February 19, 2006

Things to Remember in the UK

If you ever go to the UK, remember:

Say "trousers" if you mean "pants." If you say "pants" they will think you mean underwear. Hence if you say, "I'm wearing a skirt because I have to do laundry - I don't have any more clean pants" they will look at you very strangely.

Jelly=jam, and jello=jelly. I mentioned a "jelly donut" and Gareth and Kunsang were very confused until Gareth figured out I meant a "jam donut" - jelly here is jello, and so that would be a very strange donut. That's also why the idea of "peanut butter and jelly" confuses them so much.

"I plead the fifth" will draw blank stares from most people, lol.

They're not going to understand why you're so fascinated with castles. Or cathedrals. And they don't understand why the idea of going to another country for the weekend is so shocking.

Have a pasty!! No I didn't forget the r, I don't mean pastry, I mean pasty. They are amazing! Like chicken pot pie almost, at least the one I got was (it obviously depends on what kind you're getting) except way better and portable. Yuummmm.

They have this candy called fruity babies. They're like gummy bears, except shaped like babies. Sooo strange. And hilarious. I found myself thinking of certain camp people who would appreciate them, lol, and also found myself walking around holding out the bag asking "want to eat a baby?" I don't really find dead baby jokes all that funny usually but the bizarreness of it was hysterical to me.

That's all I can think of for now...things are going well, speeding up a bit, I can't believe it's already pretty much halfway through the term. (Classes end April 8, then a month of spring break, then exams.) The last couple of weeks of term are going to suck because I'm going to have all my coursework due then - and coursework here is worth 50% of my grade in two of my classes and 100% in the third, so it's IMPORTANT, but I'm doing my best to stay on top of things and get a head start on things now. This semester is going FAST and I have a feeling it's going to start going even faster.

I've started planning spring break with Mary...so far plans are minimal. Well, very minimal, lol, we just have a rough outline of the places we want to go. But so far I've come to two conclusions about spring break. One, it's going to be AWESOME. Two, I'm going to be BROKE. Severely. But it will be worth it. Our plan is to go to France (Paris and Nice - Nice because I was adamant about seeing the Meditteranean), Italy (Rome and Venice), and Spain (Barcelona). This of course depends on time and money constraints (I'm willing to spend the money to have the experience, but if my money runs OUT thats kind of a problem, lol), but I'm hoping we can make it work. (If for some reason you're in Europe and you want to meet up with us for any of those countries, let me know!)

Ummmmm...can't think of anything else. More later!

February 15, 2006


Wow. I don't even know where to start. There's been so much going on the past week or so. For one, I'm now twenty!! That's incredibly bizarre to say. I feel very old and very young all at once. Thank you so much to everyone who was awesome and emailed me/facebook messaged me/mailed me/called me with birthday wishes. :) It made me smile. I also got a call from Rachel and Melissa about 2:30 in the morning on my birthday, which made them officially the first people from home to wish me happy birthday, lol. It was good to talk to them. And my parents called me, and it was good to talk to them as well. Twenty! It's still weird to say.

My birthday went well, although I was kind of sickish, which sucked a little bit, I slept for a lot of it, lol. I got back extremely late from London weekend, and felt kind of sick in the morning, but just took some medicine and went back to sleep and felt mostly okay after that. When I woke up again I had two cards from my flatmates under my door, which was really nice. Later they all made me dinner and brought in a cake! :) It was extremely awesome and nice of them. It definitely made me smile. I'm lucky to have such awesome flatmates.

