Sunday, July 15, 2012

and my life passed away like as it were unto me a dream

So I am extremely behind in my blog seeing as I still haven't written about my last 3 or so weeks of being in Europe, and I've already been home about 3 weeks. Life is flying by. This whole trip feels like a long time ago.
After the program ended, Emily, Megan, Amanda, Rachel, and I all stayed in Nice for another 4 days so we had plenty of chances to hang out with these crazy french kids some more :)  We went night swimming a few times, we saw the Men in Black 3 in French, we went to some random beach and spent the day there. It was a party with no homework or studying allowed! hooray :) We also ate delicious gelato. But one of my favorite memories was when Emily and I were waiting to meet up with everyone for the movie, and this random man comes up and starts asking us if we believe in UFO's and all that jazz. But it's really difficult to follow the conversation because we didn't exactly cover this sort of vocabulary in class, but still super entertaining :)

I even rode my first motorcycle in France :) woohoo.

 and of course there were randomly trees to climb at the beach, so that happened.  But of course, these days of vacation couldn't last. (Vacation never does) So at 4:30 in the morning the 5 of us take a shuttle to the airport and say goodbye. Sad day.

That was the end of our adventure in France together, but that just meant it was the beginning of our party in England! :)  Just to prove how much we were partying, here's me eating an english scone. So delicious.  You can tell England was going to be exciting because it started with Amanda and I sitting at the airport, still not quite sure where we were staying, barely made it through customs, feeling pretty hungry, and eating a fruit-by-the-foot that I found in my bag.
"I feel like a hungry, homeless person." -me
"You are a hungry, homeless person." -Amanda
(Thanks for that, Amanada) :P

We took one of those semi-lame/extremely touristy-y double-decker bus tours.  Which I counted as seeing all the important parts of the city.  
 that took a while, and we also wandered around the city enjoying the sights and the accents.   We also decided to find our hostel that we were going to stay out and I walked out of there thinking "a really run down efy center" while amanda thought "oh my gosh we're gonna die!" (or something similar)

Our second day in England, Sue (the mom) gave us a tour around Stanford Le Hope and we saw this cute little park. We did this awesome little thing, I can't remember what it was called. but it was more exciting than normal because of the giant puddle running all the way under it, if you fell you'd make a big splash :)

 She dropped us off at an outdoor mall to look around after we ate lunch together, and these were the portion sizes. Ridiculous right?  I don't think this could have fed a 3rd world country, I think it was the size of a third world country!  But it was delicious. I think it was called a Mediterranean Pie.  Funny story about the we found a FREE BOOK SHOP (if you don't know what that means then read the name again, it's exactly as it sounds) which was a huge problem, because I had very little (/really no) extra space. But don't worry, I ended up walking out of there with only like 7 books or something...not a problem at all.  The problem was that Amanda went to do shopping while I stayed and looked around and the shop closed while I was there, so I looked like some homeless bum waiting for her.  And then she came back like an hour later, and we went to starbucks to do some more waiting (we were waiting for a call to come home)  and then starbucks closed, so we were again homeless bums. Amanda was standing about 10 feet from me trying to use Starbucks internet, so I was sitting on the floor with all the bags, reading my book (still) and then a random lady comes up and gives me a pamphlet about Jesus. She was sure that I was a hobo, I just know it.  So that was entertaining, and weird.  Our last day with the family was fun, we just spent time together, ordered Chinese take-out for dinner and ate a movie while chilling. These kids are so sweet, and I even got used to the dog constantly licking my feet.  

Here's Steve driving us to the train for the last time. I had to take a picture to prove that I actually rode in these backward cars! :P

Of course we started our time in London with a visit to King's Cross station, because what Harry Potter fan wouldn't?  Of course, we totally missed this place at first and ended up wandering around the station for a while speaking in fake british accents. But as we turned around, slightly heart broken and fairly disappointed, we saw a huge group of tourists gathered by the wall, and sure enough, there it was! We had found it! Our ticket to Hogwarts!  Obviously we didn't get on right then because, as you can see, our luggage was at the hostel. 
Plus we had to go see PHANTOM OF THE OPERA! that night, so I didn't want to miss that.

Here's our room, this is almost all of it. What isn't shown is the tiny shower to the left of the desk/sink thing.  Our room was so legit. (code for: we didn't even have drinking water)  

Our days in London were amazing. We'd spend the day time wandering around the city or exploring different parks and spend each night at a different musical. Seriously, who wouldn't love London if this was all you did? (except it was rather expensive) but the fact that Sherlock Holmes takes place here makes it even cooler to me.

Of course I found some more trees to climb because we spent so much time in gardens, so it was kind of like paradise. Plus it felt like Pride and Prejudice, wandering around London.   Although paddleboats have nothing to do with Pride and Prejudice, they were still way fun (and a surprising work out for my pathetic leg muscles)

 This hill is called Parliament Hill and it's in a cute little park called Hampstead's Heath.  (I fell in love with all these british names) it was so cool because it had such an amazing view of London!
 Our last day we took time to go to EvenSong at Westminster Abbey which was so cool, and made me want to reread the entire Redwall series. (if anyone has not read it, do it, do it right now, before you even finish this blog)  I took some more random pictures of Big Ben and London.  We also saw Les Mis and our final night we saw Wicked. All amazing musicals. I'm in love.  But of course, it couldn't last, and all too soon it was time for Amanda and I to pack up our bags. But our roommates weren't ready for us to leave, so our final night we stayed up until like 4:30 am telling scary stories and just talking. It was funny because I'd tell a scary story, and the four of them would be staring at me with fear in their eyes, and I'd get to the end or the really scary part and then Amanda would scream and the other girls would look at her in confusion, and then we would realize that they really weren't understanding the rest of the story. So then we would have to re-tell it and it wouldn't be as scary. but it was pretty funny :P   So again, Amanda and I left for the airport after getting about an hour of sleep. (Kind of like how I stayed up all night before flying to Paris, or on the flight from Nice to London, and now on the flight home.) I love sleeping on planes, it keeps me from doing otherwise embarrassing things, such as spilling cranberry apple juice all over my pants (of course that was a completely hypothetical situation of what might have happened had I been awake during a flight...)

Sad day.