There is a beautiful symmetry to how this blog is working.  My first post was about me procrastinating my packing by starting my trip blog a week and half early.  Now here I am...4ish months later and I am now procrastinating writing my final papers.  Yes, although I'm sure it is vitally important to my education to write 2000 words on why Christians can still do yoga without becoming Hindus...it is not nearly as fun as writing to you lot about the end of my adventures.

A sense of melancholy has fallen over Richmond University recently.  A lot of that I'm sure has to do with the amount of papers like said paper I mentioned above that we are all dealing with.  It also had a lot to do with the impending finals that are approaching.  But mostly it has to do with the fact that after 4 months of new friendships, traveling adventures, and living in the most exciting city on the planet, we are all returning to reality very very soon.  There seems to be mixed reactions amongst the group on this matter.

Some people could not be happier to leave.  It was initially planned for us to finish finals during the 1st week of May but because we must be able to adequately and appropriately celebrate the royal wedding, all of the finals were pushed up a week leaving a whole week to have fun and do crazy things.  However, these people who are beyond stoked to leave are actually pushing their flights up to leave earlier.  Now, personally I would consider this a waste of money when you could have one more week of fun before flying home.  But as a personal victim of homesickness when I moved away from home for the first time, I understand the need to get home ASAP and so I hope those people get back to the US safely and swiftly.

Some people are going to have to be dragged to Heathrow kicking and screaming.  A lot of people are talking about missing their flights intentionally just to stay longer and some are even already talking about trying to find a job here after graduation next year.  That's a bit of a ways into the future but I hope these people can adapt back into US life easily and find there back to the UK quickly.

I would put myself somewhere in the middle.  Although I am a bit further from my trip home than most of my fellow students, I am going to be leaving London on May 2nd, which will be a very bittersweet day.  I am beyond excited about my trip to Paris, Italy, and Spain, or at least I will be once the headache of planning it subsides.  But when the 23rd rolls around and I take my last tube ride from Gloucester Road on the Piccadilly line all the way the Heathrow Airport, I'm pretty sure I will be at peace knowing that I had the adventure of a lifetime.  I am excited to get home and to spend my summer in LA and very excited to be reunited with my ADPi Sisters in September as I start my Senior year.  But for now I'm just going to enjoy my last 2 weeks in London and my subsequent 3 weeks in Europe until I get to head back  to where I belong.

That is....if I ever survive my papers and finals!  Off to continue the work.


Spring Time!!!

Last week was absolutely amazing because we had a MASSIVE heat wave.  Honestly it felt like summer time with temps reaching 72 degrees at times.  Needless to say there was plenty of shorts wearing, park visiting, and a general happy mood around London.  How it is that some people still managed to wear coat and scarves I'm not sure but I would guess that the local Londoner must have problems accepting the sudden turn of weather and couldn't cope with the changes.  I, however, was well prepared with my tank tops and sun glasses to thoroughly enjoy the sunshine.

I went for a lot of walks in Hyde Park, which really is a whole new experience when the sun comes out.  There were so many people I felt like I was at some kind of music festival.  Groups of girls after school gossiping, families have picnics, people playing with their dogs, a few people catching a quick nap under a tree, it was a really cool thing to see.  I went and hung out by the Princess Diana memorial fountain which is a very fun place to hang out.  The fountain itself is really interesting because it's just a giant circle that runs water sort of down on each side from the uphill side.  I don't know if that makes any sense but hopefully the picture at the bottom will help.  It's only about a foot deep at it's deepest so kids can run around and splash in the water.  Then the middle has a nice grassy area to sit and relax in.  It was fun just to sit under a tree and kind of take in my surroundings watching all of the people living their lives.  It made me think that most of these people will still be here when I'm long gone from the city and it felt nice to be a Londoner in that moment.  I'll remember that afternoon for a while.