London. Was. Amazing. I absolutely loved it. I will write a more complete description of it sometime soon but it was just such a cool experience. I couldn't get over the fact that I was in LONDON. I saw the clock tower that houses Big Ben (which, by the way, is the bell and not the tower), the houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace (no I didn't see the changing of the guards, that only happens every other day and not the day I was there, but I fully plan on going back to London at some point so I'll see it eventually), some amazing cathedrals, the national portrait gallery, the Thames, the Tower of London, the place where the Mayflower was built...it was just amazing. It was the coolest experience to see all these places I've only heard about and thought that was all I'd ever do, places that I've always just sort of waved off as "oh that's cool but that's in Europe somewhere..." I also went to Greenwich, which is really cool, stood on the Prime Meridian, and explored the National Martime Museum and the British Museum, which were both really cool...almost all of the museums are free in London which is definitely a plus. We even saw a play in a theatre, although that was a little strange as the play was an American play (Once in a Lifetime) that was set in America, which meant that the actors were British actors all pretending to be American, so we were all Americans sitting in a theatre in Britain listening to British actors take on American accents, lol. They actually did really well, I felt like I was in America most of the time, although that was the weird part - I went to London to see a play that made me feel like I was in America? They did slip occasionally, at least a few of them did, which was interesting. It was kind of funny, although, while the scenery and costuming in the play was amazing, the plotline left a little to be desired. We even had tea at Kensington Palace! That was such a cool experience; we sat at tables in this palace with cups of tea, and got cucumber sandwiches cut into little rectangles, and cake, and it felt so surreal, like I was seven again and having a "tea party" except it was actually REAL.

End verdict: London is an awesome, awesome city, and if you ever get the chance to go you should. The tube system was excellent, too. It was so easy to get around. I had a strange moment on the tube when we were all going somewere on Sunday, as I looked at the tube map, figured out where we needed to go and where we needed to change trains, and got us there, and it was just such an amazing feeling to feel completely comfortable and at ease finding my way around a city in another country. That was my turning point, I think, when I realized I really won't be completely the same person when I come back. I don't know if I'll seem any different but I am changing a little, slowly, and it's strange to realize that I am while I'm in the process of doing so.

February 3, 2006

Random Notes About the UK

A lot of people here say "all right?" when you're walking instead of "how are you." It's really confusing because I always want to answer, "yeah I'm fine, why?" It took me about two weeks to figure out that "all right?" was a form of greeting and you should respond, "Yes, you?"

They don't have grape here. I mean, they have grapes, but nothing really grape flavored that I have seen. Instead, they have black currant. It's strange. A lot of people here think the idea of peanut butter and jelly is very weird.

At UEA, a lot of people go home on the weekends, and the locals are the ones who go out. This means that nobody at this university really goes out on the weekends, but Tuesday and Thursday it's fair game. (Which works okay for me since I have no class on Wednesday, lol).

They drink a lot more frequently, and many are amazed that we can't drink until we're 21 in the US.

Apparently there's a lot of problems for redheads here. Two of my friends here have red hair and both have mentioned difficulties with it growing up. Really weird.

TOO MANY COINS. Lol. At home I rarely carry around all that much change, and while I don't waste it, I usually think of it as fairly expendable. Here, they have a pence coin, a two pence coin (tuppence, I finally understand that now), a five pence coin, a ten pence coin, a twenty pence coin, a fifty pence coin, a pound coin, and a two pound coin. The lowest denomination in a bill they have is five pounds. So if I want to carry anything less than the equivalent of about 9 or 10 US dollars, I'm carrying ALL change. I am learning very fast that coins aren't quite as expendable as they are in the US.

The American Revolution is pretty much a footnote in their history books. I learned in a conversation yesterday night that they barely learn about it at all. They just don't see it as important.

Norwich supposedly has "a church for every week and a pub for every day."

They love to queue. I don't know why. You see queues (lines) for the weirdest things. The other day there were queues about twenty people long for every ATM on campus.

They are a LOT more friendly to students. Almost every restaurant in Norwich has a student discount if you show them your student ID. Railfare and hostels are cheaper as well if you're a student. However, that is offset by the fact that almost everything is more expensive here. A "cheap" meal if you go out to eat is like 5 pounds, like ten dollars. Oy. It's pretty much a given that I'm not going to eat out much. However, the few times I have the food has been very good.

That's all I can think of for the moment. Just randomness.