Sunday, April 1, 2012

Grilled Cheese, The Bitch That Let Go, Twinsies!

There has been so much going on these past few weeks I haven't had time to blog for you all! Did you miss me? I know you did/do/if you don't then don't read my blog, hater. Here's what I've been up to...


1. Borough Market and Tower Bridge
         My friends Lauren, and Meredith and I went to Borough Market, an all food market right around the corner from London Bridge! I had the most delicious/unhealthy grilled cheese in the entire world and I don't care if you're on a diet/lactose intolerant/ vegan or WHATEVER- when I get home I am making this grilled cheese and you all are going to LOVE IT. This culinary masterpiece consists of Montgomery Cheddar, Regular Cheddar, and Ogleshield cheeses topped off with several heaping teaspoons of minced leeks, red onion, and garlic. Of course the sourdough bread is bathed in buttery goodness and grill pressed to golden perfection. Is your mouth watering? TOLD YOU. Aside from the bomb.com grilled cheese, this market is full of different venders selling cheeses, fudge,meats,seafood, juices, ice cream, nuts, fruits, veggies, spreads, sauces, oils and breads, and the best of all...Turkish Delight. What is Turkish delight you may ask? Well I'll tell you. Imagine the inside of a Chuckle, if you don't know what that is...imagine the inside of a gumdrop, if you live under a rock and don't know what a gumdrop is like on the inside- get on a plane, go to London, get on the tube to London Bridge and get Turkish Delight at the Borough Market. Anywhoooo, this gummy goodness is then covered in flour...or it could be powdered sugar, I didn't ask questions I just ate it. They have an assortment of flavors such as pomegranate, strawberry, orange, coconut, toffee, lemon and even pistachio! If you push out all the information and horror stories you know about how gelatin is formed these little treats are great. 
where a foodie's dreams come true


    Not far from the market is Tower Bridge and Potters Fields Park, a little green patch with benches and a view of the bridge along the river where we enjoyed out fresh-squeezed juice and Turkish Delight. We walked over the Tower Bridge toward the Tower of London where the crowned jewels are held. I would have loved to go in but it costs close to 30 British Pounds ($50) and I could get my own knock off version of the crowned jewels for that much. 



2. TITANIC 3D PREMIERE! 
le red carpet
   If you've been on Facebook in the past week you might have come across my pictures taken at the Titanic 3D Premiere at the Royal Albert Hall- if you haven't been on Facebook (what is your secret to resisting it's magical powers?) -please go stalk my pictures. I saw ACTUAL famous people that I KNOW are famous and not just look-a-likes that I see on the street! The premiere was so cool! I've never done anything like that before (and by 'like that' I mean wait in line for 3 hours and then stand against a fan barrier in 70 degree heat and sun waiting to see stars from a movie I have seen 128323957374203 times that came out when I was in kindergarten) BUT IT WAS STILL SO AWESOME. I was dumb and didn't bring anything to get signed so I took ridiculous amounts of pictures as all the fancy people walked the red carpet into the theater to see the movie in 3D. My group of friends got tickets at the last minute to see the premiere but sadly I had a group project to work on so I headed back to campus while they saw Kate once again "let go" of Leo into the cold waters of the Atlantic....she let go...the bitch let go. 
  ps- to those of you who are wondering why I didn't snap any pics of Grown Up Leo, he wasn't at the premiere because he's still filming a movie in America and we aren't talking because I'm very disappointed in him. 


3. PARENT TRAP HOUSE!
    "I hate the parent trap" - said NO ONE EVER. Everyone loves that movie. Dennis Quaid, Natasha Richardson, and my girl Lindsey Lohan. Stay strong LL, prison has made you a tougher person. That movie is the best thing ever. If its on ABC Family, you are watching it. If it's on Disney Channel, you are not ashamed to be 20 years old and wait for it to come on after Hannah Montana. That movie is up there with Titanic...for me at least. And I know at some point everyone has attempted the handshake. I have. My gingy friend Sam and I did the handshake in front of the house filmed in the movie. We realized we lived ridiculously close to the neighborhood after google mapping for a good 4 hours and then walking the 5 minutes to Annie and Elizabeth James' fictional home!




4. Harrods
    After attracting a crowd in front of the Parent Trap House, we scampered off to Harrods. This place is the most depressing place to be when your bank account is as slim as Mary-Kate Olsen. Gucci, Prada, Marc Jacobs, Tory Burch WHY MUST YOU TORTUE ME?! You can legit get lost in this place it's like a maze. I can't write anymore about Harrods it's just too hard...


