Howdy All!

Alright. I’m a loser, I know. It’s taken forever for me to update this blog, and for that I apologize. I suck. And what’s worse, I’m procrastinating in studying for my introduction to Welsh literature final to write this! But I don’t really regret procrastinating studying, instead I regret my slack in this blog. Should it be the other way around? I don’t know, but!

We move onto me getting back from Sweden! Which was not difficult in the least. I had no negativity affect me in the slightest in the airports, on the planes, or on the trains, which was pleasant. It was also nice to be travelling all in one day, no sleeping on trains, hostels, or airports, and when I got back I had the apartment all to myself. I’m not sure if I did a whole lot of unpacking when I got back, I think I showered, ate something (who knows what), hopped into bed and didn’t get up until the next late morning.

The next day was a sort of rest and recover day, which included grocery shopping and a nice visit to the library. Actually, the visit to the library resulted in a stay until closing time. I went in and picked out a book from off the shelf and sat in a little corner chair and read until I was politely asked to leave. I don’t have a library card here, you see, and no real form of permanent address, but if I have the time to read something fun, then I have the time to sit and read it at the library! It was so very relaxing, and the idea that I had nothing pressing to do that night or the next day just gave me the freedom to laze and absorb the world passing by. I uploaded pictures from Sweden onto facebook, and I skyped with my girl, Casey, until late at night.

I loved the day before so much, that I did the exact same thing the next day too! I went to the library, found that book again and read until I was hungry, and then I went home, fixed some spaghetti, and went right back for more! I’m pretty sure laundry had to have been done at some point and time during that day, but I couldn’t give you any specifics about it. Then, I spent the entire evening in pajamas, watching TV, and snacking on bread. (No bread could compare to Paris, though!) It was a perfect way to spend the night, but looking back at it, I’m fairly certain that I was in denial that school was starting back up the next morning.

I didn’t even have to get up that early the next morning, but for some reason I was just dragging all the way to class. Oh wait! I remember! There was a time change over the break. And so when I walking to class, it was actually an hour earlier than what I had previously thought it was. I got with the picture when I saw a clock on the wall with a time different from my cell phone, and so I reset my phone and headed for the 24 hour computer lab for some quality time on When I went to my next class, there were only two other people there, the other American exchange students, Emily and Jessica. Apparently there was no class for the day! I could have slept for another two hours…. but I guess it’s my own fault on both accounts. Later, during microbiology, my team and I got together and worked out more specifics on how we were going to write our group research paper, with a day and place decided upon to meet and correlate more. Unfortunately, one girl was missing, and while a team member knew intimate details about the girl’s emotional need for time away, we otherwise left the matter alone. The rest of the day went by alright, with nothing too significant happening, and that can be said pretty much until Wednesday.

Wednesday was a beautiful day! I had only one class, and the sun was just so warm and the ocean so gentle,  I just had to be outside! I mean come on! When do you see sunlight in Wales? Ahaha, just kidding, there’s lots of sunshine in the spring, it’s just not as easy to appreciate it when a cold wind says to you ‘Wear a sweater, you hippie!’. Anyway, I went off to do some souvenir shopping, and in doing so I found myself in the extra ordinary position of a clothing boutique that had the most alluring dress in the shop window. What could be done but getting a closer look? And upon inspection, I was curious as to which size would fit me best, (because I am trying to exercise more and all). So, I tried it on, and lo and behold! It fit me perfectly! I looked like a classy little sweet pea, out for a summer picnic. Well, what had to be done, was done, and I walked out of that shop one dress richer.

The opportunity came around for me to wear said dress the next day when we all got together to watch the Croods at the Commodore Cinema! I got dressed up, and put my hair back in a nice way and was off to meet Erin, Sofia, Manon, and Tiffany at the corner of Scholars to then walk to the movie theater. Sadly, when we arrived, it turns out the movie, the Croods, had only been showing until the week before, and only Jack the Giant Slayer was available. Sofia was so disappointed! Her favorite book of all time included Neanderthals, and her boyfriend Markus was already watching it on his laptop so that they could talk about it later that night. I bought some popcorn to share with her and then we all went to Spars to pick out some ice cream for a movie at our place instead. We watched the Princess and the Frog in the kitchen, since the sound was better in there, and because Sofia and Manon had never seen it before. It was a nice evening, and although it wasn’t what we had planned for, it turned out alright. There was some definite distance between Erin and Tiffany, for reasons I had yet to hear about, but otherwise the evening was pleasant, and after a couple of hours and a few pints of chocolate, we said our goodbyes and promised to meet up some time over the weekend for Manon’s birthday.

That weekend was pretty memorable, and so I should allocate more time to it than just the time I have for procrastinating. I hope everyone is enjoying their spring, whether they are procrastinating or preparing for the future! I love you all very much, and hopefully I’ll update again before I leave in 13 days!

With Love From,


Fifty- Third

Hey all!

Are there still people out there waiting for the rest of my Easter Break? It’s been a while, so I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s no one there, and I do apologize for anyone who could have been waiting! Now, to continue with my adventures, we go to Aberystwyth:

Since Mom and Steve had decided to stay in London longer, I had a day to simply relax before I left for Sweden. I did laundry and enjoyed some cool spring sunshine by the beach that day. I had thought that I had time to go see “Oz, the Great and Powerful” at the Commodor Cinema before I left, but I had the times mixed up and so at the time I would have gone to see the movie, I would have missed my train back to London! Instead,I bought some snacks for the trip, and was off to the train station by 7 pm.

The train ride wasn’t too remarkable; there were happy people going home after a holiday and drunk people off to bigger cities for better parties on the train, but no one bothered me. I made it on to the train to Gatwick Airport before a drunk person noticed me and spoke to me. It was about 1 am at that time, so I moved next to a mother and daughter couple who were headed back home to Greece. They were very nice and it seemed like we bonded over trying to avoid encounters with the one or two drunks on the train. We said good bye and good luck at the airport train station and went to our separate terminals.

My bag had bomb making traces when I went through security, so I got a full pat down and a second, more thorough scan from the airport security. It wasn’t a big deal because apparently their equipment isn’t properly cleaned and so their scans can misread samples, which was the case for my luggage. They smiled, cleared me, and sent me on my way. I was hungry for real food by then, so I went to one of the only restaurants open, Weatherspoons, for a sit down meal. I ordered some hot chocolate and eggs Benedict with salmon and then took a nap in a series of open chairs, waiting for my gate to be named. The first flight to Sweden wasn’t too bad, albeit cold, but while I was waiting for the second plane from Stockholm to Ornskoldsvik, I got gravely ill. I don’t think the salmon at Weatherspoons was up to par. I feel bad that I was a bother, but the stewardess and the old man across the aisle were very kind and understanding about my situation. I got extra water and a few free bags out of it, at least.

Once in Ornskoldsvik, Sofia and her boyfriend Markus picked me up and drove me to their home town. We stopped at a grocery store to pick up supplies for dinner, along with sweet treats, but I had to politely navigate around smelly foods and actually eating the sweets bought for us. I felt puny, but I enjoyed catching up with Sofia. Talking with her is remarkably easy, and she pestered Markus in to speaking only English around me; one, to make me feel included probably, and two, to help improve his English.  It was incredibly sweet, and I found that Markus’ sense of humor was similar to mine. Unfortunately, Sofia didn’t always understand the jokes that we cracked at each other. It was all good fun though.

I requested nap time when we got to their house. I was staying in their computer room, and when I brought my stuff in a bed was already made for me. I said good night and slept off the remnants of that nasty salmon. I got up, worried that Sofia and Markus were waiting on dinner for me, but it was unnecessary because they were both napping too, which was a relief! I charged my electronics and was playing with their cats, Little Brother and Busse, when Sofia came in and started dinner. We were having tacos! I helped with slicing the veggies while Sofia made the meat. Markus was in charge of music and dancing, and later going back to the store to pick up chips. Dinner was delicious, and I did the dishes to show my gratitude.

Sofia and I went on a walk after that. It was beautiful out there in the country. There was snow on the pine trees, and the mountains looked like snug little paintings with lit up windows against the twilight sky. It was gorgeous. And Sofia and I talked and talked, about zoos in space, my room mate, goals for our future, memories of winters that have passed…. It was tons of fun and I enjoyed spending time as a “typical” Sweden with Sofia and Markus.

I got a proper tour of their house after the walk. They share a house with Markus’ grandmother, she lives on the first floor and they live on the second floor, and so after seeing their half of the house, we went down and said ‘Hello” to his grandmother. She was nice and said hello back to me, but she didn’t know very much English so it was a short greeting. Apparently, everyone that Sofia and Markus told, about me coming that is, really wanted to meet me. It was rare to meet a person who couldn’t speak any Swedish, apparently. People who could speak English tried to practice on me when ever I met them, like Markus’ mom and uncle, and those that were limited spoke politely through Sofia. It was all good fun, and everyone was very kind and laid back. After we went through Markus’ grandmother’s half of the house, they took me to the basement where Markus’ hobby was kept. You see, Markus is a fish man, and he has two 50 gallon tanks in the basement filled with fish from Africa and from South America. The tank stands and interiors were all designed and made by Markus, and he even makes his own fish food. He says that his food makes the fish’s colors brighten up, and he gave me a block of it to feed to one of the tanks. The fish came right up and nibbled on my fingers! It tickled terribly, but it made me happy at the same time. We went to bed soon after that and I feel like I collapsed into one spot and didn’t move until the sun rose the next morning.

