hey jude

In seeing that I just got back from a day trip to Liverpool, it’s only fitting that the title of this blog post is my favorite Beatles song, Hey Jude. Although my friends and I were too cheap to pay to take a Beatles tour or even visit the Beatles museum, Liverpool is still their birth place….so I basically had to title it as such anyways.

IMG_3677Photo: The Beatles in Jelly beans….I could just eat them up…L.O.L.

Liverpool was more beautiful than I thought it would be, but maybe that’s just because I never been there before or that the sun was shining and was just beautiful day out to begin with. Being that it’s on the coast it was really nice to see water again…but the wind on the other hand was not so nice. I guess it’s debatably (just made that word up…) the “windy city” of England.

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Photos: On and around the Albert Dock

Most of the day was spent visiting different places around the city, aka wandering around until we found something cool to look at…seriously though, no point in looking at a map because you can’t find have the street signs and it just doesn’t make sense.

IMG_3607 IMG_3605 IMG_3616 IMG_3601 IMG_3619Photos: Around the city center.

We started on the dock, and naturally bought our souvenirs first, OMG I even found a push penny machine and I almost cried tears of joy because I collect them. Then we walked down to the Tate museum that was featuring a Andy Warhol exhibit which was really cool, but you couldn’t take pics inside…..ugh.

IMG_3453 IMG_3666Photos: Ticket to see Andy & this kick a** chandelier that was in the museum foyer…I literally want one for my house…srysly.

From there we just kind of wandered…we wanted to get some lunch so we just walked around until we found something cheap. And because we didn’t pay to do anything Beatles we wanted to go visit the Cavern Club which is where they got their start, it was a bit like ‘dazed and confused’ trying to find the place but we did, so I guess you could say we did the Beatles thing….

IMG_3595 IMG_3588 IMG_3593 IMG_3591 IMG_3581Photos: The Cavern & Matthew’s St. where it’s located.

Our last big stop was the Liverpool Cathedral which is the biggest in all of Britain…and getting there, well let’s just say we were definitely off the beaten path…but we did happen to find Chinatown on the way and that was actually pretty cool.

IMG_3570 IMG_3574 IMG_3568Photos: Chinatown

After we finally found our way, we headed inside….and it was unlike anything I had ever seen before. It was so beautiful that I’m doing a whole separate post about it….I think I’ll get it up tomorrow so you won’t see any Cathedral photos in this post….haha…

We did take a trip up to the top of the Cathedral tower and the views were breath taking, definitely the best vantage point. I literally took close to 30 mins taking photos, because I wanted to really take it all in. *Sorry friends for having to constantly wait for me as I take photos and proceed to get in super odd positions to get them…*

IMG_3523 IMG_3522 IMG_3517 IMG_3512 IMG_3511 IMG_3504 IMG_3501Photos: All taken from the Cathedral tower of Liverpool.

But I think it has been totally worth it.

Enjoy.

~meesh

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it’s all about the bacon

Today marks the first official day of classes here at Uni (it’s what they call University…I’m trying to adopt a first words from their lingo). Although I didn’t have any classes schedule today I had a few administrative items to take care of on campus.

First on the list was picking up my I.D. card so I headed over to campus with my Illinois crew to student services. We were to get them on level nine….and when we walk in, on the ground level, we were on level 9….so we were a little like ‘ok then….lets hope this is the right place.’

IMG_3391Photo: The walk onto campus, to the right is Student Services

Now instead of taking a photo there, like you normally would, we were required to upload a photo before hand, which was also quite strange…But, anyways we got our I.D. so yay! I guess we are official students now, before it was as if we had no sense of purpose without our I.D. cards.

Then we went on to tackle bigger and better things like changing our class schedule because class on a Friday just wasn’t going to cut it. This is where things get tricky because as a study abroad student you can’t just go in a register for any class you want like you would at U of I. You have to go through the schools administrative office to do so. And because the different schools don’t work together it’s a lot easier to take classes that are all in the same school or else you have to go from school to school…and literally like walk from school to school…to get approvals.