I also went on a walk around East London with my friend Maggie.  For those of you who may not know, there is a particularly famous street artist named Banksy who is from England.  He's not from London exactly but his work pops up in London a lot as well as in almost every other major city in the world.  He was recently in Los Angeles reeking havoc and causing controversy which he does so well.  His art is very iconic and recognizable and has actually become pretty valuable these days.  But the coolest thing about Banksy is that in all his years doing graffiti, he has remained anonymous.  Nobody knows who he really is and any interview he does has his voice changed and his face blacked out.  So needless to say, being a fan of his work, I was excited to go find some in London.  East London is the more earthy and artsy area of the city.  There is really beautiful street art almost everywhere you look and a lot of people think of it as ugly and run down.  But I really like the area.  It has tons of vintage shops, little cafes, and the people seem the real people.  It's not the spiffed up clean touristy London that everyone is so used to but you get the sense that people really live over there.  Unfortunately, the city is trying to clean it up a lot for the Olympics and a lot of the great graffiti is getting taken down or painted over.  But there still a lot left and it was fun walking around.  OH! And I did manage to find a Banksy.  Maggie and I located one of his most famous works with involves a man who has painted a flower on the side of the road.  We had a really good time taking pictures of it and with it.  For anybody interested in learning more about Banksy and tons of other street artists I would definitely recommend watching his movie "Exit Through the Gift Shop" which was nominated for best documentary at the Academy Awards this year.  It sadly did not win but the film is great none the less. So check it out!

So the heat wave was wonderful but the fun couldn't last forever.  Yesterday the clouds came back, the temperatures dropped, and we were all reminded of the cold and dreary London that we know so well.  Hopefully the weather picks up again but if not, that's ok because I should get plenty of sun on my post-semester travels.

I have finally nailed down a schedule for my after school trip....I think.  After spending a week in Paris with Mom and Dad I will move down to Bologna for a few days with Alex!  I can't wait to see this place that she has been living in all year.  Then I'm meeting up with my travel buddy Gemma and we are going though the south of France and then spending the majority of our time in Spain visiting Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia, Seville, and Grenada.  It should be a very fun trip and I hope I can grab some computer time while I'm there to update you all on how those travels are going.  Backpacking Europe 2011 should be a great time!

I'll leave you with some pictures of the London sunshine just to prove to you all that it does get warm in London....if only for a few days!
Princess Diana Memorial Fountain
My Street.

Daisy chain next to the Peter Pan statue.

That face was made like pointillism with tiny individual spray paint dots.  Really cool

I thought this was really clever




I owe a lot of people appoligies because it has been one month to the day since I last wrote.  I'm really sorry that it took me that long to write.  I have no real excuse except that I've been doing tons of fun things and tons of not fun school work.  But with that said, I am back now and will update you on the goings on of my last month.

I guess I must begin with spring break as that last post I made was about how I was leaving to go to the Canary Islands.  It was absolutely amazing getting out of the dreary London rain and into the fantastic Spanish sunshine.  We spent most of our first day traveling but when we arrived in Tenerife we found that our apartment was beautiful.  I admit I was a little bit skeptical and nervous because I had never booked a vacation rental direct from the owner before, but we were very happy with the place we stayed.  It was a very spacious appartment that slept 4 but since there was only 3 of us we had plenty of room.  The kitchen was fairly well stocked and although there wasn't an oven, there was a microwave, stove top, and toaster.  On our first night we settled in and immediately set out in search of some food.  Let me explain the area that we were staying in.  The resort was called Playa de Las Americas which is more a town than an actual resort.  The area has lots of hotels and apartment complexes to choose from.  There are also lots of little markets to buy food and a boardwalk were all of the major bars and restaurants are.  We found that we were only about a 5 minute walk down to the boardwalk and we walked into the first restaurant we found because we were starving.  We were greeted by the soulful singing voice of a man who looked like a combination of Allan Thick and Barry Manilow, intriguing I know.  The food was good and the atmosphere was nice, over all a good start to the trip.

