Friday, August 22, 2008

Premature Excitment Takes Its Toll

Premature excitement. Avoid at all costs. After cartwheeling for joy upon learning of my approaching four-day European weekends, I stumbled out of the dreaded white boundary. (Can you tell I’ve got some serious Olympic fever? It’s quite the metaphor.) This week’s travesty, which I’ll learn to deal with, put a bit of a damper on a week that should have been associated with nothing but excitement. My amazing Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday series of days off is no more. I now have Mondays off, but class on both Thursday and Friday. Well, Friday is a possibility, depending on which seminar I’m placed in. OK. Why am I getting ahead of myself so much? Kent lists in bold print that nothing is set in stone. Let’s just bank on the original plan. Okay. Rant: done. Positivity: continuing.

Today is my last day of work. Bells are ringing! Don’t get me wrong, it was an awesome internship at which I learned a ton, but it’s definitely time for my three-week summer. It’s crazy to think that I’ve got only one more weekend at home before I jet to Heathrow and freak out that my luggage will become someone’s new loot. Two consecutive weekends of fabulous trips to New England are in my stars. However, I’m ready to drop the “New.” It’s time for the old and classically actual England.

Keep your fingers and toes crossed about my schedule. PLEASE.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Kaitlyn's List of Things to be Excited About

1. It’s the last week of my internship. I am five days and a few PowerPoints away from sleeping in, obtaining a skin color that’s more Jasmine than Snow White (via daily beach trips, of course), and lazing my afternoons away with new chick lit in hand.

2. I finally bought luggage. It’s a bold yet muted red, which might cause some issues, considering my obsession with all things bubblegum pink. However, it will be easy to spot in Heathrow when I’m freaking out that my luggage – and therefore, my life – and been pilfered mere minutes after landing in London.

3. has ridiculously cheap tickets for my trip home. Flying from London to New York just days before Christmas for under $500 bucks is unheard of, but definitely not where this bargain-hunter is concerned, thankyouverymuch.

4. I am collecting a great bunch of English slang via “Operation English Immersion,” a plan of mine which entails the following:

a. Read only books by British authors. Book One: Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella. Book Two: Shopaholic Takes Manhattan. (No one said they had to be intelligent books! I’ll be reading seven Dickens novels over the next three months. I’m entitled to as much trashy chick lit as I want for the next four weeks.)

b. Read only English editions of my favorite magazines. British Vogue. British Glamour. British Cosmo. (Thanks for warning me about that one, by the way. Apparently, there are no rules -- and therefore no censors -- in British girly mags...)

c. Listen to only European music. (I extended this from “English” to “Euro,” as I need to start practicing my dance moves for the discotecas in Sevilla, Florence, etc.) Favorites include Kate Nash and Lily Allen, the potty-mouthed lassies who sing with amazing cockney accents and Alphabeat, the Danish group that sings such upbeat tempos it’s impossible not to sing and dance along. It’s also impossible not to laugh. English is their second language, and it definitely shows. (“Love like an elevator.” That makes sense? Nah, but it sounds great!)

5. And the most important item on this list… If you just skimmed to this, you’re in the clear, as nothing matters as much as the lovely number five on Kaitlyn’s List of Things to be Excited About. I ONLY HAVE CLASSES ON MONDAY, TUESDAY, and WEDNESDAY. This means that from Wednesday night to Monday morning, I can be in Brussels, but back on Monday night for class after having a ridiculous weekend in a city beyond Canterbury. This. Is. Fabulous.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Three crucial developments that have helped to enhance the fabulousness that will be traveling abroad

Well, it’s been a while… though I’m not sure if anyone really reads this yet. =) I promise, theses tales of pre-travel preparations will not bare in comparison to my times that will start as soon as Virgin Atlantic Flight V-Something takes off at 9:30 PM on September 14th. Well, maybe a few hours after, since, if all goes according to plan, I’ll sleep my way across the Atlantic and force myself smack into the land of London time! With the time difference added to the flight time, my first hour as an official England resident will commence at 9:30 on September 15th. (That’s 9:30 AM to you Americans. 9:30 PM is actually 21:30 in European time, which I’m starting to adopt. Just kidding.) The early arrival gives Kathleen and me three days to explore all that London has to offer before our program officially kicks off with a London orientation on September 18th. An itinerary will have to be made soon!

As my internship winds down, my time abroad is zooming (pun intended) closer by the second. Fabulous occurrences in the past couple of days include the solidification of the fabulous Heather’s trip to London from Sevilla in the south of Spain, the semi-solidification of my own travel plans for my time abroad, and – probably most importantly – the announcement of my English residence! First and foremost, I’ll still be celebrating Columbus Day, even though it won’t even spark the English’s radar. That wonderful weekend will be Heather’s ho-down in the land of tea and crumpets. We plan to spend some time in London, and then see some other sites in another English city, such as Oxford! I’m sure it will be one of my favorite weekends of studying abroad!

Moving on: As for my own travels, I have a “mandatory” list of cities to hit. Galway and Cork are a must, for the heritage, of course. I’d love to visit the Aran Islands, as well. You should all beware of the day I kiss the Blarney Stone. I’m a little scared, too. Sevilla is a must as well. By visiting in late November, I’ll hit the city as the temperature just dips below the 70s, which will be a very welcome change from the cloudy Canterburian skies. (I’m not sure if that’s a word, but as far as I’m concerned, it works well and will be henceforth utilized.) I’ll also be a criminal to culture if I study in England without ever hopping across the Channel to Paris. Last by not least, Italy is a big “must see.” I hope to spend a loooong time there and see at least Rome, Florence, and Venice. My stomach is already churning!

Other places I’d loooove to see include Brussels (it’s just a hop, skip, and a Chunnel ride away) and Switzerland, but we shall see if time and money allow those trips to occur. Every college student adds Amsterdam to their list, though I can’t say it’s a top priority of mine… for this trip at least. Maybe if my new plan of backpacking through Europe post-Graduation pulls through!

Moving on, again: For the duration of my time abroad, I’ll be a resident of the Parkwood Houses on the University of Kent campus. 10/F Ellenden Court, Parkwood, Canterbury, Kent CT2 7SH is my new home… whatever all those letters mean! I’ll post some before and after pictures to show the Americanization of that lovely little room!

Until next time… I still need luggage, a credit card, a winning lottery ticket... =P