Sunday, 18 December 2011

Finals and Goodbyes

I am off home tomorrow and i am really sad to leave here. I think it's suddenly dawned on me that i will probably never come back again. Not because i don't want to, but because there is nothing here to visit except the uni.

It's been a long time since i've posted, mainly because i've been so stressed with finals. They started on Monday and finished on Friday. Since we have had exams every other week i didn't really see why everyone thought it was such a big deal compared to the weeks before but it was stress central everywhere. 

On Thursday night we went to a place called The Neon Cactus which is probably the BEST nightclub/bar i've ever been to. You buy a giant cup for $5.00 and then fill that up all night. It's so cool because everyone has different coloured cups plus the drinks were really cheap aswell and you don't need more than two cups...unless you're an alcoholic of course. We met some cool people and had so much fun. They also had a seperate room called The Piano Room where a man sat up on stage and sang funny songs and the crowd participated.

Neon sign

Cactus cups

During the daytime. It's a huge place.
I should probably mention that we got in from The Cactus at about 5am and i actually had a final on that Friday at 3pm...which i hadn't studied for. So i had to start studying at 5am. I was not happy.

Backtracking a couple of weeks ago now.

I managed to experience some snow in good ol' Indiana. It wasn't very thick and melted the next day but it was really cool to see campus covered in snow. I do wish that i had actually got to stay here when it was really cold. I think the lowest temperature i've experienced here was 20-23 degrees fahrenheit which is about -6 degrees celcius. From what i've heard it can drop to -10 degrees fahrenheit (-23 celcius) which is ridiculously cold.

View from our room

So Heather, Tricia and I went to IHOP (International House of Pancakes) a week or so ago which was amazing. They have the best iced coffee ever (i'm pretty sure it was full of sugar, so that's probably why). I stupidly didn't take advice from James (as in my brother James) and got the chocolate chip pancakes. Not really a great idea as two bites in i felt sick. Tricia is Heathers friend and we are all in the same Neuroscience class together so i got on well with her. But in the last two weeks i felt like i got to know her so much more and she's SO hilarious and sarcastic! 

On Friday night, Heather, Tricia, Nicole, Lauren and I went to Shake 'n' Steak because i had never been and it was a must! I have to say i wasn't overly impressed, i was expecting a TGI Fridays type place but it was basically a diner that happens to have amazing milkshakes. We went back to Nicole and Lauren's house and watched a movie called The Help so it was a nice evening. Heather and I left at 2.30am and decided this was the perfect time to get slushies. GIANT slushies.

Today was my last full day here at Purdue, so i hung out with Cassie which was so much fun but also really sad when we said goodbye. We cried haha. Then i did a bit of shopping, aka bought everything that said Purdue on it. My favourite item is also probably the most unflattering. Purdue sweatpants. They are so damn comfy.

I also had a little walk around campus so i took a few photos. It was deserted as everyone has gone home for Christmas break.

The clocktower is basically the centre of campus.

Towards the main road and my dorm. This is me standing next to the clocktower if that gives you any sense of direction?

Well, it's 3am and i checkout at 9.30am so i should probably go to sleep. My residence hall doesn't have scales so i'm kinda worried that my luggage is overweight and i'll have to chuck some things away. We shall see. Can't believe i'll be home in just over 24 hours. 


Friday, 2 December 2011

New York

Beware: This is a long blog post with a crazy amount of photos!

Wow. New York. Also known as the best place in the world! I can't describe how much i loved the city (even if it was insanly crowded.)

I went for Thankgiving break and to meet Ella (my Brighton housemate for those who don't know. She is also on a study abroad mission at Rochester NY.) So i set off on Tuesday 22nd November and made my way to the Greyhound bus station. I bravely (stupidly!) decided to try and save money and take a coach to New York. It was supposed to take 21 hours so i went armed with my laptop, downloaded a few shows and thought i could pass the time watching those and wasting time on the internet (the bus has wifi). Well, lets just say things didn't go according to plan. I should start by telling you that Greyhound have two different coaches - the blue coach and the white coach. The blue coach has more leg room, comfier and bigger seats. Guess which coach i was shoved onto? The white coach. It is the coach from hell. It was cramped and being a tall person it wasn't exactly ideal for my poor legs and a bit awkward when it came to actually sleeping. 

