Thursday, March 15, 2012

Lake District National Park

Seriously running out of time to write these!!! Sorry I didn't get to one last week but I did not travel anywhere that weekend and was busy doing tons of homework so it would not have been as exciting!

Anyways, seeing as how most of us have been hauling on all the papers and presentations that we have put off until the night before they are due, we have had plenty of time to get up to shenanigans around the manor. It all started a week or two ago when we decided to clean our room for the first time all semester...we even vacuumed and had our window open so we could breath clean air! It was an extremely nice day out and everyone was enjoying their time around the manor so it was no surprise when we heard voices outside our window. But we decided to check it out to see who was wandering our backyard. Then we looked out and saw our two good friends walking around with a computer and...a trampoline! (Pictures: the left is the view from out window and the right is my friend Nick with his trampoline.) Needless to say the boys decided to create the worlds greatest trampoline video from locations all around the manor. We even added a little segment to the video. If you want it's the part looking down at Nick jumping below our window. I suggest watching it as you can see where we get to spend our time! ( There is the link. The next day we were a little bored and had a clean room and window so we decided to do some measuring and remodeling. Needless to say we figured out that our beds fit inside our window! Which I think has a pretty nice view to wake up to. The only downsides are that you are next to the window so it's kinda cold, it's quite a jump to get up into the bed and...oh...our roommate Rachel doesn't like it when her bed gets moved into the window when she goes on trips out of the country for the weekend. But I think she moved on so it's all okay. After all of this fun we decided we needed something else to entertain ourselves and we decided it was finally time to purchase hula hoops! Greatest study break and workout all in one! Especially for half an hour before a big test! Video coming soon I'm sure! And that is what we have been up to in the manor!

So all we really have been up to at the manor is late nights doing homework and working out in the most obnoxious ways. But then we went to Lake District National Park and worked out in even more unusual ways! Sadly I think the thing I was most tired after was horse riding...We left for Lake District last Thursday and arrived later at night in time for a little walk and for boys to jump into the lake off of the pier behind our hostel...On Friday I went out with a couple people and enjoyed the afternoon learning how to actually ride and control a horse and then they let us go out on an hour long ride through the hills with great views. My horses name was Jacob and I think he was a little bored because he kept trying to throw me this I mean that I would be holding onto the reigns and when I would try and stop him he would slow down then throw his head down toward the ground which caused me to fall forward and almost flip over his head. But he was no challenge for my mad skills so I rode him like a champ. Well except for when I tried to take pictures, then he would start galloping and I would lose my balance and one of the reigns then he would start walking sideways which was a bit of a mess. But I was at the back of the pack so no one seemed to notice. I also do not recommend taking pictures on a horse! (Pictures: on the left is one of my pictures on top of Jacob and the right is Kristin and myself at the end of our ride. She was riding in front of me and her horse was also bored so it would slow down so they would get behind and then start galloping to catch up. I'm pretty sure Jacob liked this because it meant that he could take off galloping as well, which happened most when I wasn't paying attention.) After horse riding we were all exhausted (sadly) so about 6 of us girls laid down for a quick cat nap in our room, then when the alarms went off 45 minutes later they were quickly turned off and we slept for another hour. I think it was honestly the greatest nap of my life! So if you want to have a good nap go horse riding! After nap time I went on a walk with Kristin into town, which was 15 minutes away, and we wandered around trying to find cheap water pants for the activities of Saturday. Eventually we found some and walked back to the hostel. Then we found some hungry friends and turned around and walked back for some burgers! It was a pretty crazy Friday for us!