The rest of the week transpired as such: wake up, go to the beach, come home, nap, buy food for dinner, nap, eat dinner, drink wine, watch television, sleep.  Wake up and repeat.  There were some days that we didn't go to the beach and opted to walk around the island instead due to the amount of wind that made the beach a little more like a sandblaster.  On Mardi Gras we ventured down to The Veronicas which is a complex on the boardwalk filled with bars and restaurants.  We successfully made friends with a club promoter named Steve who we ran into a few more times over the course of the week. "STEVE!" was our general way of greeting him....he liked us.  He was a nice guy and seemed very intrigued by the fact that we were Americans, because Americans never travel to the Canary Islands.  There really is no reason to go unless you are already in Europe because they are very similar to both Hawaii and the Caribbean.  We also made sure to take advantage of the amount of Mexican food that was suddenly at our disposal.  If you didn't know, London is very much void of all Mexican food so we found a few mexican places to satisfy our burrito/taco/fajita craving and I will say they did not disappoint.  We decided to visit The Veronicas one more time on Thursday to act as a nice closing to the week and had an even better night than we had on Mardi Gras.  It was an overall fantastic trip full of sun, sand, and siestas.  Hands down the best spring break of my life and we were all very sad to go.  But sadly the cold of London was always looming in the distance.  Although it took us a while to get there.  Unfourtionatly the bus service we had hired to take us to and from Gatwick Airport did not run over night and our landing time of 1 AM was not the best choice as it meant we had to wait at the airport until 4:30 for the next bus.  After a week getting burnt and mildly dehydrated, 3 hours in an airport takes its toll.  Sufice it to say we were all a bit delirious once that bus finally showed up.  My bed had never looked so good before and I slept for most of the next day.

The return from spring break was a rough one for a lot of us here at Richmond University because it also marked the beginning of midterms.  For me it was a huge paper that happened to be due the Monday after I got back.  Remember how I slept for the whole day after I got back?  Yeah...that was Sunday.  And was I the responsible student and remembered to get that paper done before leaving for a week of vacation?  Of course I was.....not.  I spent all of Monday morning writing frantically for a class that I actually despise which started at 3pm.  Like the champ that I am, I got the paper done and even got a B+.  What's that?  I just got to spend a week in paradise?  Yeah I'm not too torn up about not getting an A.  That's what Seattle is for.

The next exciting thing that happened was that I had some visitors.  Two of my sorority sisters Annie and Sophie had been spending their spring break in Ireland and decided to take a 2 day detour to come see me.  It was really nice to spend some quality time with some familiar faces and get the scoop on everything that was going on back home.  I also enjoyed getting to play tour guide for a few days and felt like a real local.  We were so lucky because the weather was absolutely beautiful and we spent most of our time walking the city instead of taking the tube.  We went to Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace, Piccadilly Square, Parliament Square, Westminster Abbey, all of the traditional touristy places that I still love going to because they remind me where I actually live.  I am so lucky to be spending these 4 months here and I am always reminded that I need to take advantage of everything I can and see as much as possible.  After two days of lots of walking the girls had to go back to Ireland to catch their flight home but it was a great weekend and got me very excited to see all of my sisters again when I get home!

The next and perhaps most important thing that has happened in the last month occurred just a few days ago on April 1st.  No I'm not talking about April Fools day.  And I'm not talking about Peter's birthday...Happy Birthday P!  I am talking about the McFly concert.  Let me provide a bit of background for any of you who may not know what the heck a McFly concert is and just why it is so important.  McFly is a British pop band who have been around for about 8 years.  They don't really have any US equivilant that I can compare them to but I hate calling them a boy band because they are a far cry from the Backstreet Boys.  They are a group of 4 guys, one drummer, one bass player, and 2 guitars.  They write their own songs and they play their own instruments.  Can you tell how defensive I get over the boy band label?  These are actual musicians we are talking about.  I will add a video to the end of this post just so you can get a taste of the amazingness.  For the past 7 years I have followed them religiously.  I have ever album, know every song....oh but did I mention they are a UK group who has never toured in the US ever?  So when I found out that they were going to be playing London on the 1st I had an absolute fit.  I stayed up until midnight to buy tickets (8am UK time) in November just to ensure that I got the best tickets.  And after months of waiting it was finally the day of the concert.  I somehow managed to get my friend Maggie to tag along and we waited 8 hours in line to ensure that we were right at the front.  When the show started I think my adreneline kicked in so hard that I went into what I am going to call a "joy blackout".  I only remember bits and pieces of the first 5 songs.  The 4th song they played happened to be my favorite song ever and, yes I cried for the whole thing.  It was the concert experience of a lifetime.  They played all the right songs.  I was third from the stage right in the middle.  They lived up to every expectation I had ever had.  It is now the 4th and I think I'm still coming down from concert high.  Life was perfect at that moment.

Coming up in the next month I've got some pretty chill plans.  I am currently in money saving mode MAJOR because I am going on a 2 week trip to Italy, France, and Spain after my semester is over.  I'm also looking forward to my parents coming to visit and for my Mom to cook me food!  I need me some mama home cooking.  The food in my dorm is horrific!  Can't wait!  I promise It will never go this long again without writing but I hope this post has sufficiently caught you up on my goings on over the past month.