5. Brick Lane and the Chocolate Festival
  Never in my life have I ever seen so many hipsters. Big glasses, big hair bows, skinny pants, neon tights and jorts (jean shorts), weird shoes, retro sayings on t-shirts, half-shaved heads, fedoras, the faint smell of ironically loving something and a distaste for anything mainstream/showering filled Brick Lane this morning. I went to Brick Lane for one thing, and one thing only. Bagels. Do you know how hard it is to find a decent bagel in London? It's "9-tube-stops-and-weaving-through-masses-of 'I was into Moby before he was popular'-freaks" hard. But these bagels are superb and only cost 25 pence per bagel so I was Thundercats-are-go by the time we reached the street. After surviving the mobs of hipsters my friends and I headed for South Bank to check out the Chocolate Festival, purely for the fudge. We got off the tube, made a bee-line for the fudge man and stuffed out faces sitting outside of the London Eye entrance. All in all a good day, minus how mainstream I felt. 


So many fun things going on and I've only scratched a few of these off of my Bucket List! I only have 39 more days left in London and then I'm back in Connecticut where no one's accent is cute or even existent! More to come soon!


Keep it classy,
 Marn Barn






WHERE'S LEO KATE? YOU LET HIM GO.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Bonjourno, Ciao, Hola, Hasta La Vista

  Two Words... Spring. Break. 


I just got back from my spring break vacation in Italy and Spain! A group of friends and I spent 10 fun filled days in Florence, Rome, and Barcelona! 


There is no possible way I can recall every little detail of what we did but let me try to give an acceptable recap of all major events and my experiences in general.


1. REAL PIZZA IS THE FOOD OF THE GODS. 

Alex enjoying the typical meal...Pizza!
       The first day that I was in Florence I had to order a margherita pizza, basically just a cheese pizza, but its Italy so they get fancy on ya and call it margherita. Literally, the most delicious thing I've had while being abroad. It didn't taste like I expected it to- more of a vodka sauce type of flavor and the crust was thin, yet fluffy and just all around delicious. I was THIS CLOSE to ordering an espresso or cappuccino but then I decided to NOT be a jittering, fidgeting mess and stuck with water instead.  


2. FLORENCE IS BEAUTIFUL.
  
      For some reason I never felt the need to go to Florence because Rome had always overshadowed it in my mind. But let me tell you, Florence is the best. The buildings and countryside around the city are really amazing. There aren't many taxis in Florence because its much smaller and is so walkable. We walked everywhere the entire time we were there. There is so much to see and eat in Florence. I saw the David statue, the Ponte Vecchio, Il Duomo and the Tuscan countryside when our group took a half day tour of the Chianti Wine Country!


Il Duomo, Florence
A Ginger on the Ponte Vecchio
   Even the streets of Florence were adorable. Every day we walked through the  San Lorenzo Market outside the Medici Chapel. This market sells a lot of leather goods like belts, purses, bracelets, wallets, anything that could be made out of leather...its in this market. There were some ceramic products too that had the Firenze Fleur De Lis all over the place. 


3. ROME IS AMAZING, BUT IT MAKES YOUR HAIR SMELL.
    I don't know why this was the case in Italy, but everyone's hair, including my own, smelled funky after being out in the city for a few hours. Even after a shower and scrubbing my hair with shampoo, there was still a faint smell of pollution and none of us could figure out a way to avoid it. 

   Aside from smelly head syndrome, Rome is really cool. I took the typical tourist route and took a bus tour of the city. I can't remember the names of the half the things I saw while on that tour but I took a copious amount of pictures of stuff that looked important or might at some point be on the Travel Channel. 


    My favorite sight to see in Rome was the Colosseum. I had to try really hard not to constantly quote Gladiator or Ben-Hur...I struggled- all I could think was:


"My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, Commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions..."

"ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!"
           People looked at me funny - oh well. Haters gonna hate. 

Where's Paolo?
     Another favorite spot of mine was the Trevi Fountain. Even though it was by far the most touristy spot and swarming with people, I got to throw a coin over my shoulder and made a wish! I kept my eyes peeled for any Italian boys who may mistake me for their Italian Pop Singing Partner but no luck. I just don't have one of those faces I guess. It sucks to.. because, hey now, hey now...I thought this is what dreams are made of. 

 So I went back to singing THIS SONG everywhere I went while occasionally stopping to say "Mi scusi, where's the gelato?" 


3. THE VATICAN IS HUGE

    After a really busy day in Rome, we all passed out pretty early after another delicious Italian meal and prepared ourselves to wake up early to get to the Vatican City the next morning.  So we woke up earlier than we had the entire trip and got ourselves to the Vatican. Since it was a Wednesday, the day that the Pope does his demonstration, Rome was full of people and it was difficult to find a taxi. We arrived at the Vatican a little later than planned but luckily it was a beautiful day and we hung around St. Peter's Square while the Pope spoke before heading towards the Vatican Museum for our tour. 

    The tour was very interesting and let us skip the line so we wouldn't be waiting for hours and hours. The Vatican Museum is a maze of statues, tapestries, paintings and murals. If we didn't have a guide, I guarantee you I would still be wandering through the halls looking for the Sistine Chapel... and more gelato. 

