Sunday, May 29, 2011

Flight back home to NY tomorrow. Final Post..

I've spent my last 2 weeks in Newcastle relaxing and exploring the city since when I head back to Long Island reality sets in immediately. Tomorrow, my day will begin at 11am where I will set off for the metro. After a 20 minute train ride I will arrive at my first airport, Newcastle International. This is one of the scarier moments of the day because I will be told if either of my suitcases are overweight! I gave away a lot of clothing and threw out a bunch of stuff yet they still feel heavy! I'm taking an hour flight to Heathrow and then have 2 hours to rush around and get to my next flight. This consists of - getting off the plane, getting my suitcases, taking a tram to a different terminal, checking-in, going through security and getting to my gate. I've done it once before so I have faith I'll be able to do it again. Let's just pray my first flight isn't delayed... Once at my next flight I have 7 hours and 55 minutes until I land in New York and then a 45 minute drive home! 14 hours of travel.. yikes...

It has been the most fabulous, exciting, rewarding and craziest 5 months of my life. If anyone has the chance to study abroad I highly recommend they go for it. I want to personally thank Stony Brook & Northumbria University for allowing me this opportunity.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Not your typical Spring break.. London, Paris, Barcelona, Milan


All assignments have officially been handed in (3 assignments, no exams.. the least stressful finals week of my life) and my last 2 weeks in England have officially and quickly came upon us. Before I get depressed I need to discuss the fabulous 3 week spring break I just had (AKA it ended 17 days ago.. but feels like just yesterday!)

I started my break staying at uni. Everyone had gone home and rather than rushing to get out of here, I stayed behind to do some work. I knew there was no way I could get essays done while jetting around Europe so I did as much as I could. After being stuck here for 5 days and being slightly scared to go to the bathroom at 1am, I took a train to Yorkshire. Yorkshire is the home of all good things like Yorkie's, Yorkshire Pudding, and my boyfriend, Steven. Rather than being stuck here for a week before going to London he invited me to his house for 4 nights. It was actually nice to be in a house rather than stuck in one room all day like my dorm. We did a day trip to a town nearby named Hull. They had two very nice malls (something from home I miss) and it was nice to see another different part of England.

I arrived on Wednesday and by Sunday Steven and I were on a 2 hour train to meet my sisters, Krista and Kerri in London. They planned this trip when they found out I was studying abroad. My mother and sisters have never been out of America so I'm glad they got to see London and visit me. We spent the week galavanting around London (my third time to the city). I love NYC, but the more I visit London the more I love it. Upon the exciting things we did, we met Tim Curry while out to dinner. Who doesn't love him in Home Alone 2 and Rocky Horror Picture Show? My sister recognized his voice when we were getting our coats so when we were leaving the restaurant I had the sudden urge to tell him I love him. Luckily, he is a nice man and told me he loved me right back. Ha! Steven left on Tuesday because we had tickets to see the show Wicked at night. It was SO good and we were all so glad we got the chance to see it because we never have while in NY.

On Thursday, we did a day trip to Paris. We had minor panic attacks because the tube wasn't running and the hotel (who told us they could get us a cab at 4am) was having difficulties hailing one. After a while, and £20 later, we took the Eurostar to Paris. In my opinion, I didn't really like it. I loved seeing the city because it was very beautiful, but I wasn't that impressed. Also, some people were nasty and I felt so uncomfortable not knowing the language. It was nice to go in the Eiffel tower, but I don't plan on going back. I also feel other cities are much more romantic so I don't get what all the fuss is about. Who knows.. I'm so thankful I got to make the trip though!

On Saturday, after a week with my sisters, I left for Milan. I have a friend from fashion school (I got my Associates at LIM before transferring to Stony Brook this fall) who was studying in Italy for the semester. I really wanted to see at least some part of Italy before I left so I went to visit. I was only in MIlan for a night before we left for Barcelona for 4 days.