My fear about being the last one awake got me up at around 8 am, which rewarded me with being the ONLY one awake. It was alright because I got to play with the cats and browse the internet for a while, which was incredibly relaxing after the stress of travelling from the previous two weeks. Sofia and Markus got up a little while later and laid out breakfast. Sofia wanted me to try a boiled egg on hard bread with a tomato/caviar paste item, something that she would eat every day for breakfast, and I had to politely decline. Still a little weary of eggs, you see. I had bran cereal and hard bread with wineberry jam instead, which was absolutely delicious! We then got our things together and suited up for an expedition to Sofia’s parents house. We were going to stay there for two nights and experience a true Swedish winter. We were going to go hiking in the woods, snow mobiling, have cook outs on frozen lakes, the whole shebang! I was excited, and so was Sofia. It seemed like she couldn’t wait to show off her home to me.

We went to Markus’ parents home to pick up his helmet and snow gear, and then had to drive back to his house because Sofia forgot her own snow gear. We teased her a bit because her greatest asset, she says, is her memory, while Markus does not have a good memory. We then drove over bumpy roads to Sofia’s parent’s house where we were greeted by a mother and daughter pair of Cocker spaniels. They were the sweetest dogs and loved on anyone who would love on them. Once inside, Sofia formally introduced me to the dogs and to her father, her mother worked at nights and so I would meet her later once she had gotten up from sleeping. I was shown to a room that I  had all to myself where I changed into my borrowed snow clothes and plugged in my itouch. When I went back down stairs, Sofia was picking out boots and a helmet for me and Markus was getting the snow mobiles ready. After I was in a full suit of snow armor, I went out to help Markus pack a picnic of fire wood, sausage, and ketchup. Sofia came out a bit later and before we left for a lake, we took the dogs for a run, with the snow mobiles! I sat behind Sofia, and after a while we had to switch snow mobiles with Markus. It turns out snow mobiles will over heat if you travel too slowly, meaning you have to travel fast to cool it down, and since the dogs could only run about 20 km/ hr, we had to switch 2 times on the 5-7 km run. It was very educational, and I enjoyed watching the dogs try to out run us. Markus was off driving in the forest, every now and then crossing our path, making sure we were going the right way. I waved at him everytime, but it was hard to tell if he saw it or not.

We took the dogs back before we drove to a secluded and frozen lake. There, we found a public 3-walled cabin and built a fire. Sofia then assigned Markus and I to fire-cooker-stick-finding duty and so we walked through the deep snow to find some young saplings or dead branches that would do the trick. Sofia managed to keep the fire alive and we all ate a lunch of cooked sausage and ketchup, sometimes with a light seasoning of charcoal when our sausages fell into the fire. They still tasted good.

Sofia and Markus wrestled a bit in the snow, trying to decide who should go back and pick up a sled to drag behind a snow mobile. After losing 2 out of 3 games of rock paper scissors, Sofia left to go get the sled. Markus and I chatted about manga and fish while we waited, which was nice. Sofia came back and hooked up a rope and a thin mat to the back of the bigger snow mobile and then told me to hop on.

It. Was. Terrifying! I screamed and closed my eyes and held on for dear life. Actually I held on because of my pride, you see. Sofia had confiscated my camera and so I COULD NOT let her get a picture of me falling off the sled on my first try. It was rough, but it was also a blast! Markus took it easy on me the first time, so I think that’s why I fell off every single time after that, but I wasn’t the only one. We all took turns falling off: me, Sofia, Sofia and I at the same time, Markus, Markus and Sofia…. We all were a bit evil, and so we intentionally went a bit faster here and there to knock the people on the sled off. But rest assured, no one was injured! After a while, they let me drive the snow mobile by myself, and I had a good time with that, more specifically, I did NOT break it in any way shape or form.

We packed everything up after that and headed back to Sofia’s house. When we walked inside, her mother was awake and making dinner. We had moose with a cheese sauce and potatoes! It was DELICIOUS. I would eat moose more often if it were available in Indiana, because it wasn’t gamy or tough in the slightest! And the cheese sauce was so….. decadent!

The entire meal was spoken in Swedish, but I didn’t mind at all, in fact it was so cozy and homey I felt like I was really back in the States. We made a rhubarb cobbler for dessert and we all grudgingly had to save a slice for when Sofia’s mom got off of work the next day; it was that good! We finished the evening by watching a Swedish game show where contestants had to do hard and weird tasks to make money. I couldn’t understand anything, but it was entertaining none the less.

The next day, I got to sleep in, and I didn’t feel guilty about it! I got up and had breakfast with Sofia and Markus, and then we spent the morning lounging in our sweat pants and watching TV. A wonderful way to spend a snowing day! Sofia and I went out for a walk in the woods with her cockers, and she pointed out all of the different kinds of tracks that we passed: there were lots of fox tracks, rabbit tracks, mouse, birds, and even moose! It was a very educational walk.

Afterwards Sofia and I took out a snowmobile and just drove around the fresh, snow covered, forest hills. I drove a bit, and I specifically did NOT run the snow mobile into a tree. Repeat: DID NOT. But I did get it stuck in a snow bank when we got lost on one of the trails… It’s hard to see the path when fresh snow is covering up the old tracks, you see…

Sofia got us back on track though! And we spent the rest of the time speeding on quiet frozen lakes to our heart’s content.

When we came back, we had sandwiches for lunch and then we, Sofia, Markus, and Sofia’s father, played a few games of pool. I haven’t ever been good at pool, but Sofia is a bit competitive, so we ended up playing doubles with 9 balls; Sofia and her father (because he’s really good at pool), and me and Markus. Markus and I lost the first two games, but we decided to play the best 3 out of 5. I found out later that Sofia’s father lost the 3rd round on purpose, to keep the game going. Which was his mistake because Markus and I came back and beat them at 3 to 2! Ahahahhhaha, it was a sweet, sweet victory.

Dinner with Moose followed our games, and then Sofia and I made another Swedish dessert; a bread roll filled with sweet almond paste and topped with powdered sugar and whipped cream. It was goooooood. We all watched a movie after that before heading to bed.

The next morning we all had breakfast together, gathered our belongings, said good bye to the dogs, and loaded ourselves into the car. Sofia’s mom got up early that day and I got to give her a proper hug before we left. I had a wonderfully relaxing stay with them and I wish I could have thanked them in some significant way, other than a hug.

Sofia and I came back and then went out cross country skiing at her town’s local out door track. I only fell down twice over the entire 7 kilometers that we skied. I was pretty proud. Although at one time I was doing some painful splits, and instead of helping me, Sofia took a picture with my camera… But hey, what are friends for, right?

We went back to Sofia’s house and spent the early afternoon deciding on a movie to watch for the evening. To Markus’ dismay, the only viable option was “The Host”, because it was Sofia’s one and only choice. His movie, Oblivion, wasn’t going to come to the theater until later that week, and so he settled into going with us to “The Host”.

The movie theater was located in an outdoor mall, so we did a little shopping before the movie. I got postcards from a paper shop, and then we browsed books in a book store, after which, Sofia and Markus decided that they needed to go to the library. It was nice being surrounded by books again, but most of them were Swedish, and I couldn’t read them, even the children’s books. I felt like an illiterate, and it was a little lonely. But I was saved by the manga section of the library, which had lots of manga in English for me to read! Markus checked out a couple of fish books and then we went out to dinner, my treat. I wanted to thank Sofia and Markus for letting me stay with them and for feeding me, so I had them drive to a nice restaurant and bought them a scrumptious dinner.

We stopped at a grocery store to get our own candies before we went to the theater. (it seems we couldn’t get enough food on this vacation!). Sofia paid for our tickets, and I paid for drinks and a popcorn to share. The movie itself, wasn’t that bad. I enjoyed it, and wouldn’t mind reading the book, and I said as much to Sofia. I even asked if I could borrow her copy, but her face fell and said that her copy was Swedish. It wasn’t a big deal, and I told her I could find it at my local library sometime.

The next day we were going to go swimming at “Paradise Cove” a water world with a lap-swimming pool, water slides, a lazy river, and bunches of hot tubs. We played in all of them, and even competed against each other in the lap pool. I tried winning at some of the competitions, but there was a LOT of cheating going on. On everyone’s parts. But I think that was part of the fun.

We ended the day with the movie Prometheus that Markus had downloaded, which, in my opinion, was Nonsensical! I could rant and rant about that movie, but I’m not willing to be up until tomorrow to do so. Needless to say, I was not impressed and so I argued with Markus about the movie. We went back and forth about it, before going to bed with the plan to get up and go to Markus’ parents house the next day.

Markus planned on running to his parent’s home, so Sofia and I packed up the skiis into their car and drove over early. She and I were going to ski up a mountain to a tepee like cabin that Markus had built, and then Markus would follow, first running to his parent’s house and then snow mobiling up with lunch for all of us. It took a long time, since I’m not used to skiing and the snow was very sticky, but we made it up to the top after about 2 hours. The door to the cabin was frozen shut, and so Sofia and I spent some time simply hacking away at the door before we got into the tepee. Apparently, Sofia, Markus, and his parents had all camped in his cabin a few summers ago, and they had all been quite comfortable. The cabin itself was nice, with a wood burning stove in the middle of it, and supplies laden on benches that were wide enough to sleep on. We didn’t have to wait long before we heard the rumbling sound of a snow mobile in the distance. We waved at Markus as he brought the snow mobile to a stop, but we were dismayed when we saw that he didn’t have the backpack full of food that Sofia had made that morning! We chastised him, and got into a wicked snow ball fight, which ended with him and Sofia tumbling down a hill and wrestling on lower ground. We stopped throwing snow at each other and rested inside the cabin before setting out again: Sofia and I on skiis, and Markus on the snow mobile.

