Archive for the ‘Study Abroad in the UK’ Category

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Chiyo: Chelsea vs. Liverpool

November 29, 2011

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I am still on an endorphin high from the experience I had tonight. I went to a Chelsea vs Liverpool match with Jamie, Rene, and Curtis, and it was unbelievable. I was the only Chelsea fan out of the four of us, Jamie a Liverpool fan, and Curtis and Rene just reallyyyy love soccer. It made me think back to the days when I was a striker several years ago.

Football is INTENSE here, and the fans are loyal, loud, and bloody fun. Jamie and I had the better pair of tickets (since she purchased them), and we got to sit in the lower sections. I could literally make out every players face (Go Torres!). Both sides were roaring with cheers, and although you can’t really understand what they’re saying, because it’s like a battle between the two sides, it was awesome. Earlier this semester we went to a lower level league team, but that was nothing compared to the professionals. I was definitely screaming and cursing a lot, and I think I have said “oy!” about 20 times throughout the match. It was an intense game, with the refs making a lot of bad calls against Chelsea. At one point when Liverpool was ahead, they had to bring out the brigade of security guards because like I said before, soccer fans are loyal and loud. It gets to a point where you wonder if someone is going to storm the field if a bad call is made because they get that crazy. Jamie had to keep her comments to herself since she was surrounded by Chelsea fans, and I was thankful for that. She would have been torn to bits if she made it known she was a Liverpool fan. 

Liverpool ended up winning, and it was a big upset because Chelsea had made some really good attempts, but just failed every time. Torres choked as usual, but at least our players know how to stay up on two feet (Liverpool’s players kept falling down). On the way home, it was mass chaos. Trying to get to the tube station from the stadium was hard enough. We had people pushing and shoving, and the Liverpool fans were cheering things like, “Thank you for buying Torres, Torres, Thank you for buying Torres…” Just to get on the tube you had to fight your way through the crowds, and I used my “fun sized” body to my advantage. I saw a dad pick up his small child, shove himself on the tube, and he barely made it on, with his son in midair to keep him from getting squished. 

It was one of those nights where once you’re on public transportation, everything goes your way. After we got off our one train to get a connecting one, there was one right when we got to the platform. We had to transfer one more time to get home, and the train was there in less than a minute. And the 297, which is a bloody disaster half the time, was actually at the bus stop, and we hopped right on. I still can’t believe I was at the Chelsea vs Liverpool game tonight. I won’t forget it. 

Chelsea and Liverpool are rivals, and here is one of the Chelsea songs they sing. 

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Chiyo: Keep calm, and carry on

November 28, 2011

There’s a saying in Britain, that can be found on posters, tea mugs, oyster card holders, you name it, it’s probably on there. My life motto is probably “Keep Calm, and Carry On,” and today that motto definitely came in handy when I needed it most. 

Waking up to my alarm after a rough night of sleep due to my cough attacks keeping me up, was not pleasant. I arrived at work a few minutes late because of delayed trains on my side of town, and was given my first task for the morning. It is actually one of my favorite tasks. I was given several orders to place for a buyer, and for some reason this task keeps me calm and centered. But before I could get to that, one of my supervisors asked if we could talk in private. Now, I don’t know about you, but when I was little whenever an adult pulled you aside to “talk in private” it was never a good thing. So I wasn’t expecting her to be all unicorns and rainbows and life is FANTASTIC! We sat down, and she asked me if I was happy at Esprit. I was thrown for a loop, because all I do is rave about my internship. After some talking and some other things said, I was pretty torn apart, and let’s just say it ended with me “meditating” for a good 20 minutes in the hallway. 

After  collecting myself, and with a Keep Calm and Carry On mindset, I went back to work. It felt like the longest 8 1/2 hours of my life. I was so happy to see the clock tick 5, which signaled that I was free to go home for the night. I got home and was delighted to have an empty flat, and found out that my friend is taking me to the Chelsea vs. Liverpool game tomorrow night! So that turned my horrible day around. 

I’ve learned that through the negatives, you just have to turn them into a positive. You can either sit and mope, and not do anything about it, or you can take what you have been given, and use it to make you a better person in other fields of life. So that is exactly what I am going to do. I have 1 1/2 days left at my internship, and plan on making the most of it, even though this afternoon I wanted to give up and shut myself down. I want to go out strong, and show them that I can overcome what I’ve been told, and use it to my advantage. 

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Our holiday campaign, with new door front at my showroom

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Chiyo: Blink and you’ll miss it

November 27, 2011

I almost forgot about a really cool event going on in London today, and I’m glad that I remembered it last night, or I would have missed out on something that only happens once a year. I told my flatmate about it last night, and she wanted to come along as well, so around 11, after sleeping in we left the flat and set out on our adventure.

