Sunday, September 25, 2011

And so its begun!

I apologize for making you wait. Between the misunderstanding of how to charge a US laptop in the UK, to shaky/nonexistent hotel wifi, to a mess of setting up my laptop to the University's network, I just now REALLY had time to sit down and write this entry. So get ready; I have over 2 weeks of intense traveling to cover AND the beginning of school. I hope you are prepared.

Let's start at the very beginning- Arriving in England. The first day I got in- Mom, Danny, and I got my phone situation all taken care of. I got a pay-as-you-go plan for local calls and an iTouch for skype/facetime/texting (which lets me do international calling for free!). I have a phone line at the school, so if you would like to call me and pay an international fee, just ask and I'll send the number along. Otherwise- skype will be my main form of contacting everyone.

Mom, Danny, and I went to Stratford-Upon-Avon the day after I arrived in England. We looked at all the Shakespeare birthplace stuff, found an EPIC wizard/wand shop, and met a really cool goose named Preston. Here are some of my favorite pictures from the day:

The next day, we went to Warwick Castle (both are in Warwickshire, so we were very close). Warwick Castle is probably my favorite castle of the four I've seen so far. Its a little gimmicky, definitely a tourist pull, but when you ignore the gimmicks and go for the history-based exhibits, its absolutely amazing.

The next day, Dad joined us. That day, we went into London and went to Harrod's for high tea. We saw John Terri there, one of the top scorers for Chelsea FC (the team I like). Coooooool.

The next day was a day packed with all of the touristy things of London that we could fit in. We saw the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, the London Eye, Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square, and the Tower of London. At night, we went on a Jack the Ripper tour. It was AWESOME!

This last picture of a random alleyway IS NO RANDOM ALLEYWAY. Jack the Ripper walked this alleyway. Oooooooo awwwwwww.
The next day was another tourist-packed London adventure day. We went into the Tower of London and found platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross (Harry Potter fans, anyone?). At the Tower, there were more hats for Danny and I to try on. While waiting in line, the girl ahead of us put on the hat and it fell down to her shoulders. Danny and I excitedly tried it on next... and our heads were WAAAAAY too big. Hence the sad faces.

The day after, we went down to Brighton and visited the University to try and sort out the fiasco that was my luggage situation. Let me fill you in- We ordered for four of our bags to be picked up, stored, and then delivered to me at school once I moved in. The school could not hold my bags for me (lack of insurance= poopy liabilities) and it was impossible to move between hotels with two huge suitcases and two full carry-ons. One suitcase was much more manageable. HOWEVER- the company sucked. They collected every bag well after the collection date and sent two of our bags to the school. This is why we went down to Brighton- to retrieve the bags that were delivered too early. We get down only to find out that the school will hold my bags for me (out of the kindness of their hearts). I am currently still waiting for the other two bags to be delivered to me. I hope I get them soon... Anyway, the trip to Brighton was spur-of-the-moment, but still a nice trip nonetheless.
The next day, Mom and Danny went home. After they left, Dad and I went into London again to hit up some more tourist spots. We went to Picadilly Cirus, the Hard Rock London, the British Museum, and Abbey Road. Dad has the pictures of us walking across Abbey Road, so you'll have to get those off of him. At the museum, I hung out with Cleopatra and deciphered the Rosetta stone. No big deal. I'll throw in a picture of my favorite part of the museum- which was the stone walls.

The next four days, Dad and I went to Edinburgh in Scotland. We walked the Royal Mile, which stretches between Holyrood and Edinburgh Castle, and went on a Highlands tour that took us to Loch Ness, Glencoe, and the Moors.

After Scotland, we headed down to Brighton... only to get back on the train and return to London to go on a Windsor Caslte, Bath, and Stonehenge tour.

Then started the more restful few days in Brighton. We went to the beach, saw the pier (and discovered Moo Moos which is the best milkshake EVER), walked around North Laine, and went inside the Royal Pavillion.

Which leads me to move in day.
I met two people who are on the same floor area as I am (we are missing three people still) and got my room mostly unpacked and set up. I haven't really done anything super exciting (most of it has been visiting IT, buying Welcome Week tickets, etc), except last night (Saturday) the two other people on my floor and I went to one of the bars on campus and hung out for awhile. They are both really nice and one of them is a fellow American. She's from LA. I was surprised to realize how much I missed hearing the California accent :)

Well, that's about it for now. I have some international welcome events later today and get to meet my Alumni sponsor tomorrow, which I'm looking forward to. But until then, I'm going to rest (since I'm STILL exhausted from the England/Scotland trip before I moved in) and will update you later on.

<3 Lenzie

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