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…

IMG_3390 IMG_3403

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

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.

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!

time to cross the pond

I have a very exciting announcement to share with you all!

This past weekend I was accepted to study at the University of Leeds (located in West Yorkshire, England) next semester! And I couldn’t be more excited!

Leeds England 6

I’m just so giddy because I can wait to share this experience with all of you! And don’t worry, I will be posting a ton when I get there as well to document my experiences!

Until then,

Enjoy.

~meesh