The event that only takes place once a year, is on Leake Street, where there is a tunnel. Blink, and you’ll miss it. This is the tunnel known for graffiti artists to express their inner ‘artiste.’ After visiting Berlin and seeing all the graffiti there, I really gained a better appreciation for wall art, and so when I heard about this event via Twitter, I knew I had to go see it. This event is a two hours long, and the theme changes every year. You literally get to watch them “do their stuff” live, and see the process from start to finish. There was music bumping, and they were all drinking beers. It was just a very laid-back environment, and you could tell they were in the moment. I’m not sure what the theme is this year, but I was glad I got to take part and be a witness to such a cool form of art. After we hung out in the tunnel watching the artwork come to life, Katie and I were hungry so we went to Slug and Lettuce for lunch before heading to our next destination. 

Once we finished with lunch, we were off to Kingston, which is a good 40 minutes from Waterloo station. Ever since I got out of London the first time a few weeks back, I haven’t been able to stop. It’s just nice to explore new cities, and it is a nice change of pace. The main reason why we went to Kingston was due to an attraction that we had heard about. There are these telephone booths that are tipped over like a domino effect, and the title of the work is called, “Out of Service.” It’s located right on Old London Road, and quite the attraction. Kingston was quite the lovely town, and on the way to Kingston via the train, there is a town called Strawberry Hill. After taking our pictures, we grabbed Starbucks (I spend wayyy too much money there…) and walked around the town. All the Christmas decorations are up, and I oohed and aahhed at them because they were so pretty. We stopped in a shopping centre nearby, and there were these Christmas decorations that at the top, open up like a blooming flower, and there’s characters inside of them(see facebook for pics). Katie and I popped into Esprit, where I have gotten her hooked on the clothes, and we both ended up making purchases. Shops close around 5 pm on Sundays in the UK, so we made our way back to the station to head home to get to our term papers. 

Back at the flat it’s just me, Katie, and Allie. We only have two weeks of school/finals left, so we’re all absorbed in writing our term papers. Time to get back to work!

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One of the artists hard at work

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Kingston

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Chiyo: Turkey Day in London

November 25, 2011

Unlike everyone else back in the states who is on Thanksgiving Break, my life stayed the same here in London since they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving. Although we don’t get off school or internships, I can’t really complain considering we had a 10 day Fall Break at the end of October, so it’s a fair trade off. My voice sounded horrid this morning from being sick, and I was not ready to take on the day. 

We got our final case study in my int’l mktg class, which I’m super excited about because it is about Ferrari. And I absolutely LOVE cars. We did a small group exercise like we normally do every week, and this time it was a little different because it was about pricing strategy and after we gave what we thought were the correct multiple choice answers, our prof gave us the author’s answers and we were given a score from 1-5. Well…our team apparently is not very good at pricing strategy because we came in dead last. After class got out i had a field trip for my pop culture class in Camden Town, so I headed out of school and onto the tube for the gajillionth time.

Today our field trip was a trip to the Jewish Museum, which was surprisingly a fun field trip. We had a de-briefing by this cute old man who volunteers at the museum once a week, and he was so cheeky and lovely. My favorite section of the museum had to of been the memorial to the holocaust, because it was different from every other museum I have met on the holocaust, and way different from the concentration camp I visited when I was just 15 years old. This memorial stood out because it focused on one survivor from the holocaust, who is from Britain and after he was liberated, spent the rest of his life giving speeches about what happened during those awful years. It was such a moving section of the museum, and they have a video running of the man telling his story. I think the one thing that I will take away with me from that memorial was how after his wife, him, and his son got shipped off to the first of many concentration camps, 15 minutes later the papers that proved they were British citizens and which would have kept them safe from being deported had arrived. Fifteen minutes. That just breaks my heart, because his little boy and wife were taken to the gas chambers, and he didn’t find this out until he was liberated. 

I was looking forward to CAPA Thanksgiving, and even though I knew it would not even come close to what it would have been like back home in the states, it was still really great of them to put on a dinner for all of us. At my table, it was all Newman kids, and we went around the table and said what we were thankful for. It was then that I really missed being home with my family, where I would be cooking up a storm with my mom and sister. In the hotel where we had dinner though, they were showing the Packer game which I thought was awesome. I couldn’t really tell if the food was any good or not to be honest, because I have lost all sense of taste and smell due to being sick. I did however, take full advantage of eating lots and lots of mashed potatoes, turkey, and cranberry sauce. It may not have been the Thanksgiving that I am used to, but I will always remember “Turkey Day” in London 🙂

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My school put decorations up for us 🙂

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Chiyo: All. That. Jazzzz!

