Sunday, February 28, 2010

Life in Leicester

The days in Leicester are flying by, we've been here a little over five weeks and it seems more like five days. We've gotten settled in and everyone has adjusted just fine. We've started picking up on the slang, making it much easier to follow what exactly the Brits are talking about. Classes are going well, although they are quite different from ISU. The class assignments include a few essays per course and most work is to be done independently. I am taking a Global communications class, a film class, and an American history class. The American History class is really interesting for me, it's intriguing to hear about our countries history through a different perspective. While classes haven't been to demanding thus far, it's time to start cracking down. We have about a month before spring break, so I have about five essays and 15,000 words to write in three weeks!

For spring break we've decided on a basic route for our five week back packing journey across Europe. We'll be flying to Greece on March 25Th, spending for days exploring Athens and some of the surrounding islands (CANNOT wait for the beach!). On the 29th we'll be flying to Rome, just in time for Holy week! Next we will make our way up through Italy to Florence, then to Venice. Leaving Italy, heading towards Switzerland and the Czech Republic. Next up will be Munich, then I will be back in Italy to visit friends in Turin and Milan. After this we'll make our way along the south of France to Monaco and Nice, heading towards Barcelona (YAY more beaches!). Then we will be heading North to Paris, making some stops through WINE COUNTRY! To end, possibly a day trip to Brussels, at that point I'm sure I will be fed up with site seeing and ready to sleep for a week! After break we have about two weeks at Leicester then it'll be home sweet home!

While I'm overjoyed for spring break to arrive our time in Leicester is already starting to dwindled and we've only just arrived. I've grown quite fond of this city. We've met such nice people, and made quite a nice home here. It will be hard to leave! That's it for today, three blog entries has got me all tuckered out! I promise to keep more day to day accounts of life in Leicester though! Cheers :)


Oh boy, I'm not sure if I will be able to put Dublin into enough words to do the experience justice but I shall do my best.
We booked flights to Dublin about a month ago, and the Ryanair we were able to get round trip tickets for only $50!! Gotta love cheap student airfare, haha!
We left Thursday the 18th and stayed til Monday. While flying Ryanair may have been cheap it was sure hard to compress our luggage enough to be able to carry it on, cheap airline = extremely small carryon limit, but thankfully we were all able to pack strategically and all of our bags made it on the plane. Upon arriving in Dublin we found our hostel, where we were in an 18 bed mixed dorm. Meaning that there were 9bunk beds and people of all ages, it was..interesting to say the least. After settling in we decided to check out Dublin's nightlife in the famous area known as Temple Bar, here is where all the traditional Irish Pub's can be found with THEE greatest traditional Irish music. We really enjoyed ourselves, as we felt we were living out scenes from P.S. I love you, haha.

We started off day two in Dublin by visiting Trinity College, here we saw the Book of Kells. Which is an illuminated manuscript in Latin, containing the first four gospels of the New Testament, transcribed my Celtic Monks in the 800's. We also saw Trinity College's Old Library and the Long Room, containing thousands of rare books. Another overwhelming moment, but unfortunately no pictures so I stole some from google.

Day three in Dublin consisted on visiting Christ Church which contained an ancient crypt, very eerie. Rumor has it that Bram Stoker, visited the crypt to draw inspiration for his book Dracula!

After this we made our way to the Guinness Factory, where we toured the factory to see how Guinness (the fuel of Ireland) was made, ending with our complimentary pint of Guinness in the Gravity Bar (the highest point in Dublin + a panoramic view, beautiful!)

Day Four in Ireland was...Epic.
The seven of US girls decided to take a day trip out to the Irish Countryside, greatest decision we've made thus far. Our tourguide started off by taking us along the coastline, where we saw seals and even some old men taking a swim on an ever so cold day.

Our guide then took us up through the more "posh" neighborhood's in Ireland to see Bono and Enya's house, both were very pretty. Although I know that Dublin is one of the most expensive cities in the world I was suprised to learn that a house for a mechanic or tour guide (as our guide told us), is upwards of 350,000 Euro! Almost half a million dollars, so naturally my dreams of one day living in Dublin were ruled out immediatly.
After the coast we were off the to see the mountains in Wicklow National Park. Where ps. I love you and Braveheart were both filmed. It was the most breath taking scenery and I can promise you the picture do not do justice to the beauty we saw on Sunday.

To conclude, Ireland had kind people and beautiful scenery, and I absolutely fell in love with it. Can't wait to go back!


Running a little behind on blog updates, but better late than never! The last few weeks have been extremely busy, getting caught up on school work and traveling on the weekends:) On February 5Th we decided to spend the weekend in London, known in England as "The City" as Chicago is to us in IL. We left Friday afternoon and oh boy, did we have a heck of a time getting there. At first we had planned to take the train from Leicester to London which is only about an hour long train ride, only to find once we were at the train station that the price of tickets had doubled overnight! We said heck no and headed for the bus station. Only to find that the bus ride wasn't much cheaper and would take three hours to get there, soooo of course eager to get to London we headed back to the train station! This was my first time seeing the English Countryside, and I have to say it was absolutely beautiful everything that you would imagine it to be. Fields and fields of green, old wood fences and countryside homes. So much more interesting then our cornfields back at home. We arrived at St. Pancreas Station, and after getting lost for about a half hour we finally found our hostel. We headed out to do some nighttime sightseeing. Hoped on the tube(which has got to be thee greatest mode of public transportation ever), and headed to see Big Ben and Parliament. Both were absolutely stunning at night!

From here we went to Piccadilly Circus, which would be the equivalent to Times Square in the States.
Day Two in London was quite tiring, whoever said you couldn't see all of London in a day was wrong! Because, we saw EVERYTHING!

