Thursday, 31 March 2011

Making the most of a MISERABLE day turned BEAUTIFUL!

So, if any of you read my fb... you'd have known it was a rough day. Let me start with waking up at 3am with a migraine from hell. As you know, my migraines have a tendency to make me ridiculously ill... and this was certainly no exception. Two of my classes had already been cancelled for the day, but my morning class, thus far, had not. I convinced myself that I needed to get my sorry behind in gear and go to class, despite the throbbing in my skull and the nausea that was getting overwhelmingly worse. Richard said I should go back to bed... but no, I'm trying to be responsible here! I get to the tube station and get ready to hop on the Jubilee line, only to be informed that the line has been temporarily suspended due to someone [not me, thank God] getting ill on one of the cars. I reroute and get to Waterloo with no time to spare, because the nausea has now turned into oh-my-God-I'm-going-to-rourke-NOW! I run to the bathroom, except every stall is taken, and promptly empty the contents of my stomach into a wastebin. It couldn't be helped. I clean up and start to look for my connection to get to school and get a phone call that THAT class has been cancelled as well. This upsets me some more, and I go make friends with another wastebin. *Disclaimer - I PROMISE YOU THAT THIS IS ALL DUE TO A MIGRAINE AND NOT AN OVERINDULGENCE OF ALCOHOL* 

Determined at this point to not have wasted my time (and money) getting into town... I call text Vanessa. The UK is very much like when we were in the Philippines, where we pretty much text everybody and call only if necessary. Vanessa is another Y!PP pirate (PINGA!) who really no longer plays and yet we've managed to keep in contact for five years, which in my opinion, is nothing short of amazing. She normally lives in Sao Paolo, Brasil -- but just so happened to be in the UK for school. Sadly, Nessa leaves next week to go home waaaah! In any event, we decided to meet up and do lunch. I find a pharmacy to get something a little stronger than Excedrin, and make my way to Woking. Meeting Vanessa for the first time was weird... because it was like catching lunch with someone you've known forever! We hit it off right off the bat, and were soon talking over one another and telling jokes. I felt bad, because in all this time, I never knew she was a vegetarian, and here I am snacking on a piece of chicken! Anyways, we figure the best way to get through the day and have a good time was: RETAIL THERAPY! I needed a new suitcase anyways, since my wheels on the other one broke. We pretty much hit up every "bargain" store... and lol, I got quite a chuckle when we went into TKMAXX -- just like back home, except we use a J. It's the same store, I assure you! I got an awesome buy in another store, you all know me and my bargains... and got a sweet coat for 18£ and a pair of boots for 10£. I'd been picking little "here and there's" for Laurel and my family... and Nessa convinced me to get something for myself. twist. my. arm. Anyways, it was finally time to go... nearly 6 pm - wow, we'd been shopping for like 5 1/2 hours! And we were both sad to have to go. I was sad that we'd only just now had a chance to get together... but now we have plans where hopefully she and her family will come to Florida on vacation and everyone can get together and meet Laurel and I can meet her children. If there is one thing I won't regret, it will be that I went shopping for a day with a great and wonderful friend instead of going home to sleep! 

My phone has died by now, and I am ever so thankful to myself that I had the forethought to scribble down Richard's number on a piece of paper... because I am so tired from walking all day in the shopping mall, there is no way in hell I'm walking to the boat! Back at the boat, it's business as usual... or rather, take off my shoes, have tea, log on Y!PP, check my email and talk about former failed relationships. Richard decides it's time to open this bottle of wine he's had in the fridge for so long. Let me just tell you... that was the most disgusting bottle glass of blegh I've ever had! I sure hope the sink drain enjoyed it. I convince Richard to go out for a bit, nothing crazy, but just to get off the boat and off the laptop  -- so we hit up the bowling alley! I get to listen to him make comments about how he's going to wipe the floor with me and blah blah blah -- most of which I know he's only kidding about, since I've heard him say numerous times, he sucks at bowling. Long story short... I win 2 out of 3. Muhahahah! We shoot a round of "American" pool - you know, the one where there are numbers on the balls! and I win at that too. Richard has a go at the DDR2 game, which I have to say, is impressive... and then tries to take me on at a game of hoop shot. /e wins again. Nothing like turning a crappy start into a wonderful finish. Life is much better today... I hit the train station for a trip to Tamworth where I get to meet Cozzy Julia and Aroven and stay up there for a few days. I'll see if I can put my camera to a bit better use while I'm at it! Much love and missing you all back home! Til then...

