Posts Tagged ‘apartment’

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Brittany: Flat 7

January 11, 2012

Today was move in day and I’m already in love with this city. Our flat is located in Ealing, basically a suburb of central London, about 40 minutes away from downtown. I’m not sure how I feel about the distance from the city but I think it will be ok. In Minnesota, all my classes were in St. Paul so I think I can manage this commute! Tonight is pretty low key, the girls and I are going to drink a little wine and talk about places we want to visit this semester! Tomorrow we have orientation at the CAPA center bright and early so it will be my first time figuring out the tube (aka London’s subway system). I’m so happy to be here finally! Below are some photos of our flat.

 How about this view from the London Eye
our spacious living room with White Ikea couches — the walls definitely need some love to make it feel like cozy..   

tiny little room, tiny little beds, and three girls with lots of luggage  

smallest closet on earth

love this shower and notice the PINK toilet paper!
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Jon: First weekend in Jordan

September 10, 2011

It is my first Saturday here in Jordan, and it has been quite a journey. From planes being delayed, to the craziness that is driving in Jordan I’ve been seeing a lot, and yet I am beyond anxious for more. Tomorrow I start my area studies classes at the University of Jordan (Jordanians week goes from Sunday to Thursday). 

Clock tower at University of Jordan
Library at the University of Jordan

Hopefully by the end of the week, I will be replacing one of those with an internship though leaving me with just one class about water in Jordan and the middle east. We also start reviewing Arabic tomorrow and take our placement test Monday. I am trying to study for it but I have no idea where to begin. For credit reasons back at the U of MN I am really trying to be placed in Intermediate Arabic but I would love to start over. For those that don’t know, the Arabic educational system in regards to the classroom is a bit different than the US. Professors are regarded as the fonts of wisdom and are not to be challenged or questioned. Critical thinking is something left to the professor and students are there to memorize. Also, the memorizing is done mostly at home and the student is expected to figure out what is important and what should be studied. Now as some of you may know I occasionally have some issues with authority but I feel confident I can still learn here. Now that I understand and know the culture a bit that is.

As far as things that have happened from my last post there hasn’t been to much. There is a wedding going on next door which is an event that lasts a few days it seems. Friday night was the bridal party we believe and today they have been playing music on and off for a while with a large amount of guests. It is interesting to experience, and I’ve really come to like Arabic music. I did go downtown and bought my first Sheesh (hookah). For everything needed to use it it cost a total of 14JD which is about $20! It is smaller but we plan on using that one till we can learn a bit more about Sheesh’s and construct our own. In many shops around here you buy the components individually and they are quite impressive. It does seem like that is a major part of the culture. Probably every other night I am ending up at a cafe smoking Sheesh with others chatting. Once we get our peer tutors I hope for it to be a Jordanian I am sitting with but for now this is nice. 

The only other thing is now that we are in our apartments cooking is left up to us. And while I do think I am a decent cook I am struggling here because I do not know how to cook any of the sauces, or use the spices here. I am signing up for a club to help with that but again I hope with a Jordanian peer tutor they can suggest a few recipes.
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Chiyo: We’re from America, we didn’t know any better

August 31, 2011

The plane ride was probably one of the best/easiest rides I’ve ever had. I slept a majority of the flight, and by the time I woke up, there was only about another half hour until we landed in London. Getting off the plane, we were all disoriented and shuttled to the UK Border, where we handed our “landing cards” to security, and were ushered through to grab our luggage. After Sunshine and I grabbed our bags, we went in search of the taxis, and met up with two other girls in the CAPA program and shared a taxi to our flat, Newman Court. Upon our arrival, we were greeted by a British CAPA advisor, and an American advisor, who gave us a packet, and an envelope with our Oyster Card (for the Tube), and our class schedule. 

