Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The travel season is upon us!

I cannot believe it is already October 26th!??!?!?!? I feel like my time here is going by faster than I ever would have thought, and I know that these next few weeks will most likely go by even faster. As of this past weekend I will be out of town 5 weekends in a row! This past weekend myself and my roomie Eddie went to London and Oxford, England! It was great! I left for London early Thursday morning, so that I could get some of my research done in the British Museum before Eddie arrived at 7pm. When he got into town I already felt pretty good about knowing my way around; I had taken the underground with no problem and after completing my research after a couple hours had gotten onto a couple of the touristy buses to see as much of London as I could. After Eddie arrived we just walked around, got some dinner at Subway haha, and then headed back to the hostel to just hang out since we wanted to figure out some stuff for Friday. On Friday we left the hostel and went first to Starbucks! It was right across from the British Museum, and our hostel was right beside the museum, so of course I had to go to Starbucks three times while I was there!

So after we went to Starbucks we headed over to the British Museum so Eddie could see what it was like. We didn't stay very long, its so big that I feel like you could spend days there and we had other things we wanted to see so it was a quick visit. From there we went to the more famous tourist attractions: the London Eye, Big Ben and Parliament, and Westminster Abbey. We took a ride on the Eye, no matter how many times you do it it is still such a cool experience to see that much of the city! We then walked over to Big Ben and the Westminster Abbey area. After that we went to Wembley Stadium. Now I think everyone that knows me knows I am no super sports fan, I enjoy watching a game here or there but other than that get pretty bored, but Eddie is a major soccer fan and has played his whole life so this was a big attraction for him. We were going to go on a tour of the stadium but it was going to take too long so we just walked up to and then left, with plans for Eddie to return on Sunday when we were back in London. After that we had to start watching the clock because we had to go see the Phantom of the Opera!!!! We went back to get my backpack at the hostel, got dinner, and then went to the show! The theatre was relatively small and everyone was really close to eachother, but it also made you feel closer to the actors.

The show ended and with giantic smiles on our faces we headed off to the train station for out train. We had a while to wait so we got a McDonalds snack and then just waited, our train didn't leave until 12:22am, but it only cost 4 pounds a piece! We arrived in Oxford and got to our hostel by about 2 am and then just called it a night. The next morning we went off to find the next museum for my research. Luckily Oxford is a small city and very easy to get around so we found the museum with no problems and I got to work. This sort of stuff was not Eddie's idea of fun so after about 20 minutes of just walking around he sat down in a chair and settled in for a nap haha. I was able to find some items very similar to the ones found in London, and when I am able to review all the images I think I will be happy with my results. After that we got on a tour bus to go around the city. We got off and on the buses like that all day and would stop to go into different locations. That night we were pretty tired so after a dinner of "Mexican" burritos we headed back to the hostel to be super cool kids and charge cameras and ipods haha.

Sunday we left for London at 10:50 so we didn't do much before leaving other than just getting ready and checking out of the hostel. When we got to London we had a quick lunch of McDonalds again and then seperated, Eddie to go back to the tour at Wembley and myself to go visit the Tower of London. Unfortunately for both of us the London underground was very messed up on Sunday due to different line updates. This meant that without taking a taxi I wasn't going to make it to the tower and Eddie ended up taking buses and going on an adventure that I will discuss a bit later. I ended up just going to a starbucks like place and getting an awesome gingerbread latte writing postcards and then heading to the station. It ended up that these underground updates really messed up Eddie's hopes to get to Wembley and see the tour, he ended up getting there but had no time to do the tour and had to turn around once he got there. He actually ended up missing the train back to London by less than 10 seconds because of all these issues and the unfortunate part of all of this was that his cell phone was dead! He wasn't able to tell myself or anyone what was going so after a nerve racking train back to Brussels and several frantic texts to my host mom I made it back to the house and hoped Eddie would too. He luckily made it back just about an hour after I had, he had caught the train an hour and a half after mine and other than missing the first train had no problems.
Overall, this past weekend was great! It was great to have Eddie there as a research aide haha and as a travel companion! Plans from this week on include Paris with the art class, a yet to be determined destination following Paris, Ireland, and a WWI and WWII battlefields tour with the art class! It's all going to be a ton of fun but I think its going to make the time fly by!

I will try to update about where we are going after Paris once it gets decided and booked!


Sunday, October 17, 2010


This week went well, I attended two different AGE meetings, both on transportation. I feel like I have learned quite a bit about transportation issues and goals within Europe that I had never before considered. This coming week I will only be at AGE for two days because of my trip to England next weekend, but one of those days will include another out of office function, although I'm not sure what it will be haha.

Eveything is going great right now! Classes seem to be going well, although I haven't received any midterm grades yet so that might be changing soon. The weather has certainly turned to fall; coats and scarves are now must haves but its not bad and nice to see all the different scarves, I want to buy them all! Hopefully soon my travel companions and I will have figured out all of our upcoming trips. England planning is done, but after that nothing has been finalized.

