Archive for October, 2008

Random, I know.

But there’s nothing funnier than failing at English accents:

Thank you, Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

Now time to get back to my 1500 word paper! Wish me luck!

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chinese fooooooood

The jury is in, and I am an amazing cook. Scratch that – I am a CHEF! =] But one is only as amazing as those who help, so mad props to Laura, Kate, Kelly, Zach, and Simon. Because of them, dinner last night was most definitely Chinese, and it was most definitely delicious.

Other than that, life is kind of ridiculous. We’re on week six, I think, and that is hardly believable. I feel like I have been here for ages, but that it’s gone incredibly fast, and that just in general how the timing feels and how it mathematically adds up just does not make sense. It’s crazy. And I love it!

I was on Facebook last night going through the “Where I’ve Been” app with Simon and Sharaz aaaand I kind of realized that I needed to update mine. You see, I’ve been to this place called England, aaaand I’ve kind of LIVED THERE! How amazing is that? Pretty sure I’m never going to get over it, so if you’re tired of hearing it, then you probably shouldn’t click any links to this blog anymore. Anyway, I zoomed out on the world, and Australia caught my eye, and I thought I’d let you all know that I have friends there now – three amazing people named Pruedle, Kelly, and Becks – and I will at some point in my life go visit them there! SO EXCITED! Maybe if I trip and fall on some money I can go and visit them as soon as this summer. Because I think I might die if I don’t see them soon after they leave in December.

I have work in half an hour till four, and then I’m going to relax a bit before the whole academic week recycles and such. Nearly half of my classes are cancelled for reading week, so it should be an exciting one. I think. Given that I don’t have work everyday or anything.

Oh, and because I know you wanted to see them, here are some pics from le dinner last night! Love you all!

=]

A weekend of win.

I’m pretty sure that no matter how long I live here, I will never cease to be amazed by the price of public transportation. The fact that it costs almost exactly the same for a return bus ticket into town and a train ticket to the beach forty-five minutes away completely boggles my mind. With that figure, you have to decide if it’s the bus tickets that are really expensive or the train tickets that are really cheap. Sadly, I’ll let you know that the latter is the truth. Taking the bus around Norwich is expensive as fuck – it’s £3.50 for a return bus ticket into town. That is almost exactly $6.00.

Oh, and the worst part is that with the way the currency works here my brain gets even more confused. Here’s how it works: in America, if you have a handful of change, there is nothing exciting about it. You find a pocketful of change and if you’re lucky and stocked up on quarters, you might have a dollar or two. Here it is the opposite. A pocketful of change could well be £5 or more – that’s like having a coin purse of $10 easy. And hey, go figure, after 19 years of coins being worth nothing, I don’t find it very hard to spend coins and not feel bad about it. Yeah, generally not a good idea.

Complaints about cost and currency (to be fair, their coinage looks fucking awesome) aside, me and my flatmates took advantage of the otherwise amazingness of the English public transportation system this weekend and had a trip up to Cromer to see our first bit of English ocean. It was colder than you’d know, but that was okay because it was perfectly beautiful.

As if the beach itself was not amazing enough, the seaside town of Cromer was ten kinds of picturesque and even came with a variety of fish & chip shops at which you could purchase said fish & chips and proceed to sit on the pier and eat them whilst watching the gorgeous ocean. Sunlight fading, smell of the sea, fantastic people at each side, and the boardwalk slowly lighting up – I think you can imagine how amazing it was. Gonna have to say that my first English beach experience was definitely epic win.

Speaking of epic win, the awesomeness of this weekend did not stop at the fantastic day trip. Nope, I pubcrawled it up in Norwich with Prue, Laura, Zach, Maggie, and Joao. We made three stops – The Bell, Delaney’s, and The Prince of Wales, if I recall correctly – and had many an adventure at each pub and in transit. Nothing like a midnight chip run to make your evening. Though I must say, the fact that we then had the entertainment of three 24-packed flatmates at home (courtesy of a £3 deal at Sainsburys) when we returned around 1:00 AM wasn’t so bad either. Did I say I love where I live? ‘Cause I kind of do.

All you have to do is toss in a free showing of How to Lose Friends and Alienate People (mad props to Laura of free movie ticket and energy-saving fame!) this morning and a very successful shopping trip at the City Centre and BAM! you have how awesome my weekend was!