IMG_3418Photo: Leeds equivalent to U of I Alma

Lucky for me I was able to add and drop a class in the same school so I was able to kill two birds with one stone. And it’s actually a huge relief to have my schedule all sorted out because now I know for sure what I’m taking and I can stop sending emails lie crazy to get in touch with people about making a change. It was literally driving me up a wall, I was emailing like 20 a day trying to get answers.

So, now you’re asking why is it all about the bacon. well that’s because here there really is no center of campus. There’s nothing substantial to base yourself off of when you are trying to find certain buildings. But on the walk into to campus there happens to be a sculpture that looks a whole lot like 2 pieces of bacon.

IMG_3401Photo: The infamous bacon

Now of course it only looks like bacon to us Americans because the bacon in England is WAYYYYY different than in the USA. So of course us Americans base all the building around the bacon. So today as we were finding the buildings we needs to go to we were like ‘oh it’s across from the bacon.’

It’s basically become our “quad” in a sense even though it not nearly as big of a space. But in terms of getting to class it really is all about the bacon…

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Photo: Outside the Union, so festive IMG_3402 IMG_3404

Photo: Back entrance to Union IMG_3406 IMG_3407 IMG_3411 IMG_3421 IMG_3383

Photo: Harry Potter like staircase….IMG_3386For more photos, check out my flickr.

Enjoy.

~meesh

the pubs rules no. 1

After like 24 hours of no sleep and our last meal having been on the plane the night before around 11, needless to say we were starving Thursday night after we had gotten all settled in.

We had wanted to go to the Old Bar in the Union because we had heard the food there was pretty good. And that way we would be able to walk through campus a little bit and see how to even get there from our flats. Somehow we managed to find our way over there, and it’s really not far at all. I really think it’s a shorter walk than what I used to walk down at U of I.

Anyways we make it to the union and of course the Old Bar is jam packed…there was no open table and it’s kind of like you just find a place to sit, you don’t wait to be seated.

But, this isn’t really the point of the story….so because that place was pack we headed up the street to find another pub. And because we were so hungry we literally picked the first place we found…I think it’s called The Eldon.

IMG_3292Photo: It wouldn’t have been right if I didn’t order fish and chips as my first meal in England…

We got in and got a table, sat down and started waiting to be served. So….this is where pub rule no. 1 comes into play….

We had sat there close to 15-20 minutes and no one was coming to take our order or anything and of course I’m like “Omg I’m so hungry I’m going to die,” you know just making complaint after complaint. Then we see other people going up to the bar and ordering and we were like mmmmh maybe you have to go up there to order?

Of course I wasn’t about to jump up and be the guinea pig, but one girl decided to just go for it and what do you know…you have to be assertive if you want to be served in England. If you don’t go up to the bar and take matters into your own hands then you will go hungry because they won’t come to you that’s for sure.

IMG_3293Photo: We ended up going to the Old Bar for lunch the next day, after orientation and I got the Mac and Cheese…i think there was literally a block of cheese in it…

Knowing that there was food on the way were all relieved to finally be getting a good meal in. And with that we learned the first of many pubs rules we still have to learn.

Enjoy.

~meesh

getting there….

Oh my gosh…I can’t believe that I’m really here.

After a quick flight to Philly we (as in the other U of I students I traveled with 🙂 ) were anxious to get on the plane and head to Manchester. Although I almost had a panic attack after we were FORCED, literally forced to have our carry-ons checked on the flight to Philly because it was full. And because we got stuck in boarding zone 5, we had no choice….I was basically in tears while I was getting on the plane…(all my luggage it made it so it’s fine).

gt7Photo: Sky Mall mag…I couldn’t resist, it’s just too funny

In Philly we happened to come across a group of Wisconsin students heading to Leeds as well, small world! But let me tell you this was the longest journey of my life. The plane was suppose to take off around 9, but was delayed due to a mechanical issue, lucky for us the let us board before the repair had been logged aka we had to wait for it to be logged before take off. So finally we get the go ahead, but wait….the plane had been sitting at the gate all day and was all icy due to the weather there….so then we had to wait for the plane to be de-iced. By the time we finally took off it was an hour and a half later.

