For My Own Entertainment

Monday, 26 April 2010


Lesson plans are the bane of my life.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010


So, last blog post? Weeks 2 & 3. Been here? 14 weeks. So um...let's say I'm not great with keeping this up to date. And it rhymes so it must be true.

The past 11 weeks have been good. I'm so settled here, I'm actually a little sad to be going home. Of course it will be great to see everyone again, but back to London? Not my idea of fun. Back to the realms of needing a job? Not appealing. Although saying that, I've got some fun stuff planned for the Summer.... BBQs, beach parties, slip/sliding, Folkestone, driving around in the sun.....ah, summer. That's if I get back. Thanks, Icelandic volcano.

Although the eruption did provide me with a good laugh with a Facebook group called 'Volcanoes in Iceland? What's next, earthquakes in Tesco?'. Lovely stuff. (Only works if you're British/been in a few British supermarkets though).

In case you cared, since the last post I spent a week in New York with my mum (she flew over for a little holiday & to see me), drove up to Canada with some folks & spent the weekend in Toronto/Niagara Falls, and had a day trip to Washington, DC. Enjoyed the latter places very much, New York not so much. It's basically just London, but way bigger, and I've spent more time than I ever cared to in London. But I can say that I've been now, and don't really need to go again any time soon.

Plans for the next few weeks - spending the weekend in Pittsburgh with the girl who rescued me and took me in like a stray from the airport at the end of Spring Break (hmm....maybe that needed a post to itself), and then it's the last week of the semester so I'll be getting rather wasted, alongside finals. And then everyone is buggering off to their home countries (volcano permitting), and I'm here alone for another 2 and a half weeks. I've sort of got places to stay here, but I wanna visit some stuff! Going to Indiana state for a few days to visit some people, and that's about it, plans wise. Suppose I should start looking for things to do soonish.

Sunday, 28 February 2010

Some more America! (Weeks 2 & 3)

Yup...still here. And once again I have to apologise for my extraordinary ineptness at updating a blog. So this one is a follow up to the first America post, and as it helps with continuity I expect the best way forward is to talk about weeks 2 & 3.

Week 2 - Didn't do too much, was my first week of lessons here at the Uni so I was taking it easy. Went to Wolfies some more, listened to Lady Gaga some more, ate in Eat & Park at 3am, and even visited some elementary schools. Obviously I had to take this picture:

And thus ends week 2. Mega exciting, huh?

Week 3 - Settling into classes now. It's still snowing! This week, I visited Goodwill and bought 5 tops for less than $20. Bargain. Visited some more restaurants (there are a fair few in town...), and the highlight of the week was a very pleasant evening at Katie's parents house. You don't understand just how good it is to have a freshly cooked dinner, and eat it in a small, quiet room, instead of a large dining area with food that's been sitting on hotplates for a questionable amount of time...

So, not a particularly eventful fortnight, but I'm still enjoying it!

Monday, 15 February 2010


So much for 'yeaaaahhh! I'll clear out my blog and then only write interesting things about America, and I'll update alllll the time!'

Pff. I'm a bad blogger. Fact. I have all the intention to do it, and I don't, so I apologise. But while I'm here I might as well update you a bit on what I've been doing.

Week 1 - Let's start at the very beginning which is, as a wise woman once said, a very good place to start. Had to wake up stupidly early (4am...) to leave for the airport. I don't remember the journey so I'm guessing I slept the whole way. I've not been to Heathrow before, but it seemed nice enough. Check in was simple, had a really expensive but pretty nice panini with Mum & SD before heading down to the boarding gates, via a good frisking and some x-rays. The flight was alright, I had a window seat so I got to watch the miserable, snowy, grey clouds fizzle out and make way for brilliant sunshine, which is always nice! Breakfast on the plane was actually pretty tasty considering it looked like this:

So anyway, the journey passed fairly quickly I suppose. I listened to some music for a bit and then spent ages going through the film selection, which was pretty decent actually. I watched Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs followed by Momento, which together killed a fair few hours. Lunch was this pastry thing, which wasn't as good as breakfast but still nice. I'm actually a little dissapointed that my flight home is a night one and I wont be treated to those hash browns again.

