Posts Tagged ‘Moving’

Moving on Up!

Hey everyone!

I’ve finally taken the plunge and moved to my own self-hosted blog site! Visit my new & improved blog at:

www.thetravelingscholar.com

Hope you like the new layout and material! With the new site I’m able to upload my personal map, photos & videos from my travels!

Visit me there & bookmark the new location!

Lots of love,

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Saying Goodbye to 2009.

It’s 930A, I’m up and feeling much better than I have been the last few days. Sniffles are gone and congestion has nearly disappeared! Thank God for lots of water, soup and Bendadryl to help me sleep about 18 hours yesterday. I’ve been holed up for a few days but I woke up this morning to the realization that today marks the last day of 2009. Crazy, really. Where has this year gone?! Despite the fact that time has flown by, a lot has happened this year for me; lots of big changes that have had a big impact on my life. Time for me to reminisce a bit and welcome in 2010!

Dad & I took our first international trip together in February. We visited England to look at possible grad schools… that was only 10 months ago? Wow. I’m already through 3 months of grad school!

I don’t know if I secretly thought/hoped that my grandparents would live forever, but my grandpa passed away in March and it was the first time I had to say goodbye to someone with whom I was extremely close. It was also the first family death I had to deal with in my adult life, and it marked the first eulogy I ever delivered. Even though I know he’s not alive anymore, I often still feel like he’s here, which makes living life much easier.

Got my acceptance to LSE in April (I applied quite late)! I actually recall the moment of my acceptance with 100% clarity. I think it’s like the JFK assassination moment that everyone from that generation talks about — you know exactly what you were doing and exactly where you were. I was so elated when I got the letter, definitely changed the course of my life. Here I am now, half way through taught courses with amazing new friends and loads of fun travel stories. I can’t imagine having been anywhere else!

Ahhh… graduation from undergrad was a very bitter-sweet moment for me. It was great to be able to say goodbye to my undergrad and know that I had the opportunity to pursue my Masters in London in the fall, but it was sad graduating and not having my grandpa there for the first time. Nevertheless, definitely a milestone!

A surprise birthday weekend for Tiff & our first family vacation in forever! We planned a surprise getaway to Carmel for Tiffany’s 19th Birthday this year, complete with handmade surprises and super-cute B&B. It was the first family vacation we’d been on in years (since Disneyland days) and it was the first time we got to bring nana along! So fun!

Saying goodbye to work after four years! It was quite difficult quitting a reliable job with a steady income to welcome a life of joblessness and full-time Masters work. I’m glad now that I had the wherewithal to actually leave, but it was a bit sad… four years of bonding and relationships and saying goodbye to the full-time job that allowed me to pay my way through undergrad.

One of the biggest things that happened this year? Moving to London! I really didn’t think I had it in me to leave my family, friends, relationships and the normalcy of California life  to move to a foreign country for (at least) a year. I’m happy to announce that I did manage to say my tearful goodbyes and settle in to London life. Quite happily, I might add. I already feel so much more fulfilled & so much more educated!

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I didn’t even realize that I had experienced so many life-altering changes this year. How can a year go by so fast and still contain so many memories? I must admit, this blog has definitely come in handy! I had created it with the intention of keeping up with friends and family from afar, but I have found that it has become the best online journal imaginable. Now that I know there are people reading about my daily adventures and trips, I feel somewhat accountable to upload pictures and thoughts on a regular basis. Now, a year later, it’s fun going back and remembering the things that I would have otherwise forgotten!

Thank you to everyone who made my 2009 amazing.
Let’s get ready to take on 2010!

Now, I’m off to make breakfast and face the last day of 2009. Possibly hitting up Trafalgar Square tonight to ring in the New Year!

Love my fish.

Things I Miss: An Ode to the US.

If I could have snagged a glimpse into the future to see what I should have brought on my trip across the pond, I think that the space in my luggage would have been better allocated. I’ve had to call up the fam to have a few necessary items shipped over. Although the UK is much like the US in terms of grocery stores and offerings, there are a few items that I love (and miss!) that I can only find in the US. If you’re planning a move to Europe, here are a few things that you should consider bringing for a taste of home:

1. Deodorant. I had assumed that I could purchase my Secret solid here, but I searched to no avail. The only thing that Boots seems to carry is the anti-perspirant spray and a couple of old-school Ban roll-ons. No Secret or Degree in sight!

PB

2. Peanut Butter. Once in a while I love an english muffin (another item I can’t find here… such a misnomer!) with peanut butter and banana. Unfortunately, the peanut butter here literally tastes like crushed unsweetened peanuts mixed with butter; no good. If you’re a PB lover (or even a PB liker!) consider bringing a tub of Skippy. Don’t underestimate the power of good peanut butter!

