2 Days Left

June 15th is almost here, and thus the sad ending of my experience abroad. I honestly don’t want to leave this campus, England… or even Europe in general. I love it here. I love the people I met, the random experiences, the classes, etc, etc… traveling, the food!  I really don’t want to leave.

I still can’t believe that 6 months has already passed. It went by way too fast. I’m currently packing my stuff and it has gotten a tad bit emotional. At first when I came to the University of Sussex I was sad that I was going to be abroad– away from home, away from the familiar, away from my beloved Seattle– but now, I honestly don’t want to leave England. The very first week I had a bit of an emotional break down because this campus was in the middle of nowhere and I didn’t know anyone. I didn’t. But when the days came passing by I slowly started to fall in love with Sussex… with Brighton.. with England.

I’m not having an emotional tear-jerking moment whilst typing this post.

I have a laundry list of what I’m going to miss, so here goes nothing. I’ll try to hold back the tears… though no promises:

    • ASDA: I love you even though you’re part of the Wal-Mart family. You are cheap, and that makes me happy.
    • Boots: I was a bit disappointed that you didn’t sell boots, but being a beauty/health care store is okay.
    • Primark: I hate saying goodbye, but I really have to. I wish you were in the States because I would spend countless hours shifting though clothes, flats and handbags.
    • Churchill Square: At first I doubted you, but now I understand your amazingness. The department stores you have are amazing. Can’t compare the fashion and of course some amazing deals.
    • Portsmouth: My favorite city by far in the UK. I loveeee how the Outlet stores are right next to the train station and right next to the waterfront. You are a mesh between Kirkland and Bellevue. I guess that’s why I love you.
    • St Peters Church: The best people I’ve ever met. I love you guys. Don’t change.
    • Co-op: The fact that you’re the only grocery on campus makes me have to love you.
    • 3pound meal deals: I get lazy, so I like buying a sandwich, snack and a drink.
    • The fact that I can show my student ID and get free ice cream when I order a meal makes me love you that much more. HEYYY USA, we need this!

Cardiff and Bristol

My last trip (I think… I don’t have anything else planned yet!) was 2 weeks ago and it was to Cardiff and Bristol! For any Doctor Who fans out there Cardiff, Wales, UK is a must to go to! It is the city where Doctor Who was filmed. Plus Cardiff is a cute city to wind down and relax. Like most UK cities there are castles and a great shopping center. The travel itinerary for Cardiff:

  • Cardiff Castle: honestly full of rich history. It is different than the other castles  and palaces I’ve ever been too, and it is my favorite. This Castle has been through it all– the Romans, English and even WWII. I love how the Castle has been incorporated in the City Center. It is in the middle of the city and not hard to miss! If you are a student the admission is roughly 9 gbp, which is a bit pricey but for me it was worth it.
  • Quail Bay: amazing waterfront, best one I’ve seen in the UK so far… and that’s saying something. Brighton and Edinburgh waterfront does not compare to the sheer awesomeness of Cardiff’s waterfront. I am not bias or anything, it is just magnificent. I highly recommend going during the day and at nighttime.
  • Doctor Who Experience: it is located n the waterfront (and I am not bias at all). This is a must for any Whovian. It is a must.

Bristol, UK is about an hour from Cardiff. There’s not much to see in Bristol, so here was the short, very short, itinerary:

  • Clifton Suspension Bridge: I highly recommend walking there as there is no parking spots near the bridge. We just walked on the bridge and the view was amazing. You are able to see the Bristol skyline— very pretty.
  • Graffiti: I’m not exactly sure where you can see graffiti, but Bristol is famous for urban art. It is on a certain street, somewhere close to Queens Square.

’til next time :)

Done

I am officially done with my courses! WOOOO! I finished my essays, and glad to say that I have no exams. I am free to do whatever I want until I leave on the 15th of June.

I guess that’s the perks of being on a semester system? Being done so early? Or maybe it’s the UK semester system?

On the side note, printing is very expensive. Again, don’t take for granted the numerous free printing stations at UW Tacoma. Cherish every moment you have whilst printing. The amount I spent on printing my final essays cost me 5gbp which is roughly 8.5usd. That’s 2 cups of Starbucks Coffee right there!  I had to print 2 copies in color and 2 in b&w. I’ve never spent that much on printing before.

What will I be doing for the next roughly two weeks left? Travel. I am going back to France, the south of France to be exact, this upcoming weekend. And then afterwards wind down and take in one last breath of Brighton and Sussex before I head back to the beautiful Evergreen State.

Spring Trip

Over Spring Break I went to Edinburgh, Brussels, Amsterdam and the Lake District.

Edinburgh is a cute city. There isn’t a lot of things to do there, so we bought a 2-day bus pass which included free entrance to the Edinburgh Castle, Royal Yacht Britannia and Palace of Holyrood House. Only cost 40gbp! What a bargain considering the entrance fee to those attractions are expensive. The view from the castle was magnificent. You basically can see the city skyline (picture above). I highly recommend visiting the castle around the afternoon because at 1pm they fire a cannon instead of ringing the bells. Inside the Castle you can also check out the old prisons, crown jewels, the royal palace, and much more! Also there’s this little secret about the Castle that is a must-go that is the Whisky and Finest Food Shop. Why? Check out the picture below:

Smallest Bottle of Scotish WhiskyYes, this is the world’s smallest bottle of Scottish Whiskey. And no, I did not buy it. You can also purchase these little bottles per bottle which cost 1.50gbp. This pack (I think) cost 3gbp. Good deal, but I’m not exactly sure if you can bring it back to the States.. customs and all. But nonetheless this is a great place to visit since it is inside the Castle.

