Thursday, December 23, 2010

Finally home!

After a 15 minute taxi ride, 3 hour train ride, 1 hour 30 minute underground journey, 48 hours at London Heathrow, 8 hours plane ride, and a 3 hour car ride... I'M FINALLY HOME!!!

Its a bitter sweet moment to be here! I'm so happy to be done with the holiday travel. Looking back, although it was not the most enjoyable part of my study abroad, it is something I will never forget. I met many people within the 48 hours I was stuck in London Heathrow, it was a great networking opportunity :) Laying in my bed, I can now say it was a good time! [But my bag was not so lucky, it still in London!!]

Whats Next?

1.) Get over this Jet-Lag! I'm not sure how long it will be before my biological clock is set my current time zone, but I hope its soon! I have had some good sleep tonight but considering my clock is still set to 11:30am England time, I'm wide awake at 5:30am Springfield time. However it is good to lay in bed and rest!

2.) Get everything back to normal: I anticipated my life being turned upside down, due to being out of the country for 4 months; what I failed to anticipate was it  being shaken, kicked, dropped, picked up and dropped again, then sent on a rocket ship to outer space! [In a good way of course] In much more simple terms, I did not anticipate all of the work that comes with studying abroad. However, I am thankful for the experience and I will have time to get things back right. It is only a matter of time! Almost there!!

3.) I will also continue to blog. I really enjoyed doing this and I have read over some of my first entries and noticed growth in my writing. I feel I have grown so much as a writer and will continue to blog to become even greater. Blogging has now become a new hobby and I will be sure to keep it up!

However, as for this blog, it will soon come to an end. I will add a few more post between now and my exams I take at the end of January, and even after I receive my grades back from Hull University. Its not over quite yet!

Until next time, Buh-Bye!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Not my time to go

Today I woke up at 6am ready to catch my bus to go back home. I never thought that today would turn out the way it did but here it goes:

1.) My taxi was late picking me up from my house this morning. It was so late that I missed my bus to London. I had to pay for a [expensive] train ticket to London the same morning in order to make my flight. It was due to leave at 10am, getting me to London by 12:30. Purchasing my ticket at 6:50am, I thought everything would be fine getting home today. I was even able to go back to my flat to go to sleep for about an hour and a half.

2.) I wake up around 9 and the taxi arrives on time this go around. I get to the [freezing cold] train station at around 9:30, with plenty of time to spare before my train to London at 10. This is when I learn of the travel troubles that have once again rocked the public transportation of England. My train is delayed due to the weather [snow] and it does not arrive until 10:30. It was supposed to have me in London by 12:30, but "due to the weather," I did not arrive until 1:30.

3.) I must have been was half sleep until I arrived in London and realized that I am about to try to get to the busiest international airport in the world, during holiday travel. The Underground was so congested!!! & I did not understand how the "Underground" subway was effect by snow on the surface streets but there was nothing I could do. I rode it, standing like sardine in a can the whole way to Heathrow, and got off at the wrong terminal. Its now 2:40pm and my flight is due to leave at 3:25.

4.) I ran through the entire airport and made it to the terminal at 3:05. I knew it was close but ironically, the line to get checked-in was not long at all. I went to check-in and they told me "the closed the gate 45 minutes ago, we will not let you board."

Fast forward to now, I'm sitting in Heathrow airport, and will be sleeping in this...
I am flying standby tomorrow and hopefully I will get out of here. Basically what that means is because of the conditions, any seats not filled 45minutes before departure at turned to the standby people waiting to make it to the destination. I will be sleeping in front of the check in desk tonight. On the floor. The cement flood. At the airport. Praying I get home safely tomorrow.

On a good note, they did turn on the wifi throughout the airport and are giving out food vouchers left and right. Tomorrow is the last day flights leave London to Chicago from Heathrow until the 27th so It will be a long day. Fingers are Crossed, very tightly!!!

Well, I hope the next time I blog, I will be in the United States! CHEERS!

Oh yeah I almost forgot! I did take advantage of being here again. I saw the city at night and it is beautiful!!!

The London Eye

Me and Big Ben!!!
I guess being stuck in London is not so bad after all!!??

Barcelona!... oh.. and IBIZA!!

Me and my house mate, Matt, decided to back-pack to a few places before we left back to the states! We went to Barcelona Spain which is located on the eastern coast, somewhat towards the middle.

We had such a good time there! The Spanish culture is really unique and I really enjoyed the city.

This is the "Arc De Trimof." It is really big and towers over you, thus the reason I took the photo from far away. They also have one similar to it in Paris from what I have been told. 

This one here is at a castle that over looks the entire city. [Yeah I know, a REAL CASTLE!!] I also had lunch in the same spot I am standing in this photo. It was really great!

