Tuesday, 18 December 2012

My finale!

Hello everyone. I write today in a bittersweet tone. It has been a few days since I have returned to Canada, and even though I am happy to be at home, with my family and other group of friends, and in my favourite city (sorry London), I cannot help but miss my Londoners and the experience I have just had. This past February, when I was accepted to the program, I still was not 100% convinced that I should go abroad, considering that it is my senior year. But, I realized that I would probably not have another opportunity like this, especially since I would be going with a few teammates. I am so glad I decided to go, this experience has truly changed my life.

I wanted to say thank you to a few people. Thank you to Jess Blank (my brother's GF) for giving me a lot of advice, and helping me make my decision. I really appreciate it. I want to thank Bob Cowser and Jeannine Wyman, our program directors, for making life in London very easy to adjust to, and a lot of fun. I want to thank my host family, the Daley's, for being welcoming and easy-going while Julia and I lived with you. You are all great. Thanks to everyone in the program, I've had a lot of fun getting to know you all, see you back on campus in January! And lastly, I want to thank my parents for allowing me to go. It was a bit of a struggle to get you both on board with this, and I want to say thanks for trusting me enough to let me go. You are the best.

Now, as some of you may know, I am a very organized person, and I love making lists, so I have made a few lists for you all to enjoy. I've also written down the 15 most important things I have learned while being abroad, in the hopes that maybe some of you will read these and apply them to your own travels. Here goes nothing:

Favourite Cities/Destinations (other than London):
  1. Edinburgh (did this surprise anyone?)
  2. Bath
  3. Stockholm
  4. Berlin
  5. tie between Dublin and Oxford
Favourite meals:
  1. Fish n' Chips
  2. Reindeer (yup)
  3. Bratwurst
  4. Schnitzel
  5. The Full English Breakfast
Favourite places in London:
  1. Hyde Park/Buckingham palace (Lizzie II is my best buddy, we jam hardcore)
  2. Waterloo area
  3. Imperial War Museum
  4. Churchill War Rooms
  5. Portobello Market
Favourite pubs/clubs/bars:
  1. Ice Wharf
  2. O'Neils
  3. Tiger Tiger
  4. Dandelion (in Dublin)
  5. Ice Bar
Favourite beverage:
  1. Kopparberg Pear Cider
  2. Bulmer's Cider
  3. Pimm's Lemonade
  4. Carlsberg Beer
  5. Yorkshire Tea (hehe)
And now, for the 15 most important things I learned while abroad:

15. Never be afraid to break out your Mufty's.
14. Don't worry, Jeannine will fix it.
13. When in doubt, go to Primark. It will solve all of your problems
Coming from me, this next one will surprise some of you
12. Try not to be afraid of doing new things
11. Sarcasm is one of the best forms of humor, and the Brit's have it down to an art form.
10. Always, no matter what, MIND THE GAP.
9. Never have a bag that is bigger than you on EasyJet or RyanAir.
8. Always go to a hostel where a very large man named Toni knows your names.
7. When at a club, always expect the unexpected.
6. Wherever you go in London, know how to weave through a crowd.
5. Go to the Tate Modern, and feel really stupid for not understanding any of it.
4. Don't be afraid to find every important Harry Potter destination, because you are not the only one doing that. Everyone is. Magic is everywhere in London.
3. When your day is the worst, have a bratwurst.
2. Sometimes, it's better to enjoy a moment rather than to take a picture of it.
1. If you are ever feeling homesick, or tired, or sick, or whatever else, remember that you have an opportunity that many people will never have in their lives. Appreciate the gift of travel.

That's all folks. I really appreciate the fact that you have stuck with me, and bared with me while I make you all jealous of one of the best semesters I have ever had. I hope you have enjoyed this adventure as much as I have. Thanks for reading.

My last quote is from the book The Perks of Being a Wallflower:
And in that moment, I swear, we were infinite.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone! Thanks for sticking with me on my London Adventure!

You stay classy, planet Earth.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Last week of Adventures

Hey loyal readers, a.k.a Mom. This has been my last week/weekend in London, and I could not have asked for a better way to say goodbye to this city that I have grown to love. But, enough of that, I will post again next week after I have had time to reminisce about the experience. It will be my finale, and your final excuse to stop reading my blabbing.

Anyways, this past Saturday (Dec. 8th), me, Leslie, and Mike made our way to Abbey road, where the Beatles famously recorded. We literally walked the entire length of the street until we found the studio, and the famous crosswalk that they shot at for their album cover. It was hilarious to see all of these tourists walking across the crosswalk while there friends and family took pictures at the same time. I should add that this is a very busy street, and Londoners are not very patient with the tourists blocking the intersection. Here is me and Leslie crossing the street. I am way more enthused than she is.

