Sunday, January 31, 2010

I'm a tease... ;)

Yeah...apparently I need to learn to resize some of my pics, because Flickr was throwing tantrums at me earlier. Until I figure that shenanigans out, here are a few of my favorite pictures so far of York and of Whitby. :)

The Guy Fawkes Inn...he was born just steps from the Minster. Heh.

Da Minstah.

York Minster...mmmmmmm. Yes, please.

Bow chicka wow wowww...glamo(u)r shot! ;)

Some of the ruins of Whitby Abbey


Whitby is commonly advertised as having the best fish & chips in far, so true!

It's really a beautiful seaside was hard to imagine this view/abbey/area inspired Bram Stoker while he wrote Dracula when i saw Whitby in the elusive English sunlight!

Whitby Abbey + some crazy American girl

Friday, January 29, 2010

Life in York

Whew. It's been an interesting adjustment getting used to English life, but I think I'm starting to get the hang of it! It helps that York is such a walkable new friends and I have spent a lot of time just walking around, trying out different pubs for our meals, and getting a feel for the Uni and for the city itself. I still don't really know where everything is, and I can't really distinguish everything just yet (everything looks the same to me! Plus I'm insanely directionally challenged. Just ask my dad.), but I've got a few important things down...i.e. the Little Apple bookshop, Poundland (not to be confused with Poundworld!), the Old White Swan (mmm...beef, rosemary, and wine sausages. Delicious!), the Shambles, the Minster (well,'s kind of hard to miss such an imposing and beautiful landmark!), and Sainsbury's, the grocery store. The walk from my flat to the Uni and into town is getting more and more familiar every day, although, regrettably, it's not getting any shorter. Haha. ;P

The past few days have been packed with activities and international student bonding time. I met one of the English professors and found out about my schedule and different course offerings (yeah...still working that one out. It's complicated.), went on a ghost tour of York (we followed our own "ghost" and heard various spooky tales about different parts of the city. Too fun!), and had a welcome reception, where we finally met the belated Calvin kids (boo hiss!). ;P After the reception last night, some of my friends and I decided to go to the Student Union bar to hang out for a bit...and then we went out to a restaurant called Bella Italia for dinner...and then we decided to go out clubbing. It was fun and all (75p for drinks!), but getting back at two in the morning didn't bode well for a 10 a.m. library introduction session this morning. Whoops. I guess that's what coffee is for, right? ;) Today, we went on an excursion to the outlet mall here. Alas, I didn't find any steals at the Burberry outlet (today, anyway!), but I did find a cute pair of shoes for only 6 pounds! The only downside to the outlet mall is the's about ten pounds for a taxi over there, which isn't bad when split between four people, but still...

Tomorrow is a "free day to explore the city of York" on our schedules. As tempting as it is to just sleep in the whole day, I really do want to a) sort out my schedule FINALLY, and b) really get to know York a little more. I've gotten really good at following the people who know where they're going and know the shortcuts, but I'd really like to be able to start finding things for myself. (sigh) The challenges of the directionally challenged. :P Whenever I stumble back home from being lost, some of my flatmates and I are having a dinner and movie night at our flatmate Bea's friend, Dani's...ahhh, a relaxing night in! :) Sunday is our seaside holiday to of the settings of Bram Stoker's Dracula! I'm so stoked. I love that book. I loved it enough to write a term paper on it in high school and to read it every Halloween for years. Wheeee! :)

Hmmm...that's pretty much life so far. Really we've just been trying to get our heads on straight and remember to look right instead of left when crossing the street this week, but hopefully all of us international kids will be able to jump into classes and reading lists and 3,000+ -word essays in the days to come. Yikes! Wish us luck!

(Fun fact of the day: Guy Fawkes was born within just a few meters of the Minster, and was baptized there. The Guy Fawkes Inn now stands at his birthplace. Remember, remember, the fifth of November...)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Here. Here Here Here.