The way back down was much much faster than coming up, so much so that I fell an exuberant amount of times. It was embarrassing and a little painful after a while! Stopping seemed to be a difficult concept for me… Sofia on the other hand was thrilled at going down hill super fast, but if I gained even the slightest amount of momentum, I was down! I accidentally bent one of Markus’ ski poles, at the very end, but thankfully Markus didn’t care for skiing, so a bent ski pole gave him an excuse to not go. Which I was very grateful for!

Sofia and I made it back to the car and our sandwiches after about a half hour of down hill skiing, Markus, the cheater, got hot food from his mother while we were skiing, but that left a bit more for Sofia and I, so I guess it worked out… We packed into the car again, Markus included, and made our way back to Sofia’s house. Everyone took a shower, and then Sofia made a second lunch of mushrooms, cream sauce, and noodles, which was absolutely marvelous! If I knew what a professional pasta dish tasted like, I would compare it with the lunch that Sofia made for us that day.

We lazed about the rest of the afternoon, my last afternoon, in fact, in Sweden for the week. It was wonderfully relaxing. In the early evening, Sofia and I made a blue berry pie, while Markus went to a soccer practice, and then we made dinner and discussed our futures again. It’s a fun topic for Sofia and I because we’re both slightly unsure and nervous about our futures outside of college, but we love day dreaming about different options that we have at the same time! I can’t remember what we had for dinner that night, but we ate lots of blueberry pie and vanilla ice cream and then watched another movie before going to bed. I wouldn’t get to sleep in the next morning because I was flying home that day, and I had an early flight to Stockholm, and then to Birmingham. Breakfast was hard bread and wineberry jam, and the drive to the little airport was a little fuzzy because we were all a bit sleepy.

There weren’t any long, drawn out good byes, because for one, Sofia would be seeing me later that weekend after returning to Aberystwyth as well, and Markus is a man, and men don’t cry at good byes like these.  (or so I’m told)

The flight back to Aberystwyth was much less painful than the flight to Sweden, and I was very grateful for that. I ate safely at a McDonald’s at one of my layovers, and bought a snack of dry biscuits and water, in case of any queasiness. I didn’t have any problems with traveling, and I found myself being joined on the train back to Aber by many other students, returning from their own Easter Breaks. It was crowded, but it wasn’t unpleasant.

I got back to Aberystwyth later that night, and simply took a shower before falling into bed and not moving until late the next morning. It was a wonderful vacation in Sweden, and Sofia and I are much closer friends because of it. We’re exploring and exercising buddies now!

I spent the rest of the weekend eating, sleeping, and going to the public library to read different books. I was inspired by the movie “the Host” to read the book, but I couldn’t find it! And so in my search I found other books to read. I don’t have  a library card, so I ended up just sitting in the library for a couple of hours just reading a book or two that I’d find. It was a good way to end an interesting Easter break, I think.

Well, that was my trip to Sweden! It has been a long time in coming, and for that I am sorry, but I hope you all have enjoyed reading about my adventures! I hope all of you get to enjoy a vacation of relaxation too sometime. I also hope that I’ll catch up with this blog before I go home too! I promise I’ll try!

With Love From,



Hey all!

We’re in London with Mom and Steve now!

Well, not yet, technically. I had to stop over at the Victoria Coach station to see if I could change the date of the bus tickets I bought for all of us back to Aberystwyth. Which, it turned out, I couldn’t do. I was very distraught about this as I made my way to the apartment we were supposed to be staying at in Queen’s Park. I tried thinking of different ways to get us to Wales that was cheap, yet practical, but I could sadly only choose one of those choices. So I had to lay down the new options of expensive or long travel for Mom and Steve when I met up with them later that night.

I say “met up with them later that night”, like it was easy to find them again. But like all of my efforts to meet up with somebody here in Europe, there were complications. The particular complication for this meet up came from there being two ’1a’ Donaldson Street houses on Donaldson Street. I probably wasted two hours waiting at the wrong house, and when I finally did find the other one, there was a lot of worried frustration built up between our two parties. We didn’t fully get over our worries until the next day. We also decided to simply stay in London a few days longer, instead of taking a 5 hour train ride back to Aberystwyth. Mom and Steve were tired of traveling so much, and I could understand their weariness. Plus the place we were staying in was so nice and comfortable, we had a hard time leaving it.

Look Kids! Parliament! Big Ben!

The next morning we got up, well rested from our travels, and went out for groceries and some lunch. It turned out that it was Easter Sunday, so the grocery stores weren’t open. It was then that I remembered that this was Mom and Steve’s only opportunity to have an English Sunday Roast! I was so excited for this, and at first we tried going to a pub called “the Cock Tavern”, but their cook hadn’t come in for the day, so we made our way over to the Golden Egg and ate a one-trip-only-buffet-style Sunday Roast. Even with his stomach issues, Steve ate all of the food they offered to him (excepting the second roll of Yorkshire pudding he had, which I ate for him). Mom got her glass of wine for the day and we all just enjoyed each others company for the meal.

We stopped at a tiny outdoor produce market on the way home and Mom bought some fruits and vegetables for us to enjoy for the rest of our stay.

Our next big stop was Trafalgar Square! We stopped at a train station convenience store and bought some oyster cards before we left Queen’s Park. We made a stop over at the Euston Station to see if Mom and Steve could get their tickets BACK from Aberystwyth, while I bought a ticket TO Aberystwyth for later that week. We were only half successful on this adventure, but at least I was able to get a cheap ticket back to Aber. After that, we were off to Trafalgar Square!

We stopped for a while in front of the National Art Gallery, where Steve and I waited and then climbed up onto a giant metal statue of a lion. It was a fairly comical experience, because Steve was still limping from our walks in Paris but he was the one who actually helped to push me up onto the the lion and then pull himself up there for a picture.  It was a small victory for both of us.

It was a bitterly cold day in London, so we stopped by a coffee shop to get something warm to drink and to use their restroom. Mom lent me her scarf, because it was so cold out, which I was terribly grateful for.

We made our way down the street towards Big Ben, and passed a display of old fashioned inspection of the guards. We watched for a while from the back of the crowd, and then moved on before the end, so that we didn’t get caught up in the traffic of the crowd. Steve finally got to say his line from National Lampoon’s European Vacation: “Look kids! Parliament! Big Ben and all that!” He was quite happy, I think. We took plenty of pictures of everything; Big Ben, Parliament, West Minister Abbey, the London Eye, a small music video film crew and their actors, an amphibus (an amphibious bus), and most notably, the statues in a tiny park just in front of West Minister Abbey. I called some of the statues out by name: “Abe! Abe Linoln! What are you doing in London?!” It was all good fun. We then walked back along a park-like road and decided that we were tuckered out for the day, so we headed towards the bus stop.

We were kind of at a crossroads: Mom wanted to take something over ground, because there was daylight left, and Steve and I were confused as to which was cheaper to ride, the overground or the bus. I said the bus, so we tried hopping onto a bus. Sadly, the bus we choose was going in the wrong direction, and we soon had to get off and try again…

But we made it back to our place, otherwise, in pretty good condition. We ate dinner together and watched an Easter Special about different types of eggs and how eggs have uniquely wonderful evolutionary properties. I loved it, but Mom and I had to send Steve to bed in the other room because his snoring was too loud.

Graffiti on Abbey Road

The next day we had some more quests to complete, the first being grocery shopping, and the second being a walk down to Abbey Road and its famous crosswalk. The street is where the Beatles recorded their famous ‘Abbey Road’ Album, and the cross walk was made famous by being made the cover of the album. We were able to walk there from Queen’s Park after a breakfast of baguettes, tea, and fruit.

One of the most memorable quotes from my mother, from this entire trip, was on the way to Abbey Road. We passed an old church, and when Mom looked at the weather vein at the very top, she snickered. She went over to Steve, whispered something, and they both laughed, Steve more out of irony of the woman he married than anything. I asked Mom about it and she came close and whispered to me: “there’s a cock on top!”

My mother…

Anyway, the picture to the right is a picture of the wall next to the Abbey Rd. Cross walk. It was chocked full of graffiti honoring the Beatles. Mom and I both wrote something down about our sweethearts, and then we went to go play in the road. A road that is still very much in use. So getting a still picture of us crossing, like the one one the Beatles’ album cover, was difficult, and dangerous. But we all got the shot, and that’s all that matters.

We then made our way down to 221b Baker Street, the famous street in which Sherlock Holmes had lived and worked. There was a gift shop, a museum, and an entire house dedicated to recreating the house of Holmes, which was guarded by an old timey looking police officer, who spent most of his time getting taking pictures with us tourists. But before any of this could be explored, we needed to eat and refresh ourselves! Which we did, and which was quite delicious too.

After our exploration of the Holmes gift shop, and our unwillingness to pay 9 pounds each for a tour of the museum, we walked over the Reagent’s park for a free walk about some nature.

Ducklings or Goslings?

I fed some baby waterfowl while we were there! They were clumsy, fearless little things, which was okay because they had a big Mama and Papa watching over them from a distance, so none of the other birds messed with them.

We walked through different types of rose gardens, which weren’t blooming this early, and took pictures of some of the funny names of the roses such as: Absolutely Fabulous and Easy Does It. I thought of Casey when I read those and laughed at fond memories.

