Thursday, June 3, 2010

El fin for now

I'm home safe and sound, and adjusting to everything from food to a millions friends and family, but life is happy. I'm not going to write again for a while, but if you want to talk, just get in touch.

Thank you for reading and caring about me and my travels :)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

To everything there is a season

T-minus two days until Phoenix! And only one day until Manchester.

Today is a lot of lasts. LOST, my favourite TV show in the entire world ends today after 6 wonderful years of the best writing on TV. (I was going to put up a clip but any clip from any season gives things away...). I was really sad about LOST ending, but it’s time.

I feel pretty much the same way about going home. I went to church today, (and was a little disappointed to find my semi-charismatic church rather tame on Pentecost Sunday, but no matter), and had a good cry with one of my English friends, and then Morgan and I went on a long last walk around the city walls and through the cathedral and down by the river and just sort of like said good bye to the city. I’ve been rather anxious the last few days about everything, but I just feel ready now. It’s time to face senior year, time to see my friends and family again, time to come home and process everything from the last five months.

Tonight it’s dinner at my pub with my friends, tomorrow is any last minute errands, and Tuesday is the start of the trip home.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Well Ireland was awesome. However, I think Ireland has this reputation as being magical and like the best place on Earth, and it’s definitely not that. The goodness there is what is loveable, not some weird Celtic touristy voodoo. Men on the sidewalk would stepped into the street to let us pass, everyone said hello, and there was just life there. It felt like an entire nation of small town-ness. And the landscape is stunning. We stayed in the most incredible hostel in Ennis, seriously, it was basically a hotel. It was sooo clean and the beds were comfy and it looked like a Young Life camp.

Ennis was lovely. Just lovely. It was tiny and had narrow streets and a bajillion book shops and lots of Irish people. I couldn’t have asked for more. We got there Friday after a rather frisk-happy Liverpool airport,(the red hair means IRA apparently in Northern England), and walked around town. On Saturday we took the standard bus trip around the region. We saw a lot of real old stuff. Most of it was from around 3000 bc, which I nerded out at of course. We ended with the Cliffs of Moher, which I really have no words for. It is the beauty of the Old World, and Lord of the Rings and emotion and vibrant colours, and the most dramatic view ever. That’s really all I can say on it, other than GO.

Sunday was a lucky break in beating ash related airport closures back to the UK, and now I’m one week away from Manchester and the plane ride home. Lots of emotions and work to deal with right now.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Exciting things!

Hemel Hempstead



there sister. I put up another picture of fashion.

Happy mother’s day!

I now only post on holidays. Or whatever.

Well! Like I said, I DID EXCITING THINGS!!

Let’s start with last week.

I get to come home on the 26th for realsies!! That means, as of right this very second, there are 16 days until I am in the United States of AWESOME.

On Friday we went to the races. It. Was. Fantastic. It was one of my favourite things I’ve done here. It was sunny out, the race course was beautiful, and British people at their happiest. The races, in case you are unsure, consist of about 6 actual horse races but more importantly about 6 hours of betting, cocktails, and fancy dress, which coincidently are the three things people here love most in the world, after pubs and mushy peas. Which meant that everyone was happy and friendly! We talked to so many people and had tons of fun people watching, admiring fashion (and men), and cheering on the races. My friends even won some money! Woo!

Then yesterday, I hopped on a train southbound. I love trains. I love them. I don’t know if I’ve rambled about this yet, but trains are single handily the winner of best overall form of travel. Think about all the best things in a car trip. Now think about the best things with airplanes and airports. THAT’S A TRAIN RIDE. I will miss train stations the way most people miss Christmastime.

Well this train I was on brought me to a little city called Hemel Hempstead where I visited my best friend Sarah’s aunt and uncle and cousins, or as I like to call them (in my head), the OTHER Flynns. It was so so so lovely. I loved being around a family and pets, especially a family that weirdly mirrored my best friend and her family. We went to a barn dance, (you never know where being in a strange place will take you), watched some Friends, and generally had a happy evening. Then we went to church, hiked around this nearby National Trust allotment that was COVERED in Bluebells, and I hopped on a train back to the north. Overall, success I would say.