Barcelona, Spain was one of my favorite cities I've been too! Not what I expected at all though! It was a beautiful city with so much to do and see. Just like in Paris, we bought tickets for the Hop on, Hop off bus. Although the weather wasn't the best, We still had some sun and tons of time on the top of the bus with the top down. We stuck our toes in the Mediterranean Sea and rode a cable car to a castle. We had so much fun and were sad to leave. After Barcelona, I had two more days left in Italy. We spent the days shopping, cooking and eating. I was forced to buy an Italian Leather handbag and learned that even it's the store brand, in Italy it is so delicious. I was sad to say bye to Sarah, but also so ready to get home to Newcastle. I flew back to London (the day of the royal wedding) which wasn't as insane as you would think it would be. I took the tube for an hour directly from Heathrow airport to Kings Cross train station for a direct, 3-hour train to Newcastle. There happened to be a stag party (bachelor) in my car and it cost me £50, but I didn't care because I was at the point of exhaustion. I traveled for 3 weeks non-stop with just a little suitcase.. and a new italian handbag.

Since it's now the last 13 days abroad I'm doing nothing except relaxing, shopping and spending time with my boyfriend and other british friends. I'm dreading packing and spending 12 hours traveling back home, but it will be nice to get back to my friends, family and hectic lifestyle. Time to do more relaxing.. last post shall be coming soon!


Outside a Cathedral in Milan.
On our Cable Car back down in Barcelona.
Real Gelato in Italy!
Icebar in London with the sisters!
Eiffel tower!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Sorry.. just been traveling around Europe!

I apologize for this VERY delayed blog post. During the first week in April I set off on my 3 week Easter Break. I took this opportunity to spend 5 days at my British boyfriend Steven's house (don't ask), a week in London & a day in Paris with my two older sisters, 4 days in Barcelona, Spain and 4 days in Milan, Italy. I returned back from all this adventuring to the madness of the Royal wedding in London, but quickly got the next train out to Newcastle. It was all far too fun.. Now, it is time to finish out the semester. I have 3 essays totaling 2,000 , 2.500 and 3,000 words each all due next week. I'm halfway done with all of them! However, instead of procrastinating more by writing about all my adventures, I'm going to save this post for when they are all completed. It's insane to me that in 25 days I will be on my flight back to New York after nearly 5 months away. Here are a few images to tide you over until continue blogging...


Monday, March 28, 2011

Krissy visits "New England" & Taylor Swift in Ireland!

Hiya.. The past week has been madness here in Newcastle. Last Saturday at 8am I picked Krissy up on the airport. Krissy and I have been friends since we were 5 so it was only fitting she came to England on a little vaca while I'm abroad. I felt bad that her first trip to the UK was going to be to Northern England and not London so I made sure to show her as much here as possible. Saturday we just spent the day relaxing, playing video games with the British boys and drinking wine. On Sunday, I took her to the markets by the Tyne river. We got the best burritos and just walked around. At night, we went to Brittany's for her pre birthday extravaganza and then went on a club crawl. Since Krissy can't legally go out and party in America, I was excited to show her Newcastle's nightlife. Since I had class during the week, Krissy got to spend her mornings sleeping in and of course, meeting my cleaner. Did I ever mention my room gets cleaned once a week? If I was ever going to go live in a college dorm England was the perfect place for it.. We spent the rest of the week walking around Newcastle (because the weather was gorgeous every single day she was here), getting meals and going shopping. On her last full day in Newcastle I took Krissy to the coast. It's a 30 minute metro ride away and I've never been so I was excited to go. We had such a nice day and ate fish and chips. It was good while we ate it, but since we hadn't eaten anything else all day we felt sick on the train ride home! Myself and two of the British boys walked Krissy to the metro early Thursday morning and sent her back on her way to New York. On Thursday, I only had one class because many of the lecturers were on strike because of pay and pension cuts.. so that was interesting.

