Friday, January 25, 2013

All Moved In! (Or: All Moved Out!)

When you move across the world, and on your own for the first time, there are many new situations you will end up finding yourself in. Most I anticipated, like meeting my landlord, or having my first big grocery shop. But there were certainly a few things I did not anticipate.


1. Moving into a place that seemingly didn't have any sort of convenience store nearby.

It's such a pain not having my dear car, Albi, here. And I was worried that I would want cereal one day and have to walk half an hour to find milk. Don't worry though! I found a convenience store nearby, and although it's a bit sketchy to walk to at night, and has siesta hours, I think it'll do the job.


2. Having only chocolate in the house.

Again, lamenting the loss of a car. Doing a HUGE grocery shop is not something you can do by walking so I ordered groceries to be delivered. But I moved into my house on Tuesday, and the groceries didn't come until Thursday afternoon. I've been eating out, or at Luke's for the last few days. But it is true, at one point, I only had chocolate at my place to eat.


3. Nesting

I'm sure we all do this to some extent or another when we move into a new place but I never anticipated making a list of things I want to buy and including dish rack and measuring spoons on that list among a new pair of boots and fuzzy socks.


4. Manly men

I actually don't mind living alone, but the current spider situation is making me uneasy.


This week will hopefully bring more organization and perhaps a dish rack!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

get me a pub quiz

It's been three weeks since I got home. There are many things here that I am so grateful for, like making money and having a full wardrobe. But I do miss a few things.

It's high time I made a list, right?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

How to experience Belgium and experience a carboload (photojournal)

First things first, eat a waffle. It doesn't matter where, you are in Belgium, just eat waffles.

See a statue of a peeing boy. Classic. Extra points if you make a wicked gringa face. (For those of you who aren't Lauren, gringa face = classic overexcited canadian/american face)

It's good to have a variety of waffles. Here we have a nutella waffle and a strawberries&cream waffle.

Experience picturesque towns and canals and buildings.

Find and eat expensive chocolates.

Do something historic. For example, go to Ypres (see previous post about how to not get there).

This is Meningate. It was constructed as a sight for soldiers to see as they came into the city, sort of as a homecoming feature. Inside were inscriptions of all the soldiers who died at Ypres.

Find something related to comic books - museums or just sweet graffiti on buildings.

Go to the EU headquarters!

After eating waffles for a few days, go to a real waffle place and order the waffle that will ruin all other waffles for you. Then, eat no other waffles. (FYI, this is sacrilegious for my family).

And, as a final thought, I thought I would show you what building was directly attached to my hostel.

More UK adventures to come!

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Monday, October 22, 2012

that time I spoke flemish

I had the coolest experience of meeting up with my friend, Amanda, during my time in Europe. Now, this is a big deal.

back story: When we were just younglings of 14 years or so, we made this list of all the countries we were going to visit together and why we were going to go to each. With me spending copious amounts of time in the UK and with her studies in Paris, we decided to make girlhood dreams come true and meet in Brussels for waffles and chocolate. I'll post another post to show you pictures of waffles and chocolate and peeing boys, but for right now, I thought I would tell you things in Flemish!

(Or not, I just went onto Google translate to say something witty and Flemish here but apparently it's not an option.)

So near the end of our trip, Amanda and I decided that we should go to Ypres. Not only is it of great historical value, but little towns in Belgium happen to be adorable. So we packed up our things and went straight to the train station, chatting about life and boys, just like when we were younger! And in doing so, we completely missed our train.

But I was well-prepared. I am that person who googles everything, regardless of whether it will do me good or harm. So I had a map of Western Belgium on my iphone. The tricky part here is that my map is in English, while all of the signs are in French/Flemish.

Amanda speaks French, so obviously it was on me to figure out the Flemish translations. (My method here was to say everything out loud and hope that it would sound like something in English.) My map told me we needed to go to Ghent and change trains.

Now, no trains were going to Ghent, but one was going to Genk, which sounds like Ghent and thus is the clear translation.

Somehow it hadn't occurred to me that perhaps no trains were actually going to Ghent.

So off to Genk/Ghent we went!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

those lazy spanish days

So I realize that I may have dropped the blogging ball, but do not fear! I am alive and well-traveled. I'm hoping to do quite a few posts in the next couple of days so that I don't have to pack all my stories into one post :)


I wasn't planning on going to Madrid, I had no interests in it whatsoever, but I started thinking about the next time I would be in Spain, and thus, I ended up in Spain. I hated leaving Sevilla, when I think the city is so beautiful and so rich in architecture and history but I decided Madrid needed a full day to itself.

And I'm glad I went!

Apart from the hostel crew I met in Stirling, I met some really awesome people in Madrid! I met Paktis, who also likes to powerwalk and see all there is to see. I must say, I don't think my legs have hurt that much since that one day in Coombe Abbey!

So with our one day in Madrid, we managed to see SO MUCH. We went to markets and to parks and to shopping and to a museum and to the palace.

gas mask stand in El Rastro market
El Retiro
El Retiro
Paktis, in El Retiro.
City Centre Madrid
Our day ended by us walking to the hostel after a somewhat bizarre adventure to find cheap food. The man at the hostel told us exactly where on our map to go, and that when we get there it would be 10 euros for all you can eat. Now, being poor travelers, we were up for all you can eat, and ten euros isn't too bad. And we were convinced that if we couldn't find this place, we would go for cheap groceries and make things at the hostel.

Instead, we ended up at a slightly pricey Indian restaurant eating and watching Bollywood film clips. I don't know why I don't watch more Bollywood - it is hysterical!

I was pretty tired by this point, and was convinced of going to sleep upon return to hostel but that also got thwarted! Ended up meeting some really cool people and talking late into the night!

I wish I had more time in Spain.

One of the weirdest things about my travels to Spain is that I was constantly told before I left about Spanish men, and about pickpocketers. You know, being a single traveling girl people automatically assumed I had never thought of these things. However, I did not encounter any problems! I did drop my wallet once, but that was my fault and it was returned in perfect order.

In Madrid, I still was carrying all my suitcases and stairs proved to be quite difficult. In times where my arms just couldn't manage anymore, there was always some man or woman who helped me lift my bags up the stairs, and with a smile!

People were definitely way creepier in Belgium.

Anyways, I will definitely miss Spain, and speaking Spanish. I am already making plans for 2013...