Wednesday, April 29, 2009

One Last Hoo-raw!!!

This is my last post before I come home. I'll be home Friday night at 10:30 P.M. I'm sorry there will be no Barcelona post, but you can ask me about it if you want when you see me. This post will be a bit different than the rest. Since it's my last post here unless I decide to keep blogging, I thought I would do a bit of reflection on a few things. Issues, activities, friendships, etc. So, this is more for me, but who knows it might interest you. 


Amsterdam: Consisted of three of the seven from OSU. Myself, Brandi, and Emily. We did the ITT trip, and it was pretty fun other than the fact that we spent 14 hours on a Ferry. We had a great time, but we didn't have enough time to do a lot of stuff that we wanted to do. But, Emily, Brandi, and I definitely got pretty close that trip!!!

London: Two trips to London with the group and one trip to London with my parents. The first trip was with all of the OSU people. Our first trip when we got here. We had a great time trying to figure out the tube, and trying to figure out what to see. We saw a bunch of landmarks and did a lot of walking. Second trip to London consisted of all 9 of us. We stayed at Journey Hostel which turned out to be one of the greatest weekends here. My birthday weekend and was the best birthday I've ever had. Thanks to the Feltwell Crew and the Jamaican hostel/pub that we stayed at. We saw the Tower of London, did some shopping, and went to Camden Town to a market. London with the parentals was great! It was so good to see them. 

Dublin, Ireland: Dublin consisted of Brandi, Joanna, Emily, Will, and myself. We stayed in an amazing hotel and did a lot of sight seeing. My favorite thing was visiting the Guinness Storehouse. It was amazing to see how they make the beer, advertising for the beer, and a bunch of other stuff. We also got a complimentary pint. It was definitely worth the 11€. We were there St. Patrick's Day weekend and thought they would be partying it up, but they weren't. But, we did go to a few pubs that were pretty fun! And Will, is definitely funny when intoxicated! "HIGH FIVE!!!" Dublin is definitely one of the cleaner places we visited. 

Salzburg, Austria: This was my favorite trip the whole three months. It was a girl's weekend. The "Sound of Music" tour rocked my world, our hike up some mountain was breathtaking and very relaxing, and Salzburg was just as gorgeous as can be. We didn't want to leave, and definitely didn't get to do everything that we wanted to do. We had an amazing taxi driver, Hans, and "Sound of Music" tour guide. 

Around England: Spending time around England was one of my favorite things to do as well. We spent the night in a 400 year old farm house that is supposedly haunted. (You'll have to ask me about that one sometime). We went to Cambridge and punted the river Cam. We went to Bury St. Edmunds and did some shopping and walking around. We've been to Ely for fish and chips, and Cambridge yet again for a Cambridge United Football Game. Going to the football game was something that I had been wanting to do while we were here. It was on the top of my list and this past Sunday I finally got to cross that off my list. It was a draw, nil-nil, but it was still a great experience!! 

Italy: In Italy we went to Venice, Florence, and Rome. Saw lots of amazing things, ate LOTS of gelato, and an overall good time. With the exception of Emily's departure. The Roman Forum was my favorite thing in Rome. It was amazing seeing the old city. Venice was interesting in the fact that the transportation consisted of water taxi's. Something we are definitely not used to. Florence was cool, we saw Michaelangelo's David and an amazing art museum. We had a rough time with our hostel choices, but you know it's our fault for waiting till the last minute. Apparently, we ALL are horrible procrastinators. Italy was probably the dirtiest place we visited. Especially Rome, with the funky smells, and all the graffiti. 

Barcelona, Spain: Barcelona was probably the second most amazing city we visited. I LOVED it!!! We definitely didn't get to see everything I wanted to see, so this place is definitely somewhere where I would return to in the near future. It was absolutely gorgeous. It has great shopping and I consider that an important fact. lol We even made it to the beach to work on our tans since we've all been deprived of sunlight here in England. Our numbers were down from six to four. It was a bit sad, but we totally enjoyed ourselves. At the time we were leaving Italy we were definitely in need of a pick-me up and Barcelona was the perfect thing!!!!! 