So basically, the past twenty-four hours has been a complete and utter blur. A day ago, I was taking off in Cleveland for Chicago, and now I'm sitting in my flat in York trying to recount everything that has happened. In essence, I got on some planes, tried to take naps on them, and have been going and going and going ever since. But to make a short story long, I managed to get through customs, retrieve my luggage, and get 80+ pounds of luggage onto a train and, subsequently, into a taxi so I could get to the Uni and get my flat assignment and a tour of the campus (not the most helpful tour I've ever had, but whatever. I suppose I'll learn). Then I went to a pub, declined an offer to hang out at the bar in the Student Union, and sat down to write before I crashed in my bed.

Some observations I've made along the way...

~ Many Brits know my own country better than I do, and have seen more of it than I have.
~ The British are quite helpful with directions, etc., especially if you ask for help in your adorably lost American accent.
~ The British bring their dogs everywhere...e.g. onto trains and into pubs. This is definitely a country of dog lovers.
~ Pubs are awesome.
~ Jet lag is NOT.
~ As a result, my tummy hurts. :(
~ I am the only native English speaker in my flat, which I share with German, Norwegian, Swedish, and Kenyan girls, all of whom are very nice.
~ Having a single room is pretty sweet.
~ Having to walk for 15 minutes through twisty turny lost-inducing streets to get to the Uni is not sweet at all.
~ ...except when it's fun to watch the view. ;P
~ I don't think anyone hates me for being from the United States yet...
~ I am very, very, very far away.
(This last one has hit me a couple of times. The excitement/adrenaline factor is awesome, but the overwhelming factor...yikes.)

And that's it so far. This week is gonna be a doozy...goodnight, moon, indeed.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Leaving on a jet plane...

Tomorrow. It hasn't really sunk in yet, despite all of the preparations, all of the international phone calls and emails, all of the junk I still need to pack sitting in the next room. In approximately 24 hours, I will be going to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and getting ready to embark on my transatlantic adventure. Am I excited? Aw, yeah. Am I nervous? Am I scared?

...yeah. That, too.

But, then again, as the great thinker Anonymous (I really have to meet this guy) once said, "Ships in the harbor are safe, but that is not what ships are built for."

So screw harbors and comfort zones. That's not how memories are made...


"The Road goes ever on and on
down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone
and I must follow, if I can,
pursuing it with eager feet
until it joins some larger way
where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say."
-- J. R. R. Tolkien

Thursday, January 14, 2010

"Watson? Come here! I need you!"

Ah, the wonders of the telephone. I should have thought of this forever ago. All it took was one conference call between me, my dad, and the study abroad officer at YSJ to clear up all my questions! Not only do I have a place to live (apparently Dad forgot to forward me that one...whoops), BUT it was confirmed that yes, I was down for Creative Writing twice, and yes, that was a significant problem. They're switching me from the lower level CW to a literature class entitled "The Romantics." YUSSSSSSSS. Now I just have to figure out what I'm doing about my with the outside world would be nice.

Also: TEN DAYS. Yikes. Maybe I should pack at some point.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Better late than never?

Finally and finally got my class information it turns out, all of the original stuff was "posted" (read: sent) NOVEMBER 19. It is January. Thank you, York St. John international staff, for being sooooo on top of everything. I just now enroled (yep, one "l") online and let them know I'm alive and yes, I'd like to attend their university this spring, and discovered that I'm in not one, but two creative writing courses. One is multigenre intermediate, and one is multigenre advanced. Redundant much? I guess I'll just revel in the one nineteenth-century literature class I was allowed. Orrrr...I could give them what-for. Tomorrow. Because their offices are closed. Fantastic.

I love international kerfluffles.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Before I go...

1) Reserve spot for spring semester at York St. John University in York, England (check)
2) Reserve plane tickets (check)
3) Passport (check)
4) Have wisdom teeth unceremoniously ripped from the depths of my skull (check)
5) Find out which classes I'm actually in and which room I'm actually in (won't that be nice when they finally tell me) :P
6) Pack (...)
7) Create blog (why, check! Wouldja look at that.)
8) Have a crazy awesome time gallivanting about the land of tea and crumpets and all over Europe

...and there's my schedule. My plane leaves from Cleveland Jan 24, and I have one stopover in Chicago (yes, I realize that's going backwards, but hey...better O'Hare than LaGuardia!!!) before I fly to Manchester, then take a train to York, and then take a taxi to the Uni. Woohoo! Can't wait to get this party started! :D