of the theatre, flow chart showing the order of command in the theatre, mission statement, 2 different press releases, actor packet and a few more things. Most of this had already been turned in, but now I was fine tuning it for the final and making sure everything was good. My other portfolio was for "The Simpsonian" and all I had to do for that one was put together my news articles I had already written, and I can't remember what the speech was about. But anyway, Im working on this and it gets to be 1 or 2 am and I have a brother(fraternity) come to me needing to talk, so we then sat for a couple hours talking about a few different things that he was dealing with and that were going on in his life and I in turn shared the current drama in my life. We finish and I go back to working on my homework.
By now its 5am and I realize I need to get some sleep or I won't even function the following day. So, I go to bed,planning to get up early and finish things. Well, I realize when my alarm clock rings 2 hours later that it isn't going to happen. I realize that if I was to attend class I would be the boy that falls asleep and looks like an idiot and that I really need to finish this homework. SO, I e-mail my professor and let her know what was going on. Explaining to her that I was up all night working on things and helping out some friends with issues. I felt horrible, I really did. I am one of those kids who CAN'T skip and feels really guilty when he does because he's afraid he's going to miss out on something important.
So, I sleep a little longer and then get up and finish all the things that need done. Later that afternoon I go into my professors office to beg for forgiveness for missing class and to explain to her what was going on.
However, the very first thing she says when I walk up to her is "Are you Okay?"
I felt so lucky and loved in those two seconds. That the very first thing she asked is how I was and if I was okay. NOT, "why'd you miss class?" or "I can't help you, find notes from someone else." This just really made me even more realize how much professors here really do care. Besides that, she was already an amazing professor who I learned SO MUCH from during my class with her.
This one happened just this week. If you read my previous blog, you know about the new volunteering I get to do at "Theatre 503". Well, its all thanks to the professor with us, JP. Who from the beginning has really wanted to get us theatre kids helping out in a theatre. He went around and asked all sorts of fringe theatres,off-west end theatres if they needed help. He didn't need to do this, we all already had set up other volunteer programs. But he wanted to because he knew how much it would help us. It was also really great how excitied he was when we left the meeting and knew we were set. It was just really neat, knowing that he went out of his way to try and get us some more learning opportunity.
These are just my stories and there are plenty more out there. This isn't something you can get by going to a big school, where you're known as student number 005406 and just one of 200 kids in a lecture. At Simpson the professors know your name, the activities your involved in and ask about them.
Whenever I walk by my advisor on the sidewalk he asks how I am and how theatre productions are going. I've had professors stop me on the sidewalk and comment on my article in The Simpsonian.
The professors here at Simpson are here because they care about 1) the subject they are teaching and are some of the most passionate people you'll meet when it comes to their subject and 2) ME-the student.
Just something to consider when looking at schools.
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Well, I was catching up on my Simpson campus news and browsing through The Simpsonian website when I saw under the "recently commented" heading, a link to an article I had written way back in March about working in the restaurant business and it was all about how to be a better customer.
Well, the article recieved alot of attention for some odd reason. Mainly from a very um. unique individual who goes by the name of "springs1" who left a comment on my article that was around 1,500 words when my original article was around 800!
So, banter went on between this springs person and a few different people for awhile and finally died down.
WELL, I looked today and once again Springs is back and the article is now at a whopping 19 comments. If you need a good laugh check it out, because really I just find it halarious.
Here is the link:
Who would have thought that I would learn about US history while in London? I sure didn't. But, that's pretty much what happened last night when Chelsea,Anne, and I went to "The Globe". The show playing was called "We The People" and it was essentially a dramatic re-enactment of the writing of the constitution.
Overall, I'd give the show a B+ or A-. It was pretty well written and entertaining,although some parts seemed to drag on for me. I was confused at some points too, but thats just because I am horrible at history (sorry, Beth, Jamie,Cassie and Andy) and so I wasn't sure what was going on. Then there were the accents,some were great and they totally sounded "american" but others were RIDICULOUS, one guy honestly sounded like he was trying to impersonate Bill Clinton, so it was rather amusing but got annoying 5 minutes into the show.
But, it was a good show to see and I'd recommend it. It was also neat to be in a totally different theatre setting. With the thrust staging, yard where everyone was standing, and the open ceiling.
Today we had our art class and had the pleasure of visiting the "Victorian and Albert" museum. This was a fabulous museum and we got to see all sorts of different works of art. We looked at some fashion, and JP surprised us by telling us he loves watching the fashion preview to the red carpet and that his favorite designer is Versace because of his classic lines and cuts. I was rather impressed, along with everyone else,including his wife, Elyse.