Fiber One... *tear*

3. Fiber One Bars. You probably saw the previous post wherein I showcased the six boxes of Fiber One bars that my parents sent from the States — that’s no joke! I love to carry healthy bars to snack on and so far the only ones I’ve been able to find over here are Special K and Atkins. They’re alright, but they’re no FiberOne!

4. Orbit White Peppermint. I chew gum like it’s going out of style and the only gum that I keep handy is Orbit White (Peppermint flavor). The old-school stick gum weirds me out and every other Orbit White knock-off is mediocre. Unfortunately, I have yet to find a place that carries my beloved gum…

Any other Americans have things that wish they would have brought?

PS. If anyone knows where I can find any of the above items, please leave me a comment & let me know!

Lots of love,

Signature Stamp - Shannon

When in London…

It’s now 930P, London time, and I’m sitting in my accommodation, typing away thanks to the internet connection that I just got working! I have now been in London for about six hours and have made it from the airport to my flat without any issues and got a permanent room assignment. The verdict? Not the biggest or the fanciest rooms, but definitely more spacious than I had anticipated and the kitchen is actually pretty sweet! The bathroom (W.C., I mean) and the shower are super tiny, but I think I can manage.

High Holborn Room ViewI am (obviously) in the process of unpacking still and definitely need to hit up a Primark & get some real sheets, but I have a twin bed, a desk (to the left) a night stand with a few drawers & loads of plugs. I just bought an adapter for about 5GBP at a local shoppe.

High Holborn Room View On the left (about five feet from the end of my bed) is a vanity with a sink and cabinets. The “closet” with the open door on the right is incredibly small. I have three jackets in there now with a couple of pairs of jeans and some shoes, but there is no way I will ever get all of my clothes in there. I’m trying to be as resourceful as possible, but I may need to hit up an Ikea!

ShowerTeeny little shower… the toilet is in a different room.

KitchenThe kitchen extends a bit further than this picture would allow, but it has a fridge, a freezer, a table, stove, dishwasher, cabinets, utensils, a microwave, a coffeemaker and an iron + ironing board! It’s totally equipped and it’s big enough for all of us to be able to sit and enjoy! Thank God — morning coffee is in the picture!!

After getting moved in, I definitely went into a bit of panic mode. My internet didn’t work and my iPhone isn’t configured to actually call anyone yet. Worse, the O2 shoppe and the banks are closed on the weekend (even on Saturday!) so it looks like I will be bankless & phoneless until Monday. Luckily, I did get my internet running so I feel much less overwhelmed and much more connected. I also snatched up an Oyster card for public transportation, a converter (to plug in my laptop) and changed some money at a cash point. I’m still a bit overwhelmed, but I think tomorrow will be much better when I’m on a normal schedule and get to explore. Plus, I am (hopefully) meeting up with a girlfriend to explore the city together, which will be nice. On the bright side, the weather is gorgeous — 70 and mostly sunny. Here are a couple of pictures of the area within about a half mile of me:

Street PhotoLondon PhoneboothShaftesbury TheatreThe theatre is literally across the street from my complex <3.

Time to put some clothes away and get oriented — hoping tomorrow is a better day!

Signature Stamp - Shannon

Onward to London!

It’s currently around 6:27P and I’m sitting at Gate 98 at San Francisco International watching planes depart. I’m staring at the black lit signage above my head that’s letting me know that my plane is next to leave, in forty-eight short minutes. It’s rather ominous actually. My grandma, dad and sister joined me to say goodbye and although it was a bit tearful, I have to admit that I definitely felt much stronger than I had anticipated. I thought I would be a wreck. So much so, in fact, that I packed cucumbers to use on my eyes to reduce to tear-induced swelling that I thought would be inevitable. As fate would have it, though, I’m sitting here, just twenty minutes after saying my goodbyes, rather tear-free and more excited than nervous.

Forty-six more minutes now. My handy ‘countdown clock’ on my laptop is counting down the seconds until departure, mind you. Tick, tick, tick. I’m armed with my laptop, my iPhone, some snacks (nectarines, cucumbers & baby carrots), the new Dan Brown novel (The Lost Symbol – which, by the way, is already fantastic), Benadryl to knock my ass out on the plane, and some make-up that will inevitably need to be touched up before arriving. The best part so far? My bags were overweight. Both of them. One weighed in at 56.5 and the other weighed in at 60.5, far surpassing the 50 pound per bag limit. All is well, though. I managed to take out a number of sweaters that were not totally necessary. Luckily, I have my family ready to ship a box of goodies over for me so the sweaters will find a home in there. I was actually still slightly overweight (51.5 and 52.5 pounds), but the guy let me through (thank goodness). I think I feel ready to go now, despite the 10+ hours that I will have to sit on a plane in anticipation.

