Travel Time

Good Morning, Amsterdam!

This past Halloween weekend I went to Amsterdam with my friend Daisy. The travel time totalled to about 16 hours with transportation including a coach and a ferry. It was a long drive, but very worth it, and even somewhat better than traveling by plane.

The second we got outside I couldn’t look around because it was so genuinely beautiful it hurt! Bikes everywhere, canals everywhere, and the sun was shining. The weather all weekend was sunny and comfortable, we were lucky to not have any rain.

Most people asked if I got around to any ‘mischief’, the answer being no, and their reply being ‘well what did you even do then?’

Well, here’s what I did.

-Ate the best two pancakes of my life. One with apples, cinnamon, and apple brandy, and one with goat cheese, garlic oil, spinach, and pine nuts.

-Ate the best stroopwafel of my life. They made it in front of me. So good.

-Found a burrito place, looked for a bench but couldn’t find one, so we sat on the edge of the canal and ate it. It may not have been chipotle, but dang it was good.

-Found the bench from the Fault in Our Stars and took dramatic pictures with it. Then wrote “Andie was here” -of course.

-Bought tickets to the annual Museumnacht, which included entry into 50 museums plus free tram service. We went to the Anne Frank House which was very surreal and very amazing. I am so glad to have finally been there! We also went to the Van Gogh Musuem, sadly Starry Night was in New York, but I did see his famous sunflower painting and self-portrait. Then we ventured on to the Amsterdam Musuem, a museum about the city’s history, the Nieuwe Kerk museum which was currently showing an African sculpture-type exhibit, and one other museum which we did not know the name of, nor did we know what is what about…It did have a lot of cool paintings though.

-Gave people directions because somehow we knew our way around after only two days of being there.

-Walked around the flower market, the Waterlooplein market, Museumplein (I Amsterdam sign) and Vondelpark.

-Went on a night canal cruise, and almost went on a paddle boat adventure (next time!).

-Saw seven, yes that’s right, seven cats! I took pictures of all of them.

-Walked and walked and walked. I ruined my shoes.

-Enjoyed the beauty of the city, how easy it is to get around, and how dang beautiful those friggin’ buildings and canals are.

All I can say is, I will be back!

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Letters

Letter to My Thirteen Year Old Self

First, I’d like to thank Kiana (http://kianahasablog.wordpress.com) for tagging me for this wonderful yet weird nostalgia adventure! If you don’t follow her blog, grab some ice cream and some tissues because you’re gonna need to rethink your life.

Dear Andie,

Let’s get down to business. Bright pink eyeshadow doesn’t suit you, but wear the hell out of it if it makes you happy. Judging people for what they wear or what they look like isn’t cool. Stop doing it. And friends who do it-set them straight. At the age of 18 in the month of October half of your hair will be blue. So think about that.

Thirteen is a weird age. You have no idea who you are, but you’re not alone. Everyone’s confused, lonely, and going through that ‘random’ phase just like you are. You love Hannah Montana, you spend a lot of time at the mall, and you buy a lot of Caribou coffee coolers. These things make you happy, but just like everything else, make sure what makes you happy doesn’t hurt other people, or hurt future you. Don’t worry, Hannah Montana doesn’t hurt future you. Although coffee coolers may have added to the big bum situation…which I’m still learning to love.

There’s a lot that I could talk about it but I am just going to keep this as simple as possible. Love yourself. People can call you quiet and weird, which is true, but don’t let stereotypes hold you back. If you want to be loud one day then be loud, if you don’t want to say anything then that’s cool too. Don’t be overwhelmed with what the future has in store for you. Also don’t worry what the teachers say about high school, the teachers there are a lot nicer than they were said to be. Life isn’t a popularity contest so put your focus elsewhere. Don’t worry about boys, you’re thirteen, you have better things to do. Open your mind and don’t be afraid to speak your opinion. Watch Mamma Mia as many times as you want because if someone says that it’s not fun to sing along to, they’re lying. The world didn’t end in 2012 so don’t worry about it. Hug your cats everyday, drink tea, and compliment people. Life’s a weird but very cool thing. Things will change but you can handle it.