First there's Emily aka "Emilta" and Brandi aka "Momma Brandi". I'm pretty close to all of them, but those two I'm extremely close to. Emily, because we both had horrible issues trying to get here and then the both of us being at the Elementary School. She was my grocery shopping bud, my bus buddy, and my shopping buddy. Brandi and I just get along extremely well. We have pretty similar personalities, sense of humors, likes and dislikes. I don't know what I would do without these two! 

Next there is Joanna aka "Ice." I just love her to death!! Her nickname, Ice, is because she is our "Ice breaker." But, I'm pretty much the only one that calls her that, so it's really my nickname for her. She is definitely one of the most positive people I know. Her and I definitely do "Question Wars" which I love. She is very good at shooting off those thought provoking questions that make you think, and I'm not used to that, but I love it!!!!

Jill, aka "Genevieve," is the MOST positive person I know! She is adorable, and loves to laugh just about as much as I do! Her most used phrase, "Oh my gosh!" haha She's a squealer and I'm not used to that, but to see someone so excited about everything, I love!! 

Nicole, aka "Nicolette," is very generous, sweet, and pretty funny. She's definitely someone I will miss. 

"The guys," Hal and Colin, from Washington State University. These guys had a hand in  making my 23rd birthday the best birthday I've ever had. They are hilarious, sweet, and just all out awesome guys! They will definitely not be forgotten. 

Will, aka Gilliam, is the only guy from OSU. He is pretty reserved and quite and likes his alone time. But, he is probably one of the most funniest people I know! He's got this crazy, dry sense of humor that is totally unexpected. He's a good guy. 

Favorite Moments:

  • "High Five!"- Will Sledge: Dublin, Ireland
  • "Seize Every Opportunity!" -Emily and Caroline
  • All the random naps taken on public transportation, in cars, and random places. 
  • Journey Hostel on the Southside of London. Sketch hostel that turned out to be one of the best weekends here.
  • Salzburg, Austria; "Sound of Music Tour" with my girls, the amazing scenery of Salzburg, and throwing snowballs at each other. 
  • Experiencing sketchy hostels with the Feltwell Crew
  • Volleyball at Lakenheath Middle School
  • Punting the river Cam in Cambridge
  • The numerous shopping sprees in London, Bury St. Edmunds, Salzburg, Dublin, Italy, and Barcelona. 
  • Flying Ryan Air...oh wait...Ryan Air was horrible, it was the people I was traveling with that made those flights bearable. 
  • Visiting different pubs around England
  • Laughing with the Feltwell Crew
  • Packing 9 people in Steve's van on our way to Epping
  • Getting to know 9 amazing people that I will remember for the rest of my life.
  • Incredible free food provided by the teachers from the Elementary School, Middle School and High School.
  • Late nights with the Feltwell Crew


1. I actually like more vegetables and and other foods that I didn't realize. 

2. I have a love for Indian food.

3. I can be on my own and still survive.

4. My quietness causes people to think I don't like them, which is definitely the opposite case. 

5. I have a serious shopping problem.

6. I enjoy teaching and can't wait to be an Elementary Physical Education teacher. 

7. 9 people can become life-long friends in three months. 

8. If I were given one million dollars to never go back to the U.S. I would do it. 


10. DODS is an AMAZING system and the people are PHENOMENAL!!!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Could I BE any more lucky???

Sorry that Barcelona is still to come, but a few things have happened since I did the Italy post. 

1. The sun came out this weekend. So, I spent Saturday and Sunday outside soaking up the sun. Saturday, Hal took me to ordered shirts for the group, went to the commissary for groceries, and then the two of us played tennis for about an hour and then just laid in the grass talking. Sunday, I played basketball and played out on the swings on the playground. lol I just can't get enough of the sun here and the weather. We've had such amazing weather since we've been here. It's been great!!!

2. I haven't been sleeping well, so I haven't really been up for much and the internet is being a jerk! It's finally back, but who knows how long it will be working.

