Monday, January 30, 2012
Been busy the last week! I'll try to remember it all!
Last Wednesday we had another basketball game again the Lithuanian men! We started of the game losing as usual but then something amazing happened! I got to play! ...before we were losing by at least 20 points! I played along with the 3 other girls in the first half and at half time we were only down by 4! Then the coach put all the guys back in and we lost the game by 30 :( Oh well still fun! (The pictures are my friend Kristin and I after the intense game and on the right is us girls with the Lithuanian men.
Last Thursay we had our "Meet-A-Family!" This is a program where we can sign up to have a local family somewhat adopt us for the semester and I am also doing this with Kristin. We have a very adorable older couple that reminds us of our amazing grandparents! Tomorrow night (Tuesday) they will be picking us up from the manor and taking us back to their house to have a traditional English dinner! I hope it's yummy! They are very funny and cute! Our new mom LOVES wine and drank about half a bottle at our dinner and they both LOVE chocolate! So this should be fun!
Last Friday we left the manor at 8AM!!!! Then we drove for a veryyy long time to SCOTLAND! We stopped at the boarder rock and took some pics then adventures around Edinburgh for the weekend! Once we got to our hotel we headed out for a Scotch Whisky Experience! We rode around for 10 minutes in a big cut out barrel watching videos then we all went into a room and learned about the different scents in whisky and everything else there is to know about the drink! After we picked out our favorite scents we were able to have a little taste test, for this we went into another room that held the worlds largest whisky collection! Unfortunately I still do not have a taste for whisky...shocker. But the tour was still very cool!
After the whisky tour we went out for a very traditional Mexican dinner. So I have now have Chinese in London and Mexican in Scotland...after dinner we freshened up and headed out to find a quaint pub. Once there we discussed current events, politics, religion, and relationships. Not joking.
Saturday morning we had a nice brunch at the closest fast food place. Which just happened to be McDonalds! For the record their McDonalds are much classier than ours. They even boast about cage-free eggs. So Dad you need to get on top of that. After that we wandered around the city for the day. We checked out the National Gallery. Saw another castle and walked the Royal Mile. The Royal Mile is a road that leads from the Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. All down the stone road are amazing buildings, restraurants, gift shops, and if you look down the little alleys, amazing pubs! But anyways we wandered down the mile and met up with some other friends. After that we decided to climb a mountain! Not really sure what the name is but I'm sure Kristin will read this and correct me :) After about an hour of hiking, sweating and heavy breathing we made it to the top. It was worth. Even with my cold and coughing most of the day.
Let's see after that we need a bit more shopping. Then we went and found the cafe where JK Rowling started and finished writing the Harry Potter series...would have been neat if I read any of the books. After that we had a nice Italian dinner, refreshed at the hotel and went out to t
his extremely popular pup. It was called Whistle Binkies and had 4 different bands playing live music throughout the night! I was hoping to hear some Scotish music..like in the movies but they played quite a bit of American music. It was still a super awesome place and I have a new found love for live music! After that we were in bed by 1! We're hard core partiers...
On Sunday we loaded up onto the coaches at 9 and headed out on the long drive home. We stopped at a famous wall...that was mostly buried...then we stopped for some lunch and made it back home around 6 last night! It was a very fun weekend! I could not explain it all in on post but I hope to go back someday!
On this weeks agenda, tonight I have a basketball game at a Royal Air Force, tomorrow is traditional dinner with the fam, Wednesday we have a day long field trip to another castle. Not sure where we are going this weekend but Sunday we have our first volleyball game at a prison! It's going to be a busy week! CHEERS!
Monday, January 23, 2012
Anyways the semester if now in full swing! Classes are all going, trips are planned for almost every weekend, sports teams are starting up and this week I will be meeting the family that will be adopting me for the semester in our Adopt-A-Family program.