gt5 gt6Photos: The plane being de-iced and our flight journey map

Since it was a night flight I had hoped to get a little sleep, I knew I wasn’t going to get a lot but I figured I’d be able to sleep off and on….but of course I get stuck in front of an old man who apparently doesn’t need sleep and was playing a game on the screen that was attached to the back of mine. And because it was a touch screen every time he touched the screen I could feel it…so much for sleeping.

gt4Photo: The food was actually pretty good, and you got a decent portion.

Ok, so we finally land, finally and we are all anxious and tired to get off the plane but had to wait AGAIN because the jet air way wouldn’t attach to the plane properly for us to walk from the plane into the terminal. We waited another half hour for them to attach a stairway. All in the flight was supposed to be about 6 hours from Philly and we ended up being on that plane for close to eight. Needless to say we were ready to get our feet back on the ground literally.

gt2 gt3Photos: The clouds looked like the trees from the Lorax, idk why I made that connection and our ending flight journey map.

Lucky for us the journey didn’t end there, we still had to get a train from Manchester to Leeds. And as luck would have it the station connected to the airport was temporary closed because it’s getting a new platform, so we had to be bused from the airport over to the station in the city. The ride wasn’t too bad, it was nice to get to see a bit of Manchester but we stood out like sore thumbs when we got off the bus to walk over into the station because we had all this luggage…

gt1Photo: Train ticket, it says airport because the bus fee was included in the ticket price.

We finally got on the train headed for Leeds and were relieve to be on the last leg of the journey. It happened to be an express train and took less than an hour to get there. We got to see a lot of the country side and hillside towns. It was so picturesque, there was a bit of snow too, so everything looked that much more beautiful under a little blanket of pure white snow.

FINALLY we arrived in Leeds from there we split a taxi over to our residence hall, and I have to say it’s much prettier than I thought it would be. Then again everything here looks like it’s straight out of Harry Potter, there’s red brick everywhere.

gtPhoto: The view from my room, I’m slightly obsessed.

My room is just fine, has everything that I need including a sink and mirror. My flatmates are cool to…one is actually one of the people we had met from Wisconsin on the flight so really same world, one girl is from Holland, there’s another girl whom I only met quickly in passing and another guy from Singapore that I have yet to meet.

gt8Photo: Unknown, but pretty campus building.

It sure did take a while but I got here safe and sound and I’m starting to get all settled in. I have another post in works that should be pretty funny and I can’t wait to see what else Leeds has in store for me and my new U of I mates!

Enjoy.

~meesh

P.S. I will be uploading some picture I took today to my flickr in a bit.

packing list

With my trip just about a day away, I’m pretty much packed and all ready to go… it’s so crazy, I don’t believe that it’s really happening. Anyways I figured I’d share some on the items that were a must on my packing list for my ‘journey.’

Disclaimer: I would have used my own pictures in this post but in seeing that I have already packed all of these items it was best just to use the internet.

Filtered Water Bottles

This way you don’t have to go out and constantly buy packages of plastic waters bottles. Basically with a filtered bottle you can get good water from any tap. Not only will you save money but it will just be less of a hassle and you won’t have to worry about the quality of the water.

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I picked up 2 Brita water bottles and extra replacement filters (not pictured) for all less than $25 from target.

Gum/PB/Ranch

These really don’t seem like items that you would be concerned about taking with you but…from what I’ve heard…The gum in Europe is horrible, it lasts no more than a few seconds. They don’t sell peanut butter because I guess it’s like not a thing there…and if they do sell ranch dressing it’s sold at an outrageous price.

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Being me, I’m almost always smacking on a piece of gum so I bought a ton of it, because I’m going to need enough to last me like four months. And although I can survive without pb and ranch I picked up some of the to-go packs of both just in case I’m craving the good stuff while I’m away.

