Monday, March 24, 2014

I Think They Scored a Touchdown

Hey all! Time for another London update!



I'll start off with our trip to the London Eye. Despite being here for almost 3 months, I had yet to make the trek to the London Eye but it was every bit of as gorgeous as I had imagined. The whole experience only takes about 30 minute but that's all you need to really take in the beauty of the city. Since we went late in the day, it was really cool to watch the sunset from almost the dead top of the Eye.


Saturday we went out to Wembley to watch the first ever rugby match at Wembley featuring the Saracens v. Harlequins. Now, I may be a sports nut, but rugby is one of those sports that I am clueless about. After watching the match, I'm still a bit confused but I do understand it better. Even if I do keep using American sports terminology to understand it better. For example, I kept referring to the scrum as the rugby version of a jump ball in basketball.

I have to say from my game day observations, we Americans do team spirit way better than over here. I know that it was neither teams home stadium and it was rugby and not footy but dang, I feel like the Brits could learn a bit from us on supporting your team. I missed the crazy fun fan atmosphere of Beaver Stadium for Penn State football or M&T Bank Stadium for Ravens football. Or the feel you get from watching any of the March Madness games. Where people are clearly so invested in the game that the outcome can, and often does, affect their emotions and mood for the rest of the day.

Pre-game entertainment was nothing like I'd ever seen for a sporting event. Music was first provided by Elvis, Whitney Houston, and Elton John impersonators; they were actually pretty damn good singers even if the song choices were unexpected. Then it was a choir, which was also good but, they also sang slow songs like True Colors by Cyndi Lauper, not what you expect as 'pump up' pre-game music. I'm used to songs like Thunderstruck by AC/DC and songs of that nature. But to each his own I guess. At least it was good music, just unexpected.

The game itself was pretty fun to watch. A good portion of it seemed like I was watching American football, and even some of the scoring was similar. Which is probably why I kept referring to a 'try's a touchdown and a goal kick as a field goal. That actually really helped me to understand the game better. It wasn't as action packed as American football, but still a lot of fun to watch. I'd heard how brutal it could be and boy is is a brutal game. It also made me really excited for autumn and PSU and Ravens football. (Yes, I realize how far away that is... but I miss football...)



Other than finally watching some live sports, I was most excited about going to Wembley for the first time. It truly is as stunning as it looks from the pictures; my pictures don't do it nearly the justice it deserves. I will say, I was surprised to know that it only seats 90,000 as it looks like more. Compare this to Beaver Stadium, which holds over 107,000. From a first glance, I thought Wembley would hold more.

All in all, it was a fun weekend enjoying friends and sport. Hard to not have fun when you also a have a drunk birthday party behind you and a group of men clearly out on a stag party a few rows back dressed as surgeons. Hopefully I make it out to a footy match before I leave London!

That's all for now!

Xx

Monday, March 17, 2014

Meaningful Music Monday #5

Happy Monday!

I went on a bit of a music downloading binge recently so I thought it was perfect timing for another music Monday! If you have any song suggestions, don't be afraid to let me know!

'Take Control' - Kodaline
'Take control of who you are stay the same don't let them change you. 
Take control who you cause ain't nobody going to save you. 
Take control of who you are when the world is getting stranger. 
Take control of who you are stay the same don't let them change you.' 



'Invisible' - Hunter Hayes
'Trust the one who's been where you are 
Wishing all it was was sticks and stones
Those words cut deep but they don't mean you're all alone
And you're not invisible
Hear me out,
There's so much more to life than what you're feeling now
Someday you'll look back on all these days
And all this pain is gonna be invisible'



'Believer' - American Authors
'I feel my demons
Misleadin’ me
I’m just a believer
That things will get better
Some can take it or leave it 
But I don’t wanna let it go'
Have a great week all!

Xx

Monday, March 10, 2014

Halfway Point

Hey all!

It took everything in me to not be super nerdy and name this post 'Halfway There' in a slight reference to Livin' On a Prayer' by Bon Jovi and put the lyrics here. But then I'd have the song stuck in my head forever. As a do now... hopefully you do to. Anyway, back on topic and onto the post.

 

It's hard to believe that I've already been here in London for over two months! It really still feels like yesterday that I landed in Heathrow to begin my journey. At the same time, I feel like I've been here long enough that I'm a true Londoner, even if it has only been a few months.

I've been ill this past week so I've stayed in to do some work and try to get better. At the same time, it has also given me a lot of time to reflect on my time here.

Before coming, London was all I could talk about. Even before I was officially accepted, I was constantly talking about it to the point I probably annoyed those around me. But all of my excitement seemed to mask my nerves. The day before I left I confessed to my sister that I was secretly terrified that my semester abroad wouldn't live up to my expectations. That I'd built up this fantasy in my head that the real thing could never possibly live up to. She helped to reassure me that it was just nerves and that I would have the time of my life. As much as I hate to admit, she was 100% right.