Next week, Ireland!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

You know you've been in the UK a while when...

Right, so in honour of a my time winding down and before I post my adventures from the last week, I thought I’d put up this really funny “you know you’ve been in the UK for too long when...” list I found on fb, because, well, they’re mostly spot on and make me quite happy. However, I am going to pull a Comedy Central and censor it . Hey, I am a prude American after all...

Here it is, enjoy!

1. One out of 4 words you hear in the streets is "f***" or worse.
2. You have tried the symbol of British food, a breaded piece of fish with fries and they call it "fish & chips".
3. You see semi-naked girls in the streets and boys wearing t-shirts with temperatures below zero.
4. You are shocked to see that the Uni is closed, city is collapsed and people stranded if streets are covered with more than 5 cm of snow.
5. You have travelled to London just for 1 pound with
a fun fare, and you love it.
6. You wake up every morning knowing that it's quite unlikely that you're going to see the sun.
7. You drink pints every day and you love them
8. You see people having a pee while they get money
from a cash machine.
9. You realize that dinner time is 6pm
10. You see people drunk in the streets at 4pm.
11. You see old people getting pissed in Wetherspoons
12. You are kicked out of a pub at 11.30 pm
13. You have learned the difference between pasty and pastry and you've tried a Cornish Pasty.
14. You see people wearing flipflops and shorts even though it's raining.
15. You've said "cheers mate" more than twice
16. You've tried to buy a traditional coffee maker and you've failed.
17. You realize the most important religion is not Christianity but Football.
18. You wonder how people wash their intimate parts without a "bidé"
19. You wonder why the concept of "proper curtains" hasn't arrived to this country yet.
20. You hear and say "sorry" at least 10 times a day.
21. You've seen naked women on the second (and first, and third...) page of the daily newspapers.
22. After a failed conversation with someone in the street you wonder whether he/she was speaking in Scottish, Gaelic, Welsh, Cornish, Irish or English.
23. You see Tesco as an important social meeting point.
24. You have struggled trying to convert from Farenhait to Celcius, from Miles to Kilometers and from Pounds to Euros, but you know a pint is 0.56 litres.
25. You have been driving on the wrong side of the road
26. You have seen old people smiling at you in the street
27. You have been asked for "some spare change" by an unknown person.
28. You see 3 kebab shops and 2 Indian restaurants in every street.
29. You've had a Full English Breakfast with bacon, eggs, sausages, beans, etc and you think it's amazing
30. You've had a burger, chips and beans on the same plate.
31. You've thought more than ten times that the car you have just seen was driven by nobody
32. You have tried to destroy the fire alarm at least a couple of times.
33. You have wondered about the wildlife present in your carpet.
34. You see a group of people wearing fancy dresses every time you go out at night.
35. You have been in a pub next to a really drunk lady, that you think could even be your grandma.
36. You think you're going to visit a palace, a castle or a chapel and you only see a few old stones.
37. You realize that taking a cab is almost free (according to a certain person from Norway).
38. You're outside and don't even notice it's raining anymore, because it is just simply normal to you by now.
39. You
that any kind of food can be eaten with anything else, no matter how weird the combination is.
40. You have six months of holidays in a year.
41. In case you need to get your hands clean, you realise that you only have two options: boil your hands in water near to 90º or see how they become two beauty ice-cubes.
42. You have a sink in your bedroom.
43. You can't buy shoes in any shop because they all smell like feet!!
44. You find machines in pubs in which you can buy condoms, CENSORED, and even a Hair Straightener.
45. Your house and surroundings are full of rubbish bags because rubbish is collected just once per week.
46. You ask for a double whisky in a pub and the quantity you're given is just ridiculous!!
47. You see potatoes everywhere, in all different forms and shapes, i.e. boiled potatoes, jacked potatoes, smashed potatoes, chips, crisps, etc.
48. You realize that burping in the library is something normal.
49. You realize that no matter how weird the clothes you're wearing are, people just won't care.
50. You have hoovered your room at least once.
51. You shake the hand of someone of the opposite sex you've just met.
52. You drink tea with milk.
