Homesickness begins. The other day I realized it was October and was like, “Oh! Halloween is this month!” So I started doing little Halloween droodles (drawings + doodles) and I got really sad. I’m not home to put up Halloween decorations, make Halloween cookies, eat candy, carve pumpkins, or plan costumes! Then I started thinking too much, which is never good. One the rare occasion when this does happen, I start with one minute detail and blow it out of proportion, so bear with me while I ramble. So as I said, it started with the Halloween droodles and then expanded to the not being home for Halloween thing. Then I realized what had been bothering me without noticing—the lack of the fall season here. I mean, they obviously have one, but its not like it is at home. Yeah, its nice to have palm trees here year round, but I miss the brightly colored fall leaves and walking around on particularly crunchy leaves. I miss the crisp smell of the air and the clear skies! Then I started thinking of what I would be doing at home in the fall and I thought of bonfires, wearing hoodies, playing in the leaves, eating pumpkin seeds, etc. It doesn’t help that there are people everywhere roasting chestnuts on an open fire which smells of a heavenly campfire! Then I started thinking prematurely of Christmas and watching A Christmas Story and Christmas Vacation with dad and Love Actually and The Holiday with mom, making cookies, decorating the house, having a fire in the family room, playing in the snow (no snow in spain), having hot chocolate after escaping the cold, having snowball fights or sledding into a lake…I have a feeling these next 3 months are going to be very hard on me! Good thing poppies and the mamski are coming within a month!!
Basilio, surgery tomorrow, heart too big because he “fell in love 3 times a week” when he was younger. Told us you shouldn’t fall in love with your heart, you should with other parts of your body, BAAAHAHAHAHAHA! Oh basilio. They he gave us another “looking forward to death since its ultimate peace” speech and we all got worried that that was his farewell speech! But you know what? I’m greedy! He better stick around for this year so I can benefit from his infinite wisdom and shockingly funny comments.
15 Oct 2008
Get ready, this is going to be a LONG one! So Thursday I left for London! Although we traveled for what seemed like 10 hours, it was well worth it. After everyone assembled in the bus station at Barcelona, we went to go buy our tickets and realized it was the last call for the LAST BUS OF THE NIGHT! Thank god we went when we did! Even so, we still had to run through the station like lost puppies in order to barely catch our bus to Girona. Allie’s friend Garrett apparently thought it was “weird” that we talked the entire time on the bus. He goes, “You guys talk a lot.” What, do guys just not talk to each other or something? He was incredibly shocked and wanted to know how we did it. Weird. But anyways, we get to the Girona airport (thanks RyanAir for being so crappy and making us leave and arrive at crappy, far-away airports), and on the plane all in good time. The flight was INCREDIBLY turbulent! The pilot came on in his british accent and was all “Oh God, I’m so sorry. I’m going to try to fly around it! It’s okay though…don’t worry.” Really?! That man seemed confused and scared to me! To occupy ourselves, Allie and I watched Garrett and Brandon play 38 games of ro-sham-bo for no apparent reason. Has anyone else ever heard of people calling rock-paper-scissors ro-sham-bo? It totally blew my mind. And the fact that the airline sold perfume and cologne at the end of the flight was also totally random. But we get in fine and then have to take another bus to London which added another 2 hours or something like that. It was so weird to be driving on the left side of the road—so unnatural! I guess the rules were made by a right hander (we drive on the right because Napoleon was left-handed). Then once we got to London, we had to take ANOTHER local bus to Brixton. Let me just tell you, Brixton is GHETTO! I’m not going to lie, I was a little nervous walking to the Hootananny at 2 am in the morning. Whatever. We saw some foxes or something in the parking of one of the supermarkets, which was different. So we find the Hootananny, and the people were totally reluctant to let us in since it was waaaay after the appropriate check in hours. Oh well. We didn’t feel too bad—there was another group checking in as well. They let us in, and the drunk guy showed us where we would be sleeping. We didn’t really have pre-assigned beds, so he just went poking around to see which were available. Turns out Bobby, one of the guys’ friends who is studying in Scotland, was in our room! So we all started yelling in the room and then went out into the hall. Drunky McGee gave us linens and then peaced out. So we’re talking to Bobby as Holly is holding all this bedding and he just stops mid sentence and says “do you work here!?” I think he was still a little drunk because he proceeded to give us lessons on how it’s not “cheers” but “chrrrz,” or the equivalent of that spelling. Blah blah blah, we go to go to bed and Allie freaks because someone is in her bed. Things got messed up and one of the guys ended up sleeping on the floor and Allie slept in my bed with me.