4. PEOPLE WILL SELL ANYTHING ON THE STREET.

   The amount of street vendors and just randos that will walk up to you on the street is nuts. We were approached by countless Bangladeshian (yeah?) men selling flowers. They followed us into stores and restaurants just because they heard our American accents and assume that we have money...FALSE. We're in college. We have no money...money is an illusion. 

5. BARCELONA MAKES ME WISH I LIKED SEAFOOD.

     I don't do fish.. but Barcelona made me wish I could appreciate it. 

6. THE CHEETAH GIRLS MOVIE MAKES ME WANNA FLAMENCO DANCE.

    Amigas, Cheetahs, friends for life!

7. I HAVE NEVER SEEN COLOR LIKE I HAVE AT THE GAUDI PARC GUELL.

  My favorite thing about Barcelona was the Parc Guell. The artist, Gaudi created and designed this park with a mosaic technique. The entire park is built into the side of a hill... it made me miss URI a little bit..but anyway- As you climb up the stairs of the park you see more and more of Barcelona. The paths are lined with palm trees and stone arches that made me feel like I was in paradise. BUT the coolest part of the whole park was the twisted tiled benches that hung over the entryway of the park. So many colorful pieces of tile and glass are set into this bench and I just couldn't help but be an artsy hipster for a moment and take pictures! 

  If any of you are ANTM fans like me, you'll recognize this picture as the runway location for Caridee and Melrose's season where they were the screaming brides during the finale show!   

Where's Tyra?.. probably talking about herself.

Entrance to Parc Guell


 This was the best Spring Break I've ever had! I got to see so much, eat some of the best food and experience new things with my friends, I will never forget this trip! Back in London now, a little less than two months until the program is over and it's back to America! But don't worry- many more London adventures to come soon! 


-Marn




Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I See Famous People Everywhere I Go...Everywhere I Go...

  Over the past six or seven weeks of being in London, I've come to realize something... I see (or think I see) famous people all over the place. I thought I saw this dude: 
This dude's name is Dylan Baker, some of you may recognize him for his smaller roles in tv shows such as Ugly Betty, House, Kings, and recently as Katherine McPhee's father on the new hit series SMASH airing on NBC Mondays at 10/9c (give me a job NBC I'd be perf for your business). I recognized him right away as Peter Parker's teacher Doctor Conners from Spider-Man 2 and 3. Needless to say I geeked out a little and considered following this man on the streets of Picadilly Circus, but then realized it wasn't him. Just one of those faces I guess...


    I've had other spottings as well- The other night while in China Town I could have SWORN I saw the guy who plays Commodore Norington in the Pirates Of the Caribbean films and tugged at the sleeve of my friend and managed to stutter out the words that let her knew I thought I'd had a celebrity sighting again. My friends are used tot his by now...every time we are out somewhere I always find someone whom I recognize from the pluthera of television and movies I watch. I then attempt to approach them, only to have them scurry away before I can get a good look at their face and/or blurt out "HEY AREN'T YOU SO-AND-SO FROM THAT THING?". I'll openly admit that about 80% of the time I'm dead-ass wrong about the person being famous. But I still haven't learned my lesson.
Don't look all Concernicus dude, you're hair will get...whiter. 


     BUT. Today, February the twenty-eighth the year two thousand twelve, I, Margaret P. Thompson- saw a famous person on these very streets of Kensington, London, UK. I was just bopping along listening to some Hall & Oats Best Hits (specifically this song ---> CLICK ME !!) while wearing the most disgusting outfit I've donned while living in London, yoga pants, neon sneakers and a sweatshirt with my hair in a side pony and a Yankee's hat (settle down Sox fans) to shield my whiter-than-whitegirlproblems face from the sun, when BAM. THER HE WAS. Waling down Gloucester Road in a  hoodie, shorts and Yankee's hat (TWINSIES)...HENRY CAVILL. If you don't know who this man is I urge you to oogle take a gander at the pictures below... drool away folks, drool away. 


look at that bone structure... 
   I KNOW,  RIGHT? Henry (we're on a first name basis) gave me a thumbs up for our matching hats and strolled past me looking like a babe and being all beefy with his groceries while I did a double-take, scooped my jaw up off of the sidewalk and ran back to my room to tweet, Facebook update, and let my Dad know I had just seen the newest Superman/Duke from the Tudors/Tristan's friend in Tristan and Isolde/Theseus from Immortals/and all around beefcake walking about Kensington, among us mere mortals. My friends didn't believe me. I was too star-struck to include a name in my facebook status stating that I'd seen this lovely creature, so I lost some cred there. BUT- after providing and name and visual aids I got some believers and it turns out Hunky Hank makes regular appearances around these here parts. Miss Caroline Scott admitted to seeing him frequently and just thinking he was your average babe in London, but no no young Caroline...he is SO much more than that. The man, the myth the legend, Woody Thompson provided me with this little blurb of info on my new BFF: 


"Henry Cavill grew up in Jersey, Channel Islands. Jersey is his home but he is currently, in

his own words, "floating around the world." He has four brothers and a pet parrot. "

Good to know, Dad...good to know that Homeboy is currently "floating" in South Kensington...Now look how lovely this link fits in right here...