The Royal Yacht Britannica is the Queen’s floating residence. Great place to visit during any time of the day really. I highly suggest before 4pm since the tea and biscuit cafe closes that time. On board they also make their own delicious fudge. A must go to indulge yourself in fudgey goodness :)

Palace Holyrood House is the Queen’s residence. A great place to pop in and visit, but I must warn you that no photography is allowed.

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Above is Brussels, the city of chocolates and waffles. Truth be told, I didn’t find Brussels that interesting when I was there. Not much to do really, and sadly that’s all I have to say about it.

???????????????????????????????Next stop Amsterdam! I was lucky enough to come here during Queen’s Day (now King’s Day!). Amsterdam is a must go! This city is amazing, cute, small, and wonderful– I love it. On the first day we went around Amsterdam and ate Indonesian food (YESSS! I miss it so much). Also stroopwafes are the best things ever invented. They are 2 thin layers of baked waffles with a caramel goodness syrup filling in the middle. Amazing. Amazing. Amazing. I love it.

The second day we went to the tulip festival in Keukenhof. This festival is much different than Skagit’s festival. Keukenhof is like a theme park… or expo for tulips. They organized the tulips to create an image of some sort, and this year’s main attraction was organized to display Big Ben and the Tower Bridge— what?! But really, it was pretty. Though I hoped it would be a bit bigger…. just a tad bit bigger. I highly suggest visiting Keukenhof:) There is an entrance fee. After that we went biking to tulip farms! It was wonderful! I honestly haven’t biked in 10 years but within 5 minutes I was able to peddle to the farms without any hesitation. The Dutch love to go cycling. There are specific lanes for cycles, and huge 3-story bike parks near some of the train stations!

On the last day was Queen’s Day. I’ve never seen so much orange in my life. Orange everywhere. It was everywhere. The day was also pretty hectic. Lots of people with lots of orange. At one point the group separated after this orange mist, but luckily they weren’t too far ahead. The inauguration of the new King was cool, but I couldn’t really understand what they were saying. I would definitely come back to Amsterdam again. It is a city worth traveling to.

???????????????????????????????Lake District is the most beautiful place I’ve ever been to in the UK. Believe it or not Lake District is one of the few places in the UK that actually reminds me of Washington State. It has a bit of everything. From the valleys seen above to the little towns. It is a must go. In the UK this place is where most of the retires resides, and I don’t see why not. It’s pretty. This is the place for you if you love hiking, fishing, anything outdoorsy and relaxing. One main attraction– the must go– has to be Sarah Nelson’s gingerbread shop (seen below).

IMG_0397Gingerbread is made fresh everyday, and it taste ohhh so good. You have to stop by and buy some. The taste is gingery with a tangy twist.

And that was my adventures during Spring Break.

I have scheduled some trips to London, Bristol, Cardiff and France over the coming weeks ’til June 15– the day I head back to the Evergreen State :)

Never take anything for granted

I came back from Amsterdam 2 days ago (I’ll write about that in a different post), and I am back only to attempt to finish my essays. So far I have completed 2600/4000 words, and I am stuck trying to complete the rest. It is taking a while to finish it since I’ve never really wrote a 4000 word essay before. As I am here finishing my essay I’ve come to truly appreciate the UW Tacoma’s (and UW in general) writing center. The University of Sussex (possibly the UK in general) doesn’t have a writing center where you can ask for peer reviews or suggestions.  You are basically doing this essay solo.

I’ve asked around if there is a center of some sort on this campus, but alas I found that it’s a course of how to write an essay. So my word of advice? Take advantage of the writing center on campus. You will miss it once you’re gone.

Canterbury & Hever Castle

I can’t believe it is already mid-April already! Time really went by…fast! Basically I only have 2 months left here. I went to my last university day trip to Canterbury and Hever Castle. Canterbury is a cute little town– it is a mix between the old and new. I love how the town incorporated the old castle walls into their buildings. We didn’t have that much time to spend wandering in awe, but from the 2 hours I had their I simply fell in love with Canterbury. Why? There were coffee shops everywhere, and I mean everywhere. Yes, there was a Starbucks but there were a lot of independent shops– more than I’d seen since I’ve been here. Simply amazing. And if you know me, you know that I love my coffee simple and strong. Sadly I didn’t have the time to venture to each coffee shop since time was so limited.

When it was time to go we headed back to the coach bus to Hever Castle. The journey to the castle was quite interesting. I thought that it would be in the middle of some town like most of the castles in this country, but I was dead wrong. Heaver Castle is in the middle nowhere, really. The bus took us through narrow streets pass several woods and 2 tiny villages. It was dreadfully raining when we arrived, and the castle to my surprise was quite small. We were in-and-out of the castle within an hour, but had 2 hours left before departure. What else to do in the rain at Hever Castle? We went to the maze and ventured out in the gardens– in the rain.

After that we had about 45 minutes left before departure, and most if not all of us went to the gift shop and of course the cafe on site. The gift shop was where I found the best little “Keep Calm” item! You can tell… it is pictured above :) I bought that little gem. I take my coffee very seriously.

That’s what happened Saturday. Next post I’ll talk a bit more about my actual studying experience… which I have been lacking in recent posts, whoops. I promise that I’m actually studying here… I’m not just traveling… really.

’til next time.
- G

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