|For my final weekend before heading home I took to the beaches, visiting Newport and Huntingdon.|
Tuesday, 17 December 2013
Friday, 29 November 2013
Wednesday, 27 November 2013
Turning twenty one in California could mean only one thing...
It's safe to say I feel like we saw everything, journeying to the strip we visited the MGM Grand, New York New York, the Bellagio, Caesar's Palace, the Venetian, the Rio and so many more. We covered tourist spots and casinos, a burlesque show and many bars along the way.
There were many people from my family and friends who I missed greatly this weekend, but I'm very thankful to those who made it there with me and gave me an incredible weekend to remember. (P.s. thanks for the pictures Vicky & Rachel!)
In two nights I feel like we got a true taste of what Vegas has to offer and I definitely plan to return in the future for an even bigger and better weekend!
Monday, 18 November 2013
|@ Cold War Kids|
|Blessthefall & August Burns Red|
Sunday, 3 November 2013
Tuesday, 15 October 2013
Over two years ago I first spoke to Emma about the dream to study abroad in America, and by some miracle we have found ourselves here together. So for her 21st (the much anticipated birthday in the States) we planned a trip to San Francisco to truly celebrate in style. I promised a memorable weekend, and I think we certainly delivered!
Friday Oct. 11
An early start for the drive from Long Beach to San Francisco. With seven of us travelling together in a rented car we found ourselves in a giant Dodge durango, also known as 'The Tank'. We took the coastal route for the drive, and with our many stops the trip took around 10 hours.
The exciting arrival in San Francisco was slightly dampened by the fog, the traffic, and a sat nav without a sense of direction. Eventually we found our way to our rooms for the next two nights, and with all our maturity we moved in by jumping on the beds.
After the long drive, as the late night closed in, we found our way to Pier 39 and started our weekend celebrations at Bubba Gump's, where I could finally enjoy real fish & chips. The night of course would not have been complete without an ice-cream and singing surprise for the birthday girl!
|Road trip, Bubba Gump & room mates|
Saturday Oct. 12
In true tourist fashion we managed to cram in most of our sight seeing in one day; A foggy trip over the Golden Gate Bridge, driving down the crooked Lombard Street, up to Coit Tower - and that was all before lunch.
|Golden Gate Bridge|
In the afternoon we headed to China Town, which is one of my new favourite places, especially for the delicious pork buns! I also succeeded in solving my chocolate withdrawal problems with a trip to Ghirardelli Square. Following the recommendations of many of our local friends, we also went to Fisherman's Wharf, which gave us a true taste of San Francisco and a chance for some tourist shopping and sneaky present buying.
|The bay, China Town, Ghirardelli Square, Fisherman's Wharf & Lombard Street|
Our night was spent back at Pier 39, where we were treated to clam chowder bread bowls (highly recommended!) and watching the fireworks, before heading home to a night of obscure conversations and laughter with the girls in our room.
Sunday Oct. 13
Bright and early on Sunday morning we were lucky to see clearer skies so went back to the Golden Gate Bridge where we could look across the bay and see the amazing views. Before starting the journey home we returned to China Town to stock up on fresh baked treats for the car, and then said our goodbyes to San Francisco.
On the route home we stopped in Santa Barbara for dinner at The Brewhouse, our final celebration of a truly incredible and memorable weekend. Thank you all for the amazing company and collecting the great pictures. Happy 21st birthday Emma! We won't ever forget this one!
|Golden Gate Bridge & Santa Barbara|
Saturday, 5 October 2013
Sunday, 29 September 2013
Tuesday, 24 September 2013
Monday, 23 September 2013
Throughout the last few years I have gained a laughable reputation for getting seriously ill at the most inopportune times. Studying abroad is clearly no exception.
Things have been quiet on the blogging front (and the attending class front) over the last week for just that reason. What started as an ear infection escalated to an emergency dentist appointment and having four infected wisdom teeth extracted. Ouch!
Its fair to say that I missed my mum, and the NHS, during this time. Nobody likes to be ill away from home, and the stress of figuring out insurance and the American health care system was an undue burden.