Saturday was our day of being adventurous! We had two sessions scheduled out in the mountains of Lake District for the day. Our morning was spent ghyll scrabbling and in the afternoon we went rock climbing! First of all I do not like water! I can doggy paddle like no other but I just do not prefer to be in it. I thought it would be fun because I have climbed up little waterfalls in Jamaica with the fam where everyone is in swim suits and it's warm, everyone holds hands and helps each other and it's all fun. But they are more serious about their water adventures here! Ghyll scrambling is basically climbing up a strong river/creek with a few small waterfalls that lead to one large one at the end. Well I was all ready to go with my rain jacket, water pants and rain boots. Everything started out ok except for my rain boots flooding 5 minutes into the hike (which has been my biggest fear in life!). But it was all fun nothing too serious just hiking up rocks and laughing with friends. THEN everything starts going downhill! To start out, we got to this point where we kinda climbed under a tree and around some rocks, well they didn't warn us that there were some dead sheep mangled in some branches near by! So the 5 boys of course all thought this was funny while I'm panicking trying not to look, with Kristin behind me panicking even more so I was trying not to die while giving Kristin a pep talk of where not to look and how to get around them. But eventually we got through that incident and were back to a semi content state and we rock climbed up a little waterfall, emptied out my rain boots and were ready to continue. We had a bit of happiness but things started going downhill. Turns out the farther we got into the climbing, the more excited the 5 guys got, while the 3 of us girls got more scared and freaked out. It also didn't help that our guide was at the front and didn't talk very loud so he would ask the boys in front if they wanted to go the easier ways or the more exciting ways. This is when things turned for the worse! It was decided that the most exciting way to climb up some falls was to jump into this little pool at the bottom of some rushing waters, then swim/try and climb a slippery wall that had no grips and then somehow reach for tree branches and drag ourselves up the side of the falls. Well I was already a bit nervous so I decided to try this second so I didn't panic while watching others attempt this. So I start to climb into the pool, which turned into a drop off (keep in mind that it's like 50 degrees outside and it was the first day of the season that they opened gylll scrambling so the water was freezing!) so I'm drowning shoulder deep, fully clothed with rain boots oh and water rushing at me. I'm trying to grab onto this wall and pull myself closer to the bottom of these falls but I can't find anywhere to grab onto and I'm no where near the instructor trying to grab my hand and pull me to the tree roots. This is where Titanic comes into play. (and yes I did feel like I was in Titanic at this point, just drowning in freezing water). All of a sudden my body goes into shock and I can't breath. So I'm panicking, ready to cry. Then the guy behind me decides I just need a push. So he pushes my shoulders so I go sideways with my shoulders going towards the wall and my legs going the wrong way. Oh and my rain boots start falling off. Most terrifying moment of my life! Anyways eventually I get close enough to the instructor and he pulls me up. Needless to say I was ready to be done at this point but we were barely half way through! The next 45 minutes were spent giving myself pep talks for everything I did, trying not to cry while trying to keep up with the very excited boys that did not care if I fell behind! BAH! Long story short we made it to the end AKA the big waterfall. Which we rock climbed our way to the top of, yes through the water all the way up. At this point I was fed up with this water and I don't think I have ever climbed so fast in my life! I made it to the top of that damn waterfall! Pictures: top right is me, my friend Katie, and Kristin ready for ghyll scrambling, top left was one of the casual climbs, on the right is our group all at the top of the waterfall. Apparently other groups were lectured on how they needed to work together...we were not told to do such a thing. So on the left is what we should have looked like (not the whole drowning thing)...and on the right is another group but with the waterfall that we climbed at the end. So that was that experience. If it was just climbing waterfalls I could have done that like a champ but surprisingly I am just not a fan of drowning.

