The doggy treadmill---This is the treadmill that provides owners with a means to maintain consistent levels of exercise for their dogs, regardless of weather conditions. Its whisper-quiet motor drives a sturdy rubber belt that is soft on paws.
In my Art and Society class we go on field trips every week to various spots around London, and this week we went to St. Paul's Cathedral.
Wow, it is absolutely stunning. I managed to sneak some pictures as soon as we walked in, but flash photography is not allowed so I don't have any of the actual church itself. The ceilings and paintings are incredible. They are fresco paintings which means they are actually painted onto the ceilings of the cathedral itself.
A thing I thought was weird was that there are no Virgin Mary's or crucifix's inside because the people overseeing the make of the cathedral did not want it to resemble St. Peter's in Rome. The basement of the building is a crypt where famous people are buried like Admiral Nelson (my good pal) and the Duke of Wellington.
On the upstairs floors there are galleries and after walking up about 300 steep steps hungover, I thought I was going to die before I actually got to them. There is the Whispering Gallery which is like a big ring around the larger dome of the church with holes all along the wall, which you are supposed to whisper into and be able to hear someone on the other side. I don't think it works but who knows!
We then went up to one more gallery which is outside and gives you panoramic views of all of London. Despite the rainy, foggy typical London day I managed to get some good pictures.
St. Paul's is definitely a must see for visitors to London. The ornate wood work, walls, flooring are all truly magnificent.
I lit a candle for Mammy at St. Pauls praying that she will watch over me during my time here. I know she is...RIP Mammy we miss you!
Two classes today, up at 8 am...arghhhh. But there is a light at the end of this early morning, we are going to St. Pauls Cathedral in my class! I can't wait to see it, I have my camera charged ready to go. Will post pictures afterwards. Happy Wednesday!!
The sun is shining! So I am a happy camper because I finally get to wear my beautiful new sunglasses I spent all my Christmas money on. We're off to Camden Markets which are supposed to be really cool and pretty inexpensive. Hope everyone is having a good Monday!
On my way to go get Indian food for the first time with the Brits and Nikki. I'm nervous, apparently Indian food is huge over here and we're going to this place called Brick Lane where there are a bunch of good restaurants. Wish me luck....
I finally had class this past week, and London classes are much much different from the ones I'm used to taking at Penn State. First off, you call your teachers by their first names and class is much more informal in general. I switched out of one class I originally planned on taking and now I am enrolled in a Sociology course which will transfer over at PSU.
So I am now taking Art and Society, Devising London, Social Structure Culture and Change, and London Theatre in Performance. I have classes Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and each class is three hours long. (which is painful)
My one class, Devising London, is a real trip. It is an acting class, and Dawn our looney tune of a teacher, wants us to take it very seriously indeed. Dawn is a crazy woman...she introduced herself as a singer, actor, director, and yoga teacher. As soon as we walked into the class, she made us take off our shoes and socks (bizarre in itself) and sit in a circle. After we did sketches of our faces so she could remember us, we did yoga for the first half hour of class. (Thank the Lord I have this class with my good friend Nikki, or I would have ran out screaming within the first five minutes I think)
The actual class is sort of like an improv type thing, and we have a performance at the end of the semester which we have to invite all of our friends to. I think the class will definitely be interesting and I hope that I don't make too big of a fool out of myself.
My other class, London Theatre in Performance, is going to be absolutely incredible. We are seeing so many shows and we are going to learn how to critique plays. (Maybe I'll be a theatre critic!) My teacher, Shannon, is a lovely woman who knows everything about the theatre and you can tell she is very passionate about it.
We are seeing some really cool shows, for instance this week I have to go see "Complicit". It is directed by Kevin Spacey (who lives in my neighborhood) and stars Richard Dreyfuss...that guy from Jaws. It just opened up and I am really looking forward to going. In addition to Complicit, we are seeing about 9 other shows including one with James McAvoy!!!! (The guy from Atonement and Wanted) Also on the lineup is Oliver, which is "the hottest ticket" in London right now, a show called Wrecks which is a one man play from the guy who co-wrote Shakespeare in Love, and a Comedy show.
I really can not wait to see everything and learn about the London theatre.
I finally start classes tomorrow after being here 2 weeks already. I have my first class at 9 am, which is sure going to be a challenge for me because we all know I'm not much of a morning person, to say the least.
My first class is Writing London: Creative Writing about London and my second is Devising London. The first one is pretty self explanatory, and apparently the second one is sort of like an acting class. So...this should be interesting. I'll be in class all day from 9 to 5....which means I will be dreaming about a nap by the time I finally walk in my door at night.
Today, Monica and I met up on Baker Street to go to Madame Tussaud's (sp?) wax museum because it was free for Americans because of the inauguration. They unveiled the Obama statue today and I will be sure to post pics as soon as I can.
The wax figures are so life like it is scary, and they are really well done. In front of the Jennifer Aniston figure was a paparazzi figure as well and I actually thought it was a real person. I told Monica to watch out and wait before she took her picture with Jen because there was someone already taking a picture! Then after about 2 minutes, Monica finally realized that it was wax and we were just dumb.
After the museum, we raced back on the tube to my dorm so we could watch the inauguration and we made it just in time for Obama's speech. Everyone in London is so excited about Obama, all of the newspapers are covered with his picture and everyone I've met has had a really positive reaction to our new president. And although I wish I could have been home for this historic day in our history, I'm glad that I at least watched with people who are as excited about Obama as I am.
And last but certainly not least, Happy Birthday to the best older sister a girl could ask for!! Happy 22nd Car, wish I was celebrating with you!! xoxo
1. The flavor of their chips or "crisps" My personal favorites are the Turkey Stuffing and Prawn Cocktail flavored ones. What ever happened to Sour Cream and Onion?