All week I have been planning on working on a paper today so I would be ahead, but so far this isn't working haha. I woke up relatively early but then started watching "The Big Bang Theory." Yesterday was a good day. I met my friend Mario downtown and we went to an African area of the city with a bunch of restaurants. Lunch was good and not too expensive, which is always a benefit. After lunch we started walking around town and ran into another Vesalius student named Jane. It was great to see her and all three of us started walking around town. I saw many areas where I had seen on the tour our first week here but since then hadn't been around those areas. There are so many cute areas around Brussels and I was very happy to have seen them.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Dragons, Countryside, and Castles, oh my!

So this has been a great week! I mean it was midterm week but I am really talking about past Wednesday haha. I had two days at AGE one that was mainly spent on catching up on everything since I hadn't been there in almost a week. It was a good day, but I got bored in the afternoon lol. Friday was great though! I started off updating some assignments I had already been working on and then I received what I think will be my big job for the rest of the semester. AGE recently sent out a questionnaire to all of its members and as they are starting to be returned I am going to be compiling all of the data. Now this will probably be pretty be monotonous in time, but it was an interesting assignment to create the spreadsheets for it and was a nice change from the normal database updating. After a great day I came back to the house and had a very calm day with the family and roomie. Saturday I ended up meeting up with a friend for lunch and then meeting up with Eddie and some of his friends to go to a castle outside of Brussels. It ended up being quite the adventure to get to the castle. We missed the bus by about 15 minutes and the next one wasn't going to be coming for 2 hours!!! On weekends the buses slow down a lot haha. So after about an hour and a half of walking, we never got lost but did have to ask for directions a couple times, we found the castle. The first thing done was to find the returning bus schedule and with just over 2 hours to enjoy the castle we set off. We were expecting a tour of the history of the museum, but that was definitely the case. I have copied in the link for the exhibit below.


The exhibit was about dragons. It was ...interesting haha Throughout the museum were clips of different movies featuring dragons, from Harry Potter to Alice in Wonderland. There was even a dragon in the basement haha. The audio guide we had told us all about this cardboard dragon being very angry if is didn't get fed. It was pretty funny. The tour guide said they change the exhibits for the museum 2 or 3 times a year because if not the people that get their get bored. It was a really fun experience and I think quite unique. The castle was really pretty and was situated around a lot of land and it had great views of the countryside. We did make it back for the bus and when we made it back downtown all went out to a Greek place for dinner. It was a great and tiring day. When Eddie and I returned we just hung out for a while and then called it a night. Today has been very relaxed. I have been slowly working on hw and watched/ am watching french Disney movies on youtube with Alice.

This week should be pretty good. I have a presentation tomorrow morning and have to work on some other projects. However, I also have a lot of AGE functions this week so it should be a fun bunch of things to go to!


Sunday, October 3, 2010

I don't know how I did it, but I forgot to write about Amsterdam!?!?!?

Last weekend the art class I am in here went on our third trip to Amsterdam. This trip was a overnight one where we arrived on Friday and left Sinday night, versus the previous two where we one went on day trips. Overall, the trip was great! We saw soooo many things that although I could see them on an individual trip, would never have known where or what they were, and their significance. My favorite sites were the Van Gogh museum, the Rembrandt museum, and this hidden Catholic church that was built inside a house. The two musuems had so many really amazing paintings and at the Rembrandt we had this audioguide, and it soudns strange, but it really made the museum great! It was done by an actor and his great voice and true love of the art made it really neat to see what the next painting would be.
Along with the more historical parts of Amsterdam we were also able enjoy some of the more famous, at least today parts of it. Everywhere we went there was the smell of pot, and although I did not participate in actively enjoying it the general sent was all around lol. There were also some hard working women of the night, but also the morning, and afternoon, right across from our hotel. They were very open to waving hello, and to all kinds of other things, although that was yet another task I did not participate it, prudish, I know haha. Well I should probably get back to studying :-/


I can't believe its already October?!?!?!

Whew, this semester is flying by! Tomorrow is the start of midterm week?!?! I can't believe it! It is overall pretty overwhelming to actually be here in Belgium, after thinking and dreaming about it for so long.

Everything here is going good. This past week both Eddie and I had colds,along with some other people that went to Amsterdam with the class trip, so hopefully this is not something that will happen after each trip, if so yuck haha. This week I have 3 exams, one tomorrow morning, and two Wednesday. After that I just have two internship days because I am taking Tuesday off for studying. Right now I am in the midst of finally planning my trip to London and Oxford to complete my Endeavor Grant research. I'm excited because I think I can do it in 4 days as long as I spend 5-7 hours each day looking at artifacts. It's going to be a long weekend but I need and want to do it so it will be good. Other than that I am just working on school work, and trying to get my other trips arranged. It is just astonishing to me that it is October and just how quickly this entire experience is going. I am loving it and even at those times where I miss home I just remind myself of how great of an experience this is and I am too lucky to sit around and think of what I am missing back home.

I will try to write back soon!