After changing every item of clothes, (behind the bus because the bathrooms had not been opened yet for the season) grabbing some lunch and chugging a Baileys hot chocolate I was semi ready to take on the world again. Next up was rock climbing. Which is nothing like indoor rock climbing might I add. We went for a walk down the road and had a little hike through a field and up a hill. Turns out this field has sheep. Which was ok because we have seen tons of sheep but I guess we have never had an encounter with one with full grown horns wrapped around it's head. Of course all the boys are up ahead taking on the mountain not caring about us or noticing this sheep. So me and Kristin look off to the side and see this sheep, then it starts to stomp it's hoof or whatever sheep have at us, which it usually not a good thing to see from any animal, then it begins to charge at us! Being girls all we know how to do is freeze and watch it come at us. BUT THANK GOD! This dumb sheep decides to run three feet away from us but right past us and then stops and eats some more grass. And that was the start of rock climbing! We hiked a couple more minutes then got sexy in our harnesses and helmets! There was one very large rock that had three areas of difficulty we could climb up. I made it up the first two but didn't have much strength or enthusiasm left for the third so I just went into picture mode and was very content :) Pictures: obviously showing off my climbing skills and on the left is the hike leading to the rocks we climbed. It was very pretty and had a great view at the top.

After this is was time to load back onto the bus and head back for the night. We had yummy dinners at the hostel complete with huge ice cream sundaes. Then it was an early night to bed because we didn't have much energy left. On the right is the pretty view at the end of the pier behind our hostel. Lots of mountains around with lakes all between them.

On Sunday we packed up and started the trip home. We drove for 45 minutes and then stopped in the city of Keswick which is known for being one of the prettiest locations in England, also on a lake. So we stopped here for a few hours and went for a hike along a trail on the lake and had a nice lunch sitting outside at a pub. It was yet another beautiful weekend. They keep telling us how it is always cloudy and rainy but we rarely get to see this on our weekend trips so I think they might just be lying. Pictures: top left is at Keswick, bottom right is the lake and mountains at Keswick and the bottom left is us at lunch. After another long coach ride we made it back to the manor. It was a fun night of putting a presentation together of how gender stereotypes were portrayed in Victorian art! It was even finished 8 hours before I had to give it which was pretty impressive!

Yesterday, (Wednesday) we had another one of our huge British Studies tests, AKA writing for 2 hours straight. But this time instead of taking us to Ireland afterwords they gave us a much better treat! They had a farmer bring little baby lambs to the manor so we could hold them, love them and suffocate them!!!! Then last night we had a huge bonfire for Spring Equinox or something...not sure but it was very big! After that I had bonding night with some friends with included watching old episodes of Rugrats! Which by the way, that show is much better when you are 21 and you realize you had no idea what they were talking about when you were little and you also love how obnoxious their hair and voices are! But it was a pretty great day/night! Pictures: on the left is my newest baby, top right is the fire, middle right is hanging out at the fire, bottom right is my boyfriend Nick, we dated for a wonderful 10 hours, but it was filled with much conflict as his wife Kristin did not like our relationship, and my husband Jake was also not too fond of us being together. But we cherished our time together especially our last moments as a couple watching Rugrats. Relationships are just so much easier over here.

Here is where I talk about how home sick I am. Which I am not, so please don't make me come home!!!!!!! Here is the interesting thing though. In my terrorism class we had to pick research topics for our final papers and my topic is justifying Islamic terrorism and suicide bombings (an example is 9/11). Which most of you probably do not get why this is a good topic at all but it's a sociology class so don't judge. But anyways terrorism is the most conflicting topic to study because you don't want people from your own country dieing but you also have to understand the reasoning of why the killing is justified. THEN, newest addition to the topic, this week we started watching a movie that came out called World Trade Center which is about 9/11 and goes in the footsteps of the firefighters and police officers (well so far of what I've seen) and after discussing with my roommates, we realized that we were all in 4th and 5th grade, and we know where we were when it happened but we really had no idea what the buildings were or understood the concept of all of these people dieing. So I may cry for the first time while being over here because of 9/11 and the pain of what my home country had to go through on that day and how it is still affecting us today. While still thinking about my paper and how I have to justify this mass murdering of innocent people. And that it my one deep topic of the day. I apologize if this was a very dramatic blog! But everyday I experience something new and it is crazy! I love it here so much and almost pray that I will get homesick soon so that I want to come home someday!

Thanks for reading!