Trafalgar Square,Here we also went to the National Art Gallery Museum, where we saw paintings by Monet, Van Gogh, Da Vinci, Degas, and Rembrant it was breathtaking!

Then we were off to Buckingham Palace

Tower Bridge

After crossing Tower Bridge we went to The Tower of London, where many prisoners we held and executions took place. Today it is home to the Crown Jewels, and looks like a traditional English castle. After wondering around and checking out the different towers and torture devices we went to see the Crown Jewels. This was probably the highlight of my trip but unfortunately photographs were forbidden. But seeing the jewels and crowns that have been used in coronations for centuries was completely overwhelming, I had to go through the line twice to convince myself of what I was actually seeing. The Royal family possesses the world's largest diamond, all 530 carats of it..ladies, it was beautiful!
After we headed to St. Paul's Cathedral, where Lady Di and Prince Charles were married. This was yet another overhelming expierence, not only was St. Pauls beautiful on the outside it was stunning on the inside as well. When were arrived, the church was holding their evening service, so we sat down for a bit. I think that much jaw was hanging open the entir time. It was one of the must gorgeous things I have ever seen, I was floored.

Day three in London was much shorter and less tiring, we walked around Big Ben and Parliament to get some pictures in the day light. We also may or may not have snuck into Westminster Abbey to take some photos:)
All in all London was a great expierence, a must see to anyone considering it!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Photos of the house

back of the house

green house

very cool ceilings haha

Our room/my bed, what used to be the men's drawing room

More of our room, the large window


Well we finally made it!! We touched down in London at Heathrow airport at about 6:30am london time so about 12:30am at home. We had to wait for the airport for several hours for the rest of the abroad students to arrive so that we could all get on the bus to Leicester. Although the wait was boring we got to meet a lot of cool people who were also studying at the University. Once we boarded the bus and got to Oadby student village where our Accomadation was located we dropped off our bags and took our first trip to ASDA..known in the US as Walmart. Got some supplies to get us started, it was confusing at first learning how to us pounds, after five minutes i quit converting everything in my head otherwise i would have had a cow at how much stuff cost! By the time we had finished shopping at ASDA had dinner and went to a meeting we had all been up for about 30+ hours and were pretty much delusional we finally got some sleep. We signed up for classes on thursday which was interesting, instead of registering online we had to walk to each different department and as the head of the department to accept us into their class. I only got signed up for two classes but am hoping to get into a third this week. Which will give me 15 credits that directly transfer back to ISU, wahhooo!!

The food so far has been...interesting..better than i expected but we only get two meals a day, breakfast and dinner. So we've all been trying to nap through lunch the last couple days to avoid starvation and extreme tempers, haha. It's also hard to get used to because at our dorms we are used to a buffet line all you can eat..Here you get one small plate..thats all no seconds. So that's been an adjustedment..we're hungry all the time, but it's slowing getting easier and my jeans are slowing getting looser, haha.

When i saw "WE" i'm referring to the girls that i live with. There are four girls from ISU, Christine, Anna, Abby, and Kaitley. Then there is Cate from Alabama State and KatyAnn from Colorado State. So basically when we go out we confuse the hell out of the Brits with Katie, Cate, KatyAnn and makes things quite entertaining.

Most of us girls live in a large house called Highgrove. It was built in the 1930's and is absolutely beautiful. The orginal owner was a silver smith so all of our door knobs are the orignal silver that he made, pretty cool. Me and Anna live in the Men's drawing room. It has a very masculine feel and is huge compared to what we are used to at home. There is also a conservatory which Kaitley and Cate live in, which used to be like a sun room, it has large windows and a doors that exits to the back yard. Christine lives in the massive ballroom with a Sue who is from Korea. Next to them two girls live in what was the womens drawing room, it is gorgeous the ceiling is very detailed with ribbons and butterflys and just like all the other rooms, it has a large fireplace..too bad they are all borded up!

All of the houses in the student village are similar to ours most are a hundred years old. The university purchased the houses after the war and turned them into dormitories or accomadations as they call them. The street over from us is referred to as the million dollar estates and is rumored to be one of the richest neighborhoods in europe.I would compare our neighborhood to something like Moss Avenue in Peoria. Everything is so GREEN, although most of the plants and flowers are dead at the moment, it's still beautiful.
The town of Leicester has got to be one of the UK's greatest secrets, there are practically no tourists so we americans tend to stick out like a sore thumb. This would explain my intense desire to go shopping lately so that we can blend in little better. But of course as soon as we start to speak people are so amazed "You're AMERICAN?".."i love your accent!!" and then they try to mimic our accents, it's quite funny. Although trying to understand them sometimes is difficult, we've all been trying to learn the slang and their meaning..which has been fun.

The night life is much different than at home, they don't usually go out on weekends but rather most week nights. And they are just as you can imagine the brits would be, they start drinking and they start singing and chanting at the top of their's hilarious! :)

We start school tomorrow, so i'll keep everyone updated! Sending my love to the states and all of my family and friends, i miss you:)

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Well, with about 56 days to go I've already been through a slue of emotions. First, was the over excitement, then everything started to settle in. Now I'm starting to feel a little scared. I keep asking myself did i make the right decision? Of course, i did. I've been waiting to do this since i was a little girl. I just get a little depressed when i realize how much I'm going to miss. Spring break :(..(don't worry panama city, i will return in 2011) but then i remind myself i have a five week spring break across Europe :) Not that spring break is the only thing I'm going to miss, family and friends will be a biggy... create a skype account everyone! I'm all about the video chat so i don't forget what everyone looks like haha! Also a little down that I'll miss Neezy's graduation, although i doubt josh even realizes that I'm not there.. haha, that kid. Well anyway, I figured I'd make one of these so that i can share my experiences with everyone! Hope you enjoy:)