Monday, 28 March 2011

Well, I figured... since I did come over here to study, I should fill you in on the present state of affairs that we call school. It's... boring, fun, interesting, tedious... it's school! Lots of research, but loving my British Museum's class. So yeah. But I am loving the walk to class. I love passing by Madame Tussauds every morning, or looking at the beautiful architecture of the buildings that I walk past. I even like taking the tube in the mornings. There are some pretty interesting people on there! Anyways, short and sweet... looking forward to heading to Tamworth this weekend. Have a lunch date with a friend I've been wanting to meet for ages... and thoroughly looking forward to that as well! Finished my gift for a friends' mom... and now starting on something new with my crochet handiwork! Hope all is well back home... miss you guys lots and will post more soon. Til then...

Sunday, 27 March 2011

For the love of...

What I love about the UK, is the ability to go out and have a drink.. or two.. or six -- and not have people look twice at you as you stumble down the sidewalk. That being said, we started out our beautiful Saturday morning with a goal in mind, and several things to get! My aim was to stop at the stationers, go to the foreign exchange, and find something KIPPER! We wandered about the market in Guildford for quite some time, found some stuff... found KIPPER! and then found a pub. Not that you really have to look too hard for those. In any event, I had my first opportunity to get snotty with a restaurant. I almost didn't, but then she was sarcastic with me, which of course, only prompted me to get sarcastic back. Needless to say, I was a cranky person when it was all said and done but we came away from the experience with some nice beer glasses LMAO!!!!

I did end up stopping with Paul and Juliet at All Bar One, which is where Paul used to work. Had some delish calamari and a bunch of laughs, after Jules and I hounded the flower seller for some GERBIL daisies! I also managed to get my phone back to working... yay for the T-mobile rep with the fishnet stockings *snicker, snicker, chuckle* Anyways, keeping it short and sweet today... we wandered back home in the cold, with Paul balancing me, and keeping Jules from wandering in the street. Settled down to homemade coconut ice cream and bed before 10pm! We sure know how to party! Headed to Tamworth to see Juli and Aro this week... til then...


Friday, 25 March 2011

Darts, Pool, Poker and Pubs!

Okay, I was supposed to go back to Guildford on Thursday... but I slept in til 9am, and then had no desire to do anything. Couple that with the knowledge that I had no obligation to do anything, and yeah, I was a lazy bum. I did manage to convince Richard that we needed to hit up a store or two and find a pub with a dart board. And wow oh wow... what fun that was! *this is the part where I have been urged to note that Richard drives like a maniac!* We hit the streets and start our travels for the day -- he's a good host. That's the only time I'll mention that, since dealing with his ego is difficult enough. Let me just say... ARGOS. IS. COOL. I never knew what a catalog store was, so for all of you who do... just ignore this portion of my post. But it's like basically shopping through a JC Penney catalog, at the store... and then going up to the counter, paying and then going to another counter, where they give you your purchases. How cool is that?! So anyways, finally got me a UK approved flat iron! Yay - all is right within my world. We also found a "Make your Milkshake" stand - and again... wow oh wow! Even Richard was impressed. And they use the Blendtec machines! Back into the locksmith van with the crazy driver (there! 2 mentions) and on to find a pub.

"*this is the part where I have been urged to note that Richard drives like a maniac!*"

The Black Horse Pub was fantasmic... quiet and quaint and we just stood around throwing darts for a bit. Richard isn't that familiar with darts, so I took it easy on him. Try not to die in laughter people. Anyways we played 21, because, to be frank, I couldn't be bothered to add/subtract/whatever ... and of course, had a few drinks. I've been drinking ciders thus far, because they taste great and if I've not eaten they don't normally kill my stomach. When we finally got the opportunity to shoot some pool... let's just say he enjoyed turning the tables around on me and schooled me. lawl. waah. lawl. However, all our fun must've attracted the older guys hanging out in the pub, which led to a 61 year old bus driver named Tony telling Richard about life and love. The accent was pretty thick, so I'm not too sure what he was saying, and to be honest, I'm not sure Richard understood what the guy was saying. In any event, Tony felt that Rich was a "worthy enough" opponent and challenged him to a round. Then he asked the bartender to fetch his cue from the back. It was pretty evident from that point that it was gonna go down hill from there. While the "boys" are playing a game, another pubgoer, this one by the name of Len (how I remembered this, I'll never know) is getting his pool cue from the back, and slapping a few coins on the ledge of the table. Poor Richard. hahahaha. Next thing you know, yet another pubgoer, I believe this is the Scotsman named Johnny, is putting money down for a round! All good fun, joking, watching, drinking --- and at that point I realize I've had a few and nothing to eat. Richard realizes this too, and we promptly find ourselves out the door, escaping the skills of the not-so-grumpy-old-men, and back at the Ship and Whale for food and poker. Because everybody knows when I get tipsy I should be playing cards and betting money. Yes, that's it exactly! Anyways, the evening ended well, with the exception of the younger person telling the older person about moderation and cutting me off temporarily. grrr. damnyouboi. The walk home was uneventful with the exception of me getting cold and demanding hot chocolate and then dozing off on the couch. Richard says I snore, and loudly at that. I'm going to slap the taste out of his mouth for that one... but I guess I'll let him live. REALLY heading back to Guildford today.... he's a bad influence. Til then...