Now I will leave you with the epicness that is McFly.  This song was one of their encore songs.  This is the live version because as I learned on Friday, their music is even better live if that was even possible.  ENJOY!


The Sun Will Come Out....

TOMORROW! Ok sorry for the corniness but I am SO excited because I am officially on Spring Break tomorrow!!! Surprisingly it was quite a sunny day in London today which was a welcomed treat.  I headed to Piccadilly Circus to purchase a book that I need to read over break for one of my classes.  I decided that because it was such a nice day I would take the bus home instead of the dark and gloomy tube.  I sat in the very front of the upper level of the bus and just enjoyed the sun hitting my face.  A sign of things to come? I think so!

To tomorrow I leave for the Canary Islands.  There are many things on the list of activites we are trying to accomplish.  The top of the list is of course the beach which we will frequent at least once a day.  We are also planning on riding camels!  Yes they have camels in the Canary Islands and I will ride one.  Pictures will follow I promise.  We are also going on a hike in the mountains..hurray for actually exercise.  There is also a really fun looking water park that we might check out.  I am so looking forward to just relaxing and spending time with my friends.  I may go broke in the process but I have the rest of my life to make money I guess!  Right Dad?  TeeHee!  Well I guess I can leave you with a few pictures of what my life will look like for the next week.  Hopefully the weather stays nice and tropical.  If I come home tan I will be very very happy!  See you all in a week!


A Foggy Day...

It is really dreary here in London today...and bonus...I'm going on a walking tour for my History class today at 1.  Hopefully I won't freeze but at least I have 2 more hours of warmth before I have to go out and face the elements. Eek!

Yesterday was a very exciting day because it was monologue day in acting class.  Having not done a monologue in about 3 years I was a little anxious but was also really excited to get back to performing.  I chose to do one from the film Blood Diamond, which was a bit of a challenge because that meant I had to live up to the standards of the amazing Jennifer Connoly who originally did it.  My professor asked me where my monologue was set and I said, "well....Africa".  Surprisingly he was replyed with "I can do Africa".  He opened the side door which I found out led out to a little patio area that had been highly neglected as far as maintenance goes but it sort of looked like Africa.  So I sat against this rusty pipe and apparent looked like I was in Africa.  I haven't seen the play back yet but my professor said I did a really good job.  So it's good to know that I still have some of my old acting chops.

On another completely unrelated note, I recently found heaven in the form of a Frozen Yogurt place nearby.  I have been going through intense withdrawals from my lack of FroYo and when my friend Maggie found this place, I was so excited.  Not only is it fairly close (about a 8 min walk) but it's really good FroYo.  They even give you souvenir spoons if you order this certain special, which I have of course begun to collect.  It's been just over a week since we went the first time and when we went last night the guy that works there was like "hey girls!"  This is either awesome because he is pretty cute or really sad because we have been there 4 times already.  Either way it's fantastic and I love it.  I will let you know when we get on a first name basis....then you know my obsession has gotten to an unhealthy level.

Well that's all I've got for now.  Hope you are all having a wonderful week and pushing through this Wednesday...the weekend will be here soon!

Oh yeah and..
3 days until the Oscars
9 days until Canary Islands!


I Saw A Movie!!

It has been so long since I have sat in a theater and watched a movie so last night was amazing when I went with some friends to see The Fighter.  It was so amazing you all should go see it.  Christian Bale is getting tons of Oscar buzz for his role and I can't say that it's not earned.  He is fantastic.  On that note, having seen 8 of the 10 Academy Award Best Picture nominees this year I just wanted to quickly say that they are pretty much all worth watching.  However, if you are only going to see a few I would definitely go with The King's Speech, 127 Hours, True Grit, and of course The Fighter.  Black Swan is worth a look too but in my opinion not as much as these.  Rumor has it that The King's Speech is going to take the prize, and that wouldn't upset me at all.

This is a short little blurb that has nothing to do with London, but you know this is all I would be talking about if I were home so I figured I had to get it out to you all in some way.  Go see these movies please.  They are amazing and have truly earned their nominations.  Support good work, they deserve it.