However, I'm on the road to recovery and feel a few words of thanks are due. Many people received panicked phonecalls and emails last week and everyone I spoke to was incredibly supportive.
The staff at UH and their insurance provider went a long way to make sure I felt reassured. The Disabled Student Services here at CSULB were also very helpful about the correct procedures and support available.
The biggest thank you of all goes to my A-Team family in the dorms; for lifts to the dentist, suggesting soft food for after the op, going shopping for me and just generally making sure I was okay. They made me feel as close to home as possible when you're over 5000 miles away.
Friday, 13 September 2013
While this was devastating news, and a shock to us all, you just have to make the most of the time you have. I hope we gave a good send-off and left some lasting memories for what was still an incredible journey.
We gathered on the beach with marshmallows and made s'mores around the fire. Watching the night close in around us in the breathtaking surroundings of my new home, I couldn't help but feel a reflective mood taking hold.
Recently I had been starting to feel homesick, missing my friends and family and the small home comforts that you don't truly appreciate while you're there. The thought of travelling home to see the ones you love must be something that crosses all of our minds at some point.
Now someone was really leaving, and it makes you hold on to the opportunity you have in a new light. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and its more important than ever to make the most of it.
Wednesday, 4 September 2013
Labour Day Weekend saw most of the US students heading home to spend the holiday with their family. This left the International students a chance to explore, and for our first excursion we headed to Universal Studios in Hollywood. For CSULB students there was a great offer of just $69 for an annual pass, and by using your free bus and the Metro, transport there cost just 50 cents.
That night in LA we drove around to see the sights, such as Sunset Blvd. and Rodeo Drive, followed several hours later by a crazy midnight swim. We won't be forgetting that night for a while! Saturday provided a too-cool LA brunch and trip to Venice Beach. Venice Beach has a great atmosphere with lots happening and a funky LA buzz. A hot-spot that I plan to return to in the near future!
Sunday, 1 September 2013
Sunday, 25 August 2013
After a hectic start getting settled in to the new University, it was nice to have a relaxing afternoon lying in the sun. Although it was cold at first I even braved the sea! I will definitely be returning again soon, and checking out the other beaches in the area.
Friday, 23 August 2013
One the places that everyone said I had to try was In-N-Out Burgers, so on our way for a night out on Second Street we stopped by. Frankly, I was disappointed. I can't see what all the fuss was about, I've had much better burgers before, and the soggy chips (sorry fries!) are well worth avoiding. Even the Secret Menu is not as exciting as it sounds!
Powell's Sweet Shop lifted our spirits, kids in a candy store you can sit and watch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory while admiring the array of treats on display. Gathering round to watch each other trying the bugs attracted some strange looks from passers-by on Second Street. British tourists are certainly entertaining!
|Powell's Sweet Shoppe|
We've mastered the art of ordering less meals to accommodate for supersize portions, but even so we can understand why everyone in California gets To-Go boxes for their leftovers. Whether its an Ihop breakfast or dinner in Hoffs Hut, there is enough food left to feed a third world country. Interestingly, everyone we see is in really good shape - What's their secret?
Our favourite meal out so far has to be Hooters in Downtown Long Beach. There's a great atmosphere; music, sports and yes of course the waitresses, and the burgers and chicken wings are the best. We were even given a free appetizer, some delicious Tator Tots. Although in true American fashion they could have been your main meal. Definitely a place to try for a fun night out.
The rest of my time seems to have been filled with shopping, lots of trips to Target to furnish the Dorms and to the Beach Store for CSULB branded merchandise. Catching the bus to Los Cerritos Centre Mall is easy and free for students, with great shopping and places to eat. The prices are amazing and I can see suitcases filled with presents to take home at Christmas.
Monday, 19 August 2013
|My new home - Hillside College A|
|Unpacking in my new room|
|Because I've never seen someone so excited about a squirrel|
|IHop breakfast - YUM|
|Beachside College pool|
|Cheap taxis even if we never know our address|
|Lucky Charms for breakfast|