Blanket Scarf

This a perfect wear on plane piece. Although I will be wearing half my closet on the plane, a blanket scarf is perfect because if for some reason you do get cold you can use it like a blanket, hence blanket-scarf.

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Asos has a huge selection…Something similar to mine at asos.com.

Blazers

A blazer is the ultimate dress up/ dress down piece, and if you’re like me and don’t have a little bomber or leather jacket for going out a blazer is a great substitute. I feel like I talk up the blazer at every chance I get buy you can literally throw is on over a tank or a t-shirt. And, it’s just heavy enough to keep you warm but won’t make you over heat when you’re out either.

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I packed 2 one that’s more of a cropped cut and one that is a bit longer. Both are black and can be found at Macy’s.

DO NOT PACK: Straightener or Blow-dryer

Buy cheap ones when you get there…because the voltages in Europe are different than in American your hair styling tools will not adapt correctly…even if you use and adapter or converter. If you try to use one of you styling tools with an adapter/converter it will either burn off your hair or blow the fuse…so just don’t even try.

I really wanted to give a full list of everything that I packed (i.e. how many shirts, how many pairs of jeans) but I didn’t think that would be of benefit for you guys… so I just decided to pick a few things that you wouldn’t necessarily think to pack but definitely should.

Bon Voyage…almost..

~meesh

the not so weekly update 1/16

So it’s been a while….

With my trip in just a few days I finally got around to starting the packing process. And much to my surprise it wasn’t too terrible. I had a good idea in my head of what I wanted to take so that definitely made the process easier especially when it came to the shoes. But, nonetheless I still had to make some sacrifices…and my poor black riding boots didn’t make the cut, they were just too big.

wujan4Photo: The boots that didn’t make the cut…they look so sad

Other than that, everything is pretty much ready to go…. I have a few more little toiletry items to pick up and still have to pack my carry on with all the really important stuff, but it’s crazy to think that this time next week I will be in England, woah.

wujan1 wujan3 wujan2Photos: My lovely luggage & nifty backpack rolling carry-on…more on luggage in upcoming post…

Aside from getting ready for my departure and running last minute errands I’ve been working, literally like a dog. Which on one end has been a total pain in my butt having to be a real person and such but it has been really nice to make some extra spending money.

wujan5Photo: Almost airport ready…

I’ve also had to say a lot of goodbyes this week and that makes me sad, and to everyone that I did and didn’t get to see I say “cheerio” because cheerio is not a goodbye, it’s a see you later…

Just a few more updates I promise…

I don’t know if I mentioned it before but in case I didn’t or you missed it I creates a flickr account were I will be posting all of the photo from my trip… AKA follow me plz

I’m working on a couple more posts to put up BEFORE I leave that are both about pre-travel stuff & I even have a sneak peek for you…

wujanPhoto: post preview…

Stay tuned & enjoy.

~meesh

 

 

meesh’s study abroad essentials

With my flight about a week away I thought it was about time that I did a travel essentials post. Especially because when I announced I’d be traveling to England I promised some pre-trip posts. So here goes…

1. A cute, functional, relativity large and FULL ZIP everyday bag/purse:

From the get-go I was on the hunt for the perfect “everyday” bag for my trip. And of course because I didn’t want to break the bank I also wanted to get a really good deal at the same time.

The really important thing I was looking for was something with a full zipper and large enough to fit a decent amount of stuff in, including my camera…The reason I wanted a full zip was so that there would be less potential for someone to rob me on the streets. With a full zipper I can assure that my valuables will always be tucked away.

As some of you many know a few months ago, sometime in late October early Novemeber Kate Spade has this crazy 75% off sale (you had to like the Kate Spade on fb to access the link that took you to the sale). And I wasn’t really into it/ didn’t want to buy anything because I didn’t want to spend money. But it was coming up on my news feed a lot so eventually I decided to check it out.