We aslo went to IBIZA!!!!!

This is the view from our "hostel" in Ibiza. Ibiza is a island about 50 miles south of Barcelona. I never thought to go here, and really didn't know what to expect. But for a $10 round trip ticket to this place, it was WELL worth it.[Thanks Ryanair] They say this is the equivalent to Cancun Mexico for Europe.

It was very relaxing! A true Vacation Spot!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The last days...

Over the past few days, I have reflected over the past 4 months of my life I spent living in the UK. Its hard to fathom I will be back in Springfield Illinois in less than one week. This semester abroad is an experience I know I will never forget. All of the people, food and places I have been, its hard to believe it is over.

Today I will go to do a checkout with the accommodation office to make sure I am clear on what I need to do about turning in my keys. I will be heading to London at a time when the office is closed, thus I will need specific instructions. 

As I look at my suit case sitting in my room, bare and silent as the first say I walked, it brings back memories from this trip. I must say, I love studying at this university and I am not ready to go back. Deep inside, I kinda wish I could do this again. I'm going to miss the accents of my professors and peers. The different money I used to pay for things in stores. The 13 digit numbers to call people in Europe. Even the long days I spent doing nothing, just enjoying the fact I am in another part of the world.

I will miss my house.[I have grown attached to it.] I will miss my housemates as well, always talking in German.  Having to walk everywhere for everything. There are many many many things about this place I will miss, even living the life of a poor college student, with no job or income.[ehh... not so much] 

It was fun while it lasted, now the days are very limited. I will continue to pack, wash and clean until it is time to leave. What I will do now is just relax and prepare to go back to the United States. Even when I get back, it will not be the same. 

Although this is the conclusion to my trip, it is the beginning of a new start back home. College is no where near over. I'm still working on my first degree!

Until next time, friends, family, and followers! This is Blake signing out for the last time. I really hope this blog gives you a sneak peak at my time abroad and you enjoyed it! 


[I really like blogging. I think I will keep this going.]

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

This Oven!

This morning, I woke up and decided I was going to make a pizza for breakfast [yeah I know, proper breakfast huh?] but the directions were only a "guide" and actual cooking "directions" may vary. Which is fine because anything that frozen and cooked varies by some small degree?

My problem didn't arise until I had to start the oven. It took me over 15 minutes, and 2 house mates to get this thing going!! Why have we been using this thing for 4 months and still cant seem to figure out how to work this thing!

The top cookers are pretty easy to use, turn the nob, hit the spark, and you have a flame. The top oven-toaster, is about the same way. Now the bottom oven is where things get tricky! Its like every time you have to turn the nob a certain way, or you have to let the spark thing go for a certain amount of time. I just don't get it. After 4 months and with less than 2 weeks left here, I don't think I will.

Signing out,
frustrated early morning pizza eater [lol]

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

English Weather

Today I woke up to find out it is -13 degrees outside! I have been really ill these past few days [since the snow fight] and today I actually feel somewhat better. However, I will still stay in most of the day because I want to feel completely better before I go back out into the cold, -13, snow filled streets of Hull again.
Although it is very beautiful out, the cold is not my best friend. This is a picture from the street close to my house. Outside it looks like a true winter wonder land! However, its much better in photos than in person.

Its a bitter sweet moment knowing I will be home in 13 days. I thought I would be really excited but I neglected the friends I have made here. They are really cool people, and I will miss them lots! I will miss fish & chips, and summer fruit juice from Tesco![best juice in the world] There is so much here that I am use to, it will not be the same in the states.

[Although I am really anxious to eat some Popeye's!] I'm going to miss Hull a lot. I have had a great time! Words really cant describe how good it has been studying abroad.

.... Signing out! Cheers

Friday, December 3, 2010

Snow Day!!!

For the past 3 days, it has snowed over a foot of snow in England. Apparently this is very abnormal and they never receive this much snow. From what I am hearing from the locals, it usually snows mildly in January. The university has been closed fort he past 3 days, shutting down everything! I haven't has a snow day since grade school and it felt good to go out and play. 


It was so much fun! Everyone organized a massive snow fight and this is one of my action photos! ha ha..

I have never been one to play in the snow but it was a lot of fun. People were building igloos, giant snow men and snow creatures, and having fun in the snow. I have to say I felt like a kid again. Then I came home to have a nice cup of tea!

However, it also is somewhat of a downfall because I have not had classes for the past 3 days! Next week is my last full week of school and the semester is over! I cannot believe it! Saying 'the time here flew by' does not even describe how quickly my semester abroad as gone by. Although I am anxious to get home, I will miss all of the people I have met here. I hope to come back to visit again sometime.

Until next time,