I'm Ringo, she is John.
After that, we went to Notting Hill Gate and met Alex and Liz at Portobello Road market, which is a very cool area. We walked around for a bit, looking at all the little shops. Then we made our way to Waterloo, which is where the London Eye is. We didn't go on it, but there was a huge festival going on, and we walked around there for a while. After that, we all went home, and got ready to go out.

Sunday was boring for me. I had to do laundry, I was out of socks. And I need socks. So, I did that, and then I took a BIG walk to Muswell Hill and met Naeem for lunch. I walked into a few stores, trying to find a good book for my dad since I haven't bought him anything other than a few pebbles from Berlin, but there was nothing he hasn't read. So, I went back to the house, and watched some T.V and watched my lovable band of losers, a.k.a the Bills, throw away there season (not that it wasn't already gone). Oh well, there is always next year, and there is only a few more months until baseball season!!!!!!!

"I wonder if they serve hot chocolate..."
On Monday, after work, we went to the Hyde Park festival. It was this big winter festival with lots of candy shops and fun carnival-type rides. On Wednesday, we had a class meeting at Gower street (our last) to get our last stipends and hand in course evaluations and host family evaluations. On Thursday night, Leslie and I went to the Ice Hotel to have a drink at the Ice Bar. It is exactly what it sounds like: a bar made out of ice. Here are some pictures. It was a ton of fun!

Today, it's business as usual, my last day at work. I have to finish up some packing, and then we are staying out all night, and then jumping in our cab to Heathrow at 6 AM! My flight isn't until noon, but everyone else flies out at 10:30, so I wanted to go to say goodbye and not have to pay full price for a cab by myself haha.

Anywho, I'll write again after my jet lag is gone and I've settled back in at home.

Here is a quote from one of my favourite people, Amy Poehler:
Wooohooo! Ice Bar!
I cannot stress enough that the answer to life's questions is in people's faces. Try putting your iPhones down once in a while, and look in people's faces. People's faces will tell you amazing things. Like if they are angry, nauseous, or asleep.

Cheerio mates! 

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Birthday beats!

Wow, what a day yesterday! It went by so quickly. I cannot believe I am officially 21. On most birthdays, I feel a little different than normal. But yesterday, I felt exactly the same. It was weird. Anyways, it was so nice getting messages from everyone wishing me a happy birthday! I really appreciate it. It's so nice to know that I have so many good people around me. Lot's of love to my homies. Thank you so much to everyone who made this birthday a great one. I am very excited to come home and celebrate with everyone in Toronto, but I am going to cherish my last 10 days here.

Yummmmmm, cake!
Me (left) and Sam (right) as weeee little lassies
On Monday night, I went to Jen and her boyfriend Tyler's flat for dinner. She felt bad because I was very close to bringing a dessert, which she told me was unacceptable. Apparently, nobody brings a cake to their own birthday party. Here is a picture of me and my delicious cake. Thanks Jen and Tyler for helping me kick off my birthday celebration!

Last night, me and a bunch of friends went to a bar called Rocket, which is near University College of London. I walked right up to the bouncer proudly declaring it was my 21st birthday, and the guy could not have been less excited. It's ok, I brushed it off, and still had fun.

So, this week is going to be pretty standard. Because this weekend is our last in London, we are going to go all out. It's going to be great. I will post again next week, which will be one of my last from London. Then, I think I will write something to reflect on the whole experience. Thanks for tuning in.

Here is a quote from Betty White:
People say, but Betty, Facebook is a great way to reconnect with old friends. Well, at my age, if I want to connect with old friends, I'm going to need a Ouija Board.

She is so funny! I'll write again soon!

Monday, 3 December 2012


Hey! Hope you all had a great weekend! Leslie and I got back from Edinburgh late last night. We had a great time!

Me outside the castle
Our train left Saturday morning at 8 AM, which is very early in my opinion. We were leaving from Kings Cross, so naturally we visited Platform 9 and three quarters again! Leslie brought her helmet camera with her on our trip, and she is making a video similar to the one she made for Berlin, so I will post that when it's finished. It's going to be very funny. Anyways, the train ride was beautiful, we went right along the east coast of England. Absolutely gorgeous. We got to Edinburgh around 12:30, and Leslie and I made our way to our HOTEL. I posted that in caps because it has been a very long time since we have stayed in one of those. It was glorious. We dropped off our stuff and went to grab a bite to eat. Then, we made our way back into town. We didn't get the memo that it gets dark there at like 4 PM, so we were a little baffled at first. Anyways, we walked around Old Town for a while, and made our way to Edinburgh castle, where we watched the sunset. It was incredible. Here are some pics:
Leslie and I at the castle. So pretty!

View of the city from the castle!