The park was a beautiful one, with gardens, water falls, fountains, a water fowl preserve, a zoo, a tea garden, playing fields, and nice even walking trails. We didn’t even make it through half of it, before we headed back for a nice dinner back at the flat. Another trip to the grocery store and pharmacy was necessary for desserts and athletic tape, respectively, before we actually made it back, but dinner was made just a little better because of it.

The next day was going to be my last full day with Mom and Steve for the rest of the semester, so we jammed it full of things to do in London together. We went to the Royal Courts of Justice, the Olde Cock Tavern, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Knight’s Templar, the London Tower, William Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, and a huge art museum (which I’m drawing a blank on its’ name). We passed by the London Eye again, and saw Big Ben from across the river, and we stopped to eat at a Sherlock Holmes’ themed pub for dinner. We were even going to go to a play that evening, for my sake since I had said that I had wanted to go to one, but after dinner and our full day, I said let’s not, because I was tired. Which was true; I was exhausted! We all watched some TV before bed that night while I did some laundry. I felt pretty clever because the house didn’t have a dryer, but it did have heated floors, so I used that to my advantage while I was laying my clothes out to dry for the night. Not exactly a poor man’s solution, but the clothes were dry enough in the morning.

We had a breakfast together the next morning, and then Mom and Steve walked me to the London Overground. They both gave me really big hugs and said they’d see me back home soon enough. Mom held on the longest, and they gave me bunches of kisses; you know, from the family back home. Then we waved, gave each other some last advice, and I was off.

The trip back to Aberystwyth wasn’t too exciting, but it was quite beautiful, as usual. I was, however, disappointed to see snow on the way there, but upon  my arrival, I was greeted with high 50 degree weather and sunshine. It was good to know that I had some time to just relax, but after a week and a half of touring and constantly being with people, I won’t lie and say I wasn’t a tad lonesome.

The next update will include my trip to Sweden! I hope you all have enjoyed reading about my adventures so far, and I hope you all have to opportunity to hug a loved one today, or at the very least tell them that you love them.

With Love From,



Hello all!

And so we continue my adventure back into Paris:

I left a half an hour late for my bus the next morning, but I was still two hours early for my flight, which was good. While I waited, I sat in the kids section of the terminal and watched old Disney cartoons with some kids who were trying to play hide and seek. The flight went alright, and the shuttle ride back from the Beauvais airport went as equally well.

I decided to hoof it from the Marillot station to Gare du Nord, which was about a two hour hike, but I stopped at a McDonald’s for a cheap lunch and some wifi along the way, which was a nice break to have. I got to the train station a couple of hours early and so I found a vacant chair (not easy to do, mind you) and whiled away the time with people watching and gameboy playing.

There was only one major problem during this day, and that problem will be called “the lost hour”. “The lost hour” was the hour I spent wandering Gare du Nord searching for Mom and Steve after their eurostar train was supposed to get in, bleating “Becky and Steve”! at every gate in the entire station. I thought I was going to cry. Meeting up with people has not been my strong point throughout this entire semester.

After an exact hour passed, I heard my name called from an ascending escalator. Mom and Steve had arrived. The apologized and said that they’d missed their first train. (secretly I was relieved that in this instance, it wasn’t my error!) We hugged and prepared for our walk to the apartment that we were to stay at. We took a train to near the Bastille, and then walked from there. We got lost only once, because we took a right instead of a left after we had gotten off of the Metro, but a passing by french woman was kind enough to point us in the right direction.

The owner of the apartment, a young woman working and going to school full time, was kind enough to wait for us, even though we were about two hours late from our estimated arrival time. She showed us the apartment very quickly and efficiently, answered all of our questions, and then was out of our hair with in twenty minutes. We all collapsed onto our respective beds, and took a moment to absorb the fact that we were in Paris.  We then popped back up, with hungry energy, and went out to the nearest grocery store to buy some quick ‘staples’. (Staples apparently means, the basics of food: milk, bread, and eggs) We did this, and then for dinner we all had baguettes with oil and sundried tomatoes and omelettes with desirable fillings for each of us. The owner had left us a chocolate bar for dessert as well, and that was soon demolished. Bed time followed all of this soon after.

The next morning we got up and had gratuitous amounts of tea, with Mom and I having hot tea and Steve make shifting his own ice tea. We then got dressed and walked down to a nearby patisserie and bought bread to go. I got a chocolat bread, and mom got a straight up baguette, to eat plain. They were both delicious.

State of the Republic

We walked in a wrong direction again and found our way up the the statue of the republic. We turned around and made our way back to the Bastille and made our way from there to the cathedral Notre Dame. We ate at a restaurant called Regis St. Louis, in honor of Steve’s favorite baseball team afterwards and got some of the best food I’ve ever eaten. Steve, with his stomach issues, had to share with Mom and I, but we were more then compensated with the amount of food we got. We got bread for the table, and them mom got a hamburger with fries and I got this fantastic roast duck with roasted seasoned potatoes. It was definitely one of my favorite meals ever eaten, and I would recommend going there again.

We then walked to the Pantheon and toured around its crypts and grand halls. I got many cool pictures of it, but some of them are on my itouch, so I’ll have to load those later… But for now, you’ll have to believe me when I say that it was awesome. Everything had so much historic meaning, and while it was poorly heated in there, and it might have been snowing ever so slightly outside, the inside was still amazing. The murals and sculptures they had were intricate and breath taking, and there were so many names and titles and stories regarding each one, that it’s hard to keep them all straight. But it was definitely worth the visit, and I am surprised that it isn’t more popular among tourists.

We walked back to the Bastille, with plans to revisit the Latin corner for dinner, but some how we never made it out after we got back at around 5 or 6 pm. Well, I say ‘we’ when I should say; ‘mom and I’, because Steve in fact was intent on enjoying the sights of Paris, day and night, so he left for his own adventure and didn’t make it back until about 1 in the morning. He made it to the Lovre and the arc d’triumph and back, only getting lost once along the way. He had wonderful pictures, and equally astounding blisters to show off the next day. We had to stop by a pharmacy the next day to pick up some band aids and athletic tape to bind up his feet and one of his ankles.

The next day was our day dedicated to the Louvre, and thanks to my student ID, we got into the museum us three for the price of two. It was a very, very long day, filled with tons of famous works of art. Too many to count that we visited, but whenever I took a picture of the art I tried to take a picture of its plaque as well, so it could be identified later.

Venus De Milo

My favorite pieces of art were the ones depicting the greek and roman gods and heroes of legend, both in painting and in sculpture.

We spent probably four hours in the Louvre, and probably only  made it through only one wing of it. Getting out was probably the hardest for us all, since we were exhausted both physically and culturally, and around each corner is another bit of art history to enjoy.

We finally made it out and set off in search of food and the Eiffel tower. It was a bit ironic that during our whole adventure in Paris, mom seemed to enjoy the little gardens that were scattered about the city more so than the larger landmarks that they sometimes adjoined. My prime example being, the park in which the Eiffel tower resides. I was the only one to actually go up and stand under the Eiffel tower, while mom walked with Steve over to a little pond area and took pictures of the spring flowers and wild water fowl that resided there. Her priorities sometimes make me chuckle.

We ate soon after and took a bus back to the Bastille. The bus dropped us off near a dessert truck where we bought some beignets  with both apple and nutella fillings. They were delicious, and quickly demolished. We got back to the apartment and watched a movie together for a while, and then went to bed. We had to get up the next morning, clean the apartment, pack up our things, and be out by noon the next day, which meant it was going to be a ‘heavy’ afternoon. We stopped by a french art market and a few souvenir stores before we went our separate ways for the day. I was taking a plane to London, while Mom and Steve were taking the eurostar rail again. We actually were able to slip through a malfunctioning gate and get me onto a train for free, which is wrong I know now, but it was convenient at the time.

The train passed the outskirts of Paris on its way to my airport, and I saw some not so pleasant things along the way: graffiti on nearly every wall facing a road, trash everywhere, and homeless people’s shacks set up on undeveloped land spots that were probably owned by the government. It was depressing, but I guess every city has two sides to it.

I made it to my flight on time, and ate croissants as my bruch, lunch, and snack for the rest of the day. By the time I made it to London, I was ready for something with MEAT!  But I’ll talk about that in my next post, regarding my stay in London. I hope you all have gotten to eat some delicious carbs today!

With Love From,



Hi Everyone!

On wards to Barcelona!

The next morning was met with OJ, tea, and another croissant. A fabulous breakfast, if I do say so myself. After that, Tiffany and I packed our purses and made our respective sandwiches for a ‘picnic’ on the beach, and then we headed out.

Barcelona Beach

We were easily identifiable, if we’d been in a crowd. You see, 60 degrees Fahrenheit in Spain is not warm enough for a bikini, in fact many of the local pedestrians were still wearing long sleeves and scarves, but there we were; tank tops and beach towels, ready for a few hours at the ocean side.

Sunbathing ensued for Tiffany, and for me, sun burning ensued. I walked out about waist deep into the cold waters the gulf, and soon walked back out, happy to warm up and burn a little bit more. Then I needed to make a sand castle, which turned into a sand giraffe, which sadly, turned into a pile of sand, thanks to the pesky wind. I made a mermaid out of Tiffany instead. Which was fun. I think food was eaten before I started this, because I don’t remember eating a lot of sand that day, but I could be mistaken.