I'd climb that like a tree.
I don't dig the hair but... I can make it work

MAN OF STEEL
    I felt that this occurrence deserved a blog post, seeing that I haven't posted since Scotland and you all back at home (and my 5 readers in Russia and the 2 in Uzbekistan HI GUYS HI) need something to entertain yourselves until I return from Spring Break. WHICH bee tee dubs, I just officially finished booking! A week in Italy and 5 days in Barcelona ain't half bad for poor lil' ole me. Can't wait to eat everything and get sunburned...it's been a while since this skin has seen some UV rays- but I got my SPF  100- yeah, they make it go that high, and yeah, I know all sunscreen is useless past 30 but it's a mind over matter kind of thing. I'll be lucky if I get some new freckles to add to this connect-the-dots game. 


Arrivederci (that's Italian) and Adios (that's not Italian) until I get back from El vacaciĆ³n!


-Margaritaville

Monday, February 20, 2012

Scotland: Where Everyone Is Adorable And Fortunately Not Mel Gibson.

"They may take our lives, but they will never take our freedom!!" - William Wallace/ Mel Gibson. 


  I'm not entirely sure that Willy Wally ever actually spoke those words but they were pretty much the only thing I could think of while walking the beautiful streets of Edinburgh, Scotland this past weekend. 

  Scotland really is one of the most lush, green places I've seen thus far. Although I didn't get a chance to leave the city, from the top of Edinburgh Castle I could see rolling hills just outside the city limits and little lambs frolicking all over the place! Thinking that the weather would be warm (ish) with a chance of rain, I brought my raincoat and leather jacket...big mistake. It only rained for about 10 minutes...wait, not rain... it basically monster hailed/snowed/rained and then POOF- the sun was back out. Needless to say I was freezing the entire trip but hey, at least I got some lovely pictures!
Castle with a view.


   We walked around the streets for a while before our faces went numb and we took refuge in a small cafe where everything on the menu was salmon, ham, haggis, or eggs. I opted for soup. We took a walk down the Royal Mile, a strip of the city with cool buildings and churches and pubs on pubs on pubs. Which leads me to the real event of the trip... the Edinburgh Pub Crawl. Picture it...74 college-age kids (and some 30 year old Spaniards) stumbling messily walking along the streets, gripping free drink tickets and being ushered out of the road and onto sidewalks as the night goes on. Essentially the night consisted of jaeger trains, dancing, live music, and sleepy cab rides home. My friends and I made a lot of new friends, lots of Australians who love Summer Heights High as much as I do and love "rangas" as much as I love myself- life long kinds of friends. 
Super casual. 


   After a long, cold day and a very interesting night, we ventured back to our hostel where I quickly realized I was a hotel kind of girl. I don't do public/mold-infested-worse-than-an-innercity-YMCA bathrooms. I just don't. Not a fan of vomit/meat smelling bedding either. But it's all cool beans. It WAS an experience...that I will avoid from here on out. Our friends got a room at the Hilton around the corner, so...that's totally fair- no really though, they were kind enough to offer us a non moldy shower.
Dawson understands my pain from staying in that hostel. 
  The train ride back to London felt like a million years but I did manage to read 2 full books on my Kindle (THANKS MOM AND DAD) and I took a quick cat nap before we pulled into Kings Cross (HEY HEY HEY HARRY POTTER SITES) and got on the tube back to our lovely Gloucester Road Station in Kensington. 


   The Motherland was wonderful, but I was glad to be back in London and be able to rest after a long trip home. So excited to be seeing more places in the UK!! I'm headed to Norwich, England in two weeks to see my favorite Canadian, A. Davis, and see her kick butt at rugby and spend some much needed friend time because I haven't seen this bitch since August. 


Toodles! 


Margarita

Monday, February 13, 2012

"Sorry, the only french I know is the Lady Marmalade opening"

Bonjour!


