Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

        Happy Turkey Day!  To kick off the day, I played a game of flag football in Hyde Park.  It was really fun and we all got pretty into it (I have the mud stains to prove it).  Dr. Soper was quite surprised when I shoved him back in order to block.  My team couldn’t quite pull off a win, but we had fun trying.  After football I went with a bunch of the girls to a service at St. Paul’s honoring America.  The choir sang “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” and everyone sang “America the Beautiful.”  A sermon was given on gratitude and the American Ambassador also said a few words.  It was the perfect way to pay tribute to the red, white, and blue.  I loved seeing the American flag being carried in my US Marines.  
Flag Football in Hyde Park
Outside St. Paul's
        After the service we headed back right in time to have our Thanksgiving meal at 1PM.  Jaelyn cooked so naturally the food was good.  My favorites were the stuffing and pumpkin pie.  However, I must admit that I would have preferred to have my mom’s food because it’s better.  After eating and feeling very full, Abby, Kacey, Annie, Lauren, and I watch Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving and took a long nap.  We then went to a movie theater at Shepherd’s Bush and saw New Moon.  The theater was really nice and had seats the size of a lay-z-boy.  The movie was good, but a little cheese.  And I must say that I am still “Team Edward.”  After the movie we came home, had way too many rounds of pie, had some DC, danced in the kitchen, talked, did some Pilates, and I skyped everyone at Nana’s.  It was so fun to see everyone and it made me want to be in two places at once.  Although today hasn’t been my usual Thanksgiving, it was so fun to celebrate it here and I’m so thankful for the opportunity I have to be in London. 

The Evans aka masters of the kitchen
Our Feast
Dinner in our usual seats
Our Table
New Moon @ Shepherd's Bush

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Blenheim Palace and Oxford

        Today was a really fun day, but freezing cold.  We loaded the coach at 8:30AM and headed to Blenheim Palace.  I had never even heard of it before, thus had no expectations.  It turned out to be so beautiful and interesting.  Blenheim Palace was the birthplace of Churchill and is the residence for the Duke of Blenheim.  The architectural style is Baroque and it was fun because all of the Christmas decorations were up.  We went on an hour-long tour with a very good tour guide and then explored the gardens.  
The Palace was all ready for Christmas
Outside the Palace
A glimpse at the gardens
Exploring the Palace Gardens
Outside with Kacey
        After the Palace we headed to Oxford.  We had a darling old man as a tour guide that was very interesting.  The only problem was that the tour was outside, 90 minutes long, and FREEZING cold.  Yes William…I did see “the great dining hall” from that one movie you like.  All of the buildings were beautiful and I loved learning about the system of colleges within the university.  After our tour Abby, Annie, Kacey, Lauren and I grabbed a steamer at Starbucks and the walked around the town.  We all were happy to find some cute Oxford apparel and do a little Christmas shopping.  We loaded the coach at 5PM and headed back to the centre.  It was a 5 pound dinner night so Abby and I went and had chicken avocado salads at Zizzi.  After dinner we helped Jaelyn in the kitchen, had some DC, put a DC on Soper’s doorstep, and did some homework.  
Oxford Football Fields
The Great Hall
Outside the Great Hall

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Morning of Museums

        This morning I had Biology for about an hour and a half and then we headed to the Natural History Museum.  When we were there we went to the a Human Biology exhibit that explored cells and DNA.  It turned out to be really interesting and was a lot of fun.  Once we were finished Annie, Lauren, Abby, Kacey, and I headed next store to the V&A.  This was my second visit and so I went back to see the things I had missed which was a photography exhibit and a fashion exhibit.  The photography exhibit wasn’t anything special, but the fashion exhibit was really cool.  Shoes and dresses/outfits from throughout the years were displayed.  After the V&A we headed back to the Centre for a snack and then made our last trip to Primark.  Before I knew it, it was time for dinner.  We had delicious chicken tacos that I made into a salad.  After dinner a bunch of us had a sketching party and watched Friends/The Proposal.  Once again…another fun day.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Off to the Opera