We headed back to shower and get changed so that we could pick up Erin from the bus station some time in the afternoon. It was a lovely afternoon, and we sat on a stone ledge, sipping Fanta, while we waited. Unfortunately, we were obvious girls again and an old man at the end of the long stone edge recognized this. At one point in time he fell off of the ledge and we asked him if he needed help. He couldn’t speak English, and we couldn’t speak Spanish, and so his needs were unknown to us. He wanted to get off the ground, but he wanted us to carry him back up onto the ledge, he wanted to talk to us, but wasn’t really concerned with what we were saying in return. It was odd. Now, it was hard to tell if he was homeless or not, but the man kept pointing to each bus as it came and then back to his watch. Eventually a bus came that he pointed frantically at. I went there and asked the bus driver for assistance. The bus driver tutted at the sight of the old man and motioned that it wasn’t okay for him to ride. Tiffany, finding flight attendants walking off of the bus, who spoke both English and Spanish, was reassured that the old man was crazy and was’t actually in need of a bus. After that, Tiffany and I walked to the other side of the bus stop and waited behind a sign for Erin’s bus to arrive.

When Erin did arrive some time later, we let her unpack before we took her to the places we had been to the previous day: the castle, the beach, and the restaurant Little Cuba. Everything was just as good the second time around with a new friend to experience them with.

The next day was a day meant for the heart of Barcelona, so we got onto an early bus and stood for an hour as it lumbered down the coast line. When we got off, we walked to the National Art Gallery of Barcelona, a beautiful building with beautiful gardens surrounding it

National Art Gallery

It was a lovely, warm day, and while we did get lost here and there, each turn was a beautiful new place that required its picture be taken. We visited many gardens, a stadium, and lots and lots of fountains along the way.

After a while, we had to turn completely around to find the shopping area we were looking for: Pablo Espanyol, an enclosed shopping area that was a preserved village area from way back when in Barcelona that required tickets to enter. I had some lovely hot chocolate before the real shopping experience commenced.

We all bought our own little things through out the village, I bought a metal bracelet, Tiffany a lace one, and Erin bought a couple of scarves, I think. It was a lot of fun, and we were hungry and well deserving of the dinner we had while we were there. We ordered two different kinds of piaya and drinks and split them all between ourselves. It was phenomenal!

Our last quest for the day was the much anticipated Churros con Chocolat, a Spanish ‘breakfast’ dish, that we had saved for dessert. We went to a cute little cafe to order this legendary concoction and were surprised by what we were given: we were each given 3 wall sugared churros and a huge mug full of thick hot chocolate. Now, I’m afraid you don’t understand me when I say that this chocolate was thick: I mean that it was pretty much a hot love child of pudding and fudge in a cup.

Churros con Chocolat

We each drank our entire serving, but half way through each we were groaning.  Tiffany was the champion, saying that she would enjoy some ice cream to accompany the dessert. Erin and I just moaned. The bus ride back was long, but enjoyable, in a tired and satisfied sort of way. We’d accomplished as much as we could together, and I, for one, had no complaints.

The next morning, I’d have to leave for Paris, so I packed my bags that night so that I was prepared for an early morning. I also asked the lady we were staying with if it was alright for me to sleep on the couch because of the situation, and she had no problem with it. It was an enjoyable sleep, only interrupted by their cat, Manina, some time in the night.

I was a half hour late the next morning, because of a failing on  my part, attributed to my cell phone, but it was okay because I was still two hours early for my flight to Paris. I’m so nervous about flights sometimes, it’s ridiculous.

So that was my time in Barcelona, and for my next update I will try filling you all in on the details of my second stay in Paris! I love you all and hope you have had something sweet to eat today!

With Love From,



Hey Everybody!

I am STILL not done telling you everything about my Easter Break, and I don’t think that even in this post I’ll finish. So I’ve decided to split it all up and write a post for each major section of my break, and hopefully I’ll be caught up with everything before I head back home at the end of the semester (it’s less than 2 months until that very flight!).

My first section will cover my trip in Barcelona. But to write about Barcelona, I also need to write about how we got to Barcelona; we being Erin, Tiffany, and I. We left on Thursday night, since none of us had a class the next day, and we were going to take a train down to London, where we’d have to entertain ourselves for seven hours until our bus for Paris left the next morning at about 8 am.

Erin met Tiffany and I at our apartment down at Seafront and she and Tiffany went over their things one more time. They were sharing a large backpack, and they needed to make sure it was within the size limit for carry ons for Ryanair. It was an hour before our train arrived when Erin realized that she had forgotten to print off her ticket for the bus from London to Paris. She was frantic and was still in the middle of repacking her things with Tiffany so I volunteered to go back up The Hill to a printer and print it for her, since I was completely packed and just puttering around the apartment when she made this realization. In reality I had more like forty-five minutes to print the ticket, because we needed to leave our apartment fifteen minutes prior to our train departure to get there in time, and the hill itself takes (at best) fifteen minutes to scale. I booked it as fast as I could up that hill, running a little bit here and skipping corners there. It was quite the cardio, considering the steepness of The Hill, and I’m fairly proud of myself for the amount of time it took me to get there, print, and get back. Erin was more than grateful, and we left at the time we had planned for. Well, we did, Erin and I. Tiffany stayed behind to do one more thing on her phone, and caught up with us about a quarter of the way to the train station. Poor Erin was terribly flustered, and accidentally bumped into a man who made a strange fuss about it, even after Erin apologized. Twice.

The train ride was uneventful. The train was full, so we sat at separate tables for a while. I napped and the other girls chatted. When their table was free I transferred over. Tiffany, who’d fallen asleep next to Erin was disappointed that I’d gotten the other window seat, so I switched with her and we all went back to napping. We transferred trains once, and found another table to sleep at before we made it into London.

London was cold and raining, and a bit depressing at one in the morning. Erin and Tiffany were tempted to get a hostel as soon as we got there, but we did some touristy things to distract ourselves from the idea. We’re kind of cheap that way. Everything near us was closed, so food wasn’t an option until the closest McDonald’s opened up at 5 am. So instead we scoped out where the Victoria Coach Station was, where our bus was departing the next day, then we walked to the gates of Buckingham Palace where we shielded our cameras from the misty rain as we took pictures. It was kind of miserable, mostly because we were all tired, so we agreed to head back towards the Victora Train Station and wait out the rain while sitting in a dry well lit place.

The Victoria Train Station was COLD! We bought some hot chocolate from a late night vendor and simply held it our hands, trying to stay warm. At one point in time during the night we were all sitting on top of each other, like a human stack of pancakes. It was silly looking, and the ones on the bottom lost the feeling in their legs, but it was warmer than anything else we had available. Erin called us penguins.

When 5 am finally rolled around, we all trudged over to the McDonald’s and bought some breakfast. We got to access their free wifi, and sat in a soft and warm place for the first time since we’d gotten of the last train. It was heavenly. Until a homeless man approached, and wouldn’t leave. He was kind, I think, but more or less out of it in the head a bit. He made odd conversation about our electronics and our eyes, and when he asked for our names we all gave fake ones. My name was Madison. Sadly, the man poked and touched Tiffany too much, and so she moved to sit closer to Erin, giving the man a place to sit down and talk some more. We all took turns going to the bathroom, while hastily finishing our breakfast and our business online. At the end of his conversation with us, the man said he’d marry me and then Erin, then he leaned in and tried to kiss me. I said no, and as soon as Tiffany was out of the bathroom we left for Starbucks. It opened a half hour later. There we drank more hot things and waited in a warm place. We left at around 7 am to check out a small convenience store for snacks, where we were approached by yet ANOTHER homeless man. I don’t get this one though. We were DETERMINED to not be approached by another homeless man, we had sour faces on, grouped together in a tight circle, and avoided eye contact with anyone else, but some how we were an obvious target for another encounter. This time the man came right up to us, hand out, asking for money. We said we didn’t have any. He then asked if we had any money in our purses, and proceeded to pluck at my purse and then Tiffany’s. We said no again and shifted our things away from him. He then smiled, came close to each of our faces, and made a kissy sound. It was odd. We left for our bus as soon as we were done shopping, no more pit stops or distractions.

The bus ride was uneventful, with lots of napping in lots of different positions. Erin, with her yoga skills, was by far the most impressive sleeper among us, sleeping deeply in multiple twisted positions. It was a wonderfully warm bus, albeit crowded. And at the ‘border’ we found out that the bus was to be loaded onto a train for transfer in the Chunnel, which delighted Erin to no end.

Horse on the Ground

We arrived at the bus station in a shady part of Paris, and it was there that we parted ways with Erin. She had a friend getting married in Paris, and so she was met at the station and taken by train to her friend’s hotel. We also took the train, but got off at Gare du Nord and walked through the streets of Paris towards our hostel.

Along the way, I withdrew some Euros for the week and Tiffany found a patisserie to eat at for breakfast the next day. We made it to the hostel, where we were given a couple extra fees and the disappointing news that breakfast was going to be served later than we were going to be at the hostel. We were so tired that we just paid and went to our room. It was a colorful and cute place and the room we were given was equally colorful and cute. We set our things down, used the facilities, and then we were back out onto the streets. While I was going to be back in Paris with my parents in a few days, this was going to be Tiffany’s only real amount of time in Paris, so that meant we needed to get to the Eiffel tower and get some pictures!