Oh yeah... and the best quote of the evening comes when Richard turns to me and says,
"We just got rick-rolled in a pub...Good Game!"

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Fish and Chips supper and fun!

I'm sure you can tell I'm settling in much better by the upbeat nature of my posts! London is growing on me, no really... it is. I can't quite figure out how my finger nails are constantly getting dirty, and for those of you who know my OCD/AR tendencies, I'm sure you can imagine how often I'm washing my hands here. Wet wipes just aren't cutting it. Classes were much better, and I can already tell I'll get into the swing of things here. Still worrying about the people back home, but apparently (who could IMAGINE) they are surviving without me. Although, I've heard that Laurel has now taken the starfish position to new heights when she snuggles with her NiNi and PopPop. hahhaha! Welcome to my world.

Anyways, the most difficult aspect about classes here is that they meet twice a week, 2.5 hours each. And I'm so used to our 5 hour sessions back at IADT. I like to have all that lab time to essentially do everything I need to do and not really have to worry about that class until I show up the following week. But, just one more thing to get used to. My classes are on Mondays and Wednesdays, so for all intents and purposes, I have from Thursday to Sunday to do all the gallivanting that I want. I've taken these first 2 weekends off... but I'll start moving about next week! 

Yesterday was great. First British Museums outing was at Hertford House. Our instructor is a riot. Very proper, and doesn't take any crap from some of the students. Which is to be expected though, since we're in these museums and he has to come back semester after semester... so when they are loud and rude, he gets cross. In any event, the highlight of my day, which is sad I know, was when we're going through the British aristocracy, and he said the wife of a Marquis was a Marquess. To which I corrected asked, wasn't she called a Marchioness. So yeah, my very British instructor was pointed the right way by an American. Big. Cheesy. Grin. The rest of the day went by in a blur. We had a fire drill at the school, which required me going down the stairs. I had a really bad rush of vertigo, and spent the rest of the day ill in the bathroom. Hawt stuff I know.

Topped the day off with my very first steak stakeout, while Richard went to change some locks and my first Fish N Chip supper since coming to the UK this time. We did it proper, getting take out and coming back to chill at the boat! No vinegar for me tyvm, but otherwise it was great. Mr. Floppy got to hug the Magners. I'm sure Laurel will approve. Hugs and kisses to everyone back home. Gonna enjoy this bright and beautiful sunny day! ta!

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Settling in...

[warning - novella in progress]

Well... It's been a whirlwind couple of days. I went to the first day of classes on Monday. A bit of a hectic hike to the train station, riding the above ground train to London, transferring to the underground tube into town, then hauling my behind to the school. Classes were, just as back home on the first day: varying stages of boredom, tediousness, repetition and so forth. I should have taken my migraine meds before I even walked out the front door. I'd managed to toss my cookies twice that day from the pounding migraine that kicked in approximately 2 hours into my school day. Fun stuff I tell ya! That being said, I called off a dinner date with my classmate, managed to get lost (AGAIN) trying to find the right tube station, and eventually made my way into town to meet up with Richard [for some of you, Boi]. Oh did I mention the mini-meltdown on the tube??? I sat there en route to Canada Water station, which was where we were meeting, and started to cry. Not sobbing, mind you, and I'm sure all these Londoners on the tube are looking at me, as I sit there silently with tears just leaking out, and thinking: crazy American. But all of a sudden, I was missing home, I was missing my baby, I was out of my element, too old to be doing this "study-abroad" stuff... I needed to go home, pack my things and go back to real life. Yeah, that's what I needed to do! I also needed to eat apparently, because I realized I was becoming waaaaay too emotional after just one day of class.