PARIS WAS AWESOME. Let me just fill you in on what I experienced this weekend:


Friday: Our school group arrived in Grande du Norde Train Station around 3pm Paris time. As soon as we checked into our hotel we set off for the Eiffel Tower! THIS THING IS HUGE. I felt like a teeny tiny itsy bitsy itty bitty speck compared to "Le Tour de Eiffel" (that's how they say it in  France guys). After taking a healthy, yet excessive amount of pictures, we decided that our numbing legs and frostbitten noses needed some warmth- thus leading us to a small cafe around the corner from the tower. My roommate, Callie was brave and adventurous and decided to eat some snails. Even saying it in the french way I still don't see the appeal of it... it's still snails. After dinner we tried to figure out the metro (WAY harder and dirtier than the London Underground) and got lost a few times before making our way back to the hotel where we grabbed some champagne and hung out in a friend's room before hitting the sheets after a long day of traveling and walking. 
I mean it's kinda cool.

Saturday: I struggled majorly getting up that morning. We had to be down in the hotel lobby by 8:30 am for a bus tour of the city and as an champion sleeper, I was not coherent for about the first 40 minutes of that tour... yet I still managed to take pictures of everything. So here is the part where I should go into detail about what we saw and the backstories behind all the buildings and stuff, but... I can't really remember anything and don't know how to spell any of the names of the sites we saw- BUT I can tell you all that I saw the Ritz, Louis Vuitton, the Champs Elyssee (major shopping bee tee dubs) and about 4 government buildings that all looked beautiful, yet the same to me. The one interesting thing I do remember from the tour was Napoleon's burial site. My homeboy Napoleon had a big of a height complex and decided it'd be cool to be buried in 6 coffins. Because being buried in just one is too ghetto for Napoleon. Now, after being placed in these 6 coffins (one inside of the other like a fricking Russian doll) the ex-emperor is placed at the bottom level of the building so that no matter where you are looking at him from, you are always bowing to him. It's cool and sad at the same time. Poor guy obviously had major mommy and daddy issues. All I could think about while outside the building was ( GET READY FOR A MARNIE POINTLESS MOVIE REFERENCE MOMENT) the scene from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure when Ted's brother ditches Napoleon for being "a dick" and Napoleon decides to invade the San Demas water park, Waterloo -pun intended-. Also, did anyone else know that Napoleon's manhood was bought by some dude off of eBay and now resides in New Jersey? That place just got dirtier. 
Oh hey, Napoleon.
After the bus tour we were dropped off at the Lourve where we got free tickets! We got to see the Venus de Milo, the Mona Lisa, and A LOT of naked sculptures. That place had more visible manly regions than Chat Roulette. All in all the Lourve is awesome, so many cool pieces of art I suggest everyone go at some point. 






"and we're the three best friends that anyone could have"
Later that day after getting lost (hard-core) and taking a nap after a long morning and afternoon- my friends and I got ready to go to the town of Monmarte (conveniently located downhill from the Moulin Rouge) to find a fondue place for dinner. This place was phenomenal. It was a tiny hole in the wall filled with locals stuffing their faces with cheese fondue and wine served in baby bottles- YAYA!  BABY. BOTTLES. Anyway, the night was great- we were planning on going out after fondue but given that it was 1:30 am when we left the restaurant, we just walked back down the hill through the cold to the hotel where we fell asleep within about 5 minutes of our heads hitting the pillow. 
we got our fondue on..





Sunday: Our last day in Paris was very low-key, yet satisfying. While some of our group ventured off the climb to the top of the Eiffel tower, three other girls and my bum knee walked around the corner from the hotel in search of a French breakfast, which we LOVED! Omelettes, salad, and fresh OJ !!! Sadly, we had to go back to the hotel after getting food and pack up for our journey back to London. Genna- I didn't eat a macaroon BUT LET ME TELL YA- I had my fair share of crepes. 


I'll be going back to Paris in April with everyone's favorite Canadian Ashley Davis- I know we will have a blast and explore places I didn't get to see during this trip! 
I'm headed off the Scotland this weekend for what I'm calling my birthright trip...yeah.. I'm calling it that- so more to come soon!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Story of How I DID NOT Go to Amsterdam

Snow sucks. It really, really sucks. As some of you may know, I did not go to Amsterdam this weekend. No... I took the underground to Victoria to get on an express train to Gatwick Airport, I paid 33 pounds (about $50) for a ticket to this airport. THEN, my roommate and I checked into British Airways and TOOK OUR SHOES OFF for security, we aimlessly walked around the terminal, got a free shot of Bailey's, read some trashy magazines and got a call from our other friends who were planning to meet us at the airport. Our flight got cancelled. Cancelled because of 22cm (NOT EVEN A FOOT) of snow was accumulating on the runway in Scjfgnkjfxhmcvnsdlkhfsdf (that's not really how you spell the name of it) Airport in the Netherlands. So- we were led back through the airport to the check in desks where we waited in line to figure out if there was another flight we could get on or if we could get our money back at all. After no help from the Airline employees, we four girls sat in an airport bar for about 2 hours trying to plan our next move. Sadly, we could not get onto a flight anywhere else due to space and of course the fact that we would have to place to stay while in whatever destination we chose. So, we headed back to London.