3. I'm home today, did not go to work. Yesterday afternoon I was playing basketball with John's 4th hour when I jumped up and came down on Connor's foot. Rolling my ankle the exact same way I did in 8th grade, doing the exact same thing, to the exact same ankle. I can definitely say it hurt worse than last time. But, there were no tears, but a LOT of pain and at one point I was having trouble hearing. Which, doesn't really sound like a good thing. Janis, my cooperating teacher, took me to the Emergency room yesterday around 2:40 P.M. and it's just a bad sprain. 

So, before our last weekend and hoo-raw before we leave, this happens and screws up everything. Hopefully, I'll be able to put some weight on it by the weekend and will be ok when we finally go to a FOOTBALL game!!!! Soccer for those of you Americans. lol 

P.S. added a few new pictures on the right toward the bottom!!


Warning for those with uneasy stomachs...close this now!!!


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Spring Break 2009 has been brewing in my mind since the first time I heard about this whole study aboard thing. Being over in Europe you have easy access to many different countries. As things started to fall into place I started thinking about the traveling that I wanted to do while I was over here. There was no thinking about teaching, it was all about the amazing traveling I would get to do. haha Italy was number one on my list. I knew we were going to get about 10 days for break, and I knew Italy was where I wanted to go. Once we were here there was talk about what we were going to do for Spring Break and I mentioned Italy and other people were all for it! There was also talk about going more than one place because we had so many days. Germany, Austria, and Spain were thrown out there. We did a lot of talking and decided on Spain. So, Spring Break 2009 consisted of Italy and Spain. Venice, Florence, and Rome in Italy and Barcelona in Spain. So, there were six of us going together to Italy and Spain, Me, Jill, Nicole, Joanna, Emily, and Will. 

April 2-3, 2009- Venice, Italy

We left RAF Lakenheath Thursday afternoon to go to Stanstead to fly into Treviso, Italy that evening. We got to Treviso and stayed in a Holiday Inn Express. We got a continental breakfast, which was probably the best breakfast we had all week. After we checked out we walked quickly to the train station to try to catch the train into Venice. When we got to the train station we searched and searched for a place to buy tickets. Apparently, you can only buy tickets from hotels or some sort of shop that is like 10 min. away. So, what did we do, we ended up going to the place 10 minutes away when we could have easily gone to the hotel that was right next to the train station. We finally got our tickets and waited for a good 25 min. for the next train to come. We weren't really sure which train we were supposed to get on, but luckily there was a man working there that spoke English, so Jill asked and we were good to go. We finally made it to Venice via the train and immediately went to find a map. When we found a map we asked the guy working there if he knew where our hostel was. Just as luck would have it, it was on a completely different island and we would have to take one of the water taxi's to get there. Yes, water taxi. That is there mode of transportation. ALL of Venice. They do not have cars. They have boats. It was INSANE!!! It was about an hour boat ride from the main island to our hostel. But, before we made it to the hostel we lugged around our backpacks through the narrow streets of Venice. It was quite the hike. We finally made it across the water and to our hostel to drop off our packs. We then went back the main island which only took 5 mins. and found some lunch and did a LOT of walking around. Looking into some of the small shops and just taking in the sights and sounds of Venice. In the evening we went to the island of Lido hoping to find a beach, but it turned out to be locked. lol Before we found the beach we had to get some dinner, so we found a small restaurant and I ordered pasta with eggplant and zucchini and it wasn't all that great. While we were looking for a place to eat we saw a guy in an Oklahoma State University t-shirt so in theory we had to take a picture with him. He was from Chicago and was thinking about going to OSU for Fire Protection. Totally shocking to see someone in an Oklahoma State shirt in Venice. After finding the beach locked we walked around and got some gelato for the second time that day, third time for some of us. lol  Before we left the island Emily, Jill, and I had to find a WC (water closet) or bathroom for you American folk. The thing is, public restrooms in Europe are FAR different from the public restrooms in the states. For the most part, they cost money. So, we found a WC and it turned out to cost €1,50. Neither of us had the correct change, so we had to stop by a small shop where the person working did NOT speak English, so it took us a few minutes to get change. Then...we realized that it was going to cost too much for each of us to use the WC, so you can probably figure out what we did. And that's all I will say about that. It was an experience in itself and I think the three of us are now closer than before! lol 