This past week I joined the volleyball and basketball teams here. The volleyball team is awful as of right now because every girl in the world thinks she can play volleyball...doesn't help that we have a cute British guy coaching us. So far the coach knows my name along with my friend from Eau Claire (Kristin). We are such super stars that he asked us to be team captains. He told us that means we need to yell at people and take charge of the team. My goal is just to hit people in the face to get rid of them. So far they don't like my new and improved jump serve. The most exciting thing we have done so far in practice is hitting lines where we have a sweatshirt laying down line on the court and if we hit it the coach owes us a drink. I don't think anyone hit it the first day but I was 6 inches away so I'm sure he'll owe me a few drinks by the end of the semester. (A certain someone back home always told me I couldn't hit line but I have to prove him wrong now.) We haven't had any games yet but we know that we will play anyone from D1 mens teams, to prisoners (yes I will be going to a prison to play volleyball...wonder if I can put that on my criminal justice resume), to intro levels teams. Should be interesting. Coach even said I'll probably be setting so that should be even more interesting!
Now onto basketball. Our school doesn't have an official coach so whoever showed interest got the job. Needless to say we have some dumb guy trying to coach us. It's not working out to well for him. We will set up productive drills and actually start playing then he will take us down to the base line and throw a ball down the court which we have to chase and then dive after. Needless to say my bladder kicked in during the drill so I hung out in the bathroom. We have about 11-12 people on our team and 4 of us our girls. To our coach that basically means we have 7-8 people on the team because obviously the male species is much superior and women can't play sports. We had our first game yesterday and he would put one of us girls in for a minute or two then put another one of us in for that girl then all the boys would go back in for another quarter. Oh well we make sure he hears our opinions on the bench and will likely be overthrown this week! Our game was still quite entertaining. Right now we are playing for the handicap cup. This means we start with a certain amount of points, not that we are playing people in wheel chairs! Yesterday we played a team with all men from Latvia or somewhere else that didn't speak english. We were able to kind of keep up with them even though they were all a foot taller than us. I think the most exciting part of the game was that at halftime their whole team went outside for a "fag" break. We're thinking that's why we lost so we'll probably take up smoking.
That is pretty much the only exciting stuff I did this past week. We went out on the wild town of Grantham this past weekend. It appears as though everyone here thinks we're dumb for coming to this town. It's ok we make the most of it. FYI Emma I finally heard the term "wanker" used! We also tried to teach them what a "bro" was. They didn't quite get out culture. It is interesting getting to know what people think of us compared to what we think of them. To everyone else the US the most powerful nation in the world and no other country even compares to it. They didn't even care when we tried to explain how overweight the country is. Last weekend I was talking with a girl from Switzerland and we were talking about how I thought it was amazing how some people know 3-4 different languages over here and in her country. What I did not realize was that for them they need to know multiple languages to just be able to travel in their country. She said that every side of their country spoke a different language and she could not live in her country without knowing 4 different languages. It was just weird because in high school we would have foreign exchange students and we always just thought they were really smart for knowing multiple languages but in reality it was a necessity that they knew the multiple languages.
Well that's about all I have for now. We have another basketball game this week and then I have to start planning my trip to Scotland for this weekend!
PS I learned some knew volleyball terms! Apparently when two people go for a ball they are called "lovers" and when they both stop and no one gets the ball up they are called "a married couple" because there is no energy there :)
Monday, January 16, 2012
Things are starting to get busy over here! This past weekend we spent the days wandering around a little town called London. Did you know it is the most expensive city in the world? After classes and dinner on Thursday most of the school loaded up onto three coaches (they aren’t called buses over here) and took off for the three hour ride to the city! Once there we checked into our giant hotel, spent 15 minutes attempting to find our room, walked in, closed the window and cranked the heat as high as it would go! They don’t heat their buildings the same over here as we do at home so I typically spend every day in about 3-4 layers of clothing. Anyways once the heat was going and close to starting the curtains on fire we headed out! …to subway! Yes, they do have meatball subs over here J delicious! After that we just went to the pub in our hotel had a drink and then went to bed so we could attempt to get up earlier in the morning.