November 25, 2011

Tonight, will go down in history as one of my favorite memories of London. But before I get to why it was so memorable, I’ll start from the beginning…

I got to sleep in today since I didn’t have to go to my internship, which was lovely. Last night my flatmates and I had talked about trying to get tickets to Chicago for today, and I wasn’t really sure if I would be up for it because I’m still sick, and thought I would be worn down and not “enthusiastic” enough. Katie woke up early to go to the theatre to try and grab us tickets, and was successful! Once she got back to the flat, the three of us ventured out to Harrods, because they had just received a litter of bulldog puppies, and Allie is OBSESSED with bulldogs. We walked around Harrods for a bit, saw the puppies, and then walked to Hyde Park where the winter festival is taking place. There were rides, food stall after food stall, and lots, and lots of mulled wine. While Allie and Katie grabbed mulled wine, I had a Hot Toddy (because they’re known for helping colds), and Katie and I stumbled upon a currywurst stand and started to geek out. Currywurst was the one food item we fell in love with while in Berlin, so of course we got some currywurst and pomme frittes to snack on! Once we were done with the winter festival, we headed to the V&A museum near our school to kill time before Chicago.

The show was absolutely amazing. America Ferrera, best known for starring in Ugly Betty on ABC and starring in the Sisterhood and the Traveling Pants movies played Roxy Hart. She held her own on that stage, and really did quite well. The woman who played Wilma was super old, and threw us all off guard but man, could she dance and sing! The cast was fantastic, and afterwards we waited by the door where they all exit, hoping America would come out to sign autographs. The guy that played her lawyer in the show is named Darius Campbell was the first to come out, and he was super nice and was willing to sign everyone’s souvenirs. It was about a 15, 20 minute wait before America shows up at the door, and there is her publicist, and a gate to block her off from everyone. We waited patiently and were probably 5th in line, and when we got to her it was incredible. She signed our tickets for us, and we asked her how she was liking London, and how long she has been here for. She was so sweet, but you could tell she was exhausted from doing two back to back shows. She was also kind enough to let us get a photo with her (which my roomie Allie has), and after we got our photo with her we squealed like little school girls. I’ve watched her in television and in movies for years now, so it was just awesome to meet someone who you have seen in film and television before. Allie and Katie met up with some of our Newman Crew friends, but I was tired and just wanted to get home. Plus, I knew it wouldn’t be smart of me to go out when I’m still sick. I’m definitely looking to sleeping in tomorrow!

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Chiyo: Greenwich

November 20, 2011

I wanted/needed a change of scenery. So with an abundance of beautiful places around London, Katie and I had planned earlier in the week to take a visit to Greenwich. This place is best known for being able to straddle the Prime Meridian, home to the Royal Naval College where shows like Bones, and time-period films have had scenes filmed there. It’s also just a lovely town with a beautiful park that is really the center of the whole place.

Greenwich is about an hour and a half away from where we live, but lucky for us there is a very fast train that will take you to Greenwich. However, we had to think on our feet because with lots of planned engineering going on, and me finding how to get to Greenwich via Google UK, and Katie looking yesterday how to get there, we didn’t know that the line we were going to take was shut down for the weekend. I was glad that I wrote down an alternative route before leaving the flat, so we took a train to get to Greenwich. Upon arrival, we decided to play it by ear, and get food first before exploring the town. We ate at a pub called the Spanish Galleon, where they brew the oldest beer in the UK. After eating delicious food, and even better desserts (me Apple Crumble; Katie a Knickerbocker Glory). Our first stop was the Royal Naval College, which is quite the lovely uni. They have a building that houses the Painted Hall with just stunning paintings from floor to ceiling. I had heard that the chapel was also amazing and a “must see” but there was a wedding taking place so it was closed for the afternoon. After visiting the college, we headed to the park, which is MASSIVE. It is going to be where the 2012 Olympic equestrian events take place this coming Summer. It also houses the National Maritime Museum, and the Royal Observatory, which I’ll talk about later.