The walk there was fun with shops and restaurants open and busy and people everywhere just shopping, eating, speaking in French, drinking, and smoking. It almost felt like I was back in Indianapolis, except I couldn’t understand what anyone was saying. Tiffany was more tired than I was, so she let me lead the way, but it was slow going since every block or two I needed to stop and take a picture. After we reached the river Sien it seemed like we would never make it to the Eiffel tower, and we’d only been walking an hour. But then we saw it; the Eiffel tower, lit up and shining across the whole of Paris. Tiffany said that it wasn’t as big as she’d thought it was, but that was because we were still so far away. We took a TON of pictures, and in the middle of our picture taking the Eiffel tower began to sparkle and shimmer as a beautiful light show was going off. We didn’t know why it was doing that, but it was awesome to be able to see it.

Eiffel Tower

It was awesome, and I’m sure it would have been a lot of fun to see up close, but unfortunately we’d been travelling for over 24 hours with no real amount of sleep, so we found a nice french restaurant, ate, and then headed back to our beds instead of walking all the way to the tower.

Tiffany took a shower that night before bed, and I took my shower the next morning before we left. The walk in the morning was very different from the walk from the night before but just as nice, I think. We got some chocolate pastries from the patisserie Tiffany had scoped out the day before and walked from our hostel to the bus station where a shuttle would take us to the Beauvais airport where our cheap Ryanair tickets were valid. We passed the Arc d’Triumph along the way and stopped briefly to take pictures, making it the second famous Paris landmark that Tiffany got to visit.

The bus ride and the flight weren’t very eventful, just more napping and snacking. But the arrival in Barcelona was quite happily surprising. It was WARM there! We had worn a lot of layers in London and Paris, but upon our arrival to Barcelona Tiffany and I stripped off our sweatshirts and gloves as we bought bus tickets to Castedefeles.

I don’t really like what happened next. I’m not proud of it, and I’m not even sure how to retell it properly from an unbiased point of view, but to recap: we did not have the apartment number to the person we were staying with, we did not have internet access, nor a phone that could call the person, and in this situation Tiffany annoyed me. She annoyed me in how she handled herself, the situation, and me. The details, again, cannot be unbiased, and so I’ll move forward to the restaurant we had dinner in.

The people who worked there couldn’t speak English, and we unfortunately couldn’t Spanish, so a lot of charades were used to get across our need for assistance. The people there were extremely nice, at first trying to give us directions to a local hostel, and then actually using their own phones to call the person we were supposed to stay with. They even pulled out a laptop and brought up Google Translate. It was so thoughtful! They treated us so tremendously, and in the end when we finally had an apartment number, we stayed and ordered food from their menu and left a big tip for their kindness and help. The food, itself, was delicious, especially since Tiffany and I hadn’t eaten a real meal since the night before. We ordered bacon and cheese sandwiches ( which they used American Style bacon on!), and along with our meal they gave us sliced baguettes with the seeds and juices of tomatoes spread onto it. It was delicious! And I don’t usually like straight up tomato things, too.

We made our way to the apartment, which was embarrassingly close to the restaurant, and waited for the person to come let us in. After a few minutes, the daughter of the woman we were staying with came and let us in and showed us the apartment. It was a small but extremely clean two bedroom/ one bathroom apartment that had wonderful windows that let in a tremendous amount of afternoon sunlight. We were shown to our bedroom and left to ourselves for the rest of the evening. Tiffany and I went to the grocery store after that and picked up snack foods for the rest of the week  before we headed back to the apartment. We then took turns taking, and played on our respective electronic devices until we went to sleep for the night.

It was a wonderful sleep, lasting probably at least 12 hours. It was fantastic.

The next morning, we got up and had a breakfast of tea, orange juice, and a croissant, courtesy of the lady we were staying with. We met the lady soon after and exchanged greetings. Her English wasn’t good, but she was nice and she knew we were nice just from that small exchange. I checked the weather, found it was supposed to rain in the evening, and told Tiffany. We made a plan from there to go visit the castle that gave this part of Barcelona its name: Caste-defels. It wasn’t open at the time of our visit, but its grounds were intended to be a nature park with many crisscrossing paths that wound around the castle, so we walked along those taking pictures and just absorbing the warm sunshine.

Lunch was calling to us back at the apartment, where we had turkey sandwiches and strawberries. When the skies looked like they’d hold out on rain for a few more hours, Tiffany and I made our way to the beach! Unlike the beaches I’ve visited in the UK, the beach in Barcelona was soft, white, and endless. It was an exfoliation for my feet just by walking! We didn’t do anything really beach like while we were there, we just found it, walked around, talked, and walked back. We planned on coming back the next day and doing all the beach things such as sun bathing, swimming, sand castle building, ect. ect.

Little Cuba

When we got back, we were hungry again, only this time we were set on going out to eat. We didn’t go back to the first restaurant, not because we didn’t like it, of course, we just wanted to try a bunch of different restaurants during our short stay in Barcelona. The restaurant that we ate at that night was called, in English, Little Cuba. The owner of the place was in for the day and when he heard us speaking in English he came right over to have a broken conversation with us! He was so excited to meet us and to talk to us and to have us eat in his restaurant. We drew pictures, and did more charades and finally he brought out google translate on his computer. All of his workers were laughing and joking as they made our food, and we laughed and joked as best we could with them too. They laughed even harder when they found out I wanted to keep my glass Fanta bottle as a souvenir, but the owner washed the bottle for me and handed it over with a smile. He was such a nice guy, and when we were leaving, I took a picture of all of them together. The owner gave me a Little Cuba card and asked that I send him that picture, which I did later that night. We promised to come back again, and bring Erin along with us, and then we said adios and walked back to our apartment.

I thought I’d be able to finish this post about Barcelona tonight, but I am so tired! I’ll have to leave off here because it is late and there is still so much left to tell! I love you all, and I hope you’re getting as much rest as you need in your daily lives.

With Love From,



Hey Everyone!

It has been a busy month of traveling for me! I’m sorry I haven’t kept the blog updated, but sometimes I didn’t have internet connection and at other times I spent all day traveling! But I’m back from my Easter break and I have so many stories for you.

To continue from where I left off from in Dublin, after conquering the shower the next adventure was sleeping! It was fantastic. Sleeping. In a big, comfy bed. It was probably the best sleep I’ve ever had here in Europe. And what’s better, we didn’t have to check out of the hotel until NOON the next day. Sleeping in was heavenly.

Before we left the next day, Casey and I checked our ticket information on the computer in the main lobby. There a cranky women snapped at us over her tea. Apparently she thought something was wrong with her face. It was my first bad experience with a person on my entire trip, and it nagged at me, but Casey cheered me up. We walked through a sub urban area of Dublin and saw the town in a new light, literally. Things can seem just so much better in day light, and with renewed confidence in our plans and the bus system we ventured back into the heart of Dublin to get some breakfast.

Bus station in Dublin

We found a nice place on O’Connell Street that was like a cafeteria, but with free tea and toast and ate there. Outside I saw professional beggers at work, even if I didn’t know that that was what they were doing. They looked ethnic, with loose garments and wraps around their heads, they even had some children on their hips. They grouped together every now and then, smiling and looking like they were about to go shopping, but then they would split up and go talk to people passing by. In my naivety, I thought they were asking for directions. That was, of course, until we left and they singled me out. Casey says I have a sign on my forehead that says “sucker”, because they didn’t try to talk to her, they just went for me asking for ’50 cents, 50 cents for food for the baby’. Casey walked away and then called for me, giving me an excuse to literally run away from the ladies and their babies. Casey chastised me for being a push over, but then we were off to explore the shops that lined the streets around O’Connell St.

We passed a TON of fake hair shops and out door grocery shops. An odd combination, but entertaining none the less. We then decided to try and go some where specific, and started walking towards a destination recommended to us by our friend, Sarah. She highly recommended that we go see the Wax Museum of Dublin and so we set off in its general direction. We only got lost once on this one destination, but it was more then ten times worth it, because in our getting lost we found ourselves in the middle of Trinity College.

Trinity College

Trinity College was absolutely stunning. The sun came out and really made the old stone campus shine. The buildings were fantastically ancient on the outside, but there was a fine blend of modernization incorporated into them as well. We had the option to go in to the Trinity College Library and see the Book of Kells as well, but there was a long line and a large admittance fee so we decided to just tour the campus instead. There were so many places where pictures could be taken and plenty of tour groups walking around as well, but I think the most memorable thing about the college, for me anyway, were the Easter eggs. All around the campus there were these huge Easter eggs decorated, on display, and available for purchase as part of a fundraising opportunity for the college. It was really neat how each egg was decorated with poetry or odd artwork, for me anyway, and I had a good time finding them around the campus before we decided to head back out into Dublin in search of the Wax Museum.

The Wax Museum was a bit tricky to find, and it turns out we had actually passed it on our way to Trinity College. It was hidden in a little alley between a Starbucks and the Bank of Ireland, and as we were walking down the alley we almost turned around, thinking we had missed it again. But it was there at the end of the street, tucked away from the bustle of the busy streets of Dublin, waiting patiently to be explored.

The inside was different than what I had imagined it to be. It definitely a lot less scary than what I was expecting it to be, and much more educational as well. I was confused at points in time as to who was real and who was a visitor along the way, but when it came to fictional or movie characters, such as Merlin or Golem, there was no mistake! Casey and I got lots of pictures of ourselves with many famous people such as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Yoda, Batman, and more.  There was even a sleeping Santa, and next to his house there were pieces of paper and crayons for kids to write their letters to him and give them to him directly. It was really fun.