So it seems like forever ago that I was sitting here telling you about my trip to Paris.  Just one, very long, week later I am here now to tell you about my adventures in Rome!  This past weekend I took a short but action packed vacation to Rome with four of my friends.  It was fully of sights, walking, excitement, and of course food. Here's how it all went down.

We got into Rome fairly late on Friday night.  It was about 8 when we landed and then obstacle number one of this adventure hit us: trying to get to our hostel.  So the plan was to take this bus to a metro stop and then the metro to another station where we would then walk to our hostel.  Little did we know we could have just taken a bus straight to the station and skipped the whole metro thing but hey...lessons learned.  So we waited 20 min in the cold for our first bus.  Once arriving at the metro stop, we and everyone else on that bus discovered that the metro stops running at 9.  Ok no worries we'll just get on another bus.  There were tons of busses and some guy with a very bad attitude tells us that we have to get on this one bus so we do.  It is jammed with people and our luggage isn't helping much so we stay near the front so we can know when to get off.  Obstacle number two then came: nothing is labeled in Italy.  Streets, bus stops, nothing.  It literally looks like people are just standing in the street hailing this bus like a taxi.  We asked the driver when to get off and he promptly ignored us many times.  Luckily some very nice man was telling this other girl where to get off and magically we were going to the same place.  This tactic worked many times for us on the busses.  So we finally got off after a very cramped and long bus ride to find that we now still don't know how to get from the station to our hostel.  Being 5 resourceful females, we notice that the station has a bookstore inside and we sneak in to peruse the Rome guidebooks for a map to use.  Once getting our bearings we set off in what we believed to be the right direction.  A few blocks later we stopped into a hotel for a confirmation that we were going in the right direction only to be told we were about 5 min past where we were supposed to be.  Turning back around we finally got to the right spot and found Franco our hostel manager.

Franco may be the nicest, coolest person ever.  He waited for almost 2 hours in the cold for us to arrive because we told him to expect us at 9.  Then we surprisingly had to walk for another 10 min and take a bus one stop to get to our actual hostel.  Still not sure why they don't just have us go to the hostel directly but it all worked out.  Our hostel, which is actually a bed and breakfast, turned out to be amazing.  The five of us got our own room which had a bathroom in it.  You usually have to pay when you get there but because it was late and we were hungry, Franco told us to just go eat and we would take care of the money later.  Win!  So we dropped our stuff and off we went in search of the amazing food we had been promised by our high expectation of Italy.

Let me tell you, this meal lived up to every expectation I ever had.  We found a small restaurant around the corner filled with very cute young Italian waiters.  We all ordered food and when they offered us the wine selections of white or red we all of course said red and when he asked large or small we all replied with a resounding large!  It had been a very long day after all.  They all wanted to know where we all lived in the states, why we were in Rome, and even invited us to go dancing the next night.  The owner bought us all roses from a vendor outside and we each got free italian ices after our meal.  It was probably the best way we could ever start our trip.  After all of the fun we had to leave before we fell asleep in our pasta so we went back to the hostel and crashed; ready for the fun tomorrow.

If you ever need to see the whole of Rome in one day....just come talk to me because I've done it.  Our morning started when Franco brought us our breakfast.  Yes to our room....it was great.  We had capuccinos, sweet rolls, some amazing fruit juice, and a whole loaf of bread which we at like 3 pieces of.  I had my first ever whole cup of coffee, which was not really great, but I figured I was in Italy and so it would be rude not to drink the capuccino.  Our sightseeing started at the Vatican Museum.  Because the Vatican was the furthest away from our hostel we took the metro there and decided to work our way back on foot.  The line to get into the museum was pretty long but one hour of standing outside enjoying some much missed sunshine is not too bad.  Tour guides patrol the line asking people to join their tour and skip the line.  We of course said no to all of them.  "No sir I will not pay 30 euros for your tour when I'm going to wait just one hour and pay 8 euros when I get in there."  Lucky for us, students get into a lot of places for discounted prices.  I will be sad the day I am no longer a student.  The museum was beautiful and the highlight of course was the Sistine Chapel.  We stood and marveled at it for a while and laughed as the guards attempted to keep people from taking pictures, which of course everyone does.  Well, I didn't but that's because I'm too much of a rule follower, but my friends did.  By that time we were all getting hungry and was ready for lunch.  Amazing meal number 2: check!  Margarita Pizza....it doesn't get any better.