A big part of my nerves came from my history with depression and anxiety, particularly my social anxiety. I have never been good at making friends and still struggle with it to this day. And going to a country where I knew no one was absolutely terrifying. I was worried I wouldn't get on with the people in my program, my flat mates, my classes, you get the point. So there was a part of me that worried that I would become I complete hermit, like I used to be. I would do no exploring and simply go to my classes, get food, and hang out in my room. This was the exact opposite of what I wanted. Hello, I'm on a completely different continent, let alone country!

Fortunately, that hasn't been the case. I've done some exploring and done a little bit of traveling, more of that will hopefully come during spring break when I have the whole month of April off. I am a little wary about traveling to countries where I don't know any of the language, but oh well. Part of my wishes I could forget about the school part of study abroad and just travel and explore. Learning and exploring new things could easily fill up my time. I'm one of those people that is just fascinated by things unknown to me.

Probably one of the biggest things that has happened in my time here is that I have learned a tremendous amount about myself. In just a few short months I have learned more about myself than I have in years. I was worried about my depression rearing it's ugly head again in horrible ways. Going back to that time period is something I never want to do as falling back into that deep hole is a scary enough thought. It's truly thrilling to me that it hasn't. And my anxiety hasn't caused me too much trouble. I still have to deal with my social anxiety and the fact that I am horrible at making friends, but that is something that I can deal with, with relative ease. As in, it doesn't make me upset, anymore that is. Then there is the fact that my family is thousands of miles away and although I miss them dearly, it's a great feeling knowing I can manage on my own in a foreign city. Leaving home for Penn State was one thing, I'm only a few hours drive away, London is a totally different story. Even though I still rely on my parents for a few things, it's a step in the right direction. I'm a big girl now! (Jokes, I like jokes).

Because Harry Potter is life and deserves to be on my blog because, Harry Potter.

That's all for now! If there is anything I haven't talked about involving London, etc. that you are interested in, let me know!

Until next time my friends.

Xx

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Puppies, Birthdays, and Going Brunette

Hey all!

First I feel the need to mention how much I love seeing dogs on the tube. The other day. a man apologized for his beautiful chocolate labradoodle spending almost the whole journey sniffing me. I would have been more offended if the puppy DIDN'T come over to me so needless to say, I was not offended in the slightest. It takes everything in me not to steal every single one of these doggies and it has only made me miss my dogs more, especially my Molly girl.

13 years old and going strong <3

Growing up, I resisted getting color put in my hair at all costs. I was naturally blonde and proud of it. Then when I was 14, this Redken promotion happened where you got free highlights with a purchase of the blonde specific shampoo and conditioner and Misty, who has done my hair all of my life, said she thought it'd look good. And I trust her, so I bit and let her do it. And then  I was hooked on getting color.

Flash forward a few years and it had been over two months since my last hair appointment, my ends needed to be trimmed and my roots were showing. I hate it when my roots show; I despise it. I just don't like the look and often think it looks worse than it actually does. But I was stuck in a dilemma as, with the exception of one time because Misty was on maternity leave and even then it was another stylist who I know and trust, only one person has ever touched my hair. I knew I needed to get my hair done but had no idea where to turn. Fortunately, London is filled with great stylists so it was only a matter of choosing and I ended up at a place called ESHK near my flat.

(Picture courtesy of ESHK-hair.com)

The salon itself was swanky and modern, which is what I expected for a salon in the Shoreditch area. They make you feel right at home by taking your coat and offering you a drink before sitting you down to wait for your stylist. My stylist was the lovely Marta and I could not recommend her more. She was very easy to talk to and was overall just very helpful in figuring out what we were going to do. ESHK is a Wella salon so they had the big swatch book that made it easy to see what the colors would look like as finished products.

I initially went in thinking I wanted to just go a dark blonde color but Marta convinced me that going darker would look good with my complexion, and I'm so glad I trusted her. Never in a million years would I have imagined my hair being this dark, but I absolutely love it. And as someone who is also trying to grow her hair out, it was nice knowing that the dead ends were the only part of my hair she cut as I was actually the most anxious about that part since I have heard horror stories about stylists taking off too much.



Then it was my flatmate, Christelle's, birthday on Thursday so we went out and celebrated with some drinks at a local bar. Even though it was my first time there, B@1 quickly became a favorite. It's hard to beat 2 for 1 cocktails, especially when they're really good and they are made for you by flirty, attractive bartenders ;). The atmosphere was just fun and perfect for a birthday. The night ended with a trip to Brick Lane for some bagels, and by bagels I mean REAL bagels. When it comes to bagels, I am your stereotypical Jew in that I am very picky in what constitutes a good bagel. So it was a nice change of pace to have a damn good bagel with lox and the best part: it was only £1.60!




That's all for now! If you have anything you want me to write about let me know, I'm always up for some ideas!

Xx