April 4-5: Florence

We got up Saturday morning, did a bit of walking around Venice before we had to catch our train into Florence. All the way to Florence it rained and we were definitely not happy about that. We were hoping that leaving England, we would also be leaving the rain. Not so lucky there. However, most of break was rain free. When we got to Florence we had to take the bus to our hostel and we definitely got off on the wrong stop in the rain and had to wait for about 20 min. before the next bus came to take us to our hostel. We finally made it to "Dany House" where the people were extremely nice and told us the places to visit first and cooked a free dinner that night. So, we walked into the city centre of Florence where there was a HUGE market. Emily and I split off as usual and did a bit of shopping.  I had been looking for a bag, and actually found a very nice one, black and lime green for my laptop. I LOVE it!!! Emily and I also bought matching coin purses with two compartments. Believe me, when you live in Europe, you definitely need more than one place to keep money to keep track of U.S. Dollars, Pounds, and Euros. Once we were done shopping we all met up and decided to go hike up a mountain hill. lol It was a HUGE hill with steps that we actually tried to run up. We made it a good part of the way up. I was pretty impressed. But, once up there it was GORGEOUS!!! Emily, Nicole, and I each had a juice box of vino, and for those non-Italian speaking people, vino is wine. We took a bit to catch our breath and just enjoy the scenery. And Jill easily picked out this sight for her future proposal. haha When we got back to the hostel it was filled with people. Mostly Americans who were waiting for the free pasta dinner. The dinner was AMAZING!!! The best we had since we had been in Italy. We were a bit antisocial, but we knew we had a long day tomorrow, so we all took showers and went to bed. I however, did not sleep well, seeing as our room was a make-shift room where you could hear EVERYTHING and it seemed that everyone was drinking and having a good time that night. So, there was little sleep. The next morning we got up, ate breakfast, and went to the Galleria del 'Accademia where Michaelangelo's David is housed. He was a lot bigger than I had imagined (515 cm.) tall. We did a bit of looking around in that museum before it was off the the Galleria degli Uffitzi. This was a great art museum. This one had the "Birth of Venus" and a bunch of other stuff. After our stint at the Uffitzi, it was time to catch our train to Rome. 

April 5-8: Rome

Let me start off Rome by saying that I am alive and somewhat well. As you probably heard there was a horrible earthquake that hit a town 70 miles North of Rome while we were in Rome. Fortunately for us we were far enough away from any damage. However, Joanna and I were woken up in the wee hours of the morning to our beds shaking fervently. We were a bit freaked out, but eventually went back to sleep after a somewhat quite conversation between the two of us and Jill about trees or something, but was trying to explain to someone about mozzarella sticks? Disclaimer about Jill, she is a sleep talker and it cracks me up!!! Anyways, the hostel we stayed at in Rome was called the "Enjoy" hostel and we definitely did NOT enjoy it. All 6 of us were in the same room which was good, but it was right above a freakishly buys street. It was also extremely stuffy. The morning after the earthquake we woke up and tried to walk to the Colosseum. We basically walked in one big circle before we decided to just use the metro. GOOD decision by us! We finally got there, took a 45 min. trour and then just walked around taking pictures. We then went across the street to get lunch. Then it was off to the Roman forum and the Palatino. Those three things were my favorite. To see all those things still standing after thousands of years is incredible.  After an exhausting day we decided to go back and chill at the hostel and do some laundry. We discovered that Europeans also don't dry their clothes in dryers. So after doing laundry we hung all our clothing on the beds, ladders to the beds, chairs, and the small rack in the room. That, with the already stuffy room made for a hot and sticky situation. We would all wake up feeling damp and gross. We realized that spending 9 days hostel hopping was a VERY bad idea. Day 2 of Rome we went to Vatican City. We went to St. Peter's Square where they were preparing for Easter Sunday. We went inside the Basilica and down in the catacombs where all the past pope's are buried. We even saw Pope John Paul II, where his body is. After that we went to the Vatical museum to see the Sistine Chapel. It takes a year and a half just to get to it. So after standing in line for an hour just to see the Sistine Chapel we made it after an ungodly amount of rooms and stairs. I kid you not the Europeans love their stairs. After that it was about noon, so we decided to take a bit of a rest. We walked back to St. Peter's Square and sat on some steps for a bit. I however took a quick nap. We then decided to go to the Trevi Fountain and get some gelato. After eating gelato for probably the 2nd time that day we decided to do a bit of shopping and just walked around. We then went back to the fountain to toss a coin into the fountain over our shoulder to find out whether or not we would make it back to Rome. In my case, I hope it's a while before I make it back. lol We then took the metro to the Spanish steps which happened to be CROWDED as well. So, we went back to the hostel, made dinner, and used the internet to check e-mails and facebook. 