Next we had to go see St. Peter's Basilica.  For me this was the highlight of the entire trip.  I don't know if it's because I'm Catholic or just because it is by far one of the most stunning structures in the world, but I could stay there all day.  The celings are amazing, the scupltures are gorgeous, and I just felt peaceful.  I touched the foot of the St. Peter statue.  I can't really remember why people do that, but I did it last time I was there too so I guess it's important.  We wandered, we gawked, and stood and just experienced the amazingness of it all, but we had a lot more to see so they dragged me out and we went on our way.

What do you do when it's a sunny day and you are in Rome?  You get gelato of course.  This we decided was the perfect point to get some gelato and it was everything I remembered and more.  Gosh I love Italy.  The next stop on our whirlwind tour was the Spanish Steps.  We sat, we people watched, we rested our feet, and then we were distracted by the amazing signs on the street just in front of us.  Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Jimmy Choo, Bulgari.  Yes we had found the most expensive shopping street in the city and we just had to walk down it.  We all drooled over the amazing window displays and dreamed of a day when we could walk in without judgement and purchase that Hermes scarf and those Stewart Weitzman heals that we wanted so badly.  Someday...

Next it was time to make a wish and get some good luck from the Trevi Fountain.  I absolutely love the Trevi Fountain and was so happy to be going back to see it again.  All of us threw in our coins over our left shoulders and had a great time reenacting every film that you have ever seen that involves Rome.  That fountain is also one of the best places for people watching.  You can just sit and watch tourists and Italians.  Everyone loves the Trevi Fountain.  At this point I am feeling very content and happy with our day but there was one more stop on our tourist day.  Of course I'm talking about the Colosseum.  The imposing structure that is the Colosseum kind of just pops up out of nowhere.  We turned the corner and BAM there it was.  Because it was late, and we were tired we didn't actually go inside but we took tons of pictures and even made some friends with the gladiators that stand around to take pictures with you.  The charged us a bunch after it, but I guess it's all part of the experience.  We then decided that if we were going to be any fun at night we needed to get off our feet and rest.  So back to the hostel we went to relax.

My friend Kristen knows a girl studying in Rome right now, so we all got ready for a night out and when to meet her at her apartment.  We all went out for, once again, an amazing dinner.  I had the best caprese salad that I have very had in my entire life.  Only the Italians can make 3 ingredients taste so amazing.  Dinner was followed by a few local bars and one very steriotypical euro club.  Honestly I felt like I was in a movie.  Especially when I made friends with some guy named Giuseppe.  I know right...how Italian is that!  We all had such a great time and was sad to see our long day of Italy come to an end.

The next day we had to leave Rome.  It was very sad but we did have one last gelato on the way out because our hostel happened to be right across from the largest gelato factory in the city.  Or so they said.  One metro, one bus, one flight, one train, and one tube ride later we were back in Kensington.  We stopped at the local pub for some food because we were starving and I had lasagne of all things.  Actually this pub's lasagne is amazing and I thought it would be a good cap to the Italian weekend.  All and all I had an fantastic time and I cannot wait to go back.

I didn't get any complaints about the link not working last time so I would assume that this picture link does work.  Here is my album of pictures from the weekend.


J'Arrive a Paris!

Ok I know you have been waiting for my Paris blog entry.  This really should have been written on Sunday night when I got home but sadly I have been feeling a little under the weather since returning to London.  So now as I lay sick in bed, I figured it would be the best time to fill you all in on my amazing weekend in the city of lights.  Let's just start off with a bang shall we:

Yes I took that picture....it is not a postcard....it is not from google.  That is the view from the very top of the Effel Tower.  But that is getting a little ahead of my self because my trip in Paris started at night.

When we arrived in Paris after taking the Eurostar from London, that's the Chunnel for those of you who are not familiar, we got settled into our hotel and then were immediately taken by our tour guides to the river for a boat cruise.  Let me tell you, you have not seen Paris until you have seen it by night.  We saw the Effel Tower all lit up and beautiful, the Notre Dame, and just about everything in between.  One of the coolest things that we saw was the Effel Tower when it sparkles.  Apparently this is a relatively new addition to this amazing structure but ever hour on the hour it sparkles for 5 minutes.  It was so beautiful. After the boat tour we were starving and looking for some food.  Luckily we found a cafe and I had some pretty good steak frites.  I promised myself I would only eat French food on this trip and that's what I did.  I also documented everything I ate just so you all could share in the happiness with me.  A nice glass of wine later and we were all tired and ready for bed.