At the end of our tour of the Museum, our back packs were starting to get very heavy on our backs so we decided to just go see the Dublin Castle and then find somewhere to eat for dinner. The Dublin Castle was also slightly difficult to find, not only because we stopped at a gift shop or two along the way, but also because they had closed it down for six months for some great meeting of high up political parties. It was a bit disheartening to be turned away after we had found it, but we were still fairly proud at having found it in the first place.

We started our long walk back to O’Connell St. where we would eat dinner and do some last minute shopping before the last bus of the evening took us to the port where we’d take the late night ferry back to Wales. Dinner was split between a slice of cake in a restaurant with a restroom, and a small burrito shop down the street that was uncannily similar to Chipoltle. We waited out some light rain before we went to a very Irish green store where tons of Irish knick knacks were available for purchase. We bought jewelery, coffee mugs, and chocolate. Very girly things I know, but most of the things we bought were souvenirs for others, I had even bought chocolate for Tiffany as a thank you for her help in connecting Casey and I on that first day… We then carried ourselves and our things over to one more bus stop and waited, tired but happy, for the last bus.

(I’m trying to upload more pictures onto this page, but it won’t let me. Which is kind of sad, but if you really want to see all my pictures, they’re on my facebook page)

The ferry ride was blissfully uneventful. We got a nice long couch like we’d gotten before, and for the first two hours I think we both napped on and off. I don’t really remember if Casey did anything else besides get a drink from the bar because I was sleeping most of the time, but I hope she wasnt’ too bored on the ride.

We got to Holyhead and had four hours to kill before our train arrived and we did our best to entertain ourselves and to stay awake. We got hot chocolate from the WHSmith and played video games on our respective devices and snacked through out the night. When our train finally came, we found a table, made pillows of our arms, and slept the whole way back to Aberystwyth.

When we got to Aberystwyth, we both went back to my dorm/apartment and slept until about noon. We got up and had some lunch before I had to go to class, and while I did that Casey went back to sleep for an afternoon nap. I didn’t blame her, I felt like a nap myself, but it was just one class so I had no hard feelings against her. When I got back, we talked about our plan for the next two days, and decided on staying in Aberystwyth instead of traveling anywhere new. Travelling was hard and expensive work, made even harder by the terrible cough that Casey had, so staying in Aber not only gave us a breather, but it also gave me a chance to show it off to Casey a little bit more. But as for our evening, we stayed in and watched our favorite TV shows and simply relaxed. We did go out at one point in time and get some pie and ice cream, since the date was officially 3/14. Pie day.

The next day we got up and went out to brunch at my favorite coffee shop: Lilly’s Coffee shop, where we enjoyed delicious quiches’, sweet muffins, and warm tea while we watched some light Welsh rain come down outside. Our next destination was the center of my university where I could point out the buildings where my classes were held, and where we hoped to find more souvenirs for our loved ones. We met up with some other study abroad students and chatted about traveling before Casey and I set out for the National Library of Wales. The library was fairly strict about who could go see the books in the library, so it was a short visit to the National Library of Wales, but it was an experience none the less!

We went back to my room with some treasures and dropped off our umbrellas (since the day was brightening up), then headed back out into Aber. Our destination this time was the grocery store. An odd sort of shopping adventure, to be sure, but it was probably the best and happiest one we had had the entire week. Casey practically bought me food to last for the next month, and wanted to buy me more, but she was thankfully distracted by Kinder eggs. Kinder eggs are illegal in the US because they have small toys inside of them that children could, and actually have, choke on. Casey remembers eating them before they were banned, and decided to purchase a bunch for her little cousins for Easter, because she’s a rebel and is outside of the law.

Old College and the ruins of the Old Castle were next on our list to visit, after another quick stop at my place. Many good pictures were taken by us both, but I spotted some raining coming towards us along the coast so we made our way back through town before it hit us. We were delayed, though, in a souvenir shop that taught us the meaning of the word ‘cwtch’. Anyone can cuddle, we were told, but only the Welsh could cwtch. It’s an adorable word, and I was using it for the rest of the night. Next we some how wound up in an olde sweet shop where I was convinced to buy some imported Lucky Charms by my stomach. Our new purchases only got a little wet on our way back down the promenade, and by the time we had reached my apartment the rain had stopped.

We went out to dinner after that at the Scholar’s restaurant. We were meeting my group of friends there for dinner. They had desperately wanted to meet Casey and so even if they didn’t want to spend the money on food, they all came out to sit and drink with us anyway. Everyone loved her, and they made a point of telling me so whenever she got up to go to the bathroom. We all went back to my apartment and enjoyed some ice cream and chatting for a couple of hours. It was a good evening, and a good day in general and probably my favorite of my entire week with Casey.

We said good night to everyone and went to bed early because we were getting early the next morning to go to London. During the night, Casey was over come with a fever and cold chills so we were up extra early to buy some symptom relief medicine for her before we left. Casey felt better than she had all week after that, and she was super perky on the first leg of the bus ride to London. I, on the other hand, felt a great deal of motion sickness on that particular leg of the journey and spent it trying to sleep. We napped and chatted until our twenty minute break came along, at which we got off, stretched, and bought some snacks for the road. The last leg of our journey wasn’t very memorable, but our next adventure sure was.

We had booked a hotel called William the V, and had hastily mapped out directions before going to bed the night before. And apparently, there are two William the V restaurant and hotels in London. Can you guess which one we went to? In retrospect it was a pretty funny confusion; we took the London overground to a very ethic suburban area of London, walked a very long way to the William the V where we were welcomed (their computers were down so they couldn’t remember if we were staying there or not), the managers were super nice, one being from a different non-english speaking country, and the other a busy mother with a cute baby girl on her hip. They had us pay with credit card and sent us up many flights of stairs to the top floor where our room was. Down below we could see a dominos and quickly we decided to stay in and eat pizza for dinner. That was, of course, until the landlord came in, looked at our information and said that we were in the wrong William the V. He was nice enough to give us a complete refund on the payment we had just paid, but encouraged us to leave the room as quickly as possible. I almost had a breakdown in frustration over my uncanny ability at getting lost, but Casey begged me not to freak out. We made our way back to the London over ground, and made it to the other the William the V with no other problems. We were kind of set on pizza, so after we were settled into our spacious and clean room we went out for one more adventure together in London. We found a place called “Mr. Pizza” and ordered a large vegetarian pizza. The man who made it was a handsome man from Persia that complained bitterly about the ‘rubbish’ weather of the UK. He was nice to us though, and was very interested about our home country of America. The pizza smelled delicious, but we waited until we were back in the hotel room and in our PJs before we opened it up. The evening was spent with pizza and the cooking channel before we went to bed for the night.

The next morning we completed the Delta Dash. What is the Delta Dash, you ask? Well let me tell you: The delta dash is simply a run towards your gate when you are running late. To make it a PERFECT delta dash, you need to be at the baggage drop off as they are closing for your flight, and then you need to be the last person to your gate before they shut the doors to the plane. Casey and I made it a perfect Delta Dash. We had moments of panic there at the end, but she made it onto her flight, and that’s all we both could have asked for.

There were a couple of weird things that I witnessed on my way to my bus: a couple of men yelling after they’d bumped into each other by accident, workers teasing me about sharing my left over pizza, and lastly, a Welsh/Indian woman begging for a hot drink and then complaining about getting tea. These were odd sorts of things to observe, but they kept me watchful and awake until I got onto my bus.

The way back to Aberystwyth wasn’t as fun by myself, but for one of the first times I actually got to see the trip during day light hours. It was a beautiful journey and if I wasn’t dozing, I was looking out the window at the lovely landscape of England and Wales. I crashed as soon as I got back to my room and only took the time to set my alarm before I was off to dreamland. I never knew how stressful and draining traveling could be until I’d gotten to the UK. I actually think it has something to do with relying on public transportation, than actually travelling. I believe that driving myself, in my own car, is much less of a hassle than taking a bus or train, but if I drove here I’d probably be on the wrong side of the road, so maybe it’s better that I rely on public transport.

The next day I had a lot of microbiology. My group wanted to meet an hour and a half earlier than our practical period to go over our plan for sampling soil around campus, plus we wanted to go searching for our sites of sample before we went out as well. It only took about a half an hour to do this, so we spent the greater part of this time just talking. The practical came and went, with many samples taken and many shoes muddied, not much else went on during that time, and so at the end we all wished each other a happy Easter and went our separate ways.

Most of the week was like that, except for a presentation going on here, a project being turned in there, and a seminar some where in between. All of us were waiting and planning for our three week long Easter break. Tiffany, Erin, and I planned our trip to Barcelona, I planned more with Mom and Steve for our trip to London and Paris, and I also made last minute plans to visit Sofia in Sweden at the end of my trip. It was a fairly easy week for me, as compared to the week before and to the weeks following it, and I enjoyed the reprieve fully.

The adventure for Easter break then began on Thursday night, before we’d even left Aberystwyth.

This post is probably long enough, so I’ll start on my adventures over Easter break on a different entry! I love you all and hope that you enjoy a breather at some point in time in your life as well!

With love from,



Hey Everyone!

It’s been awhile since I’ve last posted, and that can be due to the mini vacation that I experienced within the last week with Casey. Her spring break was last week and she spent it coming over to Wales to visit me. My time spent with her was spent making memories to write down here in my blog, versus actually taking the time to write it all down. (My own Easter vacation is coming up soon, so please expect delays in my blogging experience during that time as well)

Now, where to begin?