Friday morning we took the tube to Buckingham Palace. After wandering around over there, we ate at Crumpets, which had pretty good sandwiches and stuff. Then we continued wandering and saw the Cathedral of Westminster. Since we were hoping to go on a walking tour of the newer parts of London, we decided to go to the grocery store to get some snacks. And guess what?! London has REAL supermarkets! I was in a state of shock and was immediately transported to Jewel. I felt so at home. They had a bunch of Halloween stuff, so I got a delicious pumpkin brownie and a fruity Fanta. We wandered some more until we came across Westminster Abbey and realized we missed the first tour. After some pictures, we hopped on the tube to go to the older part of the city for that tour. Well, we missed that one too because the tube was having problems with signals and we sat in a tunnel for a while. As “standard procedure,” we started back up and then slammed on the breaks. Have no idea how that would help at all, but I guess it makes sense in the British mind. We told this guy we were staying in Brixton and he yelled, “Brixton! Oh god!” and then laughed and we told him it was very cultural and that we loved it! Since we had nowhere specific to be, we walked around the Tower of London and took pictures by the Tower Bridge. Someone told us of a cool and cheap pub, so we went and checked it out. SO adorable! Like, right out of a movie/magazine/postcard british pub! We had the most delicious cider beer and then Allie and I had some tall one whose name I forgot. After spending some time there, we were lucky enough to see the Tower Bridge’s gates go up so the ship could pass. Apparently it doesn’t happen much anymore? We found these squares of light and danced around on them until we got yelled at and went to Subway instead. I’m not sure if it was this night, but we went to Leicester Square and wandered around Soho a bit. By some random twist of fate, we saw one of our hostel mates who is, apparently, the bouncer at a club in Soho. He let us in, but we still had to show IDs. When I told them my birthday they were like,”No, 1987!” I wish! I just laughed, grabbed my ID and went in. Too posh for us though—we like the dirty pubs! Then while in a little 7-11 type store, this English kid ended up buying Garrett a beer. Gay? Quite possibly. He said we were a “lovely bunch of people” and bought us beer. What a strange little rich kid. He claimed he was 20, but he and his friends were obviously 16. The cops got mad at them for something, so we bailed out and came home for the night. Allie, Holly, and I hung out at the bar below the Hootananny for a while and listened to the live band--The Splitters. Such a great atmostphere!
On Saturday, Bobby got left behind by the group and ended up spending the day with Holly, Allie, and I. First we went back to Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the guards, but apparently they only do the full ceremony on the even numbered days. Oh well, we still got to see them change without the whole shebang. Then we repeated yesterdays path, taking a lot of pictured along the way. We went and bought tickets for the London Eye (the second tallest observation wheel in the world) and tickets for a boat tour. Since we had time before the tour, we got some Fanta, coffee, and cookies and wandered for a bit. Our tour guide’s name was Duane and he legit thought he was funny. Poor man. We chatted him up afterwards and asked if he wanted to come out for a beer or for fish and chips with us. He was sooo uncomfortable! It was hilarious. We got a picture with him and then some candids. So funny! He told us where to go (terrible directions for a tour guide) and got very lost. So Bobby walks up to this guy walking his bike and is all “that’s a nice bike…is it a one gear?” That pickup line by guys for guys totally worked. He gave us more directions and we continued. We stopped at this pub and this young british lad looked up some vital information for holly—the Red Sox had won. He gave us better directions to a different pub with fish and chips. They were delicious, as were the potatoes with cheese and bacon that accompanied them! We made our way back the eye and got in line. The Eye was really cool since we were seeing an aerial view of the city at night. After a little more exploring, we came home and we came home and went out with the Brazilians and the New Zealanders. We went around Soho to try to get into clubs—no go since not all of us had ID’s so ended up coming back to Brixton to go to this cool bohemian bar, where we secretly took pictures of this guy who was incredibly high. Good times.