On Friday, I woke up at 6am to leave for Belfast, Ireland! I met Brittany and two other American girls Sheila and Kate at the metro at 6:40. We got nervous because the first train wasn't until 20 minutes after we arrived, but we made it to the airport fine for our 8:40 flight. We then realized that our flight was delayed.. and kept being delayed until we departed at 10:30. The delay was fine since we had nothing planned for the day until 6:30pm .. the Taylor Swift concert! Plus we all got £5 vouchers to spend on food in the airport. I hate flying, but this flight was literally only 30 minutes in the air so all was well. We went to our hostel and walked around Belfast a little, going in a huge mall and getting dinner before the concert began. All our seats were separate, but we still all had a good time. The next day we slept in late and wandered more around Belfast. There isn't much to do there, but we did find out that the Titanic was built there. We went to a museum, laid in the sun for hours and went to a burrito place that was just like chipotle. We went to bed semi early because we had to move the clocks forward and check out of the hostel at 10:30. We spent the majority of Sunday at St. Georges Market where we got lunch on Saturday. The people at the burger stand recognized me and Britt from the day before and talked to us about Newcastle. We stuffed our faces and went on to the bus station to head to the airport. When boarding our plane I find out we are taking a tiny plane with propellers home to Newcastle. Almost cried walking up the steps to the plane (which were like a step-stool), but took my seat in the last row and held Britt's hand for the 20 minutes we were in the air. We had a fun weekend with a lot of girl bonding, a little Taylor Swift and a couple of nice Irish people. Sad to say this was my last weekend trip, but will be traveling in April to Spain and Italy and meeting up with my sisters in London!


Belfast, Ireland
The Big Fish!
Taylor Swift.

At the coast w/ Krissy.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A weekend with the parents..

Hello! This week wasn't very exciting, but last weekend is a different story..

On Thursday, I went on my first travel adventure by myself. This was only because I was meeting my parents in London and no one saw any fun in that. (Brittany jetted off to Paris instead.. way less exciting..) I took the train on Thursday at 5 rather than having to wake up early and travel. I was nervous about meeting up with them since neither of them had a phone that would work in the UK and I didn't know where their hotel was. We decided to meet at the tube station that was sorta near their hotel.. right across the Westminster bridge. After a 3.5 hour train ride and two tube transfers I found my Dad inside the tube station. (I told him to meet me on the bridge) Things were all fine and dandy until I asked my Dad to carry my bag. He was unable to do so because he could barely walk. It was day one of their trip to the UK and my father had already fallen out of the bathtub. I will spare you poor souls the details, but let's just saw the sliding glass door that was the door to the bathroom was open 2 inches and he wanted to close it while standing FEET away.. enough said. We spent the evening just catching up. The following morning Dad's leg had gotten worse. Luckily, we had tickets to a Double Decker Hop on - Hop off bus or as some people in this family refer to it as.. The " Hip - Hop Bus". We spent our time at St. Paul's Cathedral, Buckingham Palace and other touristy attractions. We also went on a River Cruise and spent a lot of time on the bus because there were tour guides. We went out to dinner and went to see Thriller Live! After getting lost trying to find a tube station closer to the hotel we took a cab to the theater. My Mom disliked how there was a female singer singing Michael Jackson's songs and threatened to leave at one point.. she was fine after they sang Heal the World. The show was Okay.. I think London theater is much different than the shows we have on Broadway. On Saturday, We almost took my Dad to the hospital because he couldn't walk. However, we just left him in bed and went to Westminster Abbey. There was quite a long line to get in and it was expensive, but it was very pretty. I'm glad I got to see it before the Royal Wedding takes place there in April. On Sunday, the only not sunny day of the weekend we took a ride on the London Eye. It never stops and you have to wait behind these metal gates before getting on. Similar to a horse racing gate, once the gates go down you basically have to quickly jump on before they close the doors. We were quite worried that Tom may miss the jump, but we all safely made it on. After some souvenir shopping and trying to jam all the new clothing my parents brought me into two bags we went to one last dinner. We went to Slug and Lettuce which was quite good (Tom loved the ribs..) I rushed back to get my baggage and was off to the Westminster tube station to return back to Newcastle. The weekend went quite quickly, but I'm glad my parents got to experience the UK and some nice weather while they were here. It was so nice to see them, but scary because that means I'm at my halfway point here. See you in 10 weeks Joy & Tom!


London Eye.
Forced to tie his shoes, because he couldn't bend down.
Tower Bridge.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Two weekends in Newcastle!