And that is where I found this bag:

te3 te4Photos: The bag, Kate Spade (something similar)

I had originally wanted to find a bag that was like a luggage brown color but once I saw this and it’s price tag I was sold. I won’t disclose how much I actually paid but it was reguarly priced at over $400 and I got it for under $200. Which was an amazing deal.

Once I actually got it I fell even more in love, it’s plenty big, has a full zipper and cross-body strap, what more could a traveling girl ask for??

te8 te6 te5Photos: More of the bag, showing the interior

If you’re look for a good travel purse my tip is if you find anything under $200 with a full zipper, cross-body strap, and lots of space inside go for it. You may think you won’t need a crossbody strap but if you are doing lots of traveling and a bag like this will always be at your side your arms will get tired, especially if you’ve got a lot of stuff inside!

2. Passport Case

I feel that as a girl this is one of the things that you don’t necessary need but yet you have to have for style purposes. I didn’t go with anything expensive, in fact I picked mine up on sale, just something that will protect you’re passport and it’s pretty sturdy.

te7 te9Photos: The passport port case, Fossil

At first I wasn’t too crazy about the bright blue color, it’s wasn’t my first choice but there wasn’t much of a selection left…but it’s definitely growing on me. I’m beginning to like the fact that it is bright blue because it will make it easier to spot in the sea that is the inside of my purse.

3. Nice quality Camera

This was a must for me. It was at the top of my list of pre-trip purchases. As someone that grew up with a dad that was pretty into photography, I’ve always had a love of cameras. I’ve always prefered to behind the lense than in front of it.

I still remember when digital DSLR cameras came out and how big of a deal it was went we got one for my dad for Christmas years back. I think it was then that I decided that when it came time for me to get a really nice camera, that’s the one I would get.

So the camera I got was the Nikon D3300….

te15 te14Photos: The camera, aka my new baby

And I’ve already been taking countless photos to get some practice in and learn about the different features. I actually created a flickr account where I will be posting the majority of the photo of my trip at. To check out my flickr at: just_meesh and follow me to see all the photos I take while abroad.

p.s. my dad has also been really into my camera as well and bought all these filters and stuff for it…he likes to take photos of me while I’m eating or something and I don’t really know why….

4. Journal

This seems like something really simple but I think that keeping a journal is huge. It’s important to write things down and recount experiences through words because words will last you a lifetime, and it’s a really great way to document your travels.

I know that I’m going to make use of my journal and I’ve started by writing down my new years resolutions so that I can reaffirm them every time I open my journal and I’m also going to start a study abroad bucket list there too.

te10 te11Photos: My journal, I love the saying….“Paint The Town Red” Kate Spade

But, mostly I’ll use it to document my trip and for keeping random thoughts and epitomes too.

5. A good read

aka a book or too for long trips

I just think everyone needs that good read for a long plane, train or even bus ride. It helps pass the time and reading is just so good to do. I love to read so I know I definitely be taking a few books with me. I got a couple for Xmas and I’m really excited to get into them during my travels.

te13Photo: My books of choice: Wild & Game of Thrones book 1

6. Travel guide/s

Especially if you’ve never been to Europe like me, you’re probably going to want to get at least one travel book to have as a companion for your travels. My mom actually gave me a really good tip on travel guides and that’s to go to the library and rent a couple to see which you like best and then go buy the one that you liked most. That way you know exactly what you are getting.

te12Photos: The travel books I am checking out right now…really like Fodor’s England so far..

So I went to the library and picked up a bunch and have been skimming them to see which I take a liking too. Actually while I was skimming I came across another god tip which is to pick up a travel book once you get there because it will have a lot of good information about the local stuff and will include things that might not be in the big all encompassing guides books.

Of course this isn’t everything you will need for traveling but these 6 items where what I have found to be my big ticket items in terms of travel essentials.

te2It all fits perfect in my bag, even my agenda too.

Enjoy.

~meesh

p.s. leave a comment below if you have a question or like something you see!