            Today was a busy school day considering that I after today I only have each class two more times.  I had humanities and religion, then went running in the rain with Abby, Kacey, and Annie, and then had my other humanities class.  After class I took a shower, did some homework, and then went to the Post Office and Tesco with Annie and Kacey.  For dinner we had some delicious white chicken chili and then it was off to the Opera.  This was an organized group event, so we all went to the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden to see “Tsarina’s Slippers.”  The Opera was in Russian and it all honesty; I found most of it quite boring.  However, I did enjoy the instrumentals and the ballet dancers.  After it ended, I headed back to the centre and did homework.  I can’t believe how fast time is flying and how much I still have to do including homework and playing in London.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Paris Stats

Days spent in Paris: 9
Museums Visited: 11
Churches Visited: 3
Landmarks Visited: Arc de Triumph, Eiffel Tower
Crepes Consumed: 8
Rides Ridden at Disneyland: 11
Hotels: 3
Miles walked: 150+
Favorite Purchase: Longchamp Purse or French Face Wash
Favorite Night: Birthday on Eiffel tower
Favorite French Phrase: Wah la
My newest OPI Nail Polish: 20 candles on my cake
Favorite Ride: Peter Pan or Space Mountain
Ice Cream Stops: 2
Trips to the Candy Store: 3
Favorite Bonbon Flavor: toffee
Homework Completed: 1 paper on realism
Homework That Should Have Been Completed: 13 reflections, 3 sketches, one 5-page paper
Favorite Artists: Degas, Monet, Van Gogh, Renoir, Rodin
Favorite Statue: Winged Victory
Pictures Taken: 521
Money Spent: Too much
Times I used my umbrella: 2
Average temperature: 50F

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Goodbye Paris

        Today was my 9th and final day in Paris. It started with sleeping in until about 8:45AM and checking out of our hotel by about 9:30AM.  Kacey, Annie, Abby, Laura, and I then headed to the train station to store our bags.  Considering I was hauling over a week’s worth of clothes, Paris purchases, and my computer, my bag was quite heavy. I thought I might snap my back in half and I was so happy when we finally got to the lockers.  However, the train station did randomly have one thing to offer and that was a store with the kind of ear warmers I have been searching for.  Everyone else was happy about the find too and we all purchased one.  After the station we headed to the Moulin Rouge.  We went out of curiosity and high hope, but it turned out to be nothing special.  After snapping a picture, we made a run out of the sketchy area.  
        Our next stop was lunch crepes at our favorite crepe stand near the Saint Michelle Fountain.  Kacey and I made the wise decision to go halfsies on a cheese and chicken crepe.  It was delicious and hit the spot.  Our next stop was the Eiffel Tower for one last look and picture stop.  Naturally, we also had out last taste of a Nutella, banana, and coconut crepe.  While taking pictures, we met a group of teenage boys that were dressed up for some sort of ­­initiation and wanted to be in pictures with us.  
Eiffel Tower Photo Stop
One for the Mantle
        After the tower we headed to the Opera House and Galleries Lafayette.  Galleries Lafayette was super crowded with it being a Saturday and the holidays, so we just looked at the main floor/dome and then went to the Longchamp department.  It was so crowded that we had to wait in a line and wait our turn before being let into the department.  However, it was worth the wait because Kacey and I both found cute purses.  Thanks to Nana for letting me pick something out in Paris for my birthday.  After shopping we jumped on the Metro and headed to the Champs Ellysees.  Our first stop was the giant Haagen’daz.  Kacey and I shared a 3-scoop cup with Dolce De Leche, Chocolate Midnight Cookie, and Vanilla Carmel Brownie.  Yes! It was as good as it sounds.  We then worked our way through the busy crowds up to McDonalds so we could sit and rest for a minute.  
Our Longchamps
Opera House
        After resting, we made one last stop at our favorite candy store to get some Bonbons (Abby’s total was only 2.05 this time), and then wandered/played with make-up in Sephora.  At about 7:00PM we were exhausted so we said goodbye to Paris and headed to the train station.  Once to the station we picked up our luggage, waited until we could go through security, and the boarded the Chunnel to London.  Paris was amazing, but I’m very tired and excited to be back home in London.  I love that London feels like home to me, but hate that the next time I leave London, it will be for good.  I can’t believe how fast my time here has gone and it makes me so sad when I think about leaving.  I guess I just better live up the next 3 weeks.  