53. You realize that being served alcohol in an academic seminar is completely normal.
54. You learn that 4 cups of tea per day is good for you.
55. You have stopped questioning why there are carpets even in the bathrooms
56. You know there is a fair chance your house is filled with mold.
57. Your floors and roofs are in serious decay after years of leakages and no maintenace.
58. You have a fire exit in your house.
59. You find yourself breaking into an english accent when trying to order a cuppa tea.
60. You have mushrooms in your toilets.
61. You see daffodils growing EVERY where, all year round.
62. You find yourself discussing what make of baked beans is the best...and it doesn't scare you
63. You see all four seasons in one day. first sun (oh blessed sun!), then rain, then snow, then hail. and sun, and rain, then...aaaah!
64. "hello/hey, how are you?" is replaced by "you alright?"
65. You find yourself going out partying wearing only a little top... and it's raining! And above all it's normal because everybody is dressed like that!!
66. You realize that burping in the middle of a lecture is something normal.
67. It's only five and every single shop is closed!
68. You've bought something at Argos!!
69. You think it's normal to sleep on a mattress which was considered old-fashioned crap in Europe 30 years ago.
70. You don't go out to go out but to get drunk.
71. You don't mind the food anymore...
72. Subway is the healthiest meal you can think of
73. CENSORED 74. You find normal that in clubs the ladies are full of screaming semi-naked drunk (British) girls trying to do their make up and hair again and again.
75. You feel like being a nun when you wear trousers or skirt longer than your knees and tops to go out
76. You go to the lectures just for sleeping..lying on the table, doesnt matter!!!
77. You discover that a simple ticket of the train can vary from a price of 8£ to 30£.. for the same train, time and journey
78. You realize that you have never seen an English Restaurant
79. You move into a house and realise that you can't open the windows!!
80. You're in the top back part of the bus, and a 9 years old chav asks you for a lighter
81. You realize that British people are queuing politely everywhere except at the bar counter
82. You discover there is a "potato" function on the microwave!!!
83. You phone a Hospital emergency service at night and you are speaking to a non-medical person on duty who will ask you a lot of questions and then decide if its an emergency. This person will even ask to speak to the almost unconcious patient and ask you to describe whether the person looks pale, the eyes are yellow, blue, red.Any bleeding...blah blah and then tell you that a doctor will only be available at 9.00 in the morning...(after an hour of questioning) and you are worried that the patient might die in the meantime but you have no other options :-(
84. Your umbrellas have got broken at least twice and you are still hoping not to break the new one even if it's May!
85. You see your housemate ordering chinese food or pizzas three times a week
86. You realize that you can get decent (dark, rye, healthy) bread in every European country except for the UK...and no, Toast is not considered a proper kind of bread.....
87. You are no longer suprised to see fans and radiators on at the same time (either in February or June!)
88. You are certainly annoyed by their stupid sockets
89. You realize that every product you buy "may contain trace of nuts"
90. Your sentences begin with.."to be honest"..
91. You are addressed as "treacle, sugarplumb, darling, sweetheart, love, ...." (and all other versions of nicknames in that genre you normally only call your wife/lover) by the staff in supermarkets, pubs and restaurants.
92. You are affected by CCTV paranoia.
93. You can see, on a saturday night, Dancing on ice, strictly come dancing, pop idol, x factor, big brother, big brother celebrity, I'm a celebrity get me out of here (and so on) simultaneously!
94. You are not surprised to see an old lady, her daughter and her granddaughter dancing together in a club.
95. You talk about the weather all the time.
96. You hear "WHA" instead of W-H-A-T ! and "THA" instead of T-H-A-T!!!
97. You have asked to borrow ten "quid" instead of ten pounds from someone
98. It is 23.45 and the bell rings in the pub. Last orders mate, lets have 2pints each...
99. You have to pull a string to switch on the light or get the water from the shower!!
100. You realize "taking the piss out" of someone is not a medical procedure
101. You realize everybody just gets crazy in a club when Dj plays Don’t Stop believing.
102. You have to mind the gap between the train and the platform.
103. Every door is a "fire door" that you have to "keep shut".