What Amsterdam WOULD have looked like if it didn't snow and if I were actually there to take this picture.


  We all tried to look on the bright side of things- it's supposed to snow heaps tonight in London and tomorrow night as well, so we would have struggled to fly back to London for classes on Monday if we had gone anywhere. Luckily, the airline and booking companies we went through gave us a full refund for the flight cancellation- eve though we lost out on about 60 pounds for the hostel, we made the most of our situation.
Cool sewing machines inside a store on Portobello Road
   Today, we went to Portobello Market in Notting Hill. YES- NOTTING HUGH GRANT/ JULIA ROBERTS HILL. It's only 2 subway stops from our dorm and filled with all sorts of shops! I bought some gifts for my friends back home and was tempted by the vinyl Beatles albums for sale- but I stayed strong. We walked up and down Portobello Road and looked at all the lockets, rings, furs, and antiques lining the streets before we came upon a little stand with a little French woman making crepes with nutella and strawberries. NUTELLA AND STRAWBERRIES. These things were HUGE. The little lady rolled them up on paper plates for us and we nommed on our way back to the Underground.


Theres a pink one, and a green one, and blue one and yellow one

I get why people would get freaky.. for this. 
ALSO- Today, while I was grabbing lunch at the corner of Gloucester Road and Queens Gate Terrace, I witnessed something so bizarre yet familiar I couldn't even look away. There were mobs of people up and down Gloucester Road decked out in British flags and face paint, cow suits, penguin outfits- all of them college kids- all of them piss drunk at 12 o'clock on a Saturday.... reminds me of tailgating at football games. There were mobs of these people because the 6 nations begin this week. The 6 nations: England, France, Italy, Scotland and Wales compete in a rugby tournament and everyone gets weird, everyone gets freaky, and everyone drink copiously. It's hilarious, it's entertaining, it's England.

I WILL be going to Paris this weekend so I  WILL be taking pictures and having European adventures because I'm worldly, I wear black now and say things like "well done" rather than "good job". I eat crepes and have euros in my wallet.

I Promise, promise, promise that I'll take an excessive number of photos and have something substantial to write about in my next post.  SORRY TO DISAPPOINT.

"lay-tuhs"
Marn Barn

Saturday, January 28, 2012

London Thangs

Tra la la la LONDON IS AWESOME.

Since my last post, I have done some local exploring! I ventured to Hyde Park (conveniently located behind my building) with some friends to see the Peter Pan statue! Hyde Park is HUGE. Like- Beyonce's booty huge. I saw lots of runners and people with babies and SO MANY DOGS! Seeing all the puppies made me want to adopt one just so I could take it to the park...sadly, Katie and Woody would not be amused if I showed up at JFK in May with a giant Bernese Mountain dog named -- enough of the day dreaming, it's making the reality that I don't have a dog more painful--.

One day little puppy...one day

 

Aside from all the adorable pooches, the park is full of beautiful monuments and fountains. When first entering the park from Gloucester Road, a slight hilled path leads you to a shallow pond opposite from Kensington Palace (which is under renovations at the moment otherwise I would have taken an inappropriate amount of pictures). This pond is swarming with birds. I hate birds. There are swans and geese and ducks and pigeons and they all make me want to run away crying. But beyond the pond are countless paths that lead all over the eastern side of the park. We walked along the Princess Diana Memorial Walk and ended up getting lost in our search for Peter Pan...a few times- BUT we finally found the statue and took the quintessential picture and strolled past the Italian Fountains and made our way back out of the park by passing the Prince Albert Memorial.
I call this one "creeper man with gross things that fly"

After exploring the park, I of course went shopping! High Street Kensington is home to shops on shops on shops on shops. I made an appearance in Urban Outfitters, American Apparel, Zara, TK Maxx (like the American TJ's) before dinner! Harrod's is of course the numero uno attraction of High Street but it got dark and a little too chilly for me to continue spending ungodly amounts of money so I headed back to my dorm to get ready and go out for the night with my friends!


how CAYUUUUUTE

lovely day at the park!

all it takes is some faith, trust, and pixie dust!


Stay tuned peeps- because next weekend I'm going to Amsterdam! More fun stories to come soon!


you know you love me
xoxo ginger girl

Monday, January 23, 2012

Boats, Classes and Plays, Oh My.

     I've been in London for almost a whole week! Oy (with-the-poodles-already) I can't believe it! So many fun things have been going on since the last time I posted- I saw Wicked in Central London and it was MAGICAL! I was a little disappointed that the actress playing Glinda the good witch wasn't as Kristen Chenoweth-y as I had hoped, but the cast was amazing and Mom, I cried a little during Defying Gravity and Kelley Anne, there were no JoBros in sight. I took my first tube ride to get to the play and I was pleasantly surprised to find the London Underground to be be so much cleaner and easier than the Manhattan Subway System. And also, for you HP fans (I'm looking at you Meaghan, Jessie, and Katie) I was in the station where Harry works his babe-magnet charm and then Dumbledore awkwardly interrupts with his creepy dead hand thing- in Half Blood Prince. I know you know which part I'm talking about. No shame.