Epic win guys, epic win.

I can cook!

So I’m thinking that on the whole I haven’t talked enough about how amazing the people I live with are. Because of this I’ve decided to share another aspect of our fantastic lives: floor dinners! On the fridge in our kitchen there’s a signup list posted, and everybody signs up for a night that works best for them to cook. They then go and buy all the supplies for said dinner, whip it up, and we as a floorfamily sit down together and dig in. Then afterwords the cook doesn’t have to help with the washing up, and everyone is happy. Pretty much everybody takes their turn, so the spending-food-on-money figure works out, and life is amazing. And we all get better at cooking, which is amazing. Pretty much it is an amazing system of amazingness.

And guess who cooked last night! None other than myself. I used to think that when it came to cooking, I could only handle two things: egg-in-toast, and grilled cheese sandwiches. Apparently all I needed was the inspiration of cooking for people that have never eaten some of my favorite foods before, because since that’s happened I’ve been whipping up awesomeness left and right. I’ve already talked and talked about the whole guacamole extravaganza…but this time, I took it up a notch. After explaining to some of my Australian friends what a tortilla is [!!!!] I decided it was time to unleash tostadas on Floor 5.

One trip into town and four shops later, I was missing the following ingredients from my planned fiesta: refried beans (FAIL!) and margarita mix (EPIC FAIL!). It had been enough of a challenge finding tortillas (as opposed to tortilla chips, which is what people think you’re talking about if you walk into Marks & Spencers and ask where the tortillas are – apparently they call tortillas tor-till-ah wraps here?), but I thought I would cry when I couldn’t find (or really explain) refried beans. Or margarita mix. What is that? Margarita mix is amazing! It’s a good thing I absolutely love everything else about this country.

Anyway, once home I attempted cooking all the different parts of my magical meal and promptly blackened a tortilla whilst trying to fry it and nearly flipping a pan of mince (mince! also known as ground beef) on my way to the dying tortilla. Enter Zach, amazing flatmate, whom I quickly trained in the arts of frying and flipping tortillas. Not gonna lie, he was pretty pro.

Then I needed somebody to work on the guacamole while I worked on the veggie option half of the meal (kidney beans and diced tomatoes instead of mince). Enter Sharaz and Sam – Sam who looked at Zach frying the tortillas and said “What? What are you doing to those? That is not what you’re supposed to do with tortillas” and for some reason I found it really funny, probably because it furthered the Americans-fry-everything stereotype. Sharaz had already been trained in the arts of guac-making, so he taught Sam and got that going. And that was all good until they started playing with the avocado pits, and then wanted to try and eat them (don’t ask me). So I told them that avocado pits are poisoness, and Sam looks at me and asks, “…death poisoness or fun poisoness?” which is a ridiculous question, but is also why I love Sam. I ignored him and he promptly disappeared, only to reappear about five minutes later and recite that “Avocado pits are only poisoness to pets and those people who are allergic to them”. You can imagine my surprise when despite having proved me wrong, Sam and Sharaz ended up using the pits as bouncy balls instead of trying to eat them.

So basically, after no further issues, the meal got on the table in a decent amount of time and oh my gosh, it was both beautiful when on the table and delicious! Mad props to my cooking helpers, and the lady the tried really really hard to help me find tortillas at Marks & Spencers.

My ATM card arrived this week, which makes life exponentially better. And I get paid soon! Oh my gosh, I can’t get over having a job. And money. Oh! And my first loan check comes through tomorrow! Ridiculous!

Oh, and on a way less exciting note, the cold that I shook off a week or two ago has returned. Yeah, I don’t know how things work in England, but I’m pretty sure that in California when I get an awful cold it’s pretty much an annual deal. Not bimonthly. Which is epic fail.

So yeah, here’s hoping I don’t sneeze on anyone’s pasty!

No plans.

I think, even when you’re in a foreign country, you tend to underestimate how amazing it is to have no plans. No plans at all. Today – Saturday, for all you Californians for whom it is still vaguely Friday – I have NO plans. I have no school, I have no school work, I have no work work – and after five days in a row of having all three of those things, no plans is pretty awesome.

Not to say that I don’t like my classes or that I don’t like my job. Both  are much more fun than they have any right to be. But last night, I had the option of doing whatever I wanted because no matter what, Saturday would be spent in the utmost laziness. And now I’m revelling.