Hi! It's been some time since I've updated on here. The last two weekends were spent out and about Newcastle so I wasn't so anxious to write about one of my trips. Last weekend I spent time with Britt since it was the last time we will both be in Newcastle for a weekend together until May! We went to a museum, went to the Tyneside markets and of course, went to dinner. This weekend I spent time with my British friends from my building. We really just spent our time going out to eat and hanging around.. mainly because I got sick again! Everyone who knows me well enough knows I do get sick quite frequently, but twice in 4 weeks is a bit much. I did invest in some Airborne before coming here, but it doesn't seem to be working so well for me. I hate the taste of "Zesty Orange" and it just doesn't seem to cure me. I'm hoping the medicine "Lemsip Max" does the trick (They have no American medicine here.. not even Advil!) This week I will be spending time catching up on work and getting ready for three very exciting weekends. It's always fun to have plans, but it was nice to have a two weekend break in between my travels. On Thursday evening I will be traveling via train to meet up with my parents in London. It's their first time in London (My mothers first time leaving the country) so I'm excited to see them and show them around. It's insane that I left home two months ago already. It feels like I've been around this town so long, yet it feels like I left Long Island just yesterday. The following weekend my friend Krissy from home will be visiting! I'm extra excited because I get to show her around Newcastle. (no one in my family wanted to make the trek all the way up North!) This is her first time out of the country and she received her passport a mere few weeks ago. Then last, but not least Brittany, myself and two fellow American girls will be flying to Ireland to go to the Taylor Swift concert! Shall all be exciting. Until then I plan on getting better and doing some work.

XX ( I now have turned slightly British.. they don't hug XO.. only kiss X )

Before going out!
From the top floor of the museum.
Around Newcastle!

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Hello! This past weekend myself and 6 of my friends went to Cologne, Germany. It was my first trip flying somewhere and to a country where they don't speak English. On Friday morning we took the train to Edinburgh, Scotland. I was there just last weekend, but we found a really cheap flight out of their airport. I hate flying and the woman who held my hand during the turbulent flight from New York to London wasn't around, but I survived the hour and 20 minute flight. We got to Germany late so we just grabbed dinner and went to bed early. The next morning we galavanted around Cologne. We went to a gorgeous cathedral called the Dome. We were located right by this huge shopping street so we did a ton of shopping. Towards the end of the day we found out all the stores would be closed the following day because it was Sunday so by Saturday night we were rushing around trying to buy souvenirs. Sometime in the afternoon we took the train to a little town called Bonn. It was a short train ride away, but was still very different from Cologne. We visited Beethoven's house and I got my first crepe! We then spent the majority of the next two days eating.. We had a ton of pastries, gelato, german sausage. I wasn't expecting the food to be so good there! Saturday night we were so exhausted from running around that we just hung out at the hostel. We all played cards and tried some German beer. Although not knowing German wasn't a big deal.. we had a few issues. There were bowls of candy around the lounge in the hostel. Brittany grabbed a bowl and started passing some out to our group. Well a girl that barely spoke english jumped and told Britt that the candy was "not common". We still don't know what she meant, but we know we weren't allowed to have any. We went to bed semi-early after this very awkward moment. It was really cold and there wasn't a lot to do on Sunday so whenever we needed somewhere warm to sit we would go grab something to eat. We also made it our goal to find places where you don't have to pay to use the bathroom. A lot of places in Europe and England you have to pay to use the toilet.. even restaurants! It's quite odd. We flew back to Scotland Sunday at 9pm. I was nervous, but the flight was fine. We met a girl who is in the Army and is based in Germany. She approached us because she heard our American accents and she is from Florida. Since the trains stop running to and from Newcastle at 10pm we booked a hostel to stay the night. At this point we were all ready to get home, but had no choice. We got lost trying to find the hostel so we hopped in a cab. We went straight to bed, woke up at 8am and caught a 9am train back to Newcastle. Although we were all exhausted, we had such a good weekend! The next 2 weekends I will be spending my time around Newcastle. Then I will be meeting my parents in London and my friend Krissy from home will be visiting! It's scary that by that week I will be halfway done with my study abroad session..


For the record.. I shared this with someone!
Inside the Dome.
The Dome.
On the Rhein River in Bonn.
Our group- 6 Americans, 1 Aussie!