So, arrived at Toronto airport about 11:30am, and had to hang around in the boarding area until my next flight at 5:30pm...Jesus that's a long wait. My advice? Take a damn travel adaptor in your hand luggage. Fail for me. Lost at Mahjong for about 2 hours, laptop died, did some crosswords. Pretty uneventful. Eventually boarded a 37 seater plane (seriously...smaller than a bus) and chilled out, had a little nap. Arrived at Pittsburgh airport feeling a little bleh, so I called a hotel, they sent a car for me, and I got a room for the night. It was a weird feeling, the journey to the hotel was in darkness, I had no clue where I was, and not a single person in the world knew where I was either. It gave me an uneasy feeling, slight concern mixed with the excitement of being in an exciting new place, with a bit of loneliness chucked in. The room was pretty decent though, the bed was about 3 pillows wide, and it had tv and internet for free (not that I could get on the net...what with the lack of suitable plugs). Considered having dinner (I could see Pizza Hut from my window!) but decided against that and went to bed about 8pm, slept for 12 hours and woke up refreshed and ready for the world!

Got the car back to the airport at noon, and had a couple of hours to wait for the IUP guys to pick me up. While I was waiting, I decided to grab something to eat. 'Hot Dog & Chips' it says. 'Great!' I think. I could go for that. So I go in, grab a cheese dog (oh my god...there's cheese *inside* this sausage), and look for the chips. Hm. No chips. I'm a little perplexed at this point, so the cashier helpfully points me in the right direction.
This, my dear, is not chips. This...this is crisps. Ok, I get that we've just experienced a cultural difference, but what the hell? Why would you have a hot dog, and crisps, as a meal? Just doesn't make sense! Bleh. The hot dog was nice though.

So they came, picked me & a few others up from the airport, got lost in Pittsburgh on the way through (one way to get a tour of the city, I suppose) and eventually arrived in Indiana, PA. Seemed nice enough, but it was late and I was tired. So I met my room mate, met my room, met some other international students, met some American students, met some huge portions in some restaurants...basically, it was orientation week and we did a lot of meeting and learning and whatever. You know, orientation stuff. It was good, they planned a few social events so that we could mingle and make friends, which is always handy when you don't know a single person. It'd been snowing in PA for a little while so when we arrived it was pretty deep already. I'm amazed at how much snow some places can have and still continue working, when England just comes to a stand still at the first hint of a snowflake. Losers.

During the week we were introduced to Wolfies, a local bar, and had hours of fun playing air hockey, pool, drinking Tequila Sunrises and dancing to Lady Gaga. At the weekend, Katie (American girl, new friend) took me, Anna (New friend, room mate, English) and Nicolas (new friend, Argentinian) horse riding, which is always fun! Had a bit of a fail moment getting on the horse in the first place, but we had a lovely time strolling around. We're hoping to go on a trail ride through the woods one day when the snow eventually buggers off.

So that concludes week 1. Seeing as this post is a bit meaty already, I'll post each week's frolicks seperately, just for ease of reading. You might want to make a cup of tea, or have a nap between reads.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Happy New Year (again...)

It's come again! A new year. In fact, a new decade.

But anyway, the point of the post.... I'm going to America in 9 days! Eek! This time last year it was just something that I'd been told was possible, and was thinking about. Now, I've got flights booked, I know where I'm staying and pretty much just need to pack. I'm just waiting now.

I'm planning to actually update here more often now I'll have things to talk about, whether I remember and/or get round to it is a different matter entirely.

This time last year, I posted a blog. A snippet from said post:

So what do I envision for this new year? No resolutions... I've decided to go in with a new approach - 'Do It'... 
...I'm going to learn things about myself, about my friends, and about the world. And then I'm going to see if I'm a different person this time next year.

And now here I am. 9 days away from a life changing experience. I didn't even question the logistics, the details, the work involved. I knew from the moment we were told we could, that I would be doing it. And I couldn't be happier.