Glorious blue coach (pic from google)
EVIL white coach (pic from google)

I ended up having to change coach 4-5 times (i lost count) and they were ALL late. One layover (which was supposed to be 15 mins) ended up taking 2 1/2 hours. So instead of taking 21 hours it took 28 hours to get to New York. In the 27th hour the freakiest thing happened. The bus was practically empty by this point because we were in New York and on the way to the last stop (stuck in traffic). Then i heard the boy behind me on the phone and heard he had an English accent. Once he was off of the phone i turned around and asked if he was from England and he said yes and we got chatting. To cut a long story short i asked him what he was doing in America and he said he was on a study abroad trip so i said ohmygosh me too! Then i asked what university back home he was from and he said Sussex and again i was like ohmygosh me too! So we were freaked out by this point, what a small world? Then he asked where in England i'm from so i said Enfield and that no one usually has heard of it, but it was his turn to say ohmygosh because he lives in Wood Green about 10 mins away. We also figured out that he had class with Ella too back at Sussex. FREAKY STUFF. It's annoying that he had been sitting behind me for 27 hours and in the 26th i only got talking to him. Pretty hilarious though.

So i was in New York and pretty tired/excited by this point. Ella was about an hour away so i decided to stay in the station and got an iced coffee - oh yeah i should probably mention i'm slightly addicted to coffee now. 

When Ella arrived we realised we were right by Times Square so we had a little wander around (so exciting) and had our first dinner at Applebee's (which by the way is bloody expensive) although the sangria was nice!

Near Times Square
Ella can't stop staring at the bright lights haha
Me and Ella

Now i am not ashamed to say this as it was 11.30pm and we were both shattered, so we went to the cinema - in Times Square. AMAZING.  

Me drinking (what we named) 'blue slushy shit' at the cinema. We felt so ill after drinking it.
We then got a cab back to the hostel and realised they had put us on seperate bunk beds, so it was a bit awkward at 2am climbing up the ladder of someones bunk bed.

On Wednesday morning we had to check out because we were supposed to be in a different room. Once we had stored our bags we decided to go to Times Square to see the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. We took our first subway ride there (we felt very proud of ourselves for figuring it out) but by the time we got there it was packed and we caught the end of it (aka saw a couple of floats behind a police barricade). So we had a walk round to look for somewhere to eat lunch. 
First subway ride!

Ella in Times Square
Me walkling down the street in Times Square

We ended up in Planet Hollywood for lunch which was amazing. Such a great place, we couldn't help but sing along to the amazing, cheesy pop music!

Best place evaaaaaar

After we had finished eating we went to the 9/11 memorial. It was quite surreal being there because you just can't imagine the towers being in such a small space. The memorial fountains were really amazing and it was really sad seeing all of the names around the edge. 

A plaque on the wall
The foutains were in the place where the towers stood and you can see a few of the names around the edge

After that we went back to Times Square and went to Madame Tussauds which was SO much fun. Although we both admit that we were devestated the Leonardo DiCaprio waxwork was "taken off the floor" that day. I have to say a lot of the waxworks where pretty shite so maybe we didn't miss much after all. Regardless, it was a lot of fun.

Ella and her BFF

Hanging out with Abe

After that we walked down to Macy's because it was opening at midnight for the black friday sales (a bit like boxing day sales, but the day after thanksgiving). We were a bit early so we went to eat at a diner which was really American and had a lovely bacon sarnie. When we eventually got into Macy's it was chaos and Ella and I were so tired we just got out of there and went back to the hostel. 

On Black Friday we went back to the sales and had a look round. 

Sporting a cat hat! Perfect!

We hopped on the subway to South Ferry to see the Statue of Liberty. We took a ferry ride to Staten Island because it was free and we got to go past the statue. 

Statue of Liberty

Me on the ferry with a tiny Statue behind me
Posing with the statue
We spent a while around there because there was a really nice sunset. 

That little line in the middle is The Statue of Liberty. Amazing sunset!
Looking at the Statue of Liberty
Next we went to the Empire State Building.

Empty subway

  We ending up waiting for 2 hours to get to the top. It was a bit awkward that i discovered i was afraid of heights once we were up there and didn't really want to go near  the edge. I think that was mainly because the wind was so strong up there. It was pretty cool but i wasn't overly impressed to be honest. (I think i was just exhausted because of the 28 hour bus ride coupled with the fact that we left the hostel at 11am every morning and got in at 2am every night.) But it was an amazing view.

The Empire State Building
The entrance

View from the top

Ella and the amazing view

The gift shop at the Empire State Building. I took my role as the statue of liber-cat very seriously.