Eventually we got out of bed and made it down to breakfast (30 minutes after we told our friends we would be down there). We spent most of Friday wandering the streets with only a handout, cameras and credit cards! We realized this was a bad idea after we made it to lunch and only found one thing on our list. The one thing was the National Museum and it was pretty cool. It was interesting being able to see everything I have heard about in my history classes and realize that everything my teachers have said actually exists! Anyways after a nice Italian lunch we were re-motivated and took off again. Somehow we got lucky and looked down a little alley way and saw a big building that said National Gallery. We figured that was a pretty good place to walk to. We then realized that was pretty much the heart of London. At least I think. So we wandered around there. It was pretty amazing seeing paintings the size of an entire wall! If anyone knows how they painted things that large let me know! After that we spent some more time outside the building looking at fountains, Olympic countdowns, statues and street performers. It was a little scary when the “bobbies” (police) walked around telling us pick pocketers (sp?) were in the area and to hold onto our stuff. For the record we never had any encounters or problems with them. So after that we of course walked another couple miles. That’s how we ran into Big Ben, Parliament, and Westminster Abbey. HUGE!!! All of them were very cool except the Abbey had some construction going on so it wasn’t as exciting. After that we decided to visit the Queen at Buckingham Palace. FYI she was there because her flag was flying on top of the building! Unfortunately she didn’t come out and hang with us. After that we started our hour and a half walk back to the hotel! We all settled into our nice warm beds and napped for about an hour! After being forced out of bed we went out for Chinese. Worst part of the trip, so we had to get subway cookies after wards!
Let’s see that leads into Saturday. This was another struggle to start. In case you are wondering getting out of bed was not an issue because of alcohol, we were just spoiled to have heat, television and real food! Anyways today we got smart and figured out the train system! Best creation ever! For E7=7 pounds we could ride all over the city! So that was an adventure! After getting off the first train ride our first stop was Starbucks! To help the espresso kick in we danced around the M&M store. Great music there for waking up FYI. We spent that day then searching for the London Bridge and Tower of London. We succeeded yet again! After that we gave in and got a quick lunch at Burger King and did a little shopping trip. That got a little crazy. The first store we went in was basically black Friday shopping for us but just regular shopping for them. I finally gave into myself and decided this would be an excellent location to buy a leather jacket! I still do not regret this decision. After that shopping attempt we hit up the National Portrait museum. Also cool because of how huge some of the pictures were. I’ll never get over the size of some of them! After that we realized we forgot to look at the most important item in the National Museum. We then hiked backed there to check out… the …2012 …London …OLYMPIC …MEDALS! SOOOO COOOL!!! Most of the facilities they will be using haven’t been built yet but I’m hoping they will have some when I go back to visit in April. After another quick break at the hotel we made reservations and headed out to a London steak house. Best meal I have ever had in my life. Sure I had to ask the waiter for suggestions and how to eat and everything but it was worth it. I had a perfect glass of real French wine to go with my sirloin steak! Yummmmm After that we headed out for a few drinks and met some people from Cleveland along with some Brits. Then it was back to bed.
On Sunday morning they loaded us back up on our coaches and we headed out to see Hampton Court Palace. I think that’s what it’s called. After a weekend in London we weren’t exactly pumped to walk around a freezing cold palace without lunch. But we persevered and did our best to stay entertained for 4 hours. I won’t lie it was pretty cool. There are pictures up on my flickr page. After that we napped the whole way back to our sucky little manor and started planning trips for next weekend; as well as ordering in a whole bunch of greasy food in an attempt to be able to watch the Packer game!
Today (Monday)was the first day of volleyball practice! I learned that we will be playing against anyone from beginner teams, to D1 teams to prisoners! Should be fun! The coach of course already knows my name and says that I should get used to setting because he wants to be competitive. Only because he has an accent will I agree! Tomorrow is the start of basketball practice so that will hopefully get me in shape as well.
Well that was a ton of writing and I’m sure I left some things out. Feel free to comment with any questions and check out my pictures!http://www.flickr.com/photos/beckibrunnquell/
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Classes are officially in full swing. This semester I am taking a 6 credit British Studies class that is required of everyone. I will also be taking two sociology classes. I believe I am one of two sociology majors here, let alone criminal justice so it should be interesting. The classes I am taking are Crime and Deviance and Sociology of Terrorism. The terrorism class should be interesting because of the topic but also because my professor is from Iran and can give a different perspective.
So far this week I have signed up to play on the volleyball and basketball teams here on campus. I feel like it may be a struggle because they encourage everyone to try it at first so I may have to hit a few people in the face to get rid of them. Basketball should hopefully get me back in shape as well. Interesting thing about working out here, the weights are in kilograms. Needless to say I will need to be doing some calculating while working out so I hopefully won’t crush myself!