Our flat is a two bedroom, two bath flat, with a living room, balcony, and kitchen. It’s very cozy and has plenty of space, however the beds are not comfortable at all, so this should make for an interesting four months…My roommates are all very nice, and we immediately went in search for food because we all were hungry from traveling and not eating the airplane food. My roommates and I went to Sunshine’s flat, because he lives in the Penthouse flat, and grabbed all the guys to go find food and beer. We found a pub, and soon discovered they don’t serve food, so we were ok with beer and only beer. Zach, a guy from New Jersey and I came up with the saying, “We’re from America…we didn’t know any better!” to use if we make a mistake while we’re here. Which, let’s be real, we will be making lots of mistakes along the way. After taking pictures, and mingling with the locals, we were off to the grocery store for some real food. Now this is not your typical grocery store. They sold lingerie alongside the groceries, which was just strange. Food is so much more expensive here, and they definitely don’t have the “college” diet of Ramen and Mac And Cheese that Sunshine and I were frantically searching for. The walk back from the store to our flat is quite the walk, and my roommate Diane and I quickly learned that we’ll be taking the bus from now on when we want to get grocery items. 

We just had “flat orientation” where we learned how to use the appliances, and I learned that for a small load of laundry, it’s going to take a whopping four hours from washing to drying. Looks like I’ll have to just keep buying clothes! The oven is a lot different than the one’s in the states, and I was too tired to pay attention on how to actually use the thing… On a brighter note, we have heated floors in our flat which is lovely, since it is constantly cold and foggy in London!

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Meghan: long hike & apartment issues

September 15, 2010
A few Sundays have come and gone, those lazy days where you catch up on life and get yourself back on track for the rest of the week, and last Sunday was no different… if only a bit more adventurous. The Basilica of San Luca looks over Bologna from high up in the Southern hills—easily seen in those moments when you are daring enough to leave the shelter of the cozy center city and its porticoes. After the previous week, I desperately needed a calm and relaxing atmosphere that only going into a green, picturesque area can give and San Luca seemed to be the best option. So naturally I grabbed a friend who had the same idea in mind, and we set off to conquer the 666 porticoes that would lead us there. (Yes, there are 666 porticoes.)

The residential and busy street of Via Saragozza lead us to the outer ring of the city and to the path once used for the pilgrimages to the basilica—yet a sign threw us off track…naturally. Who would imagine that a sign saying “San Luca this way!” wouldn’t lead us straight there? This is the classic example of why you should always read the small print. We found out too late that we had taken the tourist bus route, which literally zigzagged through the hills of Bologna.

I seem to always put myself in a situation where I feel as though I might have made the wrong choice, yet I stick through with it, always looking towards the reward at the end. I tell myself “Oh, you’re almost there,” or “we’ll just try a different way, it couldn’t be that bad…” yet sometimes, it really is that bad. The trip to San Luca, as my friend and I have decided to call it, was just a training session. The hour walk uphill didn’t lead us to the basilica, and I truly don’t know how much longer it would have taken… most likely one or two more; yet it did bring us to one of the most beautiful parks I’ve ever been too, with a view that could possibly beat that of San Luca.

Things looked bad for a while when we were making our way up the narrow road, and for a while we wanted to turn back. Of course I’m happy that we didn’t because if we would have, we never would have reached such an amazing place. So in hindsight we made a good decision because the outcome was great. I can’t say the same thing about the situation I’m in at the moment regarding my apartment. I keep telling myself that better times will be right around the corner, just as I would tell myself that San Luca will be just around the bend up ahead…but really, its much harder then it seems. You can’t just tell yourself things will be better in a few days, because there is no way for you to know.

Saturday had to have been one of the worst days so far. It was the 11th, the day we had to all check out of Hotel Holiday, our makeshift home for the last 2 weeks in Bologna. Normally, I would have been moving into my apartment that I found quite early in the program, but I had to wait until Sunday. To save you all from meaningless details, things went from a slight discomfort to a huge problem: that of me being homeless until the 20th of September. Not only did the problem with my apartment put me in a horrible situation, so did my inability to ask for help. Call it a major fault of mine, one that I’m slowly trying to overcome. I know that I can be so hardheaded sometimes as to not ask for help when I know I really need it. Thankfully I had some great friends that were there for me and helped me figure out what to do. To have waited two entire months to move into an only semi-permanent home in Bologna to only have it pushed back 10 more days threatened to push me over the edge and back on a plane home.