We popped into the museum to see how much admission was, and to our pleasant surprise, it was free! Because the Prime Meridian is a part of Greenwich, this is a town full of rich history and sea life. The museum was really lovely, and I’m glad we went in and had a look round. On the top floor, there was even a jazz band playing that day, and they were really good. We finished up in the museum, and went out to this massive span of grass so Katie could take a picture of the RNC from afar. There were a few students nearby filming, and they must have heard our American accents, because one of them approached me asking if they could use us in their uni study, by asking us a few queries on camera. We said, “sure, why not?” and then one of the guys proceeded to ask us where we were from, what brought us to the UK, and if we saw ourselves coming back ever again. English parks are breathtaking. There is seriously no other “kind” of park out there that can compare to an English park. Another thing I noticed about parks in general in the UK is that they’re just very romantic. I mean, it is like the perfect setting for couples, and that was re-inforced when everywhere you looked, people were coupled up. We made our way up the hill to the Royal Observatory, where you can straddle the Prime Meridian. Of course we took our cheesy photos of us straddling the meridian, and once that was done, we made our way back down to the main part of the park to go to the Greenwich Market. 

The market on Saturdays and Sundays is devoted to arts and crafts, and food. Earlier in the day I had spotted a food stall that was selling chocolate covered strawberries and other chocolate covered fruit items, and knew I wanted to stop there later on. We shopped around, and found a photo stall where Katie and I each found some photos to bring back with us to the states of London. Then, at the back of the market, there was this stall where a guy can bend metal and make your name for a small price. So since there is literally nothing with my name on it like you would see in a souvenir shop or something because it isn’t popular, I jumped at the chance to have him make me something with my name. I had him mend the metal into my name, and then have London written as well. There is also a heart with a red stone next to my name. My roomie Katie went one step further, and bought me a personalized keychain with my name on it, and a Hello Kitty charm on it 🙂 Once we felt like we covered the market from head to toe, we stopped and got our fruit covered in chocolate, and that was gone in seconds. Before heading home, we went to the movies, and watched the fourth twilight movie. It was better than I thought it would be, and I’m glad we went. 

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Straddling the Prime Meridian!

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Chiyo: Internship + Movie Marathon

November 19, 2011

I really did not want to go to my internship this morning. All I wanted to do was crawl back into bed after my alarm went off, and call in “sick.” But, I love my internship too much, and it was only a half day, so I sucked it up and went to the showroom. I got an e-mail from my supervisor which made me sad, because it was about how she doesn’t want me to start up any new tasks since I only have two full weeks left at the showroom, and it’s making my time left in London more and more of a reality. Before I knew it, I was done for the day, and next week I get to go around to some of the retail stores which I am super excited about. 

I got home around 2, and had the flat to myself. It was nice to come home to an empty flat, because rarely do I get any alone time, because I am always out and about, or if I’m at the flat, at least one flatmate is also home. I can’t wait to go back to the states and have my own room, so I can get some peace and quiet whenever the hell I want it. My one flatmate Katie got home about an hour after I did, and when she popped her head into the living room, what I saw was a SHOCK. She had gotten her hair coloured and cut, and it looks lovely! She told the hairdresser to basically do whatever she wanted to do with her hair. After tea and biscuits, we ventured out of our flat and explored more of our neighborhood for a few hours. We also scheduled our spa day in December, as a treat to ourselves for finishing up our program. 

The plan for tonight is really quite cheesy, but I have no shame. We’re going to see the fourth Twilight movie next week, so we are ordering takeaway and watching the first three twilight movies. 

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Chiyo: Busy internship

November 15, 2011

It still amazes me how fast time has been passing since getting back from Fall Break. Our professors warned us that the second half goes faster than the first half, and I didn’t believe them. Until now. I was at my internship today looking at the calendar, and realized I am only in the showroom a mere 12 more times. I’ve become quite the expert at the systems we use, and I hardly have to ask queries anymore. I’m not ready to leave this family that I have become a part of quite yet, and I know that when I have to say my goodbyes it isn’t going to be easy. 

The first job I tackled when I arrived at my showroom was to finish up an excel spreadsheet that I had been working on for all of our IRL (Ireland) customers. To my shock, when I opened up my document, none of my work had saved from last Friday, even though I remember hitting save several times (because I get paranoid), and NONE of it had saved. So I had to start from scratch, and that took up about 2 hours of my time. I sometimes get so caught up in my work, that I tend to forget about lunch. So around 2:15, my supervisor asks me if I had gone to get lunch yet, and I look at the time and realize how much time has passed. Not wanting to leave my work, I just run next door to Sainsbury’s and pick up something quick to eat. I had to retrieve more barcodes for some of our buyers, and I know that if I ever get into a fashion job that involves finding barcodes (style codes and more) for a buyer, I will be a PRO at that. I’ve got the system down to a “T.” I was cranking out my tasks left and right, and before I knew it, it was time for me to head on home. 