Oh, and pay attention in Algebra please.

Later hosen,

18 year old Andie.

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Adventures

A Little Note Regarding Rain

I had a real Wales weather experience on Sunday afternoon. I took my friend Daisy’s bike (shoutout to Daisy for letting me use her bike!) to Tesco for some cereal, pot noodles, and peanut butter (…what else?) along the path by the sea. It was pretty windy to begin with, but I was expecting nothing that was about to happen. Five minutes into the ride, it starts raining. And I mean really raining, torrential downpour. After a few minutes biking through that, I had to pull over and stand under a protected area for about 10 minutes because I couldn’t see anything. Although it didn’t really protect me from anything, the wind was coming down at an angle. Once the hurricane lightened up a bit, I made my way into Tesco and tried to dry myself off with the hand dryers. It didn’t help. But going grocery shopping completely soaked was definitely a new (and probably expected from now on) experience.

Something not a lot of people would say if they went through that, but it probably one of the best bike rides I’ve ever had.

To conclude, the weather is just as expected…completely unpredictable. But no matter what, you can always count on rain every day.

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Adventures

Adventures: Week One

#1- My friend Josh and I decided to switch words with each other in the hopes that I will become more British and he will become more American. We started with words like “fall” to “autumn” and “talent” to “tekkers” and “coupon” to “voucher”. Phase 1 for me becoming British American has officially started. #2- My flatmates and I walked to the beach after dark during low-tide and my friends Daisy and Pete and I decided to go for a swim in the freezing sea water. Emphasis on freezing. It was well worth it though. #3 – For Fresher’s week we went to an Irish pub called Jack Murphy’s that played a bunch of British and Irish music that everyone knew expect me, but I don’t even care because it was so much FUN. #4 – I taught everyone how to hand-hug. #5 – Made a floor 5 choir group called The Truplets and filmed our first music video to Someone Like You by Adele. Look forward to more hit singles in the future.

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Differences

Starting Uni: Outlining the Differences

Today marks my fifth day at Swansea, and the second I got here I knew I was in the right place. The campus is beautiful and right across the street from the sea. Everyone that I’ve meet so far seems genuinely happy, even including workers at shops and restaurants, which is really refreshing. Swansea is a very diverse university with people from all over Europe, Asia, Africa, and of course, the United Kingdom. Everyone in their first year is around 19-20 years old because most people took a gap year (something you’d rarely see in the US) after “high school”. I’m taking three classes per semester. This semester I’m doing: Hollywood: A History of American Film, Film Studies, and Intro to Media Communication. My American Film professor said to the class “if you have a good understanding of American history, then this shouldn’t be too hard for you”, so it’s safe to say that I’m set with that class. Unlike the US, we only have 1 paper and 1 exam due at the end of the semester that will make up the entirety of our grade. Basically no homework besides reading the textbook and studying on your own. Another big difference is the fact that uni is only three years (no required generals) and there are no “majors” or “minors”, just one main area of study. Room and board is different here as well. I have my own room in a flat of about 20 people that’s co-ed. The room came with a mini fridge, a sink, and windows that actually open! I live in a part-catered residence which means I get money each week on my card and can spend it at any restaurant on campus. All of the other residences are not catered, which means no meal plans. One of the weirdest things about being the foreign kid is people telling me that they love my accent because to me, they are the ones with the accent. A few people were actually surprised that I don’t say “bloody” or “blimey” or “mate” and I was surprised that they do actually say those words. And to everyone who told me that it would be hard for me to understand them, I can understand everyone (most of the time). 🙂 I’m a little too lazy to write a conclusion to my blog post. Look at me, being such a college kid. Have a lovely day.

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