We went back to Times Square (we always ended up back in good ol' Times Square) and had dinner and cocktails in the Hard Rock Cafe. It was really cool and has the best nachos in existance. Our waiter also peer pressured us to get drunk haha. 

Best nachos on earth

Lovely sangria. Don't know why i was so obsessed with sangria in NY.

On our last morning we went and had a traditional American breakfast aka pancakes haha.
 We wanted to go back to the Statue of Liberty and actually go on a cruise to Ellis Island but when we got there the queue was ridiculously long and we didn't want to waste our last day queuing. We decided to try a pretzel which was disgustingly salty (i thought it was sugar!) 

Pretzel of death

After that deadly assault on my tastebuds we decided to visit Central Park which was SO amazing. It looked so fabulous in Autumn because the brown leaves were everywhere. We wanted to go ice skating but it was really expensive and we were dragging our luggage around with us too. 

Ella in Central Park

By the ice rink in Central Park. Look at the lovely Autumn colours!
On from there we went to the Rockefeller Centre but it was so jam packed that we couldn't really have a look around and people were starting to hate us because we had big bulky bags. 

Rockefeller Center
They were putting up the tree.

Our final meal was at Planet Hollywood because it's just too damn amazing. My coach ride on the way back was much better because i was put on the blue bus (hallelujah!) and actually got some sleep. The funniest thing was that by the time i got back to Indiana and had walked back to campus i was so ready to just get into bed and sleep; but just as i was walking into the building the fire alarm went off and i had to stand outside for 20-25 minutes. BAD times. But New York was AMAZING i had a great time with Ella. I would love to go back when i actually have some money to spend and go crazy. 

I will be home in about 16 days and i can't believe it! I would 100% stay here if i was in New York. Time to buckle down for finals!


Monday, 21 November 2011

Tornado, Halloween and other bits

Woops, been a while since I have updated my blog. First (and I guess most excitingly) I survived my first tornado experience the other day. It had been windy all day but it was fairly warm outside (about 68 degrees) and once I finished having lunch with Heather at the union I walked over to the psychology building. As soon as I got in there I heard a loud siren/alarm go off and someone told me it was a tornado warning and that everyone was going to the basement. So I followed everyone downstairs and we basically sat there for an hour and a half. It started raining really heavily and I think there was hail too because when I walked outside afterwards I could see patches of ice on the floor. Apparently the tornado was really close to our campus (Tippecanoe Mall) which is quite scary to think about but everyone else was so calm and used to it. I imagined fallen over trees and roofs ripped off haha.

I have been getting on well here (socially not academically...but that’s another story). I am home in 4 weeks today and I think it will be so bittersweet because I am actually starting to settle in and feel at home here, having said that i miss the Brighton lifestyle SO much.

Me, Cassie and Kara.
Sitting on the Engineers Water Fountain
Me and Cassie
Classes are the worst part about being here; I constantly have a huge workload and big reading list. This week alone I have 3 exams, 2 lab assignments and I have to prepare a topic for my oral presentation. So I can’t wait to go to New York for Thanksgiving! I leave on the 22nd November ( 2 days!) and I am SO excited. I can’t wait to have a break from classes and Indiana.

Heather took this photo of me with my giant backpack
My friend took this photo of me when i was revising and i didn't realise which is why it's so funny.

Backtracking a bit here, but for Halloween I went to a house party which was fun. I actually forgot to buy a costume so I ran to Walmart and bought some fake teeth and a wig. I don’t know what that had to do with Halloween but it was better than nothing. The wig was ridiculously stupid so I ended up taking it off, but it was fun anyways.

And they say the British have bad teeth...

My friend Cassie invited me to her house for Thanksgiving which was really nice (although I can’t quite give up New York – even if it is a traditional family Thanksgiving). 

I LOVE the background of this picture. It looks so Autumny

The other day Cassie, my other friend Lance and I went to a stand up comedy show (it was students from the university performing) and although it made me cringe, it was funny because it was so awkward. I’ve been mainly hanging out with Cassie and it’s nice when Kara hangs out too because we all made friends at the same time. I have also been hanging out with Heather a lot, we went to an American Diner for dinner the other night called Pappy's. It was really nice.


It’s getting so cold here now. There are odd days when it is 60+ degrees but usually it’s quite windy and cold. The other day it was 30 degrees (that is -1 in celcius!) I bought a Purdue hoodie a couple of days ago and it was the best investment, since I didn’t bring a single jumper with me. 

Me in my winter gear

 I should probably go and revise now and i’ll update my blog after New York, or maybe the football game!