We also looked at some different sculpture work and finished off the day by looking at just a bunch of random household things; lamps,radios,chairs etc. and how art has influenced them and how art is present. It makes you realize that essentially everything is art, not just paintings and pictures.
After the gallery, a few us headed to a meeting with a local off-west end theatre company called "Theatre 503" in the hopes of getting us Thespians on the trip some career related volunteer experience. The theatre is right above a pub and the office/lounge area of it is pretty neat and has couches and tables and just seems very laid back. Well, we show up to meet with Gene and he was super friendly and right away was like " what can we do for you guys" and we told them how were interested in helping out with their theatre and pretty much willing to do whatever they need done and that we have all sorts of theatre experience thanks to our liberal arts background at Simpson!!
Gene was super friendly and helpful and told us that they would LOVE to have us and that there's as little or as much work there for us and that they can take us whenever we want to start and so I am pretty excitied! They have a really great turnover for shows and we will get to help with 3 different shows during the time we're here!!!! So that'll be amazing. And I am hopefully going to get to help out with PR things and the press nights they have.
Needless to say, I'm really stoaked and can't wait to start!
I finally did laundry today and am now 3.60 shorter,which = about 7 American dollars for ONE LOAD of laundry! Thats only washing too. I didn't even spend the 50p to dry my clothes for EIGHT minutes! So, now they're hanging over anything and everything in my room, in hopes that they'll dry by tomorrow so I can pack for Fall Break.
Yep, I leave tomorrow night for 14 days for fall break and I am roughing it backpack style. That means 2 pairs of jeans and probably 4 shirts for 2 weeks! I'm pretty excitied though. Munich,Rome,Venice,Florence,Milan and Brussels!
UNFORTUNATLY,that means little blogging for the next two weeks *collective sigh here* (hopefully from sadness and not relief )! But don't you worry, I am bringing along my personal journal and will write everything down so I can relay it when I come back!
OH, PS HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!! To me and London that is. It's now officially been over a month since I've been here!! It's hard to believe that a month has already gone by! What's weirder is to realize that all my friends back on campus that I talked to everyday and hung out with and called all the time, I haven't in a month! I've called a few friends a couple times and I've spoken with my mommy twice, but other than that, its just been the ocassional facebook message and its just crazy!
Okay, so I need to get back to finishing homework thats due tomorrow.
Ttyl my friends
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
The weather is still London-esque in all its glory: wet,chilly, and smoggy and unfortunatly I think we are officially done with the gloriousness of sun and blue skys. :(
You will be pleased, or maybe not, to find out that even though I haven't blogged in a couple days, you have not missed out on anything. Thus the reason for no blogging, nothing exciting to talk about.
Sunday was yet another day of rest for yours truly.BUT I did end up getting around and some friends that we had met at "The Rocket" a few weeks ago came over and hung out with us, it was nice having fresh faces in our rooms instead of the same boring Simpson people all the time. (j to the k).lol
Monday-more napping and movie watching for Drew, I was introduced to the wonder of "Not Another Teen Movie" and it is now one of my new favorites! I also rode the tube for an hour or so and did homework on it. lol.yes, I rode the tube and wrote my journals, finally getting almost all the way caught up and I plan on doing that tonight.
Today we had class and we took a walking tour of where all the Bloomsbury Group people used to live. For those of you who don't know and don't feel bad if you didn't, I only know because I'm taking the class. But the Bloomsbury group was a group of scholars back at the turn of the 20th Century who were leaders in their fields; artists,economists,writers,politicians and they were all friends and lived in the same area and even loved eachother at times. The saying goes "they lived in squares but loved in triangles" and it was all very bohemian and intellectual. But we got to see where some of those people lived
Tonight, the theatre nerds of the trip(Ann,Chelsea and myself) are going to see a show at "The Globe" because its season ends this week. It'll be fun!!!
At some point, I need to do laundry, I think I've used my alloted rewearing times for my clothes, and my jeans are beginning to stand on their own :S.
MORE GOOD NEWS- JP has possibly hooked us up with volunteer-things at a local off-west end theatre. So hopefully, I'll be getting some more theatre experience in London which would be minorly fantastic!!!
I need to figure out my class schedule too. We're supposed to get registered tomorrow and I still only have a rough idea of what I want to take. I'm debating on how many more cornerstone classes to take versus classes to take for the major and etc. Right now I'm at 2 classes for the theatre major, 1 class for the communications major( which will also be a cornerstone) and 1 cornerstone class, so I have one more to sign up for. Plus I'll probably be taking "The Simpsonian" again.
So, I should probably go do that NOW, while I am thinking about it.
Hope all is well!