Now at this point in our trip things started to take a drastic turn from being fun, excited, and exhausting to awful, sad, and exhausting. We were all chillaxing in our room while Emily was checking her e-mail when we heard her shriek! We all froze before we stormed out of our room as Emily was shocked to find out through an e-mail from her mom that her brother died on the job Tuesday. He worked for their father at a dirt company. They have this machine called a screener and it sifts the dirt and apparently there are some pretty sharp objects involved as well. The e-mail said that Mark, Emily's brother, got caught in the screener and they couldn't save him. I don't think I have anyone in my life scream and cry in a way that tore my heart the way Emily did. Mark was 36 with a wife and 4 kids. There was nothing any of us could do for her except to be there for support. Emily finally got a hold of her grandma and found out a bit more of info on her brother. Then finally got in touch with her mom. There was a lot of thinking about what she should do. Her parents didn't want her flying home, flying back here, and then flying back home. But, Nicole's Stepdad works for American Airlines and got her a $250 plane ticket from Rome to Tulsa, OK. So, Nicole and I took Emily to the airport in Rome Wednesday morning and she was off back to the states. That night I didn't sleep. There was so much going through my head. Thinking about Emily and her family. Thinking about my family. Thinking about what I would have done if I were in her situation. How much I'm going to miss her, my partner in crime. We had gotten to be really close while we were here. We basically did everything together. And to have her leave so abruptly, for lack of a better word, SUCKED! But, it was good that she was at her brother's funeral and there with her family. 

In the midst of all the chaos I felt the need to write in my journal. For the most part my journal has been bullet points just stating the major points of all of my travels, but Spring Break changed all of that. I felt like I needed to really write down my thoughts about our trip. So, I've basically been typing my journal on here adding some things here and there. The whole situation really got me thinking. Life is a precious thing. We go about living our lives like we are guaranteed tomorrow. When in fact we may be. When I came on this trip I didn't know anyone. Here it is the 9th week and the 8 people I have lived, breathed, and eaten with are going to be my friends for the rest of my life. We have been thrown into this situation having to deal with unfamiliar territory, making new friends, and deaths of family members. When things like that happen it makes us all stop and think. It's so hard to be here overseas without our friends and family and then to hear about the death of a loved one unexpected or not, kind of puts a damper on an incredible situation. I couldn't even imagine what it would be like to lose a sibling. I do know that losing someone close to you isn't any easier. How do you deal with something like that? When my uncle Bob passed away I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing. For me crying and listening to music was my way of coping. Emily said that she wasn't sure how to react because she's never lost anyone close to her before. I think that it just depends on the person and how they deal with things. It's bad enough the crap that Emily and I had to go through to get here, but then to have this happen and her to have to cut her Spring Break short to go home to the states with 3 weeks left. It's a total bummer and she is definitely missed. 

Barcelona is to come a bit later...


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Spring Break Prepost Post

I'm still trying to recover from a 10 day excursion in Italy and Spain and haven't had the time to post about Spring Break, but I am working on and it will be worth reading...I hope. My parents tell me that there are more people that read this than I realized and for that I am thankful. I just wish you would leave comments tell me that you've read it or just comments about what I've been writing about. It would definitely made my day!!! So, think about that. There is a "comments" link at the bottom of each post and all you have to do is put your name and then fill out the comment box. 

So, the Spring Break post will be a bit long with loads of pictures, so it might take me a while to get it posted, but I am staying in town this weekend and will hopefully get it posted sometime then. So, be checking back and hopefully I will have posted it. 

2 more weeks and I'm back in the states. I'm extremely sad, but looking forward to seeing my family and friends! I've missed you all!!!!