The food here is awful! If you would like to keep me at an average weight you should probably send over some snacks! The food is just very odd and they serve it at awkward times so even when I do eat everything offered I am always starving. On a brighter note we have a little bar/hang out place here in the manor. Last night I tried to have a travel planning session and that turned into just hanging out and having a few drinks. According to a survey given to all the males in the room at the time women are more attractive when they drink beer rather than mixed drinks. So I now have to become a beer drinker!
I can’t think if any other updates at the time. The manor is absolutely amazing and has a bunch of different secret passage ways. We have only found 2-3 so far but are trying to find more! We have also been working on planning different trips. Right now I have 4 weekends that I will not be here at the manor and most of those will get booked with plans out of the country. Right now we are looking into planning a trip to Spain over Easter so that should be fun! This weekend we are going to be in London so let me know if you have any suggestions of things to see!
OK time for a deep thought.
This is the first time I have been forced to live with multiple females in a confined area. At least in EC I had thousands of other people I could hang out with. It is a little more difficult here because there are less than 300 people. The one thing that I realized is how low of self confidence some females have in themselves. Almost everything I hear is about how their faces are breaking out all the time, how other pretty girls are bitches, and how amazing every celebrity is! I mean I sometimes agree with the things they talk about but my typical morning thought is about how my roommates get up so early to do their hair, makeup and pick out cute outfits in order to feel good about themselves. They haven’t quite figured out that I can get up 10 minutes before class, but on jeans and multiple sweatshirts and walk out the door. This is all just a different environment that I haven’t been exposed to. True women.
Sunday, January 8, 2012
Saturday, January 7, 2012
Hello from England! I safely made it across the pond after one LONG trip! I left my house Thursday afternoon and headed for O’Hare. Once there I was abandoned by half my family to try and make it through the terrifying airport all on my own. Which I successfully did and only got yelled at once! Once I made it to the gate I was able to meet up with two other people that I’m going to school with that were from Missouri. Eventually I made it onto the plane and miserably struggled for the entire 7 hours. I could not fall asleep to save my life and was just bored the whole time. Eventually I ended up watching Footloose, which was a terrible idea because after that I just wanted to dance! After sitting in the car, airport and plane I was rather tired and cranky BUT that all changed when I looked out the window and watched the sunrise while we were flying a few thousand feet above London. It was by far the best sunrise I have ever seen! After wandering around the airport for an hour waiting we got on a “coach” and had a 3.5 hour drive to the manor but don’t worry I finally slept for about 2 hours and woke up while we were going up the mile long driveway to the manor AKA my castle! I don’t really remember much else of what happened yesterday…we wandered around the castle which was pointless because there is no form of organization in it so we got lost everywhere we went but that’s ok because every room is beautiful!
I have 3 roommates that all go to the University of Evansville. That school brought the most amount of students and they all for the most part know each other so in order to make friends you have to kind of find the other random people who also have no friends. I also feel a little out of place when they get up early in the morning to put on all their makeup, do their hair and put on dresses to go to orientation. Ohh well I have the best style anyways and all I could think of was how I look the best out of all of us and don’t even have to try!
The food here is kinda weird, for lunch today we had fries, mac and cheese and our choice of bacon or ham. I did not realize that was considered a meal! After lunch we headed out to go shopping in down town Grantham, which was intense because the goal was just to not stand out for being American. We were doing well until our credit cards didn’t work but we got out of there and headed out to find a pub. Tonight we have a formal reception dinner and then are attempting to find another actual pub to go to!
Hmm what else…I had my first class last night. It was an introduction class for my British Studies class, we had our choice between white wine, red wine and orange juice and I’m pretty sure my professor used to be a raging alcoholic! He is already my favorite professor ever! He spent the whole time rambling and swearing about everything that came into his mind! Also today at lunch I met my sociology professor that I will have two classes with. Well I didn’t really meet him, but instead I met his wife and son while he sat and ate but that’s ok.
Sorry that most of this is just rambling about everything I can think of but I’ll blame the jet lag and 6 hour time difference! I’ll get better at this! Enjoy J