Well on Saturday the 9th I went on a walk early in the morning with Sofia and Manon to the Duke of Wellington monument and then spent the day worrying over my travels. I packed snacks and a sandwich of nutella and peanut butter and was sitting at the train station a half hour before my train was ready to go. The travel wasn’t too bad, and even navigating into London to my hostel wasn’t bad either. I was safe and tried my best not to look like a tourist. It was a bit difficult when I passed a couple at a bus stop three times looking for a street I hadn’t passed yet, but luckily I had my own map along with maps of “you are here” on every other street corner or so. I feel like London wouldn’t need those kinds of signs as much if they labeled their streets in a more obvious sort of way. Each street sign is white, for one thing, and not reflective, and can be placed low on the sidewalk or high on the side of a building, or missing entirely from site on one end of the road or the other. This makes it a bit difficult to navigate in the UK, but so far everything has ended up alright. The people at the hostel were very nice and friendly and I got a very good deal for a bed with sheets, a comforter, and a pillow in a great location. I was in a room with 16 other people or so, but I had a curtain around my own little bunk bed so it felt like I had the privacy of my own room, which was nice. I used the light of my gameboy to light my way around, though, since it was rude to turn on the light in the entire room when people were trying to sleep by the time I got there. It was actually one of the warmest places I’ve slept in during my entire trip, probably because of the close atmosphere with so many other people, but to me it was really nice, and I enjoyed it very much.

First Hostel

First Hostel

The next morning, I got up around 4:30 am, to catch the 5:18 bus to London Paddington, where I got on the Heathrow Express to pick up Casey at the Heathrow airport. I got there at 6 am, while her flight was supposed to land at 6:30. I’d thought I’d make it there early and hold out a sign for her as she walked out of customs, but I was mistaken. In fact, I was in the wrong terminal entirely! I had concentrated so much on arriving at the airport at a certain time that I’d completely forgotten to review her flight itinerary! I was so foolish and forgetful, and so terribly anxious when I realized this. I went to 3 different terminals over the next 2 and a half hours looking for her. Eventually, my room mate gave me a call, saying that Casey was on facebook and that she was at one of the only terminals I hadn’t gone to. I was so embarrassed and ashamed at that point that there was barely any joy in my finally facing her at Terminal 4, in fact, I almost broke down into tears. But Casey hugged me around the shoulders and we moved on for the day. Our first stop was back at the hostel where we dropped off her larger suitcase and I checked out. Because I had thought I’d be back earlier than I was, I was late for check out, but the guy at reception was nice enough to let me off with a warning, and so after I got my deposit back Casey and I went off to find the British Museum of Natural History. We both rode on the London tube for the first time and made it to the underground station, Knightsbridge, nearest to the museum without any problems. Deciding on a place to eat turned out to be our biggest challenge; a place that wasn’t fast food, wasn’t expensive, wasn’t asian, and that served vegetarian dishes… A cafe that served all day breakfast turned out to be perfect for us! I enjoyed my shepherd’s pie very much and Casey liked her veggie burger too, but unfortunately her stomach wasn’t as dedicated to the cause as her mind was, and who could blame her after nearly 24 hours of travelling? She also had a terrible cough that progressively got worse through out the week, especially when the weather turned dark and rainy. We were to find out later that she had bronchitis, but at the start of our week together, the only signs of distress were an upset stomach and a nagging dry cough. We made our way into the British Museum of Natural History and were amazed at the beauty of the place. There were more exhibits than we could visit in four hours but some of the ones I remember most were the insect exhibit with the giant scorpion and the crabs, the hall of ocean dinosaurs with a giant sloth’s skeleton at the end, a bird hallway with exquisite taxidermy work done, an exhibit of rocks; shiny and other wise, an exhibit of human biology, the ecosystem, mammals and their place in the world, and last but not least, the dinosaur exhibit. The lay out of the exhibit is quite confusing but the extent of material the museum has is mind blowing and even a bit overwhelming after the long hours of travel that Casey and I had racked up, but we both enjoyed ourselves. The museum gift shop was our last stop, where post cards were bought and little nick knacks were admired. We then traveled back to the hostel, picked up Casey’s bag, and walked to Euston station where Casey rode her first train ever. It wasn’t a train like in Harry Potter, in fact it was more like the interior of a bus, but it was fast, smooth, and quite after a long day of walking. We made it back to Aberystwyth close to midnight, and at that time it was snowing, for the first time in my entire stay in Wales. Apparently, not only did Casey come from Indiana to visit me, but the weather came too.



The next day was a rest day for the both of us. We got up to eat bit of lunch I think, but then Casey went back to sleep while I went to my Microbiology class. It was still snowing while I was walking to and from the main campus, but it was beautiful in that the sun was still shining through the thick snow laden clouds that moved across the sky. It was a sight worth seeing, to be sure, and can be considered the silver lining of my entire three hour class. Coming back from that, Casey and I spent our time recovering from the weekend of travelling by watching some of my missed TV shows from the US and a movie here or there. We went out for dinner at one of my favorite restaurants here at Aberystwyth, the Glengower Hotel, where Casey also tried one of my favorite drinks here at Aberystwyth, the Appletiser, a sparkling apple juice that I discovered at my first meal in Wales. It wasn’t very exciting that day, but we didn’t really mind. A day of rest was needed for both of us, especially since the next morning we had to get up early to catch our train to Holyhead, Wales where our ferry would depart for Dublin, Ireland.

Casey in Aber

Casey in Aber

We were one of the first people on the first train to arrive at Aberystwyth the next morning, and one of the first people to fall back asleep on the train as it left. Over the course of the week, we found that occupying a four person table with our back packs taking up the other two seats (if there were plenty of other seats for everyone else on the train of course) was the best way to nap on a long train ride. Sleeping up right is fair for a while, but you can sleep longer and deeper when you have your head on your arms on a table, even if your arms go numb after a while too. Over all, the train ride to Holyhead was beautiful and sunny, and Holyhead itself was a cute and sunny town too. We had a few hours to spare before our ferry took off, so Casey and I went exploring the town, looking for a quiet cafe or pub to eat a nice brunch. We found it in the Edinburgh castle where we were the first customers for a sweet, sweet waitress who took care of us and fed us like no other. The food was cheap and delicious, a wonderful combination for a couple of college students, and we left there with a little doggy bag and a full feeling of contentment. We even left a tip for our waitress, which is a bit confusing to do, since service tipping isn’t as common here in the UK as it is in the US, but we tried our best for the sweet waitress who had also tried her best to take care of us. Since we had been so early, we were one of the first people to board the Ulysses ferry and so we got first pick of the luxurious couches that lined the walls of the immense bar and dining areas, with a full view of the sea ahead of us. The trip was so long, and the couches so comfy, that I took a nap for about 2 of the 3 hours of the trip, and by the time I woke up the sun was setting onto the nearing hills of Ireland. I bought Casey and I some currant juice from the bar, and we sipped our beer tall glasses until we docked somewhere inside the river that met with the sea we had sailed in from. We exited, and with a small map started walking towards the center of Dublin. Unfortunately, our little map was meant for driving distances not walking distances, and so after a long walk through the docks (with a stop a gas station for a rest room and an atm withdraw) and a few wrong turns in the center of Dublin, we stopped at a hotel and got directions and the number of a bus that would take us to the area of our reserved hotel. With the help of directions and information from many different people along the way, we finally made it to the Charlesville Lodge Hotel an adorable and clean hotel tucked away in the more residential areas of Dublin. Our receptionist recommended a quiet homey irish pub for our dinner called McGowan’s, and so with out much argument we walked back out into Dublin, with a lighter, more relaxed hearts I think, and ate a nice, hearty meal in the comfort of a well established pub. We did, however, have the unfortunate pleasure of tasting the only non alcoholic drink (besides water) that McGowan’s had to offer; a probably alcohol-free beer that was bitter and plain at the same time. An unpleasant encounter, to be sure, but also an experience that we shall not soon forget! Showering was a bit of a fiasco when we got back, because the shower nobs were a bit confusing and needed much finagling to coax hot water out of, but eventually the good triumphed and we were both were once again cleansed of our travel grime.



Too much to write in one night…. I’ll write more tomorrow. Good night!


Hey Everyone,

Grr!! Some days can be so frustrating! A simple miss communication can lead to expensive consequences, and I am just so mad about it! Does it count at all that I am new to this school? Does it count at all that it takes twice as much of MY money to pay for your fines? I know I shouldn’t be prejudice against a school library, but somethings are just an outright rip off! It’s not like I could have used that money for food at all, thank you very much!

Alright, I’m done with my rant. That petty thing has kind of been the only highlight of my day. I’ve pretty much just been festering and cleaning all day, waiting for it to be tomorrow. But soon! Soon it will be tomorrow, and I will be on my way to London to go pick up Casey for the week! I’m sooooooooo excited! XD

With Love From,



Hey Everyone,

It was a long day of classes today. LOOOOONG. It might not have helped that I spent the much of the time simply waiting for the day to be over… But I can’t help it! I’m so excited for Casey’s arrival this weekend!

So excited, in fact, that I spent the evening shopping for groceries and CLEANING. Deep cleaning mind  you; lots of scrubbing and vacuuming. Not my room, of course. That would take a day in itself to do…

I didn’t go out dancing with the other exchange students tonight, forgoing the money that I’d spend on Appletizers for Appletizers in the future with Casey. Instead I watched a couple of movies and went over my plans for Sunday one more time. Hope you all got to enjoy your night, whether in or out too!

With Love From,