   Aside from the play, one of the other Orientation activities offered through Richmond was a Booze Cruise Boat Party, where there were bartenders available to fulfill each guest's only every need. The boat  went up and down the River Thames, Thames River, The Thames, "Tha Rivah"; for about 4 hours until we docked back again at the pier. During the cruise I took a loads of pictures- now go click open that new tab button and stalk me on Facebook like a normal person. I got to meet a lot of new people that night and I also learned I don't really do well on boats, or dancing while on boats, or dancing while texting while being on a boat. #whitegirlproblems

   Now that classes have officially started, I'm learning to manage my time better and to avoid taking frequent cat naps during the day. My first class at Richmond was supposed to be this morning...but luckily I checked my email last night to see that it was cancelled because the professor was "occupying Canada" ...cool. So I won't get to physically BE in that class until next Monday but my other classes are so far very interesting and are much smaller than I am used to. At URI, my usual class is 30-60 students depending on the lecture hall but here at Richmond, I only counted 11 people in my first class! The professor knew me by name and hair color (because I was the only gingy kid #typical) before I'd even sat down! This will be interesting...

 We've gone exploring a little around London and seen some pretty cool things! While in Picadilly Circus, my flatmates and I stumble upon London's China town! It was very different from NYC though... no one tried to sell me a Rolex, and no one took me up the street, around the corner, up 5 flights of stairs, into a Korean sweatshop to look at some fake Chanel and Gucci. It was refreshing. Naturally as tourists, we chose the only non-asian restaurant in the area and sat down at an Irish pub for dinner. I don't know if it is our group or just everyone else's inability to serve us... we struggled once again with ordering food- because we have yet to be served by an English person...everyone is Russian, Spanish or Yugoslavian. I just want a waiter to say "here ya go love" or "cheeyuhs ladies" is that too much to ask?

There's a dinner tonight that is being held by the mayor of Kensington. I know right... I don't know the MAYOR. But as international students we are invited to eat and drink at this party tonight and that means free food so that means I'm so there. 

AND NOW FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE...PICTURES!!!
Kensington Square

RBKC- Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

a view of High Street Kensington... THERE'S A GAP. 

Kensington Square Park...NO DOGS. 

What I have claimed as my future home in Kensington Square

Thursday, January 19, 2012

London Calling

Hello from London!
I’m finally here! Sorry it’s taken me a few days to post again, between the jet lag and all the activities I haven’t had time to blog! BLOGGERS GOTTA BLOG  YA’LL. So I’ll give you all a general idea of what I’ve been up two the past few days-
Katie, The Woodman and I left for JFK around noon on Monday and after going through check-in, grabbing some lunch and a tearful goodbye, I headed through security and was off to London! The flight exceeded my expectations. I got an aisle seat SCORE, and no one was sitting next to me, so I got to watch about 12 episodes of the office and play trivia on my personal screen without shame. I tried sleeping but I was too excited and the Legally Blonde Soundtrack was playing on my iPod so I couldn’t doze off! Virgin Atlantic is BALLER SHOES guys, seriously fly with them if you ever can- so nice, so accommodating, and endless Office episodes at your fingertips.
After landing in Heathrow, most of our group gathered in the arrival area and we waited THREE HOURS for a girl who never showed up...or we just left her behind...you snooze you lose. Anyway, we got on a coach bus and headed to Kensington, the Royal borough where Princess Diana grew up. This place is amazing- our dorm is on Queens Gate Terrace, next door to the French Ambassador (JUST LIKE PASSPORT TO PARIS) in a multi-million dollar neighborhood! We’re broke, American, college students...and we casually live in this high class, British area. 
My building on Queens Gate Terrace


London Eye, Big Ben, Parliament!


LOOK MOM! A PSYCHEDELIC MINI COOPER!

Around the corner from the dorm is Imperial College, where there is a pub open to Richmond Students as well! The pub is full of very friendly locals and other study abroad students- but holy crap is it expensive to get drinks. Most pubs around here close at midnight so that’s definitely different from American bars that stay open until way later. We’ve all been pretty sleep-deprived and it’s definitely taken a toll on our ability to function but soon enough we will be on regular London hours!
The weather here has been...interesting. The first day was bitter cold and felt just like Connecticut in January, but yesterday was sunny, then rainy and now today it’s rainy/sunny/warm/kinda cold/I feel like I’m going through menopause. Yesterday we took a bus tour of central London and got to see the sights! I took some pictures of Big Ben, Parliament, Westminster Abbey  and Buckingham Palace- we drove by Trafalgar square (p.s. Dad- that IS how you spell it), Tower Bridge and the Tower of London but we were running behind schedule and weren’t able to get off the bus for a Kodak moment. My flatmates and I have already decided we must go back to all of these sights soon and take pictures like quintessential American tourists. 
I have a go-phone now and can text and call internationally, BUT it’s pretty pricy so unless you have something REALLY important to tell me...just tweet at me or send me a Facebook message because what has two thumbs and a limited cash flow?… THIS CHICK. 
Toodles until my next post!
-Marn

Sunday, January 15, 2012

TALLY HO!