Here I go! Off to London!

Signature Stamp - Shannon

My Name is Shannon and I’m a Bum.

I didn’t make it a point to get to bed at a decent hour last night and my alarm didn’t scream at 6:15A like it normally does. It’s currently 745A and I’m sitting in my kitchen, sipping home-brewed coffee, browsing Nordstrom’s website and organizing my online life (read: unsubscribing to emails from a million obscure websites that bombard my inbox) before leaving for England on Thursday. It feels like a three-day weekend today; the Monday after Labor Day, perhaps. It still hasn’t hit me that I have opted to be a jobless bum for an indefinite period of time. My schedule today is filled with the oh-so-important tasks of shopping, gymming, tanning, laundry and packing. It’s truly bizarre because I haven’t been jobless since I was 15ish and now my “job” is to be a super student and traveler extraordinaire (and blogger, of course). If that’s the case, I suppose I should hope to graduate with a Masters with distinction (or high distinction, if such a thing is humanly possible) and should return next year with the most amazing pictures ever! On the traveling front (to ease my bummy nerves), I do have trips to Germany, Malta, Italy & Greece nearly set in stone, and getaways to Scotland, Ireland and France are a must considering their proximity to England! In any case, before I start thinking about those fun-filled adventures, I’m off to Kohl’s to stock up on an array of socks and shoe inserts.

Don’t be jealous.

Hope everyone’s having an amazing day at work!

Shannon

PS. As a side note, I tried Skype with my iPhone last night (with no phone plan or SIM card or anything!) and it worked like a charm! Provided you have internet access (and the Skype subscription — $30 a year to the US and Canada), you can call any landline or cell — CRYSTAL clear!

PPS. Buy one, get one 50% off at H&M! Download the coupon here.

Visa on the Way In, Relationship on the Way Out?

This weekend has been intense from start to finish. Friday, I was able to submit my visa application to the British Consulate in Los Angeles and I should be hearing back within 15 days, provided everything goes well! I think I included everything necessary to make the process go smoothly, although their stringent policies worry me slightly.

More importantly (important’s not the right word, but I can’t find the right words to use now), my three year relationship with my boyfriend ended. Normally, I wouldn’t post it on the internet for all to know, but somehow I find it cathartic to be able to discuss openly. I’m definitely (surprisingly) okay. Not that I’m okay with ending a three-year relationship so abruptly (and it was abrupt), but I am a lot more independent and strong than I had realized. It’s also been amazing to have the family and friends that I have surrounding me and helping me through everything. Talking and venting is what I really needed, and all of my close friends were quick to allow it. Although I am obviously sad about the situation, to put it lightly, I am really hoping that as two adults we’ll be able to maintain a friendship one day, seeing as how we were best friends for a number of years.  I tend to think that the hardest part about breaking up is losing your best friend, not necessarily losing your “boyfriend.” There are so many amazing memories created throughout the years, that it’s difficult to recall fond memories that he’s not  a part of.  Also, after such a long time, the relationship isn’t just about us anymore, not just two people, but rather about intertwined families. It’s difficult to know that breaking off a relationship with one person effectively means breaking off a relationship with his whole family (my second family). Although I realize that it’s possible to maintain a relationship with them, it’s definitely a lot harder.

In keeping with the optimistic mindset, I have also come to accept the reality that I’ll be moving overseas in 40ish days, and as hard as moving is for me, it’s probably equally hard for him and for our relationship. Although it’s difficult to have to let our relationship go now, perhaps it’s easier than having to deal with moving  and an ended relationship simultaneously. I’ve been trying to keep my mind busy with family, friends and working out, but I know at some point, it’s going to really hit me. Whilst moving all of my stuff out of our his place, I definitely felt that sensation of sadness wash over me, but I still haven’t fully digested the entirety of the situation. The loss of communication makes me more than sad, since I’ve lost my first line of conversation, of venting and of celebration, but I suppose that’s part of parting ways. All of the idiotic platitudes come to mind, “It’s better to have loved and lost…”, “What doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger…,” “There are always other fish in the sea,” blah, blah, blah. I wonder if that’s really true. Obviously there are other “fish in the sea,” but the thought of having to start a different relationship and build something similar with someone else is mind-boggling. It took three years to build what we had. How do people divorce after 25 years and move on? Obviously it’s possible, I guess I just need to accept the reality of it, and look to the future.

Love,

Signature Stamp - Shannon