The next day we were up bright and early for a bus tour around the city.  We saw so many things, some of which I should have written down because looking back through my pictures I don't really know what  all of them are.  Oops!  Well the highlights were the Opera House that inspired the Phantom of the Opera, The Notre Dame cathedral, the Champs Elysees, and of course the Effel Tower.  We were actually able to get off the bus at Notre Dame and spend about 30 minutes or so exploring the cathedral.  This apparently is against the rules because large coach busses are not supposed to stop right by the cathedral but our driver was cool and risked major fines for us to be able to jump off, explore, and then quickly jump back on again.  This was kind of a big deal considering their police officers walk around with huge machine guns.  Yeah they were scary.  Anyways....Notre Dame was beautiful.  Many of you will know that I have a soft spot for huge cathedrals so I was a very happy camper.  After a bit of wandering around and some time just sitting enjoying the atmosphere and thinking, I decided to light a candle in memory of my uncle Scott Johnson.  It was a very touching moment and definitely made the visit that much more special.

Our tour ended right at the Effel Tower and as we already had tickets we didn't have to wait in the huge lines!  Up to the second floor we went and then paid 5 more euros to go all the way to the top.  We were very lucky because the top floor has been closed recently because of maintenance.  The view from the top was absolutely jaw dropping.  Pictures do not do it justice and I am glad I got to see one of the most beautiful cities in the world from one of the most beautiful spots in the world.  Then we had to huff it all the way down from the second floor by the stairs because the elevators were not working properly.  Good thing we got up when we did otherwise we would have been very upset.

Having no other planned activities for the day my friends Ashley and Maggie and I set off on a walk down the Saine River to the Musee D'Orsay.  First, however, we had to stop for our daily hour of just sitting and being French.  We were told by our tour guide that for one hour of every day we had to just sit and watch the world go by.  Having also been told this by Michelle I figured we should listen.  So with baguette sandwiches in hand we sat on a bridge over the river and enjoyed an amazing lunch.  After that we wen into the museum which is right across the river from the Louvre and usually has an amazing collection.  However, they are currently undergoing construction and a lot of their best work is out traveling around the world on display.  But we did get to see Van Gogh's self portrait and this amazing ball room that they had reconstructed.  I have no idea where it is supposed to be from but it was bright and gold with mirrors....I could have stayed in that room all day.

We grabbed a little bubbly on our way back to the hotel where we met up with our friend Kristen who had been visiting some family friends who live in Paris.  The four of us had a little champagne and chocolate party just to celebrate being in Paris before we went out for dinner.  It was fun just chatting and relaxing after a lot of walking that day.  We went back to the area around the Notre Dame, called the Latin Quarter, for dinner.  As you walk down these really busy streets, people are yelling at you trying to get you to come into their restaurant.  We finally decided on one with this very cute old French man.  They sat us on the second floor right in the window overlooking the street.  It was so pretty.  The food was absolutely indescribable.  I had escargot, which I had tried before but never in France so I figured it was only appropriate.  Then I had the most amazing beef stew that I have ever eaten in my life.  I never say that things are better than my mom's and this was better.  I don't think she will be upset though as she loves French food more than I do.  And finally I finished with Chocolate Mousse.  Great food. Great friends. Great night.

Sunday morning came and that meant only one thing....LOUVRE!  Yes the time had come for us to venture into the vast abyss that is The Louvre to see beautiful works of art like the Mona Lisa and the Venus di Milo.  It really is one of the most amazing museums in the entire world and lives up to it's hype I will tell you that.  Aside from the Mona Lisa, which was actually bigger than I remember her being, the highlight was the Napoleon Apartments.  These are full replicas of rooms in Napoleon and Josephine's palace.  Ornate gold leaf everywhere, plush red velvet, and some of the biggest chandeliers I have ever seen.  They were so pretty.  But after a lot of walking, we needed to once again just sit.  So we had a great lunch at a cafe nearby.  I had quiche lorraine which was fantastic as expected.  Then we walked the entire length of the Champs Elysees.  This is the major shopping street in Paris that starts at the Louvre and ends at the Arc de Triomphe.  Every major store is here including the first Louis Vuitton store.  We of course went in and I had to leave quickly before I spent all of my travel money on this purse that I fell in love with.  It was a girl moment.