Friday, November 20, 2009

Disneyland Paris: "The Happiest Place on Earth"

        Today was a very fun and much needed day.  Kacey, Laura, Annie, Abby, and I decided it was time to give the museums a rest and checkout Euro Disney.  After all, when again would we be back and have the chance to go as a group?  Our day started at about 8AM by grabbing some breakfast at a bakery and then taking the train to Disneyland Paris.  I couldn’t help but smile the second we walked out of the station and saw the park.  We were all so excited to be there.  The last time I went to Disneyland was when I was 3 and Disneyworld when I was 9, so it was about time for another visit.  We purchased our park hopper tickets and then entered right into the Disneyland Park.  Our first ride was Indiana Jones.  It was really fun, but rattled us a lot.  Next up was Pirates of the Caribbean, followed by Peter Pan.  This was my favorite because we got to fly over London and I felt right at home.   Although it was only about 11:15 AM, we decided we could use a little snack and so we all shared some yummy kettle corn and Cola Light (not to be confused about Diet Coke).  We then went on Space Mountain, which was another favorite of mine.  It lasted a long time and was so fun. 

Yo Ho Yo Ho

Space Mountain
        After Space Mountain we decided to have some lunch at Pizza Planet (the Pizza place in Toy Story).  It was yummy and I was stoked about the Mickey shaped pizza.  When we left lunch, we ran into a bunch of the characters.  Pictures with them seemed to be in high demand, so we had to fight our way next to them.  We then headed over to the other park, Disney Studios.  The first ride we went on was Rockin’ Rollercoaster.  It was pretty fun, but the best part was the take off.  Next up, and my favorite was the Tower of Terror.  I went on it in Florida, but forgot how fun it was.  The only problem was that I somehow swallowed air when we dropped, resulting in hiccups for about 2 hours.  When we got off of the ride, we were just in time for a performance/parade with all of the characters.  It was fun to watch/hear because a lot of the songs were in French.  

Lunch @ Pizza Planet

Rockin' Rollercoaster
        By mid-afternoon we were all a little chilly and hoping to find sweatshirts.  We probably looked in every store in both parks, but were unsuccessful.  After our attempt to find sweatshirts, we went on the Haunted Manor.  This one turned out to be pretty lame, but it was ok because the Teacups that we went on after made up for it.  Next ride was Thunder Mountain.  This one is a classic, thus also a fun ride.  It was also the only ride we decided to use Fast Passes for, considering the wait was 25 minutes.  After Thunder Mountain it was the main parade with all of the characters and floats throughout the park.  I loved seeing the many costumes and creative ideas (the army men and lion king animals were my favorites).  We then rushed to Space Mountain for a second ride and NO line considering most were still at the parade.  For some reason it made me a little sick/gave me a headache the second time, but that didn’t stop me from going on Star Tours.  Star Tours was cool, but didn’t help me feel any better.  I guess I am aging and am not what I used to be when it comes to rides.  We then stopped at one last shop on the way out to get some gifts and for me to get a tall glass for Ch√Ęteau Bass (my future apartment) and my Diet Coke.  

Good Old Smee


Monsters Scream Station

        After shopping we were all hungry and so we decided to get food in Disney Village.  It was nothing special, but at least it was something.  We then used up some of our coins in the vending machine to buy some Bonbons and a Beuno Bar before getting on the train back to Paris.  All in all, I couldn’t have asked for a better day.  However, I’m pretty convinced that there are no rules or regulations in Europe considering that many of the rides seemed a little dangerous and I was allowed to take pictures while on the rides.  But hey… Disneyland + Paris + Christmas + No lines + Friends, really does equal the “Happiest Place on Earth.” 

After a Solid Day @ Disneyland