That being said, Richard drug me out to some pub, ask me the fun details about that some other time, where we ordered what everybody orders when they go to the UK... hamburgers? el oh el. But I have to tell you, that was one of the best hamburgers I've ever had. Maybe cuz we're closer to Hamburg than back in Florida (Dad, I know you'll appreciate that crap humor). We sat and talked, drank a couple pear ciders, which I must say, certainly contend with the apple ciders I've had, and basically I was pleasantly buzzed enough to begin to unwind. Let me add in this disclaimer and tell you, we had a couple which is indicative of TWO. Lest you all think that the only way I enjoyed myself was to go about the trip in a consistently inebriated state - although that idea also has merits. We went back to Richard's boat.. yeah, lol, a boat! Well, a Dutch-barge.. but a boat nonetheless... where we stayed up way later than I should have and then I crashed. 

"the only way I enjoyed myself was to go about the trip in a consistently inebriated state"

So now that you have some back story... the next day I rode along with Richard to Worthing, where he had a call... but then he didn't. Again, el oh el. But, when in Rome, we must do as the Romans did... so we went to the beach. Only --- this beach had no sand! EGADS! NO SAND I TELL YA! This was quite the pebble beach. I took pics of course, as it was still pretty. Reminded me very much of Atlantic City, or to be more precise, walking along the boardwalk in Brigantine. After a bit of watching someone, cough.. Richard, try and throw his arm out skipping stones and not hitting a coffee cup [reiterates the good ol' eh oh el]... we decided to drive on to Brighton. Holy-Steel-Pier-visits-the-UK-Robin! There was even a dilapidated carcass of the original pier [that burned down] left out in the water, and the newly rebuilt one, complete with carnival games and roller coasters just a stones' throw away. Anywho, back to Guildford we headed, where I gathered some stuff and figured out how to make life work better.We naturally, partook in a few cocktails, and talked for quite some time with Paul & Juliet. This is where I don't mention our nefarious evil plannings. Okay, I mentioned them, but I won't divulge! 

I'm now staying at Richard's boat for the days I go to school. The stress is so much more non-existent... and I'll be staying in Guildford when I'm not wandering to parts unknown. It's a good mix, as I think it allows me to not worry about getting to school, and gives some personal down time for both Richard and for Paul & Juliet as well... and a change of scenery for me. I woke up this morning feeling refreshed, jet lag has been HELL, with a clear mind. As I wandered to what I will now deem the bath house to freshen up and what not, I saw the sun rising over the Thames, with the city buildings of London as the backdrop. The hustle and bustle of the cars just starting to pick up in sound, but otherwise, I felt a peace I hadn't felt since coming here. Trying to acclimate myself to the city had been a struggle, and knowing that I can enjoy the city while I have classes, but go back to the quiet town of Guildford on my off days, is a blessing. There is a lot of literary inspiration in the Guildford region, and Paul & Juliet are awesome people to be staying with. Both have a wealth of knowledge about the area, Juliet for having lived in this region for some time, and Paul, for having learned so much since moving there from Canadia (hahaha!). I miss Laurel and the rest of the family very much, but I know that I'm making the best of this, and I've seen some interesting stuff thus far, and met some awesome people as well. Not sure what this weekend holds, so til then...

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Learning the "British Way"

Well, as you can all tell... I've arrived safe and sound here in the lovely UK. Missing Laurel will be the trial throughout this trip, but I know she's in great care and it's good (in a weird way) to know she misses me back just as much. Where would we be without the wonderfulness that is Skype? That's all I can say on that. In any event, since I'm pretty much guaranteed to be carrying my laptop through most of my journeys, I figured, I might as well chronicle my travels and experiences here! I can't guarantee I'll be a timely and faithful blogger, BUT --- I can guarantee to include pictures, and really... we all know that's what most of you (at least my friends and family) are here to see :P That being said, I've been here 3 days and I've only taken a picture of Paul and Juliet's cat, Doris and Richard with the mask that Laurel made for him. 

My first day of Orientation at the school was fantasmic... the photography studio is admirable with sooo much fun equipment to learn, and the Mac labs were... enviable? ok ok... yeah, I was drooling! I managed to set up my UK phone number, map out my trip home and replace my sunglasses that were destroyed on the flight! Last night, we brought the evening to a close with champagne (I call it celebration of my successful navigation home from London)... today's agenda is cider and ale! Today is Saturday, and the weather was beautiful, so we hit the pavement and walked all through town. 

Up the market streets and over to Guildford Castle, visiting the Lewis Carroll monument (a statue of Alice through the looking glass) and then down back into the city. Found a gourmet cheese and specialty ham spot in the market and of course, fresh beers at The White House Pub on the river. Getting on just fine and dandy with Paul and Juliet and, of course, Doris the cat. Anticipating first day of classes on Monday... having a few cocktails until then...