Sunday the whole group of 8 started out together but quickly split up after landing at the Victoria station. Allie, Holly, and I wandered over there and found a secret garden for rich people. No joke, it had a lock, cameras, and rich people playing games and lounging inside. Damn them! Then we went to Camden Town to check out the big market they have there. Like whoa! this place was big! It had at least 20 aisles of stands with clothes, jewelry, bags, music, etc. After walking through and Holly bartering for Allie’s dress, we went to the food market which had food from all over the world. It was so crowded and all the stands were giving us samples, but I ended up getting Mexican food since we haven’t found a good Mexican restaurant in Barca yet. Needless to say, it was very good. We ate in a park and this dog kept running up to us. The owner came and got him once, let him down on the other side of the park, and the dog came running back. It’s probably because we’re awesome. We spent some time in the park then attempted to find Abbey Road!!! And we failed. We got off where we thought I was supposed to be and some lady was all “Abbey Road? You’re MILES away! Let me tell you how to get there.” So while waiting for the bus we bought some muffins and chowed down. With the help of the bus driver and the nicest old man, we were able to find Abbey Road! The wall in front of the studio was COVERED in Beatles lyrics and drawings. So amazing! And of course we had to get a picture of us crossing the road. With the help of the Brazilian in the red shirt, we got one that was pretty good while almost getting hit by cars. Coolest thing—there were 4 guys dressed in suits, one with no shoes, there and they were doing it! So brilliant!! We went searching for a pub that sold the cider beer and eventually found one thanks to Holly’s hawk eyes! We got 3 rounds and took a “we just walked Abbey Road” pic with our beer with the help of the nicest English woman! Then we went in and Holly disappeared, but we found her having beers out back with some dude named Ali? He was cool. He got us more beer and stuff. Good times. We went and hung out with the 2 old guys as well. They were cute! We stayed until they kicked us out and then we went wandering again in an attempt to meet everyone up at Soho. Another fail. We got sidetracked when the foreigners called us over to their homeless clothes bin raid and dressed us up since we were cold. He told us to call his girlfriend Princess something or other since she’s the “prettiest girl in the world.” Cute. So we continue, have some metro problems like Allie getting stuck in the doors and Holly crawling under the gate only to find out that the place we wanted to go didn’t have a train going to it at this hour or something? I don’t know. Somehow we got to Soho and had to pee REAAAAALLY bad. But for some strange reason, no one would let us in to use their bathroom. In retrospect, I probably wouldn’t have let us in either considering we looked like dirty orphan children. We eventually snuck in and out of Planet Hollywood without having to buy drinks, which was lucky since our next option was the street. We didn’t find any of the other group, so Holly got a kebab (I ditched my coat since I realized it was probably diseased), and Allie and I got some BK. Then we went home since there was nothing left to do. GO BRIXTON!
Monday, the 2 girls and I got up super early for our last day! We are such 5 year olds—we went to St. James Park to play in the leaves and see the Peter Pan statue! Wow. We also went looking for the guards and found them right before we had to head back. But Lizzie obviously doesn’t want anyone entering her palace. That shit is guarded with spikes and wires! St. James was gorgeous as always. I lost my camera in the leaves for about 5 minutes, but then Holly found in—THANK GOD! We walked around the lake, taunted the nursery rhyme geese, and stared down the pelicans. We eventually found some guards to take pictures with, and I was surprised 1. At how young they were, and 2. How SCARY they were! They had bayonet-like weapons and I was worried about getting hit or poked with it. On the way home, we stopped at another one of those real supermarkets, got some chocolate covered peanuts for the plane and some peanut butter for Barca since its SUPER expensive here. But since the world hates me some times, we got it taken away. We were running late to get to the plane since we got carried away chatting, we go to the x-rays, the alarm went off for me, I got frisked, they took mine and Allie’s bags away, then the old man said , “you got some jam in there!?” He was actually nice. We explained the whole peanut butter situation to him, and he completely understood and seemed to feel bad for us deprived children. But then he said he had to go ask someone else to make sure it was okay since he’s not the highest person up or something. So the antichrist comes up, grabs it, and throws it out and is all “you cant have this.” Like, he literally threw it out right in front of us!!! Allie and I got really made, especially since he said we could probably buy some more through the next set of doors. Umm, excuse me? I already bought it and YOU threw it away! Allie and I sassed him a bit and asked why they couldn’t just x-ray ours since they were obviously sealed still. He wasn’t having it though and allie and I walked away in tears. The rest is boring transportation. So besides the peanut butter fiasco, London was an ace!
Back in Barca, I get a letter from Aaron, one of our program directors, saying the police have found some of my stuff. So I go there after class, and some stupid girl makes me fill out a police report and then wait in line to go see an officer. So I got talk to the guy and he fills everything out. 10 minutes later, he gives me a copy and says, “there you go.” I think I stared at him for a second and then was all, “ummmmm, so can I get my stuff now?” He was confused. The original girl was obviously a complete moron and didn’t understand what I meant when I said they already have found my stuff and that it is in this building. Long story a bit shorter, they found it! Everything was in it with the exception of the 100 euros. Sweet!
And tonight we went to this Chicago Pizza Pie Factory for dinner where they apparently make Chicago style pizza. Yeaaah, that’s a funny joke. It was small & tomato-less. The dessert was decent, but it was way too overpriced in general. Props to them for the decorations though—all Chicago stuff!
And happy 2 month to me! My, how time flies!
Yeah well, sorry for making you read all of that (if anyone reads it). I probably wouldn’t have read it if I were you….the picture to word ratio is terrible!
Peace, love, and nutella
I'm still waiting on a TON of pictures to surface, so I'll probably repost the link in the next blog as well!