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Life is like a turtle sometimes.


This is what socialized medicine does to your sight...
aw...purdy housemate.

hi. my name is Sarah. and I am bored.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

So an interesting feature of life over here is the pace. It’s slow. Real slow. I think the crazy amount of free time has been the best and the worst part of being over here. However, since i pretty much only write about the amazing, mind-blowing travels and cool cultural things, I thought I’d take a post to just sort let you all in on what the rest of my days look like. And random facts about me.

So here was today. Got up. Went to my last Shakespeare seminar. It was sad. Went to library. Printed. Turned in paper. Talked with teacher. Ran 7 miles. Had curry for dinner. Skyped. Got bored and did makeup. Updated blog.

An interesting story from today, I guess, was that meeting with my teacher. The profs here are really harsh when grading, and it’s unsettling at times. It’s a healthy break though from the amount of praise and hand holding we get at home, but they tend to focus entirely on the negative, which takes some getting used to. For example, on this paper I just got back, one of the comments read “how could you possibly think this was a good idea?”

I dunno. I guess I thought it fit with my topic?

Anywho. It’s a big difference from home.

Wow. Most boring blog entry ever. Sorry. More exciting things will happen in my life that I can tell you about soon.


Saturday, May 1, 2010

May Day!

Happy May Day! And happy Springfest all you happy-almost-done-with-class Whitworth folk.

Here in Chester it’s a balmy 13 (Celsius), with a thick cover of clouds. Cheers! But really, I’ve had a lovely week. I was lucky enough to have conversations about the existence of God, Camus, Eurovision, Shakespeare, Othello, immigration, Kafka, my future house, and so many other really interesting and important topics this week. I wrapped up a few classes and went to see Iron Man 2. It's good, just a heads up when it comes out in the U.S. in a few weeks.

Today starts my fifth month in England, and also the 25 day count to coming home for Heather’s graduation. I’ve been thinking a lot the last few days about English culture, what I like, what I’ll miss, and the start of compiling what I’ve learned here into a four sentence summary I will be able to tell relatives and friends in the upcoming months. Of course, I’d love to talk for hours and share my, literally, 10,000 pictures I’ve taken, but that would only be fun for me, and I figure I better save my allotted amount of love and support for when something in my life goes wrong instead of using it all up on a 7 hour slide show and detailed discussion of European life.

I’ve decided to fill the next few weeks with as much Britishness as I possibly can, starting with giving up my sad pitiful coffee flavoured water in exchange for only drinking tea. It makes no sense to drink bad coffee instead of Earl Grey or drinks that smell of elderberry. I am going to try to go to the races. If I can afford it, this will be done in a fantastic hat. I am going to visit the other Flynn family down south. I am going to try to go to Ireland. (I am going to write all my papers). I am going to eat lots and lots of mushy peas.

I know there are certain things I will miss almost immediately. I think the things that were hardest to adjust to will probably be the things that I will miss most actually. I will miss how OCD British people are about everything. It’s not longer annoying, but rather endearing. I will miss the inordinate amount of free time I have here, and the overall slow pace, carefree attitude. I will miss how polite everyone is, and people calling me “Love”. I will miss people getting worried about travel over very small distances. Ugh, and pubs. I love pubs. I wish I could take the George and Dragon home with me. I will miss British children. There’s just something about a 5 year old with a thick accent that melts your heart. I will miss my friends. I love love love being surrounded by people from around the world. It’s a type of diversity that I’m going to have to seek out at home. I will miss being special and standing out. I will miss tea. I will miss the way England smells, (well, sometimes). I will miss the independence. I will miss football and talking about the World Cup. I will miss their humour. I will miss how old everything is. And Castles. And Elizabethan architecture. And Liverpool. I feel like this list could go on for a long time.

Anyway, I have a month to think about these things.