Pretty much I had an awesome week. Turned in my first paper [!!!], had my first showed-up-to-a-seminar-unintentionally-completely-unprepared, worked my first four shifts at my job, and when not occupied by all of the above I had floor dinners and quiet movie nights with none other than the bomb-ass fools that I live with.

Ah! For the record, I officially have decided that when English people try and do an American accent, all they end up doing is sounding like a pirate. Oh my gosh, you have to hear it. Given that in British English you generally just ignore half of the r’s (i.e. beer or retarded), that’s the part that seems to prove troublesome so they just over-accentuate it until it seriously reaches pirate status. It’s fantastic and just makes me love English people – the more piratey ones in particular – even more.  =]

I apologize to those of you that sometimes when you try and contact me I have a hard time getting back to you right away. Sometimes I get distracted while responding, other times it literally just falls out of my brain and I don’t remember to write back until like two days later. If that happens, I still love you incredibly. You’ll just have to forgive my epic failure.

It’s 11:00 AM and I am seriously considering crawling back into bed. Late night generally does equal late morning…so why did I wake up at 9:30 again? Yeah, um, it’s sleep time.

Hope everyone enjoys their weekend – no plans or not – and that you don’t do anything too ridiculous! (Or, if you do, make sure to tell me about it. Nothing like a story of ridiculousness to just make life that much better) =]

London much?

Epic amazingness – I spent the weekend in London! Sadly, it being the weekend, the tube lines were completely fucked over, and combined with a complete lack of sense of direction, public transporation was one adventurous bitch the entire time I was there. And yeah, maybe it poured a bit for most of Sunday, but hey. You put all that together and it is still London and thus, it is still incredible.

I’m happy to say that due to budgeting I got a fairly less touristy London experience than most first-timers. I wish I could also say that due to budgeting I got away with spending like no money…but no. London and its prices are a bitch. Me, Becks, Prue, and Kelly were trying to find a place to eat near Leicester Square so we stopped to check out the posted menu at TGI Friday’s. The menu in its entirety looked very much the same as the US menu…down to the numbers in the prices. They simply had a pound sign instead of a dollar sign. So everything was TWICE as much. Yeah. Epic fail.

I spent most of Saturday with my English friends that live in Norwich, who were awesome enough to bring me along on their daytrip to London while Shaun visited City University. It was bizarre going through a college tour when you’re already in college…there was so much I wanted to suggest and say that the tour guide just mass failed at regarding the living situations and how sharing a kitchen works. Anyway. It was awesome because I

a. Had fish and chips.

b. Got to see a bit of London that was just like the normal city bit, rather than incredibly touristy.

c. It wasn’t raining – it was just RIDICULOUSLY windy.

d. Got to spend time with Rachel, Shaun, and Alyssa!

That night I met up with the Aussies (knoife)* and we went to Chinese food (again with the prices…ri-diculous) for dinner and then proceeded to go the entirely wrong way to Billy Elliot, the play we had tickets for. Pretty much the ticket people gave us a really incorrect map that was just wrong. We eventually cought a cab and only missed ten minutes of the show, but that was directional epic fail number one. Oh, and the show was amazing….Swan Lake scene for the very awesome win.

After seeing the play we wanted dessert, and after being approached by multiple club promoters – who, for the record, are incredibly fun to talk to because they’ll say whatever they can to get you to come to their club – we found a dessert place and (knoife) pretty much had an awesome time eating wayyy too expensive ice cream sundaes. At twelve-thirty at night.

I’d say it was amazing, except then we left and tried to find our way back to Russell Square. We waited thirty minutes in the drizzling rain for what we thought was the right bus, then spent twenty minutes riding said bus, then double checked with Random London Failure Citizen standing next to us and were told that Russell Square was still about ten minutes off. Luckily Random London I-Actually-Have-A-Sense-Of-Direction Citizen overheard Citizen 1’s LIES and told us we were going the completely wrong direction. So we got off the bus at some ghetto random place, got on the bus going the other direction for about twenty minutes. The well-intentioned bus driver told us which stop to get off on and where to turn and walk, so we did just that. While walking down the street in the now pretty substantial rain, we stopped a random person and asked if we were heading towards Russell Square. What do you know, we were once again going the opposite direction.  So off we went, retracing our steps, and after about fifteen more minutes of epic failure and rain, we FINALLY returned to the hostel we were staying at.