So, that is basically the end of my trip.  We just went back to the hotel and caught the bus back to the train.  It was a really fun trip and I learned a few things about myself and about Paris.

1) I actually know enough French to get myself around France.  The only problem is when I open with the French I can never understand the response because they talk so fast.  Oh well...I'm working on it.

2) Paris is much dirtier than London.  I would not have expected that but especially their Metro system.  I never realized how spotless the Tube is.

3) When in Paris you much have one crepe per day.  Of course I complied with this rule.

4)  You really do need to just sit for awhile.  The French know how to sit better than anybody I know.  They are just content to not do anything for a while and enjoy the city that they live in.  We should do that in America more.

Thanks for sticking through this incredibly long post.  I just wanted to make it as detailed as possible.  Instead of picking which pictures to add I will just include this link to my album.  I am told that you do not have to be on facebook for this link to work.  If anybody has a problem viewing them let me know.  Au Revoir!



Hello My Name is Macenzie Jacobs...

And no I did not spell Macenzie wrong, that's just how I choose to spell it.  Ok let me erase some of the very confused looks on your faces right now.  Last week in acting class we were given an assignment.  Go out and observe people.  We had to pick one person that we saw and create a life for them.  We had to give them a name, age, family, job, secret desires, guilty secrets, everything from what they most want to how they take their coffee.  My girl's was named Macenzie Jacobs.  She is from Phoenix, AZ but moved to East London where she is currently working at a very good PR firm.  The story goes on and on but the cool part is that we had to come to class as our characters.  After explaining to the class everything that was on our bio sheet that we had been assigned to fill out, we were then put into the hot seat as everyone got to ask us at least one question that we had not prepared for.  It was a very fun exercise and I think I managed to answer all of my questions while still remaining in character.  Perhaps I have found my alter-ego...my very own Sasha Fierce.  I think i'll just leave the cool names for Beyonce.

On another note......diet time major has arrived because I am going to this amazing place for spring break.

It is called Tenerife and it's part of the Canary Islands.  Just to save you the trip to Google, the Canary Islands are a group of islands just off the northwestern coast of Africa.  They are owned by Spain and so they us the euro (win) and is a very popular vacation spot for the UK and the rest of Europe.  I'm going with two other girls and we are beyond excited.  Oh did I mention that the entire trip: 6 nights and flights, are only costing us about $400 each.  Hello vacation packages.  Not to mention that we are going in the off season which will be amazing because it won't be super crowded but the average temp in March is still about 74.  Could not be more excited I will tell you when the tickets are officially purchased, just picking between a few hotels at this point.  Is it March yet?

Lastly I need to make sure I give two very big and very special shout outs today.  They are for my two groundhogs....My wonderful dad and Michelle.  Happy Birthday both of you!  Wish I could be there to celebrate but I promise to have a pint in your honor tonight!  Love you guys!


For the first time in London...

I did not spend a single pound today!! I know, it's amazing.  I woke up in time for breakfast today.   Yep that's number two so far.  I had a wonderful meal of cereal and some beans on toast.  For those of you who are not privy to the magic that is beans on toast.  Go get some Heinz beans.  Not baked beans or ranch beans, Heinz beans.  Then toast up some white bread and go to town.  It is so good I can't even tell you.  If you don't think so...well...I guess you just don't matter.  Then I made myself a peanut butter sandwich with the supplies that I recently purchased from the local market (Tesco).  I had a bag of chips during the break of my long class which I also purchased at Tesco a week or so ago.  And I have just now returned from dinner where I had pork roast and roasted potatoes.  Surpriseingly the pork roast was pretty good and not in need of salt because the gravy was actually quite flavorful.  However, if I do need salt ever again I have some because..

MY PARENTS SENT ME A PACKAGE!! I just got it today and in good old Mama Johnson fashion is  was fully of healthy snacks.  Win!  It also included a few film related LA Times articles which I thoroughly enjoyed however, the ultimate prize of this package was the In and Out salt packages and the Taco Bell sauce!  Of which I have included a wonderful picture which I think perfectly sums up my happiness at this finding.  I literally could have almost cried when I saw that salt.  Not becasue the food here is in desperate need but because it is so completely and honestly, California Salt!  Life is good.