Naturally during my last day in America, I am doing classic white girl american things... getting a mani pedi, watching the Kardashians and spelling color without a U. I have packed both, yes BOTH of my suitcases and thanks to the ever-so-fabulous Miss Jordyn Good and family, I can fit a small child in one of them but I decided to put clothes and shoes in it instead. My nerves are starting to get the best of me as my departure comes closer and closer and I'm starting to realize the things I will miss while I'm away. I'm obviously going to miss Pretty Little Liars with Devon my parents and Lewis' first season playing college lacrosse and all of my friends at URI, but everyone is wishing me well and I know I will have the time of my life.

I've been trying to calculate the time change and how much of a zombie I will be for the first day or so... conclusion is that I will most likely fall asleep within 5 seconds of my head hitting the pillow. Hopefully I can keep my eyes open ( I mean that's what Diet Pepsi is for right?). Guaranteed I won't sleep tonight because I'll be so wired but then maybe I can pack and then re-pack my carry-on, which of course is just my backpack. But do you know how much stuff I have to put in this backpack? I have to fit my laptop, Kindle, departure folder and packets, camera, makeup bag, plugs, mittens, 12 vials of insulin, 5 backup insulin epipens AND my purse. I can't even fit my teddy bear (if you're laughing at the fact that I still have a teddy bear, you're insensitive and frankly we shouldn't be friends anymore) so now I have to cram him into the Good's loaner suitcase where he will definitely feel claustrophobic. Thanks, Toy Story for making me think that my stuffed animals come to life whenever I leave the room- now I'll be worried about Teddy riding in cargo while I watch 7 hours of Workaholics.

I should jus stop now before I embarrass myself ramble on any further. This time tomorrow I'll be saying Haster Laveester to Amurrica and TALLY HO  to England!

See you all in 4 months! Expect postcards with an excessive amount of stamps on them soon!

Thank You, Good Family for this DEISEL suticase!
England may not be ready for this... a lot of things probably aren't ready for this...
-Marn

Sunday, January 8, 2012

It all won't fit...

ONE WEEK PEOPLE. One week until I leave for London! I'm such a nerd for blogging about my pre-departure but who cares I'M GOING TO FREAKING LONDON.  Today I put out a majority of the clothes I plan on bringing and let's just say the pile takes up an entire twin bed...so I better , or not pack so much  find a suitcase the size of said bed. Everything is getting in order, I got my pre-departure packet in the mail the other day and stayed up until 3am reading over the incredibly detailed itinerary for orientation week. I'd be lying if I said I didn't pee my pants a little in excitement when reading the itinerary because about 3 pages in I saw the words "West End" and "Wicked". We have the option of seeing either Les Miserables or Wicked at the theater and because I have seen and listened to my dad sing the 24601 Jean Val Jean redemption song  the soundtrack from Les Mis to no end, I would really pass out from excitement love to see Wicked. Given that last time I saw it on Broadway with my gingerly friend, Kelley Anne, we were a bit distracted because we were casually climbing over the rows of people and gawking at  sitting behind the Jonas Brothers and trying to see how tight their pants were we were a bit star-shocked!

  That first week in London will mainly consist of me trying to keep up with the tight schedule. They have us taking a bus tour of the city, along with a Harry Potter Sights Tour and trip to Westminster Abbey. I'll have to keep my camera charged so I can take pictures of myself in front of tons of historical buildings and scenes so that you all can shamelessly stalk me on Facebook.


  This last week at home will consist of me trying to fit everything in my bags and mentally preparing for the massive amounts of crying that will happen at the airport before I head to my gate in JFK. Not sad crying, but excited/nervous/Woody-and-Katie-withdrawal tears. It'll be good thought. I have a casual THREE HOURS to sit at the gate and (naturally) meander around the terminal looking for gum, trashy magazines and randos sleeping in the oddly placed outlets near the restrooms (for real though, why don't those people just go sit in a chair at the gate and snooze, not need for crunchy travelers to spoon each other outside the ladies' room).

This is the part of my blog where I wish I could write a farewell or send off in a different language and sound way cooler and worldly, but in England they speak English so Au Revoir or something cool like that doesn't fit here.

So we'll do this the Amurrrrrican (and KAC) way- "BYEEEEEE" until my next post!