Left the ice cream shop at 12:30. Got home at 2:00. Found out the next morning that we could have walked fifteen minutes from said shop to hostel had we only known what the fuck we were doing. Oh man…luckily Prue, Becks, and myself are hilarious and ridiculous people, and the whole ordeal was an adventure more than an awful rain-sodden experience. Knoife!

Next day, Sunday, Prue and Kelly went to the Church, which is a day-time nightclub that is only open on Sundays. Becks and I were supposed to go as well, but we just were not feeling it so we decided to walk around and be a bit touristy instead. Yeah, when we made that call we had yet to look outside at the pouring rain. Yay London weather! Anyway. Afer fojacking a handful of babybell cheese from the breakfast buffet, off we went.

Becks and I, aside from getting soaked, had a fantastic day in the ridiculously huge and pretty city that is London. It’s like a geographically more calm and attractive NYC – then replace the yellow taxis with red double-deckers and you’re there. Oh. And add rain. Lots of rain, and gray skies to match! It was amazing, but far too urban for me. I’d love to go back (unlike NYC) but I could never live there. When the train finally left the urbanosity and hit the countryside again I cannot describe how relaxing it was. I could not handle having to use the tube every day. I think it might drive me mad.

Oh! One other amazing thing happened on Sunday. When Becks and I were waiting for our movie to start (we went to see a movie partly to see a movie and partly so we could just dry off) I got a call and found out that I have been hired! Today will be my first training bit at the pasty shop at Chapelfield Mall in the City Center. Stokage! After this weekend I most definitely need to start getting paid. Holy fuck is London expensive.

Pretty sure I didn’t mean to shoot out a thousand words for this entry, but the word counter on the little publishing toggle thing assures me that one-thousand words passed around 22 words ago. I’m thinking that means I’m done. I’ll try and facebook some London pictures later!

Loves and misses to apparently-it’s-already-raining California! =] Somebody go eat some quality Mexican food for me, please?

*Knoife: This would be how an Australian says knife (see mugging scene in Crocodile Dundee if you are confused). I don’t even know when, but I decided I love that word and now me and those ridiculous people I call my friends have begun to infuse KNOIFE into everyday speech. Even – well, usually – when it makes no sense at all.

Enjoying class? Pub crawling? What is this?

There’s something to be said about actually enjoying your classes. I can’t quite explain what was so amazing about my prof for my Lit in History section, but there was something there. I knew I’d like her right away, as soon as she said “just tick the box”. Something about the way she said tick, and the way you could tell just from the way she thought out loud how much the poem we read intrigued her. When she was talking you knew she wanted you to understand, and being able to see that in someone who is so often an uninterested characterture of one of the truly most important people in your education was very, very amazing. It’s also ten kinds of awesome when people actually speak out in your classes and also encourage you to do so. I’ve never had a discussion feel so conversational before – and for not knowing anyone in the room, I found that very exciting. If this is how nice it is on the first day, I can’t imagine how it’ll be when I start to really meet everyone!

On a slightly sillier note, my flat is incredibly ridiculous. I love everyone on my floor to bits and I think that the concept of sharing a kitchen is possibly the most ingenius thing ever. Seriously. You don’t understand how much scrounging for food amongst loads of Top Ramen and pasta really ties you to people. It’s pretty much amazing.

Culture shock! I had my first pub crawl last night, and I’ve gotta say, I picked the best damn group of people to go for it with. You know why I can say that? Because I totally went with the Clay Pigeon Shooting Club, of which almost every member was decked out in tweed and hunting gear. As an introductory event, remembering names was a nightmare, so I ended up being both simply California and “the Yank”.  It was absolutely fantastic. Just imagine starting out at a real pub – The Fat Cat, as it were – and then from there, making your way as a group of crazy drunken tweed bedecked loons through three more pubs – singing God Save The Queen to end each stop – and chugging pints from a ten-year-old-boy-sized Wellie boot. Yeah. Um. That’s as English as it gets, my friends. And it was awesome.

Still in England, still living an incredibley amazing life filled with awesome Aussies, crazy Lithos, ridiculous Brits, and surprsingly well-cooked college freshers food. What can I say? It’s the life. =]


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photo cred to myself and Maggie J. Moxie