Then, we both wanted to find the famous Elephant House, which is where J.K Rowling wrote the early versions of Harry Potter. We were wandering, and decided to ask a doorman at a hotel called the Balmoral. This was the hotel where she finished the last book! Very cool! Here is a picture of me outside the Elephant House. We went in, and sat and had a massive pot of tea. While we were sitting, we looked out the window, and it looks straight out to the castle. Leslie smartly pointed out how similar the castle looks to Hogwarts. It was so cool. We were very excited. Anyways, after that, we walked around a little more, and then went back to our hotel because we were very tired.

On Sunday, we woke up, got breakfast, and checked out of our hotel. We got on a bus to take us to Arthur's seat. It took us 35 minutes to walk to the top, and this was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. It seemed a bit unreal, to be honest. Here are a bunch of pictures. Also, Leslie and I made it our mission to plank at the top, which was a success.

After our hike, we made our way back to the castle, because we didn't get to go inside on Saturday. It was so cool! Here is a picture of Leslie with her head in one of the big cannons! The castle was blowing our minds a little because it looked like Hogwarts on the inside also. We were in heaven. After that, we went to do a little souvenir shopping. Leslie bought some mini bagpipes, one for her brother, and two for Liz. I bought a scarf for myself, my sister, and my mom. Nothing for you dad. I didn't think you would want a kilt, which is what I would have bought you. Then, we grabbed some food, and hopped on the train home.
Best. Day. EVER

On the way up to Arthur's seat!

My favourite picture from the trip. At the top of Arthur's seat.

It's business as usual for this week, except that I am having dinner with Jen tonight. Then tomorrow, is my birthday! I'll post again on Wednesday to tell you all about the big 2-1!!!!!!!!!!!

Here is a quote from J.K Rowling:
Leslie in the cannon!
It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.

See yah soon!

Thursday, 29 November 2012

She works kinda hard for no money

Hey friends! Sorry I haven't posted in a while, but nothing very exciting has happened to me in the past few days. I've just been busy at work. I'm doing a lot of research, most of it for potential new clients, but I also do research for helping B3 re-do their website. I helped create their site map, and ideas for a template. It's been pretty standard work, but I'm really enjoying working in a different environment than in the past, and Sarah and James are very fun to work with. They have helped me understand what they do better, and have helped me improve my writing a lot.

This upcoming weekend, Leslie and I are going to Edinburgh. We are only there for one night, but we are both very excited! We are going to go to Edinburgh Castle, do some hiking, and of course, go see, drink, and eat in the pub where J.K Rowling sat down to write the first HP book. Very exciting stuff for two geeks like us. I'll be sure to post again with some pictures after the trip.

But, next Tuesday is a very big day... It's my 21st birthday! I can't believe it is almost December already. I promise to post a really cheesy, sappy blog about my life after my birthday. Everyone in our little group is getting together on Tuesday night to celebrate, which should be fun.

Me, Leslie, and Mike are also potentially buying tickets to a football (soccer for all you Americans/Canadians) match next week. It's supposed to be Tottenham FC against some Greek team. I think that if it was a bigger deal, the tickets wouldn't be 20 pounds, and still available. But, oh well, we don't really care. It should be fun though.

Last week, I went to see the new Jennifer Lawrence/Bradley Cooper film Silver Linings Playbook. It was ok. The only reason I liked it was because the two leads were great. Bradley Cooper, as sexy as he is, is actually a surprisingly good actor. And Jennifer Lawrence was incredible. Prediction: she will get an Oscar nod for that role. Amazing.

On a different note, Leslie, Liz and I saw Twilight on Monday. I don't think it was meant to be a comedy, but Leslie and I were laughing through most of it. That's how bad it was. I will say that the last  hour was a little entertaining. It just looked so cheaply made for a franchise that makes so much money when a movie comes out. Oh well, no one will miss these now that they are gone!

Other than that, life is good. I'll write again soon!

Here is a quote from Silver Linings Playbook: 
I don't want to stay in the bad place, where no one believes in silver linings or love or happy endings.


Friday, 23 November 2012

First week at work!

Hello, friends. Hope your Thanksgiving week has gone well, and that you are all not getting trampled a the black Friday sales. I've had a great week so far. I started at B3 creative on Monday, and everything is going smoothly so far. I'm really enjoying working with Sarah and James, they are great people. On Tuesday, I saw les Miserables. It was really good. I was a little in awe of the singing. It is such a difficult show to put on because of the music, so I was really impressed. I'm looking forward to seeing the movie when it comes out around Christmas time. On Wednesday, me, Liz, Leslie, Hannah, Mike, Alex, and Naeem went ice skating at the Canary Wharf skating rink, which was really fun. The skates were horrible, and so was the ice, but skating is skating. I didn't realize until then how much I miss playing hockey. But, Alpine is building an outdoor ice rink this winter, so hopefully I'll be able to play a little over break. It was a lot of fun, and teaching Naeem was a disaster. I tried, but he just couldn't seem to get it. Anyways, yesterday was Thanksgiving, which is one of my favourite days of the year. I love it so much because it is a day dedicated to two of my favourite things: family and food. Put the two together and you get a great day! But, instead of spending the day in Toronto with my family like I normally do, I spent the evening with Jen and her friends. They were all very nice and very curious about how my semester has been going. The dinner was very good, Jen and her boyfriend Tyler did a wonderful job. I then went home and Skyped with the whole family during there dinner. That was really nice also!

