Tonight, Michelle and I were planning the logistics of our Barcelona trip with Angelique in the common room of my floor. Michelle and I even purchased our plane tickets for our Berlin trip in August, which was a relief because we were finally done booking all our summer flights. Galen also came by at some point to eat dinner, and it was so much fun talking to him. He goes to UCLA, but he's from San Francisco like Michelle! Even though Michelle had a paper to write, we ended up staying in the kitchen until about 1 in the morning. Granted, I did have a mini crisis with my travel adapter blowing out an outlet but most of the night was spent yammering the hours away. We shared a lot in common and it felt like freshman year all over again, getting caught up in conversations with new friends that stretch longer than expected.
Michelle (not Belly but Park!) and I went on a morning hike today to see the cows right in the university's backyard. It felt good waking up in the morning before class to go experience nature and all that jazz. When I say jazz, I mean fresh air, green pastures, trees, fields of wheat, manure, etc. You can't really tell in the photograph, but the herd of cows are there in the distance. They're quite adorable! When we went back to Northfield, we enjoyed our brunch of a frozen pepperoni pizza and pasta we split between the two of us. Michelle and I had a ball exchanging awkward boy stories, which is always constitutes solid girl bonding time.
Even when I'm in Berkeley, I love getting lost on purpose. I find myself wandering into buildings that I've never been in before, going on meaningless quests to try out all the nap zones on campus, and popping into libraries for the heck of it. Believe it or not, there's only one library in Sussex. Literally just one! I went inside to see how it stacks up against the likes of Bechtel and Main Stacks. You really take it for granted that there are so many library building choices at Cal. It's comparable to an all-you-can-eat buffet in Vegas! Sussex's one library was okay, but it's definitely got nothing on Doe in terms of architecture.
Studying abroad is gr8. My priorities include attending class, completing assignments, and seeing as much of the world as possible while I'm here. My friends and I are on the same page. We just value experiences more than eating amazing food a lot of the time. Even as a foodie at heart, I've learned that I'd rather spend my money on plane tickets to countries I've never been to before than elaborate meals at bougie restaurants. We've been surviving on frozen pizzas, ramen, pasta, the occasional Nando's treat-yo-self meal, and a motley of online groceries from ASDA for the past week. While we were out in the City Centre today, we went to Pompoko, a college budget-friendly Japanese restaurant that Randall suggested (thank you fam for all the bomb advice!). My pork and curry rice plate was only a bit over 5 pounds, which isn't bad at all! We've all been missing authentic Asian food from home, so affordable Japanese food was exactly what we needed.
After visiting the White Cliffs of Dover, Sey, Michelle, and I took a National Express bus to Canterbury! Granted, all I knew about the city was from Geoffrey Chaucer, but being there was something else. There were boats gliding along the River Stour, a 200-year old tree in the Westgate Gardens, and a huge face statue that was perfect for an inappropriate photo shoot. Everything was so old and picturesque. Although we didn't go inside the Canterbury Cathedral (it was so expensive!), we moseyed our way over to St. Augustine's Abbey to sneak a glimpse of the ruins before we got caught by the guy working there. We ended our day eating a meal that was not dirt at a Chinese restaurant called the Royal Inn, which we loved for both the delicious food and the impeccable wallpaper. It was there that we killed time before heading back to snooze on the bus back to London.
It's strange being caught in a historical moment, but not really knowing what to do in one. During this week of the EU referendum, I've been just been making observations based on local newspapers and what my professor has been telling our class, very much on the outside looking in. The result of the Brexit vote was an unexpected one, which sucks for the future of the UK but I guess us tourists get to reap the benefits of the drop in value of the pound. Michelle and I visited London and hit up all the touristy sites on this monumental Friday. When we were in front of Buckingham Palace, two girls from Berkeley recognized Michelle's Cal jacket and asked her to take their picture. They even had their pose ready. Both of them held up a newspaper emblazoned with the words, "WE'RE OUT!"
*P.S. This is a picture of me pointing to Big Ben, but the lighting just doesn't do it justice!*
The normal me usually likes to get my ass out of bed to get a dose of outdoor exploring, but I spent this day off in the comfort of my flat. I've been detained in my room, voluntarily of course, to keep perusing Netflix UK's offerings. It's just so nice to be inside and safe from the elements. I'd have to say that I was in my bed, curled up in fetal position for a good 90% of the day. It's refreshing to take it slow for a change! My desk is already a clusterfuck and it's only the first week of school, but it's the only interesting thing I had to capture. I felt like a photo of Danny Tanner's face from my laptop screen from a rerun of Full House would just be redundant.
Yeaaaa boiiii! Ya girl has 4-day weekends! As soon as I got out of class, I bought myself a celebratory cider to go with my Community binge-watching session. I love Netflix UK because they have four seasons to hold me over while I don't have access to the latest Game of Thrones episodes. The only time I had to leave my room was to go to our RA's kitchen meeting. There was a huge thunderstorm that lasted for a split-second during the meeting too. This Instax was an attempt to capture the sunset from my window once I got back to my flat. I thought it came out kinda cool because the raindrop speckles look more like bursts of purple night sky from another galaxy exploding from the frame.
1. British people say "take-away" instead of "take-out."
2. You don't typically tip at restaurants here.
3. More men wear small messenger bags/murses here. I dig it.
In a definitive ranking of favorite biscuits, my number one has to be from Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. They always taste like golden, flaky pillows that melt in your mouth! The ones from Knott's Berry Farm come in a close second, only because I've only had them once but I loved them at first bite. Today, my professor brought in English biscuits for a case study of British pop culture. And they were v different from the biscuits I ranked above. While us Americans call them cookies, the English endearingly call them biscuits. Biscuits are ingrained in British culture as long-time staples that are served with tea and all the fixings. We heavily discussed whether or not Oreos are considered cookies or biscuits here in the UK, but even my professor was flummoxed by the lack of distinction between cookies and sweet biscuits. Personally, I still love Popeyes' savory biscuits with gravy the most.
Ahhh, the first day of summer school! I'm a tad jittery with nerves, but mostly pumped. For the first four weeks, I'm going to be taking a British Pop Culture class. I'm having fun traveling abroad and everything, but I came to England with a purpose. First and foremost, I'm here to study. I get to complete 4 units of my Media Studies electives with this class, which is a relief because my schedule is always packed during the semester. Anything that helps me graduate on time is welcomed with open arms. After our first session, I felt a little more at ease. My professor is a sweetheart, an English grandma who has a posh accent and likes to run marathons. The class has about 16 people, which is sometimes less than a discussion section at Berkeley. These four weeks are going to fly by! I just hope I get to enjoy learning the material, even at breakneck speeds.