Back at the flat I was bitten by the cleaning bug, and tidied up my side of the room, organized all my clothes, cleaned up our living room, and put a load of laundry in. Still having the cleaning bug, I took our bathroom rubbish from both bathrooms and dumped them into a big garbage bag with the rest of the rubbish I had collected, and took out the first bag of trash. I was so proud of myself because I knew our flat would be nice and tidy for when the cleaners came tomorrow. That’s when my roomies told me that actually, no, the cleaners would not be here tomorrow. Because tomorrow is Tuesday. And our cleaners come on Wednesday mornings…fail on my part. But hey, at least we don’t have to worry about tidying up before Wednesday morning now!

My to do list: 

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Chiyo: Sunday Roast

November 13, 2011

This afternoon 2 of my flatmates and I had signed up to attend a traditional British Sunday Roast with CAPA. It was held at the Warwick Castle Pub, a quaint little pub near “Little Venice” in central London. We were all super hungry when we arrived, and when the food started to come out, it smelled ah-mazingggg. On our plate we had roast beef, potatoes that were crispy, and yorkshire pudding (kind of like a croissant with gravy on top of it). After gobbling up our yummy food, some of us stopped by to take pictures of Little Venice, which was a block away from the pub. Little Venice is just this super cute canal, with the gondolas, and a boat that is converted into a restaurant. They even have a boat that will take you to Camden town from the dock.

Katie and I have been meaning to go boot shopping, so after the roast, we headed off to Stratford to visit Westfield Mall. Like usual, the mall was pretty packed, but not too bad today. We stopped in a few stores that had boots, but nothing grabbed our attention. Once we stopped into Esprit though, that’s when the spending started to happen. My roomie found a great coat, and I promised all my flatmates that they could use me for my discount, so she got an amazing deal on it. I ended up getting a new top that I will prolly wear to my internship tomorrow, and a pom pom hat and matching scarf. I also invested in some new ballet flats, because with all the walking we do here, I have definitely worn down a lot of my shoes. I promised Katie I would take her to Mr. Pretzels, which is this really yummy pretzel place that is uber popular here. After a quick stop in at Boots, we headed home to our flat in Ealing. 

I got to skype my mom for her birthday, which was great because I haven’t seen my mom or dad in ages via skype. It was just nice to wish her a happy birthday over video chat, since I can’t be home with her in the states to properly celebrate. Time for me to get back to some Ed Sheeran-Good Night World.

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Chiyo: Guy Fawkes night

November 7, 2011

Saturday for Guy Fawke’s Night was so much fun. The day started off with me and my flatmate Katie going to Borough Market, a great place to grab fresh produce, and other great food finds. After walking around the market for awhile, we stopped in a nearby pub for a pint and classic British food. We walked along the Thames, and after a few hours of enjoying the typical London weather, we headed home to Ealing to prepare for Guy Fawke’s festivities. 

We quickly ate dinner, and grabbed Jamie to head out to Battersea Park to purchase our tickets, since we heard this was THE place to be for Guy Fawke’s Night, and we wanted to make sure we got there in time for the fireworks. It was mass chaos trying to get to the park, because there were so many people out for Guy Fawke’s Night, and after a slight lou detour at Oxford Circus, we were on our way to the park. Between too many people trying to catch the same tube as us, and Katie and I in our “focus mode,” we ended up losing Jamie and made it onto the tube, but she didn’t. She forgot her cell at the flat, so getting ahold of her was impossible, and we prayed that she somehow made it safe to the park and got to see the fireworks show (she did). There were thousands upon thousands of people, massive bonfires around the park, and good times all around. The fireworks show lasted a good 20 min, and was set to different songs involving the word “fire” in them. I got super excited when they played Owl City’s “fireflies” because Adam is from Minnesota.They ended the show with Kings of Leon’s Sex on Fire, one of my favorite songs, and it was overall such a great show. Because the queues were so long to try and get out of the park, Katie and I tried to attempt to hop the fence like everyone else was doing. However, between the rain during the day that made the fence all slippery and me wearing ballerina flats, neither of us succeeded making it over the fence. So we joined the queue and eventually made it out of the park. We ended up walking a long distance to get to a tube station that was somewhat close to our tube stop (aka 9 stops away), and after what felt like ages we made it to our stop, and took the tube home.

This morning (or should I say afternoon) since I didn’t get up until noon, Katie and I had a movie day/night. I watched Friends with Benefits, the Change up, and No Strings Attached, and it was definitely a Rom Com kind of day/night. In between movies I got to catch up with my UN roomies back in the states, and it was so good seeing them. I can’t believe another week/weekend has gone by, and it is already the start of a new week tomorrow. Time is definitely flying by here!

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