I guess since it was Thanksgiving yesterday, I should say what I am thankful for. I am thankful for my sister Sammy and my brother Adam for always making me laugh. I am thankful for my Grandma and Gordie for constantly trying to bring me to Florida to spoil me. Even when I'm not in Florida, you spoil me. I am thankful for my Granny for always entertaining me, and teaching me how to make the best eggplant parm in the world. I am thankful for my Aunt's and Uncles for being so supportive and interested in my life, which means so much. I am thankful to my cousins, Erin and Carrie, for always being able to talk to them about anything. I am thankful for my wonderful friends, at SLU, in Toronto, and wherever else, for accepting me for who I am, I love you all. And lastly, I have to thank my super-hip parents for giving me an amazing life, and making sure I am happy. Basically, I am thankful for everything.

Not sure what everyone is going to be up to this weekend. I have some laundry to do, some grocery shopping to do, and I definitely need to hit the gym after the feast I ate last night. I might go see the new Bradley Cooper (so hot) and Jennifer Lawrence movie, Silver Linings Playbook. It's getting some great reviews. Maybe Lincoln or even the new Twilight movie. I don't know, we will see where the weekend takes me. Enjoy, and make sure everyone cheers for my Bills on Sunday against the Colts. I've got a good feeling!

Here is a quote from Peter Travers, the movie critic at Rolling Stone, on the new Twilight movie:

You're going to hear a lot about Breaking Dawn Part 2 being the best of the Twilight movies. That's like saying a simple head cold is preferable to swine flu. They'll all make you sick.

Lol! Have a nice weekend!

Sunday, 18 November 2012


The gang at O'Sheas Restaurant
Hello, friends! Hope you all had a great weekend! I am so happy to be done with classes. It's a nice change from what I'm used to, and who doesn't love finishing classes? On Thursday, me, Liz, Leslie, Mike, and Alex left for Dublin. Everything went smoothly, and as soon as we were done settling in at the hostel, we went and got some dinner. Then, we walked to The Temple Bar area, which is where all of the bars and pubs are in Dublin. It's a very famous area, and every bar we went to had live music, which was great. We didn't stay out too late because we wanted to walk around all day Friday.

Me and my empty glass.
We started Friday by going towards the Jameson Whiskey distillery. It was a really cool spot, but we didn't go inside. We kinda just wanted to look around. After that, we visited the famous Guinness Beer warehouse. After this blog, I think you are all going to think me and my friends are alcoholics, but I promise that is not the case. The factory was really cool, they explain the whole process of making the beer and how they ship it out. Plus, at the end, they give you a free pint! As much as I wanted to like the beer, I really couldn't. I prefer light beer, and I just let Liz finish mine; she likes it a lot more than me.
Leslie, with Alex for arms
Outside the famous Temple Bar
After the tour, we walked around the city for a while, and then we went back to the hostel to nap. After our nap, we got ready and went out for dinner. Then, we met up with some of the freshman from our program and we joined them on a pub crawl through Dublin. It was soo much fun. Each place was so different, and the music was awesome. We spent the majority of the night dancing and using each other for arms. See the photo to see what I'm talking about haha. On Saturday, we checked out of our hostel, and spent the rest of the day walking around and enjoying the city one last time. Dublin really is a beautiful city, I highly recommend going. We had an awesome weekend overall.

Today, I slept in, took a shower, and bought some groceries. Because my Bills played Thursday (and won!), there's no football, but I'm going to catch up on some T.V and read my book. Also, I will be reading the most recent issue of People magazine, which features the sexiest men of 2012. I'm still made that my husband, Jake Gyllenhaal hasn't won yet. It's a disgrace. Also, please wish my mom, Susan, a very happy birthday! She is the best person ever, so you will all feel guilty if you don't wish her a happy birthday. In all seriousness, she is the best mom, and deserves the best. After all, she's the Duchess for a reason. Love you Suzie!

Anyways, this week is going to be really fun! I start work tomorrow, and then on Tuesday, I'm seeing Les Miserables. On Wednesday, a bunch of us are going ice skating at Canary Wharf. I'm going to teach Naeem how to skate, so it should be interesting. On Thursday, I'm celebrating Thanksgiving with Jen and her friends, which I'm really looking forward to. Other than that, there isn't much else to report.

In the words of my mom, "eat your salad before it gets cold!"

See you on the flip side!