Those who know me should have guessed that there was no way that I would have gotten on a plane, no matter how unpleasant a situation, unless absolutely necessary. Thankfully, I knew it was a situation that I could handle—especially because it could have been much worse. I like to think that I’m a strong person and that something like not having a place to stay until the 20th wouldn’t and couldn’t effect me too much…And it really wouldn’t have if I had expected it. There’s the rub! I didn’t expect this, and I have to stay I’ve never had such an unpleasant curve ball thrown at me. I was scared that after this situation I wouldn’t have gotten along with my future roommate, and that I would have to start the search all over again.

I had to keep reminding myself that things will be better soon; I’ll just have to keep going; that there is a beautiful park waiting for me just around the corner.
Obviously since finding out that I had no home until the 20th, I have found a solution—which is staying at different friends apartments from BCSP. Things seem to be looking up, although I truly can’t wait to be able to unpack my bags for the first time since July. I only have a couple more days to go; a few more miles to San Luca; until things will be alright.

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Britta: I have a home in Italy

September 9, 2010

The past week has been very stressful for everyone in the program (Bologna Consortial Studies Program). Since the second day of the program (Aug. 31) everyone has been searching for an apartment. At the end of June I made an account on a housing site for Bologna. I received around 40 emails a week advertising these great apartments in the center of the city for a reasonable price. I canceled my account since it was obvious that there were many options and I was looking 2 months early. However, as many options there may seems to be, it is actually a very difficult, long, stressful search.

Here in Bologna (I can’t say if it is like this in all of Italy) when looking for an apartment is like going in for a job interview. Not only are you looking for a home  that is clean, in a good location and has friendly italian housemates, they are also looking for someone who they think they will get along with and will fit into their lifestyle. No matter how much you like an apartment, you have no say or choice. It ultimately comes down to the people renting out the room.

The first day of the search I went to 7 apartments. The following day 3, the day after that 4. There was a smaller quaint apartment I visited on Wednesday. There were two very nice girls who greeted me and offered me a coffee and showed me around the apartment. There was a little terrace with a hammock and a tree growing over half of it. The apartment was filled with sunshine and there couldn’t have been anything better.

I decided that was the place to live. I wrote them an email the following day expressing my interest in the apartment. They said they had to wait until Sunday. Those were the longest 4 days of my life. I had to keep looking in case they were going to say no. So, Saturday morning I went to go look at yet another apartment—one that was also very beautiful and one that was offered to me. But I wanted to live in the first apartment. I was torn between the two. Do I choose the place that is a little bigger, closer to the center, but a little more expensive but I haven’t met the girls I’d be living with or do I choose the one that is a little smaller, but with an awesome terrace, and the friendliest girls?

Sunday night, I stopped by my first choice apartment and met the third girl I’d be living with. She was amazing. And then…they offered me the room! Monday I packed up my things from the hotel and brought half of it over to my new, “real” home. Tuesday I took an adventurous trip to Ikea, and by Tuesday night I was in the apartment eating homemade pizza with my house mates.

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Kaley: Home sweet home

February 18, 2010

Finally all moved in to my flat in Brisbane. it’s 4 boys, 2 girls, all people I’ve spend the past week with so it should be interesting and fun. We blew a fuse playing some music the first 10 minutes.

Anyway, on Tuesday we planted trees for the Cassowaries and then went out to a pub crawl (they do those way too much in Cairns). Wednesday was the best day… The Great Barrier Reef. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen in my whole life. We swam with sea turtles and stingrays among other things. I can’t really describe it so just come and see it yourself!

First night in Brisbane was really good, we went out downtown, met some Aussies and went over to their house which ended up being really close to where we lived. I’m not sure that sleep is a concern here so I was lucky enough to watch the sunrise this morning and am still trying to find time for a nap. Aussies love to party (the good way not the sloppy way).

One of the people we hung out with last night was a red head and she preferred to be called “ranga.” yessssss. They all have nicknames here, usually dropping the end of your name and adding  “ie.” Did I mention that I like veggiemite? It’s not actually that bad, kind of like a really salty sandwich spread but it’s good with just bread and butter. Anyway, I’m going to the Uni today to get my student ID card and look at the campus, which I hear is beautiful.

One of the kids who lives a couple floors below us wants to go to a national park and cliff dive sometime this weekend so I may be doing that… otherwise I don’t start school until the 2nd and probably need to find a beach!
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