2. The silence on the underground. No one talks, no one even looks at you, and if you are talking then you are usually given the evil eye. And for all of you that know me, it can be hard for me not to be loud. (Hey it runs in the Cody family!)
3. You do not get ice in your drinks, unless you ask for it.
4. Service at restaurants is completely different. Waiters do not lurk around your table and ask you every five minutes for a refill. It is not much of a tipping culture here, and since people do not work for tips they don't really need to be great servers.
5. There is no ketchup for fries at McDonald's!!!! When I saw the Golden Arches I was so happy I thought I would faint, but then when I sat down to eat and get ketchup there was none available! Also, it's not like supersize-me America where Ranch is taking over everyones food...I haven't even seen Ranch since I've been here! My roommate at PSU would be in serious ranch withdrawal by now if she were here!!
Also, I've been feeling a bit under the weather the past few days so I stayed in last night and watched Milk on my lap top. Wow, what an incredible movie. The cast was outstanding, and the movie really makes you stop and think about inequality back then and today too. I highly reccommend it.
As the days go on here in London, I've realized one thing: I love it more and more here everyday. I finally unpacked my suitcases today, and it is nice that I can actually walk in my room now.
I ate fish 'n chips yesterday and it was delicious, we went to this place next to our dorm called Mr. Fish Bar....original name, I know. It seems that every food place around us only sells fried chicken and fish which is nonetheless delicious, but I don't think I can eat anymore chicken nuggets for a while.
After dinner last night, we thought to ourselves we are college kids and we need to pregame the bar so we introduced ourselves to the wonderful brand of vodka, Drago. Drago is like Vladdy, but classier only because it is in a glass bottle and is consumed by Brits. Pregaming is essential here because drinks at the bar are so expensive. A mixed drink can be 8 pounds, which is about 13 dollars and that is just ridiculous.
After we got kicked out of the common room for being too loud, we decided it was finally time to get on the tube and go meet up with our friends in Picadilly. It was a friend of ours 21st birthday, so everyone from CIEE was meeting up to celebrate.When we arrived at the bar, the bouncer immediately recognized we were American and warned us not to be too loud/obnoxious/drunk and of course, as he was doing this our friend falls up the stairs to the bar. Not the best impression.
The bars here are a lot of fun, a lot of them we've been to remind me of the ones back home, and it is pretty easy to find a nice British boy to pay for your drinks! European guys are way different from American guys. They are very upfront and like to dance. They are also very complimentary, which is not a problem at all, and will tell you within the first five minutes of talking to you that you are beautiful and have a pretty accent. Can American accents even be pretty?
Still trying to figure out the picture thing....will post as soon as I learn what to do :)
I am finally all settled here in London. I moved into the my dorm (International House) on Saturday and luckily there are a lot of other people I know from my program staying here as well. The dorm isn't bad, there is a nice common room on the first floor with lots of leather couches and a big screen. My room is way bigger than I thought it would be and is also pretty nice. Our dorm is just right down the street from the Underground, and there are bus stops all around as well so it is easy to get to and from places.
At first I thought I would have a hard time using the Underground and learning how to navigate, but it has been pretty simple to learn. It's nice that the tube line we use connects to most places we will need to go. The only problem is the tube closes at midnight, and the buses are a lot harder to figure out (especially after a pint or two).
Last night was our last outing with our program and we went to dinner and then to the Comedy Store to see an improv show. The show was hysterical and definitely something that I will be taking Kev, Lis, Car, and Kel to see when they come visit. Afterwards we went back to this huge bar in Picadilly called O'Neils. It has four floors, and all of us "loud, drunk, barbaric Americans" can usually be found dancing to the live music on the third floor.
Now that all of the scheduled events like orientation and stuff are over, it seems that I am finally "on my own" here in London. So the first thing I want to do is head over to Buckingham Palace because we didn't make it there on the bus tour. Who knows maybe Prince Harry will just happen to be around??
Hello from London! I am finally here safe and sound and I am absolutely thrilled that my abroad experience has begun. I honestly can not believe that I am actually in London for the next four and a half months...it feels like in a week or two I'll have to pack my bags and head home.
The flights went pretty smoothly and I slept most of the way from Philly to London. Probably because my seat was in the section that had reclining seats with foot rests and tons of leg room, a definite bonus. When we finally got to Heathrow, we waited around for like 4 hours and then finally got a bus back to the hotel we're staying at now.
My whole program, which is about 95% PSU kids, are all staying at the Citadines in Kensington until tomorrow morning.We are right on Gloucester Road, and it is a breathtaking neighborhood. Princess Di used to live here, and I can see why, it's just the coolest place.
We are finally moving into our dorms tomorrow, and I am in International House. I'm fairly certain it's right by the London eye and the Houses of Parliament. I don't know who my "flat" mates will be yet, but a lot of people from my program that I've been with the past two days are in the same dorm with me.
Today was such a long day, but it was amazing. We had orientation until about one, then afterwards we took the underground around, and then went on a bus tour. The tour was awesome, we saw all of the landmarks. I was especially blown away by Big Ben and I loved all of the movement and hustle in Picadilly circus.
Afterwards we went to dinner...drank a lot of red wine...and went to the theater. We saw a play called "Well" and it was pretty bad. I think most of us slept the whole time and no one actually understood what the play was really about. But nonetheless it was really cool experiencing the London theatre for the first time.
I have to go to bed now because I am absolutely exhausted, I don't think I have slept over 10 hours since Wednesday. But I will post more once I'm settled in and post pictures from today! Cheers!!